They say hindsight is 20/20, but of course. Only now, do I have the privilege of “looking back” to see that the decisions and actions I’ve made in the past, have brought me to the place I am now.
The element I want to call attention to, is how these decisions and actions have also shaped the world around me, a possibility unbeknownst to me at the time. This is the most important takeaway from this story — living out your dreams doesn’t only have a positive effect on you. Yes, it feels satisfying to get what you want, accomplish your goals, and bask in the social clout that follows such attainment but there is an effect of you living your dreams that you may not yet be privy to.
Let me set the scene…
The dream seed was planted. It’s late 2017 — I have traveled the globe a few times over, received my yoga teacher training in India, invented a travel yoga mat, created a yoga brand, and people have noticed (thank you Instagram!). I receive an invitation from an old friend I met in Greece a couple of years back to lead a yoga retreat at his beach resort on the Greek Island of Paros. The dream seed was planted. I was enthralled at this opportunity. I love to travel, I love to share yoga, and this sounds like an absolute dream! We immediately started planning.
The dream seed almost died. It’s early 2018 — Greek dude bailed. I’m left alone with all the excitement and momentum of planning my first yoga retreat but instead of accepting defeat and stopping this dream, I pivot. My family had recently purchased an abandoned orange grove about an hour and a half north of St. Pete, FL and I thought, “I could host a retreat there!”
The dream seed is growing some roots. Mid 2018 — My first yoga retreat was a success. Success is an obscure word that can mean countless things to different people but here, it means I did it. I hosted a yoga retreat. I positively affected people’s lives. I created something. I hosted a gathering. There were 8 people in attendance, I may have cried, but no one died. Success. Through this experience, I began to realize the importance of following through. As the retreat approached, I started to get those pangs of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. “Who do I think I am?!” was just one of the painful thoughts that began to poison the dream seed. I really wanted to call the whole thing off. I wanted to cancel the retreat so badly, especially as most of the attendees were good friends that I knew would have understood. But there was one person. There was one person who I didn’t know well enough to feel comfortable canceling on, especially after she’d already exclaimed her excitement for the retreat and had already called off work. As the retreat approached, I was following through solely for her. Only days before the retreat would I come to know that not only was she my reason to move forward, but I was hers. She shared, unbeknownst to me, that she had been battling with lupus and seeing my yoga journey unfold before her on social media the past years was the inspiration she needed to get on the mat, to get healthy, to get moving. This, she shared with me, saved her life. We both embraced with tearing eyes as I exclaimed that she was the only reason I was still hosting the yoga retreat, that she was my reason to move forward, that she was giving me the inspiration to keep going.
It’s moments like these that feel like breadcrumbs — Yes, I’m on the right path.
The dream has sprouted. Late 2018 — Before I know it, I’m a yoga retreat host. I’m consulting properties in Bali on retreat hosting, I’m designing and executing international retreats on sailboats, and suddenly I realize this is happening. I watered my dream seed, and the synchronicities that follow the growth are what keeps me growing even more.
The dream is growing. Early 2019 — Remember that abandoned orange grove where I hosted my first yoga retreat? Now, these 66-acres of gorgeous “Old Florida” are known as Wonderfield Farm & Grove. With a few yoga retreats under her belt and a few lives changed, I could not have predicted the momentum that came next. GreenDreams, an epic permaculture design team out of Florida, have taken an interest in the property and agreed to help design the future trajectory of Wonderfield — all in the permaculture way. If you’re not familiar, permaculture is an all-systems way of doing life. On the farm, think: multi-story, interplanting on contour of the land that allows for abundance versus monoculture planting in rows that calls for tilling of the soil and fertilizing what you’re trying to grow. The funny thing is, many permaculturists believe we must start by healing “the inner landscape”, you know, the whole — to heal the world we must heal ourselves first. Well, Wonderfield Wellness is on it. So, now, we’re redesigning the farm away from a monoculture, harvesting rainwater, composting our waste, and wait until you see what comes next…
The dream is blossoming. Today — Wonderfield Farm and Grove is the official home of the 2019 Florida Permaculture Convergence. Yup, you read that correctly. From decrepit, old orange grove to hosting a state-wide educational experience in permaculture. The irony in all of this is that my family, owners of Hubbard’s Marina in Johns Pass, were able to purchase this old farm with a distribution from the Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill. Money paid out by the perpetrator of the most tragic environmental crises of modern times was spent, unbeknownst to us at the time, in a way that will move our society away from experiencing environmental crises just like this. The synchronicity is almost too beautiful.
After hosting my first retreat at Wonderfield in 2018, the inspiration that has stemmed from living my questions, facing my fears, and pursuing my dreams is what I would deem fulfilling. The ripple effect of this is so beautiful to witness, and I hope it inspires you to live out your calling. Let your dreams blossom.