Worrisome thoughts swarmed inside my head like a cluster of bees around a beekeeper collecting honey. Where am I going to go after this three day retreat? What will I do? Who will I meet? How do I go about signing a lease and getting my car registered? How do I do this whole adulting thing? I thought these questions to myself on repeat, like a broken record, as walked around the beautiful cliff side of Big Sur.
After inflicting a copious amount of stress and suffering from these questions, I thought I found the solution. What a relief it would be to stay at this retreat for a year attending the work scholar program here at Esalen! I'd pay a reasonable amount of money for room and board, delicious organic food, gain more knowledge from the courses and certainly spiritual growth as well, make connections, and at the end, a certification that will certainly make a few people impressed. The thought of this elevated some of the weight that I was schlepping around on my shoulders. My application was approved and I anxiously awaited as I slowly started climbing up the waiting list.
I found temporary housing in Santa Barbara and continued to keep my fingers crossed as I thought to myself "I will be back at Esalen, and I will get off the waiting list." I started meditating and using positive affirmations in my daily routine to keep my destructive thoughts at bay as best I could, and connect more with my intuition and true self.
Right when I thought I was getting my mind under control, and my life seemed to be going as planned, the universe threw a curve ball at me, and I didn't have a bat or glove to catch it. I was told my temporary housing situation would be coming to an end much sooner than expected. It was beginning to look more likely that I would get off the waiting list for the work scholar program at Esalen, but even if I did, I still had a few more months until it began.
To say I started to freak out may be an understatement. Thankfully, I was able to pull in the reigns before I went too off track by accepting that life doesn't always follow the path I envision, and trusting that this was all happening for a reason, and everything would work itself out in the end. I'm not saying everything was all rainbows and butterflies, but I continued to focus on my well being and be as aware and present as I could.
With this newfound focus on my awareness, I started to question my decision, and wondered if my choice to go back to Esalen was based out of fear or love. Was I doing this because it was in my highest and best good, or was it a way for me to escape and put my life on hold so I didn't have to face the challenges of the real world. My ego would relentlessly shut this thought down, and kept me feeling hopeful about returning to Esalen.
Within a week, I serendipitously stumbled upon the house of my dreams in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. If my life had a sound track to it, The Clash would have started playing "Should I stay or should I go?" for by that point, I was next on the waiting list and would certainly have the opportunity to go back to Esalen. I went back and forth in my head on what I should do like a ball being bounced across a table at a ping pong tournament.
Half of the people I spoke to about my situation encouraged me to go to Esalen, and others told me to get the house while I could. Ultimately, the decision was up to me, and nobody would know what was better for me than my own guidance anyways. After much confusion, indecision, and anxiety, it boiled down to whether I should do what felt good, more certain and comfortable, or what felt right, even though that would be uncomfortable and uncertain.
I chose the latter because not doing so would prolong the situation that I was trying to avoid completely, which would be impossible. We all have to get on with our lives and deal with people, circumstances, and events, that make us uncomfortable. Sometimes it's best to avoid them, but in many cases, it's enabling our personal growth and prolonging situations that will manifest in another way down the line. Sooner or later we have to face challenges, and the longer we avoid them, the longer we will run around in circles until we get burnt out. Do yourself a favor and do what feels right, even if it doesn't feel good.