I never asked.
Riches. Beauty. Abundance in all physical forms. I never asked for any of it.
I was too busy asking for things like help loving myself, healing – physical & mentally, a platform upon which I could reach people, inspire people, love people. Those are the things I have been dreaming of. Feeling. Praying for. Those are the things I have received.
I am three days from turning 25, a quarter century. And I just cannot believe how much has happened in the past year.
A year ago today, I was just beginning my solo trip through Wyoming, Idaho, Montana & Canada. It was the first time I had driven BYV any length, only sketchy tours of nearby neighborhoods (BYV is a manual. The first manual I have ever driven.) So I made it through my first “big city” – Great Falls, with only slight panic the entire time. And yes, killing it at a stoplight. Twice.
The road was open before me. No set plans. No cell phone service. No inkling of what I might find.
On my birthday last year, I chose to spend it hiking up and over the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park. A three-day and 30-or-so mile hike, with only the company of few fellow hikers who quickly became friends, mountain goats who got too close, and bears who got closer. Long story short, I thought I was going to die on my 24th birthday.
I know hiking alone is not ideal, but I do choose to put myself in those situations and it’s a risk I run. In the middle of the ascent over the Divide, there is a section of the pass that is only about five feet wide, 50 feet straight up, and a thousand or so feet straight down. I had to stop and take photos. As soon as I was satisfied with a decent shot and began walking again, I felt someone behind me. Swinging around quickly, with a big smile and expectation of seeing a person trudging along behind, I instead caught glimpse of a grizzly sow. And her cubs. About 35 feet down the trail.
It’s an incredible moment, facing death. Looking it right in the eyes. Looking her right in the eyes, before shooting my glaze downward, reaching for the bear spray, and walking backwards while telling her I was leaving. She continued to come up the trail, even quickening her step and closing the gap enough that I could hear her steady breath.
Although I was frightened, quite frightened actually, I was never afraid. I never felt fear. I just quickly accepted the fact that this could be it for me, and a pretty epic way to go out, at that. With the acceptance, came peace. And from the peace, came knowing that I would be okay. That my journey was not over. I knew it was just beginning.
From there, I traveled north to Canada and mostly spent my time lingering over peculiar places and generous people. I found yoga studios everywhere I went. Even attended an amazing festival in Nelson, BC. I took my time, and lived in each moment.
Then I came home. I will sift over the winter, as it bears some hard times for me, but I think those times were possibly the most important part of my year. I was working in an environment I didn’t quite jive with, I was living in my van and in Virginia’s parents’ basement, indulging too much, laughing too little. I lost my light. I lost spark. I lost that openness I felt when I was out of the road… openness, faith, and surrender to the path. I lost me.
I ran from here at the first chance, and moved to Asheville to see if perhaps attending a program of all things yoga for three weeks straight would make way for a total transformation. And it absolutely has. The experience I had there was unlike anything I have ever been a part of. Completely surrounded by these bright, shining, one-of-a-kind souls who were also looking for something to change their lives. To improve their lives. To become closer to their ideal, their dream. There were no boundaries, you could be you without an ounce of shame. You could say ‘fuck’ in a yoga class and not get a reaction. You could cry every day and always have a shoulder. You could just be yourself and be loved all the more for it. It transformed the way I treat people, and the way I treat myself.
Virginia and I only had big dreams of what we would do upon our return to Wyoming, but that was enough. The doors opened up for us, we were provided with a beautiful space to teach, we were blessed with encouraging students, and we were eager to make a home. A community. And day by day, patiently, in their own time, all the things we ask for came to us.
But they only come when you believe you deserve them. They come when you feel them. They come when you are grateful.
At least that’s what I think.
I guess the only thing I am really getting at here is that I have changed my world and my external appearances by doing yoga in all aspects of the word. Kindness. Compassion. Non-hate. Non-stealing. Non-judging. Non-attachment. Commitment. Faith. And the greatest of all – Love.
And I will be the first to tell you, I struggle still. Not every day, but a lot of days. I struggled today. I felt myself sinking into a funk, feeling sorry for myself, thinking “poor me” thoughts until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to stop, breathe, and pull myself back out of it, into a space where I could find balance & presence, faith & love. I had to come back to a space of feeling abundant. I had to say the words out loud, “I deserve abundance. I deserve appreciation, I deserve to have pride in my work, I deserve to be loved.” And if you try it, saying those words out loud while believing them is much more of a challenge that many would like to admit.
So sit up tall, open your chest, find your breath, and with a smile repeat after me: I deserve abundance. I deserve appreciation. I deserve to have pride in my work. I deserve to be loved. Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.
Feel it & believe it. Be it.
I never asked for a lot of things in my life because I didn’t feel like I deserved them. Don’t make the same choice, ask for everything you desire, and then allow it to show up.
As I look back at my past year, I look forward even more at the time in front of me. I possess the highest of hopes, the biggest of dreams, and the best of tribes. I have everything I could ever need.