Have you ever had one of those big choices that became a turning point for you, that changed the course of your life from that point onward? For me it was when I decided to live abroad.
My decision was born from a place of forced surrender ten years ago, a period of illness for me that kept me exhausted, bedridden and unable to work. It was from that space of rest and reflection that I was re-born, that I first felt the strong stirrings of my inner voice calling me toward a new life – one that was grander than I had ever imagined was possible.
Being sick for such a long time forced me to deal with my unworthiness issues (but, of course, there was still more to come!). I was forced to let go of the ‘achiever’ title I was so comfortable clinging to and release myself from defining my worth by my work successes. In that state, I wasn’t able to offer much to my partner or to my workplace that was increasingly relying on me to support them in a time of staff shortage. I couldn’t be at family dinners, or help my friends out.
The only thing I could do was nothing at all. I had to just ‘be’ and exist for the sake of existing.
Reluctantly I let go of the to-do-lists, the deadlines and goals, the need to reach certain benchmarks, the requirement to say ‘Yes’ to everyone else’s requests, the guilt about not meeting other people’s needs or expectations of me. Ironically, during that time of illness, I felt happier than I had felt for a long time. I was free of trying to please, of needing to achieve, of having to prove my value in a society that values success in outer things.
I had to let go of many things.
It was in this state of non-doing that I realised how worthy I really am, how intrinsically valuable I am just because I am here, just because I exist.
So I turned to spiritual books, to watching the speakers hosted by Oprah when all I could do was watch tv, and to my inner knowing that believed I would come through this stronger and with more conviction to live a really awesome life. Over the last 10 years I have stumbled and fallen into periods of doubt, but I still believe everything I did back then. I still trust that this path is leading me to great things, as it already has.
In that experience of illness, a new gratitude was born for my physical body and all the things it does for me, and with that a commitment to myself to live life to the fullest, to make the most of opportunities, and not shy away from the things that scare me. I knew then that life was about reaching for the unknown.
When I recovered I had a new lease on life. I created my dream job, one that appeared against all the odds of a bad economic climate, an underdeveloped CV, a lack of experience in the country I wanted to work, and a lot of naysayers who thought it best I play it safe and stick to what I had. I didn’t care what anyone else thought. t knew my path was leading me to live abroad, and with that strong knowing, the perfect opportunity came into my reality…and that was just the beginning.
Amazing things started happening, and new desires and aspects of myself began to reveal themselves as I grew into my bigger self. The possibilities for life expanded in a way I couldn’t even dream up. I started feeling that anything was possible.
That one choice lead to other choices, all of which had important ripple-on effects for me and the people closest to me. It led my partner to meet the next love of his love, and to find a path more compatible with his evolving values…and opened me to my new path, giving me the freedom to explore the unexplored parts of myself, to wander, get lost, and find more than I ever bargained for in this crazy, beautiful adventure called life.
Life is made up of many choices, but it is that one choice to live abroad, that paved the way for many others to follow…and led me to be sitting here writing a blog in a coffee shop in Bali, sitting in humble gratitude for all the opportunities that have come my way and all the unknown adventures still yet to unfold.
There was power in that choice because it came with a realisation that much more was possible for me if only I took a leap of faith and dared to go where I had dreamed about but previously feared to tread.
There are so many wondrous things waiting on the other side of fear. Breathe, let go, and step forward with me.