Well hello there.
It’s good to be back here after a six month hiatus. Life has been a crazy adventure since my last post to you earlier this year.
The last six months has honestly felt like an entire lifetime. Here’s what happened:
- I left my wealth management job in Chicago, donated nearly all my possessions and moved to the mountains of Aspen
- I started an intensive year-long coach training program to become a life coach
- Went on a crazy 10-day silent meditation retreat
- I also went on an unbelievably beautiful yoga retreat in the desert of Utah
- Met some incredible people who have become very close friends and mentors
- I moved out of the house I was living in after 6 weeks
- Couch surfed on 7 couches in 5 different cities
- And after all of that, I moved back to Chicago and in with my dad, my stepmom and my dog Bailey in order to feel some semblance of stability
Why did I make this jump to begin with? I was searching for a more authentic life. I needed to finally address a reality that I just couldn’t ignore anymore.
The reality is that fear, anxiety, confusion and overwhelm have always been my baseline emotions. I wake up most days feeling this way. And I don’t exactly know why, but I have a hard time feeling the good stuff of life and it certainly doesn’t come naturally.
I needed to shake things up by leaving behind my job and chase for money, my possessions and hometown in order to better understand who I am outside of those things that defined me.
So while my outside world shifted dramatically, I also began a deep inward journey to try to heal this constant stream of suffering I have felt for as long as I can remember.
And as I have gotten deeper in this work, a lot of old wounds, beliefs and unaddressed traumas have rushed up to the surface and it has caused intense emotional pain that I have never felt before.
But instead of running from it, I am trying to be with it, understand it, and ultimately transform from it. It has been brutal, but deep down I know I need to go through it.
Simply put, I feel like I am fighting for my life. I just can’t go back to the way things used to be.
The past few months have been the hardest of all, but I very recently had what I believe was a breakthrough.
During my morning meditation, I felt intense pain in my stomach and back. Instead of fighting it (or more accurately getting up from the chair and grabbing something to eat or turning on the TV to drown it out), I decided to stay with it, show my pain some love and try to understand what my body was actually trying to tell me.
As soon as I did this, vivid memories of me as a kid appeared before me. These were memories where I smiled from ear to ear, laughed at almost everything, loved the people around me, and was a complete and total goofball. I was happy, free, and I loved myself. The whole world was an adventure.
As I watched the highlight reel of memories, my pain began to subside and a big smile came over my face (my first genuine smile in a long time).
I opened my eyes and looked at pictures of me as a kid. And sure enough, this essence burst through each one.
I was elated, but then a sad realization came over me. While little Dustin lived from this inner wellspring of joy, the older I got, the more it all faded away as I felt the need to conform to society and other pressures to fit in at all costs.
I had slowly lost touch with the inner magic I was born with.
As I reflect back on those vivid memories, I realize that they provided a clear answer for why I was doing this inner work in the first place. They helped redefine my mission to this:
I am on the journey back to myself. The joy, the openness, the excitement, the wonder, the fun, the inner peace, the love for life. But this time I am going to live from there and be able to stay there, no matter what life brings my way.
I anticipate more choppy waters ahead, but I have hope.
That 4-year old still lives within me. I don’t need to change or obtain anything. All I need to do is rediscover it.
I believe this is what I have been looking for all along.
Thank you for letting me share this with you.