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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reverb10, Day 18: Nowhere I'd rather be

Prompt: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn't go for it?

The author of this prompt is Kaileen Elise:

My answer to the prompt for today has surprised me. I have been racking my brain all day long trying to come up with things that I wanted to try this year and did not, and I came up empty-handed. I kept thinking, certain that the reason why I was not coming up with something specific was that I was not thinking hard enough.

After a full day of reflection though, I have to honestly say that there is not anything that I wish I had done this year that I did not do. I mean I would have loved to go to the Portuguese Baha'i Summer School, or to the Baha'i Conference on Social and Economic Development in Florida, which is taking place this weekend. But not going to these things was the direct result of my choosing to give myself the space to explore what I want in life, and to give everything I have to finding and pursuing my life's passions.

All of the things that I wanted to do this past year, I pursued with everything I had in me. I felt strongly that it was time to make some major life changes, so I wrapped up my job, packed up my life, (with a lot of assistance from some super friends), and left Prince Edward Island last February. I could more easily have flown, but I really wanted the process of leaving my home to be a gradual shift through slowly-changing landscapes instead of a ripping out of my roots. I also really wanted to re-connect with many old and inspiring friends that are scattered across the country, and to see what they are up to now. And I really wanted to give myself time and space to process this decision to leave my home and set off on a new journey. So despite the fact that I do not have a lot of experience driving in snow; despite the fact that I had to confront my own very real fears about traveling solo across the country, and my uncertainty about whether my little Toyota Corolla would actually make it all the way to California; despite the fact that most of my family was adamantly opposed to the idea, I drove. For six weeks. I reconnected with amazing friends. I heard great stories. I experienced the power of the North American Continent. I learned to drive through whiteout conditions. I overcame my fear of flying down mountains at top speed, and took my first ski lesson. I had life-changing conversations, and immersed myself in the landscapes around me. I was able to visit the home that Abdu'l-Baha stayed in, in Montreal, and to say prayers at the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette. I also got to see one dear friend for the last time. She passed away a few months after I reached the west coast. My spring travels to Israel, Cyprus and London were also life-giving, joyful and filled with unforgettable adventures. 

Are there things that I wish I had done in California since arriving that I have not done? Surprisingly, not really. I have started practicing yoga, which is totally transforming my relationship with both the world around me and with myself. I am doing poses that require strength and flexibility that I did not have when I arrived here, which has given me a sense of inner confidence and trust in my own abilities and strength that I would not exchange for anything. I have met many new people, and learned so much about myself and others by opening myself to a new culture and community. Sure, I would like it if I were more economically sustainable right now, but by trusting my gut feeling, and not taking a job just to make money, I have given myself the time and space to commit myself more fully to my writing, and to come up with a plan for a new business initiative that I am currently working on implementing, and I am really exited about. I am having to live more simply: I had to sell my car, and I have not been on a shopping spree since I arrived in California, but learning to live more simply is teaching me to appreciate the material things that I already own more fully, and helping me to explore the dynamics of sharing when I need a vehicle to get somewhere.
Are there new things that I would like to do in the new year? Definitely! I want to start my own business. I am laying the groundwork for this right now, but I want to follow through and make the ideas in my head a reality. I want to feel passionate and excited about my work, and I know the only way that this will happen is if I follow my heart, find work that is life-giving to me, and pursue whatever I choose with all of my life's energy. Stay tuned for updates on this! I will share more as I get closer to launching my business.

Another thing that I really want to do this year is let go of my fears about writing the novel that I am working on, and just let myself do it. I know that I can do this. I just need to believe that I will move through the everyday challenges just like I have moved through so many of the unknowns in my life over the last year. Commitment myself to making serious progress on my novel is a big deal, but it is very exciting. There are so many possibilities ahead that I cannot wait to explore!

I want to travel more this next year. I would like to go to Portugal this next summer. I would like to spend more time in the Mediterranean. I would also like to visit Iceland, and possibly areas of Latin America that I have not explored yet.

I would also like to do more farming this next year. I have noticed how deeply I miss being out on a farm working the land with my hands and watching the miracles of life that permeate farm life. If farming is not directly connected to my work, I want to find a farm that I can volunteer on at least once a week, to get my farming fix!

I am really enjoying getting to know new friends, and exploring new relationships. I hope that my path continues to cross the paths of people who inspire and challenge me, and who are following their hearts with passion and lots of positive energy. I am also enjoying deepening my understanding of the holy writings of my faith, and finding opportunities to serve my community. I would like to continue reaching towards a deeper level of understanding of these writings, as well as reaching outwards further into my community, by finding creative ways of engaging with children and youth -- two groups that I love working with.

I feel that I am living a life rich in experiences. I am learning to be more present, and giving myself the gift of my own complete presence is deepening my experience of life. I want to keep exploring the world. To keep learning. To stay humble. To stay engaged. To learn more compassion. To stay open-hearted. To continue to be curious. To have faith. To live courageously. To take responsibility for my choices and my reality. To practice gratitude and patience. And I want to keep renewing my commitment to writing. To exchanging ideas and creative dialogue with the blogging community. To learning from my community of fellow-writers and readers.

I want to practice saying YES to new experiences and relationships. To reaching beyond what I know, so that every day is a new opportunity to engage with the world around me. To be astonished. To be playful. To practice presence!

What do you want to try in 2011? I would love to hear your dreams for the year ahead.

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