When Real Life Becomes an Adventure Pt. 2, Standing Still in Moving Waters
This is part 2/2 of "When Real Life Becomes an Adventure" - To read part 1 of this blog post: Click Here
As life in my new BC home finally became normal, the days started to fly by. This being my first time living away from my hometown, I had this overwhelming feeling that I really wanted to make the most of my time, and didn't want to miss out on any of the invitations for adventure that were constantly happening around me. About two months in however, I came home one day feeling like I was running on fumes. I felt I had created unrealistic expectations for my experience and my exhaustion had me questioning my own motives for being out there in the first place. I felt I needed some time out and craved a place to recharge, but felt I had nowhere to go in the small town, yet crowded house I lived in. Out of options I found myself on the side of a highway calling home. The compassionate voices on the end of the line both welcomed me to come home if needed, but were supportive in my convictions to stick it out.
Living in a small community was very different than the city life I left behind. I loved the simplicity and the closeness I felt with the people around me, but found certain aspects were very challenging. I learned early on, that I really couldn't hide from who I was due to the close knit circumstances I lived in. I had to face myself in the reflections of my constant companions at every moment of every day, which was in stark contrast of living and working alone as I did in the months prior. My insecurities became far more apparent, which surprised me at first. The pressure I put on myself to have the "perfect" summer experience was exhausting and created a hypersensitivity in me that made regular day to day stresses seem barely tolerable. I knew this was unsustainable and something needed to change. I had chosen to be here, and needed to take responsibility for the role I had played in how I was feeling. Most importantly, I needed to remember that I had the power to create a more positive experience for myself.
I had always wanted to strike out on my own and live somewhere new, but now that I was here I realized I hadn't been approaching it in a genuine way. I spent most of my time worried about perfecting my photo work, and the rest chasing adventures with roommates instead of doing some of the things I had once hoped to do. I had really been looking for some peace, but found myself overstimulated and completely stressed out! It was as if I feared that allowing myself to walk to the beat of my own drum would somehow isolate me within my community. This ultimately placed my personal happiness in the hands of the people around me, and left me in a fragile state. Creating the experience I initially craved meant that I needed to honor who I was first, no matter how that might affect what was happening around me.
I went out to BC looking for an adventure of sorts. I was tired of the same old that came with my comfort zone. But I decided that maybe my adventure didn't need to leave me feeling so drained and outside myself. It didn't need to look like anyone else's idea of adventure either. I decided to slow down a bit. I started turning down connections and experiences that didn't really feel true to who I was, and started to focus on the things that made me the happiest. I remained open minded to new experiences, but when I really needed to I would make time for myself, often by taking my guitar to a beautiful lookout on a hill close by and playing my stresses away. In a few short weeks I felt my reality shift into a very different experience. One where I enjoyed my work more, handled stress better, had far deeper connections, and felt far more comfortable in my own skin. I also began to make new friends outside of my community, which continued to enrich my summer by leaps and bounds. All the external stress that seemed to be intolerable soon became mild irritations that I could easily take on by slowing down and trusting my instincts. I continued to practice deep breathing and affirmations when I felt myself getting overwhelmed. I started to realize I could feel right at home in any situation, as long as I mindfully respected the choices my heart wanted to make, and accept that not everyone would want to support me in those decisions. The happiness and comfort of others was simply not my responsibility. My happiness however, was.
These days it seems when I hit one of life's speed bumps or detours, it's often because I haven't been honoring that inner voice that is trying to guide me. Which leads me to believe that self trust and self love is the most valuable thing a person can bring to the table. Our personal power seems to be rooted in our truth, no matter what chaos may be happening around us. When we start to honor and support ourselves, our power is far more attainable as we are not constantly draining ourselves trying to please others. We therefore have more energy to share with the people and causes that matter most. And although this commitment to ourselves may not guarantee acceptance by all of our daily audiences, we will surely create a far greater probability of being welcomed by the kinds of people that match our vibe and perspective. I know that the idea of self love, trust and acceptance is a lifelong commitment that will most certainly challenge us all from time to time. But I cannot deny that even with the small steps I personally took towards it, life seemed to open up into a far calmer flow. And I was so ready to step into it. It was a far better option that running away from myself, and therefore the parts of myself I was meant to share.