I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about lately, or rather, how to consolidate a web of experiences and thoughts I’ve been having into one pearl of wisdom. Then I decided, one pearl couldn’t capture it, so perhaps a string of them will; here’s a list of some of the ideas, experiences, and lessons I’ve learned in the last month.
First, a bit of background: for those of you who don’t know, I’m at a very exciting transition point in my life! After four years of Journalism school and a handful of short-term gigs (i.e. tutoring at a middle school,camp counselor, newsletter editor for University Facilities etc.), I landed my first professional job in communications at a big software company. Over the past two years of working, I’ve made beautiful friendships, learned a ton about the communications and software industries, and grown so much professionally and personally, but a restlessness remains present in me that I can no longer sweep under the rug. For years now, I have wanted to be free. Free of a daily schedule, of the pressure to advance in a career and to know where I’m headed at all times, free to write poems, explore, and observe life outside of my familiar surroundings. My heart is urging me to expand, to reach beyond the contours of comfort, to see the world and open myself up to it. I yearn to explore and discover. I crave a new perspective and a deeper understanding of the human story and my place in it.
So, on a crisp morning a few months ago, I awoke with a spark of fire in me to heed that voice urging me to leap, and bought a one-way ticket to London. I cried for an hour after purchasing that ticket because it was the first time I had made such a big commitment to myself, without consulting anyone else first. It was such a release of energy that I felt as if I was floating. On July 22, I will board a plane without a return ticket and a backpack on my shoulders. Adventure, here I come!!
Realizing that I have the power to change my life has been an untouchable bliss. And that is not to say that I am not afraid. I am, all the time. The unknown, the risk of financial stability, safety, the loneliness that could accompany traveling alone are all unnerving aspects of my decision. But I’m sticking to it, nonetheless. After all, being brave isn’t about being fearless; it’s about acknowledging fear and then moving forward anyways and not allowing it to block your way.
Now that you have context, here’s what I’ve been thinking about (and learning) lately:
1. Being OPEN to life as it shows up (rather than the expectations you have of it), offers magical rewards you could have never imagined!
Last weekend, I planned to spend a few nights at the coast alone, for a solo retreat to reflect on all the changes unfolding in my life. But the universe had other plans in store. A love-note left on my car led to a spontaneous blind date, a gathering on a farm with live music, fire dancers and kindred spirits, and a sweet connection that I never would have made if I hadn’t accepted and embraced life as it showed up. I could have chosen not to call the number left in the note, sticking to my expectation that I would spend the weekend by myself, soul-searching and reflecting. But I would have missed out on some beautiful experiences, and I am so glad I took the chance to shake my plans loose and let things unfold as they presented themselves. Lesson learned: take risks, be open to life as it comes and you will be rewarded!
2. Someone else feels the same way you do.
There have been countless times that I have confided in friends and even strangers, only to be surprised again and again that they either currently feel or have once felt the same way I am feeling in that moment. It is becoming very clear to me that we are much more interconnected than we are led to believe and despite our journeys appearing separate, we really are all having the same human experience. Do not trick yourself into thinking you are alone. You are surrounded by friends you have yet to meet who are experiencing life alongside you. We all feel fear, love, hope, loss, frustration…..you name it, you open up, and you will find that somewhere, someone is having the same experience. There is so much strength in knowing that we can truly help each other through this shared human journey!
3. The anticipation of change is a dangerous dance. It’s better to live in the present.
I’ve had too long to think about this transition ahead. I’ve spent countless hours daydreaming, planning, worrying, fearing, wondering and discussing what will come in the future. And now (finally!), I’ve realized that in order to live into this change, I have to stop anticipating it. The present ‘now’ is where life unfolds and that is where I need to be. Letting go of anticipation requires trust, confidence and calmness. Perhaps this is the real work of any change in life. How do you flow with it? How do you embrace it? How do you stay centered and let life blossom naturally, rather than force it? I am learning this now and although not always, succeeding, I am beginning to see how important it is to think less and live more. right. now.
4. Whatever you need is already inside of you.
Moving has reminded me that I don’t need to hold onto every physical belonging in order to benefit from it. In fact, letting go of excess and even sentimental items has been a great spiritual practice for me. The truth is, whatever I need is already inside of me. I know that the joy, comfort and love gained from my relationship to a physical belonging does not disappear once it does. It has been felt inside of me, and therefore, is forever a part of me. In other words, it has already served its purpose and it is safe to let go. Letting go allows empty space for the new to enter. (*May we always have space for more wisdom*).
5. Love the life you live; Lead the life you love!Love the life you live
One of my favorite reggae bands, Midnite (shout out to Cara for introducing me to them), sings that line above in this song. I love the wisdom of the chorus: by loving the life you live, you in turn, lead the life you love. The two are inseparable. Perhaps the deeper message is that contentment comes from being satisfied with the life you have now. One thing I know for sure is that no harm is done by loving your life and being grateful for the blessings of every day. The more I practice this, the more I lead a life I enjoy. Funny how that works, huh?
Last but not least….I read this quote every day for motivation to be brave and follow my dreams!
“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life and in change there is power.”