I’ve always heard the only guarantees in life are change and death. Taxes maybe, but you can choose to pay or not. The consequences will be yours to face.
Over the past 10 months my life has made some drastic changes. So far none of the changes have included death. Thank whoever for that!
After raising three children, ending a 25 year marriage, and living in the same small town for 30 years, an idea was put in my head to move to the big city.
I jumped at the idea. I sold my house, released most of my stuff into the universe, and rented an apartment in the heart of Philadelphia’s newest neighborhood growing through a controversial gentrification process; Fishtown.
I love it!
At first, the change was dramatic and messed with my nervous system. Fear began to control my movement, keeping me behind the safe brick walls of my new home. Coming from a lily white and non-diverse community, the city, with all its noise, colorful personalities, dirty sidewalks, public transportation, loud trains and fast moving traffic made me question my sanity around decision making.
As I settled in, I decided to practice what I preached. The Yoga Therapy techniques I had no problem teaching others, might come in handy. If I chose to use them myself.
I was introduced through a mutual friend to a yoga studio owner. She offered me a teaching position which led to new clients and opportunities I seemed unable to fulfill in my old community.
I reconnected with nieces and nephews who live close by, reconnected with another friend who lives in the city, fulfilled a lifelong dream and rented an artist loft in a vibrant artist community, took up another form of yoga, took classes in writing and photography, and am on my way.
To what, I will find out as I weave my way into and through this new adventure.
Change is something many of us avoid. We stick to what we believe is our way – the right way. For some, this works. For some, this doesn’t work and us humans get caught up thinking our self-imposed way is the only way. We build our walls of beliefs and stay inside these walls of our self-imposed truths. Truths that often don't hold up to reality.
We stop living, holding on to the way that we decide has worked for us. Unwilling and too afraid to step into what might be outside our walls.
What do we give up when we stop seeing what is outside these walls of beliefs? What do we lose by not stepping into what we think we are afraid of? What is it we are really afraid of?
Being seen for who we truly are?
Too afraid to let go of the false persona we built, protecting ourselves from the judgements of others?
I know that was my fear. I had built a life that was safe and seemingly “perfect”, whatever that is. I had everyone believing what I wanted them to believe, too afraid to be judged by what others deemed "right".
I had to find out on my own that what others deemed right was their false persona. Not mine. What they thought of me was none of my business. I wanted to live MY life. Not theirs.
Life isn’t safe and everyone’s definition of perfect is their own. Safe is an illusion we are taught to build up around us. A perfect safety net we build in cubicles and offices, and into our savings accounts. Yes, everyone’s definition of the size of safe varies slightly.
When life becomes safe, life often stops growing. As the safety net builds, it often changes who we are. Creating more confines and judgements against those who don't live like us. Miserably failing to understand that the safety net leads to misdirected living.
For me, safe was control. Until I lost all control. Until my world changed through a force I had no control over.
My world was dropped into a void of fear. Falling into that void where my safety net had been ripped apart, the weaving torn out from under me. I was unwillingly forced to face the change my life was taking.
Years of self-examination and tearing down the walls of beliefs I had built eventually allowed me to begin to live again. I broke down beliefs that people had to fit in certain boxes of worthiness. I had to change the beliefs that how people dressed, the cars they drove, how many weeds were on their sidewalk, the streets they lived on, who their friends were, the color of their skin, did not determine their worth as lovable human beings.
Until I changed how I saw my own surroundings, life would not be presented to me in all its glory and love. That change was forced on me, but for many of us, that inability to change is a choice. I was fortunate I had to change my view of the world. My view was forced to expand into the reality that we are all worthy.
No one gets to determine my worth or value but me.
Changing my surroundings forced me to change my judgements unless I wanted to lock myself in my brick house. I had created my own prison cell of tightly held beliefs and fears I seemed unwilling to change because my perceived safety net was perfectly in place.
My move has been called courageous, crazy, brave, and I’ve been told by many it is not something they would ever do. I didn’t see myself doing anything like this either, 10 years ago. But life evolves and changes and I was faced with the choice to change with it or stay stuck in the false and only life I had built up around me.
Forcing my own hand made me step out of that life and into a new adventure facing change and accepting the life that will be woven around me.
For that, I am grateful my safety net was ripped.