There is beauty in arriving to the altar naked.
Some of us feel more vulnerable when we are alone, as if we don’t know how to fill our time.
And some of us, myself included, feel most vulnerable in a group of people.
When I arrived in Medellin last weekend after such a heart-opening, expansive, and educational week in Colombia’s capital city, Bogota, I was met with the feeling of disgust.
As a solo female traveler, especially in different countries, I try to choose living spaces that are in the popular areas of town (for safety and convenience reasons), but I did not expect a party filled town, a crowded hostel, and to speak so much English. Overwhelmed was an understatement for me when I arrived.
When humans plan, God laughs.
The first two days in Medellin, I felt like I hit rock bottom, to be honest. I arrived here to a hostel with a neon sign saying "Made in Medellin". Rihanna was playing in the cafe next door. Cigarette butts and ramen noodles draped the benches of what was supposed to be a peaceful garden space.
Usually when I feel like something isn’t for me, I can disappear back to my space, be alone, set up my altars, meditate, and find my flow once again.
Sharing a room with 7 other girls didn’t exactly give me that opportunity. I felt vulnerable AF, with nowhere to go.
Suddenly I felt like a failure. I began worrying about my business, money, my relationships...
My experience overtook me and I felt utterly powerless.
I sat outside of my hostel, feeling bad for myself, and I couldn't even cry. I was almost laughing at how ridiculously horrible everything felt.
It felt...funny. I thought (at the time) that this was the worst case scenario...until I looked around and what I saw were beautiful green plants, people laughing, and I had plenty of money to go get myself a coffee.
My hostel was reserved, and safe.
I was safe.
My people were showing up for me in support.
When I really looked at the feeling of being trapped, I realized I actually had tons of options.
I could change hostels. I could go get something to eat. Hell, if I wanted to, I could go back to the United States and just scratch the trip.
And this is where the narrative shifted...
...from I am powerless, to I am powerful.
THE SHIFT In these vulnerable moments when my world felt so challenging, I humbly asked myself... What would it look like to do this the 'Kelsey way'? No-one is forcing me to go out and party.
I got excited at the prospect of these visions...romantic coffee shop dates with Self, loads of writing, eating delicious food, perhaps making some friends..
What if I just did exactly what I felt like doing?
Life is not happening against me, rather, this is an opportunity to take ownership of my own experience, without the validation of what others are doing or thinking.
I decided ultimately to stay in my dorm, and instead drape all parts of it with scarves and crystals and make it mine.
I decided to take breaks during socializing and not need an excuse. I decided to judge people less, and trust more.
I began paying attention to the plants. I began focusing on practicing spanish with the locals. Taking accountability for our actions is so empowering.
Turns out, I got some amazing sisters to share the dorm with me, who I've invited over for Tarot readings. I've found tribe. I've had so many cute dates with myself. I've committed to my flow.
I've also given myself grace.
I thought about how, it makes sense of course, that since I travel full-time now, I am quite attached to the objects I own. I also care a lot about spaces because I love making them beautiful and sacred.
So here's what I'd like to leave you with today:
The vulnerable moments are where the medicine lies.
The perfect space, the perfect circumstances... The crystals, the mantras, the tarot cards... We use these material things to support us on our quests of self-discovery, peace, and purpose. However, the real altar is inside of us. This can be accessed at any time, and requires no outside perfection to exist.
Where we distribute our energy - our thoughts, feelings, attention - determines our reality. You are not powerless against the world. You are not a victim of your reality. You always have a choice.
And there is nothing more powerful than arriving to the altar naked.
Blessings, and remember that wherever you are on your journey is sacred. Be messy! Be wild! Be yourself.
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