Are you leaving for the right reason?
ONE QUESTION TO ASK YOURSELF
I was at an event at CAP beauty in Greenwich Village on a New York winter night in february. A gag of twenty and thirty-something women piled into the beauty boutique shoulder-to-shoulder for an event with Lacy Phillips of Free and Native. (Which, if you haven’t heard of her, you should totally check her. Her blog is a nice place to hang out.)
I asked her a question, something (I don’t remember specifically) that involved moving to New York. And in her answer, in this way I will always remember, she looked at me with these sharp, glimmering eyes, and said, “did you move here out of ego?”
I had never thought of it before. Had I moved to New York out of ego? Meaning, needing to prove something to someone (other than myself), have a certain “image”, or otherwise make the call for an outward-facing reason, versus my own desire and inner-fulfillment.
Hiding under the question was my instant, gut-centric answer: yes. It came an oh shit sharpness to it. I realized then I had come for the wrong reason. But what do I do with this answer now? I realized the difference in the way I felt then, versus other times in different places.
I’de moved to Australia out of pure bliss and love and excitement. So in return, I got more of these feelings. What I was feeling in New York was an obscure mix of anxiety, stress, and overwhelm, sprinkled with moments excitement and thrill. It was a tango in both worlds. New York is such a dance in this way.
It was hard to know the true state of my wellbeing, when the higher level of anxiety I was experiencing was also mixed with people I loved and a community I was finding.
Things that helped me were meditating daily, doing yoga—even just five or ten minutes of rolling around in my room in the morning, journaling, riding my bike, walks—especially through Elizabeth Street Gardens, community groups (like Mediclub, a meditation club, Cyclones, a bike club, and Gloetry, a monthly women’s poetry circle) and going to movies (seemingly the only time I could get my mind to chill.)
I knew it was time to get real with myself when these things stopped having an impact. AKA I felt like I was doing all the things but still unable to reach inner peace. I was dreaming of the ocean every night—surfing, swimming, floating—and knew I had to listen to this intuitive call.
I’m not an expert when it comes to moving places, although it’s something I’ve done quite a few times now. I’m forever curious about the process of transitioning, the growth that happens as a result, and the unexpected magic in the in-between. In my experience, what I’m learning in my dance with the world, this question is fundamental:
Is my decision based in ego?
Why am I moving? Is it because I feel like I need to “be something”, do something, prove something, or look a certain way for someone? Is it to win someones loves, respect or admiration? Or is the decision rooted in love—in a burning desire to learn something new, get to know myself better, or fulfill a deeper layer of my life experience?
I still can’t help the fact that I’m a gypsy-hearted woman who desires to live and see and breathe in many places before I die. But since that February evening in New York, now, before I make any decision—I bring my awareness to the reason behind it. By asking myself if the decision is based in ego, I can get to the answer I’m looking for. Because the only thing I want space for, in my life, is rooted in love.