I have been heavily focused the last two or three weeks on more doing and less over thinking. More action. More one foot in front of the other, regardless. I think so many limits are self imposed and I am trying to live my biggest and brightest life, believing things are possible. Shit happens. Things are hard. Things are great. Things are a roller coaster and do not always turn out how we want them to. But this doesn’t have to paralyze us from moving forward.
Here are a few lessons I have learned this year:
1. Take care of yourself
I have been a huge believer of this ever since graduate school and realized the pure necessity of taking care of yourself so that you can be a valuable resource to the world. I have learned to embrace the fact that this has meant different things in different seasons of life. A few things I always know to be true for myself: I need exercise, good gluten free food, sleep, and deep connections within my community to feel whole and right in this world. Those things do not waver for me. Figure out what you need to be a whole human being and fight for it. It takes work and self-discipline, but find your non-negotiables and stick with them.
About five or six years ago, I stepped into a regular practice of yoga several times a week. It was the self-care that I oh so desperately needed at that time in my life. It was my way to be centered and present in the world. It was a constant reminder that my practice on the mat can be taken off the mat and transform my world. And it did and continues to in gigantic ways.
I stopped doing yoga last year in terms of a regular practice that I had been doing for years. Instead I decided what I needed was to invest my time and money into therapy. Being a big believer in therapy, having a Masters in Counseling, I had taken a much needed break from therapy in my life. However, things had gotten to a point that I knew I wanted to work through some boundaries in relationships and do the deeper internal work I was craving. It was the safe space I needed to explore my move to Korea and trust that I knew I was making the right decision for me. It proved to be exactly what I needed.
2. make changes if you are unhappy
We have a lot more power than we believe and we need to start living into it. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of small dreams. I want huge, massive dreams. As a kid, I never had dreams. I never had any aspirations of what I wanted to really do or be, except to help people. Don’t get me wrong, I was a very hard working, smart, and driven kid and was good at most things. But I grew up in a chaotic environment. I was simply trying to survive each day. Lately, I have been working on tapping into big, childlike dreams. What did you love to do as a kid? I think wisdom can start there.
At the end of 2016, I decided to quit my job and pursue different dreams. I was happy enough, but knew that I wanted more and different. The stability of a great paycheck every two weeks was not what I was craving. I had worked side jobs, saved money, and bought a rental property to set myself up financially. I knew that I knew I would be fine financially. I know I always will be. Not because I am above money struggles, but because I know I will do what it takes when I have to. I’m also ridiculously responsible and nerdy when it comes to money. Anyone who knows me well, knows this. I’m the girl that asked for a 401k for my 21st birthday. Yep. Damn proud of myself for that one.
The night I quit my job last year, I was sitting at my board meeting turning in my resignation and I was anxious, yet strangely at peace. I had tapped out in my ability to grow at the current nonprofit I was running and did not like who I was becoming being there anymore as a result of many different things that had occurred. I had prepared all my documents for a succession plan. I am always prepared and this night was no different. I broke the news and we immediately jumped into my documents. A few minutes in, a board member stopped me and asked if he could ask what I were doing and what my plans were. I remember saying something along the lines of “I don’t have a plan, but I have a plane ticket to Brazil. I am going to go travel.” What he said next to me is something I appreciated more than he probably knows. He said “Carrie, that is a plan.” What a gift that was to me and still is. He knew and knows I will be fine.
I needed a change and that initially was quitting my job and traveling to South America. It later turned into my new life here in Korea. In between though, I had time, which was exactly what I needed. Mini-retirements, if you will, are what I was seeking and what I really needed. I tried all kinds of studios and workouts around Denver. I invested in lots of therapy. I traveled. I rested a lot both emotionally and physically. I ate lots of amazing gluten free food in Denver. I drank lots of wine in my hammock. I laughed, I cried, and I spent time with those closest to me in Denver. It was a very hard and beautiful season that I am grateful I had.
If you are scared to take the leap, I see you. It is hard. The unknown is ridiculously frightening. Yet each and every day we have the huge unknown which is will we get another day on this beautiful planet? Start pressing into your fears and figuring out how you can make the world around you a better and brighter place. Will you take the leap, whatever that looks like for you? We need the best version of you!
3. embrace your journey – it’s yours and no one else’s
Be different. Be conventional. But be YOU. Listen to your inner voice and don’t waiver on what you want. I spent way too long not knowing or deciding what I wanted. I felt like life was happening TO me. And that is the biggest bunch of bullshit that I have ever been taught. We are active participants in our lives and we need to start acting like it! Playing the victim is easy. But it’s also super ugly to be around. Own your shit. Go to therapy. Go to yoga. Live your dreams. Be bigger, brighter, bolder. As Howard Thurman says,
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
I believe too many people make decisions out of fear. Fear of the what ifs. I refuse to live out of the what ifs. I want to live boldly and graciously and take risks while I can. Those I admire most in this world are those that are vulnerable, take risks, have discipline, and wear their hearts on their sleeves. They are the people that explore the depths with you. They cry with you, laugh with you, challenge your norms, and encourage you to be more of yourself. These are my people.
I want to be a person that does not project my agenda onto others. The act of active listening is one of the hardest practices, especially in our ever busy society that keeps telling us to do more and be more. I want to listen more. To let go of my questions and truly hear the person in front of me. To turn off my phone when someone needs me and be with them. I find this is sadly so rare in this day in age. The amount of times I see friends from out of town or have conversations over coffee and they cannot be present, is astounding. We owe each other the gift of presence. It is truly life giving and healing.
How can you live more into who you are? How can you silence the voices of the pessimists in your life? You are made for something great! You are strong and resilient and worth investing in! Reach out and let me know how I can help you live more authentically into who you are.