There’s a book that I love, called Abarat. Clive Barker is unfortunately not finishing this wonderful series, but it’s a rich, spectacular, and vivid story, and I highly recommend it anyway.
At the beginning, the protagonist, Candy Quakenbush (love that name, btw,) decides she’s fed up with her mundane life and horrible school, and impulsively decides to just up and walk out of class one day, into the unknown. What follows is a wild adventure, and a meeting with her destiny.
How many of us have heard the phrase, “You can’t run away from your problems?”
I’ve never liked it.
It’s true — sometimes I’ve run away from shit with absolutely disastrous results. But, there have been a few occasions when running (or sprinting!) away was the best decision I could have made.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll get it out of my system one last time: 2017 has been a ridiculously hard year for me. I could list all the ways here, but some of it is too personal to share, and the rest would be a mile-long list of grievances and upsets that finally pushed me into a place of, “Enough.”
I will, however, share this: Though I spent the early months of this year angrily pointing the finger outward at all the things that were falling apart or going wrong in my life, in recent weeks, I’ve realized that those events were merely a reflection of my own inner turmoil. When I finally looked inward, the root of everything was clear and simple:
“I am not living my truth.”
So, what is my truth? While I could have previously spouted off an answer to that question with some ease, after being put through the ringer a bit, I can honestly say that I’m not sure. I feel like big pieces of me, pieces that I once held so dearly to, are falling away and turning to dust, revealing something new. And I don’t yet know what exactly that “new” is.
Which is why I’m taking a break. A long one. The longest one I’ve taken in a really long time.
I had a ticket booked to spend some time with a long-distance love interest in Tanzania. After that flirtation fell apart, I still planned on taking the two-week trip, until a fateful dinner date with a couple girlfriends one night. One shared her moving story of leaving town to work at a yoga retreat for the summer, and then travel onward with no real plans afterward. The other excitedly shared about a time in her life when she’d sold all her belongings and headed to the airport with just a backpack, and how incredibly freeing that felt.
In contrast to their stories of adventure and freedom, I felt a bone-deep contraction and tightness in my body and spirit. The next morning, I woke up sobbing, and by the end of the day, decided to change my two-week ticket to Tanzania and take a three-month journey of India instead.
I have a little bit of a rule about impulsive decisions — if I sleep on it, and it still feels good the next morning, then it’s likely a good decision. This one has miraculously felt better and better with each rising sun. I resigned from my job with ease, and tons of support from my colleagues. My apartment was sub-let within a few days, and most of my belongings sold easily. Signs began to appear everywhere in support of the decision, as if the universe was reassuring me, saying, “Yes. Go.”
I’ll be spending four weeks out of my trip completing a 200-hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, which as been a dream of mine for years. Other than that, definitely some time in Jaipur, and at a retreat center near Pune, but I’m leaving the rest of it in the hands of fate. (For someone who is slightly addicted to having everything planned to perfection, this is a huge leap of faith!)
In Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes the upheaval that can occur when a woman has “overstayed” somewhere, whether a job, a city, or a relationship…some circumstance where it’s past time to move on, but she chooses to hang on, instead of leave. In contrast, she also writes about the freedom that comes when that woman finally decides to go “home,” or rather, back to her center and true nature.
This decision feels like the beginning of a long-overdue homecoming for me, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely terrified. But, I’m also thrilled, and excited. And, ready.