Let me start this off by saying one thing: I do not have a lot of money….or possessions….or a fancy car. And yes I live in Orange County, Ca. But I can also say with confidence I am content with the person I am and the things I do within my community. Ultimately, I don’t see my job(s) as a paycheck anymore, no, I see my work as an extension of who I am as a person and what I feel my purpose is in this life. Granted, these things can always change. I have never been one to believe that we have to settle for ordinary and in fact I think that word should be banned from our repertoire of wonderful words we could use to describe what we do and who we are. I don't typically like to give others advice on how to live their lives but just some food for thought (and I do love food!): If your life in any of it’s facets has become Ordinary, contemplate trying something new, yes, radically new and exciting. Challenging our Ordinary and finding areas of discomfort opens up new pathways, creates new connections, keeps us thinking and wards off the curse of boredom. Each day is a gift, our very lives a miraculous circumstance that none of us have 100% figured out (email me if you have).
While I will never be able to truly see life from another’s perspective and I will never know how someone else prioritizes their life completely, for myself I decided during a time in my life where I felt truly happy and content with who I was for the first time that creating the life that I loved was of the utmost importance (& it took time to get there!). This is also a personal responsibility. It sounds extremely selfish in that context, even as I write that. But the truth is without my own contentment I would never live up to my fullest potential, I would be living just shy of that, scared to do the things that made me truly happy and with such a sense of confinement plus suppression of self I would not be able to show up and hold space for others. When I allow myself the freedom to do the extraordinary I feel a sense that anything is achievable and that confidence helps me give my best to my community and those around me. When I decide to do something I love like travel or go on a seemingly wild adventure it does not now seem like such a big or hard decision; these decisions have become almost second nature, the intuitive voice within raising its octave to be bolder than the more rigid voice. To make the choice to listen to true nature and take a chance feels like letting the soul move freely even if for just a moment. A healthy dose of fear or excitement is the reminder we are not born to be numb.
SO, I’ve traveled even if I don't have a huge number in the bank account and even if I didn't have a partner to travel with. These to me were excuses, ones that were not sufficient enough to stand in the way of me accomplishing my dreams. Yes, traveling alone can be scary at times but what is scarier is never doing the things you truly wanted to do. That is the equivalent of living in a cage to me, a cage that is constructed by the self for the self! You CAN travel smart and alone, those two ideas don’t have to be separate. I have learned more about myself through experiences of solo travel than many years of being in group yoga classes looking to go deeper within myself and “figure it all out”. I could never describe what I am trying to explain in words, it is something that must be felt on your own and when it does my hope is for everyone to experience the smile from ear to ear or in some cases the tears rolling down cheeks when you have traveled somewhere outside your comfort zone (does not need to be somewhere exotic!) and feel the limitless sensation of freedom and alive-ness.
If I am being perfectly honest, I’ve decided it’s okay to be selfish, within reason. I’ve decided that doing the things that make me truly happy and excited to be alive is what keeps me reaching for the next level. If I had taken a more well-carved path that looked something like a masters degree, nine to five, 401k, mediocre-pay-but-good-enough-to make-you-never-leave sort of job I am not sure I would be spending as much time as I do thinking of ways I can take where I am now and elevate to the next level. To answer those who wonder when I will take that ‘real job’ I can say I do have a real job. I’ve taken a very real passion, a love and a curiosity and turned it into a career, one that has many possibilities and opportunities for growth but the catch is it is entirely up to me how hard I work for those opportunities. To be honest, doing what you love for a living is not always easy, sometimes you are not earning an actual living and it feels like a gnarly bumpy road but when I pause and look at what I am doing I get an extra boost finding some gratitude for my opportunties and humility in the fact that I am still learning and so far from perfect. Also, being that I am not making a six-figure income I have modified my lifestyle to having the things I truly need, nothing more and this to me feels like more freedom (and actually less stress/clutter!). We must all decide what is of utmost importance to us in our lives and make those ‘things’, whatever they are, a priority.
There are certainly moments in which I know it would have been easier to take the well-carved path but I also get a feeling that it just would not have been right. I believe we all have somewhere great to go on our own paths, maybe we can catch a glimpse of it, perhaps we already have it or we are on our way to it. But really the greatness is in each moment, what is yet to come is not worth being consumed with; we already know many blessings will come, so will struggle and pain, so why not do what makes you happy now and have a great appreciation for it? For me personally, I would rather listen to the signs that lead me back to my true nature staying connected to feeling rather than being wrapped up in a vague and arbitrary idea of what should be. What really matters is how much happiness and contentment we can cultivate in this fleeting moment before it passes, that is all we have control over. Each day should be filled with sweetness whether thats a grand adventure, sipping tea with a friend, practicing yoga or kickboxing. Your sweetness is chosen by you and as you choose it you are making the choice to enjoy the gift that is your existence. Do and more importantly BE what you love and then spread that to your world around you; give others the permission to do the same by having the courage to do you.
“I think what everyone should be doing, before it's too late, is committing themselves to what they really want to do with their lives.” ― Matthieu Ricard, The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet