I have always been a little bit different, a searcher, a questioner, someone who would take an unorthodox path purely because it was different.
Life had shown me over and over again that following the masses almost always ended badly. All around me I saw unhappy relationships, people stuck in jobs they hated, restless and weary from walking the old roads fashioned for them by the many who had walked them before.
After years of questioning, being on the spiritual path, having done countless meditation courses, two yoga courses, journeys that took me deep into myself and the meanings of life, I found that somewhere on my journey I had become stuck, there was no movement, my life had become small and stagnant.
There was no exact moment in time that this realization dawned on me, it was rather a progressive series of events, some minor in their effects on my psyche and others which left me bruised and weary.
There was an underlying restlessness, a wanting and an aching for something more, and even though I grew more restless and dissatisfied with each passing day, I seemed to be stuck where I was.
My life felt stale and old, it had become like wearing a pair of shoes which I had long ago outgrown, they are familiar and known to me, shaped and molded to my unique footprint, yet they chafed and pinched, left me taking small hesitant steps, never wondering too far out of my familiar routines.
I had known long ago that something needed to happen, that a change much bigger than a new wardrobe or haircut was needed, to heed the cry and longing of a soul that was dying a little each day.
Life, disappointment, fear, routine, and a little thing called playing small had kept me trapped in a dull and boring existence. Instead of growing and expanding as spirit is longing to do. I had been stuck in a job that was meant to be an in-between gig, something to pay the bills until I figured out my next step.
That in-betweener ended up lasting four years; in which time I promised myself countless times that I would move on, start doing something else, as soon as the right opportunity presented itself. I had big plans and great ideas to pursue wedding photography, to start taking my yoga teaching more seriously, to start writing.
There were endless false starts and unfinished projects, I would start a course and then halfway through decide I was not good enough and would never be the best at it and in my books that means immediate abandonment of said task or activity.
I have come to learn in recent years that if I just get a sense of something going to turn into disappointment I would immediately run, I would run fast and I would run far. Yet I never seemed able to outrun the disappointment and frustration that followed as yet another venture lay unfinished or unresolved.
I was making myself small, procrastinating, keeping my voice and stories locked up inside.
It is often said that once you’ve started on a journey to self discovery, there is no turning back. I could feel my souls discomfort and misery, life was starting to make itself heard, pushing and pulling, ripping open old scars, tainting my delusion of the comfortable life I thought I had.
Things that were meant to be falling together were instead falling apart and I was at a complete loss.
My ex-boyfriend mentioned casually once that we should go and live in Thailand for a while. Having felt for a while that I needed a big change in my life I was immediately drawn to the idea, and found that even after we had broken it off that I was still being pulled in this direction.
I’ve reached a point in my life where there was nowhere to go but up, to release the chains and the ties that bound me and to take a leap into the unknown, away from everything and everyone I love, a huge step out into the unfamiliar, so that I could take the steps closer to myself.
The decision was not an easy one, I have a 10 year old son, bills that need to be paid, yoga classes that needed to be covered and so many other excuses my ego came up with, I found that once I made the decision, however hesitantly at that time, everything just seemed to fall into place.
A car that needed to be sold was done within a day, my job did not need any notice and my yoga classes were easily covered. I was able to slip out of my life quite easily, and despite a huge resistance I was still experiencing, I eventually packed my bags and said my final goodbyes to South Africa.
I once read a post that said, “To live this life is to learn to let go.” Now I have never been able to let go of things easily, I am a self proclaimed hoarder, holding onto letters and trinkets, holding onto sentiments and words, holding onto relationships, to bad experiences, to good experiences, to friends, to enemies and mostly to what ifs and maybes. My head is filled with an endless amount of possible realities and a whole host of other variables which make the concept of letting go seem like a monumental task.
So it is, that I find myself on this journey, part of me bravely stepping into the unknown, as what’s left of me desperately clings to the remnants of a life I outgrew long ago, but which still offers the comforts of the familiar.
I guess it’s sort of like having a lover who we stopped loving long ago, all passion and fire having died down to barely flickering embers and ash, yet we hold onto that which is known to us, losing sight of the opportunities for expansion and growth which is our birthright.
This is my story of the growth and experience that comes from taking that step out of the familiar, my journey into the unchartered waters of the experience we call “letting go”, and it is also my invitation to you, to take that step closer to yourself, the real you, stripped bare of the opinions and needs of others, discarding the false persona’s you wear.
To step with me into this space of silence where we can finally see ourselves, the true essence that has been there all along, waiting to come out.
Where are you holding on in life, what shadows do you carry with you each day, which leave you drained and uninspired? What stories do you tell yourself, to keep yourself small and comfortable?
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Assistant Editor: Leace Hughes / Ed: Catherine Monkman