December 14, 2012

It Takes Leaps of Faith to Live the Life You Dream...

Taking Risks to Live the Life You Dream

One of my favorite prints ever above the
desk at Weeds of Eden, 2007.
As a young girl, I was taught to listen to my heart and to follow my dreams, no matter how far fetched they may seem.

I am one who tended to prefer to learn things the hard way growing up. This taught me the beauty of steadfastness and persistence. Becuase of this,  I greatly value experience over traditional schooling. I felt in my element during my first alternative attempt at education during my first herbal apprenticeship in my early twenties  I love books, I mean really, really love books, but, I learn best through hands on experience.

I prefer to practice things many times so that I can truly feel ready to apply my knowledge.

It takes more time, but, in the long run,  I feel that my needs are met with integrity. The beauty of integrity is something I was taught from a young age. Give credit when due, tell the truth, put forth your best effort, live from the heart, and always take time to improve as a person.

My need to improve myself as a person mentally, physically, and spiritually, has been my lamp of life. And, this is what fuels my leap of faith for the year of 2013, where I will leave everything familiar and secure including my life partner, friends, private practice, and home. This is my path to becoming more whole as a person and as a healer.

I write this to share as an encouragement for you--to take leaps of faith and live the life you dream.

And, Sometimes, The Universe Likes to Turn Your Baby Steps...

 Into Giant Leaps of Faith...

One of my first classes on herbs and aromatherapy
for digestive health and stress, 2011.
It has taken me a long time and an elbow grease to get where I am today. And, what I mean by that is: I am actually happy with my day to day life.

At a younger age, I sometimes found myself not understanding how easy life seemed to be for others! They went to school, traveled the world, still managed to have a roof over their heads (most of the time) and did not work very much. I didn't get it!

Growing up, I had several peers with this lifestyle. I was genuinely excited for them, I admired and loved to listen to their stories of far away places!

 I wondered why I felt that I could not make it happen for myself, but, it was obvious.  I worked hard to live alone so that I could always have my quiet time...and that was kind of my "downfall" (well, I saw it as that at the time). In the long run, a secure home space was more important to me than traveling..and that was just me, the real me.

Years down the road, it finally came to light that these friends had a lot of financial support that I did not have at the time. They were given a security that I had to earn. At a young age I didn't think about financial stuff and how our opportunities can appear to be governed by money. I am at the point of believing that many of our opportunities are governed by our hope and willingness to work on them. No matter how big or small. Within each dream is also a lesson.

Looking back, I realize how thankful  I am to have worked through it in the long run. Yeah, there was a trip in particular I wish I had the belief in myself to take. But, I have been able to travel as an adult and I know there are journeys ahead that I am prepared for mentally and emotionally. Looking back, I am thankful to have earned my time to travel. It built character and work ethic. In the long run, my goals of first making a home-life that I love were most important to me, even if at times, I did not openly realize that is who I am.

Not to say I found happiness alone by any means! Without good friends, teachers, a loving, patient, and supportive family, and a community of beautiful life would be so much different. And really...they all have been and will continue to be teachers. I have gratitude for the richness that comes with healthy, kind and genuine life-relationships. This is something that took me  a while to learn! I had lots of anxiety around people and several ill formed friendships in late teens and twenties...all lessons on how to better be myself.

And once I let go... Really let go of these,  healthy new relationships formed...the timing was pretty astounding. Honestly...I purchased a door mat that read "welcome friends", and the energy kicked into high gear. Sounds like magic...and well, maybe it is. Maybe all it takes is believing in it.

Seeds in Dreamtime...

My point is...we all have dreams. We so often keep them in the "dream" category when all we need to do is start seeing them as real in our minds. Once we put in the efforts to change, or build something--within ourselves or outside of ourselves--change will begin to happen. Belief facilitates change.

Working in a holistic health practice was a dream I set to seed almost ten years ago. I had a vision and a desire to help others find ways to live a happier, and healthier life. I was not very healthy myself at the time, but, I knew the subject lit up my heart and that I could learn through studies and my own life experiences towards my own personal healing. I am glad I was so unhealthy then. It gives me a leg to stand on when relating to clients from many walks of life. That has helped me to be a better practitioner.

 If I hadn't learned how to work hard at a young age, I may not have had the drive it took to begin the foundations of a small business when I wasn't feeling ready. I had not a clue what I was doing. I flew by the seat of my pants on a shoestring budget, and prayed. A lot.

There Were Definitely Doubts

To be honest, I didn't think it would necessarily ever happen at first. If I had not experienced a series of seemingly unfortunate events, I may never have started my own practice. I am one of those people who wants to be a perpetual student...which can sometimes lead to never feeling good enough.

In 2009, it was made clear that the universe had other plans. Though, I will always be a student, I now realize that we should all consider eventually making space as a teacher. The idea of teaching still makes me cringe a little, as the work "teacher" sounds so self knowing.

Being self knowing should be a positive thing, I realize. But, somewhere along the lines of my life, I tangled the concept of self-knowing  with a concept of egotism.  Now that I am older, I realize that students are teachers and teachers are students...there is no role of power. least in an ideal world, there isn't.

A client recently displayed with her hands how she was once told me how as women, we should always have one hand up to an elder, a teacher, or a crone and the other hand to a student. I love this concept. As much as we are all students, and all teachers, we are all equals. I was always afraid to be a teacher because I never thought I would have anything to offer. We all have something to offer, and we all have our own voices in sharing our life experiences. My voice was afraid to come out, but, over time I was put into scenarios where I had no choice but to speak up to my full potential and follow my dreams.

Growing Pains...Some Lessons Are Best Learned The Hard Way...

I moved to Lexington to be with my partner, Marty, while he earned his doctorate degree. I did not know where I would work, but, I felt it was the right step, I needed a fresh environment and could transfer schools to finish up my Associate's in Medical Massage Therapy. Lexington seemed to have a thriving massage market, but,  I  really had no idea of the tolls I would have to face in order to find work. During that year, I had to seriously stretch out a small student loan just to eat, pay for gas, and bills. It was very tight.

 I lived in Louisville prior, had two fantastic jobs--one doing field work with a conservancy and the other working part time at the 21C Museum Hotel as a licensed massage therapist. When I moved to Lexington, I thought finding a job as a massage therapist would be easy as jam. Or maybe I am foolish to have thought making jam would be easy...or maybe just confused it with being in a jam...I don't know. Either way, some wires were crossed and I was kind of screwed. Or so I thought.

Digging Deep.

Yellow root from field trip in  Eagen, TN with root digger, Carol Judy, and
 herbalist and aromatherapist, Kathy Eich, 2012.

Needless to say, I could not find a job in my new home for the life of me! This was so hard. I was used to being very independent  The thriving economy for massage therapists I thought I saw was actually a community of therapists that worked for themselves, and were therefore not hiring. After months of on call massage therapy jobs with little work, I was forced to do what I once said I would never, ever, ever do! (Seriously, never say never unless you are ready for it to come true!)

I had to start my own business...

That year was by far one of the toughest in my life. But, for that experience I am so thankful. If I had not been cornered into opening my own practice, it is likely that I may not have ever ventured out, or believed in myself enough to think that I could make my own practice happen.

It was a risk that I had to take...and it happened years before I thought I would be ready to do it. But, you know what? I was ready! I was always ready. I just didn't believe in myself. The universe has cornered me into some seemingly scary corners that turned out to be awesome opportunities.

The dire scariness of the scenarios were what made me have to dig deeper than I had thought I ever could. It's those kind of lessons that show us what we are truly made of.

I learned how to believe in myself, how to take the reigns into my own hands, how to speak my mind, and how to  express myself without concern for approval.

Don't Give Up. 

Every Seed Takes Time To Grow.

Watering seeds the The Arboretum Children's Garden, where
I worked part time in 2009 while starting Nourish.
It has been a little over two years after opening the doors of my practice. I have a steady flow of loyal clients that I learn from them every day. Now, I know that sounds all peachy. I won't lie, I definitely cried in the beginning when things were rough. I also remember glees of joy when I had more than three clients a week. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. Granted, at times the tunnel appeared to be never ending.

I learned patience. Sometimes the amount of time it takes to develop roots is substantial. To watch a dream grow from seed to flower can seem like forever, but, maybe that is just a test of faith.

The Unconventional, Winding Path isOften Clearer 

Than We Are Led to Believe.  

Patience, trust, faith in yourself, and persistence are needed along an unconventional path in our modern world. There are more ways than one to be a perpetual student in life. We surely do not all have to attend University to be successful in finding our calling.

As a matter of fact, if you are not the one who absorbs the modern, Americanized standard of intelligence, you may be better off following your own path. It does not mean you are any less intelligent. It does however take bravery and stepping off of the beaten path you walk among many peers your age.

We can all make our dreams happen, one way or another. It just takes time to listen to the signs and a lot of elbow grease. If I can do it, so can you. All you have to do is believe in yourself, walk your path with integrity, and be open to change. Sometimes I think that believing in ourselves is the hardest part. 

If a lack of confidence leaves you feeling unready for your dreams...don't be surprised if universe playfully further pushes them your way. You best believe in yourself or it may be the scary way for you! If you are lucky, you too may find it fun to learn the hard way :)

Follow Your Heart and The Doors Will Open

I feel like it is important that I point out that SO many of the best decisions that I made in life have been made by following my gut. Even though I talk about lacking confidence much of my life, I was still one to follow my heart and gut instinct when a vision was undeniably clear. You know that feeling!

Once we give credit to the validity of following our instincts, we can start to participate in the life I we desire to live. Doors begin to open, paths became more clear. Sometimes that is just a part of the lesson...have faith even if others do not believe in you.... Even if it doesn't pan out on paper.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to write down your goals and dreams, no matter how small or wild they seem.  If this timid gal can make a once seemingly far fetched idea come true, you can too. You never know what you are made of until you try. 

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