Before we began this road trip through the US, I had a few concerns about losing my inner balance. The past year has been full of new experiences, new challenges and a few big (painful) lessons.
As a result, the last six months in Latin America were a self-imposed spiritual retreat for me. Through the pain of realising how I was relying on my external circumstances to make me happy, I completely surrendered to a daily spiritual practice of meditation and self-honesty.
I also surrendered to the concept that the Spirit of the universe has my highest good (and everyone else’s) in mind, and that I only need to seek guidance about the next right step rather than try to control the trajectory of my path.
So I was a little anxious about hitting the road again; swapping the Pacific Ocean for the Arizona desert; a spacious home for our four wheels and random motels. Mostly I was afraid of losing my daily practice and neglecting my inner journey in favour if the outer.
Of course, I needn’t have worried. Spiritual growth requires an acceptance of any situation and welcoming the only constant in life – change. Clinging to a practice is still clinging and so when I was unable to maintain the same discipline with my morning meditation routine, I had to let go with faith that I would connect to my soul in other ways.
The landscapes of Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon and Montana have certainly helped me remain connected to Life through its expression of such natural beauty. Hiking, seeing, breathing, smelling, strolling and laughing have helped me remain centered in the beauty of the present moment.
Short, three breath meditations, simple prayers, outpourings of gratitude and giving my time and listening ear to others became the practices which kept me grounded in awareness.
This journey has had its challenges, as all good ones do, but I am pleasantly surprised by how my inner journey is unfolding along with the outer. In fact, I now know more than ever that my external circumstances are a manifestation of the peace and joy I’ve discovered within, and that it is something I take with me wherever I go.
When I began this journey back in 2012 it was to seek the things outside of myself which I thought I was lacking. It has been an epic adventure, full of crazy experiences; ALL of which have guided me to the last place I thought to look; within.
Now that we are settled in Montana for a few weeks, I have started my morning practice again. It’s been hard getting up; I have certainly been embracing the term ‘hibernation’ and have been sleeping in till 930 most days which is much later than usual.
It took me a few weeks of heading straight for the espresso machine (yes, it’s amazing) before I got back to making time and space to connect within. I loved myself into it rather than forced it.
Now that I am meditating again, I am feeling super creative and more connected to the things I want to bring into the world. I am working on a book that I started in Mexico a few months ago and am feeling really inspired by the process. I was slogging away on a different book off and on for over a year before this one and it never felt as good as this.
Those words were not wasted, however, because they brought me right here. The very fact that I am mentioning it means that somehow, this thing is going to find its way into the world.
I’m really excited (and terrified, of course).
This journey has presented me with my own inner healing and has turned out nothing like I imagined it would. My dream job used to be to write for Conde Nast Traveller and now being a travel writer is the furthest thing from my mind.
It’s been a subtle yet powerful shift for me to seek guidance from within rather than look for it outside myself. As a result, my goals feel more centered in who I truly am and what I enjoy most: connecting, healing, sharing and transforming.
Hosting a meditation retreat in Bali next year feels like a natural expression of that, and has been a great process so far. We have eight wonderful women signed up, with places still available for those who need to finalize their plans.
I love writing about charting new territories within and how these are the true road maps of our life. By being willing to embrace the many lessons of this journey, especially the messy, painful ones, I have discovered places within me I never knew existed and a source of healing which I know is available to us all.
I no longer feel broken by my past, my mistakes or my short-comings; I feel empowered by them. For it is through those very sacred places that the light has found its way in.
I want to help other people discover how their ‘imperfections’ are their ticket to transformation too.
I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that if I keep showing up for the lessons and asking for inner guidance, it’s going to be all…bright.