to get to the other side

Feb 23, 2017 | 0 comments

We’ve all heard the joke: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side!” Ha ha. I never understood this joke but I also never really gave it any thought. Just before I started writing this piece it came to me: this is a lesson. The chicken crossed the road to get to the other side. She had a choice. She could stay on one side of the road, complacent, secure and comfortable, never knowing what was on the other side, never daring to take a leap of faith. Or she could courageously cross the road and move forward with her life. At least, this is my interpretation of it.

I have been desperately wanting to write for the last 3 weeks but what kept coming out of my mouth, straight from my brain, was bullshit. I finally began to listen to myself and realized I had been lost in some deep, unconscious work. It completely blindsided me causing me to spin in my ego and the outside world where I had been using my mind to try and take control. With all my extensive travel experience I thought I could avoid the inevitable but it turns out I could not. I was frustrated. I was angry. I felt stuck. I had unrealistic expectations. I was fantasizing about molten chocolate cake. And worst of all, part of me wanted to run…even farther away. I found myself blaming others for these feelings. I hit that point in extended traveling where it is no longer a new trip but a new way of life. I wanted everything to be perfect for me but I am not on vacation and I need to keep reminding myself of that fact. When you take vacation anywhere, you can expect to be catered to because you are paying for the experience. The difference is I am not traveling for short term, I am living and working for long term. I work because I need money to survive here. It is important for me to remember that I did not save money to travel for a few months and return home but that I left my old life to begin a new one; there is a big difference between these two paths. For those of you who have traveled, local style, to a third world country you can relate. Things don’t happen anywhere near as quickly as they do in the U.S. Sometimes the air conditioner breaks and it takes 3 days for someone to come and fix it. Sometimes the hotel is overbooked and you find yourself sleeping on a futon mattress on the ground in your boss’ office and showering in an outdoor shower with no hot water. Sometimes you get a case of constipation and realize it’s not just from the food, it’s also emotional.

My sometimes shower. It can be beautiful after a hot day when the sun is setting or in the darkness under a blanket of stars.

I was messaging with a friend of 13 years. We rarely see each other and we communicate very sporadically. It just so happened she had the exact gift I needed that day. “I bet (you’re frustrated)! It’s a different life a world away! It seems like you are settling in well. At the end of the day, no matter where you are, it’s life so those emotions will be there regardless of location.” I thought I already knew that. It’s funny how sometimes we need to hear someone else say it. With that, I started the process. I recognized it was happening and I allowed myself to feel all of this and didn’t get angry about it. Our pain and suffering comes from too much thinking and resistance. We tend to dwell on what’s happened in the past and we think about the sorrows of the future. We resist the pains, sorrow and the upset thinking that if we can avoid these feelings, life will always be great. Instead, choose to embrace the pain, the sorrow and discomfort of things that make you angry or frustrated. They will come no matter what. It’s how we choose to receive them that makes all the difference. We can resist them and bury more pain or we can embrace them, acknowledge them, and begin to understand the reason they came up so we can learn the lesson, clear it and allow them to dissipate. That is where true growth begins to emerge and transform us.

“To progress anywhere in life, you have to face your demons.” -John Noble

I didn’t want to admit to myself, let alone anyone else, that I secretly blamed most of my problems on other people, my job, traffic and society. I wasn’t proud of it. I remember the moment 4 years ago when I realized I had spent most of my adult life doing this and it made me sick. I wanted to lock it up, run away from it and pretend it didn’t exist, my usual coping mechanism. Not much time later I found myself in parking lot outside of a friend’s truck telling him he called me out on my bullshit. I thanked him for it and it was the first time I can remember sincerely taking accountability for my actions. I felt a weird and new feeling…it was lightness. A piece of the world I had been carrying around on my shoulders had dropped off and I could stand a little straighter. It was in a parking lot in Key Largo in May of 2013. I remember it like it was yesterday. These past 3 weeks I’ve felt like I had been falling backwards. I started running through this old programing once again. Yesterday, when I finally had enough, I realized I was facing this same situation. I was creating my own stories, becoming lost in them and attracting more of the same. I was expecting this place to adapt to me instead of me adapting to this place. I was blaming this on other people and situations and this time I didn’t have anyone to call me on my bullshit so I had to call myself out. You see, when we learn something in life, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are done with that lesson and it will never show up again. It’s like the Fibonacci sequence. It is the Universe looking at the Universe and if the Universe is inside us, it is us looking at us, for infinity. Everything can come back again but it comes back in a different way, a way in which allows us to learn it differently. We are also never the same person showing up either. (thanks Meagan!)

It was Marcel Proust who said, “ The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.” If something comes back into your life, a person, place, event or a feeling, do not look at it the same because it is not the same. We are also never the same person showing up the next time either.

I woke up this morning and I went to the rooftop to sit. Without even thinking about it I started naming things that I was grateful for. I am happy that I rise most mornings with the sun without setting an alarm, I teach yoga on a roof top as the sun wakes the world up and I eat 3 cooked from scratch meals each day. (the cooks here make their own pepper, turmeric, mustard, coconut milk, chili powder, and grow cinnamon, papaya, jackfruit, peppers, aloe and multiple herbs on the hotel’s property.) I am surrounded by nature, it is sunny and hot most days and I can swim in the ocean any time I want to. I realize now that behind the scenes I was actually being guided by my heart center and I was supposed to feel the disconnect so I could learn. It is ok to lose sight and regress because that is where we learn our greatest lessons and recognize those behaviors that need changing. If we always felt perfectly in the flow, we would be considered saints or sages and wouldn’t need to learn anymore! In order for an arrow to go long, first it must be pulled back. So if you feel like you have taken a step backwards in your life, know that there is a greater gift to come. A new door is opening, but I must grieve what I have let go so I can freely dance through the open door awaiting me.

This lesson has been incredibly difficult for me to learn. But as my beautiful soul sister Miranda reminded me, “what a joy to not be stagnant.” I needed to hear that more than you know.

Until we meet again,

Nikki

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