So you’re going to a country that you’ve never been to. You’re stoked. This is going to be so fucking dope. You’re in a space of certainty, because you got this! If you’re doing something that bold + brave, then you simply HAVE to come at it with your most ferocious inner badass.
Here’s what you need to know so that you have some simple smarts to back, back, back it up!
1. Carry a backpack. Life is going to be a helluva lot easier with two free hands, babe. Just trust me on this one.
2. Don’t eat the plane food. Or the airport food. Or the hot dog stand outside the airport food. If you’re putting your body through the stress of travel, then you need to nourish it properly to combat that stress.
3. Do eat SOMETHING. Ideally, you’d be packing snacks to bring with you. Depending on lots of things, you might not be able to make that happen. Usually you can find fresh fruit or mixed nuts in the airport vendors, which are my go-to before I set out into the new country.
4. Cash is king. When you get cash out of the ATM in a given country, you’ll get big bills. Before you hit the metro//bus//taxi to get to the hostel//Airbnb//hotel, pop in to a shop in the airport and pick up something to break it into smaller bills. If you’re exchanging money, like dollars for euros, it’s usually not a problem.
5. Don’t give yourself a timeline. You’ve just been on time to the airport to get through security to have guards check that your superfoods shake wasn’t drugs to board the flight to fly hours to get off the flight to find cash and snacks if you need them to figure out where the FUCK the stairs are that finally take you to the metro. So, when you get there, just relax, mmmkay?
If the line to get a ticket takes a while or if you sit on the Metro with people yelling Portuguese at each other or if you can’t find your hotel quickly… just relax. Live it up! You did it! You’re in a new space, boo thang!
So, my fellow Souladventure Goddesses! What tips can you share with the tribe?
I’m sitting at the computer in the narrow hallway between the kitchen full of nomads and the living room full of student travelers. I’m supposed to be working, but there is an Australian at the computer next to me. Naturally I pause all the things and pick his brain for as long as he’ll let me. I tell myself it’s research. The truth? I hunger for stories. He’s got some stories. I didn’t realize that as soon as he took off for bed, one of the most insane stories of my own would walk right up to me.
While I was chatting with said Australian, I felt this lingering presence. Do you ever feel like you’re being watched? Can you tell in what manner you’re being watched? The last time I felt it with this intensity was that creeper hanging in nearby bushes in Venice. This was not like that. This was being watched with intense curiosity. I hope you trust your intuition when this happens, because the next thing I know, Isil walked up to me, and said…
Excuse me. *turns phone around* Is this your Instagram? I’ve been reading your blog for the last few days.
And I BURST out laughing. I’m talking really loud belly laughs that most likely woke up the floor above us.
Because it was me.
It was my Instagram.
It was my blog.
In a hostel.
Isil was belly laughing too. I mean, purely at the s e r e n d i p i t y of it all. Of all the places, Portugal made the cut. (I was booking a flight to Spain, when it just didn’t feel right. So I waited an hour, and saw there was only one seat on the flight to Portugal. I felt in my bones… that’s. my. seat.) Of all the cities, Porto was first, because there was no flight from London to Lisboa.Of all the hostels, we both ended up at the Garden House. Of all the places to be at 11pm, I was only at the computer because I was tired of working from my iPad. Of all the connections, my Insta account isn’t wildly popular.
Of all the things, we both ended up here. In this moment. Together.
And then came the energy. We’re talking about high-vibrating energy that is different than any I had ever felt. Buzzing. Tingling. Otherworldly. It was like the whole point of the world at that moment was for us to meet — two soul sisters.
I mean, you can probably guess what happened next? We spilled our hearts. Every last drop. Emotionally, Isil was exactly where I was two years ago. She’s wrestling with so many things that I’ve been through. Somewhere in my soul, when she started spilling I made a silent ask.
Give me the words to help me serve.
Ask and you shall receive. Somehow all of the things I’ve learned over the past few years were just in flow. All of my mentors and gurus showed up and burned in my heart. I was breathing abundant gratitude. That I somehow had something to say to help this soul mate. My friend was suffering from literally ALL the things I’d suffered from the last few years. The words, the comfort, the push, the pull just flowed through me. Every little thing she said, I could put her at ease. That – putting others at ease – is so much of the woman that I seek to be. It felt as though every book I’ve read and every podcast I’ve listened to was in preparation for this moment. As I told her… everything you need is already inside of you. you’re there. i see it. there’s the light. let it g l o w… I realized that I could probably be telling myself this too.
But the gift that Isil gave me was something I was unknowlingly seeking. Validation. Her biggest question, is actually one that I’ve heard over and over for the past 6 months.
How do you do it? How do you travel on your own and discover yourself? I’m so scared. How do you do it?
Of the women who ask me this d a i l y, somehow seeing it in her tears was different. It made my answer more real to me than ever. It was cosmic intervention. Yes, Jasmine. This is legitimately what you’re supposed to do in life. It’s not just some feeling you had that one time. It’s knocking on your door. So wake the fuck up. Start this movement. Create this culture. It’s time.
All at once I felt radiant glow, abundant gratitude, divine connection, adventure + growth. Do you know how awestruck I am to be 26 and be in this space? To have a mission that sets my body mind soul on fire with tingles every moment I invest in it? It’s indescribable. It’s terrifying. It’s transcendent. It’s everything.
I’m not ready to tell you how I’m going to answer that question. I’m not ready to tell you the plan that was presented to me by the Universe, but it’s real. It’s in the works. Get ready. There is a spiritual movement happening. I intend to serve.
Disclaimer : I’m not giving you the setting for this. It’s confidential. But I know you, lovely, and I know you understand. Thanks for that.
And then she said, “Jasmine, the whole time you were sitting up there I kept wondering… What would you be like if you didn’t have to be good for anyone?”
And then I said, “Thank you.”
And then I thought. Hmm. That’s interesting. I really don’t see myself like that. I squinted one eye. I tilted my head. What an interesting conclusion.
I was on the edge of brushing it off, because as the queen of self-identity, I’m quick to assume that there is no way another’s opinion of me could possibly be illuminating. Just as I was about to tip over, I pulled back. I pulled back because I noted the response from everyone else in the room : a row of glorious twinkly-eyed people nodding, bobbing in agreement in this deeply-rooted knowledgable way. It’s as if they were all riding the same wave of intuition about ME of which I was somehow unaware. It was only a fleeting moment as we moved along to the next lovely in the bunch, but I bookmarked it in my mind. Jas, you gotta reflect on this one. So here I am. Officially reflecting.
With that same squint of an eye-tilt of a head look on my face, a million questions float around my mind without time to stop and answer them. I guess that’s why writing works so well : it makes us slow down.
Question. Why did you think that? What did I say while on that seat? The questions came so rapid fire. I don’t quite remember. I must have said something to make you wonder… Jasmine, what would you be like if you didn’t have to be good for anyone?”
I said that I like to receive love in terms of Quality Time and Acts of Service.
I said that I like to give love in the same way… that I’m a ‘doer.’
I said I’m seeking depth in my relationships; that it’s going well with my family; that I went away for a long time and came back to heal those relationships.
I said that I’m not in a romantic relationship, but that I have new male friendships; that they’ve been refreshing because they release expectation.
I said that I’m looking for depth; that my last relationship didn’t have it.
I said that I was introduced to this community by a friend even though that label didn’t seem like it fit; that this whole thing sounded like it would be healing for women. But I didn’t need healing.
But you know what? I absolutely do. I just hadn’t realized it yet.
I said that I was blunt; that generally know what I want. That thought jarred me though. More to come on that in another post.
I said that I wanted depth most. I lied. My first thought was something unexpected.
How’d I do? How’d I do? How’d I perform? How’d I perform?
Did I answer the questions alright? Did I think quickly enough?
Well, Jas, the point wasn’t to do anything or be anything. The point was simply just to be-connect-feel. #nogoal The fact that it took you 3 drafts of this blog post to realize that you’re asking yourself those questions in response to that other question is the whole fucking point. Asking those questions is really just confirming that you’re seeking to serve; you’re trying to be good for everyone else. Instead, why not just be you, and let that be the service?
Admittedly during this entire collaborative environment, I was definitely teeter-tottering on the line of just being me + acting to be seen as significant // comfortable. Somewhere in life those have been linked as synonymous. I’m significant if others see me as comfortable in my own skin (whether or not I actually am) in any given moment. So, was I actually comfortable in my own skin or was I just pretending to be? Moments of both.
stop talking in circles! what can you takeaway from this today?
Ok, so last question. Let’s give ourselves some feedback. Let’s move forward. Let’s get back to divine connection + abundant gratitude. How do you put your best foot forward but also be real? Duh, Jonte. That IS your best foot forward. That’s what I intended. That’s what I tried. Don’t we all? But if that’s our aim, to be real and raw and authentic, then we have to stop trying to fight the conditioning of perfectionism // social norms // culture, and just let go.
**Disclaimer || I’m not a medical professional. This is my story. This is my truth. I’m sharing what worked for me. That’s all.**
I start this with an audible heavy sigh. This one feels gritty. This one feels unclean. This one feels dark. But the only way to get through the dark is to shine a light. So here we go. Let’s get out the camping flashlight – the one with megawatt brightness and massive battery power and shine some SOUL on this darkness. It’s time.
*Shake it off, Jonte. Shake it out, Jonte. You can do this. This story is a gift. Write it as such.*
I’ve felt the pull to write this one for months, but simply haven’t been able to pluck up the courage. But this story is crashing onto this web page like an avalanche. Maybe that reflection time — those months of avoidance — was necessary?
Can I ask you a favor before I go? Please don’t crucify me. You might not be ready to receive this. And that’s ok, my lovely. But maybe you ARE ready. You might even NEED to receive this. So check your body•mind•soul right now : where you at, boo? If you’re in a deep, dark state, then close this tab. Go into the sunshine. Come back when you’re ready to be objective, scientific, factual. Don’t come at this from a super emotional state. Promise? Ok good. Love you.
You’re entitled to your opinion. You’re entitled to your story. I’m entitled to mine. I have so many women come to me each week saying these words : depression + anxiety. To be fair, it’s because I’ve attracted you to me. Thoughts are things, and vocabulary is POWERFUL AF. So, my lovely, the fact that I’ve been using these words so openly in social media with regard to my story… it may have led you to believe that living in this space of anxiety and depression is ok. And for that, I am forever sorry. Because *puts on empowering coach voice* you don’t have to. Now I’ll share what I mean. I’ll tell you my story.
Here’s the quick timeline. Let’s get a framework.
September 2012 :: Weird that I can be so open about it now, but this is when I was suicidal.
Spring 2014 ::I was out of the deep dark, but still what I quantified as “depressed.” I went to a therapist.
August 2014 :: I adopted Juniper. I found that I was still depressed.
December 2014 :: I was on anti-anxiety meds (though still felt a bit ‘depressed’ + ‘anxious’). The meds killed my appetite. I passed out in a bowling alley because I hadn’t eaten for days.
January 2015 :: I signed up for my challenge. I transformed.
My therapist was great. She was a friend when I needed a friend. She filled my need for connection at a time in my life when I was isolated, or rather, when I isolated myself. As therapists are taught… she gave me a label. She gave me an identity. I remember the moment when she said those words out loud, “It sounds like you’re suffering from compassion fatigure, depression, and an anxiety. Especially separation anxiety.” I remember the moment when I looked at them written on the page.
I just nodded my head in a state of determination. It was so relieving to have a word for what I was feeling, because I couldn’t fit in a box. I had been through ibs and that whole figgin’ mess, but this… compassion fatigue… depression… separation anxiety… were all new. And now I had 3 shiny new boxes with which I could name my emotions. And that’s what I did. Day-after-day. Month-after-month. I swirled these words around my brain, spoke them aloud to co-workers, and explained them to family. And EVERYONE validated me.
Oh, that sounds right.
That makes sense.
We all go through that sometimes.
It’s ok. Depression is hard.
This too shall pass. In time.
FUCK.THAT.SHIT. THIS SHIT NEEDS TO END. RIGHT THE FUCK NOW.
But I didn’t know there was a way that it could end. Right the fuck now.
identity vs. pattern
The key to understanding this : I had adopted these things as my identity. I classified myself as someone who suffers from anxiety, depression, compassion fatigue. And when I took them as my identity, it just strengthened them within me. They were now me. I was now them. One in the same. Rather than feelings or states that I would have every once in a while. Rather than a pattern of behavior that I could snap into AND BACK OUT OF.
***Teacher friends : It’s just like when the kid who makes bad choices sometimes decided to take the identity (whether prescribed by him/herself OR by the world) as the bad kid.***
I should have first been using time to recognize my pattern of what it looked like to go into that state by asking questions… what was my body doing? how was I standing? what were my thoughts? where was I focusing my attention? what were the words I was using? in my mind and out loud?
In short, picture a depressed person, and you had me. 🙂 I was slumped over. I never smiled. I looked at the ground as I walked. I never ‘got dressed.’ My focus + thoughts were something along the lines of… I hate my life. I hate this job. I hate my kids. I resent them for making me come here.
Yeah. It was bad. That example right there ^^^ was just the tip of the iceberg. It was bad.
But I DIDN’T do that metacognition. I DIDN’T think about my thoughts. I just let them aimlessly wander in and out of my gorgeous garden of a mind, which was completely overgrown with weeds at this point. Boo. I am worthy peonies and tulips and lavender. Somewhere inside me I KNEW that, I just didn’t know how to cultivate that garden. So instead, my pattern of letting weeds grow became my identity. #screwed
one pattern shift
The only time I DID shift my pattern was in front of the kids. In front of the kids, I had to have a different identity. You don’t teach without putting on your ‘teacher hat’ and assuming a new identity. I was Ms. Jonte. The problem came when that became my whole identity, on and off stage. I felt like I couldn’t be more than that, which led me to shitty depressed//anxious patterns, which led me to the decision to take on a shitty depressed//anxious identity. I didn’t think I had another decision to make at that moment — when my therapist gave me those labels.
But you know what. I’m not resentful of that. If I had to go through that shit to sit here and write this to YOU and help YOU snap out of it right the fuck now. Every sob into my pillow. Every shaky shower moment. Every excruciating drive. Worth it. Cause I fucking love you. So fucking much.
who cares where it came from
Here’s what I don’t want you to do right now. I don’t want you to start reading my story and start searching for where your problem came from. Don’t go looking for where this identity or pattern originated or how it developed. Because, lovely, that isn’t helpful. As you start to search, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. You’ll start creating stories. You’ll reinforce that as your truth. Don’t do that. Your truth is that you are a masterpiece. Your truth is that you have something to give to the world which is uniquely your own. So it’s time to break the illusion that you are depressed//anxious//suffering and free yourself to live your purpose.
how i broke that identity
Lovelies, when I say that the first fitness challenge I did changed my life… I’m, like, really really not kidding. It changed my state over and over and over until I developed an empowering identity. Becuase the TRUTH is that I didn’t have to change “who I am”… I just had to realize that wasn’t who I am… It was just a pattern that I had to break over and over and over. The challenge gave me the framework to do that.
Physiology. My body shifted because I was actually using it consistently. Endorphins make you happy. I felt stronger. I felt like I was doing something for myself. I walked taller.
Focus. My focus shifted to g r o w t h. Physically through workouts + nutrition. Emotionally through this little book called The Compound Effect that my coach told me to read. #ifollowdirections
Language. My language shifted because I made this commitment to do something for me. That one decision to saying YES to me turned into more decisions of YES… of saying I’M WORTH IT. I CAN DO IT. I HAVE SUPPORT.
It didn’t happen overnight. It took lots and lots and lots of conditioning. It took me becoming a coach for extra accountability. It took finding resources of other times in my life when I did things well (like discipline in band or leadership in the classroom) and using them to reinforce the real me. I wish I could say I designed the pattern, but it’s one that I naturally fell into when I started this whole fitness thing. But it didn’t stop there. It’s been expansion ever since.
everything is mindset. mindset is everything.
This reflection and these ideas. They all come back to one guy. The vehicle of fitness got me to this place, but I didn’t make sense of it until I met Tony. Here’s one of his videos. I highly recommend you go on a YouTube binge on his channel. Your mind will be swimming. And you’ll LOVE it. Cause you’ll feel freed by something that makes so much s e n s e.
I hope that you took this in during that state — the one where you’re feeling like making sense rather than letting yourself fall into the depth of emotion. You promised, remember?
I’ll leave you here. For now. But please, oh please, drop me a comment // a line // a message with any and all thoughts. I’m open to receiving. <3
I have never considered myself a poet. Like, ever. But I was sitting in the cafe in Irby, and felt struck with the need to be one in that moment. It kind of led me to a momentary identity crisis, and then I decided to lead with my creativity rather than my fear. Love was the outcome.
english gentlemen. Englishmen.
call me your darling.
call me your love.
give me your silent winks.
subtley sexy, yet intensely intimate.
just for a moment, grace me with all of your focus.