Friday, January 30, 2015

I Need to Try // Fail More

I've known for a while that I have a fear of realizing my full potential/best self. It's something I've become truly aware of (and accept in order to overcome) in the last year, and have continued to explore and wonder about since. And up until a couple weeks ago, I thought that's as far as it went -- a fear of realizing my full potential, and finding out that maybe, it's not what I want it be. But it was short-sided and egotistical to think it was only that. To take it to an even deeper and further level, to the root of it all, I now realize that the real fear is in the act of trying, and discovering that perhaps I'm not enough -- good enough, smart enough, capable enough, or any of the amazing things I imagine I can be and do -- it's in the possibility of failure that my fear is found.

When I want something, I want it with a fierceness that can be surprising. When I put my mind to making something happen, I put all my energy into it, and give it everything I've got. So I suppose it's only natural to have a fear of trying for something I really want (ie. Being my best self or accomplishing everything that God has in mind for me, becoming a writer, making a living inspiring others, etc), and falling short. Or wanting something so much, and not attaining it.

I'll admit, I've been very blessed in life. I have grown up with a sense that anything I want, I can and will get. Not because that's how my parents treated my sister or I, but because I was always very active about making sure I got what I wanted. I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I have access to a fairly conniving mind, one I've taken advantage of on certain occasions. I would do what it took to get the result I wanted, to obtain what had caught my eye. But over the years, I've become more relaxed, less competitive, and through my maturing process, have lost a little bit of my fierceness and gaming way. The unexpected result of which is fear.

This fear has also become widely apparent in my life in relation to falling. I get incredibly nervous when I have to jump from a very short distance, because the probability of falling, I think, is very high. I always thought I had a fear of heights, but in reality, it's not the height that scares me, it's the chance of falling... of dying. This one is especially strange to me, because how many times have I fallen on my head while trying to do a handstand? How many times have I been hurt and survived? There are so many things I'd like to try, but am so scared of doing, because falling tends to be a big part of them.

So what's the source of these fears? 
Where is it all stemming from? 
And what's more, how can I overcome them?

These questions have been playing through me like a broken record on-and-off for the last months. I've overcome certain culturally-embedded fears by just saying a big "screw you" to it all and going for it (like moving to a foreign country by myself, hitchhiking, and other travel-related things), but there is a surmounting fear that keeps stopping me from doing and trying many things I'd really like to try, such as adventure sports and certain business ventures.

And then, a couple weeks ago, the answer came back to me:

I need to try more things, and make more mistakes in life. By screwing up, it makes me able to overcome my fears of not being _____ enough, of falling down, and, it also makes it easier for me to relate to more people and show sympathy in more situations.

For example: as a teacher, how many times have I made twice the amount of copies I needed for an activity, because I forgot it was a pair work activity, and just one copy was needed for each pair? More than I should have. So, when a coworker made the same mistake, instead of my thoughts going to "How wasteful can she be?" they directly turned into a vocalization of, "It happens," that was drenched in understanding instead of judgement. (Kind of a strange example, but it's the one that laid this all out to me the clearest at the time I wrote this down.)

There is a stronghold within my family of trying to be perfect. It's ludicrous, because, so long as we're human, which we are so long as we're inhabiting the Earth, is an impossibility. There is no one on the face of the planet, in any of the spheres who is perfect, aside from Christ. So why do we strive to be so, and be so hard on ourselves when we fall short?

I didn't write this post to try and solve the problem within it as I sometimes do, but mostly just to get it out there and share some of my "struggle" with you all. If you've got any ideas, I'd love to hear them! I'm currently doing some deep digging and exploring into my childhood and family ways to try and assess how/where these fears started. And, if you want to go sky diving with me, let me know! I figure one of the best ways to get over a fear of falling is by jumping (or being forced out, in my case) of an airplane! ;)

Hope that you're all having some good moments of introspection, and figuring out any strongholds and fears that are preventing you from maximizing your Earth Time! Sending my love and support to you, and wishing you an incredible week, full of positivity and growth!

Blessings, Love & Light from above

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Two Years To Now

Exactly two years and two weeks have passed since I boarded a one-way flight and stepped off it and onto Spanish terrain. So much has happened to me, in me, and through me in the last two years, that as I sit here looking at one-way flights back to California, I am taken by sadness.

The last two years have meant a break-up, my first heartbreak, my first major road trip, my first really long solo backpacking trip, overcoming the fear of hitchhiking, the learning of a new language, visiting five new countries and counting, sharing time with people in over 30 cities, living in three new cities and on an island, kayaking 136 kilometers around another island, making friends in over 15 countries, deep conversations with countless strangers, and an abundance of insight shared, gained, and explored. They have meant being away from the country I called home for nearly my entire life, and separating myself from my friends and family. It required leaving behind everything familiar, to move into a place where I couldn't understand what was being said around me, or communicate what was inside me to anyone that was around. And they have proved to be more valuable than any other period of years I likely have lived till now. So how can I sit here, looking at flights, knowing that whichever one I choose will be the "The End" written at the end of this particular story? I keep trying to rationalize buying a flight that leaves just a few days later, but the reality of it is: this chapter is coming to a close. And while I prefer to think of the "The End" as a "To Be Continued," I know that this particular adventure will soon come to its close.

Spain has been so good to me for so many reasons, too many to even grasp. This country will always be where my love affair with life abroad and my dedication to a life of travel started. When I came here, wide-eyed and unknowing, expecting to eat burritos, tacos, and enchiladas everyday back in 2009, I couldn't have ever known it'd be a place I'd come back to and inhabit for over two-plus years more. (Yes, I really did think that I would be eating Mexican food all the time... in Spain. Just a glimpse at how high my level of global awareness was prior to life abroad the first time. O_o) And I couldn't be more grateful now, as I sit here in a traditional Spanish town, writing these words, that this is the journey I've been blessed enough to take.

I still remember saying goodbye to my friends in Las Arenas (Getxo, Bilbao, Northern Spain) back in 2010, as I got ready to go home, gather my bags, and make the journey back to California the first time. I was crying so much, because I was so sad to be leaving the single-most impacting experience of my life behind. Deep down, I knew I'd be back, but it just seemed so impossible and far away at the time, I couldn't see it as a reality that would ever happen. Then, in 2012, sitting in my cubicle at Disney/ABC, looking at pictures of faraway places, internally screaming to be there; wondering how I could be sacrificing my soul in a cube among countless others, when what I really wanted was to leave it all behind and just go, anywhere. I distinctly remember bawling my eyes out at the airport the day my dad dropped me off to catch my flight over here in 2013. As the plane was taking off, I had to use everything in me to suppress the urge to shout for them to stop the plane and let me out. I was terrified, I had no idea what was about to happen to me/in my life, and I was so sure that not only could I not do whatever it was I was about to do, but that I flat-out had no idea what I was even thinking with any of it, or trying to do. Then I remembered: this isn't a roller coaster, per say. ;-) And I will always remember the moment that my feelings shifted from, "HOLY FLYING F WHAT AM I THINKING!?!?!" to "This is the plane that's going to take me back to Spain. I did it. I actually did it.. I'm going back. Oh My Gosh, I'm going back! I'm going back to Spain!!!!" All such powerful memories, and there have been so, so many added ones along the way.

When I was deciding whether or not to accept my placement and come to Spain, I cried every day for a week. I had no idea what to do, but even now to write it, I know it's a lie. I knew I was going to come to Spain the second I saw the word "accepted" in the email. And that's why I was really crying. I was crying for the love I was sure to lose, the friends I wasn't going to see, and perhaps also lose due to distance, time apart, and differences, the family I wouldn't be able to be with and participate in, and everything else. I was crying because I was scared, doubtful, and so unsure if going was the right thing to do. But now, time has proved what we all already knew: I had to come. I was meant to return. My wings have spread so far, and this is only the beginning.

Where once I was dreaming of wearing tight pencil skirts and heels as I walked to my corner office after parking my BWM, I now dream of Asia and a backpack, being dirty, unbathed, and unsure of where I'm going to sleep or wake up the next week. Instead of being consumed with the "need" to consume, I'm consumed with the need to travel, learn, grow, see, do, and help others. And in place of insecurity, complacency, and uncertainty, there are confidence, trust, faith in Christ that cannot be reconsidered, and strength. I might have come over here thinking it would shed some light on what I'm supposed to do with the rest of my life, while giving me a chance to travel and put off that Career Reality for a while, but instead, it's just shown me that there's so much more world to see, and I can't even begin to think of a career till I've seen it all! (Although I have received some clarity on what I want to dedicate my life to doing, so in a way, Mission Accomplished!) My next destination may be home, but that certainly doesn't mean the end of the adventure!

So, I'll see you soon, Cali, but in the meantime, I've got a lot of Spain left to explore! I'll do my best to bring you guys along on the adventure, but sometimes I get really caught up in The Now. With that said, bring on the travel! Bring on the adventure! And bring on the memories!

Our lives are never going to stop providing us with opportunities. Opportunities to grow, to change, to adapt, to explore, to conquer fear, to demolish strongholds, and to accomplish the life that feels right. I beg of you, don't remain where you aren't if you don't feel fulfilled. I know it can seem like there are nothing but closed doors surrounding you, but I promise, there are even more open windows! And when you silence your fear, tell your Ego to back off, and just let your heart and soul guide you, the way out will appear, it always does. Those ladders will make themselves known. Trust yourself, trust God, just trust, and let it happen. It might take time, it might not happen how you think it should/will, but there's so much going on on other levels, so don't worry about it. We have one chance to be alive, don't waste it being unhappy and unsatisfied. There is so much out there waiting for you, sometimes you just gotta make the first move!

I love you so, so much brothers and sisters of mine. God has put us all here together, at this time, in this place, and I am so grateful to be able to share the sphere with you. This little dot, swirling around in space, is our home, and I'm happy to be living with you, dancing around in the Milky Way all day.

We think you're magical, wonderful, and often more important, capable. I hope you believe it, and believe in yourself, as well.

Have an amazing weekend loves, do something that makes you smile, and share that radiant glow everywhere you go!

Blessings, Love & Light 
from above 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Natural Reaction

The first thing I shall say is,

Happy New Year, World!!!!

I know that I'm about 22 days late on that one, but this is my first post of the new year, and as such, shall be treated as if it were written on an earlier date. I really hope that you have had a wonderful new year so far, and that you, as I, have come to realize that 2015 is a year to teach us. This year is going to be such a great teacher to us all. It holds an incredible amount of lessons, and I firmly believe, if we can pursue them all, surviving with a smile, the rewards will be mind-blowing. 

God has already showed me that the theme of this year for me is patience, loving in the now, seeing and Being the positive in the now, and mostly, staying put -- overcoming all in the present through positivity. There have been so many opportunities to practice and apply these habits already, and I do not anticipate them stopping anytime soon! Which, while it will be fairly trying, as it will test my mental strength and habitual tendencies, is going to be such a long-term aid in my life. 

For example, I spent the past weekend in the Netherlands, and got back to Sevilla at 23:35 on Monday night. There was no bus or blablacar to get me back to Ecija, so I arranged for one at 7:00 the next morning. I was meant to start work at 8:15, and would have had ample time to drop my pack at home and get to class. I woke at 6:00, got my things together, and headed out to catch a bus to where I was supposed to meet my ride. I got to the stop, and after waiting a few moments, decided to download the bus app so I could see how long till the bus would arrive. (Time was imperative in this situation if I wanted to get to work on time.) It said the next one wasn't going to come for another 39 minutes, too long. So I started looking into other buses I could take, and after waiting another 5 minutes or so, started to walk to a different place where more buses stop. But as I was walking away, I decided to look once more at the app, and saw my bus was going to be there in 12 minutes. That I could allow. And as I was turning around to walk back to the stop, I saw two buses approaching it. The first one, Bus 1, the bus I'd been waiting for.

I started running as fast as I could towards the stop, partially in the road, waving my arms frantically so they would see me and stop, which they normally do. Well, this mister was having none of that, and drove on, eyes straight ahead on the road. I couldn't believe it! I let out a cry and shout, and felt a mixture of defeated and falseness in my reaction, which surprised me. While I was having a typical kind of reaction to the situation, inside I could tell it wasn't really what I wanted to be doing. It was almost like I was trying to force myself to cry, because it seemed like what I should have been doing, but the usual slew of frustrated and self-degrading thoughts and words were absent. Instead, I felt a stronger urge to say, "I trust you, God," "Oh well," and, "Ok then, next step." It was quite an interesting thing to observe and feel within myself, but one that made me incredibly content. 

Then I decided to walk to the place I'd headed off for initially, and catch a different bus. There was sure to be one soon, and I'd make it to the meeting point on time, and more importantly, to work. But just after I'd figured out which bus I needed to take, I checked my phone, and saw I had messages from my blablacar driver. Twenty minutes before we were supposed to leave, she writes me to tell me that she came down with a terrible fever during the night, and wouldn't be able to go to work, or take me to mine. ......w t f. So while it quickly became clear as to why I'd missed the bus I needed to take me to where we were meant to meet, it also became clear that getting to my first class wasn't going to happen. 

In the end, I caught a bus at 7:45, which I was told would take an hour and a half to get to my town, and ended up taking nearly two hours. I was over an hour and a half late to work, but because I was trusting in God the whole time, I wasn't as stressed out about it as I would have expected to be. And that was awesome!

The whole situation really made me realize that, while the habitual/natural reactions I've witnessed and often exhibited in my life have been of the extreme and aggressive nature, it's not really what my natural instinct is in most situations. It showed me that all the time I've been spending repeating mantras of trust and "oh well", are paying off, and now overcoming the genetic tendency to freak out about things that a) shouldn't be freaked out about, b) don't mean anything, and c) can't be changed, and therefore should just be accepted. So what started out as a, "Are you effing kidding me," kind of thing, turned into a, "Hey, thanks for this, because it's shown me the positive progress I've made, which makes me feel really good and want to continue these good habits I'm working on." 

In life, we're going to face endless opportunities to grow, change, and namely, react. And yes, sometimes things will draw out of us an extreme reaction that we later think back on with a sense of "could have done without that," but in the end, acceptance is key. It's a great way for us to find inner peace about almost anything, and ensure that whatever comes after will be received as a blessing, more than a slam. One of the key principles to life is to bring acceptance to any situation, and the whole universe would benefit from a bit more of it. Resistance just creates more of what we don't want, acceptance transfers a sort of love, which then results in loveliness. Today's message in Jesus Calling said it perfectly,

"Don't waste energy regretting the way things are or thinking about what might have been. Start at the present moment -- accepting things exactly as they are."

I hope that we all practice this this new year, and that when we enter 2016, we can see how far we've come! It's going to be a good one, guys, I just know it is! So many opportunities to grow and flourish are upon us, I hope you take advantage of yours!

Sending out so much love to everyone, as we enter this year of wisdom gained and lessons learned. Huge blessings, love & light, brothers & sisters!