“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
~Henry David Thoreau
It was a Thursday evening.
I was lying on my bed, in my workout clothes, trying to muster up the energy to go to my training session. But everything was shutting down. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. I kept muttering, under my breath, that I didn’t know what to do. My whole body felt heavy and I was tired. I just had an urge, a feeling, that I needed to get away.
But where? And when? And could I leave now? I knew I couldn’t leave at that moment, but I had no idea what I needed. I was scared to close my eyes because I thought I would fall asleep and miss my session. So I stared at the ceiling.
“Go to the water.”
Out of nowhere, I heard a little voice, that God whisper, telling me to go to the water. Between my repeated mutters of “What am I doing?” and trying to muster up energy, I heard it again.
“Just go to the water.”
I immediately sat straight up. I pulled out my phone and started looking for waterfront properties in southern California. I had no clue where to go. I didn’t necessary want to drive down to my special spot because it was supposed to rain all weekend. And I needed to be by the water even if it rained.
What water? Where? What hotel? Could I find something actual waterfront? These are the questions that a planner and overthinker asks, but I didn’t have any answers at the moment. But I knew God was talking to me and I needed to listen. So I went to my session. And it was tough. Ridiculously tough. It’s hard to bench press with you are running on E. That night I found a hotel that looked like what I needed. I set a reminder to call in the morning, and went to bed.
The next morning was a bit better. I got up early, did some work before I went to work (this is my life), and actually felt okay. I booked my hotel. Distractions like glitch airfare came and rejuvenated me. But I knew I needed to get to the water. So after work, I got some work done and cleaned the house into the night. I had planned to stay up for a bit longer but suddenly I was over the cleaning. But before I laid down my head, I decided to turn on the TV for a few minutes.
You’ll never guess what was on, at that exact moment on that exact channel. One of my favorite movies of all time: Under the Tuscan Sun. Of all movies. Under the Tuscan Sun, the movie about a woman escaping only to find herself, was on my television screen.
Okay God, I’m really listening.
The next morning, I took my time. I slept in. I putzed around the house, then threw some clothes in a weekender and I left my house. I need just a minute, and the hotel I chose supposedly had a view where I could see the water. I just knew I needed to see the water.
I drove down to Orange County. It was just far enough to be away from home but didn’t take too long. I checked in my hotel, went to get lunch and came back and sat on the patio with my journal and devotional. I moved slowly and deliberately. And thank goodness I opted for the oceanview room.
I sat. I napped. I meditated. I wrote in my journal. I prayed. I had a full-fledged conversation with God. I stared at the ocean and focused. I let the water calm my spirit. Water has a way of doing that.
It was absolutely perfect. I didn’t force myself to do anything. When I was hungry, I ate. When I wanted to walk around and take pics, I took pictures. When I wanted to veg out in the room, a vegetable I was. The only thing I forced myself to do was to stop. If there’s one thing I have learned in life, it’s that sometimes, we just have to force ourselves to stop. Or God has a way of stopping us.
I was ready to quit it all and just be ordinary. The blog, my writing, my passion, all of it. I was done. I had no energy left. I was frustrated and hurt and rejected. As entrepreneurs and women and highly driven people, one of the worse feelings in the world is when you feel like you are spinning your wheels. Like you are putting all of your hard work and energy into something, and you feel like it fails or goes nowhere. It’s wretched. The “why even bother?” thoughts start. The self-doubt creeps in. You start to wonder if you are wasting your time and talents.
It is at those moments that you have to listen to your body and your needs, but most importantly to God. Admittedly, my brain runs a mile a minute most of the time. Sometimes it’s hard for me to hear anything other than my own thoughts. So while a few other people that I expressed my feelings to were telling me to stop and take a break, I couldn’t hear it. The idea of taking a break when you are trying to build a business seems foreign… and really stupid. I mean, who wants to break up what little momentum they feel like they have to take a break?
That’s why God’s ways are higher than our ways. We have to take care of ourselves, ladies (and gentlemen) or there is no way we will survive, let alone help others. There is, after all, a reason that on planes you are instructed to put on your mask first before helping others. It’s necessary.
So what has happened since then? I have had some major accomplishments and milestones with my work. Things have looked up. Isn’t it funny that it’s sometimes darkest before dawn? My second, my moment away allowed me to do that. The water calmed my spirit enough to allow me clarity and vision. I was able to re-center myself, get ahold of my emotions, and move forward feeling more rejuvenated. Imagine that…it actually worked.
People think frequent travelers or nomads travel to escape life. Quite the contrary; sometimes, travel is what allows us to be found. And that is what happened for me.