It’s been a while since I posted, so to all my 25 subscribers or so, I apologize .
I’ve been pretty busy putting together some freelance proposals and also settling into a place in Miami that I’ve rented for a few months.
In the process of finding a short term place to live here, I’ve done a lot of reflection on where I am now compared to a year ago, and well, how much “lighter” I am. This has nothing to do with shedding weight (I think I’ve actually gained in that department) but more with shedding, well, “stuff.”
It’s been almost a year since I put all of my things in storage before leaving to Africa last April. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d survive without my things that, in a sense, defined who I was. My furniture and artwork that I had collected over the years, my books that had gotten me through difficult times, my plants that I had lovingly nurtured over the years and thousands of pounds of other things.
I painstakingly reviewed my closet 20 times or more, selecting, then deselecting then selecting again the clothes, shoes and accessories that I thought I just couldn’t live without. I mean, how could I possibly whittle 100 pairs of shoes to just 30!?
What if a particular occasion called for that leopard coat that I had left in storage and I found myself with only my brown leather jacket, my black faux fur coat, my jean jacket and my camel-colored wool coat to get by with!? (Ok, I’ve never owned a leopard coat and I hope I never do, but you get the drift, there was surely SOMETHING that was going to get left behind!)
But, you know, the funny thing is that there hasn’t been anything that I have died without. Or even needed that badly. Even though I literally packed almost every single thing I owned into a small storage unit, I haven’t really needed any of it. Not one thing. I can’t even remember half the things that are in there now!
Sure, looking around my new apartment that I rented furnished, a part of me wishes that it was my own furniture, but I’ve found that I’m just fine without it.
Human beings are incredibly adaptable creatures. I put my things in storage thinking that I would be back in L.A. to get them within 3-6 months. Now, it’s been almost a year and I haven’t gone back, nor do I have plans to do so anytime soon.
Weird, isn’t it? Strange, but also quite liberating. We actually don’t need that much to get by. We make do with what we have, we move on, we grow and we shed. We’re not defined by the things that we collect over the years, even if they do form an aspect of our identity or personality.
To me, it’s clear how this realization of not needing my “stuff” and being able to shed myself of things I truly thought I needed can translate to other areas of life. What non-material things am I holding on to that I don’t need?
Some people say that in order to make room in your life for new things, you need to get rid of the old, particularly the things that don’t benefit you or serve you well. What are some of the things you’re holding on to that aren’t serving you well? The things that you’re holding on to so tightly and that seem so important that you could never live without?
Sometimes, we don’t let them go because we don’t have to. In my case, I had to rid myself of some “baggage” to travel for a year. And I’ve found, a year later, that it’s kinda nice not having that extra weight. And that, maybe, it’s time to get rid of some other baggage too.
I’m excited to share a piece I wrote for my local newspaper, the St. Augustine Record, that ran on the front page of last Sunday’s “Lifestyles” section. Yay!
The piece can also be found at the newspaper’s website here. Feel free to leave a nice comment at their site
Below is a scanned in version of the piece, or there’s a PDF file that’s easier to read here.
One year ago, I was a corporate executive in Los Angeles.
About one month ago, I sat in a rented apartment in the Philippines, scissors and glue in hand, analyzing magazine scraps scattered around me. Pictures of beachfront villas in Bali, yoga retreats in Thailand and phrases like “Make Millions Online!” “Start your Own Business” and “Toned and Sexy All Over!” overflowed from the couch to the living room floor.
The end of 2010 was around the corner and I was working on a vision board.
If you’ve seen “The Secret” then you probably know what I’m talking about. If not, a vision board is about putting “The Law of Attraction” to work for you. The premise is that by articulating and envisioning what you want in life and directing your energy toward these desires on a daily basis, that the Universe will conspire to help you manifest everything you desire.
There are some people who swear by it, raving that “The Secret” and its teachings forever changed their lives. There are also many other people who dismiss it as new age B.S. To each his own.
As for me, I do believe in the power of thinking positively and if a vision board will bring me closer to my dream of becoming independently wealthy and sipping bloody Mary’s on a mid-Tuesday morning while getting a massage at a beachside hut in Fiji accompanied by a devastatingly handsome man with a foreign accent then count me in!
I’ve had some experience with putting the Universe to work for me so I’m hoping that the vision board will kick things into turbo mode for me.
In my former life as a PR executive, I often thought about jumping ship, selling my material possessions and traveling the world to find my true calling. I envisioned this calling being something creative like a nomadic jewelry maker, feng shui consultant to the stars or cirque de solei performer, but eventually settled on “travel writer.”
I also imagined myself as an entrepreneur, owning my own business someday, doing work that I was passionate about. I wanted freedom and flexibility to create and work on projects of my own choosing, travel on a whim or make pancakes on a weeknight at 2AM if I felt like it.
Just over a year ago, I got that chance when the company I was working for in LA underwent reorganization and gave me the choice to either relocate to NY or accept a severance package. It was probably the most difficult decision of my life, but I also took it as a sign from the universe to find myself at such an abrupt crossroad. A sign and opportunity to break free, take the leap and attempt to create the life I had desired and had been envisioning for years.
And so I leapt.
I put my life as I knew it in a 5×15 storage unit in L.A. and began my metamorphosis.
Since leaving corporate America, I’ve traveled to 10 countries, started a travel writing course, am getting my own PR consultant practice off the ground, started my first-ever blog, launched an online business following what I learned in The Challenge and have done a whole lotta soul searching.
Coincidence? I’m not so sure.
A vision board can be a powerful thing and the beginning of a New Year is an ideal time to think about the goals you want to accomplish and what you want to attract into your life.
So, what’s on your vision board?
Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.
I’m floating in the Carribean sea, on a boat in the Bahamas, where we’ve been sailing for the past week and a half. It’s my first time sailing or spending this much time on a boat (other than a handful of week-long cruises which I’m not sure count). The Caribbean water is a nearly transparent aqua with various shades of turquoise patches as far as you can see.
Today is New Year’s Day and bobbing atop the Caribbean waters seems a perfect setting to reflect on the year and contemplate some goals for 2011.
This year has been one of many adventures and changes for me. I left my corporate job to start my own business, traveled to five continents and did a lot of soul searching. And yet, despite having such an incredible year, I have not always enjoyed this year’s experiences to the fullest because of my tendency to be a worrywart.
So one of my main goals for the New Year is to focus on being more positive. Striving harder to live in the moment, being more grateful for my experiences, more accepting of what I can’t control, focusing on what I do want as opposed to what I don’t want and worrying less.
Just the other day, someone told me that people often think that if the world, people and situations around them weren’t so hectic and complicated, that they would better be able to find peace. The truth though, they said, is that if you find peace within you first then the world naturally becomes a less complicated place. You must seek peace within you, it’s not something you can find anywhere else.
That makes total sense to me and so this year I’d like to make more of a conscious effort to find that peace within. I’m not exactly sure how to do this, but I think it will become more clear to me now that I’ve set the intention to do so.
What are some of your New Year’s goals? Regardless of what they may be, I wish you peace, prosperity and happiness in the New Year, and always