This is a little story I wrote about a stage in my life, which got published in this e-Book by Chris Ward, back in 2015 -
I look down at my hand and see it clasping a key ring – the same one that held the keys to my little blue Peugeot, my roomy apartment, my seafront office, my locker at the nearby Westin spa; now all it holds is two tiny keys – an original and a spare. To my giant, purple suitcase.
And I ask myself – what would I, at this stage, call a life worth living? One filled with accomplishments, big events, fancy titles, pleasing, competing, acquiring; one measured with keys, degrees, boxes ticked and goals achieved? Perhaps.
But one day, you come to realise all this has made you feel so broken and unreal that all you have left is to sit down, quietly and draft a brief farewell letter to your fears, fold it carefully, place it into your pocket, turn around and jump.
Jump with all your might.
Off the narrow path of conformity and into the wide open, uninviting, absolutely terrifying unknown.
And this is what I did. I jumped.
Would I fall or would I fly?
I picked the latter and 3 flights, 5 movies and 36 hours later, I landed in Bali.
The island opened its arms wide and invited me into its tropical, lush green, healing embrace. I sat for hours, listening to the cheery sounds little geckos made, watching coconuts grow and fireflies twinkle at night, reading, learning and talking to every person who was willing to share their story with me.
There I discovered a type of yoga and a holistic medicine modality, which fundamentally changed the way I looked at myself and life. Eventually, these practices took me to the Indian city of Mysore, where I enrolled into a yoga teacher training programme and later, back to London, to train and prepare for a career as a therapist, a teacher, a healer. My life-long dreams.
There was no going back to what I had left behind.
Yes, the path of dreams is lined up with uncertainties but I no longer need to pick up the pieces of my broken soul each night so I can fall asleep. There is no longer a paycheck that sits enticingly on my desk to show me it is the 26th once again but this also means I have not spent yet another month, investing into someone else’s pocket while sitting, heavily, on the lid of my box with dreams. I no longer have those life-saving four weeks of paid holiday but what I do have, is the freedom to work towards a life where I don’t need to fly as far as I possibly can, to forget my reality.
I was born and grew up in communist Bulgaria – an era and culture almost entirely geared towards creating standards, establishing beliefs and breeding fear. If I could find the courage to step off the conformity path and follow my dreams, anyone can do it!
And few little things that may of help along your way too:
1. Write a farewell letter to your fears. 99% of our fears and worries never live to see the light. You don’t need them. Cross them off your mind and enjoy the freedom!
2. Don’t wait for the perfect moment – start now. Save up, read, downsize your life, evaluate your belief system, make a list of things you love doing, recall your childhood dreams.
3. Be patient. It’s ok not to know, not to feel a clearly defined purpose, not to have a meticulous plan. It’s all made up of little, incremental steps, which eventually add up to create that life-changing leap.
4. Don’t confine your life to familiar boundaries – step out of the comfort zone, start by doing one new thing each day, something you’ve never done before; it could be as little as taking a different route to work, smiling at a stranger, going for a run with the local club. Teach yourself how to become comfortable with the discomfort. The only way to do this is practice.
5. Don’t expect to have it all worked out before you decide to step off. Just take the first step. Create the space in your life and heart and things will start to fall into place as you go along. I promise you!
6. Replace your expectations (judgement) with expectancy (child-like wonder). Anything could happen and whatever that is, remember the closing phrase from Castaway – “Now I know what I have to do. I gotta keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring.”