My biggest fear is coming back feeling lost and without purpose, feeling greater confusion about how our world works. I have given a lot of thought into why I am doing this and what I am hoping to gain.
Certainly I will add to this list and it will morph throughout my travels but for now, I have boiled down what I hope to accomplish into 4 intentions that will guide me throughout my journey.
1- Choose my Sandbox
2- Raise Consciousness and Opt In
3- Find my Flow
4- Light as a Feather
Let me elaborate…
1- Choose my Sandbox – I don’t know about you but a lot of things in my life have “fallen into place.” How did you end up working for Liberty Mutual? How did you get into Human Resources? Well I met this incredible woman at a job fair that I became friends with, she was in human resources and she told me about this internship… and the rest is history! All this to say I haven’t always been purposeful about the environment I am in. I typically end up somewhere, figure out the rules of the game, what it takes to be successful, and then achieve within that environment. I have blindly followed the linear path I fall upon and am “successful” within the context of that environment. Although there is a lot of value in “blooming where you are planted” (as my mother says), this journey is about taking a step back, seeing the bigger picture, and being purposeful about where I am planted. I want to choose the sandbox I want to play in.
2- Raise Consciousness and Opt In – I want to really see and understand all of the cultural norms that have been placed on me, whether it be constructs of success, career, partnership, relationships, life expectations etc. For example, I grew up in a society that in large equates success to dollars made and promotions received. I want to explore this notion more, understand how this idea/norm is reinforced to me (whether through the media, messaging from family, the questions people ask when they meet me etc.), and explore alternative constructs of success. At the end of this journey I want to understand different realities I could embrace and consciously opt into the values and norms that align with my authentic self. I am not naive in that this will be difficult. I will likely explore some of the tensions of choosing to live among a particular society, what do you have to give up? In what ways can your values deviate? Which norms if any can you choose to reject? At what cost? I digress…Regardless of the outcome, I can’t wait to understand and learn about the norms in all the places I will visit and incorporate new perspective into my way of living.
3- Find my Flow – My gut is telling me I have a spiritual flow and I want to discover it. I plan on doing lots of yoga, mediation, a silent retreat and hopefully find a wise teacher to learn from. I have signed up for a month long Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training program in Rishikesh, the spiritual hub of India, with a special focus on the Chakras. I have no doubt I will learn a ton about myself and I hope to incorporate some of my learning into my life coaching practice when I return.
4- Light as a Feather – From a young age I took on a lot of responsibility. My parents raised me to be independent and having an Autistic sister added another layer of responsibility. I take psychological ownership of everything I do. It is no surprise that my 2nd strength in the Gallup’s Strength Finder is “responsibility.” Although I value this quality, I sometimes take on things that do not belong to me. In other words, often times not only do I take responsibility for myself (which is a good thing!) but I unconsciously feel accountable for others’ happiness and take on responsibility for group outcomes. For example, if a good friend or family member is irritated, in the past I have attempted to make them feel better, at my own expense. I have taken on their pain inhibiting me from enjoying the present moment. After this journey I would like to identify when I am taking on “stuff” that I am not responsible for. I would like to be able to see what is mine and what is not mine. By doing this, I will shed what is not mine and feel lighter and lighter.