Archives for posts with tag: happiness

Yes to every single word.

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2011 July 21 Lima, Peru

“Where are you from?” An older backpacker across from me asks with his spanish accent.

My throat is aching and I’m coughing up bits of phlegm — typical, travel small-talk is the last thing I want to do right now.

In less than forty seconds he has his laptop out, showing me his professional landscape photos and flipping through each one, naming them aloud like they are the names of his proud children.

They are beautiful but I feel a lack of enthusiasm, tired from my fever and the chilly winter weather.

“Would you like some tea? I have fresh honey with me too. I love bees.” A wide-toothed grin fills his face and he pulls out a litre size jar of honey.

I start to protest knowing that the kitchen is down the stairs but he is already up and gone in a second.

The hot tea slowly warms my body and my guard is melting away little by little.

“And you live here in Lima?” I ask.

He shakes his head with a smile. “I live here.” His arms motion over his things. “This is what I own.” I see a big backpack, an assortment of bags, a yoga mat, a Macbook, camera, a towel and boots.

He shows me more slides of his photography — each photo more majestic than the one before. Machu Picchu, sunsets over ruins, crisp enormous waves, cliffs with the view of waterfalls between giant jungles. I look at his brown, weathered skin. He must have had to hike for days just to get one of these shots.

“As long as I am healthy enough to surf, hike and take my pictures, I am happy. I like to think two minutes into my future; maybe three.”

I feel embarrassed for labeling him a backpacker — for brushing him off so quickly.

Each person has an amazing story if we choose to listen… if we choose to see them as a human being rather than the limiting roles or characters we define them as: a foreigner, a salesperson, a young teenager, an old person, a businessman, a waitress.

We miss a many opportunity when we believe and feed these false limitations. The most open thing we can do for another is to listen without feeling superior or inferior, without judgements and without our bounding opinions and labels.

He gets up, grabs a bag and his board, announcing that he’s going surfing. I thank him for the tea and silently thank him for this small, yet important lesson. As the sound of his steps become fainter and fainter, I look around, the cup warming my hands, and soak in the moment. I am here. This is where I wanted to be. Miles and miles away from home, surrounded by familiar strangers, sick with adventure and wild. I am here.

Originally posted on OChristine blog.

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Four years ago, I left my life in Los Angeles and bought a one-way ticket to South America. I knew no spanish, didn’t know a soul there and had never even heard of a hostel. In five months, I volunteered in the jungle, slept in $5 a night rooms, did ayahuasca, tried guinea pig and alpaca, hiked under the stars, hitchhiked, slept on a wooden bamboo “bed,” taught a class of Peruvian children for one month, had more hangovers than I can count, got lost, kept exploring, and met so many amazing people that I still call my great friends today.

Then I came back. The universe brought me back so I could discover the loves of my life–my supportive partner, my dog and my art.

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Everyday I continue to nurture these loves, these passions. They give me inspiration, happiness and roots that ground me. They give me a place to call home.

 
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Still, my heart is a traveler’s heart. There is nothing comparable to the uncertainty, rush and curiosity of exploring a new city and a new culture! There are so many secrets waiting to be unveiled, so many paths waiting to be taken, so many treasures the universe offers to us.

 
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I don’t think that ever goes away. But now I have both. My loves and my freedom. My yin and my yang.

I’ve found my balance.

 
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More about Nikki Star: I am a writer, traveler, artist and believer of creating a beautiful life. I believe we all know more than we think we are capable of. We can be and create eternal beauty if we only allow ourselves to. You can join me on my journey at www.strippedcanvas.com. Also, find me on instagram @strippedcanvas.

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Last weekend, my friend and I attended a life changing Abraham Hicks workshop. We had been anxiously waiting for the event, getting more excited with each passing week. And finally the day came! We LOVED it.

I love Abraham. They say what I’ve been feeling for years. Happiness is our natural born right. We are here to thrive and to get everything we desire. Sometimes we pick up old beliefs along the way that don’t serve us–I realize that those are not our true selves or from love. I don’t believe when people say “no one’s really 100% happy in their relationship” or “it sucks getting older.” Those are not my beliefs. SPARKLE!

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Twirling, tumbling and flying, around and around, full and empty at the same time. Lately, this is my mind. I don’t know when a thought begins or when one ends. I grasp at emptiness. Sometimes it feels like paralysis.

We fill our cup, empty it, fill it back up. This over and over for eternity. I don’t want the cup anymore.

Today as I’m hunched over my table cutting, pasting and working on projects, I get a text from my partner who is lying just outside on the patio in the warming sun.

It was just what I needed to hear. Sometimes it’s much needed, no matter how many times it’s been said or known. It is needed.

I feel peaceful today. Just being. Breathing. And knowing I’m near you. Sometimes doing nothing- or not knowing what to do- is the greatest gift. There are no starts, no finishes, no prescribed paths. So enjoy that you are simply alive, with nothing to prove and, for today at least, nowhere to go. Love you- after all, that’s really what it’s all about!

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I met an amazing travel blogger named Olivia Christine while visiting Costa Rica and we really bonded. We had so much fun doing our beach photo shoot and now Liv is a guest on my blog, sharing insight on travel, growth and following your dreams. Read her inspiring story here!

By Olivia Christine

They say travel gently peels away at one’s surface, helping to reveal your soul. I say travel harshly strips away your facades and makes you face yourself. Whether you like it or not.

Or maybe it’s both.

I began traveling in search of feeling like I belonged somewhere. It’s ironic that those who feel like they don’t belong often run away to even more unfamiliar places in search of “home”.

But after years of traveling alone and facing myself, I realize: my soul is home.

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My latest destination along my journey of enlightenment is Costa Rica: one of my favorite countries. This time I have been living at a yoga retreat and I must admit, the experiences have been life changing.

Every week, new retreat groups come to strengthen their practice amongst the crashing waves and soothing silence of the Costa Rican jungle.

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And lately I’ve been deeply meditating on where I am in life and where I want to be.

Although I feel like I’ve been down this road many times before, this one is different.

I am happy.

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I find joy in the happiness of others and bask in the light of all other living creatures and organisms.

I find myself seeking nature, clarity, truth, and love in all that I do and with those that enter my life.

When I first started traveling it was because of school. I went to a boarding high school that pretty much required international community service to graduate, so I went to Alsace, France and volunteered in a school.

Unfortunately, I also got very sick that year and within less than two years I found myself in chemotherapy fighting a nasty autoimmune disease that was killing my kidney function. It was during that time that I decided there was too much to see, be, and do in life and I hadn’t done enough. My promise to myself was to live, live, live and never look back.

So, I started traveling through every connection I had, initially working as a national conference planner and marketing professional. And I burned out within just a few years.

It was as if I forgot the point of that promise and got caught up in corporate expectations and the fast life of New York City, and became stressed out and miserable.

So one day, I stopped.

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I loved writing and was good at marketing and other jobs that would be easy to do remotely, so I cashed out on my savings and thought, this is enough for two years, and I’ll figure the rest out later.

Oh my goodness, how uncharacteristic of me! Perfectionist, meticulous, Virgo Olivia just took a leap with no safety net.

I was shitting my pants.

But the moment I quit, I literally felt my shoulders relax and the heaviest weight ever felt on my chest, release.

It was magical.

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And here I am. I’m living in Costa Rica temporarily: travel blogging, managing international clients remotely, while bartering my stay at a luxury jungle yoga retreat in exchange for my writing and digital marketing expertise.

I spend my days waking up at 5:30 am to the sunrise and falling deeper in love with people and animals living here. I eat farm to table meals that are primarily vegetarian with the occasional chicken or mahi mahi for dinner, and practice (or sometimes teach) yoga 1-2 times, daily.

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I’m not rich, and am surely not living a life of big spending. But my decision helped me shave away the unnecessary distractions in my life, helping me embrace minimalist living and appreciate the beauty of giving and exchanging, and most of all: loving.

Because we all have gifts, and sharing those gifts with the world through love is self fulfilling.


More about Olivia Christine: Olivia is a Travel Writer and Photographer consulting in writing + content marketing while exploring the world through bartering, volunteering, and adventure discovery. She spent a few months at Blue Osa as a blogger, marketing volunteer, and private yoga instructor.

Read about her adventures and travel advice in her blog and connect with her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram!

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“You can get everything that you want. But who cares? That will only make you happy in your head. You wont be fulfilled. Connect to this moment. Unhook from wanting everything.

Be, connect, allow, flow, enjoy that process. That is where you meet who you truly are. When you connect to who you actually are, when you release effort, when you unhook from anticipation, fear, doubt, and just allow the unfolding of yourself, when you just start without knowing how, you expand. Expansion equals fulfillment. Fulfillment equals everything.

When you do this, accidentally, money, health, love, career all fall into place, way more than a ton of effort, but who cares? That is not the highest excitement. You were not sent here to “get as much money as possible” You were here to create, allow, flow, play. The money just comes, but it isn’t you.

If the most exciting thing you want is a physical thing, than you only have experienced mental happiness. You have things how you want them, which means you are a victim to your circumstances and you changed the circumstances. But you are still a victim.

Wait until you experience connecting to you. It turns everything else into a story. You suddenly understand something new, you run this whole damn thing. Your fears aren’t real. You discover doubts aren’t real. You see that you were identified with the story of you, but you are only now. Stay there. Nothing to do. Enjoy. Don’t distract yourself every second. Fulfillment leads to true transformation, where you become someone different than who you used to be.”

[Kyle Cease]

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