Straying off the Path

Have you ever ventured from your routine just to see what it’s like on the other side? Have you thought, “Why is it that I do what I do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?” So-and-so doesn’t go to the gym every morning so maybe I don’t need to either” or “they eat/drink this way so maybe I will too”, “he or she goes to bed late and sleeps-in in the morning so maybe I’ll try that on as well”? I think we all do this to some extent. It’s testing our boundaries, our surroundings. Finding some flex room and seeing where and how we fit in with those around us. Sometimes taking on a new habit can actually be beneficial. We might find something that works for us. In fact, I just went through a whole rollercoaster of shifts and NONE of them worked for me, but I’ll tell you what, I did learn something hugely valuable, the ability to be flexible and allowing with myself. I am bendable and pliable, I will not break. Let me tell you a little story…

During my most recent trip to the States I was blessed to get to stay with my sister, her fiance and their brand new (as in, born when I was there) baby boy. During my stay I witnessed a lifestyle completely different then what I am used to. They would stay up til midnight or later, watching TV on the couch in the living room and then mosey to their bedroom not to re emerge until about 11am the next day. Now, this is something so completely different than the way we grew up. We were early risers. I always knew my sister to be up and ready at least by 8. I’m a bit more extreme, I like the sunrise so my “lifting” time changes a bit with the seasons but it’s typically just before daybreak. So, as I lasted days longer in this environment I still actually kept my routine. I was kind of on vacation so I allowed myself to join a yoga studio to practice yoga 30 days for $30. This was a blessing! I learned all different kinds of yoga plus, it got me moving in the right mental, spiritual and physical direction first thing in the mornings. Sometimes I started at 6am other days it was 8 or 9 but almost always in the morning, although, I have been practicing being flexible with myself so sometimes I’d go for an afternoon or evening class as well. Sometimes even two classes in one day! I digress. As I was living out my life in the life and domicile of my sister and her beautiful new little family I started to hypothesize and draw some conclusions. “Hmmm, maybe if they do it this way, this is what works, and I should do it this way.” There’s that “should” voice. That stinker sneaks in so slyly. They eat breakfast at 11 or noon, lunch at 3 or 4 and dinner around 8…their lifestyle seems nice so if it works for them it can work for me. Nothing’s “wrong” with staying up late and waking up early. There’s the justification. Ok, if they’re not “wrong” doing this, then I wouldn’t be “wrong” either. A way to get permission from outside of myself to act in a way against what I have decided at some point is “the right way”. Hmm, in the future I will question myself when I want to act in a way that goes against what I think is right and reevaluate if that thinking serves me or if it’s just a way to set up unnecessary walls to restrict myself. Often times we push against our own walls and want to break through but if we ask ourselves why those walls or boundaries or limits are there perhaps we’ll hold to them more strongly and with pride and confidence and then other times maybe we’ll create a little doorway in the wall to make it pass through-able. This allows for less rigidity, more fluidity, self-reflection, and tenderness.

Ok, so skipping ahead. I arrive back to Portugal. After two months in the States, sharing time between my mom and step dad’s house and my sister and Nick’s house, I have come home to my climate, my routine, and it feels like a nest with open arms awaiting my body to snuggle-in. But oh, what’s this?! A schedule change! The restaurant I was working at before I left wants me to work evenings instead of days now. Hmm, ok. I think I can do this. “Other people live their lives in the latter half of the day.” I thought. I spoke with my sister about this, too. In fact, she’s the one that encouraged me to sleep-in. “Stay in bed. Don’t wake up to an alarm.”  Usually I don’t have to anyways, I know when I want to wake up and my body does just that. I like being in touch with myself like that. Oh, mind you, my sister is a super health fanatic. Always exercising, keeping a muscular physique to the point where people have asked her to be their trainer. So, she’s no dummy when it comes to health and probably a good person to model after. Although, pregnant sister has a few different habits and routines than pre pregnant sister. Different priorities let’s say. Ok, back in Portugal. So, I take the night shift. Working 4pm to midnight cooking. I ride my bike to work and ride it home, just about 10 minutes each way. No problem. Lisbon is pretty much always dry at least at some point within an hour. The winter months are wetter but I can deal with it. Just bring a raincoat and boots. I was enjoying learning how to sleep in. Closing my shades, blacking out my room and allowing myself to be in darkness until I was ready to rise. Lifting my shades, doing my own little morning routine late into the morning. Up at maybe 8 maybe 9am some days. Tongue scrape, oil pull, yoga, self massage…my little routine. Maybe a run at noon or 1pm which is crazy for me! I either run in the morning or not at all, usually. So this was an interesting experience for me. I kinda liked giving myself this option. It felt like I was exploring another part of the day, like another dimension. As time went on I started feeling some heaviness, there was definitely some negativity stirring-up from this lifestyle change. I wasn’t living in alignment with what I know to be right and good for me. This constant living to someone else’s standards and justifying it because “if they can do it, why can’t I” was creating a battlefield in my aura. My eating patterns were all off, my health started to decline mentally, physically and emotionally. My mind was dirty and I couldn’t wash it clean no matter how much I told it that it knows better. I couldn’t reason and tool my mind out of its own hole. The more I thought the deeper the hole. “Come on Kelsey, you have the tools to get on the right track here. Use an attitude of gratitude. Journal. Yoga. Meditate. Just. Keep. Going. One foot in front of the other. Be gentle with yourself. Be patient. Don’t resist, sit with the discomfort. What you resist persists. Etc Etc Etc! But still, this heaviness lingered like a heavy blanket hovering over my body keeping me still, stagnant, paralyzed. But how to get out? During this time I wasn’t running much…or was I. I remember thinking, I don’t need to run, not everyone runs so if they don’t then I don’t have to. I knew something was off and I was desperately trying to change it within my own mind. Trying to change my thoughts, because, thoughts become things. But it seemed like no matter what I told myself I wanted to do, I didn’t follow through with myself which left me even more depressed and defeated.

Along the way, (this was only a couple months like this) a job opportunity that re presented itself. I decided to pursue it and over a couple weeks it went from a potential shift to an actual offer to start a new position. This position would allow more routine (an actual start and end time, not just, when we don’t have anymore customers we finish up), also more free time, I would have weekends off, and the same amount of money. So, score! The only thing, it’s office work. I like being around people and being active. But ok. So it took me some time to decide if I should make the leap. I hemmed and hawed. Back and forth, pro’s and con’s list (Which didn’t work for me. I think it’s because I’m a Libra and I can find equal goods and bads for each side). This unknowing was eating at me on top of already feeling torn up by this, what I now recognize as, bout of depression. So, I chose to take the leap. I have always been a leaper. Off bridges, off cliffs, from one continent to another…so here’s another one. Let’s go. Wow! Incredible the immediate physiological transformation! It was a two day process. Day one, I accepted the offer. My spirits were lifted, I was walking a little lighter, my back was a little straighter, my thoughts were forward-thinking with a positive touch to them. Even on my bike ride into work I was better able to be grateful for the job I have. I had a great day that day. The second day: I gave my notice. And that was it, I jumped off the high dive, my wings snapped out and I was flying! Energy came from pockets all around me, creativity has been flooding my mind and body, my spirit is soaring, my body doesn’t need much sleep, it literally feels like I have been launched into the next chapter of my existence. I am happy I can recognize this energy and use it appropriately. I know it’s a surge. I know not to rely on it for the long term and I am so enjoying it right now. With this shift I have opened up space to get the best of all worlds. I will still be involved in the restaurant but in a more off-scenes kind of way (event organizing, maybe some serving once in awhile because I like the social aspect), I get to further my business portfolio but opening up a marketing position and expanding my skills while learning global business, all the while maintaining my current marketing position for the family business. Change is good. I have learned that I must experience change. I need to be growing, trying new things, learning them well and then challenged again to try other new things. I don’t stay stagnant well. I am a flowing river not a bog. My waters must sparkle clean and flow with freshness and adventure. I cannot be stifled or I will wither. But who is in charge of this? I am. Every step of the way. No one can make my life the way I need it other than me. No one is responsible for what I say yes and no to. I am ultimately in control of every decision I make at every moment of the day and this is so wonderful, so powerful. To be a powerful co creator, with the universe. The universe provides if I just listen and follow my heart openly we (me and the universe) are unstoppable. I soar. My heart flies. What I see, looking back, is that, when i feel off balance, when I recognize this down shifting, it’s time to take some inventory. Oh! I almost forgot, I also went on a nice long run and really got some clarity. But, now, thinking back, I went on a couple runs when I was down in the dumps and clarity didn’t crash over me like a wave like it did yesterday, two days after I decided to take this new position. I think I am still learning lessons from this last cycle. Life comes in waves. We are always experiencing ups and downs. Some are more extreme than others. During this last one I kept telling myself, ok Kelsey, this is just the down part of the cycle, you are going to get through it and there will be the upswing, just ride it. It’s hard when you’re in it to ride the wave while you’re feeling the effects of it on your mind body and soul. That’s for sure. But there’s reassurance in knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel, this too shall pass, it just takes one foot in front of the other. We are strong. We are human. We are all we’ve got, really.

Perhaps this story has been a little fluttery, back and forth, touching on this and then that and then back to this. This is a bit like my mind right now. But I had to share, while it’s still fresh. Sometimes we hold on to something because we know there is goodness within it but we think we will lose it if we let go and move onto something else. But as we hold tightly we actually squeeze and suffocate what good is inside. If we let go, and move on, we allow what is to breathe, breathe new life into itself. Leaves unfold and it can blossom and the beauty that we knew was held inside is able to come out and be exposed so that we can enjoy it.

Perhaps I’ve been a bit to vague at the end here but I am in a bit of a rush to get to the bike shop and then to work. Hopefully this speaks to you and didn’t just lose you at the end 😉 Any questions or clarifications just let me know!

Thanks for reading me!

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