2021 in rear view mirror
I do love a good reflection. It’s even better if I can look back on a year with a sense of satisfaction and contentment. I feel like I am finally becoming me. More than I have ever settled into my core system in my entire adult life.
How did the year start? I was struggling with what to do with myself. I had been given a year’s grace and needed to decide whether I would take and explore “me” or go back into a world of distractions. I chose to take a deep dive into my psyche. I felt the best way to do that was to “get myself to a nunnery”…lol…no but almost. I chose to travel to an ashram on the banks of Kootenay lake in BC Canada. I really had no clue what that might entail. I didn’t know what I would be doing, where I would be staying or what kind of COVID protocols they had embraced. It really didn’t matter to me anymore. I needed change. I needed time and space to sort out what was going on inside my mental state of being.
I had my niece’s son drive me so I had no way of leaving if I found myself not liking the place. I am pretty good at “toughing it out” and completing what I start no matter how uncomfortable it becomes. Somehow, I knew this was going to be the best experience of my life so far and the worst experience of my life so far. The first two weeks, I was in quarantine in a cabin by the lake. I hadn’t stayed alone for that long ever in my life. I do like my own company so that wasn’t a challenge. I have many hobbies that I had brought with me so settled into a routine of painting, writing music, capturing video footage and editing videos. As the time rolled on, the group I was with were slowly introduced to the community. We were able to work outside with masks on and get to know the daily routine of those that lived there.
Most people that go to the ashram are there to examine their behaviors, thoughts, emotions and core beliefs. It’s a heightened focus on how you integrate yourself into a new village. One where traditions and protocols have been in place for many years. I struggled, at first, with someone telling me when and what to eat, when to sleep, how I needed to contribute to the greater good. I was curious as to what was being triggered for me to feel that way. It was a struggle if I am being honest. I learned that I can be pretty uptight and aggressive. Meditating and doing Hawtha yoga really helped me to “chill out”. The longer I stayed the more free I felt. Which seems so bizarre when you consider most of your days is made up of doing routine and mundane tasks. There is something to knowing that your actions have a direct impact on the sustainment of a community. The food is grown on site, it’s prepared and cooked as needed. If you don’t help clean the plates no one eats. If you don’t help shovel the walks or clean the rooms everyone suffers. The direct link between cause and effect is very apparent in such a place.
I left the ashram with a full heart and a new awareness that has only strengthened as the year progressed. I began to understand relationships I had with my husband, kids and siblings through a new lens. The discernment between selfless service and self gratifying service. My ego was exposed in many ways.
I decided to buy a van after many years of following vanlifers and dreaming about the adventures I could take with it. I love it! I have enjoyed learning new skills. I took a sledgehammer to the inside of it. Replacing everything while trying to keep the old seventies vibe still at its heart. It’s a labor of love and seems to be an ongoing project which I am having fun doing.
A year later where am I now? I find myself once again at a crossroad. Should I go back to work full time or on contract? Should I pursue more writing opportunities and find ways to make a passive income that helps me to keep my options of traveling open and spontaneous? I have decided to let the universe guide me here as it hasn’t let me down yet. Some offers are percolating so time will tell which direction I go. I am grateful to be in a position where I can choose my adventure. I have discovered that I really liked what I did for a living and hope to continue to find projects that have meaning and connect with many diverse perspectives along the way. I am passionate and curious about the world and how we learn to navigate it. I am grateful for all of you who continue to support us at Midlifearises.