A question I often get is “How did you do it?” "It" meaning, leave my traditional job and lifestyle and create the life I want. While there are many details to my journey, there were several essential elements that I had to pull together to keep me going. Without these in place, I would not be where I am today. They are:
Support was absolutely invaluable. At times on my journey, I felt all alone and trapped in an an inescapable black hole. I had to seek out and create the support I needed. I sought out emotional support from friends, counselors and women’s groups. So many of my obstacles in moving towards what I wanted were fears and beliefs that I couldn’t face alone. I needed their help in shifting my perspective and seeing the truth. I sought out business support from coaches and mentors to keep me moving forward. They helped me get creative about how I could organize my life uniquely to fit my values and needs and the tools to actually do it.
Flow is the beautiful, creative force that led me to do things without knowing why. It’s part of the exploration. It led me to try all sorts things I’d never thought of before. I hadn’t planned it, but I followed my heart down to Peru, year after year. I couldn’t explain it, I just had to do it. My flow was about finding what I really wanted to do, what did my heart want, not doing what I think I “should” do. In order to tap into my creative flow, I had to give it time and space to unfold. I took time alone away from my normal responsibilities, through traveling, spending time in nature and meditating. I became comfortable with allowing ideas to come through, no matter how far fetched they seemed. I allowed emotions to arise, even the painful ones I’d been avoiding. I started paying attention, and I would journal what would come up, without any judgement. Flow also meant being flexible. I couldn’t be rigid or upset when a change in plans came up. I learned more flexibility through my travels, when I couldn’t always count on things going my way.
Structure was having a plan, an itinerary, for my journey and vision. Structure kept the flow and creativity in check. It provided the framework to keep moving forward, and kept me taking action. I had to learn to schedule activities that nourished, stimulated and grounded me. I also had to learn to schedule time to take action on my vision and a contingency plan for when I was blocked (how to reach out for support). I had to learn to loosen my grip on structure and not be too attached. While at times, I needed to allow myself to be completely swept up in flow, I always returned to structure. It was something to hold onto and keep me anchored in my mission. I discovered the delicate balance between structure and flow and how the balance could best serve me and my vision.
4. A Desire to Know myself
Learning who I am is an ever constant exploration. So many points in my journey, I thought “This is it! I know myself! Now I can figure out what to do with my life!" And I did know myself at that moment. But I learned that I will keep uncovering new parts of myself everyday for the rest of my life. To me, that’s incredibly exciting. The explorer in me eagerly awaits to see what each day will bring. To be really comfortable with this, I had to spend time practicing accepting and appreciating the parts of myself that I don’t like. I used to feel shame and want to hide from parts of myself. Avoiding these parts often stopped me from moving on and stepping into my vision. Now I’m able to see the them, be compassionate,learn from them and then move forward.
I’m lucky enough to live in San Francisco where I am able to surround myself with amazing people. In addition to my close friends, I participate in activities where there are people I admire. Everywhere I go, I seek out classes and events where there are people that I resonate with. From yoga to dance, to counseling to business coaching, I learn from the other people there. In many of these events, we share what we’re learning about who we are, what are our challenges as well as our dreams and visions. People have their own unique strengths and ways of being in the world and these seep into my consciousness, teaching me even if I don’t have a close relationship with them. I leave feeling inspired and nourished, rather than drained.
It’s worth mentioning that it took me a while to pull these things together. They didn’t appear overnight. And there was a lot of trial and error to find what worked for me. Now, I have these as a solid foundation from which I can confidently move towards any of my future visions.
Protectress of Mother Earth, Energy Healing, Plant Medicine Integration, Coach, Writer