Right now fear is clutching my innards and giving them a good squeeze. Tomorrow I fly to North Carolina to help my mother move across the country. For someone who has a slight phobia of driving, this is not exactly a walk in the park. So this got me thinking about fear. How it’s such a restrictive emotion, how it keeps us stagnant in our perceived bubble of safety and comfort. How it keeps us from trying new things and following our dreams. How instead of reaching for the stars we are content burying our heads in the sand. At this moment I’m reminded of something my father says to me, “If something scares you, do it anyway.” So I am.

I also reflect on my crazy life for the past year. What happened to me could fill a book, but in brief, I quit my job in Washington, D.C. one year ago and moved back home with my parents. I kept applying for jobs in San Francisco and didn’t hear a peep from anyone. I felt so frustrated and restricted and like I was going to grow old and die in my parents’ house. When I lived in North Carolina I played it safe. I kept applying for jobs in California hoping to find something before I moved because I was too scared to take that leap. Playing it safe got me nowhere.

In February my dad’s best friend went out of town to Hawaii so I agreed to housesit for him. I flew to California on Valentine’s Day feeling terrified and crazy. Me — practical, responsible, always-have-a-plan me — jumped on an airplane with no plan. With no job. With no apartment. Knowing all of five people. On the plane ride to California tears streamed down my cheeks as I kept asking myself, “What am I doing? I’m moving because I kept getting signs?” I felt crazy and insane and unstable. And then I arrived.

I got off the plane and put on a brave face, soaked in the atmosphere, marveled at flowers in bloom in February. THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. And I fell in love. I felt better about my decision but still crazy. I then started my quest to Find A Job but the universe had other plans for me. A lot happened to me since February, but in brief, I will have moved nine times by September, I interviewed for several jobs, none of which panned out, and met a lot of people.

In the beginning of August while I was housesitting for a famous author in San Francisco I plunked myself down on his huge overstuffed couch and lost it. I started bawling telling God I couldn’t take it anymore. I declared to God I had reached my breaking point and could take no more. And I really couldn’t. Essentially I surrendered my entire self because I was tired of moving, tired of trying, tired of interviewing for jobs and getting rejected. And God listened.

Two days later I received a telephone call for a job interview, a job that I later accepted. Three days after my job offer last week I found an apartment in the neighborhood I want to live in, within my price range and without roommates. So now? I live in San Francisco.

My hope is that my story will give you inspiration. It took me a full year to get a job, but it finally happened. I dreamt big — I wanted to work for a magazine in San Francisco — and it happened. I am indeed working for a magazine in San Francisco. I took a giant leap of faith and my net appeared, not only in the form of this job, but also always having a place to live. There were many times when I didn’t know where I would be living two weeks in advance. There were many times I didn’t know how I would pay for things and money appeared in the form of housesits, refund checks and freelance work. I guess I just want to express how life can be so grand, so fulfilling, so rich if we didn’t let fear dictate us. If we trusted the money would come. If we trusted we would be safe and provided for. If we went for our dreams even though we were scared out of our minds.

I envision a world where people aren’t stuck in the muck dredging along, going through the motions of their lives. I envision a world where people are joyful and fulfilled and get rid of the entirely useless idea they have to do something that makes them unhappy just so they survive financially. I envision a world where people are happy and joyful and turn their faces up to the sun and smile with a full heart. Where they know they will be provided for. Where they live up to their full potential because they aren’t letting fear hold them back. I envision a world where people seize every opportunity that comes before them even if it’s scary because they want to see where it leads. I envision a world where people stop sticking to their comfort zone because it’s familiar and really go for it. Believe me, I know it’s hard, but I also know you can look fear in the face and wave goodbye.

I know another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Control and Trust

Lately I’ve been thinking about control — how I like to be in control, how my life feels like it’s out of control, how I wish I could control others. And then as I walked home with the sun caressing my face it hit me. My need for control isn’t really about control, it’s about trust. It’s about me not trusting in God’s plan for me. It’s about me not trusting what’s in my best interest will happen. It’s about my lack of faith. It’s the belief in order for my life to be the way I want it to be I need to control not only myself but everything and everyone around me. The truth is I can’t control anything. By trying to do so I only create frustration for myself and others. By trying to do so I basically beat my head against the wall for fun.

It’s hard though. It’s hard to give up that need to control. It’s hard to surrender, to trust in something else. And yet as I write this shadows dance across my computer screen. The wind blows outside and the wind chimes tinkle. How could I possibly think I know better than the force that created everything that is in existence? How could I possibly think my little human brain could comprehend what is best for me and everyone around me?

It’s so hard to trust but when I look at the evidence it seems silly not to trust in a power greater than myself. When I really examine my life I see I am completely taken care of. I see how I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. I reflect on how I moved to the Bay area without a plan and it’s all been ok. I’ve been here for a full six months without a job and I’ve survived. More than survived, I’ve thrived. Yes, I’ve moved roughly eight times, but I have ALWAYS had somewhere to stay. Whenever I needed money it came, either from housesitting or freelancing or a refund check from the government. I notice when I do let go, when I do trust and give up my need for control how much easier my life is. How full it becomes, how expansive, how joyful. It’s hard to give up that control and learn to trust but it’s worth it. It’s worth an easier life, a freer life, a more joyful life.

So it is my firm belief not only is another world possible, it’s probable.

So for the past few days I’ve been thinking about this whole Russia and Georgia thing. It’s easy to get sucked into the notion the world is horrible and human beings are terrible creatures who are constantly harming one another. I think we can do better than that. I think we can start to counteract impending war and assaults and robberies and fear by being positive. That probably sounds ridiculous but hear me out.

I don’t necessarily mean people should be Miss Suzy Sunshine all day because frankly, we’re not built that way. What I mean is on an individual level the best thing I can do to counteract war is to spread positivity. To spread light. As it says on a Yogi Tea bag I picked up: “Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.” I am not in a position of power. I am not a politician or a prime minister or a part of the U.N. However, that does not mean I am powerless. It does not mean that I and others like me have to mire in darkness watching the world around us become denigrated.

The best thing I can do is spread light. To put positive energy into the world to counteract all the darkness. I have a mechanism for doing so through yoga and meditation but you don’t have to be a yogi to spread positivity. By doing the things we enjoy, by laughing, by smiling, by singing, we spread the light. When we are happy we put happiness out into the world and by doing so we change it little by little.

I don’t have any “proof” this does anything but it sure seems like if you shower people with love and positivity feelings of fear and hatred lessen. It seems to make sense the best way to counteract negativity is with positivity. It seems to make sense spreading light shrinks darkness. So what am I doing? I am putting positive energy out in the world in the hopes of making it a better place. Just imagine what the world would be like if collectively we starting spreading more light! My feeling is not only is another world possible, it’s probable if we take the steps to make it better.

Lately I’ve been thinking about plans. How I constantly make plans — for the weekend, for the summer, for my life — and how they usually go awry. Especially lately. Lately I feel like beating my head against a brick wall because my life is not going the way I would like it to: I’ve moved eight times in six months, I’m not financially solvent, I don’t know where I’m living come September, etc. And yes, this causes me angst but at the same time it’s fantastic.

Here’s what I mean. Two years ago when I graduated from college my plan was to live in Washington, D.C. for 5 years, settle down in Maryland with a husband and a kitten, become the editor of a magazine and go on fantastic vacations. That has not happened. Instead, while I lived in D.C. I kept getting signs to move to San Francisco. San Francisco became ubiquitous. I saw people wearing San Francisco t-shirts, I overheard conversations about San Francisco, I went to a conference and sat next to somebody from San Francisco. Essentially God beat me over the head with messages to move (at least that’s how I interpreted it). And now I’m here. And my life is so much more fantastic and thrilling and amazing than I could have ever planned. I’m hobnobbing with famous authors, politicians, activists. Right now I’m getting paid to housesit/take care of a kitty in Cole Valley where I have a view of the ocean, a hot tub for my use and three stories to roam around in. I’m meeting lovely people who really get me and want to help me in any way they can. I’m exploring San Francisco, taking advantage of every opportunity and just trying to live my life. My point is not to make people jealous or envious of my life and social network. I’m trying to illustrate that sometimes God/the Universe/whatever has sweeter plans for us in mind, something we couldn’t have even imagined for ourselves. My point is even though I am extremely frustrated my plans are not happening I also recognize sometimes life is better when plans don’t work. I’m saying another world is probable if people, myself included, stopped trying to micromanage their lives and just let go. Imagine how glorious life would be if we didn’t get upset when our plans didn’t manifest, if we trusted that everything that happens to us happens for a reason! If we trusted we would be taken care of. If we let God do God’s work and move us along the path we are supposed to be. I know it’s difficult but I’m starting to recognize how much sweeter my life is when I let God do the planning and I allow myself to be taken by the hand. I’m starting to recognize not only is another world possible, it’s probable.

If you watch the news today (or any day really) you would think the apocalypse is right around the corner. I don’t share this viewpoint because I am an optimist. Not only do I think the world has the potential to become a better place, it is a better place.

When I was a child in the early 90’s, I was the only vegetarian in my entire school. Now vegetarianism is, dare I say it, fashionable. The reason I bring this up is because vegetarianism as a lifestyle is better for your health and for the environment, so the fact vegetarianism has become more popular is proof people are becoming more awake. It’s proof the world is becoming a better place because people are starting to understand we cannot continue as we have. People are becoming more open to alternatives that are better for them and for the world. And it’s not just the hippies in the big cities. Vegetarianism is growing even in Middle America. Food Lion, Giant, Safeway and other big grocery stores are stocking meat alternatives. The natural-grocery giant Whole Foods is still growing and prospering.

Not only are more people starting to become vegetarian, but “going green” or trying to be environmentally friendly is all the rage. Project Runway just had an episode where the challenge was to use “green” fabrics or environmentally sustainable materials. Project Runway was nominated for an Emmy — it’s not some public access channel show. It’s mainstream. And it’s advocating being environmentally friendly! I remember as a child my parents taught me about global warming, about how it’s necessary to reduce, reuse and recycle. Roughly 15 years later, instead of still being a part of a fringe group I find myself being in the majority. That’s incredible to me. Also, more and more grocery stores are stocking canvas bags people can reuse (perhaps all of them, I’m not sure, I haven’t been to every grocery store). And even though not everyone is using a canvas tote, the fact the totes exist is a cause for celebration. It means people are taking steps toward a better world. One where we are more aware of our actions, our choices and our responsibilities toward one another. All of this inspires me. When I look around I don’t see doom and gloom. I see hope and possibility and change. I see people starting to understand their actions have consequences, that what they do affects the world on a global scale. I’m starting to see more acceptance, more tolerance, more compassion. I’m starting to see that another world is not only possible, but it’s here.

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