I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my past two and a half years as a nomad and how it has affected my life on a level deeper than I ever could have imagined. We hear a lot about non-attachment, but at the beginning of our spiritual journey it often feels like pretending to not care about something we do actually want.
Non-attachment has probably been one of my hardest lessons as a recovering codependent. I was a controlling codependent who needed to always be ten steps ahead with a plan. Living in the moment was not something I did well. In fact, oftentimes not knowing what was going on in my life or feeling a lack of control would send me into a tailspin of anxiety.
When I got the nudge (or whisper, rather) from my soul in February 2017 to sell all my shit and hit the road, I began to vlog about my journey of letting it all go. At the time, I was also reading the book The Untethered Soul* by Michael Singer. In that book, he talks about our inner thorn. The way he describes it, we all have an inner thorn — something that when triggered, creates pain within us.
We oftentimes spend our entire lives trying to control our outer circumstances to try and avoid experiencing pain. We always have a choice — spend the rest of our lives trying to dictate, control, and manipulate our external circumstances in order to avoid pain or remove the thorn.
I say this slightly differently in my teaching. Where you’re triggered is where the work is. Or, where you’re triggered is where the healing is.
As I faced trigger after trigger during my time of selling all my shit in my two-bedroom Chicago apartment, preparing to head out on the road, I began to see that my need for control was going to be challenged along the way. I just never knew the depths of my healing over the next couple years.
When I was staying at a friend’s place in Mississippi hitting financial rock bottom, my lesson was in learning how to feel any feeling I desired, regardless of my external circumstances. At that point in my life, the only way for me to achieve that was to meditate two hours every morning, spend hours sitting under a tree in the cemetery, and then meditating another 45 minutes at night.
Eight months later, as I ventured out on the road full-time, I experienced extreme anxiety every time I would get to one place. As soon as I got to my Airbnb, I was already stressing about where I would go a week later. Choosing my next place was never fully in my control. I was in the beginning stages of tapping into and listening to my intuition, telling me where to check out places on the Airbnb website. At that point, I had enough money for about two weeks of Airbnbs, rental car costs, and food. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure where money would be coming from since my business was still so hit or miss.
I struggled to enjoy my time anywhere because my mind was constantly in a fear spiral of trying to figure out what would be happening next and whether or not I would die in the process.
From North Carolina to the Midwest and then out west, my emotional peaks and valleys became more stable. I began to view myself more as a nomad. When others would meet me along the way and ask me where I’m from, I would reply, “I’m from the Midwest, but I’m currently living a nomadic life.”
This fascinated people. They couldn’t understand how a single woman could so freely travel the U.S. not knowing where she was going. My energy began to shift. I became more outgoing. I laughed more. I explored more. I connected more. I remained more present in my life.
This isn’t to say I haven’t still had my struggles along the way. I have had many moments within the past year where I wasn’t sure how I would pay my bills or whether I would need to resort to sleeping in my car. And yet, when push came to shove, I never acted out of panic. I tapped back into presence, peace, and non-attachment to the outcome. When I did, some “miracle” would always come through just in the nick of time.
Fast forward to a few days ago. I was driving back from a hike while listening to an episode of the Soul Wealth Podcast where the host, Ryan Yokome, talked about living between the spiritual and material worlds. Years ago, that concept would have been completely foreign to me. As I listened to him describe it, I could feel in my body exactly what he was talking about.
There is a way to enjoy the material world and all it has to offer, while still knowing that nothing in this world is your true Source. Nothing in this world is the actual source of your happiness, peace, joy, safety, or security.
It’s how I live my life. It’s non-attachment. It’s a feeling of being so deeply connected to your Source that you know no matter the outcome, you will be okay. That is the safety and security I spent years trying to find in money, jobs, and relationships. This lesson is how I have continued to feel so free.
The next day, while heading back to my car from a hike, I ran into a man on the trail who was headed out for a run. We stopped and chatted for a moment about how cold it had been in Phoenix recently (which felt absurd for two Midwesterners to be telling each other). He then asked the question, “Do you live here?”
Although I’ve been staying in Phoenix for nearly four months and intend to stay longer, that question didn’t sit well in my body. “I’m currently staying here.” I didn’t go into the nomad conversation, but in my body living and staying felt completely different. To me, living somewhere feels like being stuck in one place. It feels rooted without being open to leaving. Staying here reminds me that when the time comes to leave, I will uproot and flow onto the next place. Staying here feels temporary, which allows me to spend my days being present and exploring.
On my way back to my car, the phrase that came to me was — be in this world, but not of it. Although I grew up in the church, my Bible knowledge is quite limited and yet, that was the phrase that came through so clearly.
Be in this world, but not of it.
Enjoy. Explore. Live. Experience everything this life has to offer, but don’t become so attached that you forget your true Source. I remember my true purpose for being here, which is to love. Walking between worlds allows me to fully bring my love into this material world. It allows me to simply show up and love others without becoming attached to the outcome.
This morning while in yoga, I began to reflect on the complete halt of Book One sales recently. I realized I had become attached to the goal again. I was attached to what it financially meant to sell books. I was attached to what it meant about me if I hit my goal versus not hitting it. I realized how stagnant my energy had become in my body. I detached from the outcome and reconnected to my ability to flow towards whatever is of my highest good.
I felt a click in my body and knew another copy would be selling because I no longer needed it to. I had detached from the outcome. And, as I got into my car, I saw the notification that another copy had in fact sold while I was on my mat.
I still have my desires. I have a desire for a lifelong partnership, a “successful” business (whatever that actually means), and a healthy mind/body/soul. But, I hold onto those things loosely. I do my internal work daily in order to not allow them to dictate how I feel.
Be in this world, but not of it. Experience and enjoy the material world but don’t hold on so tightly that you forget your true Source.
I may be in Phoenix right now, but Phoenix is not my home. I am my home and I am home no matter where I go.
*This blog contains affiliate links, which means if you click and buy the book, I’ll receive compensation for it.