It is my sincere hope that sharing my perspective and personal experiences on my own journey to myself, helps you on yours.
TAKING THINGS FOR GRANTED...or NOT
SUB 'When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change'. I remember hearing Wayne Dyer say that many years ago and it really stuck with me. While I understood the words at the time, I wasn't living it, I only wanted to.
Since arriving back home to Norman Wells, NWT last week, after gypsy'ing around out in the world for a few years (on a journey I chose to take in order to find myself, inner happiness, peace and purpose) I've been feeling elated. My heart is singing louder than it ever has and I'm just SO happy to be home. I wasn't sure what to expect really, as so many parts of the 'old' me have fallen away. I could have come earlier, however I don't do much these days without guidance from Spirit and I always listen, even if I don't want to. Through dreamtime, in the not too recent past, I was finally given the green light!! I always knew this time would come. Time for me to come back to my beautiful little home town in the Arctic :)) How fitting that it turned out to be my birthday month, and the year I happen to turn 50!
There's something profound about those milestone birthdays, an awareness of a shift in the lens through which one views life. Bigger the number gets, the more aware one becomes. At least that's how it's turned out in my experience. What I've been noticing most about being home, is how much I'm not taking for granted anymore. I'm finding pure joy in being surrounded by community and people I love (and I haven't even seen everyone yet!). The simple things like being here while the fireweed and wild roses are in bloom; walking and sitting on the riverbank; complete silence; midnight sun and breathtaking sunsets; massive open sky for as far as you can see; the mighty Mackenzie River and mountains; and last but not least, dear old friends who have always loved and accepted me, especially when I didn't love and accept myself.
There was a time in my life here, when I took most of those things for granted. I wasn't able to appreciate them like I do today. I suppose there's a few reasons for that. The first being, the absence of these things in my daily life for so long. The second being, I've aged. The other being, I've changed the way I look at things.
There are memories in every place and every face, forcing me to look back over 30 years of my life here. It's so clear to me now, how unhappy I was at many points along the way. I seemed to be able to always find someone or something to complain about at every turn. I can see now that this had nothing to do with how things 'were', and everything to do with how I looked at things. It makes me a little sad that I stayed caught up in that way of life for longer than I'd like to admit. I know there were many years where wild rose season passed me by, I hadn't stepped foot on the riverbank, let alone even notice the 'silence', or a beautiful sunset. I was too busy being a slave to the life I thought I was 'supposed' to live, instead of living a life led by my heart and soul. However, had I not lived that part of my life in semi-conformity, there would be no point of comparison really.
I've noticed over time, my new ability to not take things for granted, has grown stronger. Choosing to follow Spirit's guidance and live without a steady pay cheque for a few years, has me appreciating a bed to sleep in every night and food to eat. I used to take those very simple things for granted every day. As do most people. To go 'without' for awhile has been a huge blessing in disguise for me. It's not only taught me extreme faith, it's amped up my ability to be happy with the simple things. I used to take the ability to buy whatever I needed, totally for granted! Things that I used to think were 'necessities' (like a hair cut) have become something I no longer take for granted.
It's interesting how sometimes people, places or a situation needs to be absent from our lives in order for us to learn to appreciate things more. I'm not sure everyone learns it, but I believe sometimes that's the reason for the absence. I would think someone who has lost everything in a fire or flood, learns not to take 'things' for granted. Sometimes when we lose loved ones, we are reminded not to take the people in our lives for granted too. I'm sure there are a million scenarios we've all lived through, but have we all learned? Or do we conveniently forget, once circumstances change for the better again? I guess that's the key really. Is to not forget that things could be, or have been much worse.
It seems to me, the more one takes for granted, the more one is in the constant state of 'wanting' more or better. When to change the way one looks at things (not taking things for granted) puts us in a constant state of gratitude for the simple things.
Peace, Love and Appreciation for the simple things!
It's a strange thing to experience isn't it? Vulnerability. It seems many of us humans would much rather be in constant control, wearing our masks, and choosing the do-it-yourself route, rather than ask for and accept help, or share parts of ourselves we'd rather keep hidden.
To make ourselves vulnerable, is to take a risk, a leap of faith. To embrace uncertainty. To be okay with not knowing what is coming next. To simply be open to whatever comes from us putting ourselves out there in a different way. I think in an attempt to remain in control and 'together', or in wanting to it to appear that way to everyone around us, we rob ourselves of some potentially beautiful experiences. We'd rather feel 'safe' and remain in our familiar place, even if it's not working for us.
Making ourselves vulnerable takes courage. It can feel scary. I'll admit that. I'm no pro at it, that's for sure, but I have noticed that every time I force myself to do something out of my comfort zone (which has happened many times, over the past four years especially) I always learn something new. I also observe myself becoming stronger after every experience.
Vulnerability is not a comfortable feeling for any of us I'm sure, but any kind of inner growth isn't going to feel comfortable. It's always through those uncomfortable times, we know we're growing. I don't imagine a caterpillar is necessarily comfortable through the cocoon stage, as it morphs into a butterfly, but what a worthwhile process for that creature with the end result being freedom and flight!
In February, 2009, I left my very comfortable and familiar life in the Northwest Territories. My soul had been calling to me for awhile already at that point but I'd been to afraid to do what I knew I needed to do. My business was failing miserably and for years already. I'd been living on my savings, and hadn't taken a pay cheque in 2 years at that point. I'm not one to give up easily, or want to see myself as a 'failure', so I stuck it out in that stressful situation for far longer than most people I'm sure.
Looking back now, I can see that I hung on too long because 'quitting' wasn't an option for me, not to mention I was horrified to leave my comfort zone and take a wild leap of faith! That would require me feeling far too vulnerable. I somehow found the courage (or maybe it was exhaustion from the stress? haha) and I did it. I closed the doors on the travel agencies, cleaned out two homes, and two office buildings and was on the plane within six weeks. I had no idea where life would lead me, what I did know was that I was being led. I felt super vulnerable and afraid but I knew I was here to do something more with my life and to find inner peace and happiness. That was my mission.
I had no idea how long it was going to take to 'land' so to speak. I certainly didn't think it was going to be over 4 years or I probably never would have lept. Okay, yes I would have. This journey has found me at times, with very little money. I understand completely now, that I was meant to walk this path. To 'live' it, in order to understand what it feels like to have nothing. I'd only experienced life taking money and everything that comes with it, completely for granted. I look at life through a completely different lens now. Amazingly enough, I've been able to find happiness and inner peace through the most financially challenging times of my life.
Had I not been willing to take a risk, make myself completely vulnerable, and be willing to be led through these uncertain times, searching for true meaning in my life, I'm not sure I'd have found the Artist in me that I'd buried away in order to 'get on with life'. Nor would I have learned to NEVER take anything for granted. Ever. Especially food and a place to sleep. I'd also not have learned to find joy in the smallest & simplest things in life. Mostly, I'd ever have learned the hardest lesson of all for me. How to receive and accept help from others. I'd always been the 'giver'. That was familiar and comfortable to me. To receive or ask for help was far too vulnerable a place for me to go!
My humble thank you to everyone who has been following along on my journey, everyone who has purchased a piece of my art, everyone who has given me words of encouragement, a meal, a bed, or a shoulder (and Bobbie for listening to your guidance to leave me a sketch pad, 2 pencils and an eraser before you drove off and left me to house sit for 6 months on Lummi Island in the beautiful state of Washington). I had no idea how much that particular time would alter my life. Finally to Cindy, for believing in me enough to welcome me into your home and family for the past year, having no idea how long it would take for my vision to be clear and for things to move as they are now.
I don't love feeling vulnerable, probably never will. I only know it's worth moving through the uncomfortable part to get to the good part and I'm going to keep doing it! How about you?
Peace, Love and Vulnerability