Always Choose Vulnerability.

Published April 26, 2017 by LoveTrustFaith

vulnerable

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage” – Brene Brown

It has been said that in order to love, you must first allow yourself to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable requires you to trust that no matter what happens in the outside world, you will be okay. When you feel like your world is crashing around you and you cannot handle anymore, keep pushing forward. Faith is the light that guides you through the darkness and trust is what gives you the courage to try again.

Sometimes you have to take huge risks while not having it all figured out (which is terrifying for a control freak like me). Control is my defense mechanism. But since none of us are really in control, it is a tricky illusion. Because the only thing we’re really in control of is ourselves.

I’ve realized during my travels thus far that I’ve been trying to control everything instead of going with the flow. This is mainly because I feel out of my element right now. And whenever things don’t go according to my plans, I end up feeling frustrated, angry, and sad. I’ve even had several moments where I wanted to give up and go home. However, I have identified these tough moments as culture shock and homesickness. I’ve been working through these feelings instead of running from them. Processing our feelings is one of the most important things we can do.

Traveling takes you outside of your comfort zone. You find yourself in unfamiliar places and meeting tons of new people. Traveling humbles you and helps you develop patience. There are typically many challenges along the way. But to travel is to learn acceptance and tolerance of others (and also of yourself). It opens your mind to new ways of thinking and how to approach life in a different way.  In short, traveling makes you a better person.

The ultimate goal that I have for myself is to allow myself to be vulnerable while relinquishing control. To go with the flow instead of trying to have it all figured out. To not take life so seriously. To stay present in the face of uncertainty. To stay calm when nothing is working out. To just be myself without judging the experience.

I made an extremely bold move yesterday. Some would even call it courageous. I chose to be vulnerable and open my heart. It was frightening and anxiety-provoking. But it was completely necessary for me. I wanted to run away and put my head in the sand because that was the “safe” option. However, I faced my fears and risked being rejected. I was completely exposed emotionally. And you know what happened? I was okay. I felt proud of myself for pushing through the fear and committed to following through on something difficult that I had started.

Sometimes you must trust someone’s soul even if you don’t trust anything else about them. Our souls know much more than our minds do. We tend to get offended if someone doesn’t respond to a text or honor their word/promises. Take nothing personally. Remember everything happens at the perfect time and there is always a reason why things happen (or don’t happen).

I always try to force things to happen even when I meet resistance. I don’t recommend this by the way because it usually creates difficulty. But what if we just let go? What if we just lived our lives without getting caught up in the drama? What about feeling more and thinking less? That’s what I’m currently working on and it’s definitely a process that takes time. Traveling is helping me tremendously. I am on a beautiful journey of self-discovery and I appreciate every second of it.

So I’ll close with this: Always follow your heart. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, and scared, and lost. Let yourself fall apart so that you can be transformed into the person whom you are meant to be. Trust the journey and find love for yourself. But most of all, remember to enjoy life and have fun.

Here’s a quote from “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield:

“Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins”

Until next time (which is probably sometime soon),

xoxo

~Maryann

 

Advertisements

New Plymouth – Part 3

Published March 19, 2017 by LoveTrustFaith

Image result for you will never be completely at home again

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world” – Mary Anne Radmacher

I’m baaaack! And New Plymouth is just as glorious as it was two years ago 🙂

For those of you that don’t know… I decided to quit my job, sell my car, and travel back to the place that felt most like home. The place that I’m referring to is New Zealand. And if we’re getting really specific, it’s New Plymouth (a small coastal city on the West coast of New Zealand’s North Island). This is actually the third time I’ve written about New Plymouth (see Part 1 and Part 2).

I decided a one month vacation in New Zealand was just what I needed to restore myself and relax. Plus, there were quite a few spots on the North Island that I missed on the first time around. But what I’ve realized is that it’s not about how many places you can see or how many things you can do. Sometimes, the best thing we can give ourselves is a break.

I’ve been in New Zealand for a little over 2 weeks and most of that time has been spent in New Plymouth. I have felt the urge to see other places after comparing myself to other travelers. It’s common for many people to ask you where you’re going and/or where you’ve been. But traveling is not a contest. We’re all on different journeys. And from past experience, I know it’s better to have flexible plans that allow you to go on unexpected adventures. The future is filled with amazing opportunities. The key is to stay open to them.

When I arrived in the Taranaki region (which is where New Plymouth is located), I had a huge smile on my face. There are signs that say “Woo Hoo!” “You’re in Taranaki” and seeing them always make me happy. It was quite cloudy for the first 5 or 6 days so I was unable to clearly see Mount Taranaki (the famous dormant volcano that this region is named after). However, when I finally caught a clear shot of the mountain, it was a gorgeous sight to behold. This region is also known for its surf highway and black sand beaches. I think that’s what makes New Plymouth so special. You get both the ocean and a volcano in the landscape. Absolutely amazing!

Let’s go back to the beginning though. I arrived in New Zealand on March 4th and I stayed in a small bed and breakfast in Cockle Bay (close to Auckland). It was lovely to have my own room and bed for 2 nights. Jet lag can be sneaky and luckily it only lasted about 5 or 6 days for me this time. Also, not sleeping for 36 hours probably made it a bit worse. It’s all in the fun of traveling and the sacrifices are always worth it. Always.

I arrived in New Plymouth on March 6th but I decided to stay in another hostel called Ducks and Drakes. I made this decision for a few reasons. Number 1, this particular hostel is right across from the supermarkets and the city centre is only a 10 minute flat walk away. Number 2, I always wanted to stay here because I heard really good things about it. Number 3, I wanted to adjust to being back in New Plymouth while staying in a new place with no past memories. I stayed there for 1 week and had a fantastic time. I would definitely recommend it 🙂

In that first week in New Plymouth, I accomplished things that I hadn’t while I was last here. Everything happens when it’s supposed to. I was able to visit the contemporary art museum (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery), see the Te Rewa Rewa bridge (an artistically designed white bridge that resembles a whale’s ribs and picturesquely outlines Mount Taranaki from afar), and walk on the black sand at Fitzroy beach. I also visited the Puke Ariki museum and walked through Pukekura park (a large stunning park filled with lakes, walking tracks, and a zoo). I made a few friends at the Ducks and Drakes hostel and it was sad to say goodbye. Although, that is the nature of backpacking. You get really good at making friends and then biding them farewell within a short time.

March 13th was the day to change hostels and check in to the Sunflower Lodge. I was somewhat nervous about staying here this time due to tons of past memories. However, it was definitely time to come back. Although there were different people, everything was pretty much the same. One of the things I love about this hostel is how quite and serene it is. It’s like coming back home. There’s a special energy here for sure.

I was able to catch up with Julie, Richard, and Marvey (the dog). I actually went over to their house for lunch (which was delicious). Their house and garden is gorgeous. It was great to talk about old times.

I made a few friends while at the Sunflower Lodge as well. I was able to finally see Mount Taranaki up close (thanks to my french roommates). We hiked through the forest to see Dawson Falls which was breathtaking. I definitely got a ton of exercise that day but it was well worth the effort. I was able to go back to Fitzroy beach with the French receptionist and I can now say that I’ve been in the Tasman Sea! It was so blue and clear 😀

And to sum this up (because I could talk forever about New Plymouth), here’s 10 things I’ve learned/realized while being back here…

  1. Culture shock still occurs even if you’ve already visited a place before and it can be emotionally unraveling at times. It’s important to recognize it’s happening and let it run its course. It will pass.
  2. It’s best to remain present instead of living in the past. Memories can be overwhelming but pleasant simultaneously. However, the past is in the past. If you’re in a place, be there with all of your being. Make new memories and take everything in.
  3. Things are never as bad as we imagine they will be. It may be hard sometimes but feeling frustrated means you’re growing and expanding. Keep moving forward.
  4. Some areas will hold a special place in your heart forever.
  5. I am strong, capable, and resilient.
  6. Less thinking, more feeling. If you enjoy staying in a place, then stay there. If you feel urged to go somewhere, go there. We don’t have to have it all figured out. Just be sure to make decisions from a state of love rather than fear.
  7. Everything is happening as it should and it’s all good.
  8. Allow yourself to feel. Work through these feelings and release them. You’ll be glad you did.
  9. Let go of all the distractions. Observe your surroundings, interact with different people, and immerse yourself in nature. Healing happens in the present.
  10. Just be yourself and allow others to be themselves as well. Release the judgments and criticisms. Be the imperfect person that you are and embrace all of it. Most importantly, discover self-love and know that the person you are right now is enough.

There are so many other things I’ve learned so far but I’ll save that for another day 😉 Lots of challenges have been overcome and I wouldn’t change any of it. I’m right where I’m supposed to be and I’m absolutely loving it.

It’s a mystery where I’ll travel next. But I’m following my heart and having faith in the process. Everything is working out in a beautiful way.

Until next time, I send all of you peace, love, and happiness!

~Maryann

 

Sometimes… We Find The Answer

Published February 12, 2017 by LoveTrustFaith

never-forget-you

 

I have been on a never-ending search since I came home to understand why I cannot let go of certain experiences and people from my past. I have read countless articles and books, listened to hours of music, watched several movies, and yet I still could not find an explanation.

I am happy to report that I finally discovered the reason why. I found an article (click here to read it) which summed up everything perfectly. Even better than I could have ever imagined. Everything just clicked as a read it in a moment of pure clarity.

I was never supposed to forget about my past in the first place!

The past had made me who I am today. An impact that will remain for the rest of my life. I am not the same person that I was before. These important changes that occurred within me cannot be undone and nor would I want them to be.

I was trying so hard to forget everything and move on. However, I missed the whole point. The moments in life that are unforgettable are often the most significant.

There are many things in life which are not meant to last. But time is irrelevant. It’s the lessons that we learn along the way. Lessons that may take a minute, an hour, a day, or several years.

We can choose to look at the past as a burden or a blessing. How we choose to view our life is our own choice. It’s all about perception.

I will move forward knowing that I am a better person for having experienced my past. I no longer see it as a burden but that I am truly blessed. And when those reminders of the past come creeping back in my mind, I will smile. Because I am happy to have those memories and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

Love,

Maryann

Keep Your Heart Open

Published December 11, 2016 by LoveTrustFaith

break-your-heart

“The bigger the wall, the bigger the heartbreak” – Me

 

Okay, please don’t judge me for what I’m about to admit. I went on Tinder this past Friday night and I met up with a guy. This was one of the most spontaneous things I have ever done. I talked to him for maybe an hour and decided to meet him. The mini date went well but I had no desire to go on a second date. Nevertheless, I was proud of myself for putting myself out there and taking a risk. It was scary as Hell. But exciting at the same time. I was nervous and my stomach filled with butterflies. However, I pushed through the fear and did it anyway. Why am telling you this story? Because life is about pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and this story is a perfect example of that.

Let’s take a few steps back for a minute. For most of my whole life, I have worked extremely hard to build up emotional walls around myself so that I wouldn’t be hurt by anyone. I have lived up to other people’s expectations and conformed to what I thought everybody wanted me to be. I put a mask over my face to conceal my true self. I’m playing a role in the play called Life. But at the same time, I’m being inauthentic. I’m not being who I truly am inside because I’m afraid. Terrified of letting people in because what if they disliked what they saw. But I’m tired of living a lie and pretending to be someone that I’m not.

I had some huge realizations today. By building up walls around myself, I was protecting myself from darkness while depriving myself of the light as well. What happens to a heart that is closed off from light? It becomes a black hole. Destroying anything that comes within its proximity. Over time, the heart begins to sabotage itself by feeding the darkness. It becomes cynical and apprehensive. It questions everything. This is the point where blocking off your heart backfires. Because not feeling anything is much worse than feeling pain.

Within each of us, exists darkness and light. The Ying and the Yang. An internal balance of energies. When you shut down and refuse to become intimately connected to others, you throw off that delicate balance within. The light within can never be fully extinguished because it is the light of our soul. But it can become diminished (If we allow it to be). And sometimes we don’t even realize it’s happening. That is until the Universe intervenes.

There are certain people in this world who have the ability to reignite the hearts of others. They have the special superpower to break through the walls that have been constructed. They can shine in light where there was once only darkness. Through this, miracles occur.

We often look at heartbreak as a bad thing. We wish that it had never happened or that we had never met those people. But sometimes we needed our hearts to be broken wide open. To have an intense energy surge through our being and cause that small flame of light to become a raging fire. A spark to awaken us to the love that’s waiting to enter our lives. But that future love requires us to be open and receptive not closed and dismissive. Through heartbreak, we learn to feel again. We allow our selves to heal without building up new walls. We are exposed and we are vulnerable. And it doesn’t always feel good. But it is necessary. Because we are meant to shine our light and experience love.

So, let’s take a moment to thank those people from our past who allowed us to rediscover our true selves. The ones that pushed us outside our comfort zone and made us uncomfortable. Because without these unsung heroes, we may still be stuck in the darkness. They allowed us to remember why we’re all here on this planet. In order to be connected and come together for a greater good. I send a big thank you to all who have broken down my walls and broken open my heart. Without you, I have no clue where I’d be. The lesson in all of this is there is always a silver lining in everything that happens. Stay positive and always keep your heart open. For you never know when love might cross your path 😉

Until next time and sending you all my love as always,

~Maryann

 

My Wanderlust

Published August 27, 2016 by LoveTrustFaith

not all who wander.png

Wanderlust (n): a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

“The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page” – Saint Augustine

 

You may be thinking to yourself… Wanderlust? What is that? Why is she bringing this up? Where is this conversation going anyway? Let me explain what my experience has been and hopefully help you to understand what all this is about.

Wanderlust is a feeling. In essence, it’s a way of life. Once you experience Wanderlust, it stays with you forever. An incessant urge to travel. Not in order to escape or run away from your life but rather to discover new worlds and pieces of yourself that you forgot existed. It’s a desire to meet new people from all over the world and to reconnect with fellow travelers that you’ve crossed paths with before. It’s a sense of adventure that fills your heart and ignites you soul. To some people, including myself, traveling is everything. It is life and the very reason why we’re on this earth. Traveling allows you to grow through beautiful experiences, create wonderful memories, and understand what love is. Although traveling isn’t always easy and the road can be rocky at times, wanderlusters take that risk because they understand that the benefits outweigh the challenges.

Now I know there are some of you reading this right now who cannot understand and who may think that this all sounds rather foolish. The funny thing is that you have to experience Wanderlust in order to fully “get” it. This phenomenon does not happen to everyone either. There are many people who travel and can return to their former lives without a second thought of what they are leaving behind. However, for those of us who have been bitten by the travel bug, the only cure is to keep traveling. Once returning home, wanderlusters have a harder time readjusting to their old lives. Everything is different and yet it is exactly the same. I realized that the reason why all things familiar suddenly felt so foreign was because I had changed. A part of you adores the comforts of living in your own private space and spending time with people that you know. But then there’s the part of you who knows how much adventure is waiting out there in the world. You want to travel far and wide to experience as much of it as you can. It feels as though anything is possible because the world truly is so small (once you travel roughly 18,690 kilometers or 11,613 miles away from home, you realize that you can basically get anywhere in the world within 24 hours).

I only wish that everyone could have the opportunity to experience this sense of renewed freedom, if for only once in their lifetime. To leave everything you know and be open to the unknown. Traveling, especially when alone, helps to build self-confidence and strengthen your faith in both yourself and the world. You realize that you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to as long as you take the leap and continue to trust your journey. Life can and will definitely take unexpected turns. But I truly believe that you must follow your heart no matter what anyone else thinks or says. It doesn’t matter about how many naysayers you encounter. As long as you’re doing what you love and allowing your heart to guide you, the doors will open and the path will be shown. I know I say this a lot but there are reasons why everything happens in the way that it does. In my eyes, there are no coincidences. There were so many times that my next destination was influenced by suggestions from fellow travelers and even friends from back home. We end up exactly where we need to be at the precise moment that we’re supposed to. As a traveler with no real fixed plans, I often didn’t even know I wanted to be in a certain place until I arrived there (case in point = New Zealand).

Wanderlust changes you for the better. It allows you to eliminate all the things that you thought you should be so that you can become who you were meant to be. I will always have this great longing to keep exploring the world, whether it be to visit new places or return to places from the past. But I’m keeping my sights set on the horizon and looking forward to the future. I’ve changed tremendously through traveling and I’m so happy that I was courageous enough to venture out on my own.  I’m grateful that I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and switch up the direction of my life. I know without a doubt that I’ll be traveling again and it’s only a matter of time until I do. But until that day comes, I still have the wonderful memories and friends that I’ve made along the way. What keeps my sense of hope alive is the dream of a future that is filled with endless possibilities and spectacular moments. And although Wanderlust may be considered a curse by some,  it has definitely been a blessing for me.

Until next time…

~Maryann

 

 

Just. Breathe.

Published May 10, 2016 by LoveTrustFaith

just breathe 1It will get better

“When you have nothing else to hold onto, just let go” – Me

Hey Everyone,

This week may prove to be one of the hardest of my entire life (which is pretty impressive because I’ve had some rough ones in the past). I found myself freaking out today over the fact that I have two finals coming up in the next few days and I am absolutely terrified. I’m not even sure where to start with studying for them and it’s truly scary. I feel helpless and overwhelmed.

I’m sure I’m going through what thousands upon thousands of students across the country are experiencing right now. Finals week sucks (to put it nicely). I am not a fan of taking tests and I get pretty bad anxiety from them. Not sure if this is a control issue or not. Or maybe it’s just the uncertainty of everything. What does the future hold after graduation? What am I going to do and where am I going to go? I’m not sure where the anxiety comes from but it’s no fun at all. I spend most of my time trying to calm myself down and maintaining the thought that everything will work out for the best. There’s no need for this amount of stress. Like seriously, ever.

I felt compelled to write this blog post for a few reasons. One, I wanted to distract myself from my own thoughts. Secondly, I wanted to remind everyone out there who is currently going through a difficult time, to keep moving forward. Stay present and take steps toward your future. Trust that you are where you need to be right at this very moment. Enjoy life and do the things that make you happy. Life is too short to worry all the time. Worrying is pointless anyhow. It’s usually never as bad as we imagine how it’s going to be.

We can never give up. We must always stay positive and reach for our dreams (whatever they may be). We are allowed to FEEL. Sometimes we get depressed or happy or anxious or angry. But you know what, it’s OKAY. We are all human. Stop trying to run away from yourself (it’s actually impossible to do). Embrace every part of you. The good and the bad. None of us are perfect. The paths we take in life are often curvy and sometimes include many detours. But we will get to our final destination. Remember, it’s truly about what we learn along the way. Life is a journey, enjoy it!

My faith and trust in the Universe is increasing in such an enormous way right now. All I have left is the hope that everything will be okay in the end. And I know it will be. But you can bet that I will be saying prayers every day until graduation (which is a week away!). I will get through this because I know that I’m only given what I’m strong enough to handle. I believe in myself and I know I am destined for great things. We just need to take one step at a time. That’s all that you can do.

In the words of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just Keep Swimming!”

Love you all,

~Maryann

I Have A Confession…

Published April 29, 2016 by LoveTrustFaith

faults

 

“Don’t be someone that searches, finds, and then runs away” – Paulo Coelho

So my confession is that I have a tendency to push people away. That’s the secret that I’ve been hiding for quite some time. I’ve become an expert at getting close to others on a surface level and once it begins to feel too intimate or personal, I quickly back off. Sometimes I just stop all communication and other times it’s a slow “lost touch” type of situation. I don’t know why I do this. I tend to judge others and as soon as I find a fault, I’m like “Screw this! I’m out.” I’m so terrified of getting hurt that I put up an invisible barrier to protect myself from the world. But is it really protecting me? Not so much. It’s only keeping me isolated and alone.

As soon as someone does something “bad” or I discover a characteristic that’s “wrong” about them, I run away with the excuse that it was the other person whom was the problem. Maybe all of this stems from my childhood where I was hurt beyond measure. Whether it be the countless bullies who tortured me about my weight/looks/etc., family who lost faith in me when I was going through difficult times, toxic friendships where I felt less than and insignificant, a parent whom cheated and caused a painful divorce, or the many times of unrequited love (a few of which left my heart shattered into a gazillion pieces). My past experience has led me to the present where I find myself having a hard time opening up to and trusting others.

I realize that I must break down the walls that I have built or I will never truly find the love that I know is out there waiting for me. But let me tell you, it’s freaking hard. Being vulnerable is scary as hell. The thought of being my true self around someone and letting them know everything about me is quite terrifying. What if they don’t like what they see and then they leave? Sometimes, it’s easier to shut things down before they even begin. However, this is not the solution. I cannot keep running away. I must deal with my feelings and work through them. Allow people to see the real me and if they don’t like it, then that’s their loss and not my problem.

I don’t want to be anything other than who I am. No more pretending to be perfect. I’m not perfect and neither is anyone else. I want to be surrounded by people who care about me. People who are there for me no matter what. People that accept every piece of who I am (including the good, bad, and the ugly). I want to create a life where I feel supported and loved. Because that’s how life should be.

I have many things about myself to work on. Practicing non-judgment and acceptance is a good place to start. By focusing on the flaws and imperfections of others, I’m only fueling the judgment and criticism of myself. And by constantly cutting people out of my life, I’m avoiding true human connection. Plus, I’m missing out on valuable lessons. Remember, everyone we meet has something important to teach us.

So, I’m going to work on letting people into my world. Yes I may get hurt or rejected but at least I will be putting myself out there. No regrets. I am courageous and I CAN do this. Here’s to being open, genuine, and loving. I totally got this 😉

And to all the people from my past that I’ve run away from or cut out of my life due to fear, I send you my sincerest apologies.

Until next time,

~Maryann