The Leap: Relearning Lessons- Lesson #2: Have a Little Faith

The Law of Faith is about trusting the inherent love and intelligence working through you and all creation.

Trusting in Spirit, The Laws of Spirit, by Dan Millman

The second lesson I’m having to relearn is the ability to put faith in the Universe (God) that it will support me. My Australian adventure was my first test of faith, where I jumped and the net revealed itself every step of the way. My faith carried itself over into Colorado. I moved knowing one person, but through that one person serendipitously found a job and a living situation that worked itself out nicely. It couldn’t have worked out better even if I had planned it. It was proof that the Universe conspires to work in my favor. So why haven’t I learned and embodied this lesson?

Past traumas and a parental example are forefront in my mind. I witnessed and experienced my father completely implode his life, making terrible choices that further impacted him and his family (me) negatively. I catch myself wondering if I’m likely to repeat his karma. At one point during this transitional period, readying myself to move to Oregon, my mom implied she was afraid I’d end up like my dad.

With his misfortunes in the back of my mind, I still press on with my decision to pack up and wrap up my life in Colorado, because I feel in my gut and bones there is a greater force at play. Spirit (Holy Spirit) has been preparing me to make this move since 2021, when Washington/Oregon was first put into my consciousness. Physically, I’m feeling called to the land in Washington, across the Columbia River from Hood River. There’s medicine for me in the land in Washington, possibly even a spiritual teacher waiting for me there. Through meditation, it’s been revealed that my knowledge of nervous system and emotional regulation is my medicine I will bring to the Columbia River Gorge. With intuitive hits, downloads and sensing, I feel divinely supported. Yet, it’s hard to have faith when I’m craving concrete evidence that everything will work out.

I’m taking a big risk in having faith in the Universe. I’m out of my comfort zone, waaaaay past my growth edges! Letting go of control, letting go in general, is not my strength. Not knowing details like a job or stable living situation still has the ability to send me into an anxiety attack. As I’ve been told by a psychic friend, my ability to “logic this out” will be of no use to me, and will even hinder my ability to thrive in Oregon. Fuuuuuck! That’s literally how I’ve survived the past 36 years.

This chapter, this launching off point, feels much different than the Leap I took to Australia/Colorado. My spiritual practice has deepened, and I have more spiritual tools in my tool belt. I can feel the Universe’s supportive energy. I feel Spirit calling me to push myself into significant and expansive spiritual growth. I just need to surrender and believe that the Universe will support me. I just gotta have faith (faith, faith).

The Leap: Cracked Open

To distract myself from the dizziness of packing up 6 years worth of Colorado life, I decided to go see the movie The Mirage, documenting Timothy Olson, an ultra-marathon runner, running the Pacific Crest Trail to beat the previous record of fastest thru hike time.

I connected with his emotional struggle, throughout his time on the trail and especially his recount of addiction to drugs and alcohol and his road to sobriety. What struck me was a quote from the documentary about pushing outside of one’s comfort zone and confronting challenges.

Why would I want this to be easier? Why would I want a red carpet finish? That’s not why I was struggling from day one on. That’s not why I’ve been working on this for years. I wanted this to be a challenge because challenges in life crack you open. -Timothy Olson, Mirage documentary

The last few days have been particularly challenging. I’ve graduated to the part of the hero’s journey where beginners luck has ended. Synchronicities, although still happening, are less prevalent and now I’m facing challenges and obstacles. I’m realizing this transition requires physical, mental, emotional and spiritual purging. A purging of not just stuff, but all of my old belief systems that have kept me stuck or in a holding pattern, resistant to pursue the life I truly desire.

Energetic and spiritual purging is much like detoxing from drugs or alcohol. It is physically and emotionally painful. It has brought out my worst insecurities to the surface in order to be process and released. I’m confronting my fear of houselessness. I’m battling my core belief of worthlessness. I’m confronting my fear of the unknown and my uneasiness to trust that the Universe (God) will provide. I’m confronting my scarcity mindset that has prevented me from living a life of abundance. I’m confronting my past conditioning, my biggest traumas and negative core beliefs. I’ve been cracked open.

It certainly has been uncomfortable to be cracked open. It leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable, whittled down to my purest, authentic essence. But maybe that is what this Leap is about, being cracked open to my most authentic version of myself, so that I can live the life I’ve truly been called to live.

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.

And So, It Begins…

Nothing is as exhilarating as starting off on a brand new adventure! Roused with anticipation, a combination of nerves and enthusiasm, untarnished by failures or mistakes, it’s an idea in its purest form. With any new adventure there are inevitable unknowns that prompt cautious excitement as your mind attempts to fill in the blanks, an evolutionary physiological response to anticipate what lies ahead. The suspense, it’s what ignites the flight of butterflies in your stomach, your heart to race, your breath to become shallow, terrified yet fixed on the heightened state of arousal.

Often though, long before the adrenaline high of a new adventure, one must mourn the loss and grieve the death of the past self. It’s the natural duality of beginnings, they are prefaced by an inevitable conclusion, at times sneakily disguised as painful endings. Could that be why we are scared of change?

Yes, letting go can be painful, especially when we are clenching tightly to a life that no longer serves us. But letting go can also be gloriously invigorating, as if diving bare ass naked, head first into a polar plunge.

Whether you are stimulated with excitement or you’re still learning to gracefully release with gratitude, I invite you to embrace that which lies ahead of you with enthusiasm and courage. Now’s the time to proceed with curiosity and wonder. Here’s to a new year, a new decade, and all of the unknowns that you’re sure to encounter.

Happy New Year! May 2020 bring you bountiful blessings beyond your wildest expectations.

And so, it begins

Fearless Friday: Do Not Shame Me

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Photo by Chris Parish

Do not shame me for talking too long with you at the bar. Just because I enjoy a good conversation does not mean I’m interested.

Do not shame me for dancing enthusiastically with my friends at the club. Just because I love to express myself doesn’t give you permission to dance up on me, or touch me inappropriately.

Do not shame me for expressing my emotions, calling me “too emotional” or “you’re overreacting” just because you’re too insecure and uncomfortable, and not in touch with your emotions.

Do not shame me for listening to my intuition. Do not call me “crazy”, when deep down I know that something isn’t right, that you’re cheating, that you’re pulling away.

Do not shame me for dressing up and feeling sexy. Do not shame me and cover me up because you cannot handle your sexual impulses.

Do not shame me for sending nude photos to my, then, boyfriend. You know who should be shamed? Him, for leaking the nudes.

Do not shame me for setting strict boundaries at work, stating I’m too difficult to work with because I won’t freely give my time and energy. Both my time and energy are precious resources, and I’m very discerning as to how I give them away.

Do not shame me for setting strict boundaries in my relationships. I’m selective of how and with whom I spend my time.

Do not shame me for standing up against my abuser, my assailant, the person who violated my trust, my boundaries, my safety. I will not be shamed into staying quiet and compliant; I won’t stay a victim any longer. My voice, my story will be heard!

Do not shame me because I chose my career over having a family. I am following my path, not yours.

Do not shame me because I chose a family over a career. I am following my path, not yours.

Do not shame me for putting happiness, wholeness and self-love above all else. I cannot give my talents and strengths if my “cup” is empty.

Do not shame me into becoming your salvation, your life raft, your caretaker. Just because you’re searching for completeness doesn’t mean I’ll allow you to become co-dependent.

I have a right to express myself, verbally, physically and emotionally. I have a right to body autonomy. I have a right to have my story, my voice, be heard. I have a right feel safe. I have a right to be loved, without expectations. I have a right to walk down the street, to be in a conversation, to be in any interaction where my body is not made mention, verbally, non-verbally or physically implied.

For all of this, I WILL NOT BE SHAMED.

 

 

Monday Motivation: Leaving; It’s Not Failing, It’s Knowing Your Worth

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Today’s post transports me back to a time when I was still living in Philadelphia, working in Camden, New Jersey as a special education teacher, hating my life, feeling stuck. I worked a job that had little regard for a work-life balance, working ten hour days, 50 hour work weeks and bi-weekly Saturday schools. I’d come home with little to no energy to take on any personal projects of my own. My. Soul. Felt. Empty.

It was a time when I was searching for something, anything, as a sign for what was next. I got that sign in the form of the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was the second and third pages of the Introduction that became my “sign”. Here Paulo writes about a personal calling  (what you were put on earth to do, igniting enthusiasm within you) and the obstacles that one has to face in order to achieve it.  But what really stood out to me was this:

“Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the later goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness…”

Upon reading this, I wept uncontrollably. I was living the bearable suffering, too scared to chase my personal calling. I felt my soul being eaten away by my job and by my place in the world. Bitterness had started to creep in.

I read that on a Sunday. By Thursday of that same week, I walked into my job and resigned. It was such a quick decision I hadn’t even called my mom for fear of her talking me out of it. After I had given my letter of resignation, I called her to state my plan.

My plan: I move home for two months, backpack Australia for a few months and then head off to Colorado to start a new life. As much as I was adamant about this plan (deep down I knew it needed to be done), somehow I felt like a failure. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a special ed teacher? Maybe I wasn’t good enough to be successful at that school? Maybe I wasn’t good enough to continue with the life I was living?

NOPE. N-O, shit naw. Wanna know what ACTUALLY happened?

I FINALLY FIGURED OUT MY WORTH!

I was worthy of so much more than what I was getting out of my job and my life back in Philadelphia. That was no longer my path and I sensed it. Kudos to me, because as Paulo stated in his introduction some people never figure it out.  And I’m so very thankful for the friends, family and my therapist at the time who helped me to remember my worth.

Two years after moving home for two months, backpacking Australia for four months and then moving to Colorado I can tell you I am that much closer to realizing my personal calling. I still have a few hurdles to jump, some decisions to make but I know it’ll be worth it AND that I AM WORTH IT.

So if you are living your life thinking that this current path just doesn’t feel right, but you think you’d be a failure for quitting, please know, please deeply understand and feel that you aren’t a failure. You’re coming to realize your worth. You’re starting to understand your path, your next steps in your journey, following your own personal legend.

Coelho ends the introduction of The Alchemist with this:

“But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become and instrument of God, you help the soul of the world, and you understand why you are here.”

 

Help the world by following your personal calling, by knowing your worth, by knowing when to walk away.

 

 

Jump and the Net Will Be Revealed

Let go of what does not serve you – Make room for what is still to come

 

Letting go easily has never been a strength of mine. Admittedly, anything I’ve ever let go had claw marks on it from holding on too tightly. I’ve lived most of my adult life heavily attaching myself to things, people, feelings and identities. In the event I did let go, the pain was so overwhelming that I would lose myself in the process.

In reality, things, people, feelings, they all come and go, in and out of our lives in different times. What I’ve come to realize is that no matter what the season, everything comes into our life for a reason. There are small lessons in every situation, but you need to have the awareness to acknowledge them. When their shelf life is through, they leave you,  hopefully, stronger and wiser than when they found you. Still, the toughest thing to do is to let go of the person, the feeling, the thing, that you desire to keep around. It takes grace to let them go willingly, without a struggle.

Desire and attachment are two things that stand in the way of my true happiness. Acquiring or holding on to what I value most takes up vital energy that could be better spent allowing myself to be present and enjoy the moment. I get so anxious over the stress of losing or attaining that I don’t value what I already have. It prevents me from putting my trust and faith in the universe that I have all that I need and that it will always support me.

I’ve recognized my inability to put trust and faith in the universe and have been working to correct these shortcomings. In the past few months, I have been mentally preparing myself to let go. I have already let go of a job that did not serve me and my greatest potential. I’ve let go of a great place to live, but one that I have outgrown emotionally and spiritually. And now I am letting go of the past, letting go of my life in Philadelphia and beginning a new chapter, starting with an adventure in Australia.

To me, my adventure in Australia is my ultimate experiment in letting go. To much of people’s dismay, when I talk about my plans for Australia, I very adamantly state, “My plan is to have no plan.” After that statement, I get confused looks, clarifying questions, and phrases like “God bless you!” or “you’re so brave!” I guess people tend to plan large trips like this, but ultimately, I think I get the most out of traveling when I am planning on the fly. Concrete plans are being sorted and figured out while I’m here in Australia. Jobs, living arrangements, friends, they all have come into my life when I needed them.

One day, while I was relaxing on the beach in Hawaii (my pre-adventure vacation), I started to feel a bit lonely on my own. I put my head down for 5 minutes and when I got back up, I took my camera out of my bag to shoot a few pictures, and the guy next to me started chatting with me about cameras. The next thing I knew we went out for drinks and dinner. It was one of the best dates I’ve ever had!

The first day I arrived in Australia, I was anxiously anticipating my new life and worrying about what could go wrong.  When I walked into my hostel room, I met a girl named Katie, and we became good friends over the few short days I stayed at the hostel. We walked around Cairns, partied and had lots of laughs along the way. After my hostel stay, I worked out a work exchange with a family living in Cairns. The husband and wife are travel agents who have helped me to book excursions during my stay in Cairns. They have even offered to keep in touch throughout my stay in Australia to help me book more side trips. Steve and I talk about politics every morning, and have chatted extensively about our adventures abroad. Maria is the nicest, caring mother who ensures I have clean clothes, and a well fed stomach each day. After the partying scene at the hostel, it was nice to come to a chill, relaxed, warm and welcoming home where I have my own room and a comfy bed.

Things have indeed worked themselves out nicely, and I hope that things will continue to work out in my favor. As someone I met on my travels told me, “Jump, and the net will be revealed.” Well, coming to Australia and leaving my old life behind was my “jump”, and the “net” is slowly being revealed as I continue on this adventure.