Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Begin Again.

I first began this blog nearly three years ago, after moving back to the States from South Korea. I lived there for several years, teaching English and traveling as much as I could around Southeast Asia. It was such a wonderful adventure, and I’ve gotta say—it was somewhat of a difficult transition coming back to this country. But we can go more into that later…While abroad, one thing I dearly missed about this country was the accessibility we have to garage sales and thrift stores, home and garden super-centers and craft havens, like Hobby Lobby… There were so many times I would dream up an incredible idea, but my resources were limited, so I’d stick it in my back pocket and vow to create it one day. So, of course, when I got back here, the first thing I wanted to do was make everything. 

And, having just returned from traveling a bunch, meeting people from all over the world, having a disposable income thanks to a generous Korean government, I was on a high, with self-confidence seeping from my pores. I assumed everyone would be dying to see all the things I was making, and read my oh-so-enthralling words of wisdom and witty stories. It was a fun outlet for a while. And then—I got sucked back into life. American life, I should clarify.

The next year and a half were really rough. I entered what I call my “humbling period” and soon found that getting a job—let alone my dream job—was harder than I thought. I “tried out” a couple of “careers” and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wanted nothing to do with them and that kind of lifestyle I was rapidly being sucked into—the nine to fiver, slave to a work routine sort of life where you do much more than you’re actually paid for and are inhibited from ever really reaching your own professional potential due to dysfunctional management up top. Perhaps I should’ve moved and simply looked elsewhere. There are things I suppose I could’ve done differently, and yet, everything was as it needed to be to project me to where I am now. Call me a hippy millennial, but my workplace satisfaction is very important to me and was severely lacking, and all the while, I was simultaneously suffering emotionally (and at times physically) due to my personal life. I realized I had allowed myself to become completely surrounded by people of questionable character and fear-consumed naysayers. Within myself, I began to uncover the deep-rooted patterns of negativity and fear-driven anxiety that had controlled me my entire life and seemed to be pinning me into the suffocating confines that I found myself in at that time. 

That was when I had my breakdown; my existential crisis. It was the toughest and yet most beautiful time in my life. My 27th year—my golden year—was the ugliest, yet most remarkable year of my life. The first moment I really opened myself up to God was the night I came face-to-face with the girl my boyfriend was cheating on me with. One of them, anyway. I had never experienced this kind of blatant disrespect from a “loved one” before. And worse still, I had been made to feel it was my fault. That, because I wasn’t enough somehow, he was forced to look elsewhere and secretly date other people. And that's only a sliver of the dysfunction I felt bound within.

It’s in those moments of shock, grief, fear—when we come face-to-face with the idea that we really don’t know what to do anymore—that God shows up. And its not that He was ever not there. We just finally release control and that tightly-held desire do things our way to get what we want, instead of what’s truly best for us. The moment I relinquished my grasp and truly opened by heart to God, because I not longer knew what I wanted, He was right there. Where I had struggled before with finding the right people to form friendships with in the town where I was living, He immediately brought a few strong, encouraging women into my life who lovingly picked me up and gently began dusting off the dirt from my fall. They began breathing life into my deflated self-esteem. They spoke words of success and positivity into me when I’d express my doubts, and I am forever grateful for them. That was the beginning that I needed.

I thought I had always trusted God and yet, I had always been doing life on “Meredith’s terms.” And sometimes it was really pretty incredible. Yet, often I found an underlying emptiness. A void that I’d attempted to fill with boyfriends and adventures and striving and stuff. But it never really went away. Until I let go.

Which leads me to where I am now. I’m on this blog, typing my terribly profound musings, once again, because of Rachael Ray. Yes, Rachael Ray.

One of her show coordinators reached out to me several months ago asking for permission to use one of my crafts from this blog in her show. I responded with a resounding YES. That simple email—the recognition that my imagination had created something worthy of acknowledgment on a national medium—is what drew me back to this sphere. See, my creativity suffered much after my “crisis.” As did my confidence, my self-worth, etc etc… But, through this journey of discovery and rediscovery, I finally feel ready to begin nurturing my right brain again. It’s fascinating how so many beautiful pieces of our personalities can quite literally shut down and go into hiding when we feel threatened. My imagination has begun tapping me on the shoulder, gently making itself known again. It feels ready to step away from the shadows and into the glorious sunshine once again. So here we are. 

As a side note, I’m also now living in Austin where I’m studying Oriental Medicine. Things have never felt more right, and I can look back now and realize that God’s actually been at work, setting me up for this for some time now—and all the while I was stressed because “I didn’t know what to do with my life…” Ha! Such beauty and understanding when we finally surrender… Anyway, it began with a casual interest in Eastern cultures and Japanese fashion which led to many Asian friends in college which inspired me to study Japanese as my foreign language which led to studying abroad there which led to a desire in my heart to live in Asia which led to me moving to South Korea when an opportunity presented itself after college which led to my further understanding the culture upon long-term immersion and the long-term stay and understanding led to my exposure and openness to Oriental medicine and a more balanced lifestyle, in general, which allowed me to recognize the dreadful imbalances plaguing the people in our Western culture upon my return, which burdened me to the extent that I knew I needed to do something, which finally spurred me to study this medicine and the lifestyle practices that have made such a huge impact in my own life, so I can help others, too (longest sentence ever). I’m continuing to heal as I study something I’ve always been interested in, but was scared to pursue, as I know many people here still consider Eastern medicine “woo-woo voo-doo.”  It was a huge step of faith to move in this direction and go back to school and further into debt. And yet, it’s overwhelmingly fulfilling. Finally. And God is continuing to bring beautiful people into my life who love me and are helping me to bloom in areas I’ve desperately needed help with, like learning to establish boundaries with others, having stability in my own emotions and thought-life, cultivating healthy relationships with grounded women, recognizing that I have a choice in my actions and reactions, and having compassion—not just for others, but for myself. I’ve lived beneath a mask for so long, and it’s been exhausting, disheartening, suffocating…

But colors are becoming brighter, sounds are sweeter and life is getting better, now that I’m walking with Him, hand-in-hand. With this freedom comes a more genuine life and greater possibilities. My daily mantra has become: Let go. Now, challenges will continue to arise, changes will occur—this is life. But I feel more prepared to face them. And I’m open to the change and the growth that it brings. That’s the difference. 

Beyond nurturing my creativity through this blog, I want to use it as a study tool. I plan to share my discoveries in the realm of wellness and natural medicine, as I’m learning so many valuable nuggets of wisdom every day that deserve to be recorded! This is for me. If I am but the sole viewer of this blog, that is just fine. However, if you are not me and you find yourself here, reading my writings and finding peace, encouragement or inspiration, then all the more better! I’m so happy to have you here, and I’m happy to read any feedback or stories that you might have to share.

Be well x

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