Turn turn turn

Fall, the autumn equinox.  The changing of the seasons.  I’ve had some major changes occur as I have watched a year of seasons go by. Sometimes change can be difficult to deal with.  Sometimes it can be a time to rejoice, but it is inevitable and no matter what we have to remember to keep moving forward.

Last winter marked a time of loss and of letting go for me.  I lost, what I thought was, my “dream job” and it was very devastating.  It made winter feel very sad, quiet, and depressing at times.  I mean what was I going to do now?  I had planned on making some changes in my life at the beginning of the year, but that was all under my own control.  With this happening the way it did, I felt a complete lack of control which became very hard to deal with.  This change, this ending of a season of my life, filled me with feelings of uncertainty, anger, fear, grief, and sadness.  It was hard for me to see any of the good that would come from it.

For the first time in my marriage I really had to let my husband take the wheel and be our sole provider.  We were not destitute by any means but I felt a little less value in myself because I was not giving back to our family.  He reassured me over and over that it would be fine and that all he wanted from me was to take some much-needed time off and to do the things that I loved.  That was hard at first.  I mean the things that I loved were not going to pay our bills or put food in our mouths.  I was very out of my comfort zone.  Plus there were days that I had a very hard time getting over the anger and sadness inside of me.

Winter changed to spring and spring brought a glimmer of new beginnings as I started to rediscover myself.  I have always enjoyed writing and recently had discovered a pull towards photography as well.  I have had this blog on and off for years but never really had the time to commit myself to it.  So I dove into writing almost immediately. I made sure to write almost every day.  I joined a “No Spend” challenge and had shared my progress, which helped to hold me accountable for writing something everyday.  I also found myself writing about my feelings and my running and my choice to be vegan.

When I opened myself up to the universe in this way, the universe gave back.  I had followers!  Actual people who wanted to read my blog.  I was putting something out there that in whatever way, shape, or form someone else found a use for.  That was very awesome feeling.  I also had all the time that I needed to sign up for and take 4 different photography sessions.  I learned the basics, the not so basics and about Abode Photoshop and Lightroom.  I love learning and I loved being creative.  I also loved connecting to a hobby that my father had the same interest in.  It felt like it was natural for me to have a connection to a camera because its presence was always there as I was growing up. Creativity was always a part of my life when I was younger as well.  Over the years I had forgotten that.  Life always had away of showing up and pushing creativity farther and farther away.  And when you start to disconnect from something like that, I think  you start to disconnect from your true self.

Summer came in shortly after and everything was just starting to get heated up.  I was starting to realize that what happened in the past was just that; the past.  I had started to learn to let go and really take in everything that I loved.  I went to the gym more.  I read more books then I had read in a long time.  I had forgotten the joy in that.  I had even found myself the perfect part time job within walking distance of my house.  I made greater connections with my friends and family.  And I shared a lot of it right here on my blog.  I really started to understand the force in allowing yourself to be yourself and not worry about what anyone else thought of you or your life style.  I am blessed to have a wonderful home, a husband and parents who love me for me, two fur babies that have been through everything the last 13 years has thrown at me, great friends, good health, a great new job and so much more to look forward to.

Winter changed to spring, spring into summer and now here I am, almost a full year later; entering into my favorite season of them all.  Fall.  For me fall is my time of rebirth.  I know that seems backwards but I have always lived in a hot climate so when the cooler nights and milder days start to roll in I feel sheer bliss.  It means the start of running season.  Pumpkins and fall festivals.  Hoodies and hot tea.  Everything that makes me feel warm and toasty and loved.

It also means that I have come full circle from last winter.  It’s amazing how true the statement “a year from now, this will seem like nothing” is.  When you are suffering within a hard time, it can feel like you are drowning.  Like nothing will ever be the same and the sadness will consume you.  But time literally does heal all wounds.  From time to time I still find myself annoyed with the past but not like I used to be.  I literally used to have bad dreams and ill thoughts that could spin me into a sad, dark, place.  I would let my anger consume me to the point of exhausting tears.  But I have come to terms with those circumstances.  The door that slammed shut allowed me to see down the hallway of new possibilities.  I no longer focus my energy on that closed door.  Instead I walk from (new open) door to door and allow myself to feel free.



Books, Everyday

29 Gifts

29 Gifts:  How a Month of Giving can Change your Life by Cami Walker

  • Self help/Memoir
  • © 2009
  • 226 pages
  • Personal rating 4/5 stars
  • Website for 29 gifts challenge

Cami Walker’s book will make you want to get up and find someone to share a gift with.  This was the feeling I got when I was only on day 4 of the 29 days of giving.  I literally had tears in my eyes and my heart opened up to the idea of joining this wonderful challenge myself.

Cami starts off the book in a rather desperate state of mind.  Only in her mid-30s, she has been battling with MS for some time now and it has taken a turn for the worst.  She is in pain all the time.  She depends on her newly married husband for almost everything and is depressed that she doesn’t feel like a part of society any longer because she doesn’t have the strength to work like she used to.  But all that starts to change when she has a meeting with her spiritual guide Mbali Creazzo.  Mbali is originally from South Africa, moved to England when she was a child and now resides in Oakland, CA and works as a spiritual healer.  She was Cami’s next-door neighbor and wound up being her lifesaver.  When Mbali prescribed the 29 Gifts challenge (an African ritual) to Cami a whole new way of life opened up before her.

The 29 Gifts challenge was simply giving a gift, selflessly and effortlessly, for a 29 day span.  If you forgot a day or if you had to put too much thought into what to give or to whom, you had to start over at day 1.  The gifts did not have to be physical objects but did have to come from a place of love and kindness.  Also in order to deepen the connection, the giver is to journal about each day’s gifts and experiences.

Each chapter in the book covers a new day.  As more days of giving go by, Cami starts to understand why such a challenge was presented to her.  Things begin to change in her life.  Her health, her relationship with others and just her overall wellbeing begins to transform.

I really enjoyed this book and immediately wanted to learn more about the challenge through Cami’s website.  It’s contents make you look at life and the people you share everyday with (strangers or loved ones) in a different light.  And it goes a little deeper into the idea that the universe with provide for you if you open up to it and embrace it selflessly.  I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone.  Of course a person facing a difficult time in their life would seem like the ideal reader but honestly we all could learn something from simple, random acts of kindness.




Fitness, Running, Vegan

Not today my friend….

I’ve been up since 4:45am because on Thursday mornings I go to hot vinyasa yoga at the ass crack of dawn.  I don’t have to be at work until after 1pm so this is quite a stretch for me (no pun intended)!  But this class is the best that my gym offers.  They have yoga pretty much around the clock, all day, everyday, but the 5:30am class with yogi Jana, is the best and I deserve the best when it comes to my health and my body.  With that said, I normally go for a run within an hour or so after this class (FYI running after yoga is amazing).  I had every intention to do that today; even talked with my running buddy about it yesterday but sometimes the universe has other plans for us.

Instead of running this morning, I was (before I came to sit down and write this) sitting on my sofa, with a hoodie on and a blanket over my legs enjoying a hot cup of tea and pretending that it wasn’t the balmy 80 degrees it actually was outside.  Our AC goes down to 75 over night and it takes the house awhile to warm up again so I was taking advantage of being able to mentally take myself to a place of chilly bliss.  Now back to the reason that I decided not to run.

I ran on Tuesday night with my group; got in 4.75 miles.  Then on Wednesday I went and did barbell class (so many squats! my poor butt cheeks!).  Throughout the day I had started to notice that my right ankle had a little bit of a tweaky feeling to it but thought I would be ok in the morning.  When I got going this morning I still noticed a small amount of discomfort.  Normally that wouldn’t be to concerning, but I have my first race of the fall/winter season this Sunday and it is a relay with 5 other runners and 5 other groups!  So I made the choice to do something that I normal struggle with, I decided to put on my hoodie, call my friend and cancel our run.  I chose to listen to the universe and it told me to listen to my body.  It would be pointless to push myself through 3 miles today, only to be officially hurt by Sunday.  So instead I am going to take it easy, see how I feel tomorrow, and maybe then get in an easy 3 miles but if not, then I will hold off till Sunday and use what I have for the race.  After all the slogan at The Tri Doc is:  “Race Hard, we’ll fix you on Monday”!  I do plan on starting off the season giving it my all, but I will probably need some fixing shortly after!

I can’t really express how proud of myself I am for listening to my body this morning.  I can be very hard on myself at times (something I’m working on) and feel like a failure or that I am slipping behind if I am “weak” or need to rest.  I am learning that, that kind of negative self talk and fear based thinking will never help me to achieve anything in my life.  As long as I keep moving forward and always remember to put myself and my feelings  first, I will be able to reach any goal I set.

4.75 mile run 91 degrees @ 6pm

  • Overall time 50:51
  • Average pace 10:43
  • Splits 9:37, 10:02, 11:26, 11:31, 11:06
  • Average cadence 174


Everyday, Fitness, Running

Yoga, sweat, and tears

I went to the 5:30am yoga class this morning because I love the woman who teaches it.  But fate had another plan for me and instead of our usual instructor, the woman who instructs on Tuesday morning’s was filling in.  I have done her class quite a few times, but her style wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so it had been awhile since I had seen her.  Don’t get me wrong, she is a great instructor, I just have a different idea of what yoga is supposed to look like for me.

She began the class (actually before the class even officially started) with a mediation.  Normally during meditation you are supposed to try to completely clear your mind.  If a thought comes into your head, you can acknowledge it and then let it pass.  This morning was a little different and instead of clearing your mind she wanted you to picture yourself where you would like to be 6 months down the road and put yourself into that space.  If you pictured yourself on a beach vacation, then you should be thinking about what the sand between your toes feels like.  It wasn’t about picturing yourself getting there, it was about already being there and what it felt like.  Like a child that is using it’s imagination.  Children don’t think about what it will be like in 6 months when they go to the beach, they try to act out what it is like at the beach right now.

I was having a hard time putting myself in a place that I wanted to be.  That made me a little sad because it made me realize that maybe I don’t really know where I want to be?  Moving on from that meditation, our instructor began to talk about acknowledging our feelings and owning up to them.  Like if you are happy, then you would say “I am _____, and I accept that I am happy”.  Too many times we do not realize how we are feeling and we definitely don’t embrace all of our feelings equally.  It’s great to feel happy, excited, in love, proud and so on; but what happens when we are sad, scared, depressed, or lonely?  We tend to turn our heads, and most importantly, our hearts the other way and don’t allow ourselves to own those feelings.  And when we don’t own those feelings, they tend to manifest themselves into other, negative, non-productive thoughts in our lives.  We take things out on the wrong people or at the wrong times.  We get so angry or desperate and we point the finger in the wrong direction.  Owning these feelings makes us point the finger back right at ourselves and that can be uncomfortable.

Later on in our class our yogi began to talk to us about our parents and how as adults sometimes we want to try to change them.  And when we can’t change them, we get upset and we may distance ourselves from them because we are mad.  But as she stated earlier, we tend to not want to own up to our angry feelings.  Why are we really mad?  Then she started to talk about how our mother’s provided us with everything we needed for the first 9 months of our lives.  Not only did she keep us safe and nourished but she provided us with all the feelings she was feeling.  And she loved us and accepted us for who we were and would be from the very beginning.  She never wanted to change us, only ever wanted what was best for us.  Only offered love for us and did it completely selflessly.

Ok so by now I was in tears.  I was so glad that for some reason today the room was a little less crowded and a little darker than usual because I hadn’t, until that very moment, accepted that “I am Ashley, and I accept that I am sad and/or a little depressed”.  I truly already knew this in my heart.  I knew it when I talked about it in therapy with my husband just two days prior.  I’ve known it for maybe a couple of weeks now.  I just haven’t been feeling like myself and I have been in a funk that has been draining at times and sometimes just sad.  But once I accepted this, just this morning, I already started to feel just a little better.  I realized that it was ok to feel this way.  That these feelings do not define me as a person, but are just a season in my life.  And seasons always change.

I miss my mother (sorry mom and please don’t cry).  I hate the years that go by that I don’t get to be with my parents as often as I would like.  I think about it how it will be when they are gone, and all this time will seemed to be wasted.  Time that I could have spent with them.  Sometimes I hate, that I really love, where I currently live.  I wish that I hated it here so that I would want to move back home.  But I know that I wouldn’t be as happy if I did.

Right now I hate the summer.  I feel like I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) but in reverse.  I long for the fall and winter months.  I hate being outside when it’s hot and sticky.  I miss running.  I want to go and run in the cool, crisp air.  Sometimes I even think I miss the routine that came with working 40 hours a week.  I miss my husband at times, even when he is right next to me.  And I get sad when he worries about me being sad and he feels helpless and doesn’t know what to do.  I worry about losing everyone that is important to me and in-turn being alone.  I am scared that I feel this way.  But I am willing to accept these feelings and work through them.  I want to be able to picture myself as happy, but I don’t really know exactly what that looks like right now.  But I know that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me.

So I left my yoga class feeling a little lighter.  Realizing that it is ok to feel the way I do and that I shouldn’t let it worry me or bring me down.  Even though the morning didn’t start as planned it ended with meaning.  After that I went and ran with my best running buddy.  It was warm and sticky and hard, but I was glad I did it.  We both were.  I am looking forward to tomorrow because we are going out shopping and to lunch for her birthday.  I like spending time with her and that makes me happy.  After I left her house a really great song came on the radio; John Lennon’s My Sweet Lord.  I was just about to turn right and head back home but instead I got on the toll road, and with the windows down and the radio up, I just drove.  That felt good.  That made me happy.  I continued to scroll through more great songs that I loved.  I broke the speed limit a couple of times I’m sure, but I felt at peace in my car, behind the wheel.  I wanted to drive for a lot longer.  I wanted to go until I just didn’t want to any longer.  But life has away of bringing us back to reality so I eventually turned around and headed back home.

And now I’m here, sharing all my thoughts with the world.  And that too makes me happy.  I’m sorry if this post kind of jumped from thought to thought, but sometimes you just have to get it all out, even if it isn’t as pretty as you would like.  I’m sure there are those of you out there that know exactly how I feel.  And some of you may think I am just a crazy rambling fool this morning.  Or maybe one of you is feeling scared to accept your feelings and I can only hope I helped you to realize it’s not that scary once you get going.  In the end we are all alright.

3.1 miles 77 degrees at 8am

  • Overall time 30:42
  • Average pace 9:53
  • Splits 10:14, 10:05, 9:27
  • Average candence 174

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.09.37 PM


It’s gonna be a good day

Today was a really great day for me.  It started off by getting up super early to do hot, vinyasa yoga at 5:30am.  I haven’t been to that class in a very long time.  Ever since I lost my job last year, I haven’t had as much of a reason to get up that early.  But I have decided to add one yoga class back into my workout and the best one, with the best yogi is at 5:30am!  Oh the little sacrifices we make.

After an invigorating and literally eye-opening yoga session, I came home to do some much-needed cleaning.  That doesn’t sound too exciting, but I love it when our wood floors shine!  It’s the little things in life.  Plus, it was another way to get in a little workout after yoga.

After getting a quick shower, I made myself some breakfast and hot tea and sat down to finish reading one of the best books I’ve read in a long time (you can see my little review on it here).  It was one of those books that you didn’t want to end.  I love sitting and reading in the morning when it is still and quiet.  Usually one or both of my cats will join me and we will just sit and be.

I had to be at work later in the afternoon but I still got in enough time to blog and have some lunch before I left.  Today was just one of those days that I felt productive but not stressed out.  Sometimes that’s a hard line to walk.  Sometimes it’s just nice to slow down a bit and just have a good day.

Because ultimately you are in control of what kind of day you are going to have.  Sure sometimes unforeseen things happen, but I am learning more and more that how you react to those little things in life is key.  You are in control of your own light, your own inner self and who and what you give power to.  If you give your power over to the unfortunate things in life (like stress, anger, worry and sadness), you will find yourself unhappy.  But if you are aware of the control you have over yourself and only yourself, you can make happier choices even when times are hard and in turn have happier, calmer, more productive days. 🙂


Books, Everyday

Always love your own “freaky ass self”…

I am excited to share yet another wonderful Facebook post from one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert.  I love how real she is.  I love that she is, and has been, so willing to share her life struggles with the world.

Sometimes just knowing that you are not alone in your thoughts of self-doubt make learning how to practice self-love a little easier.  After all, we all just really want the same things.  To live in peace with the love and the light that is apart of every single living organism on this planet.

But more times than not we don’t allow this light to shine in our hearts, which makes it harder to share with each other.  We keep our true selves, the people we really want to be, locked away in the deep, dark parts of our souls.  Too afraid to get hurt; to come out into the light and just be.  We focus too much on what others will think of us instead of just living in our own special ways.  We focus on possible failures instead of new opportunities.  And the lists go on and on.

I know I am guilty of these things and more.  But as more time goes by, I have come to realize that life is too short to have worry and self-doubt.  Little by little I have been practicing my own self-love and I have noticed differences in my life because of it.  Positive differences.  The changes that I have made in myself have been small at times, but feel like huge weights being lifted from my shoulders.  I know I am becoming a better version of myself everyday.  And reading things like Liz’s posts, just makes me want to dig even deeper into the endless pool of self-love and acceptance.

“Dear Ones –

Shall we begin?
I’ve been going through a lot of big life transformations lately — moving through divorce, and loss, and the terrifying illnesses of loved ones, and outrageous upheavals of emotion — and none of it is easy.

Sometimes our transformations bring out the best in us, and sometimes they do not. When the ground breaks open because of an earthquake, you can be certain that everything — absolutely EVERYTHING — will be upturned, unearthed, or cracked open.

When you get cracked open, you will not always love what you discover about yourself. You wish you were a better person (whatever that means.) You wish you had handled this or that crisis with more grace. You wish you were stronger. You wish you were more certain about things. You wish you could go back and have that conversation all over again, and do it more wisely. You wish you were more forgiving. You wish you were more honest. You wish you were less judgmental. You wish you were less emotional. You wish you had figured things out sooner, or better, or smarter. Sometimes, you must face the truth that you have caused pain to yourself. Sometimes you have caused pain to others.

In short: You wish you were different. And wishing that you were different always, always, always hurts.

This is all very natural.

But we can choose in these difficult moments of self-doubt and regret and confusion whether or not we are going to hate ourselves for any of it…or whether we are going to practice self-love.

This is important.

The parts of yourself that you do not love are terribly vital, because they demand that you dig deep — deeper than you ever thought you would have to dig — in order to summon compassion and forgiveness for the struggling human being whom you are.

And until you learn to treat the struggling human being whom you are with a modicum of empathy, tenderness, and love, you will never be able to love anyone or anything with the fullness of your heart…and that would be a great shame. Because this is what we all want, isn’t it? This is what we came here for, right? To learn how to love each other with the fullness of our hearts?
Please know this: Whenever you withhold love from yourself, you are withholding love from the world…period.

We really need you to stop doing that.

The world has enough problems, without you withholding any more love.

Please understand that these difficult parts of yourself (the shameful parts, the regretful parts, and those episodes of your biography that are so spiky and troublesome and contradictory and embarrassing that you simply don’t know what to do with them)…please understand that these difficult parts of yourself are your ultimate teachers in compassion. Those parts of yourself are where you must begin learning how to love.

You guys? This is not a simple or straightforward moment in my life right now. There is a lot to sort through. There are a lot of parts of myself that I must examine now with unflinching honesty, if I am to grow.

I am willing to practice self-honesty. I believe in it, fully.


And here is what I am finding, as I age: I simply do not have the stamina for self-abuse anymore. Just can’t do it anymore. I dip into it sometimes for a moment or two, but I can’t stay there — my heart just isn’t in it anymore. I used to be so good at self-hatred and shame! I could attack myself for YEARS — drowning in an endless wave of self-criticism. But I’m out of shape these days, when it comes to self-hatred. I’ve lost that special kind of emotional endurance which is required for nonstop self-degradation and attack. I can’t do that to anyone else, and I can’t do it to myself, either. Too much practice in empathy and too many years of tenderness have ruined my chances to collapse ever again into the job of full-time shame.

I have loved all the hatred for myself out of myself.
(Well. Mostly, anyhow.)

And so now, when I suffer and struggle, I ask myself, “What part of you is hurting, Liz, and how we can love it — even as you are hurting?”

We must begin there — with the parts that we do not love.

This doesn’t mean being complacent. This doesn’t mean living in denial. This doesn’t mean that I have stopped trying to grow and transform. This doesn’t mean that I am excused from being self-accountable. This doesn’t mean burying my head in the sand, or telling myself lies. It just means: There is no part of myself anymore that I do not believe is deserving of love.

And that’s good news.

Because the only way I’m ever going to learn how to love any of you beautiful freaks — by which I mean all 7 billion of you gorgeous, unpredictable, troubled, weird, contradictory, struggling, devastatingly inspiring, broken, and perfect humans with whom I share this difficult planet — is if I can learn how to love my own freaky-ass self, too.

If I can accept me, Dear Ones, I can accept anyone.
So this is where we shall begin.
Be good to yourselves, my loves — today, and all days.
It’s all gonna be OK.


Books, Everyday

Live every minute

If you have followed me for sometime now, you probably know that I really admire Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love).  I love this woman.  I don’t even personally know her, but she has helped to shape my life into what it has become today.  I still have a long way to go to be the person I really hope to become, but if I had never picked up her book back in the fall of 2012 I really don’t know who I would be right now.

I know that seems a little dramatic but it really do feel like it’s true.  Or at least it was what got me started on my path of changing my life for the better.  I learned a lot about loving myself from Liz.  I learned (and am still learning) to listen to my heart and to take chances on what could truly bring me happiness and not to worry so much about the “what ifs”.  There are always going to be “what ifs” if you allow them.  We take chances everyday.  We get on planes.  We drive in cars.  We talk to strangers inadvertently.  We trust people we think we should, and we fear people we know nothing about.  We find love and we fall out of love.  And the list could go on and on.

But what happens when we take chances?  What happens when we believe in something that seems to come from the deepest, depths of our hearts?  What happens when we find a quest that lights our souls with fire?  Or we finally share a secret that we have been keeping from the people who matter most?  Or we admit when we need help?  Sometimes nothing.  And other times your whole life can change.  New doors can open and drafty, cumbersome windows can finally be closed.  You make progress and you learn to live with and embrace change, in a whole new way.

I feel I am only at the very beginning of what greatness is to come in my life.  With each day that passes, I realize more and more that you can’t get back your time on this planet.  Once it’s spent, it’s spent.  There is no savings account that you can refer to later.  There is no insurance policy that can reimburse you.  And so many of us are wasting our lives away.


Find your calling.  Travel.  Spent time by yourself.  Be passionate.  Love deeply and share it with everyone around you.  And never sell yourself short.

This was a post from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page about the passing of her dear friend.  

“Rest in Peace, Ketut Liyer:

19?? – 2016

Dear Ones –

I recieved news last week that my magnificent old Balinese medicine man, Ketut Liyer, has passed away.

I wanted to take my time before I spoke about him in public, so I could just FEEL him in my heart for a while.

He was a healer, a mystic, a time-traveler, a world-bender, a mind-shaper, a compassion-expert, a flirt, a comedian, a bozo, a hustler, a magician, a trickster, and a fully ascended spiritual master. On the morning after he died, an earthquake rocked across Bali, as the earth said farewell to one of its greatest masterpieces. He will not be coming back to this world. His work is done.

As for his work on me, it was perfection. When I met him in 2002, I was a fucking wreck of a woman — shamed, skinny, terrified, lost, and trapped inside a mind that felt like a caged and starving wolf. He pretended to read my palm, but that wasn’t even the point (it never was with Ketut; many of you had palm readings from Ketut over the years, and you know he was kind of full of bullshit, right? Guy was so blind, he couldn’t even SEE your hand, much less read its detailed lines.) No, he looked into my spirit, and he was like, “I’m taking this one.”

He told me that I was destined to come back to Bali someday, to live with him for a few months, and to that he would teach me healing arts, and I would teach him English. (Again: total bullshit. I am just as incapable of learning Balinese healing arts as Ketut was of learning English, but he said what he needed to say, to get me back there, where I needed to be, to meet my destiny.)

Then I spent the next two years transforming my life because of ONE SENTENCE that an old turtle of a man said to me on his porch one night. He told me to come back; I came back. And he had no idea who I was (in fact, he NEVER had any idea who I was, no matter how many times I cam back) but it doesn’t matter. The shit worked. Everthing changed because he spoke, and I responded.

Listen to me now.

I’m passing this along not only from me, but from Ketut, who is burning inside me right now, like the fierce lantern he always was.

When you are searching for a path in your life, and you see no options, and you just want to die, and nothing make sense, and you want to stab everyone at the office party, and somebody throws a crazy fucking idea in your face that makes even LESS sense than the abundant lack of sense your life already makes? DO IT. You have to do it.

You will know the call of your destiny, because it will sound insane.

The call will not make sense. The call will not fit into what your culture and your history suggest that you are supposed to do. The call will cost you money and time. And relationships. The call will not please your tribe. The call will ask you to do something you have no training in, no talent for, no safety net about. The call will want to make you wet your pants in fear. The call will put all order into danger and disarray. The call will make you say, “Why the hell did I leave my marriage, and quit my job, and sell all my belongings, and get on a plane, and move to Indonesia, just because a possibly mentally unstable medicine man who doesn’t even know my name told me to do that two years ago, while he was fake-reading my palm?” The call will demand stupid amounts of courage — and by that, I mean to say that the call will require the kind of courage that literally makes you look and feel stupid.

Do it.

That’s your LIFE calling.

We are not messing around here anymore. We do not have time for anything less. What do you seriously think we came here to do, you guys? Be good? Be nice? Be responsible? Not make waves? Obey the patterns and the structures? Concentrate on getting exactly the right fixed-rate mortgage? Make good contacts? Keep things filed away neatly, and focus on flow-charts? Find a cleaner for your bathroom tub that scours without scratching? Collect Delta Sky Miles?

Or did you come here walk across the miles of sky that constitute the dangerous, weird, ridiculous, messy, ecstatic, magnificent, mystical journey that is the once-in-an-eternity experiment of the universe that is called YOUR LIFE?

Ketut showed me how to start sky-walking, and I have never looked back.

You live that way, and I promise you this — when you die, the earth will shake, too.

I bow to the master.


ps — this sign I’m holding? It was hanging outside his house the first time I went there. Years later — after EAT PRAY LOVE, and the movie, and after Ketut became a rock star who tourists would come see by the bus-load — I went to visit him (he didn’t recognize me) and I saw the sign sitting in a pile of trash, about to be burned in a bonfire. I asked him if I could have it. He said no. But he told me I could BUY it. HA! So I gave him 50 bucks for it. I will miss you, old man. I will miss you.”