(July 2016, Las Vegas, NV)
Have you ever sat so still, you could feel your body shift back and forth from the beat of your own heart?
There was a full moon and a break in the desert heat last night, so I took some extra quiet time to enjoy my surroundings. In my glamorous pajamas (not really glamorous at all), I sat outside to observe the summer night. The full moon hovered over the backyard, accompanied by enough stars to make up some constellation. I wasn’t on the verge of sweating, the temperature was a perfect 90 degrees. Life was perfect and peaceful.
These are the moments…
These are the moments to be conscious of your blessings; simply noticing the beat of your heart. Maybe even you crack a smile in gratitude for its continuous effort?
These are the moments where you can sort the past from Present, marking a clean slate for Now…and also, creating space for what’s to come.
These are the moments where change takes place, where you set your intentions, prioritize life. YOUR life. YOU get to do that!
These are the moments…slow down to speed up.
These are the moments where you give yourself a chance to live from your beating heart.
What makes you smile? Who makes you smile? Go there. Spend more of your time THERE. With whom? Spend more of your time with THEM.
I write down goals often. And it’s fulfilling to be able to put check marks next to them. As you already know, I often get asked, “Why Vegas?” When I reply, “So, I can check it off my bucket list!” people assume there’s more to the story. And that I’m way too young (*blush* and thank you) to have a bucket list. They think I must have followed a guy here. Typical, right? That’s my favorite. Because they’re so wrong. (Not that I need them to be wrong–no, not at all–I just love surprising people with the unordinary. Help them think outside of the box.) Aaaaaand I get so happy with myself knowing I made a decision for ME. I actually put myself FIRST! It had nothing to do with anyone else but my own curious heart. And then my mind wanders off from conversation because I’m just so proud of myself for making that decision (and I’m soooooo over explaining myself to other people) that I find an excuse to leave and let them have time to ponder my abnormal decisions.
Oh, and the one who told me I was too young to have a bucket list? Mmmmmmm, who says we all get to live to be 80, 90, 100 years? I’m not taking that bet. I’m deciding to truly live…now.
If I don’t take time to reflect, make my check marks, I won’t know how far I’ve come. It’s a great reminder to witness the Universe in action. If you put intention, energy toward your goals, the world really does conspire to make them reality. I have journals and journals of proof that it’s true!
What I’m most proud of the past few months doesn’t have to do with the number of check marks on my list. Sometimes the weight of ONE can spin your life into a whole new, amazing direction. I have been driving around, going through my days keeping this mainly to myself. And there is a sense of guilt for not putting it into words to share. I see so many inspiring Instagram posts and thoughtful blog posts, that I wonder if I have anything different to share. I’d like to say no and keep quiet. And just feel thankful that these other people have the courage and creativity to share. But dang you meditation! And all the driving that I do! This past week when I’ve had moments to myself, I heard the whispers to write. To share. And last night, sitting quietly enough to hear. Quietly enough to feel. Oh my heart….
I took a chance on a trip that I could’ve easily put off until Fall or Winter. In fact, I purposely said no a few different times and figured September, not May, would be ideal timing to take a trip. *Reminder: the Universe always wins so it’s best not to fight her 😉 Thailand had been on my list of places to go for quite some time. And a group of friends (remember my RockIn Rio crew that seemed like I had known them my whole life? Them!) had already planned a trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam for Spring (4 months before my ideal trip time, keep in mind). The invite remained for 9 months. And even though the thought of it excited me every time we spoke about it, I told myself no. The timing didn’t seem right.
Until one day, it kind of DID.
Ok, fast forward to today. Hello, Thursday, January 26th! My last day of my 35th trip around the sun. I always seem to reflect in depth this time of year. Gratitude fills me up for everything that has taken place the previous 365 days. No matter how hard, how joyful or how confusing any memory is, I know it’s all there for a good reason. And with more time, I’ll see the big picture more clearly. 2016 seemed like a huuuuuuge shifting year for many people, the world. Myself included. Some people hated it. But oh my gosh, please be nice to it! I needed that year in my life! 2016 was the deepest, yummiest inhale and exhale I could take. My soul would’ve died a slow and painful death had we somehow skipped this year. Thank God no matter how many people wish it away, I get to embrace what it was for me.
I went through a break-up in April, for the last time (one can have hope, right?!). Man those things can knock the wind right out of you. Oh you’re standing on solid ground? No, it just disappeared. Now what are you going to do? Yeah, those are fun. Mandi, I know I promised you I’d do a blog post “How To Survive A Break UP”. The notes are all here in my journal–everything that helped get me through. I’ll come back to it. Sooner than later. But I’ll touch on it with this…
Nothing will turn out how it’s supposed to be if you don’t go “all in” on a situation. It will either work out or it won’t. Period. So as scary as it is to commit to a goal, a life change (moving?) or a person, you’ll never know “if it works out” unless you try. 100%. You can’t be lukewarm and expect to see the whole picture. You have to live it!
Counting the last 9 months, most of it in 2016, I was living life. Going through it. And sometimes it just doesn’t seem right to document every twist and turn. You need time and space to live the winding roads. But even more so, you wish for everyone involved to have time and space that they need…to live, to go through change, to blossom (your ex, your friends, your family…it’s change for everyone). And that’s love. It doesn’t end or quit. It just changes form. That’s something I’m proud of this past year. Being loving even when it takes a different shape or story line. There’s no manual for closing and opening new chapters. You just have to show up, day after day, as gracefully as you can. I did that. I showed up. I gave love to myself. And from that, was able to extend love to others. Glennon, Elizabeth, Kathryn…thank you for ALL the words of wisdom in 2016.
So, that day that it “kinda DID” seem like perfect timing to take the trip of a lifetime? To not put it off? I would’ve never arrived at that day if it hadn’t been for a break up. I never would’ve given myself time, space, reflection and a huge refocus…maybe eventually, but not on the path I was taking at that time. Huge, heart-wrenching changes, even if it feels like you can’t find solid ground…excuse me, especially when it feels like you can’t find solid ground…which way is UP??…those are the circumstances where you get to feel (be human), you get to be thankful for the little things you do have (chocolate, work, a work family, great friends, family that loves you no matter what, beautiful scenery, a place YOU chose to live–pat on the back)…the things and people we sometimes take for granted. The refocus on gratitude is powerful. And from that grateful feeling-tone, it brings opportunity for new perspective. I had a blank, white canvas to start again. I had the opportunity to use as many bright colors as I could to paint the life I truly wanted.
Start with the basics. Spend time where you want to spend it and spend time with whom you want to spend it. That’s what I needed more of in my life. So, I planned a weekend to laugh with my RockIn Rio friends post-break up. It was simple. It was healing. And it was exactly what I needed. From there, it turned into saying YES to the trip of a lifetime with a group of people I trusted. Having that new space to make another decision for myself has been the opening of a wonderful chapter in my life. More to come on that. Maybe. Highly likely 🙂
I can’t emphasize enough how powerful and freeing it is to HOLD THAT SPACE for yourself. Pause. Longer! You will find solid ground again. But for now, float. Lean your head back. Look up at the sky. Relax your shoulders. And when you think you might go back to something that feels familiar and safe and well, how you once pictured it, pause again. You owe it to yourself. That beautiful white canvas. You’ve been through a lot. Nothing that is meant for you will pass you by, so just…be.
These are the moments!
“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” -Iain Thomas