On Sunday, I left the country for Peru.
Today, as you read this, I am beginning a 13 day yoga, meditation, and ayahuasca retreat.
This place is the most off-the-grid thing I have ever done. There are no screens allowed, no wifi, and not even electricity. (WUT?)
I will be moving inward, spending my energy on myself, and healing. I’ll be unable to check email, post to facebook, or even tell my mom I’m ok. (PS Mom, I’m ok!)
Everything I send you from now until I return on January 31st has been written in advance, and I will be MIA on the email front until I return.
I have never, ever done anything like this before, and the whole thing makes me blindingly uncomfortable.
Which is kind of the point.
This fall I made the decision to stop being a nomad, and move back to near where I grew up to pursue joy and freedom in an entirely new way: in a stable, comfortable environment.
When I realized I was going to do this, I made an agreement with myself: that I will always continue actively seeking out ways to challenge myself and grow.
In my mind, stability and comfort have always been the enemy. Stability meant stagnancy, and comfort meant complacency. In order to continue growing and expanding at the rate that I wanted, I spent my entire life trying to steer clear of both, at all costs.
Now don’t get me wrong, this near-phobia of stability and comfort has led me down some amazing paths and into some amazing adventures. I’m grateful for my own restlessness and refusal to “settle,” because it led me to cultivate a level of courage, competence, and self-confidence that I can’t imagine my life without.
Essentially, the more new stuff you try, the more stuff you fail at.
As such, I have fucked up infinitely more often than most people my age. And ya know what? It’s not so bad. I now have absolute faith that fucking things up and/or everything totally falling apart is fine. I know that life moves on. I know that I’ll figure it out.
The gifts of my chronic instability and discomfort are many.
But the gifts of stability and comfort are brand new to me.
You know how a lot of people say they hate change? Well I love change. Change is my favorite thing. Change is how I know I’m alive, and growing. When things haven’t changed in a while, historically I freak out. I chop off my hair, quit my job, or break up with someone.
This is exactly why I’ve decided to figure out how to embrace the gifts of stability and comfort. Because they’re new, and because I don’t want to live my life being afraid of stillness and calm.
Stability doesn’t have to mean stagnancy, does it? Maybe it just means having a big safe container around you so that you can be more present and focus on yourself. Maybe stability is more like a chrysalis than a prison cell: a safe place where you can do the vulnerable work of transforming into a butterfly.
And maybe comfort doesn’t have to mean complacency, either. Maybe comfort is more about enjoying the pleasure of familiarity and attachment.
I’m learning about these new elements the way I’ve always learned about everything: by writing, talking, thinking, asking, listening, and sitting with it in my body.
It’s work, but it’s the work of accepting that I don’t always have to be working.
It’s the work of Allowing, instead of Forcing.
Of Non-Doing, instead of Doing.
Of Ease, instead of Hustle.
(Trust me, it’s much harder than it sounds.)
In order to make this work tolerable/palatable, I promised myself that I would continue to regularly schedule and prioritize new experiences that deeply challenge my growth as a person.
I turn 30 on Friday, and birthdays are a really big deal to me. I see them as a time for reflection, healing, releasing, accepting, and connecting to the Universe.
To celebrate, I gave myself the hardest thing I could think of: being alone in the Amazon jungle, participating in physically demanding plant-medicine ceremonies, led by a shaman, and seeing what comes up. Cut off from work, cut off from my people, and cut off from the internet. Forced to go inward, with no escape from myself or the parts of me that still need healing.
I’m sharing this with you for two reasons:
I promised to always share my most transparent truth in these emails, and this is it. I’m incredibly terrified, and incredibly excited, as I write this.
A lot of my readers tell me they “wish they could” do some of the stuff I talk about doing. I want to make it clear that the actual stuff I do is often incidental, and it’s the intention with which I do it that matters. I have made a habit of doing anything that scares me, triggers me, or challenges me, because I know that these are where the opportunities for growth are. You can do the same, without disappearing to Peru.
If you are looking for a transformation or a change of any kind, I highly recommend looking inward at the things that scare you most and moving into it.
Challenge yourself consciously, push yourself purposefully.
Are you afraid of commitment? Try committing to something.
Are you afraid of change? Try doing one thing different every day.
Are you afraid of being seen? Find a way of putting yourself out there.
If you want to grow, you’ll need to challenge yourself. What challenges you is unique and specific to you, so pay attention and get truthful about what would make you grow the most right now.
Wishing you a wonderful day from the Amazon Jungle,
P.S. This is just a reminder that I am *no longer using* my old Remodel Facebook page. So if you want to connect on Facebook, you’ll have to do it here, on my new Jessi Kneeland business page!
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