“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
About Erin Lanahan
Erin is an Internationally Certified Life Coach, Yoga Instructor, and Motivational Writer and Speaker. Her mission is to inspire as many people as possible to return to their natural state of peace, abundance, health, inspiration & love so they may create the life the deeply desire. Visit her blog and You Tube Page.