4 years ago I was going through a multitude of changes. I had graduated from college, left the comfortable nest of Bellingham and moved back home to Seattle. I was in an unhappy, long-term relationship that although loving, well intentioned, and comfortable was both limiting, stifling, and ultimately regressive for both partners. I was in a job with a recruitment agency that was wearing away at my soul; entirely money motivated, systemically sexist, racist, and capitalistic- run by rich white men in the south with a "trickle down" ideology that hinged upon taking advantage of those who needed a job, and bargaining down contractors into less than they were worth in order to yield a higher profit margin for myself and the company I represented. I was gaining weight (not in and of itself a bad thing) but my skin was consistently breaking out and when paired with eating poorly and a lack of exercise or self-care the stress on my mind and body was wearing me thin.
I had spent the previous 4 years since high school in a whirlwind of chaos. At 16 my grandmother had passed away and my mother, without my grandmother as her life-long equilibrium, had slipped into an extreme and long lasting bi-polar episode, paired with manic highs and cripplingly depressive lows. Self medication through severe drug use and chaotic thought processes led our relationship to fits of violence, the loss of our home, the loss of our business and ultimately, our stability. I only knew the unknown and despite my desire for stability I began to learn how to THRIVE within that chaos. I ran non-stop, working 4 jobs at a time (often half-assed but in a desperate attempt to make ends meet) while trying to maintain fun and healthy relationships, a full college course load, and keeping my family alive and above water. In many ways my life was a whirlpool. I'd enter into the fray and try to stay as grounded in myself, my relationships, my goals, and my values as possible and pray that i'd be thrown out the other end in one piece.
I prayed that I'd be better for it.
By the time I found myself back home- I wasn't entirely sure what the word "home" even meant anymore and the lifestyle I'd carved out for myself was simply no longer sustainable.
What do you do when the coping mechanisms of the past no longer serve you? It was time for some re-evaluation of what was keeping me sustained. I initially fell into and found my solace in a bi-weekly hot yoga practice. My roommates and I had moved into a condo near Green lake and I would walk the length of the lake to the studio, clear my mind in a meditative 100 degree practice (a practice that at the time was clumsy and shaky at best), and with a renewed perspective and newfound humility, I would walk home- utilizing the time to reflect on all of the stagnant shit that had resurfaced during the previous hour. I left my long-term, "marriage-destined" relationship which in and of itself turned out to be a terrifying yet incredible catharsis. I sat down and unashamedly wrote down every wish and hope I had for a future partner- from personality, to passion, to appearance. I spent hours thinking deeply about what career I needed to be sustained. What relationships I needed to remain fulfilled. The person I needed to challenge myself to be. The grace I needed to allow myself in order to reach these goals. I wrote this all down on a slip of paper and tucked it away in a safe space- allowing my hopes and dreams to manifest and reveal themselves when the time was right. In my mind I was going to and wanted to be single for YEARS (funny how you attract what you want as soon as you no longer NEED it to complete who you are in the present). I began eating better and investing in my health and wellness holistically and consistently rather than intermittently and with shame and anxiety.
I saved what little money I could and then quit my job without having any backup plan- something that I thought I would NEVER do. I resolved that I would literally rather mow lawns than continue to sell my soul for a company that I didn't believe in. I trusted that I'd always been a hustler. I trusted that I would find a way to make money-- and just like that, I took another leap of faith.
Before I knew it I was no longer a victim to the whirlpool of my life, but an individual standing at the epicenter of my own existence- picking and choosing the people, places, and things that would serve me out of the fray, and letting the rest fly away. Those years felt like a centrifuge, forcefully separating the positive at play in my life from the nuanced negativity that I was inadvertently attracting.
In the end the resilient manifestation that surfaced was the simple notion of feeling the fear, and doing it anyway. Knowing and investing in yourself enough to trust that you can face fear and the unknown head on- and prioritizing your mental and physical well being above. all. else. and that the rest would manifest itself in due time.
In the words of Rich Roll "motivation is temporal, it's temporary. it's not a sustainable source of energy. What you need is purpose. Purpose is harder, purpose requires that internal journey- that deep profound level of connection with self to understand what makes you tick, such that the external manifestation of your life is the journey of pursuing that. And that's hard."