When I decided to sell all of my things and move to Spain earlier this year, I had envisioned myself traveling for months and live the ex-pat life, having had set up various work-from-home gigs like teaching english and personal accountability coaching. The months leading up to getting rid of all of my things and booking a one-way ticket out of the country, I decided to take a complete leap of faith and be my own guinea pig in an experiment of surrender. My hypothesis sounded something like “If I can surrender control and fully trust in the Universe to guide my path, then I will not have to worry about my next steps, or where my money will come from.” I let the Universe lead the way, with full trust that I would be taken care of, and I opened myself up to opportunities for work, volunteering, etc. With this intention in mind, the beginning of my trip was spent in full wonder and exploration of the new culture, the land, the energies, and the community around me. I gave myself permission to be fully present, experiencing the extent of what I could attract into my life. I made new friends, ate delicious food, made memories, and most importantly discovered new patterns, beliefs and truths about myself. I soaked in the magnificence of manifesting a life I had dreamt of. As the weeks went by, and the excitement of this huge life change began to dissipate, I realized I hadn’t been presented with any ‘magical opportunity’ to make money like I had imagined. Quite the contrary, I had been spending more money than I could afford with the amount of work I was doing, and quickly, my mind begin to buzz.
Ever notice how often our minds are in fear-avoidance mode? It’s constantly trying to present us with scenarios in which we don’t have enough of something, need to protect ourselves from something, or are faced with problems, and immediately tries to come up with a plan to avoid it all. Once I realized that my financial security was at risk, my monkey-mind kicked into high-gear. In the moments between meditation, walking on the beach, grabbing coffee in the city, and weekly kirtan sessions at my homestay, I was experiencing an internal battle of fear, worry, and control. If it weren’t for the mindfulness tools I’ve picked up in the past few years and the support of my guides and loved ones, I probably would’ve given up my experiment right there and then, cancelled the Bali trip, and gone home. But I refused to give up, I knew what I got myself into and was aware of potential roadblocks.
Knowing I had already paid for the Bali retreat and could pay for my airfare on a credit card (not recommended), I was able to relax a bit during my final days in Spain. I had learned how to become hyper-frugal; my internet search history was full of articles and videos on “how to live on a $5 a day,” and similar topics. It was a time, let me tell you! I’m grateful to say that among the moments of fear and unknowing, I still remembered to stop and smell the flowers along the way. I made it a habit out of observing the fear-based thoughts and embracing them, cradling them in my heart, and dissolving them with truthful reminders like “I am safe, I am grounded, I am taken care of, I am abundant, I am grateful for my life.” If you were to take a look inside my mind during those last few days, it’d be hard not to laugh at the spirals of contradicting thoughts on all ends of the spectrum. It was a constant debate of “everything is going to be alright” versus “what the fuck have you done?” What’s even sillier is that I decided to go through this on my own. My friends back home knew a little bit of what was going on with my finances, but the extent of the internal battle I was facing was kept in secret. That’s what felt right to me at the time, I had major resistance to asking for support in the financial sense, partly because that would interfere with my experiment, and partly because I felt it was no ones duty but my own to see this chapter through to the end.
Once I was reunited with my soul sisters in the magic-filled land of Bali with the rush of excitement for the start of the retreat, my mental battle eased up a bit. In embracing each other, catching up, making new connections, sharing stories, and soaking in the mutual excitement for what’s to come, my body relaxed. I was safe, grounded, held, supported, and most of all, I was hopeful again. My faith was re-instilled and I let go of some of the worry. For a little while. That is, until I tried to go to sleep at night. When the conversations had ended, and everyone went to their separate quarters, I was alone with my mind again, and that is when the spirals of control and fear-avoidance made their reappearance. That is why when we came together in the first circle gathering to introduce ourselves and officially begin the retreat, where we were asked to write down one main intention we want to manifest, I wrote ““I release CONTROL.” These three simple words carried a much deeper energy that had consumed me in the past weeks, and I was ready to let go, and let the Universe step in.
Fast-forward to the final day of the retreat, in our closing cacao-ceremony… I had undergone a complete transformation during the 10 days of the retreat; starting with the “death” of the self-limiting, fear-based parts of my being in Gianyar, through the “in-between” stage of play and remembrance of love and beauty in Gili T, finishing off with the “rebirth” in Ubud. The details of my experience through this transformation and that of the other incredible souls I shared it with are mine to keep dear in my heart. But when it came time to close out the experience, during the moments of stillness in between sitting with the medicine of cacao, Bali and the inner work that had been done during the retreat, I observed the shift within me. No longer was I in fear, worried, or unsure of my next steps. I had a deep sense of calmness and ease within me. We were asked to set a final intention for our lives post-retreat, and with this new found inner peace, the intention that came to me was to get closer to God, because deep down, I learned that God has a much bigger plan for me than I can even imagine. The roadblocks and challenges are divinely put in place to redirect me to my higher purpose, and in that moment, I fully surrendered. With that intention in mind, I pulled one final card and asked for a message that would help me remember this when I’m back in the hustle of daily life and what I got was: “Calmness; The Inner Divine is the witness of All, remaining still and quiet- even during the intense turbulence. So take a deep breath, and then say, “Quiet my mind, dear Lord. May your peaceful calm take over.”