7 years ago I would have never believed how much my life was about to change beyond all recognition.
At the beginning of 2013, life was very different. I had a steady job as a Broadcast Journalist at the BBC in the UK, a steady boyfriend and an all-round steady existence. By September, I had quit my job, left everything I knew behind and boarded a one-way flight to the other side of the world. I’d like to say it was an instant epiphany to leave the rat race, but in reality, the fact that it felt like my life had already fallen apart made it a lot easier to jump.
The man I was living with ended our relationship and started dating our co-worker. Ouch. And yes, there was a…erm…“crossover”. The other woman was beautiful, talented and on TV. Double ouch. As much as I enjoyed going into our place of work and seeing them on a daily basis, after several months of introspection – which admittedly spilt over into wallowing on more than one occasion – I decided this was an opportunity.
Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to leap when it feels like life is chasing you off the cliff. But the great thing about any kind of loss is that it leaves you with a lot less to lose! If you are reading this right now from a place of suffering that may not feel like much comfort, but within every single struggle lie the seeds from which far greater opportunity can grow. Sprouting with it new experiences and perhaps a life you never even dared to dream of up until now.
Why I’m So Glad That I Quit My Life…
Like any good “I quit my life” story there was, of course, a trigger. But the real truth was that my dissatisfaction had been building for a long time before the final blow of heartbreak. Although I was thankful for all I had, there was always a feeling inside that never went away. A feeling that I’d got it wrong and that life wasn’t supposed to be like this.
You see for years I had wanted more, never quite knowing what that more was, let alone how to get it. I had a lovely home, wonderful family and friends and a job many envied, but still, a deep craving had been building in me my entire life. When it came down to giving up everything that I knew I had, all my safe bets, in exchange for a giant question mark, it seemed more than daunting, it seemed delusional. Regardless, a discontented voice kept whispering (and occasionally shouting) at me that there must be more to life than this. It turns out it was right.
Nothing in this life has the power to uproot your entire world quite like the pain of heartache. For a time, holding myself together and just getting through the day became my only priority.
But this isn’t one of those “woe is me” sob stories. What was one of the most painful experiences of my entire life ultimately served me in so many ways that I genuinely thank my lucky stars every single day for it. I now understand the paradox that the worst thing to happen can simultaneously be the best.
At the time though, in amongst all the raw pain, this mindset wasn’t so easy to find. I knew I needed something to get me through it.
I had always imagined journaling as some kind of teenage diary, where you self indulgently note down all your petty angst, whilst cataloguing the itinerary of a fairly dull day.
But I so desperately wanted to keep my shit together and find a way to the other side of all that pain, confusion, betrayal, fear and sadness.
I had so many thoughts, so much emotion swirling around that it needed an outlet. This journaling thing was surely worth a try.
I Bought A Big Hardback Notebook And Inscribed On The Front Page “Scrapbook Of A Broken Heart”.
In it, I intuitively coached myself, collected words of wisdom and poured my heart and soul out onto the page in an attempt to start the journey from heartache to healing.
In the end, it became a journey to SO much more than I could have ever imagined back then when I started. It was also the reason why, when I created my business, I decided to call it Soulful Scrapbook in honour of this transformative time in my life.
The fallout ultimately became the beautiful catalyst for my new ‘here goes nothing’ attitude. The attitude I used to quit my job, leave my comfort zone and head to New Zealand alone.
For the very first time, I had no plans at all. Quite frankly I was a little tired of plans. Perhaps it was my attempt to rebel. These calculated non-risky strategies I had been taught to make my entire life, which was supposed to offer me some protection for the future, had proved in reality to offer no shelter whatsoever. This time there was nowhere to go, no direction to follow, no goals to achieve…except one…just to truly live and see what happens.
It’s been quite the ride. Since then I’ve travelled all around the world. I’ve lived in a tent at isolated beaches, taken Italian lessons in Turin, learnt to surf and followed the best waves around the globe, walked on broken glass, swam naked in ice-cold rivers, cared for abandoned horses, hiked up volcanoes, driven solo 1000’s of miles across Europe, trained to become a yoga teacher in India, spent the night alone on an isolated Norwegian lighthouse out at sea and so many more life-changing experiences.
I want you to know that whatever you can dream, you really can create. I want you to believe that whatever pain you face, there is always a way out of it all. ALWAYS. But it’s also true that this process can feel raw, gritty and alive with the whole spectrum of emotions we human beings are capable of – the good, the bad and the ugly.
I’d like to share with you my experiences of healing, transformation and growth in the hope that it may help you to navigate through some of your own – whether it is recovering from heartache or one of the many other trials that life throws our way.
I’ll be publishing excerpts from my ‘Scrapbook of a broken heart’. It’ll include raw and unedited journal entries honestly reflecting the ups and downs along the way– the plot twists, mind-made suffering and the light at the end of the tunnel– alongside the words of motivation, consolidation and practical tools I somehow drew from deep within to get me through.
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