The act of following the unknown and trusting the brave choice of exploring independently will always lead to self realization. This awareness adds to the constant transition of self. When we lead with kindness towards self and others, than whatever follows must also reflect kindness. The act of exploring with an egocentric and judgmental view will lead towards a future of similar experiences. Choose that which leads to success.
I was asked during my interview with AmeriCorps what success means to me. My response flowed with ease and grace;
Success embodies feeling proud of the work that is being done, along with the love and acceptance of self. Success lies within the mind, while items, grades, and degrees only prove what one is capable of obtaining. Success is looking around your life and feeling a sense of gratefulness for all that creates your world.
I will say the one constant that has accompanied my days has been sharing a kind and gentle smile with strangers, as the deep feeling of gratefulness towards those who continue to show love and support embodies these moments. Yes, there have been many times since leaving the East Coast where my mind goes into a deep hole of self-criticism and dislike, although this has always been balanced out by self control and love.
LOVE. This is the magic, the answer.
The first stretch of traveling across country was filled with loved ones and friends. Experiencing the overflowing amount of love is one of the most beautiful parts of this world. Although I once again had followed a life of “homelessness” and simplistic living, I am honored to have had the opportunity to experience the travels that brought me across this country I have always called home.
Buckled in, feet on the break and clutch, e-brake released, thrown in reverse, then began backing up….
Gratefully I was at a rest stop in Illinois at noon AND the rain had stopped falling. The unfortunate part of this experience involves me thinking I had run someone over. Immediately going into a nervous state of mind, I plopped Scuba in first and began driving forward slowly. This is when I realized the worst scenario wasn’t real, but the clear sign of something going on with my car was definitely true. 3,000 miles into the move and something was bound to happen.
Shout-out to my mom for always supplying me and my siblings with AAA, because of this all was well. My rear brakes went, at a rest stop, in the middle of the day and all I could do was give my inner self a high five for staying calm, cool and collected. I call that a win, especially when I found out that half of the rear break drum snapped off and lodged in my break system. A minor problem that could have been dangerously bad.
It’s moments like this, when you’re alone traveling in the big world of humans, that I know to go inward and be kind and confident. As my dad told me before going on trail, “be kind to everyone, trust no one”. You never really know who people are and taking my “normal” Renée route is simply unacceptable. Although I will say, the series of moments following the towing of my car were filled with kind men who did nothing but support my further exploration West.
The real kicker hit hard when landing in southern California, when the truth of this choice had begun to sink in. Jobless, homeless and living off of the limited financial budget I had put aside. I began the move across the country with the idea of moving to southern Utah. The job was secure, in my mind, and the decision had been made. While visiting family in South Carolina the news arrived via email that I did not receive the job. Continuing to drive across the country was not in question, although the curiosity of where I would go and what I would do was most definitely something that took up my mind space.
Living alone for two years in a tiny home in Vermont with no running water, compost toilet outside and heat via wood stove, transitioned to living in a home with four other educators in the east side of San Jose, California, all while rooming with another person. All one needs to do to get water for washing hands, washing dishes or brushing teeth is to turn the faucet…dribble, dribble, flow. Oh the luxury of the simple act of turning a faucet and receiving “clean” water.
To be honest, the most shocking and frustrating part of driving across country and living out of my car was the lack of access to clean potable water. A day in the shoes of such a large percentage of people living in other parts of the world—-WATER.
This step in life was one that was one hundred percent a mystery from the beginning. The act of moving and not knowing what would happen was by far the first time I felt this kind of fear. Looking around seeing the amount of homeless humans living in California, the intensity of my choices made an impact in my life. Eating on budget of $40/week and focusing on stretching my money to accommodate the gas needed to get me from San Diego to San Jose. Even though my energy was being channeled to success, whatever that may have looked like, the unstable and negative thoughts still managed to sneak into my forced positive state of mind.
How interesting to ponder life outside of your mind; the trickle affect. Beginning with you, then branching out to your family, friends, community, city, country, world…the human race…the energy that makes up this planet. Of course there is much to consider when looking at the big picture, which is why choosing just one or two paths to focus on seems to be the way to deal with the overwhelming challenge of life.
As I lead by example with a group of middle school students, where the importance of skin color matters to so many, the intensity of being my best self is now on my radar. If I expect these students to be their best selves, then I must also actively work on myself. Yes, there have been many moments where I am disappointed by my reactions and behavior towards those within my professional community. Staying open to the fact that I am human and continuously exploring this path of learning and growing, I have learned to stay humble, while always being truthful when stepping up to my failures. Many conversations have taken place with this puberty stricken group of youth about my choices made and the awareness of learning from them. The power of guiding our future lies within treating each other as humans, as equals, and removing the “power struggle” that naturally comes with age.
Staying in one place, living with the rest of the community, and acknowledging the importance of this time within life. These crucial actions will be game changers for many. Now more than ever, the calling to be your best self is crucial, as this will guide what our community of humans will look like within the next fifty years.
As the year comes to a close, the intention of wholesome living and loving is the way of being during the year 2019. The letting go of old pains and trauma is now released, while the welcoming of abundance and success is being drawn in.
Sending out my love,