We Are Called to Rise

So, I’ve been working on this blog post for a while now and it never quite felt right. Originally, I was simple going to write this as a book review, tell you about a cool book I read with a quick life lesson and that would be that. But it’s the life lesson that I really want to focus on.

I read We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride. It’s a good story. She dives into the first-person perspective of different characters and allows the reader to feel their emotions. I’ve read many books where authors try this tactic and in my opinion don’t really hit the mark. McBride on the other hand, does this very well. Each character has a different voice and personality that you can hear in the writing. You can tell when you are reading from the perspective of the 8 year-old immigrant boy, middle-age divorcee, or the injured military vet – as you should.

We Are Called to Rise is one of the stories where they all end up connected in the end. One tragic moment in time changes their lives. While reading this particular scene, I almost wanted to shout at each of character, “Hang on, you don’t understand. This person went through that, and that person is feeling this so that’s why they are acting like that.”

I started explaining this in my previous draft of this blog post, and it made me stop and think. I just recently wanted to shout the same thing while reading comments on my social media feeds. The other day I was scrolling through Facebook reading snarky, rude, nasty comments. Some of these comments were in response to a friend or a family member who I knew was going through something; there was a larger story behind their original posts. Then there were others that were just generally rude. I just wanted to stand up with my arms outstretched protecting all of my loved ones from more anguish like a protective mama bear.

Between politics and an overwhelming intake of media, our emotions are high. We are all filled with so much negative energy. Yes, social media platforms seem to increase this frustrated mob mentality, but we can’t blame it solely as the reason why we communicate so horribly with each other. It’s our choice to respond the way we respond. It’s our choice to publish that post with a sarcastic tone, or respond with ridicule. That’s on us. Yes, I include myself in this. I am not perfect either.

We need to take a second to really consider the other people we are talking to. We all work, go to school, deal with traffic, pay bills, … and have all of these other stressors in life. Life is hard completely on its own. Why must we add to that stress and anguish even more by trashing other people?

No, I am not asking for a “safe space.” Let’s talk differences of opinions and learn about new perspectives, but let’s do so with respect.

Yes, sometimes we ourselves are already frustrated for whatever reason and sometimes we can’t stop that frustration from coming out in our tone even if the person we are talking to has nothing to do with the thing that frustrated us to begin with. That’s human nature. But let’s take responsibility for this and make a conscious effort to take a breath before responding, not responding at all or apologize when we realize we said it the wrong way.  

I truly believe there are billions of us in this world, not so that we act as hurdles ready to tear each other down, but so we can act as support beams to lift each other up. Think about what this world would look like if we did that. Like the title of the book, we ARE called to rise. 

Just my thoughts for the day. Okay rant over.  Enjoy the rest of your week!

 

If you do get some time check out We Are Called to Rise. It is a great read.

 

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My Point Break Adventure Part 1

I did it!! I went surfing. That’s one check on the bucket list and the first part of my Point Break adventure.

I’ve mentioned the Point Break movie a few times here. Yes, I’m referring to the older 1991 Point Break with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. It was one of my favorites as a kid. In short, Reeves plays an FBI agent who searches for bank robbers / surfers. Swayze’s character is known as the Buddha surfer who describes riding the big breaks akin to being close to the gods. Yes, I know it sounds hokey, but it was the 90s. As a kid I watched this movie mesmerized by the exhilarating surf and skydiving scenes. I wanted to go surfing and skydiving, later my fear of heights grew, but surfing remained forever a wondrous dream.

The Johnny Tsunami Disney movies were my favorites growing up too. And when I would travel to San Diego I would just watch the surfers thinking one of these days I will go try it out. It was always “one of these days.” Really I was scared. It seemed like such a crazy obscure thing to do, left only for the truly wild at hard.

Surfing ended up on my Vision Board that I created a couple of months ago. Each time I look that surfing image pulls at me. But I still needed some sort of a push.

So when I heard Women on Adventures was planning a surf trip I jumped! That was all I needed. This opportunity knocked right at my door at the perfect time when I was ready to unlock my adventurous side. I was the first one to sign up. I didn’t care about the rest of the details. I was in, no question.

The weeks leading up to it, I was nervous. I was worried about my neck issues stirring up. I was silly worried about sharks. I scared of drowning. You name it. All sorts of fears came up to try to talk me out of it. But nope my heart wasn’t having it. Instead, I practiced swimming so I wouldn’t drown. I physically conditioned myself a bit more and brought pain medication and ice packs on the trip for my neck. And I googled shark swim patterns to know for sure how slim the chances were of seeing a shark in August on La Jolla Beach.

Then finally came the day to surf with Surf Diva instructors.

It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. The instructors were great taking us through all the steps. The showed us how to pop up on the board and taught us a bit about how to read the ocean. Then we got into the water.

Boy were those boards heavy. The hardest part truly is walking those big 9 foot boards through the waves, and repeating every time you get knocked off.

Otherwise, it’s just a blast!

Once you’re going, paddling with the waves at your back you pop up (or try your best at standing up in my case) and it’s seconds of mindless bliss. And I mean a second because, if you’re me, then you fall.

I never got completely up on the board. I was able to pop up in a low crouch, but not completely up. After the first couple of times I kept overthinking things about where to put my feet “ok next time make sure your front foot is forward more and don’t lean so much to the right.” The more I thought about it the worse I did. Then my body got tired. For my last wave, I just got up to my knees and rode the wave in that way (see photo above). That’s all I had for this time and that’s totally okay. At least now I know what to expect for next time, how it feels, how to prepare or rather how not to prepare and just do.

As I write out my thoughts for the day I’m sitting on the beach watching surfers. Some of them get up every time, some get up on one wave then fall the next. Other are falling every time. And there are others just floating on their boards and hanging out. I was never trying to be Patrick Swayze’s stunt double anyway. And by the way, that movie – NO WAY Keanu Reeves learns how to surf those big waves that quickly. Yes, I knew it was only a movie, but still.

I definitely intend to try it again. I’m already looking up surf camps in California, Costa Rica or wherever.

It’s funny. I was so worked up about this, but really it’s like testing out my sister’s skate board or learning how to ice skate. You won’t be amazing the very first time. But once you’ve tried it, it’s no longer this foreign scary obscure concept. It’s just a cool activity I can do from now on if I want.

Moving past the fear just opened me up to more of life. Surfing is now another thing I can say I do. 

And my neck – it was a bit sore that day. I was proactive though with medication, stretching and ice wraps. I’ve already seen my doctor and he says I wasn’t really banged up at all. He was expecting a lot worse. So I can keep going and surf more?! He said “Absolutely!” Well doctor’s order! 🙂

Now on to my next adventure! I won’t exactly be jumping out of a plane quite yet, I still have this whole terrifying fear of heights, but I am going to try Indoor Skydiving at iFly for the 2nd part in my Point Break adventure.

Daring to Be Confident

It’s day 10 of my birthday month! Even though I haven’t blogged everyday, I’ve still been celebrating.

This week had a theme for me: confidence!

I’ve taken the time to remember all of my accomplishments. See, I love mementos. I savor ticket stubs, thank you notes and other things to remind me of some of my favorite experiences in a keepsake box. The other day I opened this box and pulled everything out.

I’ll be honest, the emotions ran rampant as I spread everything out in my front room. I relived lessons from South Africa with Ubuntu (I am because we are) paintings. I re-felt the feelings of triumph as I stared at my medals from half marathons and 5ks. I remembered the confidence I had as I traveled alone through Washington DC and joined a group of then “strangers” exploring Italy. And, I cherished all the love and support I have in my life as I looked at a family photo collage I created a few years back.

I stood over my keepsakes in my living room looking down. This is me! All of this, this is who I am and the person I have become. I love it!

This confidence has carried on. I’ve dared to be bold and sure of myself through a few vulnerable conversations.

Today, I’m grasping on to this confidence with two full fists as I prepare to cross off a huge life goal: SURFING! It’s exciting and a bit frightening, but I’m jumping in ready to conquer with style.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Day 3: Relaxing Bliss

It’s day 3 of my birthday month!! It’s funny, while this is again something I can do any old day, the idea of a birthday month just makes me smile. Yes, I’ve had a few people roll their eyes at me. “You don’t get a month you get a day” I don’t care. I say month so month it is.

The first day I enjoyed a face mask. I won’t post a photo here because it was charcoal black and a tad scary without the context. I also did a hair mask. This is moisturizing ointment to keep your hair soft. I had received this bottle from a Singles Swag box a while back, but never used it. Unfortunately it only covered the ends of my hair, but it smelled pretty.

Yesterday I didn’t plan anything. I actually sat up at 8ish at night thinking I need to do something what do I do. Then I sort of got anxiety to plan something. I was anxious to plan something to celebrate myself. That didn’t make sense. So instead I gave myself permission to do nothing. Then again I did officially book my indoor skydiving adventure for later this month – so we can say actually making that commitment could be it too! 

Today, for day 3 I had to celebrate with some TimTams – chocolate biscuits from Australia. I’ve tried them before, but have recently been saying I was going to grab some from World Market. Today I finally did.

 

 

A birthday month: It’s relaxing bliss. The little frustrations don’t make as much of an impact for me. Let’s hope I can keep this up.

 

Daring to Heal

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.” – Brene Brown in Daring Greatly

A couple months ago I wrote about my vision board in a blog post called Welcome to Someday. This board shows all the amazing things I want to do in my life. I was going to wait and give an update on my vision board after at least completing one of the items on it. However, recently staring at my vision board as brought me to an important realization.

When I first created it with words of strength and healing and images of travel, in my head I was saying I need to get stronger first in order to accomplish the rest of the goals on the board.

For the past 10 years I have dwelt with a chiropractic issue. I continue to deal with all the emotions and pain associated with my injury. All of these years I have continued to think that if I do X it will hurt, so I simply CAN’T do X until I’m healed.

Then the universe steps in. I truly believe we all have certain conversations, and engage with the right people, to guide us in our life journey – the purpose of which comes to light when we are ready to see it. It’s all part of the journey: the whole motto of this blog.

In separate conversations, my doctor and my mom both reminded me it’s okay to still do things. My body NEEDS to still do things in order to get stronger and learn how to heal. In other words, when I fall while ice skating and wake up with a sore neck it doesn’t mean I should never go ice skating again. The more I go ice skating the more my body will get used to it.

At the time, I listened to their advice, but it was taking its time to sink in. See, instead, I kept dwelling on the first part – going ice skating and getting heard and feeling this pain all over again. I am SOO tired of this pain. I hate that I can’t do! What about surfing? Should I not be going surfing next month? If I feel like this after ice skating, maybe I should live in a bubble. My thoughts swirled.

I stared at my vision board. I can never do these things because I will never get past the “get strong” goal. That’s when their advice really sank in. I’m not supposed to heal first in order to do all of the things I want to do in my life. I need to play anyway. I need to “Take the Leap” as my board says while I’m healing. I sat there and thought about this for a second. If I do the things that make me happy, the things that will nourish my soul, even if I feel pain afterward it’ll be worth it. Surfing, for an example, has been a goal since watching the movie Point Break when I was a kid. Yes, it will probably make me sore. But at least I can say I did it. I’ll just have to take the steps to soothe the pain after, but it’ll be worth it. Play first, then schedule an adjustment / massage or whatever.

Now I’m going to be completely honest. While I am beginning to accept this realization, I held my previous way of thinking about my neck for 10 years. It’s going to take a few reminders to completely change my hesitations. But I’m working on it.

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.” – Brene Brown in Daring Greatly

I read this passage in a book recently. It’s one I intend to stick to my bathroom wall for a daily reminder. Those of you who know me – hold me accountable to it. I may need your help to pull myself out of my own head from time to time until I really get it.

This is me daring to heal!

Loving the Journey

Recently, I was asked the meaning behind my blog title. The word journey means different things to different people. For me, it’s continuing story of my trip to Cape Town, South Africa.

This trip was the most life-changing experience for me, in every definition of the cliche.

A group of us traveled through home-stays understanding and appreciating the beautiful country of South. Our guide directors instilled a few theme lessons during the trip: one being “Trust the Journey.” We learned and were constantly reminded that every step of the trip was part of the journey. From the selection interview to participate in the trip, to the pre-homework, the 18 hours of flying to finally reach Cape Town, all the emotions and experiences of the 7 week trip, and even the departure. It was all part of the journey. Each emotional, frightening, exciting or aggravating step was part of the journey – accept it as such and keep going.

This lesson was ingrained in us during our scavenger hunt our first full day in a foreign city. Yeah, I wrote a post about that one, you can read it later (here).

We brought it up ourselves in laughs and irritations.

Finally after the most incredible 7 weeks, we began our departure. We fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and then had to catch a connecting flight to New York. It was a long 7 weeks. We were exhausted. But we still had another flight or two to actually get home. As we rushed to catch our connection, security slowed us down. The large bags and other items had to be scanned. Ugh!

But then we looked up, and laughed. On the wall at the Johannesburg airport was the sign “Love the Journey.” It was way too perfect. Yes, this airport crazy was part of the journey too!

For me, the journey wasn’t just the trip. It didn’t ended when I arrived home. My experience on this trip impacted me in more ways than I probably grasp now. I opened up a bit more as person. I understood more about myself and the world. And I gained a thirst for travel.

This blog connects all of those lessons I learned, and more. It’s my way of inspiring myself and hopefully to inspire you a bit.

Read my previous Trust the Journey post for a bit more about the trip.

Welcome to Someday

What does it take to truly start living the way you want? How do you start ticking off those life goals and travel destinations from your bucket list?

I admire those people who have that natural let’s go attitude. You see them bouncing around doing one crazy thing after the next. For me, I need a bit more self-talk. I think things over, consider all the “what ifs”, and then after letting it stew in my head for a while I’ll go do it. Or if I wait too long I just never do it. It’s okay I’ll do it “someday” – I tell myself.

But when does someday happen? How do we know when it’s here?

Honestly sometimes, I annoy myself. I can picture myself with a fun lifestyle. But what lock do I need to open to set myself free? What will it take to have the life I want? 

Recently I’ve begun to ponder these questions even more. I’ve sat in frustration over my monotonous day to day life. It was unfulfilling. Something was missing. I could picture my dreams, but I can’t quite get there. I’m at that sort of pause in my life where I’ve taken a step back to think about my goals. I may be in mid-twenties, but I still have to re-evaluate what I want to do when I grow up.

Meditation 

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

It was time for self-exploration, which for me meant journaling and meditation. I started Deepak Chopra’s 22-part meditation for “Getting UnStuck: Creating a Limitless Life.” Through it, I’ve allowed myself to face what was holding me back. We all have scars and phrases we’ve internalized throughout our lives. It’s easy to hide behind them. Believe me, I have. I’ve closed myself into a box, at times I even climbed into a smaller box inside that other box. Taking it a step further, I began to accept the past as past and let it go. Then the next step: opening yourself up to the creativity around you.

A few funny things happened during this process. Others around me opened up too further supporting my lessons for healing and acceptance.

Vision Board 

Then I read an article about creating a vision board. I had thought about it before, and it was finally time to do it. The article advised readers to grab all the magazines and a pair of scissors, and then just cut out any images or words that speak out to you. Cut out those pretty things that make you smile, or words that motivate you to make things happen. Clear your mind of inhibitions and just cut. So I did just that.

After I scoured through every magazine I had, I spread out my clippings on a poster board. It was quite impressive.

I had clipped out images and words of strength. Those words are my personal promise to dedicate time for my 
physical therapy. I have an injury that at times has gotten in the way of me moving forward. I can heal, but this too has been a “one of these days” or “someday” thing. The time is now to focus on it.  This way my  “someday” can carry me into greater adventures, like traveling.

In my quiet concentration, I had also clipped out the Northern Lights in Alaska, a night city view of Rio de Janiero, a rainbow in a rain forest in Costa Rica, and the ocean by Hawaii.

I added words to appreciate my inner beauty. There’s love and family. There’s nature and the wild.

For me, this vision board isn’t a timeline. It’s not even just goals. It the beautiful thoughts and ideas I want in my life. It’s a way to call out to the universe. The things is these have always been my goals and dreams. I’ve always known them. But bringing them to life is empowering. It’s me accepting that this is what I want … and more importantly says YES to it.

Women on Adventures 

Incredible things happen when you open yourself up. During this process of meditating, and creating a vision board I also got to know a friend. She started a pretty cool group called Women on Adventures. It’s a network that encourages women to “Get Out, Get Connected.” How perfect! I’ll definitely be sharing fun adventures from my trip with this group!

 

Welcome to Someday

This brings me back to the title of this post. I’m ready for that “someday” I was always waiting for. Today is someday. It’s time for some crazy adventures. Maybe like surfing with Women on Adventures in San Diego ….