An Empty Canvas

A few months ago I had a what some might call a midlife crisis, though I’m not quite to middle age yet! I’ve actually had a few of these by now: an emotional state where I’ve realized that despite all my successes there is still something missing. I’m action-oriented and so I have scrapped my life and started over a few times. While I have become happier and more content each time, that “something” still eludes. What I’ve realized is that I’ve simply traded one identity for the next, still guided by the people and values of the world around me.

I’ve gone through a lot of change, working to remove the layers of conditioning and false identity that I’ve accumulated throughout my lifetime. In deep reflection, I have realized that I have been “under the influence”. While I do mean this with some reference to drugs and alcohol, I am mostly referring to the incredibly strong, yet hardly noticeable influences surrounding all of us in terms of friends, family, church, government, advertising, and so on.

I have been tossing out the false identities that I’ve held onto throughout the years. I’m not a business woman, yoga teacher, “catch” for some lucky man, natural leader, partier, college-graduate, or the many other things I’ve been labeled and unconsciously identified with. What I am, however, is an incarnation of God’s Spirit – as are you.

While I’ve scrapped the manifestations of my last life (boyfriend, job, residence), I have also scrapped old-held values and belief systems. This time I want to live simply, without the expectation of something particular unfolding. This has not been my typical approach to life. I have been ruled by the future, caught up in the processes of becoming, achieving, attaining, and chasing – as though what I already am is not enough.

While I am looking for work as a practical matter, I’m no longer motivated by a particular level of status or pay. I just want to be able to take care of myself and to be a light for all who surround me. I want to practice karma yoga, or selfless action, as explained in the Bhagavad Gita.

While I was in India contemplating this next chapter in my life, I kept hearing “Asheville… Asheville… Asheville…” playing in my head like a soundtrack. While I had passed through once on a road trip, I didn’t have a tap on the city nor did I have any connections. But since my vipassana course, I’m trying to live my life by gut feels these days, looking inward for guidance rather than to the outside world. I’ve moved into a space of “Let go and Let God”, my new mantra. It is my belief that God shows us the way through our own intuition. So here I am, in Asheville, North Carolina.

Turns out my inner-guidance system is doing alright! Not only is this town absolutely gorgeous –  tucked away in lush, green mountains – but I have landed in a haven of yoga and arts! Meetup.com reveals many writers groups in the area and it seems like everyone just got up from their daily meditation. I went to a yoga class on Saturday, and there was a CSA (community supported agriculture) pickup outside of the studio! Everyone is smiling and I’ve received a lot of welcomings from the friendly folks I met. I’ve even made a few friends that I’ll definitely see again – What’s up Sheridan, Christine & Theo?! 🙂 This city seems to have everything that makes my spirit sing. I feel like an empty canvas waiting for new strokes of beauty.

I also feel empowered! I am armed with new knowledge about food (thank you Ayurveda!), my body (thank you Ammu for all you taught me about nervous system engagement), emotional and spiritual health (thank you, Vivek and Goenke!), and living a sober and joyful life (thank you, Emily!).

With the past behind me, I’m committed to living in the present. A firm believer in setting intentions, I have a few aims that I am moving forward with:

  • Full Sobriety
  • Vegetarian, Organic, and Unprocessed Diet
  • Simple, Uncluttered Living
  • Teaching & Practicing Yoga and Meditation
  • Writing

I’m keeping the faith, but all good vibes and prayers for my transition are certainly welcomed!

I love you.

 

12 thoughts on “An Empty Canvas”

  1. So so happy for you! Our family will have to come
    Visit you and see what your canvas looks like. I love you. I miss you. I’m so proud and excited for you. Sending lots and lots of love my dear. Xoxo

  2. Hi Steph,
    I have been following your journey.. How exciting to see the world with new eyes.👀 Life is a Journey Not a Guided Tour my Sista. Keep enjoying , exploringing and always keep a open & smiling heart ❤️…. Can’t wait to see & read about the progress of your blank canvas.. I have never been to Asheville, but heard and read it’s a beautiful place.. I admire your free spirit.. Keep doing what you Love & you will never work a day in your life..
    😘💃❤️

    1. Aww, Tari… I love this comment! Thanks for writing. It is definitely a journey, isn’t it?! I hope all is well for you in Salinas. Sending my love! <3

  3. Great post! What a fabulous start to your new journey! It’s exciting to be embarking (electronically) with you. Thank you for including me.
    It brings Whitman to mind: Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road….
    That, and the ancient teaching: Every journey of a thousand miles starts with someone saying, “I know a shortcut!”
    I’ll be thinking of you often. Be prolific for us! 😚

    1. Oh, Pete… You’re so special. I love that you commented with poetry. Thanks for your kind words, and yes!, I’ll keep writing. Sending my love. <3

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