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On plans and patience…

Acro yoga on San pancho beach

I’ll be straight up with you. Writing this post was a pickle.

Clarity has been like a soap in the bathtub – I can see it but it slips away with every grasp. Trying to write it down has filled this page six times over and led to picking apart.

Only one thing is sure: when the mind falters from yes to no and every shade in-between within the space of 24 hours, it’s definitely not decision time.

This hasn’t been easy to accept. I hate having things hanging over me. ‘To do’ lists sit heavily in the mind, and I never once pulled an all-nighter to meet a deadline. I’d likely have handed it in days before – a useful trait in some ways, but also one borne of anxiety and not a habit that cultivates patience.

acro yoga at sunset

At 17, a friend told me I was a person who really did what they said they were going to do. She was right and I took pride in that. When I said I was going to work on a newspaper in Sri Lanka, I meant it, and six months later I was there – even if the whole thing proved a sham and I spent the next few months getting happy on a beach in Hikkaduwa. The key thing was that I did it and followed through on my plan.

While these two traits have their advantages and mean that I’ve traditionally been a person who gets things done, they also have their downside – hiding fear, impatience and a desire to control the path ahead. They leave little room for spontaneity, chance and a natural unfolding of the world around me. Last year I decided to work on that, so when Steve and I left from London, we purposefully set out with no fixed plans, only an intention to try and follow what felt right.

Letting life unfold

It was a giant leap and getting used to that uncertainty is an ever-evolving process, but the fruits are what keep us going. With an itinerary and fixed plans, we may never have never found such locations as Capilla del Monte, Coroico or even San Pancho – places that seemed to find us as much as we found them – not to mention the people we’ve bumped into along the way.

Lately that unfolding has been challenged. It serves us well while we’re on the move. We don’t have commitments to place so going with the flow is a natural course, but when it comes to our retreat centre, commitment is required. We have to make a decision – to choose one place and say that’s where we will be for six months of the year – perhaps not always but for a while at least.

Upside acro yoga at sunset

In many ways we’ve found that answer in San Pancho. We’re in love with the town and all it holds – but, of course, it’s not without it’s problems. We have a list of concerns ranging from the trivial (scorpions) to the more fundamental, such as whether or not we want to be so far from home, even if just for half the year. And while it’s tempting to say screw it to all the ‘what ifs’, throw caution to the wind and go with our awesome plan, we know we’re not quite there yet. It would feel rash and this is a decision that deserves time to marinate.

Time to wait and see

This wasn’t easy to admit to. Our plans in San Pancho had accelerated, even going so far as having preliminary plans drawn up by a local architect. We could see our dream forming before our eyes and it was exciting. In so many ways it felt right, but we also know that if it is the best thing to do, it will still feel that way in a year. This is a step far beyond anything we’ve done before and it isn’t a time to rush.

So we’re working on a new set of plans. We want to step away and see our choice from different perspectives – to know how we feel about San Pancho from a distance, and to explore a few more locations. Over the next year, we’re going to continue wandering, pondering and exploring land and dreams.

Practising acro yoga in San pancho

It’s exciting, but also somewhat daunting. We’re looking for a place to call home on a vast planet with infinite options. We have to look deep inside ourselves, work on priorities, criteria and compromise. We know there likely won’t be an option that comes out trumps on all we want. San Pancho could well be it, and a day will come when that decision can be made, but for now we need more time.

And that’s the hardest part of all for an impatient mind such as mine.  Both Steve and I know we want a retreat centre, and if we went with San Pancho, we could have that in less than a year. As it is, we’re not sure when the location will reveal itself. We have to have patience and faith that things will work out.

The middle way

Six drafts and a ton of mind-boggling scans of the mind stream later and I’ve reached a point where I really can say that’s okay. It’s challenging and presses hard against long-term habits, but that struggle feels like a wonderful lesson, and a chance to find a middle way. The long-standing impatience and integrity will see that things stay motivated, while the newfound relaxation will hopefully bring a lightness and natural unfolding to the process. It’s new terrain, and we’re excited about where it will take us.

Thank you for following along – and, of course, for your patience too!

If you’re wondering about the acro yoga photos, I think they’re a nice display of putting trust in the universe that things will work out just right! It’s our new favourite pastime! 

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Comments

    • Victoria says

      Thanks Patti! I suppose they are only so trivial to the point it’s easy to make a decision about whether or not we can earn to live with them, and to that we decided we can :)

  1. Kim says

    Ah, I totally get this. I, too, have been told “Kim, when you say you’re going to do something you do it.” Which is true, and I also take pride in that. But, COMPLETELY AGREE, it leads to rushed decisions, stress that a to-do list has not been completed, and anxiety. Sounds like you guys know at least that the right decision is to wait and see… things will unfold and it will be exciting to see how it all works out.
    Kim recently posted..A conversation on an Indian airplaneMy Profile

    • Victoria says

      Thanks Kim. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this quandary! It has definitely been a relief to make the decision to wait. Now I just have to work on having patience. And you’re right, it is exciting to see how things unfold.

  2. Hannah says

    I’m a mixture of stubborn and relaxed – if I say I’ll do something, I always do it, but I am also very happy taking each day as it comes. I think a big part of that is just trusting that I am already on the right path, which I truly believe you and Steve are. Take this year to go and explore, and in the end if you find yourselves right back in San Pancho, well then you were right all along. And if you don’t, well then you were right to look elsewhere. Either way, you were right. It’s win-win :)
    Hannah recently posted..Reflecting on six months of travelMy Profile

    • Victoria says

      Thanks Hannah. You are a great example of someone who seems to be truly appreciating each moment and trusting where they are in life. I find a lot of inspiration and encouragement in that. Thanks for the words of wisdom :)

  3. Audrey says

    I can so relate to this. Although we were not dealing with commitments as big as yours lately we went back and forth with a decision on building a base in Berlin. Sometimes taking a bit of space and releasing oneself from the pressure of a decision can actually help make the decision for you. If San Pancho is THE place for your dream of a retreat center, it will still be the place if you give it a bit more time. In our story, we did commit to Berlin but it hasn’t been easy. Even after acting on the decision there were doubts. Then last night we were out at a live music venue and I looked out the window at a familiar scene – that of Kottbusser Tor U-bahn station and the trains going by – and got a sense of happiness and peace as if “yes, this is right.”
    Audrey recently posted..Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand: A Perfect Beach for a Picnic [360-Degree Panorama]My Profile

    • Victoria says

      Hi Audrey. Lovely to hear from you and thanks for the words of wisdom. I’m so pleased it’s all worked out for you. I’m slightly embarrassed to say I’ve never been to Berlin despite a plethora of weekends away while living in London. It’s definitely high on my list of places to visit. I’ll be sure to let you know when we make it. It looks like a wonderful place.

    • Victoria says

      Thanks Andi. I love that dress too. My yoga teacher gave it to me at the end of my training. It makes me feel like some sort of fairy princess :)

  4. Ros says

    This sounds such a wise decision. It gives you time to reflect and observe from a distance, so that you make the right choice. I can really identify with what you’re saying.
    I love the photos too! I’m glad they were Stephen’s legs supporting you!

  5. Kalista says

    Beautiful post, beautiful quandary. I have the same lack of patience that it seems you have, but once you comfortably settle into the state of not knowing, then all things will come together.

    Thanks for letting us all be a part of your journey!

    • Victoria says

      Thank you Kalista for following along, and for your kind words. Settling into that state of unknowing is definitely my current priority!

  6. theDangerz says

    we can so relate.
    we are having exactly the same discussions daily.

    are we jumping at an opportunity because of old habits and ways of thinking that push our patience, or is it because we are ready for the next leap?

    impossible to say- but now that you’ve decided/taken a step down the path… it’s inevitably the right one!
    theDangerz recently posted..Assessing the damage in Playa Maderas, NicaraguaMy Profile

    • Victoria says

      Thanks guys! It is indeed a tricky decision, but we feel happy having made one! Good luck with your plans and hopefully we’ll see you back in San Pancho one day.

  7. Andrea says

    I’m a lot like you describe. A planner who does what she says she’s going to do. I get very nervous when I DON’T have a plan, and the fear creeps in. That’s awesome that you’re breaking free from your usual ways and letting the universe help you make your decision. Good luck, I look forward to seeing how it evolves!
    Andrea recently posted..A pretty delectable chocolate brownieMy Profile

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