The Good Traveller

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Authored By: 
DeAnna Shires

Lao Tzu said, “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” I would have called BS on the above quote until the day I lost control of my life wheel, while heading towards the life I thought I was meant to live. I had a plan, a good one, a solid one, and a fun one. I guess I got too cocky or maybe just a bit too comfortable because the direction I was heading took a major detour, then another, then another, until I was completely lost. Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” If that is true, then I was a true comedy, only I’m pretty sure at some point God stopped laughing as I let go of the wheel and instead of laughter, there must have been a nod of approval as I threw my hands up to receive with Grace. I used to preach platitudes regarding “going with the flow” and “trusting the Universe”, and while I believed it, I hadn’t had the chance to truly trust the validity of my claims using the spiritual tools I had been learning and teaching for over twenty years through the gift of yoga. While I had used these tools in spurts, during certain isolated experiences, I had not yet had the chance to use them while experiencing a multitude of life changing events exploding. As I fell down low enough to the point of questioning all I had known to be true, where I found myself feeling as if I was clawing myself out of the depths of my admittedly self-inflicted “Hell”, only to dig myself deeper, I was able to put these tools to good use and they past the test. My story isn’t anymore special or different than what many of us experience daily, but the way I navigated through it, is what gave me even more passion behind my life’s mission to help others find that inner strength and belief that they can weather the storms of life as a centered individual, navigating their life map with grace during uncertainty when it feels like they could crash horribly at any moment. From this, we can create the life we’ve always wanted and with authenticity. My story begins very white picket fencey if you were to view it on the outside. I was married, two wonderful children, the fancy possessions, good genetics, a plethora of great friend surrounding me, a career I loved. I had it ALL! I had it all, until the day I decided I wasn’t living my most authentic life. I was lying to myself and everyone else. I was a hypocrite. So, I decided I needed to leave my marriage. I jumped off that cliff hurting many people in the process. My reason for leaving,” I just didn’t want to do this anymore.” We had tried everything to save it, even a years worth of Puja’s in India for a Happy Married Life. After 13 years of working part time and being Mom first, I wasn’t worried because I had a plan and part of that plan was my yoga studio business supporting me. It was soon clear, in order for us to separate, the studio had to go too, I had to sell it, years of my heart and soul work I needed to untether, while at the same time unraveling my 13 years with another person. My plan was failing. Instead of going into “freak out” and “grasping” mode, I felt sort of felt ship wrecked, floating in a sea of uncertainty while I sat in the ebb and flow of the waves, both gentle and calm. I wasn’t sure where the tide was taking me, but I felt love was holding me up. Plus, I had all my great friends, right? I had always heard of friend “fall outs” from marriages failing or the perception of what people had of you shifting so much that your relationship with them shifted into the shitter as you look less desirable as your crap is flung all around you. People have their own problems and don’t want to be hit by yours too, so people bow out, some gracefully, others not so much. Ouch, that hurt. At least I had my health and my kids were happy and adjusting well. Until I went to the Doctor. Nope, here began the health concerns. Great. Well, at least my kids were happy and healthy. The greatest blessing there was and all I knew for certain. I chose gratitude. Then came the final straw. I had fallen in-love way too soon to someone I thought was the love of my life, a gift from God above for all of my hard work during my 40 years. That ended as quickly as it started, worse, I felt like a fool thinking of this Love and the friends who walked away, so much so that my faith in the Universe was questioned and I thought about pulling out of my yoga career completely at this point because what did I have to teach anymore? I lost control where I thought I had already let go. After pulling myself off my living room floor after 4 days of the ugly cry and questioning every part of my spiritual beliefs because I felt so dark, I was ready to move on. My view had shifted towards something more real, less fluffy, and more exciting than before. I returned back to the ebb and flow of the tide, practicing my breathing, my mantra, and the art of uncertainty. If living in the moment means trusting all will unfold if I just listen to my heart, then that’s what I chose to do. As I have learned to do this, amazing opportunities have fallen into my life regarding my career, people have walked into my life or stood up at the forefront who love me, crap flinging and all, replacing those who walked out and I love my own company more than I ever have. As far as plans, I don’t have any, except for a logical time frame making sure all my basic needs are met and I trust they all will be, because what I have realized, as I sit in my ocean of opportunities being gently rocked by the waves, is that I have all that I need to explore this map and this time there is no point A to point B, instead, it is an adventure of staying present, trusting, and having gratitude for each breath I take above the dirt and each day above the dirt is a day of creating the life that serves my higher purpose. I’m pretty sure Loa Tzu would consider me a worthy traveler now and God is no longer laughing, but gently placing all this abundance and joy along my path. The life map is as simple as it is complex to follow. Obstacles on the path are there to steer us in another direction. Gently take the wheel without controlling and lean into reality, dig deep, be still, breathe, be open for the tide to take you in a direction you never expected, trust and be grateful for the opportunity to recreate that which has exploded. Life is an adventure and adventures are not meant to be controlled or predictable. Let go and travel free.

About the Author: 

DeAnna Shires Nielsen, M.Ed. E-RYT 500 & Reiki Practitioner, has been studying and practicing various aspects of yoga since 1993. In 2005, DeAnna created the “Breathe Into Recovery” program for those healing from addiction and is a strong believer of Yoga for Emotional Healing and has been training teachers and offering workshops since 2007 through her “Breathe into Awareness” Programs. Always a student, DeAnna is currently studying Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology with The American Institute of Vedic Studies under he guidance of Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva) and Yogini Shambhavi. Beyond asana that is approachable for all, DeAnna incorporates Ayurveda, Psychology of the Subtle Body, Pranayama, Meditation, and Mantra into her classes for a holistic yoga experience. Her playful spirit encourages laughter, exploration, and the freedom to "Bliss Out" and Just “Be”.

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