Because Traveling Won't Make you Happy

madrid, spain
It is easier to assume that the things you want in life are going to make you happy than it is to question why you currently aren’t.

After arriving in Spain, I realized that I fell into the same trap that I always do. I assumed that if I changed my outside world, then my inside world would follow. This is because I tend to point to circumstances in my life for why I am unhappy. I blame the outside world for my unhappiness, more specifically, my surroundings. I point to my living situation, city, or even my country as the reason why I am so deeply discontent.

I think that happiness is on the other side of where I currently am and if I only travel or move to the right place I will find it. I make the all too common mistake of changing everything around me in an attempt to change how I feel. I’ve begun to realize that I put too much focus and energy on trying to change my perception of the things outside of me that I think are making me unhappy rather than asking myself why I am unhappy to begin with.

I think we point to people, circumstances, or any physical aspect as a reason for our unhappiness because it creates certainty. We look for reasons why we are unhappy that our outside of us in an attempt to have a concrete definition. It gives our mind something definable and tangible to help make sense of the way we interact with this world. Once we identify the very thing that is the perceived source of our unhappiness, that means we have identified where we can place the blame. By having something to blame, we create a way to “fix” our unhappy state while continuing to stay there because it can’t truly address the real issue. We become convinced that until whatever the problem in our life changes, we can't. 

But placing the blame outside of ourselves is dangerous. By doing so, we are convincing ourselves that we understand the reason for our sorrow. We are perpetuating the belief that we can obtain happiness only if we can properly manipulate the outside world to our liking. Until we structure everything around us the way we envision, happiness seems as though it is both within sight yet currently unobtainable. We tell ourselves that we know what will make us happy until we found out it doesn’t.  

Art of the Unknown Podcast- Travel meets Spirituality

I choose to believe that happiness is dependent on something external because it allows me to disconnect from my deeper truth. If I put the blame on something outside of me, then I don’t have to take responsibly for how I feel and why. If I keep telling myself that I am unhappy because of the city that I live in, then I understand the root of the problem and thus no internal reflection or work is needed.  Projecting happiness to a distant time or place is an attempt to avoid looking at my present internal state. Doing so allows me to avoid going deep within myself and digging through all the past hurts that I am still holding onto. Ultimately it is easier to distract myself then it is to confront myself.   

I am trying so desperately to convince myself that the next place I travel or move to is going to make me happy. I want to believe it that once I make it to the ideal location, I will finally find the peace that I am looking for. Once I get to where I want to go, then I will be happy. I simply just assume that the things I want in life are going to make me happy because it is easier that way. But I have been down this same road so many times before that I am starting to see through the bullshit. Even though I know the direction I need to go internally, I find that I am still resisting.

There is something about truly dissecting my inner world and self that still scared me. I’m refusing to fully take an emotional inventory because I fear what I am going to find. In some ways, I fear the very things that are inside of me because I know that once I expose them to myself, then they will become exposed to the world. Once I find out the truth about myself, then I am forced to face it. The thought of shedding light on my most inner fear, flaws, and insecurities scares me more than anything else but, despite that fear, I know that the only way for me to heal myself is to honest with what is causing me pain to begin with.

But just like everything else in life, happiness is a balance. It is a balance between letting go and moving forward. It is balance between releasing the things that are causing you pain while at the same time moving towards the very things that bring you life. 

Art of the Unknown Podcast - Travel meets Spirituality

We all want to be happy, but are we able to truly identity what happiness is, or more importantly, what it feel like for us individually? My journey of understanding happiness is leading me to begin to release blame and with it my overall focus is starting to shift. Instead of focusing on the things that I think cause of my unhappiness I am beginning to start living and thinking on the other side of the equation. 

I am beginning to identifying the things that are in alignment and fully correlate with my personal version of happiness. They are not things of this world, but instead they are feelings. If happiness is a feeling, or a state of being, then to identity how you want to feel would be the first step in the direction towards happiness instead of trying to manipulate the things around you that you think are to blame.

Happiness is not found in what you are giving up or changing, instead it is what you are gaining emotionally. In order to move into those feelings you want, things will need to change. But the things that will be lost are a byproduct of moving forward, not happiness itself. I've finally begun to realize that I've been confusing the two for too long. 

If you want to hear more on this topic, listen to Episode 17 of the Podcast. 

Light and Love 

Spiritual Mirrors: The Dead Sea, Israel

Art of the Unknown Podcast - Travel and Spirituality Podcast

Every once in a while, a place, opportunity, or experience calls your name so clearly that it can't be ignored. Its almost as though the universe is conspiring with you to make something happen and all you have to do is listen. Over the past month, this is exactly what had been happening to me. Israel kept making its way into my consciousness and any mention of it or the Dead Sea would grab my full attention like never before. It was that kind of feeling that makes it seem as though the universe was speaking directly to me by purposely bringing up its name over and over again. 

I wasn't exactly sure why the universe was pulling me towards Israel. I didn't plan on going there during this trip, or really anytime soon. But when something is so loudly calling my name, I know that it is doing so for a reason. Even though I wasn't aware its higher purpose that was drawing me in at the time, I felt that there was one because my energy was being pulled in that direction. Its times like these that I let my intuition guide me and just trust that the universe knows whats its doing because it either comes down to one of two things: either you trust in the path that is laid out before you or you don't. Either you decide to move in that direction or you just make up excuses as to why you can't. Either you let yourself be guided by the universe, or you turn your back on it. 

Because I'm staying in Turkey, Israel wasn't that far of a jump. I decided to look up some plane tickets just for fun... just to let my imagination and curiosity run with the idea. When I saw that a round trip flight from Istanbul to Tel Aviv was only $136, I knew for certain that going to the Dead Sea was a possibility. If I really wanted to go, then I already had the means and the opportunity to do so.  

Art of the Unknown Podcast - Travel and Spirituality Podcast

Without much thought, it became very clear what I needed to do: I needed to go to Israel. Part of me knew that I would end up there because now there was nothing stopping me from going in the direction of the very thing that was calling my name. But the other part of me wasn't so sure ... and a little scared. This would be my first time traveling to a middle eastern country by myself. I did not think this trip would take me to Israel, let alone deeper into the middle east, and yes, I was little concerned about traveling as a solo female but regardless I knew what my options were. Either I give into my fear or I trust my intuition.  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but regardless of how last minute this decision was, there was a sense of security inside of me becasue I knew that I was ready and that this is exactly what I had been waiting for.  

The universe was guiding me towards Isreal, and I knew that I had to trust it completely. I had to go all in without second guessing myself because any form of doubt would be an insult to that trust. Once I committed mentally to the decision and gave up all forms of fear, that is when the excitement started to take over: I'm going to the Dead Sea. I had made the right decision. 

When I landed in Tel Aviv, the first thing I felt was an energetic focus on my heart. I was feeling love come to me but I wasn't exactly sure of its source. It was as if the energy in Tel Aviv was pointing directly at my heart and by doing so it made me aware of something that I wasn't conscious of before. By feeling this energy pointed towards my heart, it made it very clear to me that my heart was still learning how to be open and accepting of love. By showing me this, it made it very clear to me that the part of me that I need to heal next is my heart because there are parts of is that have been closed off for far too long. By experincing this love, it allowed me to see some of the things that have been causing an emotional disconnect between having that love present and fully experiencing it.  My heart chakra has been crying out for attention, but it is something that I have generally ignored because I never wanted to go down that path, nor did I think that I really needed to. 

Being in Israel, it has shown me that my heart still needs healing. Even though I could feel this love and energy so strongly, I could't pin point the source. I wasn't convinced that the location was radiating love rather that love was merely present. No matter the source, I knew that there was some how a connection between where I was and what I was experiencing. 

It wasn't until I reached the Dead Sea did it all make sense. The love that I was feeling wasn't coming to me from the external world, instead it was coming from me. The love that I was feeling was love that was being reflected from myself. The sea was acting as a mirror and it was showing me the parts of myself that I was failing to see. It was showing me that there is a greater source of love in my heart than I was aware of. These waves of love that I was feeling come and go ultimately acted as a reminder of who I really am: Infinite love. I had been living my life as though I wasn't aware of this fact, because, in someways I just merely forgot.    

While I could feel that the Dead Sea was showing me that I am love, it was also showing me parts of myself that have been blocking me from experiencing that love. I have emotional and mental barriers that are rooted in criticism, doubt, and self hate which have been perpetuated by habits and thought patterns. Ultimately it became clear: the only person that had been preventing me from experincing love was myself. I have shut my heart off most, if not all of my life, and now I'm realizing that it is the very part of me that needs the most healing.  While it was orginally closed due to the unavoidable pain and mess that is this world, the fact that I have allowed it to remain closed has ultimaltey become the source of suffering that I was trying to avoid. 

If I can sum up the energy at the Dead Sea in one word, that word would be reflection. By offering me a mirror, the Dead Sea has shown me the state of the most intimate part of myself: my heart. I knew that I was harboring pain: pain from feeling unworthy and the pain that was never fully grieved in the past. Nothing in this world is so important that you should close your heart off because of it and I now know that I have given far too many things that power. By trying to protect myself from the world, I have only caused myself more suffering than any that I was trying to avoid. While I still have a lot of healing to do, I at least know where to start. Love is out there and has always been, but I am still learning how to access it. Healing takes time, but it also takes attention, patience, and compassion, things that I am still learning how to give myself. 

If you want to hear more about the Dead Sea or my healing journey, check out Episode 13 of the Podcast. Light and love! 

Art of the Unknown Podcast - Travel and Spirituality Podcast

Energetic Healing in Istanbul, Turkey: Root Chakra

Ever since I have arrived in Istanbul, the energy here has been pulling me towards the Earth.  This feeling isn't just me wanting to connect back to nature, instead it runs deeper than that. It is a feeling of needing to return back to a place of belonging and security, not just in the world but also with in myself. The energy in Istanbul is slowly but surely showing me that there is something missing in my life: Foundation. 

Stability is something I always assumed I had, until I started questioning exactly what that word means, and more specifically, what it feels like. More recently than not, I have been feeling as though my life and myself are a mess and that my mind is constantly all over the place. Its almost as though I have nothing solid to hold onto as I try to maneuver my way through this ever shifting Earth. Naturally, I blamed the outside world. I pointed the blame at people, circumstances, or even time. Anything that was constantly changing was at fault because I couldn't seem to get the grip on it that I wanted. I found myself looking for stability while living on shaky grounds. I was confusing the flow in my life for chaos in my mind. 

Only until I started directing my attention inward, did I realize that the feeling of being grounded wasn't going to be found in the outside world. This sense of foundation and belonging was something that I was missing because it had never been established internally. Why? Maybe it could have been constantly moving as a child, my family dwindling apart after the deaths of multiple family members or, maybe, my general aloof and independent personality type. No matter the reason, Istanbul's energy has offered me a sense of grounding and by doing so it has reflected the very lack of it in myself. This has become a sign of the direction that I need to go spiritually, and that is healing myself in way so I can get back that sense of rooting and foundation I had lost without even realizing it. 

When I left for this journey of travel and exploration, I didn't know what to expect. Slowly but surely, this is turning into a healing journey more than anything else which is why I have been choosing to my direction inwards and focusing on balancing myself and my root chakra. This chakra is responsible for your sense of safely and security while we on this worldly journey It is energetic link that connects us back to the Earth and ultimately back to that sense of foundation that I am missing.  I am not sure where this journey will take me, but I know that is a journey that I am ready to start and theres no better place to start than the ground up. 

I hope you enjoy my video describing the root chakra. If you are interested about my take on Istanbul, Turkey as a whole and a more depth description of the energy, please refer to Episode 11. 

Light and Love