“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Like many of us at one point in our lives, I found myself stuck in quicksand. Your mud might be a bad relationship, an addiction, depression, financial loss, or like me, a dead-end job. Quicksand comes in many forms but the hopelessness is the same. Stuck, slowly sinking over time, and trying to pull yourself out but can’t because the fear is paralyzing.
The question I’m most often asked is “how can I get unstuck”? After listening to many teary-eyed stories of struggle and pain, there is good news. Ready? The best thing about asking how to get unstuck is this: you’ve almost hit your breaking point. This is where the miracle begins quite frankly. Sure you know what you don’t want; it’s the knowing what you do want and how to get there that you battle internally over. My advice is always the same no matter the problem; you must get to the center of what’s holding you back, face your fears and move forward from there. But how do we get to the center? One empowering strategy is travel solo to find your way back home.
In the book, Eat, Pray, Love, Liz Gilbert, recently divorced, decides to sell everything to travel alone and out of the country for an entire year in search of what she truly wants out of life. Now I’m not suggesting you have to sell everything but your passport to become unstuck. I didn’t. But what I did do was create my own version of Eat, Pray, Love on a working girl’s budget in the States. Here’s my proven roadmap on how to become unstuck by traveling alone:
1. Where? Try to think of three places that you have either visited or always wanted to visit. These places should be beautiful, joyful and peaceful. They also have to require an overnight stay at a minimum. The point is you are spending time alone, sans social media and a tad outside of your comfort zone.
2. How? Determine when you will visit your three places, how will you space it out over the calendar year, and how long can you afford to drop out of your life, financially and physically. Maybe three days, maybe three weeks.
3. Why? List your reasons why you are sick and tired. List the people, places and things that are sucking the life out of you. When you are done puking up the rotten stuff, start a second list for your dreams. List your bucket list and the people, places and things that bring you joy. List the career and life you imagine.
4. What? Now travel and make sure you’ve packed your two lists and a journal for your thoughts in your suitcase. While you are dining out solo, shopping, exercising, meditating on your journey, let go of the past. Start dwelling in possibilities. Wonder. Vision. See yourself becoming unstuck and moving forward. Become empowered to finally take action. Most importantly, decide to stop suffering.
Simply put, I finally decided to choose happiness over suffering. Darling, I know you can pull yourself out of the quicksand too. It’s worth the risk and “Oh, the Places You Will Go”!