on staying

movingIf you know me at all, you know how much I love Oklahoma.  So I was just as surprised as anybody when we packed our life collections into boxes and moved to Utah.  Although I’ve lived in five different states and enjoy the adventure of exploring new places, I had a really difficult transition this past year.  The thing about moving to a new city where you hardly know anyone is that you get to spend time getting to know yourself and expanding your limits. There has been a lot of journaling, a few tears, and months of interoception, or looking within.

Sometimes leaving means saying goodbye to all of the things that are good in exchange for situations that are hard.  And sometimes leaving means letting go of your anchors in exchange for the sea.  Perhaps it’s the staying in a place you’ve outgrown that’s hardest, or maybe for you, the difficulty lies in letting go of your comfort and routine.  At different times and in different places, moving has meant has all of these things to me.  And this time, arriving here has been a new lesson in navigating discomfort, of staying even when things get hard, and re-learning that situations are as beautiful as you make them out to be.

What I know about staying- whether that be in a location, relationship, job, or even belief- is that we can find our comfort here.   That if we are lucky, we have strong support systems and beautiful relationships that bring us fulfillment and keep us tied to where we are.  Staying might mean working at a place that fuels your creativity, engaging in activities that fill your life’s purpose, or in developing a routine that is nourishing to your soul.  Staying can be as equally beautiful and transformative as we make moving on to be.  And in all the ways that staying can be wondrous, remaining in places, situations, and relationships that are no longer meant for you can also be difficult, limiting, and contracting.  Sometimes staying is a choice we make not because it’s best for us, but because we doubt our abilities to adapt to what might come next.

And when it comes to leaving, what i know is that change can be overwhelming.  All of a sudden, our fears begin to sneak in and make us question whether or not we’ve made the right choice.  Moving, letting go, or changing your direction often creates uncertainty about our ability to belong, to navigate our way, and to redirect our path.   I think we leave places with the expectation to grow, change, evolve, and accomplish great things, and maybe we go to new places and do just that.  But you might also crumble, fail, or change your mind.  You might find  the very thing you were running from is waiting for you at your next stop.

I don’t necessarily think either option- staying, leaving, letting go, remaining, – is better than the other. There’s not one option that is right and another that is wrong; there are only life experiences that show us more about ourselves, teach us lessons, and land upon our plate of experiences in ways only meant for us.  I’ve learned that we can only learn from what we are willing to open to- and that might mean in your hometown or across the country in a place foreign to you.

For me, moving here was a lesson in being my own friend which meant learning about my limiting beliefs and habitual thought patterning.  In the same way you get to know a friend, I started looking within my own heart; I hadn’t done that in a while.  I spent some time touring my internal landscape and uncovered thoughts patterns that based my worth on a sense of accomplishment and level of confidence on external approval.  Spending more time alone helped me to get clear about the types of relationships I would like to have supporting me, as well as the ones that tend to drain my energy and make me feel inadequate.

In moving, I found that I had a lot more time to fill up and so I reconnected to the things I am passionate about and wanted to improve upon.  I attended yoga workshops alone and invited strangers out to coffee.  I looked people in the face and smiled, I started conversations. I created a sense of community by doing the things that made me feel most alive and said yes to opportunities that were outside of my comfort zone. And in the midst of trying to build relationships with others, I also dove into the uncertainty of being alone and dedicated days to spending time with myself.  I shifted my perspective a lot and spent reframing difficult situations as opportunities and lessons.

If you find yourself in a situation with each option contrasting itself against the other, I hope you know that regardless of where you go, you’ll take yourself with you. That if you can find comfort in who you are, wherever you go will be beautiful. And that if you can be accepting of all of yourself, you’ll be able to be gentle when you stumble and forgiving when you fall.  You’ll be able to reach out to meet new people even if you are unsure.  And whether you stay or go, you’ll be okay.

You’ll land exactly where you need to.

And then you’ll fly.

p.s.  If you are interested in following my thoughts, movements, wanderings, and daily inspiration, you can find me on instagram! @todaywasmeaningfulblog

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p.p.s.s.  thanks for being here, it means a lot to me.

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…because of scattered florets

for me, home is not so much a place as it is a memory.  

it’s making mud pies at the bottom of the stairs outside of the apartment complex i lived at while our house was being built.  it’s watching kids get their first kiss behind the dumpster in the parking lot. home is the cold winters, the harsh winds, the empty space.  home is that brick house with the large rock i carved my name into, its the trees we planted and the branch i attempted to whittle. home is jumping off our back porch onto the trampoline during sleepovers in the middle of the night. it’s looking at constellations with my uncle’s telescope.  it’s the thirty-two stuffed animal monkeys that filled up every inch of my closet- all with their own made-up names, personalities, and stories.

home was also my first and second good-bye. to the biggest pieces of my heart and the harsh reality i wasn’t ready to understand. and home was down the street at my best friend’s house, crying on her driveway on the night before i moved away. home was ap chem club and early morning student council meetings.  it was collective action and singing ‘don’t stop believing,’  into the end of a broomstick. and it was those friday nights, themed outfits, and cheering for our team. those mountains.tumbleweeds.and desert.

 

and then home was that fall. those leaves. the excitingness that surrounds experiencing things for the first time. home was the cramped dorm room, the cafeteria food, the first big 10 football game. it was failing my first exam and learning how to write a paper.  it was making my first new friend and staying up all night. it was study dates in the quiet room at the union and in the grass.  it was the black squirrels and bubble tea. the trees. the air. the water. it was all the places i had the opportunity to go to. louisiana, tennessee, and new york city for the first time.  it was expanding my knowledge, and learning about the world.

at one point in my life, home was on a ship in the middle of the ocean. the vibrant colors of Turkey and the conversations over tea.  it was getting lost in Marrakech and running through the bazaar. home was those four short months; a four am trip to the pyramids by camel, the candle light dinner in Greece. it was living in and out of hostels, sleeping on dusty trains and cold floors. the unbearable heat.  the navigating. the submersion into different cultures and grasping frantically to take everything in.

home was my first heart ache. my cancelled plans, and lessons learned. it was finding friendships in the most unlikely of places. eventually it became the oklahoma sky,the never ending summer, and that friendly stranger wave.  the dirt roads, the rural homes.the flat lands. it became monday night wine dates, first annual traditions, and happy dances. it was second chances, cupcakes, and personal growth.

 

and through this all, i guess what i am trying to say is to not be tied down by your roots. for me, home has never been about being attached to a particular place or focusing on where i came from; home is remembering all of the places i said i would go to, the person i aspired to become. my home is movement, change, and progress.

 

 

in second grade i found out i was allergic to dandelions after making grass cakes all recess and decorating them with touches of yellow and white dandelions. i remember crying in the bath my mom prepared for me because i wouldn’t be able to touch them anymore. i think nearly everyone’s favorite part about a dandelion are the little florets that you can blow on to see float across the air. the little fairy flowers that spread themselves all over the grass, those little pieces that end up creating more. the thing about dandelions is that they are easily up rooted. and that’s my favorite part.

you see, my home has never been in the roots i’ve stemmed from, but rather, in the growth i’ve made in the places i’ve landed.

 

 

i guess i am more of a dandelion than a tree anyways.

 

 

…because of one hour

i spent $178 in one hour.  to be more specific, it all went to getting on a plane and it was more than half of what i intended to spend during my stay in chicago. in one hour, i had enough bad, frustrating, and negative interactions to make me decide that my day was ruined before i had even had breakfast.

 

but before my horrible last morning, i had a wonderful, bittersweet last day. i spent the day going to all of my favorite places one last time and took a picture of each as i tried to capture all of the moments i wished would last forever.  i sat and read my kindle at my favorite coffee shop, and then again at central park during my impromptu picnic. i visited times square and found myself still amazed at the grandiosity of the city.  on this day, i was a tourist saying goodbye to a city i couldn’t possibly see all of as well as an extended visitor ready to call this place home.

on my last night in new york city, i decided that i wanted to watch the sun set and rise as a final farewell to a wonderful summer.  naturally, i decided to stay up all night.  at 4:30 in the morning, i packed up my belongings, and in a particularly good mood, headed out to get a taxi. i had already decided that it was going to be an exceptionally amazing day- especially because i was going to chicago to see my friends in chicago before i made my way back to oklahoma.  i made a decision to be extra kind to all of the people i met on the way to my next stop.

but it only takes a few minutes to change your mind.

my over-priced $60 taxi put a damper on mood, as did the taxi driver’s impatience, but i decided to let it go.  twenty minutes later it was harder to let go of being yelled at for accidentally cutting in line, and harder still to keep my chin up after realizing my check on bag was 16 lbs overweight (Spirit Airlines only allows 40 lbs instead of  the 50 lbs i was used to), and after i found out i had to pay $40 to carry my small suitcase on the plane, i was no longer smiling.  i proceeded to carry 16 lbs of clothes (my pant legs dragging on the ground and shirts falling on the floor) to a line that i seriously believed was a joke.  by now, i think you get the point.  while standing in line that extended down the hall,  i had to let groups of people cut in front of me who had an earlier flight to catch, as well as all of the flight staff who were running a little late.  to put it simply, it was no longer a good day.  as the last flight attendant smiled and stated that he “had to go in front of me,” i decided that it was just going to be a bad day and that i would have to accept it— the day was ruined and i shouldn’t have stayed up all night.

 

my decision to accept the situation was a small step in the right direction. the money was absolutely gone and there was nothing i could do about it.  i had to accept that i overpaid for a frustrating ride and that i had to pay more money than i planned to get all of my belongings home. but i was still mad. i also wanted to cry because my lack of sleep was catching up to me.  in the end, i decided i needed to let it go.  i think there is something to be said about acceptance; about allowing a situation to simply be what it is without trying to judge or change it.  and i think it is a good tool to have to be able to recognize when situations are out of your control...when your energy could be better used elsewhere. but most importantly, i don’t think acceptance of a situation means that there aren’t things you can’t change. you can accept the way something is while still having the option of choosing how to respond and move forward.  that’s the hard part.

 

i’ve learned that while you may accept a situation as it is, some things aren’t always as they seem.

i lent my cell-phone charger to a stranger who swore he would bring it back, and watched a screaming little boy run use the sitting area as a jungle gym. i listened to two strangers swap life stories about motherhood, and saw a women offer to help another person with their bags. in the midst of my awful day, there was good all around me. 

after pouting about my delayed flight and rough experience, i sat down on an airport chair and chose a different kind of day.

 

 

 

 

after all, it is your day.