The Grand Adventure

First day of a New Year. It’s a blank space baby. (Too much Taylor Swift? maybe  NEVER!)

Before I write on the blank space of a new year, it has become a tradition of mine to pause and look back. With my birthday early in the month of January, the first of the year has always been a time where I think about the moments that shaped the last year of my life.

2014 somewhat resembled a phoenix. It started in the ashes and smoldering of heartache and disrupted plans, but the brokenness led to a beautiful honesty and authenticity that was such a gift. I found myself, at the end of the year in an unexpected flourishing of happiness and stability. Moments that shaped my year, moments that quietly revitalized my spirit:

  • Raw, heart wrenching conversations with hands clasped tight and tears silently streaming. Kindred spirits kneeling down in the pain with me to listen and speak words of truth.
  • Brave adventures, rediscovering the wanderlust that makes my soul come alive in traveling, alongside companions that multiply the joy of experiencing new things.
  • Spontaneous, gritty and soul nourishing heart-to-hearts shared around the kitchen table with the unexpected gift of sisterhood found in my 5 roommates.
  • A warmth bubbling up from within as I hold my new niece and nephew, kissing the tops of their wispy heads and seeing their impossibly small fingers curl tightly around mine, thus stealing my heart.
  • Dancing my heart out in the company of my favorite people, sometimes in the same place I ate my breakfast in quiet solitude just a few hours earlier.
  • Seeing the camaraderie of an entire city emerge as the Royals keep winning and keep winning. Grinning ear to ear as a sea of blue erupts in the celebration of victory.
  • Entering into the abandoned exploration of creating art, knowing deep down that this is what my hands were meant to do.
  • Basking in the simultaneous glow of a crackling fireplace and the company of dear friends, who are generous with their laughter and gifted in the art of storytelling. Realizing that feeling of belonging is nestled snugly in my bones.  IMG_2274

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Yeah, 2014, my 26th year, it was not what I thought it was going to be. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

“Finding happy trails… often involves trekking into Terra Incognita without a compass, but with a resolute openness to experiencing life in all its ravishing complexity.” (Debra Ollivier)

This was certainly true for me this year. Having my sights set on 2015, I want more of the same. Less knowing the answers and more dwelling in the mystery of the right questions. Less having a rigid plan to be tied to and more open-handedness, available to embark on the adventure waiting in the moment. Less trying to live up to the expectations of the better version of myself and more cultivating and stepping into the contentment of who I am and where I find myself. I am becoming more “suspicious of the American style culture of constant self transformation, which draws you into its undertow with the promise of a totally new, improved, much better you while its evil twin suggests there is something very wrong with you.” (Also from Debra Ollivier– What French Women Know… read it.)

In reminiscing on the last year, I came across this journal entry and so resonate with it still. This is my New Year’s resolution.

“I am awakening to the yearning in me to not settle. To Life Life to the Fullest! I’m not going to deny it, I am addicted to comfort, but I don’t want the surface desire for safety and comfort or the tyranny of the daily tasks and “the next thing” to drown out my soul’s deeper cry for Vibrant Adventures, Wholehearted Living! I want to say yes to the daily adventures, soak up the moments of the gift that is my Life, to push past my comfort zone and experience wonder on a regular basis. To me, that means traveling, as well as being a tourist in my own city. It means spontaneous trips to the park and giggling on the front porch with my roommates. It means weekends of solitude and following the impulse to make art. It means being open to the opportunities to connect deeply with others. It means reveling in the grandeur of it all, but having that wonder roll up into gratitude and awe of a God who would put on such an Extravagant Affair. I need to be reminded of this. I want to surround myself with people who have this same mission. Who will point me to the truth and pull me into this Grand Adventure.”

So, dear reader, do you want to join me in this Grand Adventure that is 2015?


One thought on “The Grand Adventure

  1. Allie, thank you for your words. They are refreshing. Learning is just as much as remembering (recovering) as it is about discovering. Your words here reminded me of a quote from Andre Gide (also French! as Ollivier…), deeply akin to your shared quote from Debra Ollivier. Gide wrote that “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” And as my dear patron saint (one of them!) wrote, “To live is to be vulnerable.” We know this in our bones don’t we. Some days we’re just more up for the adventure than others, aren’t we? As Bilbo said, “It’s dangerous business going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” And that, of course, is apart of the adventure of living as a human being, glorious and broken, on this not-forgotten, never-forsaken earth. And of course, I wish you traveling mercies, on this Grand Adventure, this year. I’ll be participating in this Adventure as well. I’m very grateful for traveling companions.

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