After making the decision to let go of our trip, we returned to Arizona and opted to stay at my parents’ home in Tucson. They were gone for the summer, plus it was free and our car was already there.
On paper it was an odd place to be.
We were two late 30-somethings in a 55+ community in the dead of summer. As a result, there weren’t many people around and I found the experience very soothing. The slow pace was a welcome one after months of chaos. Everyone always waved and said hello too, and I fell in love with the small community.
It was a clue.
One week after we arrived Liran was sitting on the couch looking at Facebook. He mentioned that his friend was looking for Watsu practitioners for a new retreat in Hawaii. “That’s cool,” I said. I was far more interested in the fact that she had once been Justin Bieber’s massage therapist.
The very next day Liran came into my office (aka our bedroom) and shared that the two of them had just spoken. His friend had planned to pick his brain about people he knew, and after asking what he was up to she started to get curious. She asked about my work and got very excited, explaining that the retreat had a role for someone like me too – if he was interested.
Liran told her it was unlikely.
But because everything has to be my idea, I asked him what the company was and together we looked at the website. As we read through it and the job description, I could feel something stirring inside.
It was excitement.
“I could totally do this,” I told him. “I’ve worked at tech start-ups before, not to mention that I went to a health and wellness retreat and it changed my life. And I didn’t even have support when I was there.”
He was stunned.
“Why wouldn’t we at least try?” I said. “We have nothing to lose.”
And then something incredible happened.
Without any additional details about the opportunity, I could see it. I could picture us moving to Hawaii and working together. I could see the trees, the weather, our new lifestyle. It was like watching a movie play in my head.
At the same time I suddenly realized that I had never been able to picture our trip around the world. I had tried, of course, and simply couldn’t grasp what it would be like, where we would be or go, or how it would work. The only thing I HAD been able to picture was living on an island (like Bali) for a few months while Liran worked as a guest Watsu practitioner somewhere…
It turns out the Universe had been listening.
I’ve since learned that the ability to see or envision something is – for me – incredibly important. It happened when I left my career too.
Many months before doing so, my then coach forced me to narrate (and then write down) every moment of my ideal day with painstaking detail. I thought it was ridiculous…until one day a year later when I woke up and realized that every single thing I had described had come true.
Down to the carpet on our bedroom floor and the sunlight peeking through our plantation blinds in the morning.
So three months after giving up our big trip, and just days before my 38th birthday, we moved to the small island of Lanai in Hawaii. The population is 3,000 people, everyone waves hello to you on the street and the pace of life is slow.
While this clearly wasn’t the adventure we had planned, it was a welcome adventure nonetheless. It also had the perfect mix of stability that we hadn’t realized we wanted (or needed.)
First, we just had to let our original plan die in order to see it. No big deal, right?
And is now a good time to mention that I had never even been to Hawaii before?
With that, here are some learnings that I hope you can apply to your own life, in your own way:
1. Trust the process.
In the words of Gabby Bernstein, the Universe has your back. If something isn’t going according to plan, it’s most likely not the plan. Unfortunately, the only way to know this is to surrender, which isn’t always ideal. However, like a child who wants to play with a new toy, it works better if you can let go of the old one first.
Said another way, death leads to rebirth.
2. The clues are everywhere.
Clues are around you, inside you and everything in between. But to notice them, you must slow down and pay attention.
Admittedly, this can be challenging in today’s fast-paced world, especially if you live in an urban area. That said, there are hundreds if not thousands of ways to do this. I slow down through morning pages, hiking, meditation and regular sessions with my coach. These all help me come back into my body and reflect more deeply.
For what it’s worth, my clients have their own ways of doing this. The key is ultimately to experiment and find your way. If you need help identifying what these could be, reach out to me. I’m happy to discuss.
3. Vision is everything.
Without a vision, you don’t know what you’re aiming for. And while the destination is not always the point, it helps to set your sails. Imagine a sailboat with no destination, versus one headed to an island. It might be an exciting journey (or boring for that matter), and you may also end up in some places you don’t want to be.
Furthermore, vision comes in different forms for different people. You can see, feel, hear and know things. For me, they’re all relevant and seeing is primary. If I can envision something, it’s usually a good sign. Getting in touch with what works for you requires practice, so the more you experiment the better.
4. Adventure is relative.
Before this experience, I truly believed the biggest adventure I could ever take was traveling around the world for a year. But five years ago, adventure meant traveling alone to a health and wellness resort in Mexico. That felt scary at the time, so the point is it’s all relative.
While moving to Hawaii is certainly a “bucket list” adventure, the best adventure you can take is choosing to take incremental risks to live your life more fully. If a big leap is what you want and you don’t feel ready, you’re probably not and that’s okay. It just means your trust muscle may not be strong enough yet.
Take it one step at a time, or rather one risk at a time. This is what I work on with my clients, because the more you do it the stronger the muscle becomes – and the easier the “big” leaps become too. Change takes time.