I want to talk about what my South America trip meant for me and why it was important to go. A lot of people thought I walked away from my life because I didn’t want to work, or that I was this erratic, free-spirit who just impulsively took a chance. However, one doesn’t dismantle six years of a life’s work in complete carelessness, despite how the decision may look to the world.
Deep within me sat the knowledge that I had built my life based upon the person that I had been six years ago. This person was uncertain, insecure, depressed, wounded and confused. She had some sense of self-worth, enough to leave negative circumstances in Chicago, but everything else, goals, dreams were covered in Fog; it’s no surprise that I ended up in a city known for it.
It took me six years to heal myself, in fact, I am still working on it. As I moved through jobs and apartments, I discovered Yoga, talked with friends and therapists, cried and forgave a lot.
I also learned what nourished my self-worth and happiness; what inspired me; where my boundaries sat and what kind of life I wanted to live.
However, transformation is not just one leap to the next. It’s a slow evolution that’s often painful and sacrificial. It’s a willingness to set life (or yourself) on fire, to let it burn and then to build up from the ashes. My trip was my pyre.
I had to let go everything to make space for what was to come next. I knew that without this space the cycles I was in would keep repeating themselves: apartment, job, relationship, job, apartment, relationship, and that these things would always fall apart because I wanted to be on a different cycle.
Of course, I wanted to have fun, but I also wanted to distance myself from everything to increase my own perspective on my country, culture and society. To understand the small dot that was myself in relation to the unfamiliar and challenging. I was reaching for challenges that I thought were constructive instead of letting them just come to me. To test my boundaries for growth – not just because I was rebelling against the structures that I had built for myself or running away.
Now I am sitting here, in a Studio in beautiful Boulder, CO, enjoying my own space. I have taken on a project that I believe in and often times I cannot believe that what I’m actually doing is called work. This opportunity came to me because I started to move away from situations that did not align with what I truly want to do with my life, and because I am not frantically scrambling or searching for some safety net to cocoon a potential fall.
In the past month, I have gone snow-mobiling, snow-shoe hiking, met a Zen Buddhist Priest and climbed another mountain. All these activities were pursued because of what my travels brought me, which was a constant practice of constructive challenge. A way to keep life interesting with growth.
The situation I am in is temporary, and I have a responsibility to myself to begin planning my next move. But I am allowing that move to unfold with patience. I’m not letting other people pressure me with all of their, “Shoulds.”
I don’t have all the answers, though I am confident that I can look within myself to hear where my heart is leading me. That is what South America gave me to me, as I knew it would.