A MID-SUMMERS SABBATICAL — An Honest Letter Home To My Family, June 2014

Something in me has changed forever & I can’t truly explain it. I think being sick this past weekend probably started the feelings and deep reflection. I’ve been away on this trip for three weeks. Away from the hustle and bustle to a different type of hustle and bustle. I’m still the Kristen who writes a daily list, it just consists of very different things. I’m still the Kristen who wants to call you every 5 minutes and can’t stand to not talk to my Mom, my family, my best friends, my siblings everyday and especially those little giggles from my dear niece and baby nephew.

Granada, Spain June 2014

The journey I took over the past few months and especially the past few weeks is quickly revealing some truths:

I am and will always be meant for meaningful, fulfilling work that leaves my unwavering impact and footprints on the hearts of others. When I was in London for the Global Summit to end Sexual Violence in Conflict, I was given a great opportunity from a mentor, but I was exactly where I was supposed to be, at the table, raising my voice, taking in the facts, & finding the empowerment and inspiration I needed to continue on in leaving lasting and sustainable impact. I cannot even put into words how grateful I am to have such incredible people in my life to know what I know about myself and place me in the center of an amazing opportunity. It’s exactly what I have spent my life studying, my passions doing, and my heart and soul giving. My spirit was alive at the summit and was just the spark and reminder I needed to continue to do great things. I don’t believe in luck, I believe that I’m exactly where I should be in this moment.

Global Summit to End Sexual Violence Against Women — June 2014

I’m excited for what’s next for me and know that life is not defined by a job title or a position I hold or an award received; My life is defined by what positive imprints I weave into the lives of others.

This journey of first leaving an amazing job to explore my potential, to this 6 week trip oversees, reinforced my belief in consistently doing things from a place of love, always. There is no room for anything else.

My family, in fact, is my firm foundation, my heart & soul, & the place I believe I will always need to be close to. One of the most important aspects of my journey over the past few months was figuring that out. Could I move for a job, could I move for a relationship? You will have to be the President of the United States or the Pope asking me to do God’s work I think for me to leave them or at least provide me enough funds to come home whenever I want☺. My Murray family has taught me the meaning of family and the meaning of unconditional love and support. They also know how to have a ridiculously good time, thank God☺

My group of girlfriends is beyond out of this world. It might take a lot of effort to keep up with the relationships, but this group are my girls for life, many have been for most of my life, they are my extended family, my soul sisters, my sounding board, my life & laugh line and I’m beyond grateful for them.

I have amazing mentors. Period.

My faith continues to guide me, provide me clarity, love, compassion, forgiveness, & growth. It’s the number one, end all, be all foundation. The rosary that I travel with has remained a constant reminder, as are the 1,000s of churches in my neighborhood in Spain who’s bells toll at all hours of the day.

Sevilla, Spain

I think everyone must travel and can on any budget. Traveling opens your world, creates challenges, conquers fears, lets your heart soar. I mean it, it does! It’s a blessing that I’ve had this amazing ability to take such a radical sabbatical and journey. Truly it is a blessing and I don’t take it lightly or for granted. In fact, in the past three weeks, I’ve been moved to tears many times that I’m even able to be here in Spain, to have traveled to London, to Morocco, and in the coming weeks on a mini Eurotrip crossing places & experiences off my always present “living my life fully” list. Today was one of those days when I was moved to tears several times, hence the incredible amount of reflection.

Sevilla, Spain June 2014

Traveling and living in a culture like Spain will slow you down even if you are trying to go full speed. Drinking a cup of coffee is now a favorite pasttime of mine, instead of a daily task. I can’t wait to continue this trend and meet friends and family to chat over a nice cup. My agenda has changed and time is meant to be spent in the present not crossing things off a list.

Oh, and always remember that music feeds the soul, so keep it present and remember that happiness is an experience of living with love, grace, & gratitude.

I have volumes of thoughts to share and wanted those close to me to really feel my experience. I don’t blog, because for me right now this is not for everyone, just those who have touched my heart, guided me, and I love dearly.

Miss you & love you all to pieces, 

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