Gratitude for the Process
As we near the end of 2015, I am overcome with gratitude for all that's unfolding, has unfolded, and will unfold around me. This has been the best year of my life, as the year before was, & the year before that. Bottom line: things just keep getting better, and I have no doubt that 2016 will be as EPIC as ever. I have a never-ending faith in the process of what is, and this faith allows me to enjoy each moment, finally able to let go of attachments & nostalgia. Learning to live without material attachments, nostalgia for the past , or a fear of missing out is a constant practice & journey. Living a nomadic, entrepreneurial lifestyle has helped me to make great progress in these regards.
And perhaps that's the ultimate gift. On the way to to achieving all of my wildest dreams, I am finding myself. I am learning to let go, and in doing so, I'm coming into my true power. I'm creating space to take care of myself and of others in each day, and to have consistent momentary instances of happiness which weave together to create an overarching theme of happiness throughout my days - by choice.
Age 29: First Saturn Return
The last month of the year is also the last month of my birth year, as I'll be 29 on January 28th. If you're familiar with astrology, the first Saturn return is between ages 28 & 29. It's an important time in our lives:
Read more in this article here.
As a child and adolescent, I've always been driven and motivated to succeed. I had a clear vision that I was headed somewhere special and that all the things I was doing were leading me there, even though I didn't know where "there" was. I didn't care to waste time in getting there, though. Barely leaving time for myself to catch my breath, I hustled my way through high school, college & graduate school, earning a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine by age 23. I sped my way through my intern hours, working 3 - 4 jobs at the same time so that I could survive In Los Angeles, until I finally got my license to practice therapy last September.
In the days since I was young until now, the only constant has been change. Whether it's my apartments, my hair, my group of friends, my jobs, my interests, my current small business... I'm constantly evolving, assessing what's working (or not), and upgrading. While others have always found it difficult to keep up with what's going on with me, I knew all that time that I would soon be reaping the rewards of 1000s of hours of hard work. In addition to all of the physical and mental labor, I did 100s of hours of personal work, therapy, meditation & yoga to start chipping away at my conditioning so that I could soon get to a place where I could be calm & apply all that I had learned.
When I was younger, I didn't realize then that I was doing the work required to shed my skin for Saturn's return. I intuitively knew that near the end of my 20s, I'd be able to slow down, take inventory of what I've created, & find a more balanced routine that I could grow within (though I couldn't tell you why I "knew" that). It's manifested itself into form as I am now well-educated and experienced enough to be respected within my communities and I'm working smarter with my time. Since I wasn't born into wealth, I've made a lot of conscious moves in my life to position myself well in the eyes of others. I never let the lack of wealth limit me or my opportunities. I feel like I'm taking each thing I've worked on in my previous 28 years to the next level, and the timing couldn't be more perfect. I feel perfectly prepared for Saturn's return.
The last time I wrote about my adventures as a yogi entrepreneur was at the end of September, a little over two months ago. I talked about the real estate deal that I was working on and how our lives would change as a result. A LOT has happened since then, but I haven't updated the blog about it because it's basically been a teeter-totter of events. If you missed Part 1, make sure to check it out. I've also talked about my trips other times on the blog, so you can read more if you want to here and here.
Picking Up Where I Left Off
Right after Part 1, I hosted 5 yogis on a retreat in Costa Rica. It was a BLAST. We all had the time of our lives. Check out the link above to read more & see some amazing photos of the retreat. I returned home for 2 weeks & had to turn right back around & head back to Costa Rica to meet with Dave, the buyer for the hotel. Pete, my husband, was able to accompany me this time for a part of the trip which I was extremely grateful for! Traveling back and forth alone has its challenges.
Essentially, I can say that things are progressing nicely with the real estate deal I've been working on. We are now officially at the year marker of when the client first contacted me, and it's been a roller coaster of events since that happened. I've been back and forth to Costa Rica 4 times just this year alone and I've invested countless amounts of time, money, and lost opportunities back home to ensure it continues flowing along smoothly. The thing is that I don't regret any of those things I "missed out on" because they weren't meant for me to begin with. What I've created is beautiful and part of creating many opportunities around the world is that you will inevitably miss out on the majority of them. It's the nature of the Universe - you simply can't be in more than one place at a time and so you have the beauty of being able to choose what will serve your Highest Self and will lead your further down your path.
Our goal was to sign the final contract November 1 and Pete and I would've moved December 1 but things move at Pura-Vida-Pace and it's taking a bit longer to wrap up negotiations. As I'm writing this, the final version of the contract came through and I'm hoping it gets signed as a lovely holiday gift for us all. The plan is for us to move to Costa Rica in the middle of April now, when the current season ends. Then we will take over managing the hotel that I've been working to sell (check out Part 1 for more background). Although I'm anxious to get there & get started, I welcome the delay with open arms. We want to live there forever so a few months isn't the end of the world. Plus, once we get started there, we'll be working full time nonstop, so we've made a huge decision on how to spend our time until April!
Southeast Asia: Here We Come!
For two and a half months, starting January 11, Pete and I will be backpacking and adventuring around Southeast Asia!! Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Bali - we cannot even believe it! The best part is that our flights were only $612!!! It's all aligning perfectly - My parents decided to join us for their 10-day vacation, I have another bestie in Thailand that we'll see, a business partner wants to host a retreat in March, and my friend Kayla wants to join us in Bali. She might host the retreat with me! She's a vegan chef so we want to pair cooking classes with yoga. E-mail me if you would want to join us, it would be mid-March.
Stay tuned for my adventures there as I'll have plenty of time to refocus and dedicate myself to the blog. If you don't see daily posts of what we're doing, it will be because we're on a mountaintop at a meditation retreat with no electronics. Otherwise, expect lots of amazing pictures and stories to come! I know I feel extremely blessed as this is a once-and-a-lifetime opportunity for me.
I've done a lot of traveling, but the majority has been with family or for work. For example, we're from Lebanon so all of our family vacations were to Lebanon (which I adored and I'm not complaining!). I've been to Bulgaria for yoga modeling with Udaya.com, to Costa Rica tons of times (the majority to host retreats or business trips), and that's about it! I live in Southern California so there's no need to go anywhere else, in my opinion. I've flown around the US but mostly for family functions. All of my extra time, money, and energy has always gone towards furthering my businesses or dreams. Leisure travel was something I was reserving for the future, and that future is finally here. This girl feels giddy!
I'm not saying our upcoming trip won't have purpose. In addition to the retreat I mentioned above, I'll be scouting lots of locations for future events, I'll be gathering, editing, and preparing content for social media and marketing, blogging (some of that work in exchange for free or discounted space for us on the trip!) and of course, dedicating time for self-improvement and volunteer work in whatever capacity we're able to. I always love to give back to the places I visit in some way and I learn to live in synergy with the culture.
This soul cleansing adventure for my husband and I will allow us to bond in a new way. It's the perfect thing for us individually as well, and for me especially as I'll be turning 29 on the trip, a perfect way to welcome to return of Saturn. I anticipate a lot of change and transformation to occur, and I'm open to all that's coming. We'll know by then what's going on with this deal, and if and when we get to Costa Rica, we'll be refreshed and renewed, ready to hit the ground running.
Contentment With All Endings
If things don't happen the way we imagine they will, I will have gratitude for that as well. There's nothing that can occur that would affect my well-being. If things fall through last minute, I would be able to look back at all of the growth that's occurred within me and all of the opportunities I've created because of what I've been working on. Even the trip we are embarking on - that's the kind of trip that needs a catalyst and the real estate deal served as one, whether it finalizes or not. Where we live now, San Clemente, California, is a magical town that we absolutely adore. Living here for longer or forever is not something that would upset either of us!
It's through the process of uncertertainy over the last year that I've been able to practice patience. It's something that I've struggled with a lot in my life. Though I'm able to put off instant gratification for long term goals, I get very impatient with inaction. I always want things to be churning and burning. This deal has moved as such a snail's pace that most days, I have no control over what will happen or I have no ability to make it go any faster. People ask, "What's the news?". I smile and reply, "We're finalizing negotiations".
So I wait. As I wait, I find:
- I can use the ebb and flow of this process to balance my life. During the ebb, I turn inward and to my home. I clean out closets, drawers, and shelves. I sell things online that I don't need and I recycle all the things that aren't useful anymore.
- I can use the down times to take better care of myself. Some of the things I've been focusing on are: taking better care of my skin, sleeping more, drinking more water, cutting out sugar, drinking lemon water each morning, flossing daily... the things we thing will just happen but don't unless we put energy towards them. These things make me have a more positive outlook over all.
- I don't need approval or reassurance from outside sources to affirm that I'm headed in the right direction. I can rely on my inner knowing to guide me.
- I can set the stage for the next 29 years of my life, at the end of which Saturn will make it's next appearance.
People often say to me, "You're SO lucky that you live such a cool life!" and I can't help be feel slightly offended on the inside. I know it comes from a good place but there's an underlying assumption in that statement that says I didn't work hard to get what I have. The fact is that the life I live from day-to-day came with a lot of sacrifices. For many years, I stayed consistent with my goals, I stayed motivated, I showed up, I put the hard work in, and I've studied a lot of different things. My parents helped me financially through college but we aren't wealthy... no one handed me anything... I don't have any super powers. I see what I want and I take it, so long as it's not hurting anyone else. I don't believe that I'm better, smarter, luckier, or more able than anyone I've ever met - I just feel like I've taken advantage of the opportunities I've created and made the most of the resources around me. Anyone can do that!
Life Lessons as an Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur is self-defined and it looks different for each person. My journey has taught me to trust myself, to not worry about whether others support me or not, and to make the most of every single opportunity that comes my way. The sad truth is that the majority of people, even those that love you, might find it hard to support things that they perceive to be unrealistic. The happy part is that they will support you when you start to succeed. The lesson is that the success precedes the support usually, so you can't rely on others to coddle you along. On the flip side, the more you elevate in your power and success, the more others do start to respect you and support you. So dig deep within yourself to find the strength and support to move forward. Now that I've been showing some promising things with my projects, many people have started treating me differently, for better or for worse.
Being an entrepreneur has taught me to hustle to make things happen - even if that means spending hours listing material possessions on eBay so I can make more money or cocktail serving for 6 years to live in the place I want to live - you do want you have to do. It's those experiences that make teach you resiliency and stamina, and it's those instances in which you learn the wide variety of skills that you need to be successful as a self-starter.
Another thing I hear people say that irks me is, "Where has the time gone?". To me, it sounds like, "I haven't been present enough in my life to enjoy it". My friend Joelle, who's an extremely wise and talented 18-yearold, said to me the other day, "You've lived a long and full life already!" and it made me so happy to hear her say that, because it's true! If you find yourself feeling stagnant or not moving in the direction that you want to go in, it's up to you to change that and create something. Period. No one came to me and handed me an Agate crystal platter with all the answers on it and you shouldn't expect that either. Being an entrepreneur can be scary because of that reason, so you have to anticipate that and move forward in spite of fear and doubt.
And so, while I thought Part 2 would be the resolution of this series on the blog, it appears it's only the beginning. And I really didn't talk too much about yoga! But that's okay, because yoga's a part of the story that's always being weaved throughout the plot line. The best part of all that's happened this past year in my journey to make my dreams come true is that I've truly started respecting myself, valuing myself, and trusting myself to make bad ass things happen. I'm investing in my present and ,y future and I encourage you to do the same, if it's something that's calling to you in your heart!