In life, it is never a straight path without mountains and valleys. We can get off course and sometimes off-course is where we’re supposed to be. It can lead us to a better place. I love this piece by Leadership Team member Jessica! She writes about taking chances and taking control of that path. Exploring the unknown in life can, where a new physical direction or life direction can be so freeing.

Sunlight is settling between canyons of red rock, splinters of light are dancing off slow-moving rivers. Twenty four hours on a train out West and I can’t stop staring out the window – this space, just being here, it feels like belonging. Do you know that feeling, that moment when you can just breathe, just be at ease and comfortable with who you are?

It’s taken me a long while to come to this place in life where I can accept who I am full and whole. I’ve spent most of my existence working hard to be the person who I thought other people wanted me to be, conforming to others expectations of how I should look, how I should behave, who my friends should be, what things I should strive for as I grew older. It’s been a long path to discovery. I’ve had to eke out pieces of who I was as a child, mix it with hard-learned experiences as a young adult, and patch it together with some wisdom I’ve acquired as I move into middle age. It hasn’t been easy, not at all. My heart has been broken more than once, I’ve lost people I’ve loved, turned my back on others, started over from scratch more times than I care to remember. Looking back though, I understand that all these experiences have brought me to this very moment, the moment when I finally decided to start living my life for me.

This new life, this true-to-me life has taken me out of my comfort zone, but it’s also given me purpose and resolve to follow my heart. These past two years have meant lots of change for me. I’ve started traveling by myself again. I’ve built friendships with an amazing group of women who are most certainly my kindred spirits. I met photographer, Ace Kvale, whom I’ve admired from afar. He took the time to talk about his photography, his connection to the land and the people where he lives. He even introduced me to his beloved dog, Genghis, a.k.a. Desert Dawg. The former me, the too worried about what if it doesn’t work out me, would have never imagined myself capable of these travels, these interactions with others. I would have shied away from these opportunities, too afraid of what might happen if they somehow went awry.

Living a life genuine to me is not always easy. There are many days when I have to gather up all the positive self-talk I can muster. Even then, there are still lingering doubts that pick apart the life I imagine for myself. Especially the part of life where I finally work up the courage to move to the place that’s called to me for as long as I can remember; the mountains. They’ve had my heart since I was a kid, that’s never changed. But self-doubt, other people’s opinions, and tons of what-ifs have made that feel like an unattainable piece of the puzzle. Until now.

I finally decided it’s time to live my life for me, to follow the path that leads my heart to happiness. I don’t know how it will look or if it will even be a successful transition, but if I don’t go, I’ll never get the chance to find out. I’ve started putting faith in the universe that things will work out somehow, and if they don’t, I can still find the strength within myself to keep going.

4 comments on “Path to Discovery

  1. OMG…you met Ace! Ace came to Rwanda in 2009 when I first got there. He took some amazing photos. He was there to document the work of Geoffrey Tabin, the eye doctor. I had dinner with Ace, Dr. Tabin, David Rellin (RIP) and Michael Brown from Serac Films. It was the start of a decade long friendship. He’s a beautiful soul! So glad you are testing new territory!

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