“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision,” writes V.S. Naipaul, Nobel Laureate.
But not my sister. Not now anyway. For years, she felt confined in a place that no longer fulfilled her despite the healthy income that helped ease her day-to-day grind. Real estate had been her niche, and she was a master at her craft. Yet still, meaning was missing, so when the market crashed she decided it was time to carve out a new life for herself. Acting courageously, she let go of the stuff that once defined her existence, a beautiful home in the suburbs and all the trappings that went along with it.
It was time for journey, but to where, she wasn’t certain. The one thing she knew for sure was that travel had a place in her plan. Like all good creators, my sister began with a single idea—a road trip across the U.S.A.—a dream in itself that opened her to new people and places, vistas unseen. After 3 months of traveling, she landed in a California, temporarily settling into a casita in a place called Shell Beach. There, her body relaxed and her mind opened to new possibilities. But there too, her pocket change dwindled after months without income. She could have let fear stop her from enrolling in travel school. But she knew what she wanted now. She felt compelled to invest in her dream, to feed it with time, money, and action, so it could manifest into reality.
Energized, she started the New Year with her first travel assignment, directing a few tours for the Tournament of Roses. She was jazzed! A few weeks later, she flew back to Atlanta to attend a travel conference to meet potential employers, and then afterward, flew to NYC to sit for a tour guide exam. She was on her way to creating what she wanted–a tour director job with a reputable travel company.
Her vision was clear. That was the good news. The bad news, however, was that her money was running out. Fear was creeping in; doubt taking hold. After sixteen months of envisioning her dream, my sister was questioning her choices. No one was replying to her emails or resume blasts, not even the world-renowned travel group who she had interviewed with several times. Was her dream about to die? Would she have to return to a real estate, a career she no longer wanted, or worse yet, drain her retirement savings and end up living in her car?
I prayed she’d hang in there. I knew in my heart she had done what was necessary, feeding her dream with concrete action. She was so close to the precipice, it made no sense to turn back. As I reflected on her sojourn, I recalled a famous quotation from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, written by W.H. Murray in the year of my sister’s birth. It exemplified her commitment…
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sort of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man [or woman] could have dreamed would have come his [or her] way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Something magical was about to happen. I got a call from my sister the first week in March. “I got it!” she cheered. “I’m heading to Alaska to start my new job as a Tour Director for Holland America. “Of course you are,” I acknowledged her with pride. “You know how to create what you want,” I affirmed. “You did it!”
Like all masterful creators, my sister started with a concept, and idea of what she wanted. She experimented and explored until a vision came to mind. She never forced an end result, but instead, kept moving in the direction of her dream, allowing it to unfold and become clearer each day. She took steady action, consistently seizing opportunities and gaining knowledge as she went along. Each step led to greater insight; every insight led to a more certain plan. In the midst of it all, she never buckled under pressure. She didn’t allow fear to stop her. At the same time, she didn’t ignore reality either. She tightened her budget and relinquished a life style that had once been comfortable, yet incomplete.
My sister, whom I deeply admire, is no longer confined by a “niche” that doesn’t fulfill her. She’s heading to Alaska next week to begin a new career in the “Land of Promise.” Free and unencumbered, her bold vision has come alive. Bon Voyage, dear sister. I love you!