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Posts tagged ‘adventure’

Ill-Equipped

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It’s a funny thing.

The breaking of the shell that once encased a broken heart.

A shell that unveils a stronger, more resilient heart….person…life.

No longer protected by the bitterness and loathing of what occurred, you find yourself open and vulnerable to the elements of a life you’re ready to live.

With that comes some of life’s irritants; insecurity, doubt and apprehension.

Today, while sharing in these struggles of living fully, a dear friend stated something so poignant, moving and true.

She mentioned how someone told her how ill-equipped she was to be doing what she was, yet she was beyond successful and living a life by her terms. She didn’t meet the “prerequisites” of what usually must be done to reach that state of life, yet she was doing so at a level beyond most.

She told me that to ensure me that what I was doing and how I was living was more than enough.

She made me realize that I am ill-equipped for the norm. For the anticipated. For the path taken by most.

But it made me realize that I was equipped for the extraordinary. The unexpected. The path least taken.

With that comment, and my realization, I smile.

Smile as I stand bright-eyed and bushy-tailed towards all the elements that are bound to cross a soul wide-open to life’s experiences. A life that was never equipped for the anticipated. A life that proudly takes in the unknown.

And hell, I look forward to every second of it!

Faith

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When he died, my faith died.

Faith in a god, life, living…

There was only one thing I wanted to believe, that he’d come back home.

When that didn’t come to fruition, it was believing that life would end shortly thereafter.

It didn’t.

Nothing changed.

It wouldn’t change until I started believing.

Believing that I could survive. That I should survive.

Believing that inhaling and exhaling, at some point, would be a natural process that I didn’t pay attention to, mostly because there were too many times I wished I would have stopped doing both.

Faith became a silly word I loathed using.

I’ve always thought that faith was a belief in something bigger than one’s self.

I forgot that for a while.

But when the turning moment came for me to believe that I could survive….thrive after losing him, so came the moment that I realized a truth.

That I still had faith in our love.

It was bigger than us both.

It still is.

And now, 6.5 years later, that faith has allowed me to know, believe and trust in those things.

With one of the most important being the angels that have guided my way.

Sometimes it was a child smiling at me in line after a night of crying. Other times I know it’s been Michael with the synchronicity that could not be explained. There are even moments when I realize I am one for myself.

Sometimes it just takes us believing.

And with the belief comes the faith.

And with the faith comes a world possibility, in one that once seemed impossible.

And with that, an unveiling of a world or people, things and moments that make once unfathomable seconds, now worth it.

Faith never died. It never will.

Believe me.

“Everyone has an Angel. A Guardian who watches over us. We can’t know what form they’ll take. One day, old man. Next day, little girl. But don’t let appearances fool you, they can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet they’re not here to fight our battles, but to whisper from our heart. Reminding that it’s us. Its everyone of us who holds power over the world we create. You can deny angels exist, Convince ourselves they can’t be real. But they show up anyway, at strange places and at strange times. They can speak through any character we can imagine. They’ll shout through demons if they have to. Daring us, challenging us to fight.”

Load

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It was one day after the one year mark of losing him.

I was on a plane to Spain.

One backpack in tow. Two sets of clothes. Euros. Some photos. My feet.

225 miles to hike on unknown terrain that had no map, but seashells in the ground as markers or random arrows painted on tree trunks.

But before that  flight and the pilgrimage, came the preparation.

Let’s just say that I was not a hiker.

Let’s just say that going to REI was like walking into a baby nursery…I had no clue what the heck I was doing.

I improvised.

Used the knowledge of those that knew a bit more about backpacks, hiking boots and the best underwear to wash in a sink.

When packing, I tried to keep it to the minimum of all needed. Heck, I even was smart enough to not pack a warm jacket (said no one EVER).

From what I had read from past pilgrims, you’d end up with a lighter load by the time you’d reach Santiago (the destination).

It was the journey of a lifetime. A journey that kept me from any distractions (which had a way of being an escape from my harsh reality), and put me smack dab in a room with my thoughts and emotions as I hiked in silence 12 hours a day.

I had no preconceived notions on what the journey would consist of or do for my soul, and that ended up being my most valuable tool to carrying the load on my back and in my heart.

I came across those on the camino that came into it with different expectations.

They wanted to be healed. Cured.

They wanted it so bad that each hope for it all to disappear. was like throwing a rock into one’s pack.

It weighed them down.

Broke them down.

Until arriving to a place of anger and resentment for the journey that they expected to take their load off of them.

Never realizing that it was our duty to adjust our pack as nature and heart told us it was time or where to go.

The camino changed my life.

It changed my perspective on how to live in the now.

To know that everything you need will come at the right moment for your heart (not when your mind tells you it needs it).

By the end of my 20 days in Spain, the other pilgrims were correct.

I had less in my backpack.

I had dumped the unnecessary to see the true essentials, and without even realizing it,  done the same for my soul.

We’ll all take many journeys in our time and it’s our duty to create a load that we have unwavering faith that we can carry…because we can…we will…we just need not  anticipate what that load will bring us.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”-Lena Horne

Go

 

I’m a pretty laid back cat.

Put me in a room with great music, a cold beer and I’m set.

But that’s all external. Those are creature comforts.

When it comes to the internal….

The decisions I make that will determine my life at that current moment.

I’ve learned that the one thing you can’t be is laid back.

You must be vigilant.

A gladiator for your heart and all that it truly needs.

 

When it comes to living the life you deserve you can’t go with the flow.

You must stand for what you need.

What you deserve.

Where you’re challenged.

Where you learn.

Where your uncomfortable.

Where you’re at home.

Stand for what is uniquely you.

 

When it comes to your life, don’t go with the flow.

Go where you grow.

 

End of story. Beginning of beautiful reality.

Bucket List

 

“What else is on your bucket list?” the stranger asked me.

It was over a call in which I received the news that something Michael and I had planned to do, but never had the opportunity to, was coming to fruition.

I sat there. Thinking.

“What else is on my bucket?!”

If I were to refer to my list after Michael’s death and where my life is now, the answer was simple.

I had done nearly everything that we ever wanted to do together. Either while he was alive or after.

I found true love.

I found my passion.

I’ve been able to travel all over the world.

I’m able to get up and love what I do every day.

I have amazing family and friends that continue to push me to evolve and grow.

And now….I had the knowledge that one of the last activities we spoke about doing together was going to happen.

So as I sat there, contemplating my response,  it hit me, “I think that the one thing I had left on my bucket list, that I loathingly added in the very first months of Micheal’s death, was to actually want to live again….to not open my eyes each morning with apprehension…to not just feel the need to live for him, because he couldn’t, but to want to live for myself. That really was the biggest thing left on my ever-changing and expanding list…and I’ve done it. It’s checked off.”

Of course, I’d love to see and experience every thing this beautiful world has to offer, but at that moment, and at this moment, I have done more than I ever dreamed possible, loved more deeply than the deepest abyss, experienced more than I could have ever fathomed. There may be more in the future, for whatever length that is, but in the present, I can happily say that my original list has been (or will be by August), completed. My bucket list before his death.

And now, I’ve chosen to not create one for my life after his death. Not for fear of the unknown, but for bliss in the unknown…the unpredictable…the things that make life the amazing ride it has been. The bliss that has made every moment of everyday an unfolding bucket list I didn’t even know I wanted, but so happily check off.

India

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That is why we need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.

Don’t let yourself become one of these people. The fear of the unknown and the lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take. But if you take them, you will never regret your choice. To be sure, there will be moments of doubt when you stand alone on an empty road in an icy rain, or when you are ill with fever in a rented bed. But as the pains of the moment will come, so too they will fall away. In the end, you will be so much richer, so much stronger, so much clearer, so much happier, and so much better a person that all the risk and hardship will seem like nothing compared to the knowledge and wisdom you have gained.

-Kent Nerburn

I have returned from my “Once in a lifetime – Once a Year” trip.

With it being the 5 year anniversary of this tradition, I followed suit with the one I took 5 years ago (my pilgrimage across Spain on the Camino de Santiago), and ventured solo to India for a spiritual journey.

Last year I made the decision to go (which included breaking it upon my family by seeing if they noticed the Taj Mahal ornament on my tree), as everything had seemed to be pointing me to there.

On top of the signs, my deepening relationship with meditation, followed by my studies in Buddhism, I was ready to immerse myself in a world that could no less than enrich my heart and soul…

And that it did.

A shift took place.

Amidst the time at the local orphanage, the people, the letting go of control amongst the crazy streets of Bangalore, the hours of meditation chakra clearings and traditional yoga instructors, the amazing interactions and conversations from people all over the world that I have come to admire…a change took place.

The last night during dinner, I told my new-found soul friends that if a plane’s wings were to shift the tiniest bit it would change its whole course.

During my time in India, so many shifts took place within me. And ultimately, with the shifts, and the new course and direction that follows, will be a new destination….and undoubtedly, a better one than before I had arrived.

What I experienced was one of the most moving, inspiring and energetic places I’ve ever had the honor of placing my bare feet on the ground of.

And with that experience, the reaffirmation of the beauty in the unknown. The embracing of a thing called fear. The deep love for the uncomfortable. A change. A shift. A new direction. A more beautiful destination.