Have you ever heard that quote about jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down? I seem to live that one quite a bit in my life. At least three times in my career I have left jobs (with several-months-notice to my employers) with absolutely no idea what I was going to do next. In each case, it felt to me like a natural ending, and I was aware that it was time to move on. I just didn’t know to what. Each time it turned out okay. Better than okay, actually, as I ended up in new cities or with exciting new vocational adventures to pursue.
As I approach my fiftieth year, I’m being prodded to leap again into the unknown. The prodding began back in January when I made the decision to give notice to the board of the non-profit I founded in 2007. I ran it for six years from my living-room before stepping away to pursue speaking about hazing and coaching for single cancer survivors. For the past two years, I returned part-time in a programming role, primarily planning and running our summer hazing prevention institute. Then in March I found out that I could no longer rent my condo on Airbnb as I had been doing when I traveled for the past three-plus years. Last summer I also gave up river guiding – after 16 years – when it became too strenuous following an extensive cancer surgery. As I began thinking about how I would replace three major sources of income, I also pondered how I wanted to celebrate a half-century on the planet.
New Zealand has been on my list to visit for some time now, and I decided this would be the year. As I began thinking and talking about how I would make this a reality, quite the journey began to unfold. This is the magic of intention at work. We only have to know what we desire, and let the universe handle the how. Two years ago during my beginning of the year goal-setting, I had listed NZ, Costa Rica, Bali and Peru as desired destinations, among a few others.
Peru became a reality just a few months later when I was invited on an Inca Trail adventure. Machu Picchu – check! On that hike, I met a couple from Australia who have expressed a desire to do another trek with me next spring in New Zealand. Cool! Then a good friend offered a retreat in Costa Rica this spring and I was able to make that happen as well. On that retreat, I met a woman who told me she wanted to lead a retreat with me, and less than six months later we announced a Bali yoga retreat to take place next March. Wow!
Now this adventure is expanding even further to include two months in Hawaii, and another retreat just for cancer survivors on the Big Island in late February, along with a week in Maui to celebrate my birthday with friends. A friend offered airline miles to get me to Hawaii and the ticket was booked last week. Registration for both retreats is live on my website and people are already beginning to sign up. A goal, which seemed like a massive long-shot when I wrote it down, even up until about a month ago, is now unfolding piece-by-piece as I watch in amazement.
So why am I sharing this with you? To brag about how great my life is? It is pretty amazing, but that’s not the reason. I really want you to know that even when something seems impossible, it can be achieved when you are willing to take a leap of faith. All along the way I took baby steps toward my goal, and then one day – BAM – it seemed to pass a point of no return when I knew it would all come together in ways even I couldn’t have imagined. When I wrote that goal down I was facing my third cancer recurrence, looming surgery, uncertainty and self-doubt. I had lots of debt, and certainly didn’t have the money for a trip like this. I had no idea how I was going to pull it off, or even if I should be considering it. Now, even though it’s not all paid for yet, I know the momentum is there, and it feels as if I’m on the downhill slide of bringing it about.
It was a leap of faith planning this trip and the retreats I will lead along the way, and because I was willing to jump off the cliff, the wings to support me are beginning to form . . . from the seven friends who said yes to a Hawaii birthday bash, to the friend who offered airline miles to get me there, to the people who’ve been so excited to help with the retreats, to the friend who has offered me a place to stay in New Zealand, to the opportunity to go back and intern again at the farm and cancer retreat center where I spent four months in 2016.
What are you being called to? Perhaps there is a tug to join me in Hawaii or Bali next spring. Maybe your self-doubt is yelling at you that you can’t take time off work, can’t afford it, or don’t have any business even considering it. I know that voice well, and I encourage you to gently ignore it, as I have had to do so many times when I took my own leaps. It is born of the ego that wants to tell us all the reasons we can’t do things, how badly we will fail and list all the obstacles in our way.
I invite you, instead, to check in with your heart. It will never lead you astray. What do YOU really desire in your life? What baby steps can you begin to take toward that goal? Even writing it down or saying it out loud is a great start. As you build momentum, gain support, begin to see a clearer picture in your mind and open to possibility, amazing things start happening to bring your goal to you more easily than you ever could have imagined. If I can support you in your pursuit, it would be my pleasure. Let’s chat about what you desire this year.
For those who commit early to either the Hawaii or Bali retreats, I am offering free bonuses worth MORE than the initial deposit to reserve your spot. Click on the links above to read more about both opportunities, and let me know if you have any questions.