This is Part 25 of of a series on vision. You can read previous installments here:
Part 1. Part 2. Part3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10. Part 11. Part 12. Part 13. Part 14. Part 15. Part 16. Part 17. Part 18. Part 19. Part 20. Part 21. Part 22. Part 23. Part 24.
The Vision that Moved Me
For the year leading up to selling my apartment, people asked me almost daily where I would live.
I had a clear vision: I wanted to spend my winters out of New York City, embrace my love of travel and adventure, and create a business that would allow me to serve my clients from anywhere in the world. My most immediate dream was I wanted to go to surf camp in Costa Rica.
This was the seed of my vision. Adventure. Surf. Living by the rhythms of nature.
I Gave Up Everything… Then This Happened
After selling my apartment in the fall of 2018, I stayed at an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I thought I’d be there for a couple of weeks at most. Instead, I was there for three months. The old walk-up building was infested with mice, and the roof leaked. I was constantly on edge in the apartment, spending as much time out of it as possible. Commuting to the activities of my life and work took much longer than it had from my old home, and I spent a lot of time in the subways.
I felt stuck, unable to get traction on planning a much-needed surf trip to Costa Rica. When I did finally pull myself together, it seemed that nothing was the right fit or timing.
One cold winter night in late December 2018, as I returned back to the Upper East Side from trapeze practice in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I accidentally got on the wrong subway, missed my stop, and ended up in Queens. I got off the train and waited for the Manhattan-bound train to take me back. It was late, and I was exhausted. I couldn’t even muster the energy to get off at my stop. Instead, I rode the subway downtown before switching back to an uptown train. All total that night, I rode the subway for 3 hours. For the first time I understood why people sleep on the subway. It was warm, and mouse-free.
As I rode the subway that night, I wondered if I would ever create the vision that had been almost four years in the making. I had given up everything — my home, my business in the way I had known it — to create a life of adventure and travel and a new way of working and living. And it wasn’t happening. Maybe I’d be destined to be stuck in New York forever.
And then I realized: I was living my vision, in a way. I was spending almost 3 hours each day commuting in the subway. That was travel. I was living among “nature” with the mice, which was like being on a safari. I had opened the door to the apartment one morning to find it raining in the hallway.
I was living a life of adventure. It just wasn’t quite in the way I had envisioned.
What You Ask For vs What You Receive
My teachers had been telling me for years that the universe gives you what you ask for, but not always in the form you desire it. And sometimes you get something that forces you to deal with what’s in your way, before you can get what you requested.
So it was. All I could do was laugh, throw up my hands, and surrender.
I acknowledged that this was, indeed, fitting within the themes of my vision, even if not quite on point. I trusted that there was a lesson for me to learn from this and I embraced where I was.
Temporarily, I put aside my dreams of surf camp in Costa Rica. I trusted everything to fall into place in its proper time. A few days later, I finally moved out of the mouse apartment to stay on a friend’s couch, and then moved onto another friend’s couch.
A week later, the energy shifted. I was online when I saw an ad for a surf, yoga, and wellness retreat in Santa Catalina, Panama. This sounded like exactly what I needed. I was so confident that this was meant to be that I booked flights before I received confirmation that the retreat still had space.
Five days later I was on a plane to Panama. Panama hadn’t even been on my radar. I had been so fixated on Costa Rica that I couldn’t create space in my vision for any alternatives. It wasn’t until I put that specific part of the plan aside that energy opened up for me and I could see other options.
Pulling back from the specific to see the bigger picture: learning to surf in the warm climate of Central America.
Panama turned out to be exactly what I needed, and my plan to stay there for two weeks turned into six weeks. I lived among the locals, working every day with a view of the ocean, surfing, doing yoga. This was the vision: the flexibility and freedom to stay in a place for as long as I wanted.
3 Lessons About Working With Vision
This experience taught me three crucial lessons about working with vision.
1. Vision doesn’t always come into form in the way you expect it to.
I often say that you see what you seek. It is also true that if you’re looking too intently for something specific, with an expectation that it will look a certain way, you’ll miss it when it shows up different from how you expected. And you’ll inevitably be disappointed if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
2. You can’t control or chase your vision.
What you envision is a creation of your mind. Part of the creative process is the point where you let go of your creation and allow it to unfold as it will. Trying to control your creation is the antithetical to the creative process.
Trying to chase your vision or force it makes it more elusive. Sometimes the best thing you can do is put the vision to the side for a while and let it come to you.
3. Embrace where you are to get where you want to go.
It feels counterintuitive. Everything in our culture tells us to focus on a goal until we achieve it. But I learned from that experience (and from many since then) that the best way to get where you want to go is to embrace where you are.