Soul on Fire
I have only one resolution for 2019, and that is to do more of what sets my soul on fire! As I began thinking about my upcoming Loving Lately post a few weeks ago, I kept coming back to the phrase “soul on fire”. I can’t take credit for this little phrase or hashtag, it actually comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Jordan Younger, aka The Balanced Blonde. Her words have always resonated with me, but recently I haven’t been able to shake them. They have become engrained in my heart, mind and soul.
Right now (despite being sick and miserable in that regard) I am downright happy. Don’t get me wrong, I am generally an upbeat girl, but the past few years have been tough. They have been draining and painful and scary and gut-wrenching and challenging beyond belief at times. Throughout it all I definitely found happiness, but this current period of happiness feels different. It is accompanied by a sense of contentment, optimism, and feels much more permanent. I am truly excited to see what 2019 holds!
Much of the past few years have revolved around navigating, and healing from, trauma. It is a grueling journey and is anything but linear. This post isn’t about trauma so I’m not going to get into it further, but I would really encourage all of you to take some time to google and read about post traumatic stress disorder. Although there has certainly been positive progress made, I believe society still has a ways to go in understanding, supporting, and speaking openly about mental illness. Open your mind and your heart to what others might be going through and work to become an educated advocate for mental health.
Changing gears: as you all know, my number one passion is traveling, particularly to the Caribbean where I can snorkel for hours on end! I have always loved the ocean and all things marine life. Starting in elementary school, my dad and I always watched "Shark Week" together-along with any other shows we could find relating to the ocean on National Geographic. When I was ten years old, my dad took me to Bermuda for a week, just the two of us. It was there that my love for snorkeling blossomed. Fast forward to my junior year of college where I spent a semester abroad in the Turks and Caicos islands doing marine resource management research. When I have my snorkel on I feel I can swim for as long and as hard as anyone out there. I always emerge from the sea after snorkeling feeling like I just engaged in a killer workout, and that I could continue on for hours. Most importantly, though, I feel free. Happy. Exhilarated. I have always been in awe of the ocean and felt so privileged to share space with the incredible underwater world and species. Luckily for me, I married a guy who feels the exact same!
Mike and I were fortunate enough to spend 6 nights in Aruba over Christmas. We were both able to relax, unwind, and continue to let go of some of the heavy traumas we have been holding on to. We soaked up the sun, took walks along the beach, swam for hours and ate incredible food. We immersed ourselves in the local culture and spent time talking with the locals. As it was our fourth trip to the island we are quite familiar with it; we rent a car and go all over the place and truly feel that we are in our home away from home (particularly due to our wonderful timeshare community, Divi Resorts!) This was the first time we have been away over Christmas, and it was so refreshing to be away from the hustle and bustle and stress stateside. Although the island might match back home in terms of Christmas spirit; there were lights, decorations and trees everywhere! We visited the Alto Vista Chapel on Christmas Eve. The present chapel (but in 1952) stands in the same location as the original Catholic chapel which was built by Domingo Silvestre, a Venezuelan missionary, in 1750. It is also home to the Peace Labyrinth which serves as a place for silent and respectful contemplation and/or prayer. Getting to experience this on Christmas Eve was quite impactful.
On Christmas morning we woke early to head to the lighthouse at the tip of the island and watched a magnificent sunrise. We then spent an hour and a half snorkeling at our favorite reef. Being immersed in pure silence and beauty during what has stereotypically become a relatively commercialized and crazy “Christmas morning” was beyond refreshing. For an hour and a half, Mike and I were surrounded by an entire underwater paradise. At one point we were even caught amongst a school that was easily made up off thousands of fish. I can’t even put into words the feelings of awe and gratitude I get when I am underwater and amongst the sea life, but it truly was a perfect Christmas morning.
Unfortunately (although trust me I’m still working on finding a way!!) my life can’t be spent constantly traveling. But, what I can do is work to use takeaways from these soul on fire moments and experiences and incorporate them into my everyday life. I have followed Yogagirl for many years now, and we were able to visit her Yoga Studio and Cafe in Aruba on our trip. I watched her vision unfold and manifest itself through social media, so to witness the magic in person was super powerful. The take away from this: manifest your dreams. I came home with a renewed sense of purpose and desire for what I want to manifest in 2019. On another note, I originally went primarily pescatarian awhile back, mostly for sustainability and moral reasons, but found I had strayed more than I would have liked. After returning from our trip, I’ve found that I am gravitating towards only plant based meals, and feeling amazing due to it! This is something I am feeling particularly passionate about, particularly from an environmental standpoint, and am working to keep up with. Our trip and experiences have also inspired me to way cut back down (again) on screen time and the need to feel constantly connected. I am also working my way back to my meditation practice. Our trip was so good for my soul, and I am determined to keep up these vibes and feelings back here in the “real world” as we move further into 2019.
I hope you all are having a wonderful start to your 2019! Tell me, what sets your soul on fire? What would you like more of in the upcoming year?!