“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Let’s start today with confessional: Just two months ago, I thought I had it all figured out. I had quite my corporate job in favor of spending time exploring the world for seven months. I was going to get rid of most of my belongings, surrender my apartment, and go to India to explore the culture and spirituality.
I had followed all the signs the universe had put in front of me:
- When I first felt called to India, to the Oneness University, I knew it was for an extended period of time, multiple months in fact. However, their classes only lasted a handful of weeks. Later, I found out the University had just introduced a program where your stay could last as long as you wanted. I was accepted into this program within 24 hours.
- My passport showed up in my mailbox the morning after I had asked for a sign that I was following the right path, even though the online tracking system stated the paperwork was still being processed.
- My visa had been processed in less than a week, contrary to being told that I should expect it to take no less than four weeks.
- The first person who came to look at my car bought it after a 2-minute test drive and no attempt to negotiate a lower asking price.
Everything had been falling perfectly into place, a clear indication to me that I was following the right path.
Three days before I was supposed to get on a plane, nothing was working with me. Emotionally, I was hit hard by the intensity of purging all my items. It wasn’t about the items themselves, but about the security that I felt being able to have an apartment full of “things”. It was paralyzing and made effective packing nearly impossible.
Logistically, I had spent 4 hours in a cell phone store, attempting to transfer my service for cheaper international rates. Which made me late for my final car sale (and I had lost the time I had to clean out my car before I handed it over). ALL the clothes I had ordered specially for India, which was now my entire wardrobe, failed to be delivered by the promised date and I was leaving for the airport in hours.
And, to bring everything all together, when I arrived at the airline check-in, I was denied board onto the plane due to their regulations on traveling to India.
That moment when you realize that you definitely don’t have a clue about what life is all about hits you right in the heart. I was devastated, confused, angry, and a whole bunch of other crabby adjectives that I won’t mention here.
What followed were a slew of negative emotional spirals within myself and judgments from the external world. This went on for a couple of weeks before epiphany hit me.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
– John Lennon
I didn’t understand why, but I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be even though it didn’t look anything like I had imagined or had been planning for. I was still doing exactly what I had set out to do: work on myself and start a new chapter in my life. Sure, I thought that this new chapter was going to start with me on a 20-hour flight. However, I couldn’t have gotten better fresh start than having to completely rebuild myself.
I didn’t have a job, so what did I really want to do with my time? Where did I feel my heart calling me to?
I didn’t have an apartment, so where did I really want to live?
I didn’t go to India, so did I really want to go to India?
Life has a tendency to lead us in a direction that we eventually convince ourselves that we see clearly. It’s human nature to start anticipating the next step. That’s when we get ourselves into a predicament.
I have a hard time identifying when I started anticipating versus feeling, but, I do know that this all happened exactly as it needed to. The only way I was going to leave my comfy (and stagnate) life was to plan for something big, something that was important and was chalk full of meaning.
And now, I get to rebuild my life without any barriers. I have a clean slate. It’s not easy and definitely not always pretty. I’ve had many freak out moments and countless times I was second guessing myself. But, in traveling through these darker parts of myself, I got to know exactly what it is I want.
To you, my reader, I hope for you the same opportunity. Don’t wait for the right time or for permission. Follow and honor your heart without fail. It already knows what’s going to make you happiest and exactly what you want. Find the courage to listen and the strength to act.
“[…]the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity, is daring to dare.”
India update: The trip has been rescheduled for October-December. Absurdly cheap plane tickets have been bought. And something feels really good about it, but I can’t quite put my finger on it just yet.