The Leap: What Am I Doing??

“You’re doing whaaaat?”

I still to this day remember the sound of my mom’s voice screeching when I told her my plans for my first Leap. It was the life path course correction that I decided on after reading The Alchemist: quitting my job, moving home for two months, backpacking Australia and then moving to Colorado, my final destination.

My pragmatic mother couldn’t fathom how I could leave a job without having another, how I could go without benefits for multiple months and how I could have such a loose plan strung together to travel instead of putting in the hours working at my steady, safe, 8-4 job as a teacher.

Her reaction wasn’t any different when I broke news to her of this current life transition: move to Oregon for the summer (although I feel it is a permanent move) give up my stable 1 year contract as a graphic design and coding teacher in order to pursue what is in alignment with my highest self. Why did I expect her reaction to be different?

A few days after disclosing my “plan”, she sent me a 7 paragraph email of all the reasons why I shouldn’t be giving up a stable job with benefits, a stable living situation, and a moderately comfortable lifestyle. I called her that night and exclaimed exasperatedly, “why can’t you be my cheerleader instead of being the voice of my self doubt?” After that phone call which ended abruptly, I reflected why my mom and her opinion affected me. Why do I place such high value on her validation?

After talking it over with a friend, I had greater clarity. It’s not necessarily that I place value on her opinion and validation (although I’m sure I do), it is that she is stating all of the things out loud that my protective ego, “Prudence”, (yes, I’ve named her) is playing on repeat in my head; incessantly combating my intuition through every step of my preparation to Leap. My mom and her doubt is my mirror, confronting my limiting beliefs in the flesh.

But, I know a trigger in the flesh is an opportunity for me to practice compassion to the part of myself that believes my mother to be true, that conditioned part of my psyche that believes this Leap won’t work out. This is the inner work I’m confronting during this transition time. It’s a lesson in self-compassion, self-mothering that I’m practicing while I prepare for my Leap.

I still find myself thinking, What am I doing? And to that I reply, “pipe down Prudence!”

The Leap: Three Pages into the Intro of This Book Changed My Life Forever — Maybe It’s Time I Read it Again.

It’s been 6 years and 5 months since first picking up The Alchemist, the book that would forever change my course trajectory of life as I had known it. It was within the first three pages of the introduction that I had the proverbial wind knocked out of me, as Paulo’s words sucker punched me in my gut.

Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bareable; the latter goes on for years and, without noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Introduction, page xi, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Paulo, in the introduction, was referencing someone not living their personal legend, their calling, their life’s dream written on their hearts by God.

His words penetrated to the deepest depths of my soul and spoke to me with a resonating honesty. His words reflected truth back to me, and I questioned, had I been allowing myself to suffer the slow rot of my soul in its bitterness of not following my personal legend?

The tears in my eyes expressing the suppressed sadness and grief indicated, yes.

I read the introduction to The Alchemist on a Sunday, and by that Thursday I had finished the book and handed in my letter of resignation to my boss, igniting the propulsion of catalytic forces of the Universe to change my life and follow my personal legend. As Paulo explained in the introduction, when making a decision that is in alignment with your personal legend, the Universe conspires to support it.

The words from The Alchemist gave me what I call my “Green Light, Go!”, an indication from the Universe, and an internal knowing sensed by my intuition, that I’m ready to take action.

Between that fateful Sunday and Thursday I formulated my action plan: quit my soul sucking job, move home for two months to tend to my mental and physical health, backpack Australia and then make the move to my final destination, fulfilling my childhood dream of moving to Colorado.

Looking back on the 6 years, 5 months, I remember the anxiety and trepidation of uprooting my life I had known, one I had intentionally and willingly created. But this chapter of my life had me feeling stuck, stuck in a job I hated, stuck in a city (Philadelphia) that no longer felt like home, stuck in isolation from relationships and friendships.

I was in a perpetual holding pattern, with the inability to get off the spinning hamster wheel, that is until I read The Alchemist. It was as if Paulo’s words ignited a long forgotten spark in me that craved vitality, aliveness and to follow what was written on my heart: moving to Colorado.

Here I am 6 years and 5 months later, sitting in my house in Colorado Springs, Colorado, staring at The Alchemist, like a long lost love, returning for the nourishment and advice, the tidbits of treasure and truths hidden between its pages. It is coming up on my 6th anniversary of moving to Colorado, the place I thought would be my forever home, I find myself in a eerily similar situation.

“Have you read The Alchemist?” She asked.

I sit with The Alchemist on my lap because of the advice of a friend, a spiritual mentor. I contacted her, seeking advice and validation that my personal legend is pushing me toward something more spiritually significant, somewhere not in Colorado.

I chuckled. “Yea, I’ve read The Alchemist.” I replied.

“Maybe it’s time you read it again.” She retorted.

I smiled. Maybe it’s time I read it again.