...This is a minor interruption to my Traveling Soul blog...
As some of you know, I am originally from Long Island. I love my hometown and am grateful to have grown up there, it is a beautiful place with lots of culture and many opportunities (an awesome food). In so many ways New York is still the most representative of America's "Land of Opportunities" slogan, you can make anything of yourself there. If Long Island had a one-word description it would be "strive." The bar is set high- people want the best of the best. Growing up and being enveloped in this I was always working for the best: best grades, best schools, best jobs, best things. This mentality only worsens with age; as expectations grow you want to appear the best at any cost including your happiness, health and relationships. It's a double-edged sword, with achievement and gain comes anxiety, neuroses and dissatisfaction. It was because of these realizations and experiences that I recognized that maybe I couldn't handle New York, the anxiety made it difficult for me to love myself and my life. So I left. I made my way north to a simpler place with simpler expectations; where people lived to actually live, love and (gasp) have fun. It felt good, for the first time in a long time I felt content.
Then I began to travel to countries where life on the whole was, albeit impoverished, simple. It felt as though the simpler life became the more I thrived. I felt this in Latin America and Asia, most recently on my trip to Nepal. It was in these countries- living out of a backpack- that I was able to get in touch with all that fulfilled me beyond possessions. I came back from Nepal, as I do from all of these places, with a strong heart and Soul, and clarity of what I needed to maintain this alternative definition of abundance. Stripping myself of stuff I am able to understand what nourishes me.
These experiences gave me a somewhat arrogant opinion of "strive". "They just don't get it" passed through my mind often when thinking of New Yorkers. It was as though in finding simplicity I found some kind of key to inner peace. I began to relate "simplicity" with higher living and "strive" with greed. I now believe that this created a block for me, forgetting that there are two sides to both options and more importantly that there can always be balance in between.
So it was interesting (and somewhat exhausting) that only three weeks after I returned from my month in Nepal that I went to Long Island. After years of damning the "strive" mentality I was reconnected with the benefits of it. I was reminded that it was nice to have something to work for and when you are surrounded by people building successful lives you, in turn, are motivated to do the same. After years of being surrounded by non-judgement, part of me recognized that judgement can be healthy. Judgement makes you want to grow, do better, try harder, have more.
The dichotomy of these two vastly different worlds that I experienced and loved made me feel entirely shaken up and lost- "What the fuck" went through my head many times over these last few days. What was I supposed to take out of all of this??
I believe that our Souls chose to incarnate where we did because those places energetically align with who we are. That being said, it doesn't surprise me that I was born on Long Island because I love to work hard and achieve, not necessarily for others but for myself- the key being that I do these things for me. It was while I was doing these things for others that the anxiety and dissatisfaction set in. I probably would have been very frustrated being into a country where opportunity and economic growth are not available to most. Many of the people who are living "simple" lives are living them out of a lack of opportunity, not by choice.
After much thought and examination of my current situation, I worked toward several conclusions...
Here I am, someone who strives to better my life but at the same time doesn't underestimate the value of simplicity. I want to strive, live well, be successful and I shouldn't let greed and anxiety make me fearful of progress. Similarly, I have the opportunity to strive, live well and be successful so if I hide behind the mask of simplicity I will throwing a middle finger to the universe that gifted me with the life I have been graciously given. In hiding behind the ease of simplicity I have walked the fine line of complacency, which has lead to its own dissatisfactions and inner turmoil: I shouldn't strive because I don't want to be greedy and living a simple life is better. Yet ultimately I wasn't doing what I needed to do in order create the life that I truly wanted. I allowed myself to believe that what I wanted to do wasn't right because it wasn't simple. Again, I created my own block.
With gratitude I come out of these few weeks, having had the opportunity to witness and assess my life from two opposite ends of the world, with a greater level of awareness of who I am and what I need to do to support me. Regardless of where I am and who I am surrounded by I need to hold my visions and work towards them with a level of intensity and drive that parallels that of any proud New Yorker. I have created a career that can achieve both strive and simplicity- daily challenges to grow and do more as a soul proprietor whilst gaining a deep sense of fulfillment and joy in helping others heal. It is this wisdom that I discovered through simplicity that nourishes and fulfills every ounce of my Soul.
Chelsea M Latham
When I was a kid my mom would occasionally refer to me as a Reverend, because I had the need to speak so passionately about just about everything. Little did she know that some day I would build a business upon sharing the wisdom that I am so passionate about. So here you go, here are some bits and bobs of thoughts strung together for your enjoyment.