Perspective shifts are relative. Sometimes you need a small adjustment or a different way of looking at something, and other times you need to completely change everything. It really depends on where you're coming from and it's an individual thing. For me, the opportunity to shift as much as I could was something I couldn't pass up because as settled and happy as I was in my life and in my practice, I found myself wanting more. I don't ever want to look back and think that I could have lived a little more, laughed a little more, had more adventures, experienced more or taken every chance I could to grow. There is so much to see in this world and I leaped for personal reasons, but for career reasons too; I can only be an effective practitoner if I have experienced, played with, made myself available to and taken every opportunity to grow that presents itself. I have been living in Rome for almost three weeks and every time I look up, venture right or even look down to make sure I don’t trip on the bumpy, uneven, ancient lava stone roads, I find something that blows me away. It's pretty awesome to discover ancient ruins, charming streets and new flavors of pizza.
Moving abroad isn’t all fun & adventures though. I mean, it’s cool and magical and everything feels special. Everything is new and you feel free and wonderful. But it’s also uncertain, slightly terrifying and you constantly find yourself completely out of your element. It still feels weird and like I'm on some kind of not-a-vacation, and it's strange to think that I'm not going anywhere. I've never lived anywhere that I wasn't actually from aside from a few months in South America with my family, so this finding my place in a new culture, a new city and a new way of life where I am the one who has to adjust - and most of the time I don't even really know what you're adjusting to, feels strange. Low and behold, social norms are actually kind of a big deal. You know it but until you experience it, you don't really know it.
I love to travel and I had been to Rome before. When considering places I could relocate to, Rome felt like beautiful and inspiring and somewhere I could work on my projects on with the focus and dedication that they deserve. And it certainly is. But what I didn’t necessarily factor into my decision was the getting lost 8 to roughly 800x a day, the difficulty in communicating or expressing myself in a different language (how important is this as a woman!) or the million other little details that have shaped my first month here. I considered these things and knew I would face them, but I didn’t realize how much the little things actually impact us every day. And how much "stress" they can add to your life when they don't go your way. They're huge; where you park your car, even having a car or not, the exchange rates (what your time, and your money are worth somewhere else), the accuracy of your GPS (if you thought google maps was bad, try using it in a different country,) the difficulty of meeting new people, the social norms, how to work the water heater, getting your food to-go which is a totally American thing, which streets are ok to walk alone at night, how you cross a street, hailing a cab, drinking the tap water, which banks you can pull money out of, weighing your produce at the grocery store, walking the cobble stone roads in heels, dating!
Your life really is the little things. (Just like your health!!)
So here’s what I did know before I leaped: I felt like I didn't fit into my life in LA anymore and I wanted something different. Completely different. I wanted more. To do more, to contribute more, to feel more, to feel more heard, to leave a bigger impact, to feel fully alive. I have worked on myself for years, and when I say years I mean my entire adult life, and I got to the point where I wasn't fully happy - I wasn't unhappy but I wasn't happy happy, and I couldn't figure out what else to do differently. The more I thought about what to shift the more it made sense to completely shift everything. I went with bold. I went with changing my life completely. I went with my personal philosophy of 'the fastest way to change your internal world is to change your outside surroundings.' So I changed as much as I could, which meant letting go and walking away from my world in LA to create something completely different somewhere else.
Exciting, completely terrifying, and very necessary for a life shaped by growth and maturity.
This is my way of looking at it at least. This is what was right for me.
The greatest thing I’ve taken from this move and massive shift in perspective so far has been that YOU are in control of YOUR life at ANY given moment. You’re not a tree, you can move if you aren’t happy. And even trees can be moved. Why not live somewhere beautiful and inspiring that makes you feel alive? You don't have to move far away to accomplish this and that's not what I'm implying. Most people don’t need such a dramatic change, but some could really benefit from it, even if it's just for a few months. It comes down to what you surround yourself with, which is indeed a choice, and to how you perceive it. YOU get to decide what you need. And if you aren’t happy, something needs to shift. NOW. Not someday, when you make more money or when you feel like it. By the way, you will never feel like it. Growing sucks and you will never willingly choose it; it's hard and uncomfortable and that's the point. That's what makes it incredible in the end. You can change your physical location (easy) - or - you change your perspective (not so easy) but ultimately how much and how fast you grow is up to you. And the more you grow, the more you experience your life, which is the whole entire point of it all.
Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. You're not supposed to run from anything because that doesn't really work; it's much more powerful to check yourself and shift your thoughts in your day to day to prevent the feeling of needing to run; to continuously reflect on how you think about things or how you look at something. However you look at something must serve you and if it doesn't, it's time to shift your perspective.
Perspective is everything after all. (Side note: meditation is excellent for this.)
It’s difficult to stay aware of your own growth and to continuously shift your perspective to match how you want to experience your life, but it’s worth it. The take aways: You SHOULD be in awe of where you live; you should look up and say “wow, what a gorgeous tree” or noice that cool building a young architect probably lost a lot of sleep designing. You should admire your surroundings. You should look in the mirror and feel proud of who you are and how far you've come. You should love your life, or actively work to love it by constantly adjusting, renewing, attempting and creating. Getting out of bed on a difficult day is a huge accomplishment; be grateful for waking up from a warm bed and for your toes hitting the ground. Life should keep you in awe. It can be hard and I'm not saying you should be happy with everything always, but life is meant to be lived and feeling like you’re standing where you are supposed to be is a huge part of that- and of your health!
You know that's where I was going with it.
Your perspective on your life is everything for your health.
Your cells can hear you. And they act accordingly. If you aren't happy, your body knows it- and it acts accordingly. Your cells divide and multiply accordingly, your hair grows accordingly, you digest your food and transform your nutrients accordingly, your cells regenerate while you sleep accordingly, you sleep accordingly.. You get it.
So take the time to think about how you think about things. You don't need to move to the other side of the world, but you do need to give yourself the space to go within to make sure you are participating creatively in your own life. Because you are creating it.
A simple shift to begin with is to look around for the magic. Look up at the trees and say thank you. Look over at the car next to you in traffic and send them a blessing. Acknowledge your bowl of cereal that you consciously purchased to nourish yourself and see the wonder of the transformation of nutrients into your cells, and if you don't see it then pick a different cereal brand. Or breakfast all together. Feeling grateful for where you live, your surroundings, your city and especially for where you're standing has a huge impact on your happiness, but think of this in terms of your health. If your cells can hear you, what are you telling them? How much more important does being active in creating your life become when you think about it in terms of your health - that your health counts on this?
Awe, wonder, inspiration & feeling alive are perspective shifts. Take the time to look at how you look at things. I live in a magical place, but I bet you do too. You just have to want to see it.
With love from Rome. xo