Maybe you can relate - I'm junkie for brave stories. My whole life I've actively sought out examples of "ordinary" people doing things I dreamt of doing. They were living a life I thought maybe one day I could have. Sometimes it was living abroad and teaching English in India, or or studying yoga in Bali. Whatever it was, I craved a life that felt big. A life I could look back on and know I just went for it, where I didn't let fear, societal norms or other people's expectations hold me back. Yes, I know these are things all millienal women probably say. But hey, I actually meant it, right?
But time went by and I looked up one day and I was 28 years old working at one of the most prestigious advertising agencies in the world. I got quickly promoted into a challenging role I thought I wanted. From the outside I had everything we're taught to want in life - I had supposedly "arrived". But when I was honest with myself, I knew I was doing exactly what I said I would never do - live a "good enough", comfortable life.
So I suppressed my dreams and reminded myself that "one day" was always still an option. As I ignored this part of me, a tension arose inside. It was an unsettling realization that I was letting it all slip by. I was leading a life that was safe, comfortable and totally wrong for me. My heart was screaming at me for christ sake to just listen, because it knew I was heading down a path where I would die full of regrets with my passions still inside of me.
Unfortunately, it's just too easy to ignore and suppress this tension - so thats exactly what I did. But as I ignored it, it grew rapidly inside of me. It made me disconnected and unsatisfied at my job, it put unrealistic pressure on my passion of teaching yoga and it caused serious problems in many my relationships. Basically I was always on edge.
After many meltdowns, I was finally brave enough to really sit with this tension - look at it square in the eye and I asked it "What do I to do?" - "What do you want?" and it told me to "Dream big and be brave". So, with not other options, I wholeheartedly set the intention to listen to my dreams and be brave when I see what the universe provides. After countless moments of breaking down and pulling myself back up I was lead to a moment where I found myself presented with the most incredible opportunity to live and work at a holistic health and yoga retreat in the Dominican Republic. I would be paying absolutely no bills, teaching yoga, immersing myself in personal practice all while helping this woman I deeply admire to grow her business. It was everything I always wanted - It checked all the boxes for "Jordan's Big Adventure".
The irony was that it was so perfect I was completely terrified by it. You really do have to be careful what you ask for, because it's very likely you will get it, and when you do you just might want to run as fast as you can in the other direction. I quickly learned that when your daydream becomes a reality you have two options - either dive bravely and wholeheartedly into it or pretend like you never saw it and keep on dreaming. Now, dreaming is alluring and oh so comfortable. It takes you out of the reality of life while still keeping you in the security of your situation, holding on to hope that "someday" things will all come together. As much as we all think we want to live our wildest dreams, we can also be completely terrified to leave what we believe keeps us safe. Diving into your dreams is terrifying because it requires you to act. It requires you to be scared as hell and take responsibility for you're happiness. It requires you to feel discomfort in order to get something you've always wanted - and trust me, the discomfort is absolutely part of the package.
So all that was left for me to do was be really freaking brave. I had to figured out everything to do in order to make this trip happen - and actually do it. Which meant saving money, releasing obligations that held me back and of course what scared me the most, quitting this "dream job" of mine that actually made me kind of miserable. I had to leap wholeheartedly into the uncertainty of this opportunity and trust that everything will work out. I had to leave what gave me "security" and step willingly into complete groundlessness.
It took me months to make a commitment. Months full of contemplation, overthinking, self doubt, excuses, deep fears, shame - you name it, I experienced it. But finally everything changed when I met this incredible women, lets call her Sarah. Sarah wrote an inspirational, powerful best-selling book. She traveled around the world as a motivational speaker sharing her gift and motivating others to do the same. Her journey all started when she decided to quit her "successful" corporate job and follow her heart as a writer. Now this beautiful and inspirational story began to annoy me. It lit a fire inside of me because I knew I was perfectly capable of doing the exact same thing. I knew I had all the same resources as her and it forced me to admit to myself that the only thing holding me back from living my life fully was me. In that moment I realized that I had heard enough motivational stories and it was time for me to be my own. I thought about this once in a lifetime opportunity to live, work and breath my passion of yoga and wellness, and although I was scared as hell, I decided to go for it anyway, because the idea of not doing it scared me even more.
I quit my job, I gave up my apartment, I put everything I owned in storage and bought a one way ticket to the Dominican Republic. I've been here for a few months now, and I've never felt more in union with myself as I do now - with no doubt in my heart that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.
Now, this feeling of certainty isn't because everything has been effortless or free of challenges. In many ways it's quite the opposite. Instead this certainty comes from the fact that I can say for the first time in my life I tuned into what my heart was asking for and honored it blindly. I didn't filter it though anyone else and allowed it to fully be mine. I’m not sure what the next stage of my life will entail - but I can tell you that in this moment I am able to believe in abundance. I believe that if listening to my heart has lead me here, then I can trust the universe has something amazing in store for me. But the most beautiful gift of all is that I get to stop living vicariously through other's inspirational stories and get to stay dedicated to being my own.