In losing everything, we find freedom

You are going to laugh at me when I tell you what my super dramatic title refers to.

This morning, I noticed my iPhone had a new software update with bug fixes and stuff. Since the last update totally screwed with my phone, I downloaded the new one immediately. When I went to check on it, however, I realized that the stupid thing had restored to factory settings, and being the technically challenged person that I am, I never backed any of my stuff up. So yeah, I lost everything. Apps, photos, notes, alarms, my calendar, contacts, all my texts and voicemails…

Given this age of technology that we live in, this is devastating.

I was frustrated to tears. I knew I was being kind of ridiculous and dramatic, but that phone has honestly chronicled my life over the last few years. I’m a picture freak especially, so to lose all my photos really broke my heart. I let myself be upset and just wallow in the feeling for a while. I asked myself over and over why I even did the stupid software update, wishing I could take it back.

After the emotion passed though, I decided to find the silver lining in this situation. I’ve been wanting to get rid of social media on my phone for a while, because it’s a distraction I’ve been overusing lately. But I couldn’t quite bring myself to delete those precious apps. Apparently, when you resist something you know you need, the universe finds a way to give it to you anyway. I guess this is my wake up call, in that respect.

This got me thinking about the clutter in my life. All the material things I keep around that I’ve become attached to. This whole iPhone restore dealio knocked out all my virtual possessions, if you will, but what if my house burned to the ground tomorrow? I’d be devastated at the loss. Why? Because I’m totally attached to my possessions. But those attachments separate me from my source, my inner truth. Same goes for people, or anything else we attach ourselves to. The more attachments we have, the more we have to lose. But loss is an illusion, we already have access to everything we need when we connect to the divine within ourselves.

After coming to this realization, I checked my phone. Miraculously, the one thing I truly need, my contacts, had been restored. Everything else was still missing, but at least I still have access to the people in my life. And honestly, I kind of had to laugh. I mean, call it what you want, but the iPhone is just a phone. And phones are for calling people. It can still perform its basic function, and to be honest, that’s all I really need from it.

What was a devastating loss just minutes before was now an illuminated path to freedom. I feel a little lighter, less obligated to be technology’s slave. In her video for “Ride,” which I’m inexplicably drawn to, Lana Del Rey says “It takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is.” No I didn’t lose everything, not even close. But what I did lose got me a step closer to being free of the shackles of constant connectivity, and eliminated one more distraction from my true purpose.

I hope that I can release attachments in other areas of my life as well. Because only when we release our attachments can we find true freedom, and freedom is where infinite happiness lies.

“I am f*cking crazy, but I am free” – Lana Del Rey

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Miraculous shifts cause miraculous opportunities: A “May Cause Miracles” Case Study

From the moment Gabrielle Bernstein announced pre-sale for her new book, May Cause Miracles, I knew I had to buy it. Little did I know at the time that this book would have life-changing side effects.

I’m one of those people who’s always looking at things to spend money on, but never actually pulls the trigger. Be it books, workout programs, or basically anything that could potentially improve my life…I just have a hard time committing. But this book was different for some reason. Clearly, something bigger than myself was intervening.

I’ll admit, the first week was rough. I’d done Gabby’s meditations pretty frequently, but as soon as I started MCM, I felt blocked. I was down on myself for being unable to open up to this practice. But I worked to forgive myself for getting discouraged and forged forward even though I felt no miraculous shifts. Looking back, I realize that my willingness to trust the practice was a miraculous shift.

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Before I continue, I want to give a little back story. It’s been my dream, as my readers are well aware, to travel the world. I have a desire to experience other cultures that is so intense, I know the idea stems from a divine purpose. I’ve felt for a long time that I won’t be able to figure out I want to do with my life until I’ve spent a good amount of time traveling. In September, I broke things off with my boyfriend of a year and a half because I didn’t feel that his life plan aligned with my dream to travel, and decided then and there that I’d start saving for a solo tour of South America. I even picked a departure date: May 15th, 2013.

And then I freaked out.

Could I really travel to a continent I’d never been to, where they speak a language I don’t understand, and put myself in a potentially dangerous situation by being alone? All the potential problems with this plan became glaringly obvious, and suddenly I felt uncertain about the one thing I’ve always felt certain about.

This freak out was smack dab in the middle of Week 1 of May Cause Miracles.

When I start to doubt myself (which generally happens if I’m left alone to think for too long), my uber-social nature kicks in and I unload in the best way I know how: I call a friend. One of my best friends, Tiffany, has been through all the trip-related ups and downs with me since before my breakup and has remained confident that traveling is truly my purpose, so she seemed like the best person for the job. She suggested that I look into signing up for some kind of structured program that allowed me to have a place to land and get my bearings before I went off on my own. Coincidentally, my roommate, also one of my closest friends, offered the same advice. But all I really felt after talking to them was frustration. How on God’s green Earth was I going to find such a thing, and if I did, how was I supposed to know what potential program was right for me?

Week 2 of MCM came, and I felt myself open up a little more. I cultivated self love and forgave myself for all the uncertainty I was feeling. I took some time off trip planning and focused on other things I love. I spent my weekend honing my country swing dancing skills, spending time with family, going out on the town with some of my favorite people and watching football. It was truly one of the best weekends I’d had in a long, long time, and I was overwhelmingly grateful to the point of feeling giddy come Sunday evening for this amazing life I’ve been given.

And that night, my prayers were answered. My path was illuminated, and my certainty returned full-force.

My aunt, who was in town for the weekend, is a doctor, and she has spent the last few years traveling the world volunteering with Project Hope, a Navy-based organization that provides medical relief to countries in need. At Sunday dinner, it was clear that she’d been talking to my parents about my impending trip; I know they too have been worried about the lack of structure in my travel plans. She mentioned that Project Hope needed a photojournalist for their next trip in none other than Central and South America. I’m a blogger, Broadcast Journalism major and current public relations professional, so the opportunity couldn’t have been more perfect. If selected, I’d be fulfilling my traveling dream, feeding my altruistic spirit and doing a job that fits my skill set and allows me to build my resume while I take a hiatus from the working world. And, the trip departs at the end of May, perfectly aligning with the date I’d set in my head. There are no coincidences. This opportunity was made for me.

My application is out in the world, but I won’t hear if I’ve been selected for at least another month and a half. So technically, this story’s happy ending is still pending. But that’s kind of the point isn’t it? I already feel as though I have my happy ending, or, more appropriately, my new beginning. I wake up each morning energized and excited, knowing that what I desire is on its way. And it has made me more confident that the same will happen in other areas of my life, especially as I continue on the May Cause Miracles journey.

So here’s to life’s synchronicities, to trusting God’s plan for our lives, and to living the life we dream of not once it arrives, but today and every day. Thank you Gabrielle, for teaching me the meaning of miracles.