I have a confession to make. I am a recovering from a very awful disease. For those of you reading this who know me well, you may already know this, or I may have done a really good job of hiding it from you. For those of you who may know me in passing this may come as a major surprise, but its true. I have suffered for a majority of my life with an affliction shared by many. What is this horrible malady I am referring to?
Its a dirty sucker of a word who comes with so much extra baggage. It comes with worry, whining, hesitation, defensiveness. It brings along its motley crew of half-assing, praying no one notices your mistakes, and dragging your feet for years even. Its a good thing I have spent many years in the business of fitness and personal training so I could carry the weight of such a heavy burden. I often thought the future would find me a giant failure with a mountain of both regret and poor judgement piled high on top of me. Though I may never be cured of this malady that affects so many, but I can safely say I have employed some practices and strategies I find to be liberating. I would like to share with you how my journey to Nepal was the both the culmination and the confirmation of the many years of self-work I have spent in hopes of curing myself of this awful disease.
For those who are new to this blog (and technically everyone is since this is my first official blog post); or rather new to my circle, I visited Nepal between late December 2015 and early January 2016. This trip was not only the trip of a lifetime, but the start of a chapter in my life of truly recognizing how far I have come in my journey to my best self.
The trip even happening in the first place was born out of a desire to get closer to my values and immerse myself in those things I define as my purpose for being here, which I will say is one of the most important factors for overcoming self doubt. I was volunteering with an organization called Conscious Impact. Check them out and definitely consider getting yourself to Nepal. They are amazing. You can follow this link:
It was a trip that required financial preparation, but moreover it required the preparation I did not even realize I had been engaging in for the year leading up to the trip as well as the last decade of my life. I had to fundraise, which is something I have always avoided for fear that I wouldn’t know how to ask in a way that was convincing without being pushy. I was also afraid I wouldn’t raise enough money in time and have to admit to friends and family that I was unable to make something happen. To find out how much my passion and drive inspired others to contribute, and some contributed in ways I would never have even dreamed of, I was brought to tears. *I had a client, who appreciated my work with him so much, he contributed frequent flier miles for my flight, and insisted on booking it business class. Coming from a single parent family and being in debt from college, I had definitely never experienced flying this way. Here are a few pictures, some might find silly, but it was like I was flying for the first time and wanted to savor every moment as I did when I was a kid of 8 and got to fly without a guardian for the first time.
I recall waiting to takeoff and beginning to literally weep at my good fortune. I knew I owed most of the trip to the kindness of those who believed in me, but it was more than that. Maybe it was the fact that I was going to be on planes for the better part of the next 24 hours, or that it was a week before the new year, or the knowledge that I had set this as a goal and it was actually happening. Maybe it was because I was traveling to one of the most spiritual places in the world, where the majority of folks are Hindu and many are Buddhist, and some of the temples have been there longer than the United States (my home country) was even an idea. Maybe it was because I am a deeply introspective individual who in the last year had completely reexamined my definitions of relationships, ridden 465 miles on a road bike through the Colorado Rockies with only 6 weeks of owning a road bike at sea level in suburban Delaware, and quit a job I had been at for almost a decade to focus on my own business. Maybe it was knowing my one self, one small person, was going to have the privilege of helping to rebuild in a rural village in Nepal where 99% of people lost there homes and two schools were destroyed. I am sure it was all of these things, as well as my yoga, meditation, and journaling habits, but I found myself whispering the following phrases to myself through my giant, joyful tears.
“This is just the beginning.”
“I am so loved.”
“Look what I have been able to accomplish.”
“This is big.”
“I am so grateful for this experience.”
The beauty of looking back on this moment is that I have completely transformed how I used to speak to myself. It didn’t happen over night, and it took a great deal of effort, but the words I used to use were so much more toxic. I realized I no longer said things like:
“I did it again.” (whenever I made a mistake)
“I am such an idiot.”
“I need to be more like ________.”
“I wish my life wasn’t so hard.”
“No one cares.”
What I realized about what this trip represented in that moment made me cry harder, but also laugh inside and hold myself so tightly with the love I have for myself and the love everyone in my life has for me. I realized the reason I had been supported and believed in by all of these people was because I had finally come to a point where I unwaveringly supported and believed in myself. I had done the hard work of spending more time valuing my own life and living in my own purpose and I had come to flourish because of it. This energy was not only inspiring to me, but eventually spilled out to others and it was this influence that meant I could not fail. That I will never really fail. Of course I will make mistakes. I will screw up. I will predict wrongly, I will perhaps miss a deadline, not accomplish every goal, not necessarily live up to others’ expectations. I won’t be liked by everyone, I won’t be the smartest, best looking, fittest, or even nicest person ever. None of that matters, as long as I am living up to who I believe is best for me to be, sharing what I have learned with others, contributing to community, at home or abroad. It is this endeavor in which I may falter, but will never fail, for I have seen in the mountains of Nepal that everything is possible. If I nourish myself, both in mind and body, surround myself with supportive and generous people, I am powerful enough to help make the possible come to pass.
It is in this way I endeavor every day to share what I have learned with others. We can become our brightest if we have enough energy devoted to our own light and then share that with the light of others. How do you brighten your light? Where are you your own dimmer switch? Please share any questions or comments you may have upon reading this. In return, here are some more pictures from my travels. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed taking and sharing them.