Starting from scratch

Moving to Greece was a big deal.

It meant I had to untie the many knots that kept me anchored to my city. It meant leaving people who meant a great deal to me. It meant leaving my comfort zone – my home for the past 19 years. It meant replacing what I knew with what I didn’t. It meant letting go of any expectation, big and small. It meant replacing the speedy highway for the gravel road.

Back home, I held a 9 to 5, helped on a local publication, and, on occasion, picked up some freelance work. I had a bountiful social life and have made some very dear memories with some of the best people.

But the truth is, I was burnt out. Burnt from work, burnt from starting from scratch over again from relationships gone south, burnt from moving from place to place within the constraints of my own city and not really feeling “at home” anywhere I went, burnt from being caught in the burning hands of capitalism.

I was tube-feeding myself with a glorified dose of “busy” – like most millennials.  I had become rigid and disengaged with my environment.

A month before packing up my life, I had no idea where I was headed, if I’d be going straight to another job or back to school. Greece sort of happened –  just like that. It came together so effortlessly, like magic.

While I was road tripping in New Mexico last May, an expat storeowner in Taos told me about Greece. He had lived in Greece for 10 years as a retail buyer, and that stuck with me, subconsciously almost, as I never jumped on the idea right away.  He drew me an impeccable little map to Arroyo Secco on the back of a receipt. He was incredibly helpful and eager to share his knowledge of the area.

“Travel is the best education,” he had said. I’ll never forget his words because I couldn’t have agreed more.

The past three years, I can honestly say I do not remember well. Everything is a little vague, yet, crystal clear at the same time.  Things are only slowly coming back to me now.

There are periods in time that stick out and periods where I feel I had my head down the entire time and watched as life floated by.

Summer of  2016, my cat died, I quit my airline job to go on a campervan adventure around the U.S. and Canada that never happened (see break-up), I worked the Calgary Stampede and cut my finger in half on the very first day, my car window got smashed to pieces, and, I broke up with someone and still believe, to this day, that it was one of the best decisions I have made in life. I know some of these events may seem trivial but sharp objects and glass have often symbolized upcoming change in my life. I’ve taken note of it ever since.

For someone who is extremely indecisive, it was the very first time I stood firm in my needs. What I wanted in life mattered. I had a choice. It was OK to say no to loving someone back just because they loved me. That mindset was no longer an option for me.

I wanted to no longer be in toxic relationship after toxic relationship. I was exhausted of taking care of everybody but myself. I wanted to go live my best life without unhealthy compromises and the feeling that I wasn’t really supported in my dreams and goals by the one person who was supposedly “closest” to me . I needed adventure and I wanted to experience all of it.

If you’re reading this, I don’t care how young or old you are, it is never too late to start again.  We still have time but time is always ticking. I wanted to live now. Not in 20 years, not in one. Now.

And I’m happy that, two years later, I’m finally on the road.

What inspires you? On giving back, living life and meditation

I am on day 17 of the 21-day Oprah + Deepak Chopra meditation challenge. My mom sent me a link the day before the start of the challenge, and just like that, I decided to be up for the challenge and to stick with it. There has been a couple days where I missed a meditation or two but was always able to make it up the next day. I meditate in strange ways quite frankly. I sometimes sit crossed-legged on my yoga mat with a lit candle, but more often than not, I find myself in savasana-style pose, in my bed right before I go to sleep or in my bath. I figured there were going to be days where I wasn’t up for the ‘traditional’ meditation sesh and I decided to be OK with that and do what felt right at the time. Meditating in the bath gets chilly and meditating right before bed (and usually around 11:30 at night!) puts me to sleep. Sometimes I wonder if I reap the benefits of this challenge because half the time I feel fidgety and my mind is going a million miles an hour and really, I don’t really sit THAT still…. What has changed though is my mind isn’t going a million miles an hour with worry or anxiety. It’s acting this way because this meditation challenge has helped me realize what I truly wanted to do in life, something I feel like I have always known but until now, had no idea how to access that desire. The meditation challenge has completely changed me. There was a switch that has been dormant in me for the past few years and a couple of meditation sessions switched it right back on. How crazy to think something as simple and easy as meditation would put me back in tune with my true desires!

It’s truly been a fantastic journey that has opened me up to my highest desires and which has gotten my mind buzzing with motivation and anticipation! This is great news and continuing meditation will help me stay grounded in my desires, which I believe remains important for any great success to come!

I still cannot believe how alive I feel right now. So much to do, so much to create!

A friend and I drove to Canmore on Sunday and I shared with her my aspirations. It felt so great to be open about what I’ve been up to and where I saw myself take my life next. She too is going through a similar phase and it was just pure joy to be able to share my goals and thoughts with her. To boot, the mountains were overwhelmingly beautiful as always. I always find that they give me the strength and courage to go on and follow my intuition, my gut feeling…their beauty is inspiring; always turn to nature for inspiration. It is where you will find true unspoiled beauty and true unspoiled beauty inspires, always… It was a quiet Sunday afternoon amongst the Rockies, a truly magical and inspiring Sunday afternoon hangout beyond words. What a gorgeous day!

All this new development in my life got me thinking of all things that inspire me. Books inspire me, nature inspires me, people who believe in living their dreams, not simply watching them from afar. People who are not afraid to take a risk; people who live life in honesty and who give back inspires me greatly too! I stumbled upon The Giving Keys, a company who employs those transitioning out of homelessness. Their concept is amazeballs! Or The Rocky Mountain Soap’s new toxic-free campaign! Wow! It’s great to hear of people coming up with new concepts that have meaning and that give back!! Bring it on world!

Meditation and yoga will never seize to inspire me; lately, even swing dancing has inspired me. What a great way to let loose, live a little, not be afraid to look silly and let go of one’s busy day! What a great way to be a part of a community too! It is rare nowadays to find a community of people who get together to dance, live and laugh. Might as well enjoy it while we can! Community is important! We are too disconnected!! Dance brings people together, it makes you connect and it makes you feel alive!!

Fashion has always inspired me. Being unique in how you dress, trying something new, the love for beautiful things, beautiful textiles, beautiful objects…candles, vintage suitcases…

As always my list can go on and on because the world truly inspires me. A crack in the sidewalk inspires me! The snow, the fog, the wind…

Tears of joy inspire me…reading about random-acts-of-kindness made my day. Read about it here. I really like the train story (the things we can do when we unite!) and the opponent’s cake story (wow, beautiful).

Anyway, enough about me….I want to know what inspires YOU? Leave your comments, pass it forward.

Live your life.
Claire