Six

a road that runs between two small hills

Six years ago, I rolled into Seattle in a Porsche with Texas plates.

I was wearing flip flops.

And I now realize that was a poor choice.

When I stopped to pump gas, the look on the gas station attendant’s face said it all: I was indeed a moron. There I was, standing in an inch of snow, wearing those godforsaken flip flops.

How was I supposed to know mountain passes were so unpredictable in September?

But honestly, nothing could have prepared me then for the life-changing events that would unfold over that pass. Living Upp didn’t just appear in my life by accident. It manifested out of necessity after a series of big disappointments, and I know without a doubt that it’s part of my journey. In fact, it’s my lifeline.

My self-care toolbox is now full of tools that help me explore and experiment with ways to live in greater alignment with my purpose. It led me to books like Loving What Is* by Byron Katie, and her method of inquiry known as “The Work.” Because, the truth is, we are the creators of our own suffering. We rob ourselves of peace by ruminating and wishing things were different. I’ve learned that whatever is happening right now should be happening because it is.

Does it get any simpler than that?

It also led me to people like Lisa Fischer and Brenda Reiss, who have helped me recover and rebuild my inner truth. And it led me to a place where I feel comfortable listening to and following my own heart, rather than the voices of others.

I mean, how else would I be able to move through this major transition? One minute we’re in Paris making plans to move to Amsterdam for a few months, and the next we’re loading our possessions into separate vans. My brain is still struggling to make sense of it all. And that’s okay. It should have happened because it did.

I believe our life lessons are hand-picked for us; we just don’t get to do the picking. And that’s the point. Because, given the choice, we would never choose pain and suffering over contentment, yet it’s often what’s required for us to learn and grow.

The 8-dimensional system that I developed helps me on a daily basis to identify my most pressing needs at any given moment, and it also enables me to use my time more efficiently. (Oh, how I love efficiency!)

Register for the 8-Day Self-Care Challenge here.

In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be crossing some new mountains. And while there will no doubt be more ups and downs along the way, this time, in addition to my flip flops, I have boots and heels and flats and slippers to help prepare me for the unpredictable conditions.

I don’t know yet where I’ll end up, but I’m trusting that the answer will reveal itself along the way.

And that’s a big leap for a plan-obsessed introvert like me. While I still believe that planning is important, I’ve also come to appreciate the value of spontaneity, of not being so tied to outcomes that I miss the beauty right in front of me. Sometimes it’s even more beautiful than I could have imagined. Call it what you like, but I call it planned spontaneity — or, as a wise friend puts it, leaving room for magic.

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