Rising hopes, falling leaves

I did it. I moved. I redirected. “Happily Ever After 30” has new headquarters.

I have a new address. A new city. A new home. A new start. A new life. Deeeeeeeeeeep breaths.

I’m sitting in my new cozy living room now, overwhelmed by a mixed bag of emotions: gratefulness, grief, excitement, anticipation, love, hope, sadness, appreciation, happiness. It’s September 1, 2013.

I’m rediscovering who I am. My life has been packed away in boxes since July 2012, when I first set out on this year-long journey and left for Jamaica. Parts of me have been reawakened with every unpacked carton.

Forgiveness.

I heard a wonderful definition of this term a few days ago while in a meditation session: “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different. It isΒ letting go of a past that we thought we wanted.”

Letting go is a choice. We limit ourselves when we hold onto pain and resentment. And that stinging, hurtful feeling? It is our ego’s response to a person or a situation holding power over us.

Limitless courage.Β It takes courage to let go of a past we thought we wanted. And to create (and then chase after) new dreams. And to forgive. So here I go.

I’ve relocated many times over the course of my adult life (London, Las Vegas, Pune, Pretoria and Kingston) but surprisingly, never within Canada. It feels slightly more daunting somehow as it comes a whole host of unanticipated nuances. I immediately look like I belong, even though I don’t. There is less built-in support since I’m still within my own country. There is also a certain amount of pressure to “just get on with it”. Pick up and go. However, I will need time to acclimatize and to build a community here. Patience and time to define a happily ever after.

Thankfully, there has been so much kindness directed my way already. (My new landlord surprised me by picking me up at the airport last week…at 6 am? Who does that?) This unexpected gift warmed my heart and was a lovely welcome to Ottawa.

As I settle in, I can’t help but think, “What if?” What if I had moved to Ghana after all and not accepted a PhD position at Carleton? What if I hadn’t gone to Jamaica? What if I had done things differently after the break-up? What if there was no break-up? Would I be here? Probably not.

A series of big, life-changing decisions have been made in the last 16 months. I’ve simply not been afraid to risk it all. And I’ve listened very closely to my heart.

The path won't matter

I’m about to start a massive project: a PhD. There will be lots of ups and downs along the way, of this I am sure. But nothing has ever felt more right or purposeful. I can’t wait to teach, learn, grow, travel and expand my horizons throughout. I have rising hopes for my future.

I am also in exploration mode. I am treating this place like another vast adventure to be had. Ottawa is a beautiful city, just gorgeous. And my neighbourhood? Don’t get me started. I found a real gem of a spot near to paths, a creek, the canal and lots of pubs, meditation classes, yoga, markets and restaurants. Everything is walkable or bike-able. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to call home.

The leaves are already beginning to change colour and fall here. The crinkling noise leaves make when they dance along the pavement with the wind is music to my ears. They are gracefully letting go of their branches. As am I.

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