Matt Francis who hails from the UK, joins me in a humorous chat. We talk about what his journey has been like, what meditation means to him, and what he’s up to creating in the world.
Sometimes the universe just brings it all together.
Yesterday I went and got a new tattoo. I LOVE IT. I haven’t even showed my husband it yet (I might be nervous of his judgement – I can own that).
The tattoo is of a lotus with the word “Journey” incorporated.
The lotus has two meanings for me:
- “With its roots based in mud, it submerges every night into murky river water, and—undeterred by its dirty environment—it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals.” This symbolism to me represents growth, flourishing, beauty.
- It also symbolizes to me that we can overcome obstacles on our journey.
Which leads into the word “Journey”.
This morning I got to go on a walk in the rain and wind with a beautiful human. She asked me about the journey I’ve been on. What timing since I just got this tattoo last night.
It was such an honor to be able to recount where I’ve come from to where I am now. The mud that I’ve come through to be that beautiful flower. Every day something new I’m learning about myself. Every day I get to learn about myself from the people who come into my life. I see myself reflected back in them and the journey that they are on. The re-invention of myself every day.
I see my personal journey as one that will never be over. That excites me! I see where I was 10 months ago as a scared little girl (this might not be your experience of me – it’s me who lives inside my head) to someone now with so much love, freedom, peace, play and joy. The part that excites me is what could possibly come next?! I’ve been living more and more outside of my comfort zone to find out where I can push myself just a little bit further.
And finally “journey” represents the journey that we’re going on. This life that I’m up to creating out in the world. Exploring the world. Experiencing ups and downs. The journey of the Camino. The journey that hasn’t happened yet. The one that got me to here. There is so much possibility in my journey.
Today I share a piece of unperfected writing that I will submit to Island Parent for consideration for a monthly submission for the next 20 months. I’ve never considered myself a writer, hence never thought myself good enough. It’s with fear of failure, trepidation, and feelings of not good enough that I write this – and will submit it anyway. Please share any feedback you have to make this article great. The idea is to have a monthly article posted in Island Parent of the journey our family is taking both from a worldly standpoint and from a inside-out perspective.
My phone bings. I look at it. It’s Trello being updated by my husband. Ahh the sweet sound of our 5 year-in-the-making, 1 year trip around the world coming closer to a reality. (Trello is a sudo project management app that is helping to keep our unquestionably complicated journey in check.)
5 years ago, after living 5 months in Switzerland while I was on maternity leave, Luc (my Dear Hubby) and I decided that we would come back there on a more permanent basis after our eldest daughter graduated high school. 2 years ago, that idea turned into a trip throughout our world. And now we’re 9 months away from leaving.
A lot has happened in that time, I became a personal life coach, we have both approved leaves from our jobs, and our dreams of where we want to explore have grown and expanded. We are discovering what it means to “slow-travel”. AND it all hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows – oh no! I remember wondering what are we going to do with our house (still a bit of a question mark to be honest). There was one particular planning session with Luc that went wildly sideways (I might have said “forget it let’s abandon this trip altogether” – not a shining moment). Our daughter graduated and then left for 4 years of university across the country to follow her dream (yep we’re going without her). And the thought of homeschooling our soon to be 7 year old sends me running as fast as I can to the interwebs.
While I explored my dreams and goals with my coach, I knew that the only thing between me and my dream was me. It’s all possible. It’s also completely outside of my comfort zone. That little voice in my head tells me still “oh this is going to be a lot of work. Why would you want to do this HARD thing. It’s going to be scary out there. Just stay right here where it’s super warm, cozy and you already know how it’s going to go.” Got it. Thanks. And I’m going to chose something different and something unknown.
One of the first things that people say to me when I tell them we’re going on a 1 year holiday “I would too if I won the lottery”. Know this: you 100% don’t need to win the lottery. There is a crazy big community of families that have been living for years on the road. Giving up their jobs and making money while travelling. There are resources out there that can make travelling cheaper (house sitting, buying plane tickets with points, and budgeting to name a few). Coaching can also help to dissolve your relationship to money – it’s definitely helping me.
What I will provide over the next 20 months: many many resources to help families like us, see that this can be a reality. Inspiration to people to live the life that they dream. Courage to show that it can be done. Reality of what life actually throws at you and the humour that surrounds it. The journey that we as parents are on in this world and in our lives.
Our itinerary so far: New York, France, Switzerland (where our home base will be for 5 months and our youngest will go to school in French), I will walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Italy, Germany, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Bali, Australia and Fiji.
My journey to get me to where I am right now has been one of self love, self reflection, giving up suffering, control, right and wrong, tapping into who I am, humanity, time and money. I have by no means perfected any of this, it’s a work in progress and I will be working on this until I die I’m sure of it.
This has and will be a journey. I look forward to the journey with you.
Robin Howe is a mother to two beautiful smart daughters (18 and 7), wife, public servant and a personal life coach exploring what it means to be human and what this great big world has to offer. Follow her journey at OnFocusCoaching.ca
As I travel along this journey through life and the kick ass program that I’m in right now, I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection and noticing about how I’m “being” and what’s going on around me.
These past couple of weeks particularly, have been interesting ones.
I have all the tools at my finger tips to move myself down the path to one of freedom, choice, love. I have the support team, my coach, my family and my friends. And interestingly, with the advice and powerful questioning that comes forward, I realize that this journey is my walk to take.
I’ve been a certain way for a long time. Scratch that, I’ve been many ways for a long time. Ways that empower me and ways that dis-empower me.
Ways that empower me: I can get shit done and take action. I’m a leader. I can build relationships. I have compassion. I have strength. I listen. I’m strategic. I am learning constantly. Knowing that when I’m outside of my comfort zone, it’s uncomfortable but it’s also a place of growth.
Ways that don’t empower me: I am afraid of rejection and judgements placed upon me (this blog post is conjuring up those fears of judgement right now). I control. I see things as right and wrong. I have a fear of not being good enough. I worry (about everything). I need safety in all aspects of my life.
Now that I know all of that, what do I do with it? I can practice choosing differently to have a different outcome. I see how the choices I have made for the last 42 years have impacted my life. Would I change any of those choices, I doubt it. Doesn’t matter. What I now see is that by making the choice to get stuck in something (pissed off, sad, angry, “in it”) is a choice I get to make. And that choice is powerful because I can choose to be sad, and really feel sadness. And then I get to make a choice to continue to do that or do something else.
When I found out about my friends daughter, I allowed myself to feel the sadness. Like really feel it. No suppressing. Crying, sobbing, the whole range of emotions. And then I chose to go to her and be there with her. And the emotional release that I had prior to that had me show up as love, strength and compassion for her rather than still trying to suppress myself.
Yesterday, I was in a meeting, the meeting went a bit sideways and I got pissed off. More accurately: I was embarrassed and angry. I wanted to leave the meeting so bad (run away). I closed my computer and backed away from the table. Then I stopped and asked myself “Am I really going to do this?” and this question was enough to catch me and stop me. I then noticed my heart was pounding/racing and there was tension in my face. I was angry, embarrassed. I chose to take a few deep breaths and BE with the feelings and body sensations. I chose to stay. I noticed the embarrassment was only something I was feeling. And I noticed that it was just an interpretation of what someone else had said. It didn’t mean I was wrong or bad or stupid. It was just a difference of opinions.
Now, I didn’t say much for the rest of the meeting because adrenaline was coursing through my body and to be honest, I still had residual anger. And when the meeting was over, I didn’t dilly dally leaving. But I did go for a walk later to check in again: how was I feeling now? No anger. No embarrassment. No energy around it. No needing to be right. Huh. Not my usual M.O. And there was freedom in that, in choosing and noticing what is really going on RIGHT NOW. What do I want to do now? What choice do I want to make.
That to me comes from a place of inner power. I look forward to practicing this new found self awareness over and over again.