Walking past a famous boutique hotel celebrating their 10-years anniversary, reminds me that 2014 marks my 10th year in the neighborhood as well.
2004 seems such a long time ago.
10 years – how time flies. What has happened in the last 10 years. What has changed. What has stayed the same.
Looking in the mirror, my reflection looks like nothing has changed physically on the outside. Okay sure, my weight has fluctuated. My hair is a different length, different style. I have a few more fine lines around my eyes. I have some scars on my knees and thigh from recent accidents.
Overall, externally – I am “Same, Same but Different“.
Emotionally, mentally, spiritually – even physiologically I am nothing like I was 10 years ago.
2004 was a big year for me, namely 3 big events happened that spun me around 180 degrees within 60 days.
Under the employment tab, I returned back to structural engineering after a 2-year hiatus. I had ventured into floral design, worked in various flower shops and studios. This decision was because I became a homeowner that same year with the boyfriend. Let’s just say, the paycheck of a floral designer is a fraction of a structural engineer and when faced with a mortgage – one has to do what one has to do to keep the bank manager happy.
The third event blind-sided me. The man I spent 5 years with walked out on the relationship without any explanation on Christmas eve. What’s a girl to do when she’s left alone for the first time in her life during Christmas, in her brand new home – I balled my eyes out, alone, on my own.
In hindsight, 2004 was a HUGE turning point in my life – well it was more like an S-curve and not just some simple turn around a corner.
I have to admit, it took me a while to get my footing and luckily had help from some amazing friends and complete strangers who became friends – it just took time, faith and trust.
The love that was lost forced me to step out of the fog that was my life, and come back to reality. In the last 2 years of the relationship, I ignored and did not want to deal with the fact that the love between us faded away. In short, we both gave up. We didn’t even fight. I still remember the day that I said “It seems like we are more like roommates than anything else.” In addition to this, I had allowed friendships to slip away and what’s worse, I stopped talking to my mom – I was on an “island” with just a handful of human beings I could contact.
I went to psychotherapy sessions – realized I am co-dependent. I went to an anonymous group to face my co-dependency.
At the time, I started practicing yoga at a neighborhood studio called Downward Dog. A girl friend who was very different than my “normal” cluster of friend opened me to a whole new world – she taught pilates, introduced me to polarity therapy, cranial sacral therapy, Brain Gym, and flower essence remedies. All of these alternative and energy medicine mumble jumble was foreign to me, I had to admit I was skeptical but I was willing to try.
My mind was opening to new concepts, to new ways of being. I was shifting.
Even my religious views were changing – my parents believe in Buddhism. They sent me to a Catholic convent school until I was 10 years old. When we immigrated to Canada, I slowly became an atheist as I grew up. With exposure to alternative medicine, energy medicine and yoga, I started to look at Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism, considered the existence of a Greater power and considered the existence of Universal energy, Universal knowledge.
When I was referred to see a naturopath by my manager at work, I became part of a whole new world. I was learning and growing in leaps and bounds. I started to meditate. Events from past lives were brought into view and consideration. I was waking up to consciousness, awareness. I joined the School of Philosophy who’s motto is “Awaken to Conscious Living” and when I felt more change was required, I left. All the while, I read many books that I would never have thought to read before and every now and then I would pick up a chick-lit book to “come back to society”.
At times, I felt like I was torn between the “woo woo” world and the “normal” world – where did these labels come from? Why is there a separation? Where in my belief system made me uncomfortable to talk about spirituality?
Fast forward to 2012, I had to get real. As much as I enjoyed certain aspects of my career as a structural engineer, I simply could not see myself as one when I reach retirement age. This would be my 3rd and final attempt to leave the field. I don’t want to sound cliché but the “Soul searching” bumper sticker was slapped onto my back.
I was so lost and tried to see aspects of myself in everything I came across.
I joined the practitioner’s mentoring circle which my naturopath created – it was to be a group of fierce and fabulous individuals committed to healing, creating and serving. I looked at industrial design courses, requirements to be a pyrotechnician. I attended Culinary and Biomimicry courses at local universities. There were so many weekend workshops and courses; including BodyTalk Access, BodyTalk Mindscape, BodyTalk BreakThrough. I took an interest into crystal therapy and a broad range of essence remedies (flower, crystal, coral, sacred locations). I even became an Usui Reiki practitioner and recently became a Shamballa Reiki practitioner. Currently, I am studying to be a yoga teacher at my old studio, Downward Dog. With a more intense yoga practice, I am awakening to my body, I can finally connecting to my own physical body.
Then of course, somewhere in all of that, I traveled, a lot as a single woman. In the past 10 years, I have traveled to 36 different countries. Each town, each city, each sacred site, each country offered me something different. I am not just talking about the different cultures, customs, cuisine, modes of transportation, costumes, lifestyle, belief systems, education system, religious views and beliefs. I am talking about unique take-aways, personal experiences that are unique for me. In one palace I recalled a past life event. Another time, I collected some of the sacred energy available at the Intihuatana stone at Machu Picchu. I tried my hardest to stay in the present, in the moment.
Each time, I shift a bit more, learn a bit more, grow a bit more, stretch a bit more.
Sometimes, I think the event is a test or a life lesson from the Universe to check how I am progressing – for me to realize how far I have come along. One of the more significant event in recent travels was when my overnight bus was hijacked and robbed at gunpoint in Brazil.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Traveling 10,000 miles is better than studying 10,000 scrolls“. From personal experience, I know that much is true.
At this point, I do not know what the next 10 years will look like for me. I only know if I do not take the next step, I will remain the same or fall backwards. Leaving the unknown in the unknown. The only way for me to find out about the unknown is to keep walking the path – whatever it may be. I hope you will be there beside me along the way – I know I will need all the support I can get.
Travel + Spirituality = Alchemy of Self