This post has moved to my official website, LisaFlemingLIVE.com!
Oh my gosh, the people!
The people are why I am here. It feels so good to say that. My mother reminded me last night that I was at one time, not too long ago, feeling lonely, separate from all the other people. I had forgotten that, but when she reminded me I felt those lonely feelings as if it were yesterday. For a long time I had felt like I didn’t belong here, on Earth. I was desperate to “go home”. Home being Heaven. I felt like I had no connection to other people, and that was a sad, sad feeling. The idea of having to pretend I belonged here, for many more years to come, was painful.
Through my work with yoga and the chakras, I was able to work through that desperation and reconnect myself to my friends, family and place I called home, but that’s a topic for another blog. This post is to share with you the connections I made with the people I met in Nicaragua, and how each and every one of them inspired me to take this chance I’m taking today.
First, there is Penny. Penny Light is the Life Coach and beautiful soul who invited me to teach yoga on her Life Coaching retreat. Because of her, I had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people in my short 8 days in Nicaragua. My friendship and connection to Penny was instantaneous, from the moment we first met on Facebook to the ten months later when we met in person. I felt like I had known her my whole life.
That may be why, on the second day of our trip, I made a joke about moving in with her in Costa Rica and quitting my Ohio life. She turned my joke into an actual offer, and that set my mind (and anxiety) on overdrive. Could I actually do that?! Sell my two yoga studios I worked so hard for, leave my parents and grandparents, sell my belongings, and what about my cats?!
Not intending to be serious, on our first day of our life coaching workshop, I mentioned the dream I’d always had of quitting work for a year and traveling to see the world. Penny asked me why I couldn’t do that, so i started to list my reasons. With each reason i gave, Penny and the group would reply with a solution. I quickly realized that all of these years I had been listing the reasons and fears that stopped me from living my dream, but I had never gone any further than that. I had never actually answered, or tried to come up with a solution to those fears or reasons. That was the day I realized my impossible dream was possible.
From that moment forward I decided to live the rest of my trip in the idea that a decision had been made to never go home, and see how I really felt about making such a drastic lifestyle change.
The first thing I noticed was a lightness that had come over me. I felt really, truly, happy, free, and powerful. I felt creative, excited, and I missed my parents. My cats were ok in my head. I didn’t think much more other than about how I would support myself and my new travels I was silently planning. Oh, and then the guilt, the fear of having to tell the people who raised me, befriended me, and my business partner with whom I still owed another 36 months of service to. I think the best way to describe what I felt over the next few days was torn, excited, alive and tormented.
I know that when spirit is guiding us we feel joyful, positive feelings, and when it’s ego, we feel feelings like fear, guilt and shame. I seemed to be feeling both at the same time. So to help myself work through the decision making, I turned to “the people”.
I began talking to everyone I met about my next possible decision. I’d sit next to strangers at the bar and ask them questions like, “What’s your name? Where are you from? How long have you been traveling? Where’s your favorite place on earth? How do you do it?! Does your family support your travel? How do you support yourself, or make a living to pay for your travels?”
The people I “interviewed” were not only willing to answer my questions, they were friendly, relaxed, and happy to give me all their answers plus extra bits of fascinating stories, ideas and tips for doing it myself.
There was Ryan, the nurse from Canada who saved $10,000 so he could spend a year in Australia, then worked picking grapes to make money for his next trip. Now he takes the entire month of November off every year to travel.
There was Tyler who was in his early twenties, and traveled alone, country to country, journaling and enjoying his freedom. Tyler would make a good chunk of money life guarding in California, then travel until he ran out, and then he’d start over. I started talking to him because he had a beautiful Hamsa tattoo on his arm. I saw him journaling in a giant leather book in front of the 79 foot Jesus statue on top of San Juan del Sur, and thought he looked like he’d be willing to talk. I could have talked to him about his adventures for hours.
The day we volunteered at the Barrio Planta Project I met Dyani. She is from the States, and started the school. She and I got to talk later that night, and she was such an inspirational, strong woman. I felt her power just talking with her. No, it was not the tequila!
The children at Barrio Plant Project were making an impact on me without even trying. I got to teach them yoga outside and afterwards we had to work through the language barrier to take them on a scavenger hunt through the city. They were fun, full of excitement and adventure, and I got to feel like a child that day because of their kindness and willingness to do something new and take us with them. There was so much happy crying and laughter both that day.
There was Stephanie (Chefanie), our chef at Nica Yoga, who showed up everyday with the sweetest of smiles and lightness of heart that made me want to hug her while she prepared the most, not (exagerrating) healthy and unbelievably good food I have ever had. I would’ve paid any amount of money to ensure her a spot in all of my future retreats. She was not “just our chef”, she had the heart and soul anyone would want to be around.
DeWitt. He lives in Nicaragua, but is from Texas, with no accent. That’s an important detail about him. That’s how we started talking. He was in our house one day and I asked him where he was from because he sounded like me, no accent. DeWitt is warm, loving and hilarious, while holding his professionalism steady. He made sure we were all taken care of, and was a pleasure to be with. When I wasn’t feeling well, he concocted some magic tea to help me sleep and ordered me not to speak to rest my sore throat. I told him he was special, and I meant it.
I met two young men on our boat cruise who were from Norway. They both were in their year after graduation from college, as engineers. They said in Norway they are not only encouraged to take one year off to travel before they start working, they are also in a program that helps them fund their travel! Americans could learn a lot from them! If we all saw the world before we dove into work, I think we’d all have minds and hearts more open and accepting of others.
On that same boat cruise, I met two business men from Holland. They had a month of travel in their plans. That’s what they do! They didn’t understand why we would only get 2 weeks off a year. I don’t understand that either!
Tim, worked at the Brewery. He and his friends went down to Nicaragua one year during college and noticed they only had one type of beer down there. Who better to notice that than college boys? So they put it in their heads that Nica needed a brewery, and a few short years later, they made it happen.
The people on the retreat with me and Penny; Ali, Susan, Christin, Chris, Paul, Teri, Lara, Nick, Kate, and Jen. They all were inspirational to me. Ali was on her biggest healing journey, Susan was setting herself to find love and financial security in herself, Christin and Kate, my soul sisters whose hearts and inner beauty were big enough to fill a room, Lara who made her fear her profession, Nick the world traveler in search of happiness not material, Chris, my very special friend who would give everything he had to help anyone else, Paul and Teri, the super romantic couple who never hid their love from anyone, Jen was already making the biggest changes of her life when we met, and of course Penny who has quit corporate to live in Africa with the lions – who better to coach me on my next chapter?!
I could go on and on, but the point….the point is coming.
The one thing all of these people said to me that was the same was, “What do you mean, ‘how do you do it?’ You just do it!”
Then I’d say something like, “No, I’m from Cleveland. We don’t ‘just do it’ there. We are lucky to get 2 weeks off for vacation, and not always back to back. We also are taught to work until we die, or retire when we can’t go anywhere. This sort of living isn’t really encouraged where I’m from.”
So the more people I met, the more people I would talk to and converse with, the braver I got. I realized it really IS possible, and it’s not even that big of a deal. I realized I was surrounded with people who were not afraid to live. I was surrounded by people who lived the way they wanted to, and didn’t think that was a big deal. I realized I wanted to be around more of those people. people who encouraged my dreams of world travel, and those who instead of feeding my fear, fed my courage, my inner strength, and my desire to really LIVE my life.
The people I was once afraid to connect with, had my attention. There was no turning back. I knew I was about to change my life, and I let go of the fear. What I didn’t know was that my people back home were going to be surprising me with their support and encouragement. I don’t know why I doubted them, but I am ok with admitting I was wrong.
My mother told me she had a feeling I was going to come home and tell her I wanted to move to Costa RIca. I hadn’t even told her that was my plan, she just used her mother’s intuition I suppose. She said she’d be sad, but what an adventure, and how could she not support it if that was my plan? My 90 year old grandparents said something like, “You get one life, you gotta do it if that what you want to do!”
My business partner told me she supported me 100%, and that she always knew I’d go off and do something like this.
Even my ex boyfriend told me that although it broke his heart, he was so happy for me to have this opportunity. He listened to my plans intently, and shared in my bittersweet excitement. That is real love.
So, one by one, from the day I got home from Nicaragua on Dec 2, to today, Dec 22, I have met with friends, family members, students, teachers, and everyone close to me to tell them my news in person or on the phone, and every one of them has been supportive, encouraging, and excited for me in one way or another. Even my father who doesn’t understand why i would leave my stable source of income, my studios, is happy for me, although sad for himself. My parents are the best kind of parents. They support me living my dreams and are selfless in the process.
The people! The people in my life; new, old, related, strangers, it doesn’t matter. The people in my life have inspired me, encouraged me, and are supporting me on my own personal journey. All in their own ways, all in their own perfect ways, and i appreciate every single one.
I am so blessed, and so very happy that I reconnected with “the people”, my people.