For the past few months, my VW and I have been doing our own version of 'Thelma & Louise' as we traveled from Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, to Austin, then Dallas, Texas; upward to Santa Fe, New Mexico; onward to Denver, Colorado, and then back through Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and finally returning to the starting point.
I had plenty of time to think, especially in the frequent patches without cellular service. I did notice that the more scenic routes were the ones without any cell service. This metaphor applies to my personal journey over the last few years, as I have slowly carved out a new path that, at times, had left me feeling disconnected from myself, others, and the world.
I know I am not alone in having had periods of time feeling disconnected. It seems to be part of the journey--this adventure of life. During personal times without a cell signal to the outside world, our senses can become heightened internally and externally. Like my road trip, when I stopped growling about the lack of a signal and started to look around, the perceived scenery of cow pastures, oil rigs, deserts, and mountains became more pronounced.
This type of journey invites—actually demands—deep reflection. My two-year “inner road trip” forced me to reflect upon how I had long resisted the call of my gypsy soul. For decades i had often “settled in” somewhere, but would eventually start to feel restless. Over the years, I had repeatedly received criticism for my bohemian spirit, and so I reluctantly tried to conform to what society expected from a "responsible adult professional.”
My heart longed for more freedom, but my “logical” brain told her to be patient. A few years ago, though, when I had squeezed almost every ounce of creativity out of my soul and suffocated the internal voice pleading for freedom, it became painfully apparent that I could either become an advocate for that voice, or lose myself forever. So, I jumped off that proverbial cliff into the chasm of the unknown, and relied on a splinter of faith for either a safety net or wings: I decluttered toxins in my life, including work and people (and thoughts and beliefs), to embark on a new journey.
I will not sugarcoat this: It was not a very soft landing. But, I survived, and it did make me stronger. As challenging, dark, and lonely that path felt at times, internally I felt more emotionally alive than I had felt in the prior decades. Just as the caterpillar has an inkling of a better life at the end of that food coma, my inner voice had held tight to a belief that life happens for me, not to me, and everything would work itself out in the end.
And it did.
- Once I gave myself permission to sleep, I felt rested.
- Once I gave myself permission to experiment, life’s magic began unfolding for me, not against me.
- Once I allowed myself to feel vulnerable, I felt stronger.
- Once I allowed myself to be and receive love, more love flowed to me and through me.
- And once I allowed myself to embrace my bohemian side (and accept the generous, hospitality of family and friends), I found that inner peace to settle in somewhere--for a little while, at least....
So, here I am at the end of one scenic route, ready to begin another magical adventure. As I stand on this precipice of another exciting leap into the unknown, my body, mind, and soul understand that I needed the previous two years’ journey—the scenic journey—so I can enjoy this next one.
Rocky Mountains in Colorado