If I could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? The simple answer to this question comes very easily, but the reason behind it requires a longer explanation. The short and simple answer: right where I am. Maybe that is cliche or boring, but I think it says a lot about my growth and the gratitude I have cultivated for my life as it is. Gratitude creates fulfillment.
The Longer Answer
I was always the kid that dreamed of getting away from my home town, my parents, and exploring the wide open world. For no reason other than I knew that whatever was out there was better than where I was. Even as an angsty teen, I got a tattoo about it. So I went off to college and got my fill of freedom and independence. It wasn’t quite enough. If only I knew then that no amount of running to new places would ever be enough. Same shit, same me, just different places.
In my mid-twenties, I sold everything and moved to Hawaii. Talk about a dream come true. The beach and the mountains were a beautiful daily reminder of how truly lucky I was. I truly loved it there. Or maybe I loved the distraction that it gave me from the parts of me I was trying to run away from. Eventually, it all caught up and once again it became same shit, same me, different place.
After Hawaii, it was 30 days in Australia, then renting in a new city in Michigan, before finally finding myself back in my first house. Something deep inside of me craved roots and stability. If I look back at it now, it feels like my higher, future self was making a nest. A cozy place where I felt safe. Doing all of this knowing that not too far down the line I would need a place to unravel, deconstruct, shine a light on the parts I was running and hiding from. And boy did I need it. Because things got REAL dark and feely for a while.
Fast forward a bit, and I am here, fully. Not needing to be anywhere else. Yes, I have plans to move in the next couple years, but it isn’t urgent and it isn’t fueled by running and hiding. If anything, that move is bringing me one step closer to my most authentic self. So what happened between then and now? I’ll tell you the process.
- Creating safety
- Intentionally opening to receive
- Observing and noticing everything
- Gratitude expression
I stopped running away and I sat with myself and all the things I was scared of. I loved myself so hard that I finally felt safe. Then, I decided I couldn’t shut the world out forever and I didn’t actually want to do everything alone. I opened. I allowed people and God and life in. Naturally, I started noticing the shifts. I saw beauty and joy and grief and I wondered and sat in awe and let the tears of appreciation come and go. Then, I thanked God, my partner, my friends and even my parents. I whispered to myself “holy shit, this is real life” a billion times. There was so much gratitude cultivated and that created the ultimate fulfillment. I was content and I didn’t need to run anymore.
It Was Enough
What I have is absolutely enough. It is abundant and filling and meeting my soul on levels I didn’t know was possible. That has very little to do with where I am geographically and everything to do with where I am with myself. If you are feeling the run away, hide, distract yourself bug constantly creeping in, then start with this question.
What do I need to feel safe?
Step 1 is Safety, Step 2 is…
Yes gratitude creates fulfillment, but I think it is a much deeper process than writing 5 things you are grateful for every day. I do not recommend going through the process I have created alone. Please check out my tools and resources for some extra support. And also, as always, time and grace. Loads of both.
With you on this journey,