It all started with a conversation about needing more travel and adventure in my life and possibly subletting my apartment for a couple of months to experiment with living in another country. That train of thought ended up with me selling everything I owned (well almost everything) in January of 2014 and traveling to various parts of the world for almost a year.
I didn’t have a timeframe in mind, a plan, a destination more than a month in advance, and I didn’t know where I would end up at the end of my journey. I know a lot of people take sabbaticals, gap years, or extended trips and vacations with a goal to explore a particular country or subject like Gaelic castles. I was personally motivated less by wanting to experience a particular thing, and motivated more by a deep desire for freedom in all areas of my life and an intense curiosity to see what happens when I simply live in the present moment and let my life unfold in real time.
Besides brief conversations with friends, I’ve never fully taken the time to consciously reflect about everything I’ve learned this year. Partly because thinking about the past takes me out of the present moment, and partly because everything that’s happened this past year has already started to feel like a distant dream at this point. But in the spirit of reflection, in order to prepare for 2015, I decided to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and share my thoughts. If you’re reading this, I hope that you find something that resonates and inspires a resolution of your own for 2015.
My Life Is My Responsibility
When we’re in the middle of the grind, it’s easy to feel as if life is happening to us, instead of feeling like masters of our own reality. Unplugging from everything and everyone that seemed to have an opinion of how I was supposed to be living my life at the age of 33, was one of the most liberating experiences I’ve ever had. I started to feel like the Master of my own experience. The Creator of my own reality. What I thought, I manifested. What I was inspired by, I acted on. What felt good to me, I cultivated more of in my life. My time was my own and I made up my own rules as I went, including when I worked, and what I wanted to experience. I think that’s how we’re all supposed to experience life and ultimately why we chose to incarnate into these bodies at this particular time on this planet. I feel overwhelmingly blessed that I had a chance to taste that level of freedom and I will continue to do what it takes to live my life by my own rules, because it’s within that space that I feel most ALIVE.
Inspiration Is Now My Favorite Addiction
Contrary to popular belief, this year was not all play, and no work. I kept up with new and existing clients virtually via phone and Skype. I created three online educational videos and finished writing a book on holistic wisdom for good digestive health this year. (The book will have recipes from the amazing Amanda Corissa of Craving Thirty, so as soon as those are done, it will be available for sale). I gave presentations in Mexico, Houston, and Santa Monica on nutrition, detox, wellness, and thyroid health, as well as performed more iridology readings in a single day than I thought was humanly possible in May of this year. I also led my friend's family through a 30 day raw food transformation. So yes, I was still working, but it didn't feel like work. It felt like play. And there were tons of creative ideas flowing, simply because I was surfing on a wave of daily inspiration and it was addicting. Is it too much to ask that daily inspiration be the norm in my life? And that work, never actually feel like work?
Things Always Work Out
My natural tendency in the past was to worry. At one point in my life, it was worrying about others thought of me. At other points it’s been to worry about whether a relationship was meant to last, or if I made the right decision taking a job. I realized that no matter how much I worried, things always worked themselves out. I learned the lesson I was supposed to learn. I had the experience that I was supposed to experience. If I didn’t get something I wanted, I got something else instead that had its own value and benefits. Entering this year without a plan, meant I could let go of feeling responsible for making things work or worrying about accomplishing some big goal. I got to trust that things were always working out in my favor and that I was always being taken care of by the Divine. It felt lighter. It felt effortless. It felt good.
The Peaks Are Just As Important As The Valleys
I had some amazing experiences this year. From partying with my best friend at Mardi Gras, to riding an ATV around the islands of Nicaragua, to biking through Stanley Park in Vancouver on a gorgeous summer day. There was no shortage of peak moments this past year. But there were also some really quiet moments where not that much was going on or emotional moments like finding out my grandfather had passed away and rerouting travel plans to speak at his funeral. There were even moments where I was completely and utterly bored – which is quite uncharacteristic for me. From all this, I gained further confirmation that all of the ups and downs are simply a part of life and they are all there to add depth to my personality and help me appreciate and focus on how each of those moments add value to my life. For example, the boredom helped propel me into a new phase of clarity, awareness, and inspiration around my work and the message I want to bring to the world. And for that, I’m thankful.
There Is Kindness, and It Is Everywhere.
The world is not a dangerous place. I repeat. The world is not a dangerous place. I strongly believe that our thoughts create our reality, and if we see the world as dangerous, it’s only a reflection of what we’ve got going on internally. In 2007, I took a meditation course and was given the task of not watching the news for a week. At first I thought the suggestion was a bit extreme, but at the end of the week, I found out that I didn’t miss it at all. When I spoke about traveling alone to Nicaragua or Mexico, I got lots of concern from people who watch the news…a lot. Be careful they said. Keep your items locked. Don’t trust people. Don’t go out at night. You shouldn’t be traveling alone as a woman. Aren’t people being killed in Mexico?
To all those who were concerned, I say thank you for the intention of wanting me to be well and safe. But I can say that the things that are fed to us on the news and in movies are not accurate representations of what’s going on in the world, and often highlight bad in a world of really awesome people and places. I saw countless examples of rich and intoxicating natural beauty when I traveled this past year. I met people who wanted to help me get where I needed to go, make me smile, learn from me, or show me how proud they were of their city and country. I had lots of people treat me as if I was one of the family – and said I reminded them of their daughter or sister. Not once did I feel like my life was in danger. Seldom did I feel like people were conspiring to rip me off. That was my personal experience and I don’t feel like I’m the exception to the rule. So my advice, if you are feeling called to explore the world, is don’t let fear hold you back, and know that you will find what you expect to find. So expect good things.
Happiness is Not Somewhere Out There
For the longest time, I’ve been hearing about how human beings are constantly searching for happiness because we have be conditioned to believe that this elusive pot of gold is somewhere outside of ourselves. But unless we realize that the happiness is inside of us and accessible 24-7, we will spend the rest of our lives searching for the next thing or person that might make us happy. This profound spiritual wisdom has always resonated with me intellectually, but my experiences this year helped move it from being a concept to a daily reality. For example, after visiting this magical waterfall near Whistler and staring at it for awhile in amazement, the thing I wanted to do most – the only thing I could think of that would allow me to capture the greatness of Nature’s handiwork, was to close my eyes and go inward. How odd is it that my reaction to seeing beautiful things nowadays, is to close my eyes ?!? I can only describe it as allowing myself to feel on the inside, how Nature looks on the outside. And it’s a beautiful feeling. Having my daily meditation practice has made this year less about thrill seeking and trying to consume all of the beauty in the world, and more about cultivating the natural feelings of bliss, beauty, and happiness that are already inside of me.
2015 & Beyond
2014 has ended and many insights from this past year are still being revealed to me. I’m looking forward to 2015 where I will be seeking a different type of freedom. My intention is to be honest about who I am, what I think, and to live authentically. Can’t wait to see what happens when I focus more on being true to myself and less on worrying about what other people think of me.
Blessings to you and I hope that you manifest everything that you desire in the new year.