A Great Reason to Leave It All Behind
Of all the boldest moves I have made in my life, leaving family and friends behind was one of the most rewarding challenges I have ever done.
Surrendering to my aspirations led me to leave behind people and things close to me, and I'll tell you about the fantastic things that happened next.
Pursuing one's call, dreams, and desires in life happens so rarely these days that if you have the ear to listen to your heart and soul, listen carefully.
Be wary for this is a double-edged blade, as massive changes can be brought about your life and the people you have been holding close.
When I had first made up my mind in 2014 that I was going to sell both of my condos, give all my possessions away to travel the world and study the environment and sustainability, I was hit with two emotional phases:
I was slammed with a medley sensation of super-fucking-happy-excited-nervous-scared-and-ecstatic. This threw me into a new sense of self-empowerment and birthed me through the gate of the next episode of my life.
And then...not long after...
- Phase #2
A dark ooze crept up through the cracks of my new empowerment... Loneliness, depression, anxiety, stress, fear, and anger seeped its way into me.
It was obvious— I was alone. Not completely alone, but much more than before.
What was happening between me and all my friends, my lover, and my family?
They were still here, but a widening gap began to appear, and it felt as if we were hardly talking or spending time together anymore—sometimes not at all. The sensation of being able to relate to one another had begun to diminish.
After I had committed to pursuing my dreams and goals, I realized what I was experiencing. I had begun preparing myself for this new "inner" voyage that was going to take me to places I have never been and to have experiences more marvelous than my wildest dreams.
Many of my attachments to material possessions, financial obligations, and relationships had begun to shed rapidly— I was starting a transformation process and was "shedding" these layers. A dragonfly can shed up to 12 times in its life, and I had just hit the acceleration switch.
This "shedding" was parallel to the idea that my foci had begun to significantly contrast those of my loved ones. My attention and intentions were shifting radically as my understanding of my true values and passions had begun to finally emerge after years of digging, confusion, doubt, and repression.
I had gotten tired of looking up at the sky and wondering: "What if?"
Exhausted, I was, with the conventional notion of "deferred living." I mean putting one's real desires and passions off into some distant future. A traditional life in which one only allows themselves to indulge in their wishes once they are "retired" from doing what family, society, and culture have dubbed as "practical."
Get a well-paying job. Buy a car and a house. Save your money, and when most of your life is over, retire and THEN start to live out your dreams.
"Tomorrow is never guaranteed."
Some of my friends died way too young, and I already knew too many unhappy people of all ages.
"Why wait to pursue my dreams if I could die today?"
Nothing is worth more than my own fulfillment and joy. What a controversial notion. If my "cup" is full of love, passion, and inspiration– as a result of living a fulfilling life— my service to others can only be even more significant than if I were to deny myself these.
My best friend's father called me. "Benny, what are you doing? You are quitting your finance job?! You are giving away everything?! Have you lost your mind?!"
Not everyone is going to understand what we are doing— ESPECIALLY if we are going through a transformation where we have been living a life very different from what we truly desire.
When we live out lives that are not true to our purpose and passion, we entrench ourselves deeper and deeper with relationships, obligations, material possessions, and other items that are not reflective of what we truly desire. Change can then be especially "surprising" and initially "excruciating" in these circumstances for both ourselves and others (think "midlife crisis").
It was worth being disowned by my friends and some of my family. Being able to claim that "I can die right now, knowing that I am living a life that I truly want" is a freedom that only I have the power to give myself.
- Caterpillars must evolve to become butterflies.
- A person cannot surf when standing on the shore.
- It is impossible to paint without putting yourself in front of a canvas.
But when the mind is made up, and the action to change is taken...
- Caterpillars become butterflies and meet others like them.
- A person meets other surfers only if he dares go out into the water and become a surfer.
- A painter will find someone admiring their work.
There are familiar and unfamiliar people that wish to support you in your passions and purpose.
Look inside yourself.
Take the leap.
Wondrous it is that people who genuinely love you for who you are, stick with you through your life transitions. Those who were not enthralled by your essence are filtered out.
I continue to grow my evolved network with people that have similar passions while I'm on pursuits relatable to them. It is a positive, reinforcing feedback and support loop.
It's almost as if the "right" people and "coincidences" are "falling out of the sky" for me.
"When you're on a journey to pursue your personal legend, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve it." -The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho