choices

Future Me

I have a desire to be involved in my community, to be one of the people who are making positive contributions in our world. That desire first came to me in Chile.

Burrowed deep inside my sleeping bag, on a cold morning camping in Chile during our motorcycle travels, I quickly reached out to grab my cell phone and check the US presidential election results. After I sat bolt upright to deliver the jaw-dropping news to my husband, I thought, "It's time for me to step up and be part of the change." Now, I feel the urge to put that ah-ha moment into action.

I'm looking for a place that feels right for me to be the woman I envisioned in that memorable moment. Last night, I went to a chapter meeting of NOW (National Organization for Women) and am wondering if it's the right place for me. To help me make the choice, the question that has risen above all others, is this:

 

What does "future me" want?

 

 

Thanks for the wisdom Florian!

This phrase "future me" came from a friend we met during our motorcycle travels. Florian, from Germany, who we met in Bolivia, would say things like, "Oh, future me won't like that," or "Future me wants me to do this."

What a clever way to envision our future. It offers a way to choose that moves us beyond the temporary discomfort of being the newbie in the room and toward the person we want to become.

In the spirit of knowing ourselves,

Jalene


I help individuals and small businesses clarify their vision, build stronger connections with themselves and others, reach the results they want, and find more joy and satisfaction along the way. 

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Stuck

We arrived in Quito Ecuador on May 9th with a plan to stay for two weeks to do maintenance on the motorcycles, have our teeth cleaned, our riding boots re-soled, and pick up two packages that had been sent from the US to our friend’s mailing address in Quito. A straight-forward To Do List, right? Today is June 24th (46 days later!) and one of the packages, containing important stuff from home, STILL hasn’t been released from Customs.

Being stuck sucks. Waiting, uncertainty, and disappointment have led to feelings of boredom, anger, helplessness, depression, confusion, frustration, and (thankfully!) gratefulness for the people who try to help us.

I’m finally gaining some deeper perspective and want to share with you.

The thing is, this big adventure, this epic trip of a lifetime turns out to be a lot like “real” life. Shit happens and we have to deal with it. And in fact, dealing with it is tougher on the road because we have fewer resources. However, through darkness come opportunities for deeper learning. This, too, is like “real” life but it feels condensed out here, like a gourmet balsamic sauce simmered down for rich flavor.

We may be stuck due to a package but we're not forced to stay in the same place. This is Quilatoa Lake high in the Andes of Ecuador.

Being forced to slow down has opened me in unexpected ways. I’ll do my best to describe what I mean.

Through a podcast, I discovered the book Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. It’s teaching me a new way of understanding who I am based on a different perspective about the two parts of our inner selves. Singer describes the observer (the true self), and the inner voice (the part created by outside influences). You know how it feels when you read something that resonates with you as true, and you can physically sense it in your body as you process the new material in your mind? It feels like that and it doesn’t stop there. I’m experimenting with what I’m learning to change how I re-center myself and meditate.

And, I’m learning how to reprogram my thoughts by using EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique). This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this method but it’s the first time I’ve truly worked with it. I figured after hearing about it a few times from different people, it’s time for me to pay attention. Since I’m a total newbie at it, I’ll share this definition from the internet to describe it: Tapping on ‘meridian points’ on the body, derived from acupuncture, can release ‘energy blockages’ that cause ‘negative emotions’. It seems like the perfect time to learn this technique.

I’ve found myself lost in thought about these two new-to-me concepts for big chunks of time because we’ve had ample unplanned time on our hands. I’ve also worked more on an ebook about the reasons and options for journaling, and discovered a writing group on Facebook, in which I’m receiving and giving feedback on projects.

During this time of feeling stuck, my friend Sandra asked if I would share what’s been challenging and what’s been great during our travels so far. (As of June 24th, we’ve been out here for 318 days.) Since I felt a bit on the gloomy side, I enthusiastically dove into the challenging stuff and effortlessly made a long list. Then, I tackled the great stuff list.

Chimborazo Volcano in Ecuador.

I noticed a few things after I finished the lists. First, it felt therapeutic to pour it all out onto the page. Second, I was surprised that although the “great” list was shorter, it felt bigger, more important, more life changing. Third, the two lists together could be titled What People Don’t Tell You About Long Term Travel Because You Wouldn’t Listen Anyway. If I had read these challenging items before we took off on this trip, I would have read them with my rosy colored glasses and plunged ahead anyway.  Thank goodness.

Despite this frustrating time of stuck-ness, I’m grateful to be out here. I know I’m expanding my understanding of myself, my relationships, other cultures, what I want and don’t want in my life, and more importantly, I appreciate that I don’t know how it will all play out. This time of being confined by one lousy package is no fun. I won’t lie. But now, I wonder how this extraordinarily uncomfortable 46 days of waiting will influence my life?

Being stuck shows up in all of our lives, stuck in routine or habit, creatively stuck, stuck in a way of thinking or feeling. During those times we realize that the only control we have is over our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. This quote I read recently from Caroline Myss sums it up, “My job is to let this world transform me.” 

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Travel Learning: Lesson 10 of 10

The swimming hole.

Lesson 10 of 10: fear

From the moment we said aloud, "We're riding our motorcycles to the tip of South America," fear has never been far away.

Before we left, I was afraid of leaving my awesome job, having no income, renting out our house, and lots more. Almost every time we told someone of our plans, I could sense the fear in them. And now, it's there when we're choosing roads to ride, and places to eat, sleep, and visit. You name the decision, and I can describe a way that fear is influencing the outcome. Recently, it accompanied me to a swimming hole and I ended up writing a poem about it, which is not a normal occurrence for me.

Outside the tiny, mountain village of Santa Fe, Panama, I walked by myself from our hostel, to a swimming hole a mile or two away. I was scared during my walk. When I settled down on a rock, with my feet in the water, to write in my journal, this poem tumbled out.

Fear or Gremlin

A view from the isolated roadside. I love these Brahman cattle.

I almost turned around,

almost thought I was going the wrong way,

almost didn’t see this river, swimming hole, Panamanian countryside.

I would have missed the cool sensation of dangling my feet in the water,

wondering if I should go all the way in,

wondering if the air is warm enough, and the water not too cold.

How many times has fear won?

My first glimpse of the swimming hole.

Or, perhaps, fear has saved me.

It’s hard to know.

Hard to know when fear is warranted,

a savior, a signal, a true warning,

Riverside writing.

that danger is nearby.

But sometimes,

times like this,

fear strikes falsely.

Fear blocks me from joy,

runs so quickly through my body that I freeze,

fills me with doubt and terrifying headlines.

I can’t banish fear,

anymore than a dieter can stop eating food.

How can fear become my ally?

What’s the difference between fear and my inner gremlins?

Fear isn’t always trying to stamp me down.

Perhaps that’s it.

Fear that’s holding me down,

isn’t fear at all.

It’s an inner gremlin dressed up as well-meaning fear.

Fear calmly says, “Stop for a moment. Let’s think about this.”

Fear works in facts and intuition.

Adrenalin-filled inner gremlins shout, “Oh shit! Did you hear that?!”

And, “that,” turns out to be a leaf falling to the ground.

Facts are useless to gremlins.

It’s time to forge a new relationship with fear,

to notice when fear is speaking,

and when inner gremlins are jumping up and down with declarations,

It’s time to respect fear,

And yet sometimes, we have to feel the fear and do it anyway!

honor it,

even love it if I can.

After all, fear wants to keep me alive.

by Jalene Case

This poem was written on the banks of the Santa Maria River in Santa Fe, Panama.

 

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

P.S. In case you're wondering, "Yes, I went all the way into the water!"

Shakin' Up Life

New to this blog? Here's the scoop:

On August 10, 2015, my husband Keith and I took off on our motorcycles for a 2ish-year journey from Oregon to the tip of South America. During this time, I'm dedicating this blog to the inner journey that takes place as a result of our adventure.

This video was created on October 9, 2015, day 60 on the road.


Important Disclaimer: As you listen to this video, every time you hear, "5 Y's," replace it with "5 W's." Oops.

Shakin' up our life with the 5 W's:

Who is in our life?

What are we doing?

When are we doing it?

Where are we going?

Why are we doing it? The biggest, trickiest question of all. 

I just read this quote at the end of Nikki Groom's blog post this morning and I think it helps get at the "why" question...

There comes a moment in every life when the Universe presents you with an opportunity to rise to your potential. An open door that only requires the heart to walk through, seize it and hang on.
The choice is never simple. It’s never easy. It’s not supposed to be. But those who travel this path have always looked back and realized that the test was always about the heart. The rest is just practice.
— Jaime Buckley