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January 26, 2020

8 Things I learned from Leaving Everything Behind.

About two years ago, I left two businesses that I spent most of my 20s and 30s creating.

For 15 years I was a psychotherapist, a role that came naturally to me. I was good at my job and over the course of time, built a successful practice that turned into avenues for other gigs, such as lecturing at universities and giving workshops on topics advancing the field. With a business partner, I also founded and designed a space in midtown Manhattan for psychotherapists to practice, a prime piece of real estate in NYC that also became a great success.

I lived a comfortable life. I was following to the best of my ability what felt “right” and fulfilling to me in the moment.

Yet, over the course of my career, I realized that my passions were beginning to change and my heart called for something different. There was a vague sense of emptiness always present inside of me, a haunting voice of sadness not big enough to consume me, but loud enough to consistently agitate me. It gave me the sense that something was missing.

This voice started as a whisper and turned into a shout: “You’re doing what you think you should do, not what you really want to do.”

After years of trying to band-aid my emotional aches and pains with fun travel adventures and getting more creative within my profession, I finally left my life in New York—the city I had been in love with for so long, and the life I worked so hard to build.

I moved to Berlin, Germany and spent a year and a half simply exploring life through travel and engaging in the ordinary. And after two years of giving myself space without any pressure to decide who I would become or what I would do next, it came to me: an intensely clear vision to make art—a vision so strong that for nights upon nights I couldn’t sleep. I knew I was being called.

Yet, I had never studied art before. Never in my life did I think I would have a career as an artist—and never had I attempted to dive into something like this without the structure of teachers or a school.

But here I was taking the jump: no planes, trains, or automobiles. Just me, my body, and my heart following a gut feeling even though it felt uncomfortable and I was scared sh*tless.

I realized that if I wanted to make a change, I must tolerate the fear and vulnerability that come with taking a leap into the unknown.

I experienced these feelings as a massive wave crashing down upon me. It said, “Girl, if you honor your feelings and welcome the unknown, you will fall deeper in love with life and receive gifts you can’t even imagine.”

And that is exactly what happened.

In the year after I left my life of “shoulds,” I fell deeply in love with life—a never-ending, constantly expanding, mad love affair. It’s a love that comes not from “the man of my dreams” or being recognized for my achievements, but rather identifying, honoring, and releasing the desires inside me without having a damn clue where they will take me.

I poured myself into making art for five months, and by the end of the year I sold more than eight pieces and received two commissions. I found my works being exhibited in two different galleries in Berlin.

We are taught the unknown is an unsafe place to be, yet following our hearts—which often at first feels terrifying—is the safest place we can ever be. It’s the one place we can trust.

I am only just beginning and have no idea where this will lead, but as I have moved through the process, this is what I’ve learned: If we’re brave enough to be clueless, we find life and all its mind-blowing, life-altering surprises waiting to meet us.

So if you want to explode with joy, fall in love with life, and get everything you want, these eight insights are what I learned along the way:

1. We are here to bring our ideas, desires, and inspiration into form.
We are here to create stuff and the stuff we create becomes our work. Whether we make art, take care of children, operate on a brain, or sweep floors, our work should resonate with us. If it doesn’t resonate, stop making it.

When we express our ideas, desires, and feelings, we connect with life force energy. When we continue to do what doesn’t resonate, our ideas, desires, and feelings get energetically trapped inside our bodies. When energy gets trapped, we suffer from insomnia, depression, addictions, physical ailments, emptiness, and other fun stuff.

2. Follow your inspiration without any attachment to outcome.
When we get an idea, we might come up with a detailed vision of how it will work out. While this is important, what’s more important is to let go of the details shortly after. In other words, hold on to the essence of the main idea, but throw out the grammar and correct punctuation.

Why? Because the visions we hold for ourselves are often based on outdated belief systems that aren’t always in line with our fullest potential. There is a higher-self within, a cosmic voice, guiding us toward everything we need. In my experience, the best surprises come when I stop resisting the things that defy my expectations and open myself to a different version.

3. As we support our callings, life supports us.
Yes, we live in a world where money is a thing and yes, our “survival” depends on that thing. But money in its highest form is a tool for our creative expansion. In other words, that we “have” to make money means we have the choice to think creatively about what we can do to make this happen. Money pushes us to give form to our inspirations.

When we do what we feel inspired to do, rather than what we feel we should do, we set in motion the law of abundance.

One of the law’s main tenants is that as we share our gifts, we receive back many times over—financial backing included. When we align with what we are here to express, when we connect with our flow rather than some societal or parental ideological stream that has no clue about who we are, then life aligns and provides us with everything we need to fulfill our calling.

When we ignore our callings, life won’t abandon us. It will slap us in the face with tough love experiences that ask us to wake the hell up.

4. What heals us, heals others.
When we choose to follow our heart, express our feelings, and pursue the excitement moving inside us, it heals us. And when we heal ourselves, we heal the planet. Doesn’t that feel good?

5. Trust the process.
We have two choices: We can feel like sh*t doing the same sh*t we do every day and go nowhere, or we can move more deeply into our feelings and let ourselves be vulnerable. We may likely feel like complete sh*t in the process because stepping out of our comfort zone means uncomfortable things will surface—sometimes painful things, like traumas we never dealt with—but the end to this version of the story is not the same old suffering. This is the part we need to trust.

It’s a new world where walking through pain leads to a lighter, more magical reality in which expansion has no limit. After time, it becomes clear that embracing the process is the point of life—rather than some end game like fame or monetary success or whatever. Falling deeply in love comes as a direct result of honoring our whole being and allowing things to be while holding a greater vision for ourselves.

When we trust the process, we gain trust in ourselves. And when we trust ourselves, anything that appears in our lives—the good, the bad, and the ugly—becomes a gift and source for a greater love story.

6. Mistakes lead to the greatest discoveries.
Honor, honor, honor your mistakes and imperfections. Being an artist has taught me more about this than any other experience. Many of my biggest painting “mistakes” ended up being my best sellers, and my most impulsive moves led to the discovery of techniques that bring me the most joy when I create.

7. Confidence is not the absence of insecurity.
It is the ability to feel vulnerable and insecure—to name it and move forward despite the fear, the flops, and f*ck ups. Feeling ashamed, scared, or lost as hell is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human and—if we are up for it—enlightenment—it’s really about feeling your feels, being in your body, and being real. This is the route to nirvana and we can find it here.

8. Create Space.
When we are bringing something into the world or waiting for something to come to us, we must allow a balance between action and rest. One underemphasized aspect of manifestation is the importance of passivity—of creating space for the seeds we planted to grow. Do the basil seeds you planted grow more quickly when you overwater them? Same idea. Don’t force the form. Slow your roll and let the space speak.

So what happens as a result of all this?

We get many of the things our society suggests we should attain: success, money, recognition, fill in the blank. But instead of being an end game or the source of our self-worth, these treasures become enjoyable by-products of simply following the inspiration and flow of our hearts.

We fall in love because our aliveness comes from honoring and expressing ourselves as we are.

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