About a year ago I went to see a Shaman. I wanted to know what my spirit animal guide. After a 2-hour lecture on the roots and traditions of Native Shamanism, I lay down on a rug and drifted off to a semi-conscious state. During my ‘reading’, I was told by the Shaman that my animal was busy bouncing around the room, even before he was ready to do the big reveal. If you know my character, this is not surprising. I’m eager, bouncy, excitable, and quite frankly, terrible at keeping surprises quiet.
My animal spirit guide is a little red fox. While I had no idea as to what he would say, this was kind of disappointing. A fox? They aren’t very exotic. They have no fixed abode either. I recently learned they are the most geographically spread mammal, distributed across the entire Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, Central America and Asia. They are feisty roamers.
Click. The more I read about the red fox, the more it felt like a suitable guide. They are social animals and very nurturing. The red fox is distinguished from other fox species by its ability to adapt quickly to new environments.
Indeed, the red fox has struck again: I’m moving to a new environment.
When I set out for Jamaica in July, I had no plan. All I knew was that I was going to be living in Kingston for 6-12 months, and my job was going to involve contributing to development in Jamaica. I was also on a bit of a mission to impersonate Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and was hopeful that I could travel to at least 3 countries to heal my heart and find happiness again. Jamaica was stop one. If it worked for her, perhaps it could work for me.
While this may sound sexy and fun, it has been somewhat daunting. There are a million places I could go and many things I could do…not to mention the societal pressure to return to a conventional life, get married and make lots of babies. Too much choice can be paralyzing. How does one decide? What influences and factors would come into play? Finances? A man? Work? Family? My health? However, my intention was to continue to travel. I had faith that somehow the rest would fall into place.
I am excited to inform my supportive blogging community that I now know what my second destination will be: Ghana. I got a job and will be working there for about 12 months with an incredible NGO. Over the next little while I will be wrapping up my research project in Jamaica and transitioning myself into this new role. There will be a lot of traveling and training in my near future (in fact, I have even returned to Canada this weekend for a conference) but I’m good with it all. I suspect I’ll be in Ghana by mid-April.
I know what you’re going to ask. Of course I’m scared to move to rural Ghana alone. Of course I’m second-guessing myself. Of course I’m wondering if this is the right choice for me. Of course I’m thinking about my aging ovaries. But at the end of the day, life is too short to be unhappy. And I would be unhappy if I didn’t go. My heart would yearn for the challenge, the work, the contribution, the unmet people and ache with regret.
I have come to some important realizations over the last few days as I’ve chewed on this new material. Happiness attracts more happiness; love begets love. If I put out positive, radiant, loving vibrations into the universe, I’m going to get back the same in return. I suspect that’s what will transpire in Ghana. Truly, that’s the type of partner I want in my life anyway: one who is also vibrantly happy, takes risks, adapts easily, loves big and is living his dream, even if it means moving to the middle of Africa. I’ve realized I’m more likely to meet like-minded people if I’m on this path than if I’m not. So onwards I go.
And for the time being, the world is my husband. He sure treats me well.