Something occurred to me, something I suppose I’ve taken forgranted because I do it all the time. But I’ve noticed that most people do not. When did you stop asking questions? For help, advice or simply for directions.
I think we get so confined into our own little bubble that we forget there is world and life around us. For example, I see people in shopping malls, totally lost. They can’t even find the digital ad screen that will say ‘YOU ARE HERE!’ and send them off into another puzzling direction. Lost people stick out like a sore thumb. But they remain lost, until they ask.
What stops us from talking to each other? From stopping the woman who looks like she knows this mall backwards and asking her where to go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I don’t do shopping malls, they drive me nuts. I never ‘brouse’. I go with a mission, a list and being lost will only slow down the process and waist time that could be spent with the sky above my head.
I ask woman all the time where they have bought the beautiful things they are wearing, and on the odd occasion they don’t say ‘overseas’ (I seem to have an eye for ‘foreign’ or expensive items) I will race to the shop and grab it in my size. In and out. Easy peasy. Just by asking.
That kind of asking for me is easy, but I think that asking needs to extend into all areas of life. Asking comes with no guarantees but it’s always worth it. We don’t ask because we are afraid the answer will be no. But how great is it when it’s not?
Ask. Ask what that recipe is. Ask where she got her hair coloured so beautifully. Ask for the day off or for a deadline extension, ask for a raise – You know you bloody-well deserve it! Ask for help. Ask your angels to show you which step to take next. Ask the Universe for guidance.
Today, start asking. Ask for what you want and what you need. Ask to be guided to the right questions. Ask to be answered. Ask for your life’s path to unfold with joy. Ask politely. Ask with passion. Ask with humility. Ask from the bottom of your heart and you’ll be heard.
Towards the end of last year I heard a quote in the trailer for a beautiful film called, “We bought a Zoo”. Even though my mind was so fragile at that point and I wasn’t feeling optimistic about anything, it made sense to me. It felt like the words reached out and spoke directly to me. To this day I believe it was the sign that I needed to be brave again.
My twenty seconds of courage approach didn’t begin the day I said yes to going to South East Asia. Talk is cheap, I knew this, and the follow through was the real risk, the real courage.
But the moment I sat in front of my computer – having selected my Kuala Lumpur Return flights I had to pause for a second, or more like twenty seconds… my heart racing with fear and excitement.
“Am I being irresponsible? Why then is my heart ready to burst with joy? All I need is twenty seconds of courage, and I promise you something great will come of it” I told myself.
I clicked ‘BOOK FLIGHTS’ on the online Emirates website and there was a pause, the page hesitated and then flicked to ‘Your booking has been confirmed’ and I sat quietly with a knowing smile and then burst into squeals of laughter. Happiness. It just took twenty seconds to make the decision, to take the bold brave step to press the button and it changed my life completely.
Three months later, sitting on the beach watching my first Cambodian sunset, with a Singapore Sling in my hand – once again these words fluttered through my mind. I smiled, that same reassuring smile; I was at peace. Back on the right track to putting myself back together again – the way I wanted to be together.
I have applied the twenty seconds of courage rule to a few big decisions that scared me BUT that my soul said ‘yes’ to, over the last 6 months. A group of friends and I sat and watched ‘We bought a Zoo’ a few months after I got back from my trip, we couldn’t wait to see the film that helped me throw myself back into life and I hope it inspired them too.
Now, those of you who read this, who have experienced twenty seconds of courage or who now, plan to – share your inspiration!
It’s what you see in movies, the broken hearteds life crashes down around him or her (more often than not, it’s a her) and after the never ending stream of tears, the journey into the darkest deepest most hopeless hole, (I’m not sure if it’s a voice or it its just our own desperate attempt to save ourselves) – something inside says ‘start afresh’ . . . when all seems to be lost, it’s the perfect opportunity to throw caution to the wind and ‘start afresh… you have nothing to loose, shake life up a bit !!’
That’s what I did. What I am doing. I am known to be pretty extreme. Extremely happy, extremely sad, extremely open/confused/tough/weak – from one month to the next, from one week or one moment to the next. I’ve been created as a highly sensitive being. Life AFFECTS me. The good, the bad, I feel it for all it is. And something I lost over the last few years was my spontaneity, my fearlessness. That constant rushing through my veins reminding me ‘don’t take life so seriously, don’t think so far ahead… Live, see the world, what you love the most is the experience, so EXPERIENCE.’
As a self-proclaimed ‘traveler’, I knew the decision to head off to South East Asia would do what travelling does to me. It would invigorate my soul, send me off into a glorious daydream, make me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to. Travel makes me feel untouchable! It fuels this fire in me that slowly fades away after a few years of being stagnant and trying to live the stock standard responsible life.
So I did what not all people are fortunate enough, brave enough, or just plain mad enough to do. I resigned from my job and jumped ship to go ‘find myself’ in another country. I still have to smile when I think of the concept of finding ones self … those words are thrown around so carelessly. But I knew I had the opportunity to change my life, besides my heart that was wrecked beyond recognition, I had not been comfortable with settling into the ‘safe’ approach to life and I was given an ‘out’. I had to take it.
Cambodia and Vietnam are hidden treasures of the world. And out of every continent or country I needed to be, Cambodia and Vietnam was it. As I expected, I came home high as a kite (No, not the same high as when I left Amsterdam) just wanting to hop onto the next plane out. The opportunities and endless possibilities overwhelmed me…
Fresh starts sound glamorous, in the movies they always are. They are seductive and exciting and limitless… When you are free to do WHATEVER you want, where on earth do you start? What the hell do you choose?
So began, what I have come to know as, ‘the fear of f*cking up the fresh start’ phobia!!! This took me a while to get my head around. So much to do, so little time, where do I even begin. I can’t mess my new life up!!
But having time to reflect inward, to be available with an open mind and heart I have started to see those opportunities I would never have been able to imagine prior to my trip.
Cambodia and Vietnam saved my life. I am now being guided by little signs, those crazy coincidences, the persistent voice that through the mad noise of silence says ‘You ARE doing the right thing, don’t rush things, just trust yourself’ and following MY process.
Only you know what YOU need. Are you brave enough to give it a chance? A new fresh start is exciting, but flippin scary. Can you wipe your slate clean, forgive yourself for messing up the first attempt and try again?
Some choose to hold onto what they know, something stable in insecure times.
Apparently, that’s not me.