Living with Joy and Purpose in Times of Fear and Uncertainty
In the nearly 50-years I have lived on this planet, in this incarnation, I have been through my share of trying times and fearful situations. It started with the instability of my family situation during my early childhood years, i.e. things like loosing contact with half my family at age 5 due to a difficult divorce, being moved around from place to place and school to school, and having to look after myself while my mom worked and studied were all part of my norm. On top of the norm, there were a handful of precarious instances that really made me feel extra vulnerable, like the time I took the wrong bus home from school and had to walk through the slums of 70’s Harlem to get home, or the time I helped a stranger with a “bad back” to carry groceries up to his apartment only to find he had locked me in and it was up to me to get myself out safely using my wits, which I luckily managed (I was 8 at the time), among others... By the time I reached 10, I began to have a growing awareness and concern for the unstable and downright scary situations that were happening in the world around me, like the unfathomable shooting of a great soul in broad daylight for no obvious or good reason (John Lennon), to the AIDS crisis during my teenage years, and as my 20-s approached, the war in Afghanistan (the first war I was ever conscious of), not to mention the simple task of living on my own in NYC as a university student and having to make ends meet with no obvious security net to catch me if I failed. At the age of 21, I had such deeply-routed feelings of insecurity and fear that living through 10 days of war in a foreign country (Slovenia) where my then-boyfriend was living and where I happened to be visiting when it started seemed not much more precarious than my life back home in the USA. It was happening and therefore it was just another string of uncontrollable scary events in a series of others to contend with. My friends and family back home thought I was insane to stay. But I decided then and there that I would rather die happy and with the one I loved than return back to the US out of fear, and back into a whole other string of fearful situations. What I found by consciously making the choice to stay was that not only does life go on but that it can even go on with a sense of joy if there is an awareness of what I was living for and in the pursuit of my passions and purpose. I remember observing the quiet fear of the masses, who were flocking to the supermarkets to stock up on quickly dwindling supplies, in sharp contrast to the ironic and certainly defiant attitude of a rather large group of people, made up of artists, intellectuals, reporters and misfits, who would convene together, in spite of the fear, in order to live it up together at impromptu gatherings held at various locations around Ljubljana. One day, from my boyfriend’s bedroom window, I watched in shock and terror as a helicopter got shot down from the sky, and minutes later, despite my fear, I found myself bravely (or foolishly) following my boyfriend and a stream of neighbours running down the street to investigate the situation first hand. A few days later, a tank had been bombed right off its destructive tracks, somewhere deep in the Slovenian countryside, and we went with a group of friends (mostly reporters) to go check it out first hand. I certainly would not have gone to investigate these events on my own as I was consumed by fear. But the action of my Slovenian peers showed me there is another way to deal with fear; and that is to face it, on purpose, to see for one self, to make up ones own mind, to bear witness in a state of knowingness. To choose bravery over fear; to choose to live in deep knowing, despite the chances of perhaps dying. Every big incident that happened during those 10 incredible days of war was proceeded by a collective us, heading out to see for ourselves, in an almost zest- for-life kind of way, what had happened. Those were probably the most thrilling and ALIVE days of my life. Living in the Balkans with this ironic, “live-it-up-in-the-face-of-danger” attitude has taught me to think differently than I would have and to live outside the box. (And a colourful life outside the box is certainly what I've had ever since, but I'll save that story for another post.) Don’t get me wrong, I believe in being informed, and I believe in taking precautions, especially because I have children to live for. And nowadays I probably would not run toward or expose myself to dangerous situations on purpose in defiance of fear. However, making a conscious choice to live joyfully and with trust in life, despite whatever scary thing is out there, is the choice I make. I choose to live in a state of gratitude and joy for being able to peruse the things I’m passionate about, and also for the little things like a bright, sunny day, the fresh air I breathe, and the blossoming spring that currently surrounds me. And for the bigger things, like the love I share between family, friends and even Suncokret guests. These are all precious jewels that I honor and which support me from the deepest root in my soul. I trust that all things happen for a reason and that, even if I can’t control whatever crisis currently happening, it’s important to carry on and go with the flow. Knowing what really matters and continually choosing to live each day I’ve got for that purpose, I remain the champion of my fate, no matter the physical outcome. I hope you will also consciously choose how you experience and respond to the fears and threats surrounding you, and I hope it will be from an aware and fulfilling place, guided by your heart and soul. If you are looking for gentle, nurturing support and guidance in learning how to navigate through fear, doubt and uncertainty during these precarious times, consider taking part in Reach Your Highest Potential event, scheduled from 12 - 18 July, 2020 and 27 December - 2 January, 2021 or 6 - 12 June, 2021. If you can't make the events, you can sign up for a Life Path Awakening Workshop, which can be conducted live at the retreat during any of the scheduled retreat weeks, and it can also be conducted online. Contact Evening for a free consultation.
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