If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. ~Albert Einstein
I've always felt a weird relationship to dying. I'm not afraid of death, but I feel like I'm certainly not ready for the ultimate. That being said, I truly appreciate the ability to reinvent who I am and who I want to be. Remember the too often high school year book comments that noted "Have a great summer and don't ever change." That's bullshit in my mind. If you aren't changing, you aren't learning, or growing, or allowing yourself to mature. Our culture's fanaticism around looking young and not aging comes from not wanting, or rather not accepting, change. Change is truly the only constant and what happens when you resist what's inevitably going to happen? You get stuck. Complacent. And ultimately your relationship to life eventually dies. That is, until you pull your head out of your stubborn ways and you evolve!
My tendency to embrace change every seven years, since 2002, has impacted my life so drastically...and here I am again, learning once more how to let growth happen. Giving change the wheel and allowing it to steer me in a direction that brings anything but stagnation and indifference my way. Each time I move into a new iteration of my life, I carry with me all the previous iterations, however this time I get to consciously choose to leave behind the parts and pieces that don't fit anymore. Kind of like spring cleaning your closet and purging the clothes that you've had since you were in your early twenties. This choice is what gives me permission to thrive, more than I could have ever imagined.
In 2002, I made the choice to do something that no one in my family had ever done before, and I believe this decision is what set me out on the path of self-actualization that I'm on now. I decided to study abroad during my junior year of college. This is a journey that thousands of students embark on annually, but to me it was changing a pattern. A pattern that would have kept me in a cozy box of comfort, otherwise known as my "security box." To my mother's chagrin, I set out to explore fifteen countries in seven months. I learned about beautiful cultures, romantic languages, how to travel without being a tourist (a huge passion of mine), authentically prepared foods, drinkable...and not so drinkable wine, and what choices took me out of my comfort zone. I connected with friends that started to open my eyes to the world I wanted to be a part of. We would not only explore cities and countries, but would adventure deeply through what we wanted in this wonderful life of ours. Years later some of it has even come true! Can you believe that?!
Between 2002 and 2009, I had to test out what I truly wanted, in pretty much all aspects of my life: relationships, career, physical exercise, and even a sprinkle of spirituality. Lots of pain and anguish came about in these years. Struggle to the point of confusion and hurt. These were the years that I resisted change. I fell into outdated patterns that were generations old without ever realizing that that is what I had fallen into. I move towards what I had always known, security, rather than to challenge it. I got married at 23, bought a house with a white fence, owned a luxury SUV, a big rhinoceros of a dog, went on a few week long vacations per year, worked at Microsoft and had enough disposable income to last longer than would ever be needed.This life in my "security box" didn't fulfill me. To no one's fault other than my own. I needed to test the waters so that when I did change the cycle, I would have a baseline of experience to build my new foundation upon. All of this insight wasn't apparent at the time, of course, but 20/20 hindsight is a beautifully transparent thing.
Seven years ago, in 2009, I truly began to accept change as a form of living death. Death of an old me. Old ways. Old thoughts. I started to think outside the "security box" and again envision what a life full of beauty, love and choice could potentially look like. I left my marriage, mortgage, and corporate career in the same week. A sudden death of all that I knew. But the expansion that would follow was exponentially larger than I could have ever imagined. This is what it felt like to accept change and allow myself to mature. Yes please! I'll take more. :) I began teaching yoga, sharing my love of movement, lived on my own for the first time ever, and made friends who assisted...and challenged...who I was inventing myself to be. I discovered my love of guiding, coaching, and supporting others and their choice to fall in love with their lives. I fell in love, so whole-heartedly, in a way that creates expansion and opening on a daily basis. In this iteration of who I am, I have chosen love over security. And damn it feels fine!
Now, seven years after originally accepting change, I'm in its wake again. In two weeks, my sweetie and I are moving out of our home in the center of Seattle's Capitol Hill, to a suburb of Seattle, where driving, not walking, is the norm. Where the noise pollution are thousands of frogs, and not ambulance sirens. Where we have space to feel safe and create, grow a garden and feel nourished, where we can gather with friends and dance to the beauty that is in our lives. When we move, I have chosen to stop teaching yoga regularly. My identity as a yoga teacher had started to give me a level of comfort that I recognized all too well; one that ends in resentment, complacency, and security. This decision has opened up new doors, quite literally, so that I can still share my knowledge and expertise, but now in ways I never imagined before. I am opening my own mindfulness studio in our home, where I will welcome you into a space of physical comfort that will encourage expansion, love and transformation. What a dream that I never knew I had! This move has already begun to facilitate a change of identity, physical and mental space, and brought me to a feeling that I am exactly where I belong!
Who knows where the next seven years will take me, but I do know that I'm going to continue to challenge the norm, think outside the "security box" and give myself permission to change.
I am on the journey to create joy and live with full happiness. And my wish for you is to do the same!
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