Two months ago all my traveler friends and I were preparing to head home for the holidays, and as most of us were presently immersed in an environment drastically different than the ones we grew up in, we were both excited and fearful. Will my family and I see eye to eye? Truly see who I’ve become? What about my friends? What old habits and perspectives might come up when I step back into that world? We tossed around the quote "If you think you are so enlightened, go and spend a week in your hometown,” laughing and sighing at the raw reality that when we step into relationships and places that shaped our past, stuff we’ve buried or walked away from inevitably comes up—primordial ways of thinking, being, our perceived ‘reputation’, our (often false or dated) perceptions of others and the way they perceive us, our tendencies, habits, and more…especially when we have undergone a major life shift. Stepping back into this space puts our attachment to our ego to the test—how well can we carry this new sense of self into a space that’s molded to who we were before? And how can we keep an open mind to the changes that may have occurred in our absence?
I have been back in my hometown for a month longer than I expected, decompressing, reflecting, getting to know my parents as an adult, reconnecting with friends, shooting photos and interviews, editing old ones, teaching myself how to do things I never learned in school, doing research, applying for jobs, going on weekend trips, reading, growing, contemplating my next moves…
Coming back with a new perspective and evolved energy to the space that has shaped me has revealed so much to me, and within me. I have gone through waves of emotions both healthy and dark. I have felt seen and respected, I have felt diminished, I have felt boundless confidence, and I have felt crippling self-doubt. This visit home came at a time of transition, when I have no commitments to any particular path, leaving the door wide open to possibilities for my next move. Though it is thrilling to be free, it can be scary if you get caught up in the tidal waves of the past and future and external influences, rather than remaining present in your heartspace and the now. My path has taken a shape so different from the norm, from what everyone else is doing, the path I was raised to believe was the way. Hanging out in my college town at the start of both semesters when all my friends were going to class has made me feel both empowered and insecure. There were moments when I called Financial Aid in desperate search of options, called my advisor seeking loopholes for enrolling in classes late, and felt my freedom and self-belief slipping like sand right through my fingers beneath my (de)feet...into the snow that had chilled my heart and sent me sun-seeking after last winter. And there were (more) moments when I felt so secure, such deep release from the possibility, I laughed upon the me that doubted I knew the way.
I had to face myself. Coming home made me question what I have come to believe, throwing who I am now into a test tube with who I once was, creating a new alchemical version of self... and one that is now stronger than who I was before.
Taking this step away from the speed of travel, of school, work, responsibility allowed me to step into a place of solitude and reflection, research things I have wondered about, work on manifesting visions I have painted in my mind, consider all my options and push myself to explore which path is the purest reflection of ME, rather than the influences of all that surrounds me.
21 is such a crazy age. I am at such a fascinating time in my life—transitioning out of school into the “real world,” which has turned out to be infinitely different than how I had ever perceived it to be…..and infinitely different, on top of that, than that of 99% of society. There are so many possibilities….it blows my mind. I have friends I could live with in states across the U.S., invites to travel across the world, goals to create art of many kinds, aspirations to work with organizations of many shapes and sizes, limited resources but the mentality to manifest them in creative ways, vibrant passion, and the mindset that anything can happen…and so it does. I considered everything from working a 9-5 at a psychedelic research center (a job offer so rare and special it was almost impossible to say no), to buying a van and living on Highway 1 in Big Sur to write and make videos in solitude, to temporarily working a high-paying job I wouldn’t like as a brand manager in San Francisco to make enough cash to commit all my energy to media come summertime, to going to South America to create media with a soul sister, to the heavy heavy idea of doubling my debt and going back to finish my last year of school in Indiana. Every time I thought I came to a decision, the universe seemed to present another possibility that swayed me another way. Too much focus on what’s next, rather than what’s NOW. Amidst all this, I was watching the types of film I’d like to create, getting inspired, building my own website and collecting my work, and setting intentions to create more this year and connect with my idols to explore co-creation and ways I can grow and learn as much and in different ways than I would have in that last pricey year of college.
Right after I decided that going back to college this year isn’t right for me, I applied for a “scholarship” for a 3-day workshop at ‘Lucid University,’ a courseweek before Lucidity Festival in Santa Barbara in April, considered by many as one of the best transformational gatherings in the world. My application about the need for Unity in order to save our planet and people won me a partial scholarship! This would open the opportunity to learn about embodiment and leadership from a global spiritual leader who worked with the Indigenous Peoples of Costa Rica to help organize a Peace Treaty for the Planet under United Nations Protocol. This was a huge affirmation. Whenever possible though, I explore ways I can co-create an experience through exchanging skills or time/energy rather than money (this is how I travel so much.) I replied to the Co-Founder of Lucidity about exchanging media for my entry and he brought me onto the 2016 Lucidity In House Media Team ☺ This is one of a few open doors to start really manifesting my heart’s intentions, and I’m buzzing with anticipation about what magic will surface from this project, amongst others… all the beautiful people I’ll meet and co-create with along the way.
So in an effort to commit to continuing to explore what unfolds out of following my heart in the present moment, I said no to the job offers, to returning to school right now, to everything that keeps me from chasing the stories that inspire me. Turning away from ‘practical endeavors’ might seem silly, and maybe it’ll knock me on my ass for a bit, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take in order to focus on painting my realest dreams into reality, to living for who I am in this moment. Once I made the commitment to align with my heart, the clarity came and at laaaast I made a decision about my next steps.
I booked a flight out of the country for my very first time. I’m goin to Costa Rica, baby! A month of exploring, creating, festival’ing (check out Envision!), and growing as the writer of my reality.
I’ll chase this intuition wherever it leads,
Hike volcanoes and swim in the sea,
Write and document stories with a soul sister,
Listen to the messages source has to whisper.
A conscious gathering is calling us to be
Where the jungle meets the sea