Today, I'm writing to you from the top of Mount Inari, in Kyoto, Japan.
I hadn't planned on walking up the mountain through thousands of prayer gates.
Heck, I didn't even plan to be in Kyoto. I promised myself to be free of FOMO and base myself in Tokyo only.
Heck, I didn't even plan to be in Tokyo. My original itinerary only had 5 countries, not 13.
Heck, I didn't even plan to embark on an around-the-world trip. I own and have a full-time coaching practice.
Heck, I didn't even plan on being a coach. I had 7 careers before I landed in coaching world.
Heck, I didn't even plan on existing...
Buy experiences, not things. Japan 2015 © Ellany Lea
Still Make Plans Anyways
So you see, life rarely turns out the way we plan. And yet, I still make plans. Because plans lead to other plans, coincidences, adventures and/or miracles. Without a plan, without a vision, we are compasses without a True North.
You should have seen my mega Excel spreasheet with columns for my flights, airport terminals, temperatures, currencies, timezones, AirBnBs, people I want to see, experiences I want to have, and fun things I want to do.
Walking up Mount Inari was such a metaphor for cultivating wealth: the inner rich life of feeling free and the outer rich life of actually being free.
I didn't plan it. I woke up one day and wanted to jump on the Shinkanzen bullet train Southbound to Kyoto. Just like I woke up one day and went to work in Rwanda. I woke up at 5am to coach a client because of timezone differences, because I can, and because it's a privilege to. Since I was up and Google said that Fushimi-Inari was open 24 hours a day, I strolled over there.
I let go of the need for control. And there was the magic waiting for me.
I got there, it was eerily quiet and I said a prayer for each of my closest 1,000 family and friends, as I walked through the thousands of prayer gates. It took 1 hour 20min, but it was well worth the time. YOU were well worth my time. Like that time I read a book a week and expressed gratitude to 2 people every day for a year. OCD can pay off sometimes to up your happiness ;)
Along the way, with my gorilla pod and iPhone6s timer, I had myself some fun!
And one step at a time, with scenic rest stops and prayer halls along the way, I was at the summit. There was no one around. I beat the crowds. And I used to be the ultimate night owl who couldn't function properly before 10am!
Therapy Is the New Black
My therapist (because having a therapist is the new black) used the word override a lot during our initial conversation. She noticed: you override your shyness. You override your high sensitivity. You override your introversion. You override your filial piety (my words, not hers), which means no one related to me by DNA can no longer use guilt to get what they want from me. That button is broken. You can press it all you want, and nothing will happen. Nada. Zilch!
I override my former desire to be the best man I can be. I override the expectation to retire my parents at 25 and to be the best eldest son they never had. I override the pain of losing friends, over and over and over and over. And probably over and over again in the future. I don't know that overriding is the all-in-one solution. But I do know for certain that overriding my limiting beliefs around my traits has led me to the exquisite freedom I know today.
A Contrary Existence
This is NOT about becoming someone else or putting up fake facades and capes. It's about practicing your override muscles over and over and over and over to the point where childhood traumas no longer hold you back, where parental obligations no longer suck the life out of you, where divorces and broken engagements no longer shame you, and where exhaustion no longer measures your worthiness.
Last week, I mentioned some tools that have helped me override my limiting beliefs, my "shortcomings" and my contradictory existence. I was told that to be an entrepreneur, you have to get out there and make noise. But it's waaaaay better in here, in my world. Out there, you SOBs are mean MOFOs!!! In here, we (all the voices in my head and I) are kind, empathetic, curious, wise, loving, playful and naively trusting. Oh, I'm digressing.
Right, back to the tools. These tools are poured through out my Six-figure Simplified programs. For those who haven't yet taken them, here's some wisdom on exquisite freedom.
Overriding your Traits
People are often surprised that I'm an introvert. Don't equate introversion to awkward or anti-social. I have high diplomacy. I have rubbed shoulders with and even hugged millionaires and billionaires when no one else dared to.
I can chat up anyone. I just don't want to. I'd rather watch you and read your mind. Then I go home, fulfilled and content, knowing more about you than you know about yourself. Tee-hee :D So when people actually meet me for the first time, especially one-on-one, they find me fascinating, fun, funny, wise and inspiring. Your words, not mine.
1. Being Fascinating
I'm fascinating BECAUSE I'm a weirdo. I've done weird things. Many, many weird things. I've quite jobs and businesses that others would only dream of. I've woken up and moved my entire life to NYC in 6 days. I've woken up and jumped on a Shinkansen to Kyoto.
So fly my darling, fly off and do something out of the box every single day, no matter how big or how small. How is this a tool? It builds consistency muscles. Stepping out of the box doesn't just happen at leadership retreats or self-development workshops. They happen every single day. And one day, you'll wake up... and feel free. Free from old fears, old worries, old patterns and best of all, from your old self.
2. Being Fun
You find me fun because (and it took me over a decade to figure this out), I've cried so much in my lifetime, enough to fill all the oceans on the planet. Thus, I no longer carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I no longer walk around with conscious and unconscious pain.
So cry my darling, cry out the pain of all womankind. Cry out all the suffering of your people. Cry out the sacrifices of your lineage. Cry out all the heartache of your existence. Do it every single day. Those tears shall set you free. Your greatest breakdowns will lead you to your greatest breakthroughs. This I promise.
And hey, at least this way, we won't have to worry about global drought ;)
3. Being Funny
I'm not funny. YOU find me funny. Two different things. Half the time, even as a very clever person, I don't understand why you're laughing. I'll say something, and you laugh. It wasn't meant to be funny, so why do you laugh? At me? With me? At yourself? At the situation? At us? Who knows...
So laugh darling, laugh your guts out with your kittens, your kiddies, your YouTube app, your BFFs, and/or me. Do it every single day. Need a boost? Listen to Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy in audiobook format.
4. Being Wise
I'm wise BECAUSE I'm an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person. I see things you don't. I see patterns you might not. I synthesize things you're not even interested in.
When I have a theory (like can I inspire boyfriends to say "I love you" under 30 days), I test it out in real life. Many times, it bombs in my face, especially in the love life department. As an aside, I think I may start a "my husband can't keep up" club, which you'll likely join one year after completing CTI's Leadership program or any year-long mind-body-spirit transformational retreat.
So darling, purposeful do things that you'll bomb at. Every single day. Because then, you'll know what you're made of. You'll know who you are. And you'll know that you really lived.
5. Being Inspiring
As for being inspiring, I have no control over that. I can't inspire you. You can't inspire another. You can only be as you as you can be and unapologetically embrace your idiosyncrasies (thank you Annette, for sharing these words with me).
Design the person you want to be and say goodbye to those around you who "knew you when" because for you to became exquisitely free, you cannot surround yourself with the same people who co-created the old you.
Next week, I'll have exercises that go with these tools and you'll all be able to do them together, as a tribe.
Until then, I love you dearly,
P.S. And I bet you're still wondering about my theory about inspiring boyfriends to say "I love you" under 30 days. It worked. Every time. Sometimes I fell too, sometimes I didn't. But we both grew tremendously for having crossed paths and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we left each other better than when we met.