A few weeks ago, I was at a bar (I know what you’re thinking…”oh boy, this isn’t going to end well”…hear me out). A guy came up to me, and we exchanged small talk. He asked for my name, where I was from, and what I do for work. Then, he asked, “what is your dream?” I was befuddled. I began looking around and pondering. It transported me back to growing up and finding a stray eyelash, squinting my eyes closed, and granting a wish. I would usually wish for the same ole thing- a boyfriend, to lose weight, or healing for my mom. But standing here at the bar, I did not know my dream. Not because I lack for ambition or sit dormant and complacent, but because I realized I am, in fact, living my dream. Here is exactly where I am, where I want to be, and where I need to be. No other reality exists.
So, how did I get here? How did I get to a point where I began living my dream?
- HELL YEAH!
- SHOW UP
It’s hard to ask for help; it requires vulnerability. It prompts you to value yourself in a way that is countercultural. Surrendering control and asking for support is stigmatized as weak and as a desperate last resort.
Help is recruiting an outside person who is reputable, knowledgable, and experienced as an access to an alternate perspective on your circumstance. Help can look like seeking out counseling or a doctor, sending a text to a friend or mentor to meet for coffee, apologizing to a parent, or signing up for office hours. Help, also, does not need to be a “Hail Mary” last-ditch effort. Help can be sought after at any stage.
Asking for help is the momentum for growth. Going solo and sorting through the muck of life alone can be tiresome and feel like walking through thick molasses. Getting help is the breath of free air that brings back fluidity and movement into the otherwise stuck nature of circumstance.
Listen to your intuition. Somewhere along the way of being constantly bombarded with “should”s and expectation and tiring to make my mind and body resemble what is “normal”, I lost that little voice inside of me that lead me to my heart’s deepest desires. In yoga, they allude to this place as our soul, the thumbprint at the bottom of our heart- unique, inherent, and unchanging.
Intuition is always speaking. Once I began listening and as I continue to tune into it more, it is more clear and loud than ever before. Listening to my intuition began by ordering at restaurants.
I used to be terrified to go to a restaurant without preemptively looking at the menu online and deciding what is the most “healthy”. Deep down, I did not trust myself to want what was good for me. So, I did not allow myself to choose intuitively; rather, I chose from a place of intellect, which I felt more comfortable trusting. Intuition felt unstable and dynamic, whereas intellect felt concrete. Feelings could be overwhelmingly unpleasant, whereas calories were always going to be calories.
So, I actively chose to sit with myself at a restaurant and decide what I want. EUREKA! It was the coolest feeling. Sometimes what I wanted actually was the healthiest option, because I am a sucker for a crunchy, leafy salad. Other times, I ordered the “wrong” thing. I got messy. I stuck with it. I listened inward and had fun.
Restaurants is where it began. Then, I applied this idea to exercise- deciding when I woke up in the morning if I would go for a run or sleep an extra hour. I applied this to traveling- having a more flexible itinerary so I could go kayaking in Halong Bay with my newfound backpacker friends an extra day instead of bolting off to the Sa Pa mountains on a motorbike for a hike.
I didn’t always “get it right”, but the more I listened, the more I got to know myself and my needs. This is how I was able to get my menstrual cycle back after 10 years on hormonal birth control, one year with an IUD, and 5 years of no period. This is how I was able to move across the world to a new country knowing no one.
How would you act if you knew that in 4 weeks, you would be living your dream? Live like that. Unattached, unbothered.
Showing up reinstates your inherent value. It is like shouting from the rooftops that you belong and are here to take up space.
When I moved to Australia, I had to show up. It was like a survival instinct. I knew that if I wanted to really flourish here, I was going to have to make things happen for myself. So, I began showing up in areas that I wanted to create. I showed up to move in with a family as an Au Pair, but had only met them once through a Facebook group. This was part of fervently trusting my intuition. I showed up at a volunteer organization that supported woman refugees and asking for a job. I showed up at a yoga studio and didn’t take “no” for an answer; now, I am in the process of becoming a teacher. I showed up in my dating relationship and now have the most amazing partner who empowers me and loves me beyond my wildest dreams.
Because when you show up, the world shows up for you.
Lists are my kryptonite. I make them every day, probably 5 per day. The subtle art of crossing off an item or ticking a box is addictive. It can also be extremely overwhelming looking at a long to-do list. Recently, I have started making note of my wins. So, rather than focusing on all of the things I have NOT done, I can emphasize and acknowledge myself for my progress and success.
Wins, whether small or big, can be a sign that movement is happening. It is a reminder that you aren’t as stuck as you may feel. The opposite is always equally present- when you feel sad, there is an opportunity to acknowledge what happiness may feel like. In that acknowledgement, there is an attractive energy that begins to manifest those feelings. The same can be true of anger and gratitude, fear and hope, stress and peace, love and dispassion.
That’s it…for now
I don’t have it all figured out. In fact, I feel like a baby in terms of growth. But every step feels like a step forward. Here is another step.