Hola from Barcelona! I’ve been in Europe for about 2 1/2 months now and have been having such an incredible time!
As a quick recap, I spent a month up near the Alps in northern Italy at a beautiful eco-community taking a course on building successful, sustainable communitites, then went to Milan, Cinque Terre, Florence, Siena, Venice, Saturnia hot springs, Rome, the Amalfi coast, a quick few days in England, and now I’m in Barcelona, Spain!
And it’s definitely time for me to give you an official update!
This chapter of my travels has been an absolutely PHENOMENAL experience so far. I’ve learned so much, I’ve been through deep personal transformations, met amazing people along my journey, and have just been soaking up the stunning beauty and historic wonder of this incredible part of the world!
I’ve experienced SO much within the last couple months, that there’s no way I can fit it all in a blog post… but what want to do for you today is share some of the biggest insights I’ve been learning and experiencing so far to help you also grow right along with me and inspire you with new, exciting possibilities for your life!
One of my greatest dreams was to travel the world… and the main reason I’m able to do so now is because of the inner “work” I’ve done over the last few years. Trust me… the more you growth within, the more expansive your life becomes, and the quicker you’re able to manifest your dreams!
Ok, so this post is a bit meaty today because I have a lot to share… but I know it’ll definitely be worth your time today. So here’s a summary of some of the biggest insights I’ve been learning along my travels so far…
Insight #1: Community is KEY.
After taking this month long course, I now get in a much deeper way just how utterly critical communities are for our future. And I’m not just talking about being part of an online community (although that’s important, too) but having real, live, local people in your life who share your same values, can support you along your journey, and whom you can collaborate with to create a better future.
Empowering communities at the local level supports our sustainability, our ability to live in greater harmony with the earth, true collaboration and sharing of resources, personal and group transformation and healing, and truly brings more power back to the people.
The planet is in a state of crisis right now, environmentally, socially, economically, and spiritually. It’s time for a change… it’s time to create a new paradigm, or way of living, that’s more life affirming, sustainable, collaborative, fulfilling, and supportive. And in order to do this, we need to come together… no one can do this alone. Community is key.
Spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says: “It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community- a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the
I’ll be sharing more about community building soon… and how you help co-create this new “family unit” that I believe will have a majorly positive impact for us as human beings and for the planet
But for now, focus on getting together with friends and family in your local area to see what kind of magic can be created together and how you can best support one another. In helping to grow and nurture communities, we’re really pioneering the new way.
It’s up to us to create our future! And it’s time to do it together
Insight #2: Sharing is connecting.
During the course, we participated multiple times in a community building exercise called “The Forum”. In the forum, the whole group or community would sit in a circle and one person at a time would stand up in the middle and share how he or she was feeling. Everyone else in the circle would share feedback without judgment and without trying to “solve” anything.
Now, for most of us raised in this western culture, sharing our feelings openly and transparently is not something we’re used to. In fact, what I realized is that for most people, it’s challenging to even know WHAT we’re feeling because we’ve been so used to ignoring or not acknowledging our feelings.
Our feelings are what connect us to our truth and help us become more aware of what’s going on underneath the surface. We are feeling, sentient creatures and it’s necessary to be fully connected to how we feel for our health, our intuition, and our ability to connect more deeply to ourselves, others, and life.
So this exercise was SO powerful for many many reasons… It helped us get more connected to our feelings, to get more comfortable with sharing them openly and honestly, to have the experience of being received and accepted unconditionally by the group, to open space for breakthroughs and transformations, and to feel more connected to each other.
When we allow ourselves to share authentically, our vulnerability naturally connects us with others. We’re able to feel compassion and understanding, because as human beings, we can all relate to what each other is going through and we’re all mirrors for one another.
I had quite a few revelations and personal insights during my time in the forum, and even had the experience of crying while being held by the group. And I was able to do the same for many others. And in listening to others share, I felt my heart open and flood with compassion and understanding that touched me very deeply.
In fact, during one session, I cried the entire time just listening to what others in the group were sharing. In feeling a deeper empathy for others, I felt more connected to my heart and more connected to them. It was so beautiful!
Sharing is connecting and it’s such a beautiful way to heal and transform! So don’t be afraid to open up and share yourself deeply with people in your life today. And if you’re open to it, maybe do a deep sharing with a small group of family or close friends and just see what happens
Insight #3: Build a diverse team.
During the course, we learned about a method for project creation called “Dragon Dreaming”. And the big insight came from the understanding that in order to collaborate effectively and have a successful project, it’s so important to have a diverse team of people working together.
All of us have different skills and talents to bring to the table. According to Dragon Dreaming, there are 4 categories of people when it comes to project creation (this is a bit over simplified and I do believe we can see ourselves in more than one category):
1. Dreamers: those who come up with the ideas and innovations.
2. Planners: those who enjoy strategizing and planning.
3. Doers: those who do the ground work.
4. Celebrators: those who analyze results, provide feedback for next time, and love to encourage the entire team to celebrate their success!
You may feel you’re all of these or maybe just one or two… but the point is, in order to have a successful project, you need a team who can cover all of these bases. A team dominated by dreamers, or idea people, may never actually get their ideas off the ground. A team of doers who take action, but don’t have a specific tangible strategy to follow will get lost and end up with scattered results.
The new paradigm of entrepreneurship is empowered collaboration. And in order to collaborate effectively, we need to have a well rounded, diverse team to ensure our projects are as successful as possible!
An interesting fact is that if you look at nature, you’ll see that diversity (or biodiversity) is exactly what gives nature not only it’s beauty and magnificence, but also it’s strength. If everything was pretty much the same, life wouldn’t thrive.
And if you look at us as human beings, we’re all so diverse and unique, with different passions, interests, and skills. And we’re meant to express and celebrate all of those different colors! As a society, we’ve been trying to fit into the status quo for way too long.
It’s time to celebrate our diversity and use those differences to create more colorful beauty in the world and open ourselves to even more possibilities for what we can create and achieve! So next time you’re working on a project or forming a team, keep this in mind and see how you can cover all 4 bases, whether you have a team of 2 or a team of 20.
Diversity is one of the many keys to success!
Insight #4: Think BLUE!
I’m sure you’ve heard the slogan to “Go Green” in order to help save the environment. But what does that really mean?
For the most part, governmental and corporate institutions that claim they’re going green for the environment are really only taking actions that, in the bigger picture, are simply “bandaids” with a green label… they don’t actually resolve any of the root issues and are most often causing even more harm than good.
Green is symbolic for nature and the environment, but the ‘movement’ behind it hasn’t really been able to solve anything from a holistic perspective. All of our environmental issues right now are not isolated cases, they’re all interconnected. And in order to really create lasting solutions, we need to look at the bigger picture.
So there’s a new campaign, or global idea, being launched right now called the “Blue Economy”. It’s about innovating technology and entrepreneurship to become truly serving to the planet and our eco-system as a whole.
This is an absolutely HUGE emerging industry that will allow eco-conscious entrepreneurs to make a great profit while truly contributing to the greater good of the planet.
And where does the color blue come from? Well, again it’s just symbolic, but the blue comes from the color of the oceans and the sky… to convey a message that ALL of nature is being taken into account.
There’s an amazing and very easy to understand video that was created about this that I’d LOVE for you to watch. Check it out and let me know what you think…
Much more to come about this… but for now, think blue!
Insight #5: Everyone and everything is your teacher.
Something that’s really hit home for me the last few weeks has been paying close attention to all of my experiences, and all of the people I meet to see what they have to teach me.
Since we experience everyone and everything as a reflection of our internal state, we can look to our experiences as a mirror for seeing more clearly where we have growth to do. And when there’s something we still need to learn, we’ll attract the exact people and experiences into our lives to help us learn the lesson. Life is the ultimate teacher.
And often times, the most challenging or frustrating experiences, where nothing goes the way you want or expect… or those people who really rub you the wrong way or challenge your ability to be present, patient, etc… are our GREATEST teachers.
If life was always butterflies and rainbows, we’d wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow and evolve… which is why we’re here. So when we’re experiencing something challenging, instead of reacting or acting out, the opportunity is in shifting our perspective to see what this person or experience has to teach us… about ourselves.
I’ve had so many amazing experiences traveling over the last 9 months, but not all of them have been easy. In fact, I’ve definitely been challenged in many ways. For example, during the course, there was one man who said and did things that rubbed me the wrong way. And really, he was a great teacher for me because I was able to see more clearly what underlying judgments I was holding onto and where I was still a little “intolerant”… all reflections on where I still have growth to do.
I also had a few different experiences where I had to pay (literally) for silly “mistakes” I made during my travels… like not realizing I had to validate a bus ticket and getting fined $70 on a $2 bus ride. Or trying to save money by choosing a budget airline, only to realize I had to pay an extra $400 once I got to the airport because I didn’t read their terms and conditions.
My habitual reaction in cases like these is to get upset and argue with reality. And even though I did get upset at first, I was able to witness the ‘reactor’ inside of me and let it go more quickly than I’ve been able to in the past by remembering it’s all a lesson. For me, the lesson was in being able to remain centered even when things don’t go as I want or expect, take responsibility, and accept the reality of what is. And of course I’m learning to be a more savvy traveler as well
In shifting our perspective to look for the lesson, we turn challenges into stepping stones for our own growth and evolution… and we can even come to a place of gratitude for the people and circumstances pushing our buttons.
So what beautiful lessons have come into your life lately? And which great teachers are you grateful for?
Insight #6: Be direct.
I really love the Italian culture and people for many reasons… and one thing I’ve learned from the beautiful, passionate Italians is that it’s ok to be direct… in fact, direct communication is not only more clear and effective, I believe it’s more honest, too.
Italians say it like it is… and are unapologetic about it. They’re not rude, they just speak their mind without beating around the bush or using lots of extra “fluffy” words to make things sound better. And I appreciate this about them because you know what they mean without needing to “read between the lines”.
Being direct is really about speaking your truth without being “concerned” for how it’s perceived. This doesn’t mean you’re rude, or harsh, or don’t care about the other person or their feelings… it means speaking from the heart and saying what you mean in a straightforward way. Their directness was really a breath of fresh air in many ways!
And it allowed me to see where I haven’t been able to be as direct in certain areas of life… For me, when it comes to asking for what I want or need, often times I’ll still ‘beat around the bush’. And now, my practice is to speak up for what I want or need directly and clearly.
So a big thanks to my beautiful Italian brothers and sisters for inspiring me to be more direct! Are there any areas of your life where it would be more serving to speak up and be more direct?
Insight #7: Follow your truth.
Before I left for Italy, I realized that I was going to be out there for my 30th birthday at the end of June. I didn’t know where I would be, what I would be doing, or who I’d be with… which in a way, was perfect for my 30th. I wasn’t throwing myself a party, or a dinner celebration, or doing any other kind of planning… I was leaving it open to see what would arise.
And to me, turning 30 is a big milestone… I see it as a hallmark birthday into true adulthood, autonomy, and fully taking ownership of your life.
As my birthday got closer, I started wondering if I was going to meet new friends and celebrate with them… or a new romantic interest maybe… or if I was going to simply choose to be alone.
Leading up to my birthday weekend, I did get 3 different invites to go to more ‘exotic’ destinations to celebrate and party. Even though each one was tempting, I realized that none of them were really what I was looking for… I was looking for something deeper and more meaningful for this important rite of passage in my life.
So rather than say yes to those other invitations for the sake of doing something social and more flashy over what I knew deep down I was really after… I chose to celebrate my 30th alone.
I chose to nurture myself by going to a famous natural hot springs in Tuscany and spent the weekend relaxing, reflecting, and getting clear on what I really want for this next chapter of my life. And on the night of my birthday, the hot springs had their grand opening for their summer nighttime hours, and even set off the most amazing fireworks!
I’m so grateful that I chose to follow my truth and do what my soul was asking for! It was the perfect way to initiate myself into this next chapter of adulthood and remain true to myself.
So I ask… where in your life is your truth speaking to you? And are you going to choose to follow your truth, regardless of what you think you ‘should’ do? In following your truth, you find your destiny
It’s truly such a blessing to have this opportunity to explore different cultures, expand my horizons, connect with people all over the globe, and have the experience of a lifetime!
And in my different explorations, I’m able to explore myself deeper as well, which is such a beautiful gift! And of course, ultimately the more I grow and expand, the more I have to share and reflect back to you!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and receive this post here today. I would LOVE to hear from you, so please leave a comment down below and share some of your experiences, insights, or commitments based on what we talked about here today… and also don’t forget to share it!
Stay tuned for more travel insights coming your way soon as the journey continues!