I should be happy, right? I mean, I live here. People spend thousands of dollars to come here for vacation.
What else could I want?
The water is such a deep blue. The sky is clear. Along this hike, I spotted whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. Being here, seeing this, being in Australia.
Rewind a year, and you find me working at a counseling job I don’t like.
I am overwhelmed, living in fear, and grasping at even glimpses of happiness or peace. I know those are words in the English vocabulary, but that would be the extent of my relationship with them.
When my husband and I decided we would move to Australia, I thought, “Yes! That is it!”
I can get out of this field that I am unhappy with and start over. I can be in a place where everything is new and unknown. I can pursue my dream of working with animals—this is going to be great. Just please, save me from this life I am currently leading.
Going from a stress-filled work environment to a beach in Australia, I can tell you that your location does not guarantee you a level of happiness, peace, or joy.
I had always believed that I needed external things to make my life what I wanted it to be. I had to have the right job. I had to have the right relationships. I had to have the right material possessions. Then, and only then, I could finally “arrive.”
The sad thing was that I was wasting my life waiting to arrive. I did a complete 180 on my life. I changed the external in almost all ways possible, save for my marriage. And yet, those seemingly allusive feelings of happiness, peace, joy—where were they? They still hadn’t arrived.
This was something that made me take a damn good look at myself. I could no longer blame my job. I could no longer blame my coworkers. I could no longer blame where I lived. I could only hold the accountability mirror up to myself. I was the common denominator in all these scenarios. It was me—sh*t.
Then I realized I was missing.
It almost would have been appropriate to do a missing person’s report. That’s how far gone I felt. A while ago, my heart was telling me things that did not fit into what my mind wanted.
So, I shut off my heart, made a massive head decision, and never went back. That resulted in me splitting my soul. I made that choice and lived with the painful consequences. I shut out my heart because it was inconvenient. It was telling me things I didn’t want to hear. And what changed everything for me was finally giving those nagging feelings in my heart a voice. I finally said out loud what I knew my heart was saying to me.
I couldn’t hide from that voice anymore.
And you know what I felt? Peace. This peace filled my whole body, from head to toe. I felt safe. I felt supported. I felt like I belonged on this earth.
All from speaking the seemingly unspeakable. All from facing the truth of my life. The truth of who I was.
The thing that I thought was going to kill me was the thing that set me free. I knew what the truth was. I knew that I could face it. And I knew that it would bring me peace. It just turned into a matter of trusting truth over fear.
On this aesthetically beautiful hike in Queensland, Australia, I spent the first half of the hike mentally absorbing all the scenery around me. I could see with my eyes that it was beautiful, but it wasn’t sinking into my soul.
When I get to the spot in the picture, I stopped, and I sat. I felt into my body; I felt the tension, I felt the pain. And I listened. I listened to the messages that my body was sending me. I gave them a voice. They tell me that I should have planned this trip better. I shouldn’t have had to look so long for parking. I should be better at life than I am. I should be better than I am.
From there, I was able to connect to the little girl inside of me who just wants everything to be okay. She just wants to feel safe. She just wants her life to be okay.
“Ahhh, I see. I see you, Sarah.”
And when I see myself, the compassion for myself flows. I comfort the little girl and reassure her that we are safe, supported, loved—we belong.
That everything absolutely will be okay. My body eased and relaxed. I look back at the beautiful, blue ocean in front of me, and while beautiful, I suddenly realize that to me, my heart is more beautiful than this view in front of me. I feel my heart and know that nothing can compare to that.
I see myself as God sees me. Not better. Not worse. As is. I love myself. I am internally sourced.
The beautiful thing about this is that I didn’t have to come up with a 10-part plan of how I was going to live my life more organized. I didn’t have to fix myself or my heart in any way.
I simply had to be present with myself, feel what I was feeling, give those feelings a voice, and offer myself compassion. Then joy, peace, and happiness flowed freely.
The feelings that I thought were just beyond my next purchase. The feelings that were on the other side of the next career path. They were within me all along. They were locked behind a door, and I finally found the key.
So if you find yourself wondering where your peace, joy, and happiness are at, ask yourself how connected do you feel to your heart? Are you listening? Do you know what desires are stored inside? Do you hear the messages it has for you?
If yes, and you are still searching for peace, happiness, and joy, then ask yourself:
What is holding you back from making those desires and messages take shape in the physical world?
What fears, limiting beliefs, perceived obstacles are in the way?
If no, I encourage you to get quiet, get still. Set a timer on your phone and just breathe. Breathe, get curious, get open. Approach yourself as a curious observer to your own experience.
You have so much self-wisdom inside, just waiting to be heard.
If you get quiet long enough, consistently enough, my guess is that your heart will be more than willing to open up to you to reveal the secrets stored inside. That is pure gold, my friends, no matter how daunting it may seem to the mind.
Trust your heart, always.