Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cinnamon Sticks, Hot Chai, and Pine Needles--Are You Sure I'm in Guam?!

"Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness." --Eckhart Tolle

Christmas in Guam!

December has always been a month of reflection, relaxation and spending quality time with the ones I love most. The cinnamon-scented candles, the hot cups of chai, the smell of pine drifting throughout the house—Christmas has always been my most cherished time of year.

This is probably why the first half of the month was especially hard on me this year, being away from my family and friends on a tiny island in the South Pacific Ocean.

The memories I’ve made with my family (like when I surprised my big sister with matching Christmas morning pajamas or when my mom and I would spend the day shopping at Santa’s art shop) and friends (like when my parents hosted our cheerleading Christmas party my senior year or when we’d go to Tommy T’s the day before Thanksgiving every year) have been the best parts of the holiday season—laughing and just being genuinely grateful for each other. 

This time last Christmas, I was in the South of India in a coconut hut on the beach, drinking rum while listening to an Italian folk band with Kowboy and Matt—the traditions and loving memories plaguing my mind and bleeding my heart.

Guam has been very challenging and healing and my feelings about the island have flip flopped every other week it seems like but something about the joy of the holidays, the feeling of belonging and having the warmth of friends on island has finally solidified the fact that Guam is now my new home. From our roommates making handmade Christmas ornaments (thanks Brittany) and actually getting a real Christmas tree (I love you Paul) to happy hour cocktails and buying super awesome presents for each other, Guam’s magic and love has finally seeped into my heart.

December in Guam is rough ;)

When we first arrived here, I knew there were many things I needed to fix and I had a long list of goals and achievements to hit by the end of the year. I was ready to implement everything I’d learned on the road—from eating healthy to gardening to practicing yoga consistently to paying off my debt— and Matt and I hit the ground running. Our second day on the island, I got offered a bartending job at one of the busiest (and best) bars in Tumon and Matt finished all his enrollment and VA paperwork. By the end of the first week, we were set up in a new apartment, had a few new clothes, and a steady income. By the end of the first month, we had a monthly income of $6,000 (the most I’ve ever made), we’d paid back the people who helped us get here and started paying off debt (we paid off $8,000 in 3 months!). Considering we’d just arrived with just the clothes on our backs and a backpack full of cheap Indian clothes—I’d say we made quick work of the island.

Christmas came early! My little baby :)

A large part of my discomfort reintegrating back into domestic life was that we were in a beautiful but scary place: our lives were blank slates and we were building our lives from the ground up. Absolutely everything we bought and did now—from the shoes on our feet to the dishes in our cabinets to going to school to rescuing a kitty—were a reflection of our post-traveling selves. 

How often do people get that opportunity to completely rebuild their lives, exactly the way they want it?

This coupled with my eager anxiousness (I just want everything right now), I got very much ahead of myself which took me out of the moment, out of appreciating the beautiful journey we are on, and made me focus on all the things the island doesn’t have for this new life that we are building. 

It wasn’t until Matt sat me down one day and said, “You are never happy. Anywhere we go, there is always something wrong with (insert country name here). There’s always something missing, something you wish it had and you’re never satisfied with what we do have.”

That hit me like a load of bricks—I am happy, everywhere we go, I am happy just being with Matt but I focus on all the shortcomings of our new town/city/country. I wish I could blame it on San Diego being so awesome and me being so spoiled the last five years I lived there but I know that isn’t true(—Although seriously, San Diego HAS IT ALL).
It’s me. I fault-find with every new place we visit, Guam being no different. I criticize. I blame. It’s a way to shirk the responsibility of realizing that I’m the one at fault. (Some of you may be nodding and also thinking that I do this with people too and you’re right. “So and so is great but…” I intend to change this too. In fact, it’s the biggest reason I want to evolve this trait.) 

This year...

So I began thinking about 2015 and my New Year’s Resolutions and the person I want to become and I started asking myself, “What can I do to better myself?” and “What can I do to eliminate that pesky criticizing, always-unsatisfied voice?” 

Two years ago on Christmas Eve, I made the Resolutions to stop complaining and to stop gossiping. 

Just doing these two small things impacted my life in ways I could never fully explain. It made my life easier and brighter and happier (okay, I still gossip but not nearly as much as I used to!). 

Now this December, as I think about how I am standing on the precipice of a new chapter in my life, I Resolve to stop fault-finding in others, to stop criticizing, to let go more easily, and to let it be.

I’ve heard all these tidbits of advice for years but now that I have truly witnessed the effects of these actions, I am ready to start embodying these qualities and applying them. My year of travel forced me to grow in so many ways and I’ve come out the other side a better person and building a life that reflects just that. 
My life is beautiful and perfect—though I couldn’t see it the last few months because of my nitpicking and critical eye—and I want to honor it everyday by becoming a better person and preparing myself for the next chapter (wedding ideas and baby mania have been oozing out of my head since we settled down in Guam—I think I’ve been abducted by aliens—Help!!). 

After reflecting on everything I’ve accomplished this year and everything I want to accomplish in the future, I am letting go of the tiny voice inside my head that says I’m not there yet or I didn’t finish my goals on time (there were plenty of goals I intended to finish by December but I’ve finally accepted that some goals take longer than expected). I am letting go of the persistent desire to do more, be more and just bask in the warm light of being. 

I am very happy and proud of where I am today. Though some of my motivations and actions have been doubted or discredited, I know in my heart of hearts that I know what I am doing with this life and where I am going: Always forward. Fixing what I can of the life I left back home so that I can start my new life and my family with a clean slate and a fresh beginning; every day I am working towards bettering myself and the world around me. 

Welcome, 2015!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment