Saturday Soul Searching

Yesterday was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right. Towards the end of the workday, I turned to my favorite website for some wisdom. Below are the quotes that hit home for me.

In every breakdown is the blessing of a breakthrough.

In every challenging situation is the gift to help your soul evolve and become who you were really meant to be.

So if your life as you know it is falling apart give thanks and…

LET GO!

Love.Now

Kute Blackson, What to do when your life falls apart!

Our time here on this planet is limited.

Do what feels good.

Do what feels right for you.

No one can define that for you.

You are your best life strategist.

Daily Lover, what will you quit today?

Vasavi Kumar, Sometimes you just need to quit!

If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.

No accomplishment or moment of recognition will ever replace feeling loved, by yourself or anyone else.

You know. You always know.

Saying yes to someone simply because you don’t want to disappoint them is not only unfair to you, it’s unfair to them.

Sleep, water, movement, greens, and a good cry cure almost anything.

It turns out that life is happening right now.

Loving yourself more is the best place to start to solve any problem.

Nothing is random. Everything happens for a reason.

Kate Northrup, Here’s what I know…

Of all of the above quotes, this one remained in my mind all night:

No accomplishment or moment of recognition will ever replace feeling loved, by yourself or anyone else.

Everyone who really knows me knows my story of loss, both professionally and personally. I am trying not to let those events define me, but they will always be a part of who I have been, who I am, and who I will become. Most days are OK, but I know that I am not over the 15-year relationship that ended in June 2012. The past 16+ months of my life have been extremely challenging with unexpected singlehood, a sudden career change, and multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet, but even more so without having someone with whom to share the ups and downs. While I don’t need a romantic relationship to survive, I do need self-love and love from others to keep moving forward. I feel like I have been alone forever and there’s nothing worse than feeling like you have no one. Yes, my blog and my social media persona garner moments of recognition. And yes, I have experienced a sense of accomplishment with my wine and travel writing. However, virtual accomplishment and recognition pale in comparison to real-life friendship and love.

A friend this week said two things to me that came back to me yesterday as well:

  1. I appear to personify my social media persona, travelwinechick. In other words, Beth and travelwinechick are synonymous. While that’s true on one level, it’s not the complete person that I am. I am much more than that and I don’t want to be limited and confined as such.
  2. My new blog tagline should be “Everything to everybody.” This was said in jest, but in reality, it has become true. I have so many commitments, jobs, and responsibilities that I have allowed myself to become everything to everyone, and I just can’t do it anymore, especially for part-time pay or no pay at all. I am trying to not just survive, but thrive.

Instead of grieving my loss, I’ve thrown myself into multiple jobs, travel, blogging, etc. to escape facing my loss head on. Now I find myself overwhelmed, overcommitted, and grieving.

This weekend I find myself assessing what I do and why. Financially I can’t let go of anything paid at the moment, as I am on the cusp of mere survival. I will be spending the last two months of 2013 trying to figure out what will stay, what will go, and how I can be professionally happy and financially stable.

With regard to everything I do for free, specifically my blog, I will no longer guarantee a yes. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no. Saying yes to someone simply because you don’t want to disappoint them is not only unfair to you, it’s unfair to them. I want to write when I feel passionate and excited about an experience. I want to write about ah-ha moments, like today. I will no longer be writing as an obligation or be made to feel guilty if I’m not feeling inspired enough by a wine sample. My blog clearly states, “However, acceptance of a sample does not guarantee a review, nor does it guarantee a positive review.” I must follow my own policy going forward. After all, it’s just wine. Wine is not meant to be laborious, it’s meant to be enjoyed.

With regard to my personal life and relationships, I crave real-life enjoyment. I crave meaningful friendships. I need the love that I know I deserve. I want to travel and not write about it. I want to sip wine with friends and not take photos and notes. Because guess what? It turns out that life is happening right now. I want to be me, I want to be happy, and I want to live in the moment, because right now is all I have.

Our time here on this planet is limited.

Do what feels good.

Do what feels right for you.

Horseback Riding as a Metaphor for Life

The horseback riding group
The horseback riding group

If you wish to be expressed, if you wish to live in your purpose, if you wish to Love and be Loved to the fullest – then become friends with uncertainty. See your life as an experiment in uncertainty. See your life as a giant dare to The Divine – you weren’t made to fall. You weren’t made to fail. You were made to learn. To Love and to pick yourself back up. Erase failure from your vocabulary. It was a lesson. Erase self-doubt from your mind. You have no idea how amazing and powerful you are when you are connected to your Source. Step into uncertainty today and a little bit every day. This is how an epic life is lived. ~ Mastin Kipp, The Daily Love

The past year and a half has been one of great loss and change. With moving forward comes an increased awareness of who you are and who you want to become.

Chocolate and me
Chocolate and me

I give beyond means and love endlessly. I share more of myself with others than I receive in return. I am also very cautious and controlled. I thrive on excellence to the extent that I am an overachiever and a perfectionist. However, in my recent personal journey, I have been letting go more: throwing caution to the wind, being more spontaneous, and learning that perfectionism is a hindrance to success, not a help.

View of the Andes on the way to the ranch
View of the Andes on the way to the ranch

Therefore, when I had the opportunity for a horseback riding adventure at La Quebrada del Cóndor in the Potrerillos area of the Andes, Villa Tupungato, on my recent trip to Mendoza, Argentina with Uncorking Argentina, I had mixed emotions. The former me and the new me were battling for control. Should I say no or should I let go? Then I thought, “When will I ever have this opportunity again? DO IT!” My heart won over my head, but it was not without doubt and hesitation.

The ranch
The ranch

You see, I’ve only ridden horses twice in my life: once when I was a fearless kid and once when I was an adult. The adult experience was traumatic because out of the blue, the horse backed me into some thorny bushes and tried to throw me off its back. The guide didn’t help, so my boyfriend struggled to get me off the horse in time. That was 16 years ago.

My horse, Chocolate
My horse, Chocolate

As we drove to the ranch, I became more and more nervous and uncomfortable. In this moment, I thought about my favorite website, The Daily Love, and how readers are taught that success comes when you are most uncomfortable. I forged ahead with my decision. “Uncomfortable is good,” I repeated to myself. I was almost numb as one of the guides put chaps on my legs. The time came for me to get on my horse, Chocolate (pronounced choh-koh-lah-teh in Spanish), and again, I needed the assistance of Eduardo, one of the guides. Finally we were off on a three-hour journey through the Cordón del Plata. The ride was unparalleled and will remain one of the top five experiences of my life, a combination of exhilaration, fear, trust, adrenaline, natural beauty, and the human and animal connection.

Cori, me, and one of our amazing guides
Horseback riding in the Andes, Mendoza, Argentina

At one point, we decided to head up to one of the highest peaks. The horses balked as it was the path least taken, just like we humans often do when confronted with change. The route was treacherous because of snow melt and mud. The horses stopped dead in their tracks with a few colliding into each other. A few of us were stuck on the side of the slippery slope. I closed my eyes and conceded my fate to faith and trust. At this moment, Eduardo appeared and led each of us and our horses to safer ground. Like life at its lowest point, there’s nowhere to go but up if you just let go, breathe, trust, and allow faith lead you back to light and joy.

The view from 3000 meters (approx 10,000 feet)
The view from 3000 meters (approx 10,000 feet)

We continued our journey without further incident. We made it to an elevation of about 3000 meters (approximately 10,000 feet) and we all felt like we were on top of the world, both literally and figuratively. The ride back to the ranch was downhill and easy in every sense of the word. I felt blissful and calm as I let go even more and gave my complete trust to Chocolate, Juan Martín, and Eduardo.

The asado
The asado

Upon our return, we had a grand celebration with a scrumptious asado (Argentine barbecue) prepared by Cato, one of the owners, and his team. I had no idea that my emotional, mental, and physical journey would make me so hungry and thirsty for food, drink, and adventure.