Just got back from our Alchemizing Ayahuasca retreat, with all its peaks and valleys, inner and outer rumblings, and above all expanded awareness of what is real and what is false.
But that’s not the story I want to share with you today. Those gems still need time to be digested, absorbed, and integrated. Today, I’d like to take you back to March of this year.
Seeking vs. Seeing
When I first set out on my journey of freedompreneurship and of traveling every country in the world, I had no idea that my true quest was to reclaim the 1,000 pieces of my soul, which I "lost" or forgot when my soul incarnated into human form.
Some of these pieces that I've reclaimed are: dignity after a mind-f*cking breakup from a narcissist, freedom from decades of patriarchal oppression, self-respect after being abandoned, self-worth from a lifetime of traumatic neglect, and then some.
Other pieces that I've reclaimed come in the form of: soul mates who opened my heart to love, besties who mended my heart after it was broken, mama bears who stood up for me when no one else did, and people who held keys to unlock the hidden parts of myself, whether it was my grace or my rage.
In this very rare moment where my life feels like divine perfection, I know in the infinite depths of my soul that I've completed the quest, that I've reclaimed the 1,000 pieces of my soul. F*ck it was hard. So, so, so, so tormentingly hard. And f*ck it is glorious. So, so, so, so preciously glorious.
My quest has taught me that seeking sometimes means searching (going outside of myself and actively looking), and others times means seeing (stilling and doing deep inside myself to actively see).
This is a story of seeing.
A Hot and Itchy Endurance Test
Back in March, I signed myself up for a 6-week camping expedition from Cameroon, through Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, down to Angola. I'm a city girl and I never camp. I swore 10 years ago after overlanding Tanzania to Kenya that I'd never camp again. Yet here I inexplicably was.
Was I inspired by a greater dream to be one of only 11 women, in the history of recorded human kind, to have traveled every country in the world? Was I driven by the inherent nature of all souls to seek wholeness? Was I running away from something? Or was I simply insane?
So imagine this daily routine:
- Every day tent up, tent down, tent up, tent down, tent up, tent down
- When the tent goes up at 5:30p, it goes in a gravel pit, a mud pit, a sand pit, a stone pit, a construction site, a bush, a prickly vine field, or on top of another tent
- When the tent is taken down at 6am, it gets stuffed wet and full of gravel, mud, sand, stone, bush, or vine back in its bag :S
- As soon as 7am hits, the temperature skyrockets to 30C / 86F
- And by 9am, it's 37C / 99 F for the rest of the day
- At the end of the day, you don't get a nice shower, but you might get one at the end of the week
- There are also no toilets, so pee and poo is done in open nature
- If there are toilets, you run far from them and actively seek out open nature to do your business
- And then you sit on a truck from 7am to 5:30pm, there's no wind because the roads are so bad that the truck can only move at 9km/hr / 5mi/hr
- Then dusk arrives and the mosquitos suit up their armor and attaaaaaack with malaria and yellow fever bullets
- And every other moment, beware of fauna that will try to kill you. Even a paper cut can turn into an infection because it's impossible to keep wounds dry and clean in such an environment
Power of Preparation
Imagine this daily ritual for 56 days straight. I know, you want to sign up for it, don't you?
Five months prior to this trip, I did ton of research on best equipment, smallest mass to volume ratio, longest battery life, most luxuriously inflatable mat, most inexpensive but highest quality gear. For example, I bought a tarp that's meant for covering long-haul truck merchandise as my ground sheet. I didn’t settle for the thin handkerchief that comes with the tent as a ground sheet.
So despite the above daily endurance test, not only physical but mental (ie to not lose your shit and take it out on others, as so many of my fellow travelers succumbed to), and despite torrential Congolese jungle downpours, where heavy clay mud ends up sticking to all your gear, I popped out of my tent every morning fresh as a daisy.
Many travel mates on the other hand woke up soaked, with rain dripping through their tent from above and rain pooling through their tent from below. Some even had small $500 tents, compared to my palatial no-name $140, that my friends dubbed "Château Ella." But they ended up with a bad case of the "hot and itches" and took out their frustration on others.
They were unable to source joy in every moment. Understandably. And... seeing this in them gave such meaning to all my past traumas and suffering, which were the driving force behind who I've become today, able to source joy in every moment, no matter how challenging and painful the moment. And to never, ever take my shit out on others.
Watching them also helped me rejoice in the power of preparation. I came so prepared, not just gear wise, but knowing the depth and beauty of my soul, knowing what I need to be my best self, knowing what my triggers are and how to dissolve them, knowing human nature and why people do what they do, expanding my compassion for all humans.
In our society, being prepared is not a “sexy” coveted trait. It doesn't get nearly as much likes as a loud and rambunctious YouTube star, a naked blonde Instagramer, or a "yo, yo, yo!” 7-figure marketing “guru.” But to me, being prepared is a life giving trait, a portal to inner peace and outer joy.
The power of inner and outer preparation, before a big quest, meant not getting enmeshed in other people's drama, not taking sides, not letting anyone steal my joy.
And even though I had a near breaking point when I had to poop in a plastic bag inside my tent because there was no other alternative (true story), I felt invincible. I felt invincible that nothing and no one external to myself could steal my peace or my joy.
I felt invincible that nothing and no one outside of myself could dictate my experience. I felt invincible that no one could even try to offload their shit onto me. I felt invincible that I was impermeable to their drama. I felt invincible that I finally am the person I always hoped to be, the person that my parents never were capable of becoming.
I went seeking. But I didn't find my invincibility. I saw my invincibility. It was always there. I didn't need to search for it. I needed to see it. Who could have guessed this is how I'd reclaim my invincibility?
Retrospecting the Unfolding
I couldn't have guessed this is how it'd all unfold and this is how invincibility would return to me. But if I examine in retrospect the breadcrumbs that lead me here, I'd see:
- I learned about this overlanding expedition from soul sister M, whom I found by googling "woman travel every country in the world". Only two names came up, among a flood of white boys. I reached out to her and we became e-friends
- I actually signed up for this overlanding expedition because soul sister L and I were going to share a tent and do this trip together. She too had traveled 120+ countries and we became e-friends, then real life friends after we met in London. Though in the end she couldn't make the trip due to visa issues, if it weren't for her, I may still be searching for my invincibility...
- Soul sister L and I would never have met if soul brother R hadn't connected us. He had interviewed both of us through his Digital Nomad Mastery podcast. I met him at an antigravity yoga demo that I hosted at my biz partner H's wellness center. One of the first words I ever said to him was, "Hi! Now lift your bum over your hips, over your shoulders," to which he laughed and said, "Umm, I don't think so." Lol!
- I met biz partner H through a workshop that my naturopathic doctor D hosted at that same wellness center.
- I met Dr. D when I was searching for a female family doctor after learning the importance of having one through a client, a medical organization.
- How I came to work with this medical organization is a story for another time.
Can you put away your seeking, to create space for some seeing? Can you hold faith that everyone you meet and every thing you do is a breadcrumb toward who you truly are? All these seemingly unconnected people and events, they were all parts of me. Some I sought. Some I saw.
I mean, Dr. D didn't end up being my doctor. My biz partner and I didn't end up succeeding at our biz. Soul sister L and I didn't end up sharing a tent. So many things didn't happen, and yet it all unfolded as it was supposed to... to return my invincibility to me. Can you see the awe / magic of how Life unfolds?
1,000 RECLAMATIONS FOR FREEDOM
💎 Reclaimed my invincibility
💎 Reclaimed the power of preparation
💎 Reclaimed my soul sister M
💎 Reclaimed my soul sister L
💎 Reclaimed my soul brother R
💎 Reclaimed my biz partner H