832 miles after I left Seattle, Washington, I find myself in Salt Lake City, Utah. Excitement was rising within me before I had even made it to Idaho. I was driving towards the mountains, the sunshine, and the city that ignited my spirit less than a year ago. I was flooded with intense, vibrant emotions after I explored the memories that I held from creating a life for myself in an unknown part of the country. I was going home.
The last few months have fueled my soul with inspiration and awe. The wild hearts of the people I have met have shown me the path to wonder and have reminded me of the curiosity the natural world deserves. From learning about the differences in Prickly Ponderosas and Gentle Jeffreys in Yosemite to identifying Angel Wing and Coral mushrooms in Washington, I have been relearning to see the world through the eyes of a child. I always vowed to myself that I’d never grow up and by that I meant that I never wanted to lose my sense of wonder and imagination. I didn’t want blinders covering my eyes, forcing me to witness a single path in front of me. Despite my valiant efforts, I began to feel complacent, anxious, confused, and unmotivated when I had unoccupied time. My hair began to fall out in copious amounts but it remained unknown to the naked eye. Only when I ran my fingers through the strands, de-tangling it as I went, did I end up with a hairball intertwined amongst my fingers. I caught myself mindlessly eating ice cream and cookies. I was binge eating relentlessly. I was unable to climb confidently and I saw that same dwindling confidence exert itself into indecision in my daily decisions. Everything I knew about myself told me that I was stressed and my body was having a physiological reaction to it. But why? I could not figure out why I was struggling. I was traveling the country, making lifelong friends, experiencing adventure, and had a support network of people believing in me even when I didn’t. So what was wrong??
My revelations came to me on my journey back Utah. I was listening to a podcast by The Life Coach School and it said it plain and simply. ” A single thought leads to a feeling which then leads to an action.” The manner that I had been thinking about myself with was not nurturing, kind, or patient. I had fallen back into my pattern of judging myself harshly and living without understanding. I forgot to be gentle with my soul. In Utah, I felt happier and nourished but why? Why did my thoughts change and therefore my feelings and actions? I believe that when I first moved to Utah, I began to create the person I wanted to be in an environment that nourished my values. Utah was a blank slate for me and I developed my identity. Now the question is, “How do I stay true to me when my environment changes?”