All in Spirit Junkie

Finding My Edges In Iceland

I board a plane tomorrow, bound for Iceland.

In my backpack I've stuffed a tent + tent footprint, sleeping pad, sleeping bag + liner, and a blow-up pillow. To camp. In a snowy arctic winter. In the wilderness (campgrounds don't open for another 6-8 weeks). And I'll be there for a month. And I'm doing all of it solo. Oh yeah, and I've only camped four times in my life. All four times in my parent's backyard. 

As I'm counting the hours before I leave...it's only now occurring to me that this is all sort of crazy. 

On Loving Strangers

Velta, the teeny tiny tough-as-nails Latvian grandma I've shacked up with for three months, has taught me profound lessons on resourcefulness and survival. I'm now realizing she's also taught me the beauty of sharing your life with strangers.

I don't mean blogging about my adventures, splashing them on Facebook for whomever to see. I mean intimately sharing your weird day to day life. With someone you barely know and cannot actually speak to. For months. And loving it. And loving them. And being open to all of the randomness that ensues.

A Love Letter to Bali

Both metaphorically and literally, I came to Bali to be stripped. Intentionally, delicately, fiercely stripped. I came to Bali to challenge every drop of ego and pretense I held dear. I came to Bali to heal.

My time on The Island of the Gods has been a firestorm of transformation. Just over five weeks later, I don’t recognize myself. My love letter to Bali is one of gratitude for the lessons she taught me, or reinforced, or drilled into my stubborn brain. Either way, the lessons are the thing. 

What will you offer in the name of balance?

Sweeping, sweeping, sweeping...the swooshing sound of sticks and dried palm fronds on Mr. Gede's handmade broom begin before the sun rises, and never truly ends. 

One of my most visceral memories of this island will be the sound of rough brooms scraping stone sidewalks. Walk down any street at any time of day and you'll see shop owners sweeping the corner of the world carved out for their livelihood. Even the woman who sells sarongs at the beach, in a Sisyphean display of resilience, sweeps sweeps sweeps the encroaching sand. 

What Bali's offerings taught me about letting go

They're everywhere.

You can't walk a more than a few feet in Bali without needing to navigate around an offering. They're on the ground, in the road, on top of shop signs, teetering on the handlebars of a scooter, stacked high on temple steps, spilling out of cubby holes cut into the black stone buildings, giant statues all decked out and dressed up with fresh flowers and colorful fabrics...everywhere.

The messy middle: Working with the tension of transitions

"Transitions" refer to the messy middle.

You enter a transition once you make a decision and you've stopped or started whatever it was that needed stopping or starting but you haven't yet launched into your new reality. The untethered limbo of time between a decision and a new reality is a transition. Decision > transition > new reality cycles last for two minutes ("I want pad thai for lunch..."), while some can last for two decades ("I'm not in love with my husband anymore..."). 

On the one-year anniversary of my Hashimoto's diagnosis, I'm homeless, jobless, car-less, and blissfully happy.

I'm celebrating my anniversary today! One year ago today my doctor looked up slowly from the lab reports, put her hand over her thyroid in her throat, and said to me: "Your body is attacking itself, love." Until that moment, I'd never heard of Hashimoto's. 

This past year has taught me a few hard-fought lessons. Please borrow as needed.

Stop apologizing for who you are (I keep saying to myself).

Own it already. 

It's been interesting to watch myself, feeling a bit out of body, talking about the woman who has deconstructed her entire life and booked a one-way flight to Indonesia. It's interesting to watch myself tell some people every detail and then to others I simply give a generic "Thanks for asking. I'm leaving to focus on my health." 

I'm challenging myself to lean straight into this adventure with no more apologies. No more downplaying to make other people feel comfortable. No more acting like it's just another trip I'm taking. It's not. 

I'm trance dancing in Bali as a way to emotionally heal. Because of course I am.

So I’m scheduled to do a little trance dancing in Ubud. Not a typo.

I realize most of you don’t know me personally, so let me explain that I’m primarily an introvert. I’m not keen to draw attention to myself, particularly in situations where I feel uncomfortable. Let's just say I'm working on my relationship with public displays of vulnerability. The moment I was presented with the opportunity to trance dance in Bali, I had hilarious and horrifying visions of Bridget Jones caliber. The degree of potential embarrassment is staggering. 

A few things I know for sure...

I'm fortunate to be friends with some of the most amazing women you'll ever meet. A group of us had a conversation recently about what we know for sure. It was so powerful and I can't stop thinking about it. I decided to share with you a few things that I know for sure. 

Life is not meant to be lived in boxes.

 I had my first-ever session with an intuitive energy healer this week and I want to share a lesson that's coming through loud and clear to me: 

We're meant to live whole, beautiful, messy, graceful lives aligned with our highest self. We're not meant to parse ourselves into restrictive boxes.