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  • Jenny

Epilogue: Where to Next?

When I look back at all of the physical journeys I have taken, I myself am amazed at the profoundness of the lessons and the spiritual awakenings that have occurred. Who knew when I took my first trip to Lake George that it would begin a life-long quest of learning, healing and growing that contributed to my selfdiscovery?

As I reflect on the common themes and challenges throughout these trips—throughout my life in general—I can feel the transformation from the young, lost girl I once was, to the strong, confident woman I have become.

It has not been an easy journey, but then again, is it for anyone?

We all go through our struggles, and our experiences become part of our identities. We all have our good times, and our bad times, and never should there be a moment of regret. Do I wish some

experiences were easier to go through than others? Of course I do, but there is not one experience I would change in any way.

Contrast is an essential part of life. They are right when they say without knowing the helplessness of sorrow, we could not know the depths of joy. There is no pleasure without pain, no success without failure, no sun without rain, and so on. Who would want to live in a world of balanced numbness?

Not me. I choose occasional hardships so that I can relish in the gratitude of my blessings. I choose to celebrate my darkness so that my light can shine brighter.

Each one of these adventures has left a mark on my life, and each held an important lesson for me. Sometimes big, sometimes small, but each transformational in its own way.

Where I “go” next is not as much physical as it is spiritual for me—though I will always boldly embrace my innate desire to explore. My time in a cocoon has certainly come to an end, and I feel the freedom of having the wings to soar in any direction I want. But I must take with me all I have learned, and honor the transformation within.

What does that mean, really? Well, first, accepting that I am a work in progress and always evolving. There will always be lessons to learn, uncovered patterns to break and challenges to test my faith and resolve. But consciously, I need to acknowledge my core beliefs, and honor myself and my values as I move forward.

That’s much easier said than done, as habits are so much “safer” than stepping outside of our comfort zone—even if stepping outside of our comfort zone is what is best for us. For me, that means looking at community in a whole new light, and accepting that I am an individual who might not always fit in—but I will always make a difference. Perhaps I may truly be a serial outcast, only meant to develop one-on-one relationships and never belong to a group. And you know, that is okay with me, because I treasure the relationships that I do have, and I would never give them up for the approval of a system that I cannot—and will not—conform to.

My individuality is beautiful and unique, and I am proud to express that authentically.

Not that I am not a supporter of groups, organizations, people, etc. I absolutely am, and admire them completely. My contribution to the world just does not seem to fit into that kind of a mold, and feeling like an outsider finally feels right to me.

Then there are my tumultuous relationships with men. Why are they such a recurring theme in my stories? I’ve become abundantly clear on my past neediness for attention and validation, and how that affected my self-esteem on multiple levels. Most likely it stems from the typical daddy issues and unrequited love stories, with a never-ending quest to just feel loved.

But now that I have made peace with the men in my life, and realized that the love for myself is stronger than any love I could receive from another, I have no space for my destructive patterns anymore. I surrender the need for external validation of my selfworth. I let go of the fear that I am unlovable exactly as I am. I accept the power of vulnerability on every level, and I will not settle for anything other than a meaningful, healthy connection.

I have no better half. I am my own better half, and I need no completion.

What I do need, and want, is an equally whole partner to share my adventures with. The self-sacrifices of my past were critical to my heart and soul’s opening for the right person, and I realize a few more “Mr. Wrongs” could show up along the way with more lessons to teach me—and I welcome them. But I am no longer interested in repeating the same mistakes and receiving the same messages ad nauseam. I have graduated from an elementary perspective on how love should be, and why. My new chapter has already begun—one where I trust, have faith and honor myself.

And boy, does it feel good!

But it’s so much more than my relationships with others. At the core, it is the relationship to myself that has needed the most tender loving care; the one that I have so long neglected. I became increasingly aware of how strong the fear has been within me. The fear of being a failure—so I quit before I was ahead. The fear of being rejected—so I never took a risk. The fear of not being good enough—so I put on a mask.

And then I see those very moments where I stared fear in the face, fought back, and won.

How exhilarating it was for me to recall those moments—and how fulfilling! Breaking free from our

own limitations is one of the most powerful forces we have within us. I have played my life way too

safe, and it is time to take some risks. It is time to remove the fears, anxieties and doubts, let myself

hyperventilate as I push through the motions, and then breathe myself back to center to face the demons. I am always protected and supported by God, and if I do fail, I know that there is a deeper meaning to be revealed, or something better that is meant to be.

But I cannot move forward if I stay frozen. The ice has melted, the cocoon has been busted open, and it is time to open my wings and show the world how beautiful they really are.

And I need to do so without my high standards and expectations. They really can wreak havoc on life when they aren’t met. Triggered emotions, frustrations, fights—and a whole bunch of other unsavory reactions. It’s okay to have a plan, but I’ve learned that it’s much better to just go with the flow and let nature take its course.

I don’t need to know everything—or anything—in advance. I just have to trust myself, and my angelic guides, and I will never be led astray.

In the past, I tended to hold on way too tight to a detailed vision, and whenever something didn’t work out the way I had hoped, I internalized it like a catastrophe. But the beauty of those emotions led to the discovery of how much more freedom and power there is in letting the divine take the lead. How cool is that? To not be in control, and just surrender to the flow of the universe?

It is actually perfect for a natural explorer like myself, and I have been resisting the best parts of my journeys by holding back from fully experiencing every moment. Well, no more. It’s in my soul to be adventurous—and that is something I now embrace with a whole new life perspective. One that is fearless, confident and curious. One that is free, expressive and inspiring. One that is based in love, trust and faith.

So now that I have discovered the truth of who I am and what I believe, where do I want to continue my adventures?

Where is my heart calling me to explore? Not to escape to—but to fuel my desire to experience the world all around me. Just thinking about it makes me feel like a kid on Christmas!!

Well, I left a part of my heart in Barcelona, and it is a dream of mine to bring my children back there one day to see where I used to live. I found that there was a Mediterranean Disney Cruise that left out of a Barcelona port which would be perfect for them. This way, they can experience a little bit of the different European cultures with me, yet still have the backup enjoyment of being spoiled by Disney fanfare. I would love to walk down my streets once more, to visit my special beach and favorite café for a hot choco-latte. And while I am in the area and the boat’s cruising, I would love to check Greece off my adventure to-go list.

I definitely would like to return to Ireland, as I feel so strongly connected there. There are castles I have yet to explore, and green pastures I have yet to uncover (along with secrets—a super-sleuth never gives up on a case!) I would also love to check out my unexplored Polish heritage, and I could also give Germany another shot—this time, I would find out where my roots specifically are and explore there. Anywhere that gives me insight into where I came from, and the history of my ancestors, is something that captivates me completely.

Hollywood has always inspired intriguing and different places to visit. A fan of the Karate Kid movies, I always wanted to check out Okinawa—or at the very least, Japan. I would be so jealous of my ex-husband’s trips there for work, and just wished I could have traveled with him there even once. As a young girl, my very first soap opera love was One Life to Live, and I will never forget the scene where Tina fell over the Iguazu Falls, and ever since then (and later reinforced by the Evita movie), I’ve wanted to travel to Argentina to see them.

Australia is another “to see” place, as I am so intrigued by the accents, culture and apparent hospitality. And I think it would be cool to see an authentically-living koala bear munching on a eucalyptus leaf! Going on an African safari would also be absolutely amazing, as would a trip to Mexico and Bali.

But number one on my list, hands down, is Egypt.

I feel as strong a connection there as I do to Ireland; perhaps more so. As a child, I was completely fascinated with pyramids, the story of Cleopatra and hieroglyphics. Those especially were curious for me. As I grew older, my favorite Broadway show became Aida, and I just couldn’t get enough of it. I understand that modern-day Egypt is extremely dangerous for young American women, but I will not

give up hope that one day I will be there, able to freely explore a country I know has deep-rooted meaning for me yet to be revealed. No doubt, connected to a past life of mine.

I am sure I am missing a few foreign places I want to go to, and I will get around to all of it one day. Of that, I have no doubt. But for now, my exploratory focus is on the United States, and one of the biggest adventures of my life: a double cross-country trip. I know—my long drive through New England was not the best experience, and you would think it would be an indication of what it would be like to actually do these long kinds of road trips (and steer clear of them). But, no can do. I have an adventure list to check off! (And a GPS to purchase.)

My intention is to hit as many states as possible on these journeys, and really get a taste of how different the cultures are even within my own country. There are so many amazing people I would love to see across the States, and that experience alone is so much more meaningful than seeing some colorful fall trees.

How could I resist a trip where I get to deepen so many special connections in my life?

It’s an opportunity that may never come my way again, and it is something I have always wanted to do ever since hearing stories about my grandparent’s cross-country road trip. They are the ones who inspired me to be adventuresome and go exploring. I owe that streak in me to them, and to my children

who continue to encourage and inspire my inner child.

I owe my many lessons, both loving and hurtful, to so many wonderful people I have met along these different paths, and I am forever grateful for their presence in my life, whether reason, season or

lifetime. I owe feeling and knowing that at the end of it all, there truly is no place like home, to my family, most of all, my mom, who gave me a great foundation. And I owe these opportunities to take risks and explore life to its fullest to God and the universe, and to myself for accepting them.

What a powerful gift to be living a dream; for in that dream for me has been great transformation, wisdom and unspeakable truth.

Truth that no matter where I go, I am always me, and am I here on this earth to experience, to love, to flourish and to discover. Perhaps these physical adventures are the catalyst for many an awakening; but it is the spiritual awakenings that walk hand in hand with the physical that have revealed the woman—the soul—that I am inside.

And it is that journey within that has been the greatest adventure of all.

Want to continue reading where I left off -- right before that destined cross-country trip on my way to moving to California? Join me and my kids as we regale our adventure across the United States:


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