It all started with a life changing question offered up by a lovely asian woman who goes by the name of Marie Kondo. For those of you that live under a rock, Maria Kondo is known for her clever tagline “Tidy Your Space, Transform Your life”, or her book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I believe she is an absolute genius because she inspired the world to ask a very simple question when it came down to not just tidying up, but improving the overall quality of our lives.
“Does it bring you joy?”
If the answer is no, then why are you wasting your precious time and energy? While I absolutely adore the chic, this short story today is not about my obsession with her.
When I tell people what my life has consisted of the last two years I will usually get a variety of different reactions from excitement and curiosity all the way to “I’m worried about you.” In addition to this I’ve also heard the “Well maybe its because she had cancer and this is her way of dealing with it…”
I’m learning that how people react is none of my business, however that last reaction makes me pause the most, and not just because I am a human being and naturally have desires of wanting the approval of others. It gets to me the most because there is a whole crowd of people out there that live so closely by the rules of society that they reserve discovering the most important things in their life for when they are close to or facing death, and to me this is something to be worried about.
What I have been doing the last two years has very little to do with being diagnosed with cancer less than a year ago. Although, it has most definitely contributed to putting me back on track when I fell off from time to time, it is not my way of “dealing with it.”The last 24 months of my life have been far from perfect and I am by no means saying the way I have been living is for everyone. However, being back in the states around friends, family, “the news” (if you can even call it that) and in and amongst the day to day lifestyle of busy American life has given me the opportunity to understand on a much deeper level what I really have been doing since leaving the corporate world in January of 2017.
Okay so what on earth did happen the last 18 months at a place called “Rosemary Dream” and how many people do you know that lived in a place with such a name?
Living in a shared community in Brazil where there is an intentional focus on connecting to the natural surrounding environment, and that encourages people to continuously open themselves to one another no matter how uncomfortable it may seem, has given me the space to have some pretty big life altering insights. Keyword, space… because without this I have found clarity is much harder to come by.
I found that I needed to completely disconnect from everything that I thought was important to reconnect and understand what was truly important to me in my life as it is now.
What do I mean when I say “that I thought was important”? I mean everything that was not really me. Now what’s important means taking all of life’s challenges, pleasant, unpleasant moments and fully embracing both equally. It means realizing the value I bring to others and being relentless at spreading it, and most importantly realizing that I have gifts to share with this world that don’t involve a promotion, a good grade, or a fancy internship. And finally coming and still coming to the realization, that my worth is not in the career I am or am not pursuing, social media likes, my parents approval, or especially the love that someone does or does not show me. How freeing is that???
Now, embracing what is important to me means reconnecting with all of the things I used to avoid, ie… politics, people that talked about politics, certain situations, and instead of avoiding them, reconnecting with these things with a whole new perspective. I find myself embracing a new mindset and a feeling of “I know who I am, what I value, and I am not afraid to put myself in situations that challenge that.”
In fact I am going to put myself in these scenarios because this world needs more people doing what they love and fully expressing who they are even when it’s not so easy. And please someone remind me I said all of this down the road…
Why should anyone care about my little two year hiatus from the day to day grind of life as I had come to know it? Not because I think everyone should quit their job, leave everything they know and love behind, and go live in a community in the jungle for a year, but because lacking clarity and meaning around who you are and what is important in your life sucks and is directly affecting how YOU are showing up in the world whether you like to admit it or not. Everyone deserves to feel fulfilled and live their own optimal way of life.
Whether you purge all of your things and downsize to be able to look at your closet and say “This brings me joy!” (thank you Marie) or perhaps you take a week away from social media, or the politics of the news.
Whatever it is, cleanse yourself of something, get back down to what is essential, truly important and make THAT SPACE.
I think you’ll re discover a whole new world in the process.