My Story: Part 9
A New Reality
United States and United Kingdom
I landed in the US after seven months of travel, unsure of how I felt about returning. I had chosen to come home at this time — no one pressured to me to do so — and though a part of me was glad to be back for the holidays, another part didn’t feel ready to be back. I was still in the thick of everything at that point. I was trying to process everything that had gone on and what it all meant for my future. I didn’t feel ready to share my stories, and though I had a general idea of the path in front of me, I wasn’t ready to present any official plan to people.
I felt tremendous anxiety about talking about intuition with people from home. How was I going to explain what I had experienced and what I had learned on my trip? What would they think of it all? Would they think I was crazy? I had a massive underlying fear of being rejected. So I put a lot of energy into returning to the status quo of home, trying to keep things as they had been when I left (which made no sense at all, I didn’t want them to be that way!). I was fighting against what was naturally coming, but I was also unwilling to fully return to what had been. I put myself in the middle and refused to move. I was trying to keep my new life — the one that my trip had generated and I foresaw continuing in London, one where I used intuition to guide me — alive ,while continuing to maintain the life I had left behind at home.
It felt like I needed more time to embody my trip and my learnings, and the truth is that I probably did. I had experienced, and was still undergoing, a lot of realizations and changes. Returning to the environment of my childhood and my old life at this stage was challenging and not conducive to further growth. Let’s be clear, I was surrounded by loving family and friends who all wanted the best for me. I was spending quality moments with them during the time of year when we’re meant to come together and give thanks for all that we have. I was happy about that. But in the context of where I was in my personal journey, I wasn’t doing myself any real favors and I wasn’t following my truth.
I was meant to be out in the world, integrating all the new in my life, and starting to step up and out and live my truth. Being at home, not yet willing to express anything related to this, I was keeping myself trapped. I didn’t feel ready to share what I had learned: I wanted more time as the student. I didn’t want to put myself out there until I was absolutely certain it was the right time to do so, when there would be minimal chance of rejection. My resistance to being vulnerable, to just showing myself however I was at that moment, really held me back.
I continued trying to keep my two “worlds” separate, by which I mean I was trying to keep alive two versions of myself— who I was becoming/returning to by following my truth and who I thought I needed to continue to be in order for existing family, friends, structures, to continue to accept me. With energy sucked away from the former to feed the latter, I’d never be living authentically. It was all manipulation. So I wasn’t making much progress at home.
I made an appointment with the osteopath/psychic in NYC to check in with her. We had been in touch at various points throughout my trip, so she was pretty up to date with what was going on with me. During our appointment we chatted a bit about my trip, particularly about what I had learned about intuition and my reservations about how this was to fit into my existing life. She reminded me of a message she had delivered to me before I left on my trip, and again at a particularly pivotal moment in Bali, when I began intuitive coaching and set out on this path:
“Don’t go back to where you were before. Except for some friends and your family, your old life should be left in the past-just move towards something new. Looking back later on in life, this time should be where your life changed for the better.”
At the end of our appointment she asked me: “Why did you come back?” and I said something like, “I don’t really know, just to visit for the holidays I guess.” To which she replied,“It’s like you needed to show yourself that you’re not meant to be here right now.”
I wasn’t serving myself by staying home any longer; it was time to wrap up this visit back to the States. I knew that the UK was still true for me, and I intended to return there, but was hoping for some sort of structure to take shape that I could use. At the very least, I planned to be in the UK by the spring, I was just debating whether to head there immediately or perhaps stop off in Bali (who wouldn’t want a tropical climate in January/February?!) first before returning to London in March.
After completing my tenure with my intuitive coach from Bali at the end of the year, I began working with a new coach. I consulted with her about returning to Bali and/or the UK. It was clear that although elements of Bali remained true for me, at this time it would be a misdirection, a distraction from what I wanted to create in my life. Returning to the UK now heavily increased the tension, but as a result, held the chance to yield greater growth and results. (The psychic in NYC independently concurred with all of this: Bali is like a second home to me, she said, but it was true for me to go back to London at that juncture.)
I had created this point in my life where I had stepped out of the flow of my trip. It’s almost as if I was a little shell shocked by it all. Even if I didn’t know all the specifics, I understood what the true path was in front of me, but I still couldn’t fully let go and surrender to it. I had one foot planted in the future and one foot planted in the past, which left me stuck. I hadn’t taken much action while at home in the States-I hadn’t planted any seeds to harvest in the springtime in the UK, so I would be heading there without much of a plan again.
I had brought a heaviness to everything that hadn’t been there during my earlier travels. Though this was still a part of my adventure, the tension at the start of the new year in London was higher than ever before. With the cost of living so high, financial stress weighed heavier on me than at any other time on my trip. Somewhat related, accommodation became a major hurdle in my mind. (The family that originally hosted me for my first six weeks in London during the fall graciously took me in again while I looked for a more permanent arrangement. Ultimately I spent the first couple of months there living with them.) More than anything, I sensed it was time for me to get on with things, but a big part of me still refused. I was letting the fear win, creating an unnecessary severity, which only weighed me down.
I struggled with the notion that I had to just get on with creating, living this new way, even if I didn’t have a permanent place to stay yet, and even if I didn’t have regular income and didn’t know how long I’d be able to stay in the country. It was as if the freedom I had given myself to go with the flow during my travel adventure was temporary, and permission was now being revoked. Even though I still wasn’t going to work everyday, I was still traveling, still exploring, still finding myself, this leg felt more like “real life” — as if I had been thrust closer back to everyday reality. My mind had decided it was time for this little experiment to end and for me to get serious and start living again as I knew how to: the “safe” way.
I was fixated on needing to find a home before I could move forward with anything else. I felt so disoriented without that permanency. It was a giant distraction: I told myself that I couldn’t get started with what I wanted to create in my life, I couldn’t get started with my life, until I had my own place to stay. The pressure grew with everyday. At the core of this was my lack of trust and value for myself. I didn’t believe I deserved a nice place to stay, and I didn’t trust myself to find something. The result? I spent my days worrying about finding a home, taking baby steps towards finding one, but not taking any large, true actions to get what I wanted. When I’d meditate on it the guidance I’d receive was that I needed to just start living my life there and the home would come after that, supporting it all. I had trouble accepting that and my anxiety grew.
I turned to my intuitive coach for help. We did a “conflict process” on what I perceived to be my inability to find a home in London. A conflict process is a short activity that simply draws out what you’re thinking and feeling about a problem, and then intuitively the facilitator and subject identify what the underlying assumption is (and therefore what is made important by the subject and consequently, what the result is). I had done this process before, but this time it revealed a deep belief I carry, one that I had not been unaware of until then. What my coach mirrored back to me was really painful to hear and I started to tear up as she told me that I consider myself to be a bother to others, that I consider my mere existence to be a bother, so to compensate I play invisible, try not to ruffle feathers, and put my own needs aside, or even deny them altogether.
I cried because as soon as she said it, it resonated with me and I knew it was true. And I cried because it was sad. It was sad to think that the little girl inside of me believed that about myself. It was sad to think this was a place from which I can operate from often — that unknowingly I’ve allowed this belief to direct many decisions in my life and hold me back from claiming what I want. With this new realization, I started to appreciate the depth and breadth of the impact, and it was startling. But now I was armed with information; because I knew what was really behind my frustration, anxiety and inaction, I could see it for what it was, dis-empower it and choose to push through it.
I finally started to come around to the fact that I needed to take action. I started envisioning the end result that I wanted, I started choosing that everyday, and I started to get serious about moving. I began preparing to rent a place with a friend temporarily, and about 10 days after I did the conflict process with my coach (and less than a week after I started to take action), an opportunity presented itself. A good friend of the woman I was currently staying with needed a temporary nanny for the remainder of the school year (less than three months) and offered the option of living with them in Notting Hill.
Objectively, this opportunity was interesting for a number of reasons:
1. My friend and host had had an initial discussion about this potential opportunity with me while I was still in the US starting to plan my return to London. I hadn’t been overly excited about the idea, but was open to entertaining all possibilities. By the time the party in question heard about my potential availability, she had just hired someone else. In other words, with my lack of enthusiasm, I hadn’t held the focus and fully created that (or any other) opportunity for myself, thus creating the situation I found myself in when I returned to London.
2. My first time in London I had noted the multitude of international nannies and how hard they work (the long hours they keep, what I perceived to be their lack of freedom, etc.), and though I had had a temporary babysitting job for a few weeks to earn some extra cash, I vowed I would never consider nannying. That was the one thing I felt the strongest about when it came to earning money initially while in London— not what I did want to do — and so, my focus was on nannying (one way or the other), and focus created reality.
3. Much of the latter half of my trip had involved children in some capacity, and here again was an opportunity to live and work with children, and become aware of my response to that. For much of my life I viewed young kids as annoying and didn’t want to spend extra time with them, but I found I was starting to soften my stance on children.
4. During the three months I spent in London in the fall, I found myself regularly gravitating towards the South Kensington area. When I returned at the start of the new year, my friends encouraged me to envision where in the city I would like to live. I genuinely struggled to answer that question because I felt ridiculous saying that I would like to live in one of the nicest and wealthiest areas of the city. Who wouldn’t? But how would I be able to afford that? Their answer? Create it — create an opportunity for yourself. We had been trained to not worry about the “how” of something, but instead to hold our vision and take true steps forward to create it. Initially, I wasn’t practicing what I had learned, though I begrudgingly stated I’d love to live in the South Kensington/Notting Hill areas. Now, this opportunity would enable me to live in Notting Hill, a few blocks from Kensington Palace/Gardens. I couldn’t have selected a better location for myself if I had tried.
My ego was in overdrive throwing out questions like: “Did you really quit your job and blow up your seemingly nice life a year ago so you could be a nanny now?” But actually, this was a pretty solid creation — it checked so many boxes for me. And the nannying itself wasn’t the horror show I had built in my mind or witnessed with others, in fact, it was pretty low key: I worked mornings and late afternoons four and half days during the week with all weekends off. If something came up that I wanted to do (e.g. attend Wimbledon, take a long weekend trip, etc.), my host was more than accommodating.
The gig afforded me the opportunity to live in central London, next to a fabulous park I spent countless hours in, provided me with spending money, and forced me to spend more time with kids (and see myself in a caretaker role). Plus, it lasted until mid July, at which point I was going to have to make a decision anyway about my immediate plans in terms of whether I could and wanted to stay in the UK longer, go elsewhere, or return home. It served me at the time, and most importantly, it was true for me, so I did it. It was an example of how something can initially appear to be the last thing you’d ever want to do, but ultimately turns out to be something beneficial.
I used this time in London to continue to grow my self awareness and self confidence in my intuitive abilities. I was back in the structure I had found after my initial training in Africa, back with the community that supported me. We did readings on one another and connected. But I knew I was still holding back; I hadn’t fully taken the plunge and surrendered. I was slowly making progress. I wanted to move full steam ahead, but instead I was allowing growth in myself only within certain parameters.
At the times I was most free and most receptive while traveling, I allowed myself to be fully out there — I’d stepped into the unknown and allowed others to see me that way. Somehow in my rational mind it was more dangerous to present myself that way now, back in London, having already spent months there. My rational mind had decided I could no longer be in the unknown and fully put myself out there because that statute of limitations had run out. Now, I was “established” and couldn’t deviate from that. My ego believed there was a way I was supposed to be, supposed to act — I had to have it all “together.” Though I had given myself temporary permission to be in the unknown when I was truly new to a place, I quickly recoiled this second time around in London. I continued to work on myself, do deep intuitive readings, etc., but in many ways I made myself small and held myself back. I learned my ego holds great allegiance to maintaining consistency, rather than embracing the eternal evolution intended for each of us.
That said, I had made progress in London. It felt like I had given myself the time I was thirsting for when I had returned home for the holidays. I had more fully embodied the journey. I completed the capstone training course that spring, which prepared me for becoming an intuitive coach, or teaching what I learned in whatever capacity I saw fit. And I had been able to spend additional time in the city I loved. I had come to a point where I was starting to warm to the idea of really moving forward now with my visions, and as the summer approached I started to wonder what was in store for me for the remainder of 2016.
As June arrived, we experienced A LOT of rain and relatively chilly temperatures (even the locals noted it was worse than the norm). For the first time, I started to feel homesick. I started asking myself why I was sitting in rainy, cold London in the summer. I hadn’t built anything there for myself that would give me a reason to stay, or keep me there in that moment. I was approaching another natural completion for the time being. Initially I interpreted this to be my resistance, as something to push through. But actually, it was a signal of what was coming — in this case my emotions were actually signalling to me to take action.
I had some friends and my coach tune into it, and all agreed it was time to head back to the States again. I was a bit stunned and disappointed, immediately blaming myself that it must mean I hadn’t done enough in London so I had to go back home for a while. I was also really confused: last time I was home it was clear there was no reason for me to be there; now, half a year later, it was time to go back?
It seems to be a great irony of life that it’s now true for me to be back in the States, not permanently, but for a period of time. I find it most difficult to create from here, to proceed with my life, than anywhere else in the world. It feels like a timeout and I really struggle to set up shop here, maintain momentum, stay productive and keep growing and creating. And that’s exactly the point.
It was time for me to stop running away, to come home and feel that resistance, that discomfort, that pain, but also really receive the love and support that exists all around for me, while learning to create “home” wherever I am, create my life wherever I am, regardless of the circumstances. It is my greatest challenge now to live my authentic self back where it all started: to live one true life instead of trying to keep the worlds separate as I attempted to do the last time I was here.
Looking back on the five months I spent in London earlier this year, I now have more appreciation for all that transpired, much of which was more subtle than in some of my other travel experiences. I really first started to practically apply what I had learned to everyday situations. I hit bumps in the road as I came up against self-imposed obstacles and learned what my process is for resisting and ultimately overcoming. At times it wasn’t pretty, but in the months that have followed I’ve actually started to become more vulnerable, more transparent. There’s still more blossoming to come, there always will be, but I’m learning to embrace it more.