November 11, 2015

The Itch to Leave Everything Behind & What’s Stopping Us From Following It.

Unsplash/Michael Hull

I felt it every day.

That inexplicable itch deep in my soul—to just drop everything and move away.

It urged me to leave everything I own, saying “see ya!” to my current life, and just take off—chasing waves, rocks, rivers, mountains.

My heart, soul, mind and body felt ready to take off into the distance at any moment.

It began when I discovered that my body and my mind were living parallel lives. My mind was usually off somewhere magical while my body remained stuck physically in the place I wanted to leave. I realized that for me to be happy I needed movement—not just craved it, needed it.

What I really wanted was to hop on an old VW bus (or any vehicle that could be transformed into a home) and park it wherever my heart desired. I wanted to live a life of free-spirited bliss with no heavy weights dragging me down or stuff  holding me back—just the addictive ecstasy that comes from exploring new beginnings.

I wanted to forget about all my should be doing, have to be doing, must be doings and just say,  “F*ck it!”

Destination: anywhere.

I wanted to toss away those to-do lists—leaving the beat of my own heart and rhythm of my breath as the only routine in my days, with nothing but but my own gut to answer to. I wanted to trust that the universe would take care of the rest, that everything else would fall into place. while I danced in the rain because I could. No pants? No problem.

But there was something stopping me.

I asked myself what it is was often as I dreamed of escape.

The answer was myself—my thoughts, my preconditions, my fears, my irrationality, my rationality—all of it.

Yet my heart, my gut and my spirit kept pushing me to follow through with my instinct because it’s where I would truly find myself.

I knew this, yet I needed to start believing it;. More than believing, I needed to stop dreaming about it and just do it.

If there is anything I have learned over my years, it is that dreams are sketchbooks of the heart.

I dreamed of starting a life without any footprints.

I dreamed of a place where money became something I used to get me by yet didn’t define the life I wanted to live.

A place where experiences, moments, f*ck-ups and adventures were how I measured success.

A place where a richness deeper than financial wealth became a synonym of culture, family and history.

A place where I didn’t care about anything except what I wanted to care about.

Yet I came to realize over the years that following my heart didn’t come with a set destination. It was scary.

I had to take a step forwards and then two or three back, trusting that I was lost in the right direction. I had to learn to be okay with letting people down—especially when it was people I loved the most who didn’t understand my path.

For a long time I knew deep down in my soul what I wanted and I knew what I had to do. But I kept finding excuses not to do it, asking the universe for a sign and reading the daily horoscope for tips on how to live my life.

In the meantime, my heart, gut and instincts remained as clear as still water. All I had to do was trust. Either that, or convince myself that perhaps the life I lived and dreaded would get better.

In the end, what transformed my life was action.  

I decided to walk the unpaved road, shedding off the layers of fear, uncertainty and self-doubt discovering along the way to a place no one ever told me existed.

It’s funny how easy it is to forget and get comfortable in a routine we dread. Yet comfort doesn’t always translate to happiness.

And we have a lot of stuff holding us back from complete freedom. The more things I owned, the harder it was for me to take off when I wanted to. The less I had, the richer and freer I became.

I found that memories and stories were enough to carry with me as evidence of a life well lived. I understood that spring cleaning was not something I did for my closet but for my soul. I shed layers as I went.

All we have to lose is time. Yet, what we have to gain is far richer than words can describe. The path of the heart is a blank slate—the only artist is its carrier.

This is a scary place to be in at first. But it’s even scarier to stay somewhere where all that connects us to our dreams is the hope of “one day.” If we don’t make it happen now, then there is no point hoping for a journey we have yet to embark on.

Right now is the best moment we will ever get.

It doesn’t get better later, tomorrow or when we have made more money.

The time is now and if we really want and believe in something to our core, we will make it work and the universe will conspire on our behalf for everything to fall into place.

The decision and then the act of letting go will be one of the hardest processes we ever undertake. But if we feel it enough to want to become it, there is no reason to fear what we already know in the depths of ourselves.

If we just surrender to that fear, we wake up to the beauty of living the life we no longer have to dream of.


Relephant read:

Big, Bold, Brave: Lessons from a Year Living my Dreams.


Author: Carolina Arcila

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

Image: Michael Hull/ Unsplash


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