The things you don’t say
I’ve taken the month off of my job as a health/wellness coach. Let’s just say, I needed some fresh oxygen. I am in Costa Rica taking Spanish, living with a host family, volunteering and traveling solo around seeing the sights. I’m no where near my comfort zone. I have a past tendency to stay in my comfort zone and to suck all the joy out of life by the expectations I’ve put on myself, others and in life in general. Long story short, as Buddha teaches, it lead to a lot of suffering.
Partly I feel my intention in giving myself permission to take this month to explore, was to let the experience unfold, no expectations. Traveling and not having a plan is something I’ve always craved, and yet I went straight from high school to college, college to graduate school, and graduate school to working 2-3 jobs. I expected this would allow me financial security and along with it autonomy and freedom. A tough lesson in itself, you can imagine, my expectations were not met.
I finally get the courage to take the break I’ve wanted and what do I find myself doing? Yup, you got it. The happiness killer, my expectations followed me. My expectations go something like this; you should be so happy and grateful for this experience, you should embrace every moment, learn perfect Spanish, make new friends, see all the sights, write great blogs about your experience, make a difference in the people’s lives you met…Turns out, wherever you go, there your expectations go with you. I’m reminding of one of my favorite proverbs that hangs on my cubicle at work with a picture of a lotus flower in mud. “Let go or be dragged.“ Every time I read it, I take a big exhale.
And here is what I don’t normally say, because I feel others expect me to be happy and positive. I’m scared to let people down who see me as courageous and dare I say, inspirational. This adventure I’m on, it’s fucking hard. I feel like I have to be “on” all the time and what if I just want to coast for a day? It’s exciting and transformative and I’m learning so much, but it’s exhausting and at times, very lonely. I’ve left everything familiar to me and today, I could use some familiar. It’s exhausting being totally immersed in a new language. It’s a challenge to trust and depend on strangers to feed you, help you, not steal your stuff. It takes a lot of faith. Blind faith really. And I consider myself a skeptic.
And what I’m realizing about myself is that maybe my deeper intention was to challenge my faith and trust muscle to build it stronger. A part of me knew I needed to stretch my limits to grow. Because just as our physical muscles need to be stretched and overloaded to build strength, doesn’t too our faith need to be stretched and overloaded to grow stronger?
Today I’m lonely, wondering what I was thinking and craving comfort and security. Today I’m experiencing waves of doubt. Today, I’d take security and comfort, even if just the illusion of it. Today, I don’t have any inspiring words except for maybe these are the very moments and opportunities I have to practice faith. Today, I let go of my expectations. Today, I practice trust. Today I build faith.