Two years ago today I boarded a plane to the Big Island of Hawai'i. In more ways, than I can possibly count, I never looked back. This morning a friend of mine shared their plans to move to a new state to honor their soul calling. The synchronicity was beautiful. Here I was waking up over a cup of coffee and thinking about an unexpected move to an island that changed my life and a text comes through telling me about their plans to shift their life. That is how the soul calling come to us. Inconveniently, unexpectedly and at the expense of all that we know and are comfortable with.
About three years ago I connected with HIP Agriculture on Instagram of all places. They liked some of my photos. I liked some of theirs. Then I started reading their captions and eventually took a look at their website. It turns out that HIP Ag is non-profit institute in Hawaii teaching people about permaculture and sustainable living. They encouraged me to apply to be one of their interns. I thought about it a lot. I talked about it with people who were not interested in it at all. I talked about it with people who had very specific expectations of me. I listened to all the negative feedback from people around me who had barely traveled 5 miles away from their own home. I smiled. I nodded. And then I applied.
After I was accepted I had a misstep in my journey, which of course was not a misstep at all, but a necessary soul test. I was discouraged. I was unsupported. I was being asked to remain small, convenient, and most of all quiet. The stirring of my soul was ruining plans for those around me. Have you met me? I am fairly quiet but I make big, loud, and extraordinary life-changing moves when I feel like it. If you want quiet, convenient or someone whom you can dump your expectations on then I am not for you. If you want change growth and alchemy then we should probably be friends.
Hip Ag asked me to be an intern and I turned them down. I knew it was the wrong move but it felt familiar and so I did it. Immediately following this decision life got rough. Nothing was working out. Everything was difficult. Every conversation, every connection and every attempt at growth was stunted. And it was perfect. Sometimes things not working out is the best medicine. It purifies your body, mind, and spirit. It allows for clarity. Everything being terrible created space for me to reflect on my decision. Nothing felt right. Do you know what I mean? I felt as if I had broken an agreement. I take that very seriously and so I looked at it. My agreements are not with the people I surround myself with. My agreements are with my higher power. I felt as if I had failed. It was late on a Sunday night and I had not even touched my homework.
Then in the midst of the worst of the worst, I received an email from the folks at Hip Ag. They acknowledged that perhaps a job would be more fitting for me instead of an internship. They offered me a position, decent salary, great accommodations and autonomy over the work that I would be doing. It felt like fresh air being pumped into my lungs. And yet, because the voices around me were so loud, I said no. Thankfully I do lack the power to fully destroy my own life because they kept emailing me back encouraging me to reconsider. And that is what finally got to me. They encouraged me. I had been discouraged for so long that it began to feel normal and actual true blue encouragement felt threatening. After many emails back and forth and me turning the job down three times, I decided to give myself 1 hour to go for a walk, think about it and ask for a sign.
I stepped out the door of my home at the top of the mountain in La Crescenta and went for a walk with my dog along our usual route. A car sped up and screeched to a halt beside me. The driver screamed out of her window "Stop! Go the other way! There are a bunch of coyote in this direction and they are really aggressive. It's not safe." Then she sped away. I had asked for a sign, hadn't I? So I began walking in a new direction. I was so deep in my thoughts that I did not even realize it when I stepped onto the grounds of the ashram. Why there is an ashram in La Crescenta is beyond me. Why I had not realized that I lived near to it is really indicative of how narrow my vision had become at that time. I smiled and began to walk through the grounds. I listened to my feet. They told me where to walk, where to stop and where to sit. I came to a tree, sat down and leaned my back up against the trunk and just listened. Everything was still. Everything was quiet. And then I knew. Our feet are humble, honest and reliable narrators. We should listen to them more often. Mine told me that it was time to go. I went home and typed an email to Hip Ag accepting the offer.
I arrived in Kona at night. The person who picked me up and drove me to Kohala took one look at me, smiled and said: "You are going to fall in love on this Island." I laughed and said "No, I think you've got the wrong girl. Love is not my thing. Besides, I am here for a job. That's it." She smiled and said "You do not understand this Island. This island LOVES love. It brings people together. You are one of those people."
I could write a book about all of the miracles that occurred during my time at Hip Ag in Halawa Gulch. So much alignment, so much synchronicity and such a profound feeling of being exactly where I was supposed to be. Maybe I will write that book one day. Maybe I will write it here. Who knows? What I do know is that the feeling was so pronounced and life changing that it carried me through many stormy encounters that followed. When someone begins to walk their soul path it is a mirror for those around them who are not. We would like to think that following our intuition, creating a miraculous universe for our highest good to unfold and being truly fulfilled would make those around us happy. In my case it did not. I had to walk through rings of emotional fire and negative feedback from folks who were struggling with their own path. At the time it was hard but looking back I realize it was necessary. My Qi Gong teacher always tells me I came into this world with the sword of discernment on my back. That sword does not get sharpened or forged in a cloud of bliss. It needs sharp edges. Today I can say that I am truly grateful for every hateful comment, all the negative feedback, every psychotic email, and each difficulty that was thrown my way. It made the path crystal clear. It taught me about fear and how it can prevent me or push me. Some of those people thought their efforts might prevent me from doing forward. All they did was create a great wind at my back and push me forward.
Today I woke up beside my partner who I met (and ignored) within 24 hours of arriving in Kapa'au. This morning we made coffee, we talked, we laughed and then he played me some songs on his guitar while I was still in bed. The entire universe conspired to bring us here even if all we have is today. One day at a time.
Moral of the story...listen to your soul AND your feet.