Since high school, one of my favorite quotes has been Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Traveling is a fool's paradise." And I always believed this quote to be resoundingly true. Many of us travel to try to run away from our problems, our issues, our life. We think, somehow, that by leaving our home, we can either reinvent ourselves or leave all our problems and issues behind. But we can't really ever run away from ourselves because we are always with ourselves. We carry our issues with us always like turtles carry their homes on their backs. However, much to my shock, I'm starting to disagree a little bit with Mr. Emerson's quote. I recently came back from a few days away, and am finding myself changed. I took my issues with me, and somehow transformed them while I was gone. I wasn't even planning on it, and I think that's the best part of the whole thing. I just went up north to spend time with some friends. I didn't go as a fool thinking I could leave anything behind, I didn't go with any agenda. I just went as me.
Traveling can be amazing because you get a chance to see your authentic self, not the self you portray in your consistent environment -- you are in a new environment. We all get into a habit and routine of acting a certain way around certain people -- our work colleagues, our family, new people we meet, our clients, and so on... But in spending time in a new environment for a few days, with people that I have always been my true self around and who love me unconditionally, I got to see things about myself that have been layered or covered over in my "normal" everyday life in L.A. I got to the bottom of some issues I was dealing with that have been continually causing me frustration and angst. I got to connect with my true essence and desires, not what I have been thinking my desires "should" be.
I have spent a lot of time beating myself up for the fact that I am 32 and not married or in a serious relationship, don't have kids, don't own a home, and how -- because I have my own healing business and am a teacher and writer -- my income isn't always stable and consistent. Most of the people around me have all these things -- marriage, kids, homes, financial success and stability... And a lot of the time I feel like something is wrong with me that I don't... I feel as though I should be married with kids and own a home and give up my healing so that I can have consistent financial stability. But being away from my normal environment and being around nature, the ocean, and friends who just get me and love me for exactly who I am, very gently layers of "shoulds" started peeling away. Very gently and softly, I just started feeling 100% truths in my stomach. I started seeing that the "shoulds" I placed on myself were a form of resistance from receiving the natural flow of what the universe wants to bring me.
"Shoulds" are really fear and a need for control. "Shoulds" actually act as barriers keeping everything that you want from coming to you. In fact, there IS no "should." Every single person has their own path, and I am on mine. There is no should when you're on your path, because it's just your path! I of course want to get married and have children one day, but when the time is right and with the right person. I would never want to force that, which is what I'm doing by putting pressure on myself and "shoulding!" If I "should-ed" that, it would be a disaster - for me, my partner, and my kids! My healing is my healing, no one else's, and by "shoulding" the way I practice healing, writing, and teaching, I am not honoring my own path. I realized that I just need to flow with the current of life energy. It brings us what we need when the time is right. I am on my own path, living my own life. And I want to enjoy this life and this path.
"Shoulding" all over ourselves keeps us from seeing what's right in front of us. It keeps us from enjoying the simple, beautiful things in life. What we want and desire in our true essence will come to us when the time is right. It's like a seed... when you plant a seed, you know it will grow and bloom one day, but only when it is ready, and the soil, weather, etc, are right. So when we desire something, we are planting a seed. Know and trust that the seed (your desire) is planted, and it will show up when the time is right. "Shoulding" ourselves keeps this process from happening naturally and causes nothing but unhappiness.