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The Power of Change: How Leaving Home Can Bring You Home

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” -Pema Chodron

Seven years ago, I packed everything I owned into my little red Honda Civic and sold, gave away, or tossed whatever didn’t fit. I was 24 years old and I was on my way from Florida to Los Angeles to pursue the American Dream.

I was consumed with swirls of intense emotions—anxieties, excitement, fear, and joy, all mixing together in one little body. I was crossing the country on a new adventure, filled with hopes and dreams, seeking something I could not define or put into words.

These past seven years in Los Angeles have transformed me. I landed there so young, so innocent, and so lost, yet somehow I gained a sense of self that I never thought I would.

None of us gets a roadmap to inner peace and joy, but I’ve made one as I’ve gone. It hasn’t included fast or easy routes, but the journey has definitely been interesting so far.

When I headed to Los Angeles, I had Hollywood stars in my eyes. I was pretty certain I was supposed to be a famous actress, and I thought that would bring me happiness and clarity.

As I worked with various teachers at several acting schools, trying on different roles and character traits, I learned a lot about myself. I eventually realized that I wasn’t really interested in pursuing acting. I didn’t want to be authentic on stage; I wanted to create an authentic life. I wasn’t trying to step into a character. I was trying to step into myself.

I wanted to find my voice—to live on purpose and do something that made me feel passionate. I felt I had something to say, something to share, something within me that was asking for a fair shot at being expressed.

Acting played a huge role in my personal development in that it led me to understand what I really wanted. It taught me that to play a role, I must first know myself. It was the beginning of learning to live my life in alignment with my highest purpose and self.

Sometimes, what we think we are being called to do changes. Our intuitive feelings will guide us in a particular direction, but then we have to stay open in order to recognize when it’s time to redefine who we are and what we want. We need to remember that it’s okay to change direction if that’s where our intuition is pointing.

When we let go of outcomes about how things are “supposed to” unfold, we better allow ourselves to create a life filled with purpose and meaning.

It won’t always seem easy or fun. As we navigate our way, all the internal barriers that keep us stuck in inauthentic patterns will surface and confront us. This is when the healing truly begins.

I struggled with addictions, fear, self-doubt, shame, and lack of self-love and self-respect. I mourned the part of me that felt like it was dying, while clinging to the hope of a better life.

I found a life coach and read countless books on spirituality and personal development. The more I committed to my own healing and revealing process, the more support showed up for me. Answers found me. Love found me. I found me.

After a couple of years, my coach recommended I start a blog. I wanted to use my experiences to help other people, but I didn‘t know how or where to begin.

Then, about eight months later, I reconnected with a long-time friend and former personal training client. She was also going through a rough place in her life. I was lying in bed one morning, immobile with a toxic hangover, completely depressed and hopeless, when a text came through. It read:

“I need a trainer, and you need a blog. How about we trade?”

She and I laugh now because she was on her couch, in the same dark state; and a greater power brought us back together to heal. It was divine intervention. It was the start of a beautiful partnership. It was the start of a far more authentic path.

I have committed to remaining conscious of my stories and perceptions in every moment, to be sure that my thinking remains in alignment with who I want to be in the world and how I want to show up for myself and others.

Some days I find it easy to shift my thinking, and other days are more challenging. I am learning to be gentle with myself through all of it. I remind myself that none of us can do this alone, so I reach out for help when I am struggling.

I no longer reach for drugs and alcohol to save me. I now walk though my fears, follow my intuition, and stay in my authentic power. I still have challenging moments, but I know that even though I am a work in progress, I can still feel complete, happy, and at peace with being me.

I am now a Life and Health Coach, as well as a Metaphysical Fitness trainer, and a writer. These are all outlets for me to express my most authentic self. I found them as I learned more about what really matters to me.

When we commit to our own personal development, and choose to live with purpose, passion, peace, love, compassion, and self-acceptance, the support we need shows up. We just have to be willing to recognize and accept it.

On May 3rd of this year, my intuition led to another big change: I chose to move from Los Angeles, California to Sydney, Australia.

Just like I traveled across the country, seeking something I could not define, I have now traveled across the world, seeking opportunities to share everything I have found within me.

It’s always scary to make a big move or a big change, especially when you realize you don’t have everything figured out. It’s an out-of-control feeling—but the only way to figure it out is to get going and follow your instincts. If you’re having trouble doing that, remember:

Nothing ever goes the way you plan it to, or think you want it to, and nothing ever looks the way you think it should.

If you can let go of outcomes, and accept things as they show up, you will gain a sense of freedom. You may also be surprised to see that things work out better than you could have planned.

Letting go of old “stuff” makes room for new possibilities.

If you are loaded up with physical, emotional, and mental “stuff,” there is no room for something new and better. Practice letting go of one thing today—maybe it’s an old idea, an old story, a piece of clothing, or an unhealthy relationship. Allow yourself to process all the feelings and fears that come up as a result.

Remember, when you hold on tightly, you declare that you are incapable of manifesting something equal or better.

You can enjoy life more when you open up to joy in the journey.

Laugh at the things that go “wrong.” Make a game out of it, and have fun at practicing just how flexible you can be. Surrender to the process, and open up to joy, peace, love, acceptance, and freedom.

You don’t need to know exactly where you’re headed to trust things will work out.

If you have done everything in your power to get things to go your way, and they still aren’t working out, maybe it’s time to surrender. Allow what is currently showing up to be what it is. As we accept our circumstances, our circumstances begin change.

Photo by Satish Viswanath

Avatar of Erin Lanahan

About Erin Lanahan

Erin is an Internationally Certified Holistic Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, Motivational Writer/Speaker & Life Empowerment Mentor. Her mission is to inspire as many people as possible to return to their natural state of peace, abundance, health, inspiration & love. Visit her blog  and  You Tube Page.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://twitter.com/sainusa Jacqueline duPlessis

    This article is one of the BEST things I have read in a LONG time! Thank you Erin, I feel like you were describing my life. I left home at 18 and moved from South Africa to the USA to chase my dreams. Now 7 years later, I have lived MANY of my dreams and graduated from college and now I feel like I’m standing under one of those posts that have arrows in a dozen different directions and I have no idea where to go, however this article has given me the hope to not give up and to trust myself… things will work out, not as I planned but it will be okay if my quest is JOY in the journey of life and SERVICE to others.

    Thanks you!

    Sending love and light. 
    ~Jacqueline

  • Ruthiebee84

    Powerful stuff!!! I really hope people who need this will see this at the right moment and have the power to utilise it. I can relate. My story is very similar to yours and I have all intentions of telling it at the right time and place so people can benefit. Much love and more blessings to you, Erin!!!

  • http://www.championsofpowerfulliving.com Kara

    What a wonderful reminder to be open to what life brings us!  I am a recovering perfectionist, and many times in the past, I would not want to take ANY action until I was absolutely sure of what was the RIGHT action to take.  As a result, I stayed in a corporate job well past the time when I was deriving joy from the work.  I finally took the leap and started a company to help people with their personal development (my true passion), and even though nothing is going exactly as planned, I am truly enjoying the journey!  Thanks, Erin! 

  • Nicole

    Thank you for sharing, Erin. I just make a huge move myself 8 months ago and life is definitely not turning out as I expected. Stories like these (and this site in general) really help me process all the uncertainty around me. I know this is a time for tremendous growth but it’s also terrifying…. Thank you for sharing your strength.
    Best of luck on your new adventure.

  • http://twitter.com/Ayngelina Ayngelina

    I love the line - If you can let go of outcomes, and accept things as they show up, you will gain a sense of freedom. 

  • Melissa

    Thank you for writing this, and so beuatifully expressing these sentiments! I could relate to so much of it, and already know all of it – but really needed to be reminded of it. This was perfect. Thank you x

  • Tmf2jra

    Beautiful story. It reminds me so much of my adventure and turn outs; what I’ve been trying to share to my friends and family, but put into better words. Lol. I will share. Thanks

  • Melruiz84

    Love it. Amazing article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tee-Fimmano/100000081279357 Tee Fimmano

    Erin, you just gave me the gift of a lifetime! Thank you!! I’m so glad you didn’t become an actress! ;)

  • Sooby08

    After moving a long way from home to follow a lover I found myself 12 months later alone in a city I didn’t like with absolutely no support. I gave myself a year in that city, choosing not to run back home to my old self and habits that were negative. 3 challenging years later I am now working in a job I love, loving myself and the life I have created out of the destruction that was. Being away from home I had myself to fall back on and staying with old stories and hurts was all rather silly and pointless because gee I had heard them a thousand times and wow the cat is so not interested in why I’m sooking on the couch AGAIN. The day is beautiful shall I indulge in negativity or grab my bike and go for a ride? I. Have. Choices. ♥ sue

  • http://www.relationship-circle.com Bellaisa

    Me too. It changed my perspective of my day that I had a tight grip on and allowed me to breath and just allow whatever is going to show up to show up.

  • Megan Johnson

    Beautiful! Thank you Erin… Perfect timing!
    Love & Light

  • Erinlanahanmethod

    Hi there Jacqueline! Thank you. I am so happy it resonated with you. It sounds to me like you know exactly what to do ;-) I totally relate to the directionless feeling. Breathe, sink into your body, be of service, and more will be revealed. xo

  • Erin Lanahan

    Hey Kara. I love that you took that leap, and followed your heart, intuition, and vision. I know it definitely inspires me very much to hear stories like yours. So thank you so much for sharing :) 

  • Erin Lanahan

    Well, thanks Ayngelina:) It’s been my experience for sure. Love and Light to you.

  • Erin Lanahan

    Wow, that is super cool Bellaisa. I love that. Thank you for sharing, and I am so happy to have contributed to a more easeful day for you:)

  • Erin Lanahan

    Thank you Nicole. I hear ya girl…but rememebr, you are not alone:) Thanks to sites like TB, we all get to share these experiencnes with eachother, and the ways in which we move through them. So much light to you as you walk your beautiful path. xo

  • Erin Lanahan

    Thanks Ruthie…I too hope those who need it, will stumble across it. I love that you did. Thanks for sharing with me :-) I am sure many will benefit from your story as well. Love to you!

  • Erin Lanahan

    That’s right…and hallelujah for that! Thanks for your beautiful share Sue! Your expereicne resonates so deeply with me and mine. Love to you!

  • Erin Lanahan

    Oh Tee, thank you so much :-)  Your words have touched my heart deeply. Love and hugs!

  • Erin Lanahan

    Thank you Mel :-)

  • Erin Lanahan

    Thank you Tmf2jra :-) I trust you will find just the right words as you need them. Thanks for connecting with me. Love!

  • Erin Lanahan

    Hi Melissa…thank you. I always find it almost more profound, when I am reminded of the little things I know, but so easily forget. It’s almost like we get to learn them more deeply each time, as we hear them expressed through different sources. I am so happy to have been one of those sources for you today. Thank you for receiving me:-)

  • Erin Lanahan

    It’s a pleasure. Thank you Megan! Love and Light back to you as well. Namaste:-)

  • http://www.bradentalbot.com Braden Talbot

    I’ve found that a little spontaneous vacation alone puts things into perspective.

    It didn’t hurt that my last vacation was in Maui.

  • Sbmcwilliams

    I loved this reading.  I am in the process of moving, though it isn’t happening as quickly as I like ( I think that isn’t by accident).  This will be a dramatic change for me since I have lived in the same area all of my life, but it is something that seems to make sense.  It is time to move on, all of the reasons that I have stayed are all gone, family ties.  It will be an adventure to say the least.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 
    Sue

  • Erin Lanahan

    ha ha…totally Braden! Anything that takes us out of our comfort zone and shifts our perspective can work miracles. Thanks and love to you!

  • Erin Lanahan

    You are so welcome. Yes, I find often with my writing, that I may want an article to publish sooner, but for whatever reason, it takes longer than I want. As a reslt, it hits when it hits, and as a result many people write to me saying it found them at the “perfect time,” and then I begin to understand, and remember that it’s not about my timing, it’s about a divine timing, that is best for the collective. Good luck with your move! I respect you for allowing your process to unfold as it will. Thank you! Namaste :-)

  • Kaylee

    I SO needed to read this. Hearing your story gives me faith in my journey…I’m at a kind of a crossroad – a year out of college, fired from my first corporate job in June, trying to figure out what I wanna do, overwhelmed by options. I guess it’s like you said – as long as I follow my intuition, things will work out. Thanks for an awesome post and for sharing your journey…Your presence is so appreciated.
    Peace, love and a steaming cup of Zen,
    - K

  • Erin Lanahan

    Thanks Kaylee! So happy it could shine a little light on your path for you :) Sounds like you are in a really special place and I know it can be challenging to stay connected to your vision and possibilities, but I encourage you to do so as best you can. It’s a transformational time on the planet right now and following our hearts is the best thing we can do for ourselves and for humanity. I’ve been fired before too, and although it hurt very much at the time, it was one of the best things that ever happened for me. It was as if a power greater than me did for me what I could not do for myself, and pushed me towards something much more in alignment with my highest purpose :) I trust this is happening fir you too. Sending you so much love!!!

  • http://ariherzog.com Ari Herzog

    You have NO IDEA how much clutter exists in my apartment — yet, if I needed to pack everything into some suitcases and leave, I could easily do it. I guess I should pretend I am “letting go” to live with less stuff — and thus my daily life would be less cluttered.

  • Pingback: Letting Go | Ari Herzog

  • Zarak

    Thanks. Helped me loads with my Buddhism assessment and also opened my eyes. I have gone from being a average student to an outstanding one. Thanks a lot!!!