My conversation with God would often look a bit like this: “Well played. I said I wanted to travel and teach, and you’ve got me all over the place.” On more than one occasion, I have stomped my feet and said, “You know what I mean!” But, I love God and He loves me, so it’s all good. I could say it with a smile.
Early in September, I had the opportunity to cat sit for a friend of mine. This would be my 7th move in the year. I carried much less baggage with me by now. In many senses. As soon as I stepped into this home, however, I felt different. I felt more like me than anywhere I had been. It was here that I finally began to put real effort into how to make an international move with my particular life circumstances. I was looking into work trade mostly because I didn’t actually have the dollars for rent. I began researching the countries that had been calling to me for years. What work could I do? I knew I needed something other than just teaching yoga, and I was open to suggestions. Teaching English kept coming back around. It was not my first choice, I did not even speak a second language. But maybe that was an avenue worth exploring. Some countries require a BA, but not all. The certification for this was not that expensive. Still, I was keeping my options open. Finally I gathered up my courage and reached out to two teachers I know. What advice could they give? How did they do it? I got sweet responses and encouragements, but nothing solid. No problem.
Then, a “random” thought crossed my mind. YogaWorks has a Facebook page dedicated to teacher training alumni. I would pop on there occasionally just to see what good information they were sharing. I realized it had been many months since I had visited, so I checked it out. How about the first thing on the page was an article from a respected teacher on the best ways to settle into a life of traveling and teaching. Whaaaat? Crazy. As I read, it was like his words were describing my last year moving about LA. I was already living that life on a small scale. The traveling that I was experiencing was not what I had envisioned, but, it was teaching me how to pare down and travel more lightly; and it was preparing me for what was to come.
Again, gathering courage, no holding back, I took the chance and reached out to this man. Thank goodness for Facebook. I had not officially ever met him, but he knew my teachers, so I was at least not a complete stranger. I told him of my story and asked if he had any advice for me; where do I begin? To my honest surprise, he got back to me. He had some helpful tips that I greatly appreciated. Then he said, I know a couple of people in Costa Rica who might be looking for a live-in teacher; would I like for him to pass my information along. Well yes, of course. Thank you. Wow. I did not expect that. But that is how the Universe works. Intention, action, response. However, this was just one step, a piece of the puzzle. If it was truly meant for me, it would be. So I would have to wait and see. I couldn’t put any expectation into it, but I did have a spark of hope. And then I let it go back into the Universe to work itself out, without worry, without micromanaging.
I have said that I didn’t have any attachments in LA. I was truly “free to roam about the cabin” so to speak. But, there was still one thing holding me back. The greatest obstacle that had been dragging me down for so long was my credit card debt. “They” say, pay yourself first. Well, my whole life has been, take care of the bills first. That’s what has always served me. My credit score was as important to me as my health. There was no way I would let any bill go unpaid. Inevitably, that is what my work life would be about. But here I was, paying my bills on time, unable to pay rent or buy food. Now, that does not mean I went hungry or without a roof over my head. It’s just an example of my priorities. Even if an opportunity came up to relocate, how would I pay these bills? My mantra for months, how do I travel with this debt? I need debt forgiveness!
At some point during my 10 days here, I spoke to a family member who asked me if I had ever considered bankruptcy. No. My debt was my responsibility, not to mention the credit score I had been protecting. But I listened. I respected her and trusted her opinion. It would help, but I wasn’t sure. I needed to think about it.
In the meantime, my cat-sitting job would end. It was mid-September. What to do? I would make my way back to Shilo, who graciously took me in again. Like I said, she was and is, a blessing. I called her “mom” because she kept taking care of me. She called me “wife” because I cooked for her 🙂 Once I landed back “home” in a sense, I decided that what I needed to do was root for a while. I had been so shaken by all of my moves, that I could not take it anymore. I felt like a failure and a drain on society. Even though I had a made a connection, had reached out to forge an opportunity to teach yoga abroad, there were no guarantees, and I continued to doubt. It’s my MO. Besides, I needed stability for a while. I thought, I’ll revisit all of this next year. Maybe I’ll leave early for my retreat in Costa Rica or just stay after. Root, ground. Don’t be a burden. But one more thing needed to happen first. I was sick to my stomach as I made the call. I was going to file for bankruptcy. I took the leap.
And this is how the world tends to work… within days of deciding to settle in and grow roots, and the very next day after I decided to file for what I will call “debt forgiveness”, I received an email, from my new contacts in Costa Rica. A bed and breakfast on the beach was looking for a yoga teacher to build their local community program and provide classes for their guests. I would live rent free with all of my meals provided in exchange for working on the property. They wanted a social butterfly, someone to serve in their restaurant and make cocktails, and handle guest services. I was looking at these words in complete and total awe. Everything that I had spoken into the Universe was staring back at me. I couldn’t believe it. Shock and awe. What I was looking for, was looking for me. I had seen that written somewhere. I knew it to be true. Now I had the experience of proof. Shock and awe.
The catch? They wanted me there by the end of November for their high season. Holy shit. That what so soon, out of my comfort zone. I had just literally said, I’ll revisit next year. But the Universe had other plans. Life kept telling me, don’t get comfortable. It was so hard for me to rest in that, though I desperately wanted to. I knew the truth of it; but I couldn’t reconcile that unseen reality of my vision that I had, with the seen reality of my existence. But here it was. My chance. I had responsibilities in December though. I couldn’t let anyone down. No, my spirit said, I can’t let Me down. Ok. I said yes. I needed a little time to work some things out, but yes, I’ll do it. Holy shit. It was happening. It was time to fly.
That period between my decision and my departure was full of all sorts of letting go. What was I going to do with my storage? I had very carefully boxed up all of my things that I wanted to have for my new home one day. I couldn’t just let all of it go. But I couldn’t pay to keep it either. So little by little I began to dismantle all that I held dear. I cried and cried as I released my attachments, not just to the “things” I was letting go of, but to the memories they held, or the purpose I had envisioned for them. They are replaceable. Yes, but… It hurt. And it was freeing. I kept those things that I could not part from, and they are being held for me for when I return one day.
My travels about the county had prepared me for taking as little as possible, all the while making sure that I had all that I needed. Days before I left, I was still unpacking, repacking, and downsizing. The food and personal containers that I actually do need had to be left behind to make space for the hairdryer, curling iron, and make-up that I have not used once. My intuition told me so, but, of course, I didn’t listen. That happens sometimes; just don’t tell my ex I admit that. 😉
I had been “calling in” each month at the new moon a stable home for myself. I had been imagining what I wanted my life to look like. I prayed for work that would support me. I prayed for a release of my debt. And though I was not manifesting the home of my dreams, I always had safe shelter. I couldn’t be mad because I was in a sense getting what I was asking for, I was just not trusting in the bigger picture, and that lack of faith was the cause of my stress. Now, I am stable, I am safe. I have nature, the beach, the sunsets and sunrises. I get up with dawn. I have a place for my personal practice that nourishes me. I am not worrying about rent, or food. And though the decision was incredibly hard, I had to file for bankruptcy to free myself of the debt that had been weighing me down. So I released my attachments to my belongings and I released my attachments to my credit score and reputation. I said good-bye to my friends, my students, and my employers who had all graciously given me the chance to grow. I released expectation and put on trust. In the words of Henry D. Thoreau, I was going confidently in the direction of my dreams. I was living the life I imagined. And it was just the beginning.