“Sir? What does your shirt say?”
I almost missed her voice, it was so quiet.
I turned around to look at an older woman with, presumably, her family.
Smiling, I stopped myself from sitting down and stretched out my shirt:
“I Hope I Screw This Up”
I went on to explain where I got the shirt and what the saying meant to me in that moment.
The explanation and brief conversation seemed to delight her — as I sat back down, I briefly overheard them talking about what the saying meant and how it applied for them in their life.
Truthfully, it wasn’t a coincidence: I put that shirt on for a very specific reason — once I saw the date.
June 19th, 2019.
1 year from the beginning of my trip to Los Angeles for Evolving Out Loud and Westie adventures.
The shirt — and worn-out purple bead bracelet — I chose to wear were my souvenirs from that trip.
An ongoing reminder of that trip, what it meant to me, the impact it had. (Even if I often neglect to -really- connect with how that trip impacted me.)
It was pleasant to have that interaction with that stranger — and it was so strange, too, because moments later I looked over my shoulder and they were gone; I didn’t even hear them leaving.
It was as if that interaction was there to help emphasize the importance of reminiscing about my experiences of that trip through my journal, pictures, and videos.
1 year ago I went on that trip.
And still haven’t posted my pictures.
Still have barely talked about the trip or the experiences I’ve had.
It’s almost as if I never quite allowed myself to be who I discovered I was while I was on my trip. Simply because I didn’t post the photos — and didn’t have to sit and think as deeply about the trip and what it would mean if I really, REALLY embraced who I was during that trip.
I barely let myself try; the journal, the photos, the videos — they sat on a shelf or in a folder, untouched.
… It plagues me often, this aspect of perfection and having so many things I want to do but haven’t done yet. Wanting to do it a certain way. Shaming myself for not having ‘done the thing’ yet. Getting so swept up in everything else going on and neglecting the most important thing before me.
That night, after getting fed up with myself for divulging into distracting behavior (Netflix, Youtube, etc), I rage-quit — turned everything off.
Every possible thing.
And I laid on the ground, staring up at the ceiling.
Meditating, essentially, and re-attuning myself to that inner voice that is often only found through stillness and silence or engagement in heart-oriented activities.
Once the monkey-mind’s craziness subsided, I got up and found my EOL journal and spent the next couple of hours skimming through it, looking through my photos, and watching content I posted on Youtube after my trip.
When I go through an experience like this, I remember the impact of disconnecting from consuming media (including inspiration) and external opinions and instead connecting to one’s own resources (heart, journals, articles, videos, thoughts, intuition, etc).
It also reminded me the importance of documenting experiences in one way or another. There were a lot of things I had completely forgotten about my trip that I might not have remembered had I not written about it, or taken a photo.
I think that’s why I get down on myself when I don’t get a photo after feeling the intuitive impulse to take one. When fear and self-consciousness wins over taking that photo, I lose that opportunity to capture that experience for reminiscing later.
When I spent that time last night reading through my journal and watching myself talk on video, it was hard not to feel all sorts of emotions welling up.
Happiness, a sense of achievement and pride, hope, surprise, sadness, regret … it was all over the place.
When I was in LA, I was a different person than I am here at home.
I was unbelievably outside of my comfort zone in so many ways … but I’d never felt so calm and strong before.
Like I knew I was in the right place and that things would be fine (that I knew I would be able to handle whatever came up — and there were some nerve-inducing moments, for sure.)
Reading the documented notes from my trip helped me to reconnect to that “heartstate.” Like I did during my trip, I no longer feel anxious for not being on the computer, not being connected to the internet, not checking notifications.
And it’s that very thing — stepping away from it all, turning everything off, and just reading a damn journal or sitting in silence by myself — that often allows me to get into that state.
It took 10 minutes to spark that state.
And it led to hours and hours of self-connection to my heart.
Distraction and anxiety free.
Immersed in the intuitive next step: insular self-connection, writing, expression.
That anxiety is, I’m realizing, most often an indicator of “hey, get off the computer for a bit,” or “stop watching that and go work on that thing.”
“You’re capable of more and YOU KNOW IT, why are you spending your time like this?”
The anxiety is seeing potential,
and doing nothing with it.
So why don’t I do that more often?
Why do I continue to wait to do things in life?
Why do I squander the opportunities and time that I have?
Why am I afraid to live the life I long for?
Why can’t I just … start?
… Why don’t I trust my heart more?
These are the quiet, but intense questions that take the shape of anxiety — when I know I am capable of leaning into something greater and instead waste it away on things that don’t matter.
I constantly feel on the verge of a new way of being and living, just as I did 1 year ago.
Today, just as it did then, it comes down to whether or not I take the Next Step towards the intuition from my heart — or continue to cultivate habits that keep me stagnant.
There is no going back to those experiences in LA. But I can invite the same state of being from the very source that created it during my trip:
Myself, my heart, soul, god — however you choose to define it.
For that, I need to have the audacity to step away from the temptations to stagnate and instead employ courage to sit still in silence, to find the quiet voice of the heart — and simply get started.
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