Guest Blogger Alain Torres: Who Wears the Pants? Role reversal in type A relationships…

Businessman and businesswoman playing tug of war

I’m honored to share this guest article by Alain Torres. Alain is an international bestselling author who guides world-renowned entrepreneurs and visionary leaders who seek to connect and grow into their deepest spiritual truth as they find themselves on their journey of life.

This article is part of a series of articles from colleagues, coaches and friends who specialize in the topic of masculine and feminine energy and relationships. We will be joining together for an exclusive Facebook live event “The Raw Truth About Relationships: The Dance Between Masculine and Feminine” on Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m. central. Comment below or message me on Facebook to receive your invite! 

The four of us all come from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, and the evening is sure to be as entertaining as it is educational! We’re offering this blog series as a way to get to know each of us and as a sneak peek into what each of will be sharing during the live event. 


Who Wears the Pants? Role reversal in type A relationships…
By Alain Torres

I see it over and over again in these power dynamics.

The modern relationship shatters all traditional relationship norms – a massive shift is taking place in first world countries…

I could go into a million reasons why and this would only be a distraction from the fact that these changes are here to stay.

I’d like to share what actually matters and what you can do about it…

Before I do, if this is your situation you know what I mean when I say it’s like playing a game of Operation – hit the edges and the buzzer rocks you to your very core.

You see, when you unconsciously approach the edge of your programming, the physiological alarms of fight or flight or freeze sound off.

The typical reaction is to blame outwardly and take responsibility out of your hands.

The evolved response is to take ownership and ask the question what you did or didn’t do that contributed to the cause and effect in the first place.

When you’re in relationship with someone close, whether personal, business, and/or an intimate relationship, you have no choice but to see yourself (and your stuff).

It’s not often you run away (immediately) from those you care about most.

In this way, love is an incredible teacher – inspiring and inviting you to be unconditional when wronged, being more understanding when you get that others are no different than you, and forgiving because you see the best in them…

I have a very strong belief that we’re all inherently good and have beautiful hearts.

All we’re ever doing is enacting the roles and family dynamics we have within so we can become aware and heal these patterns that we’ve carried from our lineage.

Not to alarm you or anything, but if you don’t heal these patterns and complete them in the right way, you’re kids will carry the burden until one of them has the courage to address all the buttons, triggers, and wounds, ending the cycles.

This true healing is possible for you now. Maybe you want it, maybe you’re not ready for it…

The word-renowned leaders I coach all agree it’s most important to leave our children knowing they had the BEST role models possible…

And… I believe life, is masters level work – to grow, heal, and become our best selves thus contributing to our souls full evolution.

So…

What happens when you become more successful than your partner and it upsets the balance in your dynamic?

One client, who’s in the public eye, comes immediately to mind…

She came to me saying her significant other was holding her back from success…

Now, to be clear, she had already been experiencing success on a grand scale with a MASSIVE following, yet had slowed her trajectory because of the fear of upsetting the balance in her dynamic.

And him…?

He’s no slouch, is extremely successful in his own right – top of his game, making 6 figures a month, feeling empty…

He was left stuck in the “less than” mentality – like he was letting the family down because she had leap frogged his success.

He was stuck in the idea that he was no longer the breadwinner and she was stuck in the idea that she shouldn’t be more successful than him (and knew she was destined for BIG things!)…

She was living her life’s work and he was not aligned with his truth – this was the deeper reality present and the place where the real work began… what really mattered 😉

And the golden opportunity he didn’t see was the space she had indirectly opened up for him to find his true purpose, his true calling…

As their new way of being unfolds they continue to support each other’s full potential – a true power couple.

Because they both hit their edges in programming – they felt like a fish out of water.

All the roles preset in their minds, growing up in semi-stable traditional family dynamics – left them in an uncomfortable, uncharted territory.

This created the “issues” in their relationship as well as their individual business dynamics – you see there wasn’t really any problems only an attachment to the old way of showing up in the world.

I left you a clue above for him but what about her??

Her work has centered on healing those parts of herself so she can be the best version of herself – both inwardly and of course, outwardly.

Off she went, like a rocket – “beyond the sky is the limit” is what she told me…

So if this is you, or your relaionship dynamic, what can you do?

The first step is be honest with the stories your mind is telling you and the behaviors you’re playing out all day…

What does it get so caught up on as you’re moving onwards and upwards towards the visions you wish to create?

To further clarify, where does your mind overthink and give away so much of your energy and power? What are those thoughts, feelings, and emotions?

And the second, the missing link that most people rarely realize when they’re on the path of becoming the best version of themselves, is to heal BOTH the good and the bad.

For the longest time I only healed all the negative things within me, the things I deemed as wrong and not the most enlightened version of myself…

This is only one side of the coin… the other is healing all the positive… the good.

You see, we live in duality – there’s both good and bad.

Yin and yang.

Positive and negative.

In order for you to integrate and become one with all of yourself, you have to heal both sides.

That’s right!

If you don’t heal the “good” then you’ll always be attached to the good and will then by default have a definition of what’s “bad…” – this keeps you stuck in old ways of thinking and old behaviors.

Healing both sides of the coin is the most profound thing you will ever do… not just for yourself and your family, but for the world that you’re meant to leave an impact on in the greatest way possible.

Remember our thoughts become our reality, whether we like it or not, that’s the truth.

It’s totally cool if you want to stay where you’re at, but if you’re ready to move in the direction you’re hearts pulling your toward, then take the first step.

Face it… you got this!

Let me know you thoughts below, I know this will stir up a thing or two…

Sharing the power,

Alain


About Alain
Alain is an international bestselling author who guides world-renowned entrepreneurs and visionary leaders who seek to connect and grow into their deepest spiritual truth as they find themselves on their journey of life.

Over the last 12 years, Alain has notably prevented a client from losing a nearlybilliondollar company, helped an individual 

Alain

from the Department of Defense to find his soulmate, and has empowered his high profile clientele to make sense of the deeper soul journey that’s taking place through their personal development in the areas of dating, relationships, health and wellness, and business.

With his inner exploration of 4,500+ documented hours of meditation and over 100 ayahuasca ceremonies seeking enlightenment and healing in the last 5 years, Alain found what he was looking for and brings forth his one of a kind wisdom into his exclusive and invitation only coaching practice.

He walks these truth seekers through his proven process with a playful style so they can declutter their minds for success, increase their energy, focus, and efficiency, and reprogram their subconscious to let go of the inner conflict so they can live in alignment with their highest self and manifest the life they desire. Alain is the founder of Power Couples Project, and has been seen on Huffington Post, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, Inc., and Entrepreneur Magazine.

 

Guest Blogger Andi Bond: “3 Important Lessons about Relationships and your Spirit”

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I’m honored to share my first-ever guest article by Andi Bond. Andi is spiritual healer and the owner of “Inspired Insight.” See her full bio below. 

I’m running a series of articles from colleagues, coaches and friends who specialize in the topic of masculine and feminine energy and relationships. We will be joining together for an exclusive Facebook live event “The Raw Truth About Relationships: The Dance Between Masculine and Feminine” on Friday, October 20 at 8 p.m. central. Comment below or message me on Facebook to receive your invite! 

The four of us all come from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, and the evening is sure to be as entertaining as it is educational! We’re offering this blog series as a way to get to know each of us and as a sneak peek into what each of will be sharing during the live event. 


3 Important Lessons about Relationships and your Spirit”
By Andi Bond 

I have some thoughts on the nature of relationships and would like to share something that was one of the biggest breakthroughs I have ever experienced. I have seen so many people struggling with this dynamic lately and it’s something that is potentially life changing. This may be a bit lengthy, but bear with me…. trust me, it’s worth it.

There are 3 very important lessons I have learned.

Here is what I experienced:

A couple of years ago, I was experiencing tremendous fear and anxiety as the result of an incredible connection. This sounds strange, but I became so afraid that I was finding love only to inevitably lose it. The feeling of stress was palpable and overwhelming. It affected me physically.

Lesson #1 – The Subconscious Effect of Stories we tell Ourselves

I have been on a spiritual path for some time and have practiced meditation for years now. As a result, I was able to quickly realize that my feelings weren’t necessarily about the situation at hand… there was some deeper pattern involved. I asked to be shown the pattern, and it was like looking at a movie in fast forward. I realized that in my past when I had an important man in my life and then lost them through death, a breakup, or divorce, a period of darkness followed. My entire being was operating as if this story were true, that if I found love and lost it, darkness would follow. I was responding subconsciously to a belief that wasn’t true. It was incredible – the level of panic I experienced in my body was intense. However, as soon as I was able to see that this “story” I had been believing was not true, I was able to shift immediately. A change happened in an instant. I experienced relief at once.

You see, your entire reality can and will shift in an instant the moment you release false beliefs and stories!Andi 2

Lesson #2 – My Heart Belongs to Spirit

Of course, life continues to show us lessons to be learned. Later in the week, I was experiencing fear and anxiety again. However, this time it was different. That night, I attended a mantra and meditation event led by dear friends. At one point, I was laying on the floor with my eyes closed after doing a heart opening exercise. Tears began streaming down my face. Again, like being struck by lightning, I was shown that in the past with each of the men that I had lost, I had attached my heart directly to theirs.

Hold on a minute… aren’t we supposed to give our heart to people? NO!!! I saw what looked like chords of light attached from my heart to theirs. I had become dependent on them for my happiness and wellbeing. I mentally visualized myself “cutting the chords” with each of them and took the time to mentally take responsibility for this unhealthy dynamic. I also mentally apologized to each of them and sent a prayer that they be happy and fulfilled. It was wrong of me to place such a demand upon them. I saw that I was repeating this again with my most recent connection. I very gently severed this chord as well and later apologized to him personally for making him feel in any way that he was responsible for my well-being. What I saw in the moment I did this was this chord of light come into my heart and shoot directly up to God. My heart belongs to the Divine.

You see, I will never again give my heart to another human being – family, friend or partner. This in no way means that I will not share love in my relationships with family, friends or my romantic partner. In fact, it means the exact opposite. I will share my love from a place of fullness and peace rather than expect or need to be fulfilled by them.

Lesson #3 – The Energetic Exchange in Relationships

The relationship dynamic that creates endless opportunities for growth, joy, passion, and love is such that both people are plugged into a source of love that is deeper than themselves. They both draw their individual power from this source and share the overflow between each other.

I had the understanding yesterday while speaking with someone who was experiencing difficulties in her relationship that what commonly happens is that one person will “connect” or “plug-in” to the other person as their source of happiness and power. While both may have felt full, happy with their life, and connected to their spiritual selves in the beginning, the feelings of love are so overwhelming that one or both people see the other person as their source of happiness. They stop doing their spiritual practice, taking care of their individual soul and finding a way to tap into something that charges them fully.

It’s a lot like charging your phone. Plugging into your spiritual practice through prayer, meditation, exercise, reading or doing things that fill your soul is like plugging yourself into a socket of spirit.

Our beautiful world is a source of endless energy, inspiration and power. You are able to fully charge yourself and share your fullness with your partner. However, when one or both views the other as the source of their power, it’s like plugging the phone into your computer to charge it. If the computer is plugged into a socket, this will work for a while, but the power from the computer will still be redirected to charge the phone rather than using the power to fully charge the battery of the computer. If the computer is not plugged in, both devices will eventually be drained.

I have seen this over and over again recently with friends. One person becomes dependent on the other for their energy and power and it inevitably leads to the breakdown of the relationship and draining of both people.

Plug into the source and share the overflow!!!!

✨ ✨ Andi Bond

Andi graduated with honors from the University of Colorado, Boulder – where she studied Engineering and Astrophysics and graduated with a degree in International Marketing and Spanish with a Minor in Business. She holds a Masters Certification in the study of Consciousness, Meditation, Vedic Astrology and Sanskrit from Shruti Institute for Vedic Arts as well as receiving Meditation Instructor training from One World Academy

Throughout her education and spiritual journey, she has been blessed with the opportunity to study under incredible teachers. She has studied under direct disciples of:

  • Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – founder of TM
  • Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – founder of The Art of Living
  • Paramahansa Yogananda – Author of Autobiography of a Yogi
  • Her Holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi

facebook.com/andibond108 ~ http://www.andibond.com

The journey continues: Costa Rica

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It was an early morning for this lovely lady (my mom) and I considering I had a 6:50 flight and a 2 hour drive to the airport prior. I don’t believe in “goodbyes” only “see you laters.”

Today, I begin another phase in my journey. I’m headed to Costa Rica for two months – ready for more adventure, learning and growing.

On my last flight, I asked myself what I hope to find in Costa Rica. Of course there are things I want to do and see – exploring, surfing, gym time, yoga, writing, days at the beach, learning about a new culture and continuing to serve my Iron Gypsy clients. Sure, it’d be great if I met some interesting people – or maybe the love of my life. Haha!

But as far as major expectations, the truth is — once again — I have no idea why I’m going to Costa Rica.

And that feels like…

Freedom!

Each day, I’m learning about letting go. Being present. Choosing to create harmony in every situation and choosing to see life through the lens of unconditional love.

I could take this same journey anywhere! I’m fortunate that my life path and my intuition has led me to do it in Costa Rica.

I’ve realized is that this journey is not about finding answers or being attached to specific ideas about what it will be. It’s about letting go of the need – the attachment – to a specific outcome.

I do not know why my heart has called me to this place. I do not know what interesting adventures I will have, what amazing people I will meet or what lessons I will learn.

I do know that looking back at where I’ve come from and where I am today, all of the pieces fit together as part of a crazy, one-of-a-kind masterpiece. There is beauty in the twists, turns, bumps and even the pit stops.

This is sure to be another brushstroke, another piece, another gorgeous jewel in the masterpiece I am creating in each moment.

I can embrace each moment — knowing I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

And so, the Iron Gypsy Journey continues.

Today, I will simply enjoy the act of creating.

I will enjoy the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roots and Wings: Iron Gypsy on “Family”

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While spending time in North Dakota these past few months I was reminded of my roots — the love of the Tweed family I was born into and the small town environment I grew up in.

Each member of our family is unique — with our own strengths, points of view and personalities. This is what makes our relationship so beautiful and what makes us FAMILY.

As I spent time in this special place, I remembered the magic of this state.

North Dakota may be rural and sparsely populated, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. These people are my family — my roots. They showed me how to care about those around me and see them as more than just people. North Dakotans share a special bond, and this family bond runs deep.

As my summer back in North Dakota comes to a close, I look at my life with so much gratitude — for the family I was born into, for the new family members that have joined us and for all the people who are part of my extended family. I have gratitude for my community and state, my “Iron Gypsy Tribe,” and those I’ve met while living in different cities, through my travels and courses, and on my many adventures in life thus far.

Whether blood or “soul family” — I know one thing for sure. The people in our lives are “called in” for a reason.

Everyone who is part of our journey is there to help us learn what we are here to understand in this lifetime.

We are all teachers and students in this journey of life. This is what connects us as “family” — and as humans.

We’re all on this crazy journey together — learning, growing, loving and experiencing. At our core, we all have the same fears and the same limitations. And the best way I’ve found to navigate this crazy life is to help one another, focus on our shared experiences on this earth and to see one another as that — as family.

Thank you to my “family” — blood and soul — for being part of my wild, passionate journey. All of you have played a part in who I am and who I am becoming. And you make each day of this journey even better than the last.

Love and light to the Tweed family and to all!

XOXO,

Kesley

(aka Iron Gypsy)

Forgiveness and Unconditional Love

Today marks the beginning of a new era for the Iron Gypsy blog. 

As you know, it’s been quite some time since my last post. I have been focusing on giving my all to my Iron Gypsy Coaching clients, attending additional courses (including Tony Robbins Business Mastery, Tony Robbins Leadership Academy and Reiki Level I and II certification), continuing with my own spiritual and health journey and growing other social media platforms including the Iron Gypsy YouTube channel.

All the while, I’ve been beating myself up for neglecting my passion project — the Iron Gypsy blog. 

So today, I made a decision. No longer will the fear of imperfection get in the way of progress. No longer will the fear of not being perfect get in the way of sharing the Iron Gypsy mission. No longer will I continue to beat myself up for what I’m NOT doing with the Iron Gypsy blog.

I will focus on WHAT I CAN DO! 

So, from here on out, you will see more stories! Some of the stories will be content that was shared through other social media platforms. Some will be snippets of content that I’m sharing with the Iron Gypsy Tribe (aka my coaching clients). Some will be raw, nearly unedited original content or a melding of content from various sources.

It will be imperfect. But it will be content that I feel passionate about sharing. This will also allow me to continue to reach those not on other social media platforms, while at the same time continue to place emphasis on my current projects and my future (other) passion project — a book! 

To kick things off, I want to share some content originally developed for Instagram that really captures the moment and essence of this decision. 

Next week, I leave for Costa Rica, so stay tuned for that. Additionally, I will be sharing random thoughts that have come up over the last couple of months since my last post. One thing is for certain when it comes to the future of Iron Gypsy — it will be a real, beautifully raw and wild ride!

Stay with me, friends! Love and light to you all! 

xoxo,

Kesley (aka Iron Gypsy) 

“Forgive yourself.”

This was what came to me in meditation this morning when I completed the assignment given to me by my reiki and spiritual teacher.

“Forgive myself for what?”

All the places I should be, other than where I am. All the things I should be doing, other than what I am doing. All the things I didn’t do. All the people I didn’t help. All the things I am not.

I find myself focusing on and beating myself up for all I am “NOT” instead of finding peace in the present and WHAT IS.

Why do I deserve this forgiveness?

We all do. We are all human. We were born to be perfectly imperfect.

If we cannot love and forgive ourselves, how can we find that same forgiveness for others? At our core, we are all the same — HUMAN.

So as I continue to reflect on the topic of unconditional love…this is where I am today.

To love we must forgive. And forgiveness and love starts in YOU.

 

Confessions of an Iron Gypsy: “I love love”  

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Yes, embarrassing as it is, I was once that angry, man-hating female! I had given up on finding true, passionate, lifetime love. What happened? Well, I got back to who I am at my center. I chose again because that was not ME. I choose love! I choose to love LOVE! 

It’s 4 am. And like any other blog article that I’ve felt I “called” to write, here I am sitting up in bed in the wee hours of the morning because the universe has me wide awake as if to say, “you’re going to sit down and write this NOW. If I let you go back to sleep, you’ll put it off or avoid it, or your rational brain will talk you out of writing this one. Nope, not this time. You’re doing this, and I’m not going to let you sleep until you do.”

It seems there are a lot of topics that would be so much easier to cover at this point in time. I haven’t even had a chance to summarize all the learnings from my trip! (Which I will do, so stay tuned!)

…But no. The universe keeps staring me in the face with the one topic that I haven’t fully come to terms with yet.

It’s one word. Four letters. A word that, suddenly, I’m using all the time. Now that I’m back in North Dakota, it’s in my face constantly as I’m surrounded by couples married for 10, 20, 30+ years. As my parents celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary, it was front and center. As I witnessed my younger brother’s wedding, I could not escape it.

LOVE.

It wasn’t long ago, the thought of this word gave me a gag reflex. I remember the day I took it out of my vocabulary.

As I was typing an email to a co-worker — likely someone higher up on the food chain than I — I made the decision to take the word “love” out of the first line of my email and replace it with more appropriate and business-like words. The sentence was something like, “I would love to meet with you to discuss…” and I changed it to “I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss…”

I had changed only a few words, but changing those words was a conscious decision to change how I allowed myself to view the world. I had stripped out the passion and emotion and the “real me” in my vocabulary and my state of being. I exchanged it for an achieving, linear-thinking mentality, which I told myself was more acceptable.

I’m not exactly sure, but I believe I removed the word “love” from my personal life around the same time. After one too many failed relationships, I’d had it with this whole “love” thing. In fact, I wondered if true love really existed.

Initially, when I was awoken from my slumber by a Higher Power and “told” I would write this blog post, I thought I might take the easy way out. Maybe I could ask other people for their views on love? Maybe I could get by with writing about the love I have for the beauty of creation? Or the love we have for one another in a community and family and friendships?

But no. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the Big Guy Upstairs was looking for in this situation. “Really?” I asked. “Do I really have to go there NOW?” I could hear a silent but firm response. “Yes, it’s time.”

My own relationships and divorce are something I’ve avoided “publicly” discussing in the “Iron Gypsy” blog. And honestly, I don’t believe I need to go there. Not because it’s difficult for me to talk about, but because rehashing and blaming and dissecting will not serve me at this point. It’s time to move on – and has been for a long time. It’s time to be in the present and look toward to a promising and bright future.

I’ve put those events behind me. It always takes two. I’ve looked closely at where I can take responsibility for the breakdown in my marriage and relationships and have decided I will learn the lessons, remember the good times and have gratitude for the experiences that have shaped who I am today.

As I stood near the alter for my brother’s wedding, I viewed marriage and weddings in a whole new light. For the first time, I actually listened to the words in the famous Bible verse 1 Corinthians.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Wow. I had never really “heard” those words before. Yes, I’d heard the words, but the meaning behind them didn’t really sink in. In my mind, love had always been about an exchange. “You do this for me. In return, I do this for you.” I had viewed love as a business transaction – a bartering system or form of romantic currency.

So this whole love thing…Apparently, we are just supposed to accept and trust and hope? That’s freaking scary! Not so much the giving part. I’m all for that. But what if they reject your love? That’s got to be the scariest feeling of all!

And this is something I’ve really had to come to terms with recently. My biggest fear in relationships is being used. It’s giving and giving and having that person REJECT my love. What if I’m not enough? What if I’m too much? What if they don’t love me back? But apparently that is how love is supposed to be? We give without expectation? What?!

So maybe the key is in picking the right partner – someone who is “safe.” So, what if I pick someone who is just like me? That will allow me to easily recognize exactly what that person is thinking. Seems like the most logical solution. We’ll enjoy the same things. We’ll get annoyed by the same things. We’ll love the same way. We’ll have the same needs and values. I’ll just meet a guy who likes the exact things I do, and we’ll live happily ever after!

But wait…Don’t they say opposites attract? In my experience the answer to that is yes. I’ve always been most attracted to the people who exhibit characteristics that I am lacking or want to develop in myself. From what I’ve seen and experienced in relationships and from what I’ve gathered, lasting love is not based solely on similarities, but we also need passion in a fulfilling relationship. In order to have passion, we need differences — polarity. If we have a relationship with someone just like us, we won’t grow. We won’t be exposed to new things. We won’t have the perfect balance of yin and yang – of masculine and feminine energy. It will feel kind of – blah!

I can honestly say I’ve had passion in my relationships. I’ve had love in my relationships. I’ve probably had both for periods of time. This whole “having both” thing for an extended period of time – not to mention for the rest of a lifetime —  is exactly where I start to question whether true, passionate, love really exists. I don’t question that it exists at all…I mean, I’ve seen it…But does it exist for me? Maybe there are people who just aren’t meant to have a partner in this lifetime?

But…I’ve decided. I mean, one day I literally decided. I got so pissed off and mad and sad and scared and exhausted — every emotion in the book — that I had no choice but to make a choice. I could go on deciding that love is too scary and that true, lasting, passionate love doesn’t exist – or at least not for me. Or I could make the decision that love is real and that true, passionate love is available to everyone – even me – in this lifetime.

Witnessing a wedding for the first time with fresh eyes was absolutely beautiful. It’s odd how I always got choked up when the bride and the groom hug their family. I think it’s because I had experienced this type of real, unconditional love firsthand – in a deep and meaningful way. I’m blessed with two amazing, wonderful, loving parents. Historically, when the bride and the groom said their vows, it never really got to me. It’s as if I was questioning whether or not the vows they were making were “real” or just another step in the journey of life. This is not a knock on any marriages I have witnessed — but was tainted by my own limiting beliefs.

But this time…no…this time was different. Through the readings, the sermon and the vows, I hung on every word. I believe these two are a very special couple. I wish the new Mr. and Mrs. Tweed the very best. They, along with their parents and the other couples I saw interact throughout the wedding day, demonstrated how love can be a beautiful balance and how it can lift individuals, join them together and set them on a journey toward becoming even better, more complete versions of themselves. All I can say is — it’s beautiful. Breathtaking really.

I don’t believe that in this day and age we need to be with a partner. Things have come a long way from the days when women were the gatherers and men were the hunters. However, as someone devoted to making the most out of this lifetime, I do believe that a partner can be the perfect way to learn more about life, learn more about ourselves and teach us about the most powerful and scary emotion of all – love.

Love is the biggest risk and also the biggest reward. It’s the one thing we all want most in life, whether we admit it or not. I believe, we were created for love. We all fear not being enough to be loved.

I can go on believing my negative, limiting beliefs about love. Or I can make a choice that I will open to this powerful emotion. The day I made this choice, the universe actually made me quote my own blog articles. Yes, the one about leaving the “old baggage” in the past. And the one about “choosing again” when we don’t like our initial response to something.

So, I choose again. I choose love.

I choose to love, love.

When I was first called to write this article, I fought back hard against my gut feeling. I haven’t experienced my own happily ever, lifetime love yet. What do I have to say about love? Will people view a single woman writing about love as a desperate plea for attention, like a blog version of a personal ad? Would I suddenly have a bunch of creepers reaching out, knowing I’m single and having read my internal thoughts?

Well, I could come up with at least 10 reasons why every “Iron Gypsy” article I’ve ever posted should NOT have have been shared. I believe finding a “real” voice in social media and in the world today is hard to find.

That’s my commitment to you. I write what’s on my mind. Many of you have cautioned me about that. Read this knowing that I hear you. And I thank you. But I need to remain true to my mission – writing with honesty, transparency and raw, real emotion. So prior to my prince charming, happily ever after ending here I am sharing anyway – fears, authenticity and risk of the desperate “single-middle-aged-woman with a ticking biological clock” stigma.

I’ve picked up an important theme from a couple of my favorite authors and mentors. You teach what you need to learn. You write about what you need to process. There isn’t always a beginning, a middle and a “they lived happily ever after” ending, but there’s always a real and honest look inside my crazy “Iron Gypsy” brain.

I believe there are five reasons why I was “asked” to write this. I share this because if you are still reading, likely one of these is meant for you.

  1. Proof that we need to pay attention to the gut feelings and the crazy ideas that just come to us. I’m not certain, but I believe something really powerful will come from this article. Maybe not for me, but maybe for someone who will read it.
  2. Proof of how powerful love is. When I made the decision to love love again, I believe something shifted inside me. I felt more free than I’ve ever felt before – like I had conquered my biggest fear. I felt more alive, more feminine and more like an “Iron Gypsy” than I ever knew I could. Love brings the power to heal and to transform and to open us to our true power.
  3. To those in relationships, this is a gentle reminder to express more love and reflect more on love. It’s easy to take our relationships for granted; we all do it! I did it. I still do it. It’s especially challenging with those we see every day. Commit to love and passion in your relationships — especially your romantic ones. Commit to gratitude and creativity and communication and understanding and exploring what could take your love to the next level. Be the perfect partner, and you will have the perfect partner.
  4. To all the single people and those who’ve been through what feels like unbearable pain – I write this to inspire and restore faith in love. You can choose to stay stuck in a “love sucks,” “love is pain,” “men are assholes,” “women are crazy bitches” mentality (like I did for a long time), or you can choose to LOVE love. I challenge you. I dare you to do whatever it takes to restore your faith in love. There is someone out there for you. I dare you to stop being a sissy when it comes to love and be fearless in your pursuit of real, love and passion. Commit to growth – to becoming the perfect partner for your future partner. I choose to believe we will all experience the magic of love in this lifetime if we choose to believe in this magic.
  5. Finally, I write this to request your help. Yes, as I said earlier, we teach what we need to learn. I’m writing about love because I’m a freakin’ lover. I LOVE love. But that doesn’t mean I understand everything about this crazy, emotion. And I definitely don’t understand everything about what it takes to keep a marriage or long-term relationship on fire, forever. I invite you to share what you’ve learned with me. Young or old, married or single — I want to hear from you! Share your “love wisdom” here, with me individually  — or go bold and do it in social media! (And please tag me!) We can all learn from one another.

So, in closing, although there isn’t a “prince charming, happily ever after” ending to this story – yet — there is still a happily ever after.

For my story, the happily ever after is that today, I’m happy – I’m more than happy… I’m in LOVE with LIFE! I believe my perfect partner is out there, and in the meantime I’m working on becoming the perfect partner for that person.

And most importantly, I choose to love LOVE!

The journey to “I AM”: What I learned on my “Date with Destiny”

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When I signed up for Tony Robbins’ ” Date with Destiny,” I was not looking for a guru and didn’t feel like I needed saving. That’s a bold statement, I know. Stick with me. 

Like most others who attended “Date with Destiny,” I signed up because no matter how amazing life is, I believe we should always look for opportunities to level up and become the best version of ourselves. Tony Robbins is one of those people who has the unique ability to pull that out of all he interacts with. I attended Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within” (UPW) one year prior and left the event having walked on fire and having made the decision to take a bold step to pursue my true passion for health and fitness.

What I didn’t anticipate with the “Date with Destiny” experience was that I would leave feeling LESS like a new person and feeling MORE like I’m finally living the “ME” I was born to be. “Date with Destiny” is much more about uncovering who we are at our core and developing strategies to live true to that core than it is about about rewiring who we are. I left feeling like a more authentic, alive version of myself. I now have the courage to step into and live from this place. The event was six days of non-stop jumping, dancing, networking, connecting and putting in hard work to uncover parts of myself that I felt I had lost somewhere along the way.

Through sharing my experience, I hope it will help you remember something you’ve forgotten about yourself or overcome deeply rooted fears or limiting beliefs.

Secondly, I hope that you will consider your own journey to uncovering who you truly are – whether it’s attending a program like “Unleash the Power Within,” “Date with Destiny” or another method of self-reflection. Make time for you. 

Nearly every single person in the room had at least one breakthrough during the six-day event. (I know because Tony asked us to raise our hands.) Even if you think you have no work to do, life is all about expansion. Although perfection is not the goal, continued progress is.  Progress, not perfection, is the key to happiness and fulfillment! 

Here are a few of my top reflections and learnings from my Date with Destiny experience.  

My values and priorities did not align with what I wanted out of life: We completed an activity in which we looked at the filters of “self,” “relationships,” and “work” and how we prioritize each. We also looked at the needs we are trying to fill under each of these areas. (Learn more about the six human needs here.) This was a breakthrough moment for me! So much in fact that when Tony asked us to raise our hands to share, my hand went up so fast I didn’t have time to talk myself out of it. Next thing I knew, I was on the big screen explaining my realization in front of 1,700 people. I was prioritizing everything above love and relationships, hoping that I could “achieve” my way to earning love from others. Despite having success in many areas of my life, relationships (in particular romantic relationships) were a struggle! The reason suddenly became apparent. I was putting relationships last. 

I was clinging to certainty: When I attended “Unleash the Power Within,” I took a close look at the six human needs and determined my top two. Robbins says it’s the top two that shape our lives. If significance or certainty are on the top, we’re in for a tough road ahead. “Certainty” was not one of my top two – or at least not that I could recognize at the time. It was not until “Date with Destiny” that I realized that all of my “achieving” was not only an attempt to earn love but also an attempt at control and create certainty in my life. One of my favorite quotes from Tony is, “The quality of our life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.” To live a life that we are passionate about, we must take risks! Mediocrity does not create a life that makes us want to jump out of bed in the morning. I was clinging to certainty and safety instead of going for what I REALLY wanted to avoid my fear of not being enough.

I had limiting beliefs about masculine and feminine energy: Among the participants I’ve talked to, our learnings about masculine and feminine energy seemed to be most impactful. Going into this event, I believed feminine energy was weak, needy and dependent. I told myself that masculine energy is controlling and egotistical – but also the way to get ahead in life.  (Sorry guys. I know better now. ) I had programmed myself to operate from a masculine energy the majority of the time because this was the path to success and the way to earn love, I thought. I learned about masculine and feminine energy and saw the beautiful dynamic that exists when we operate from our core. More importantly, I felt it — the polarity of masculine and feminine energy. BEAUTIFUL!

“Adult-ing” caused me to forget who I was created to be: We did several activities to help us remember who we are, who we were created to be and what truly lights us up. Part of this was removing the “masks” we’ve learned to wear to make us less masculine or feminine than we are at our core. But I also remembered many of the things that I loved to do as a child and how these are the activities and emotions that get me excited to this day! I’ve always loved to move my body – specifically to dance. We did plenty of that, and it woke me up inside! I remembered how much I’ve always loved to create and write and how I treasure beauty. (One of my first words was ‘pretty’ after all.) It feels good to remember all the things that being an “adult” and having to “produce” helped me to forget. Now that I remember, I’ll be doing a whole lot more of them!

I wasn’t clear about what I really wanted out of life: Another of Tony’s famous quotes is “Where focus goes, energy flows.” Sure, I’ve thought about my values. I’ve set goals and have even put them in writing. But I can’t say I selected my path carefully and created a roadmap for getting there that flows from my core and values and aligns with my purpose. Heck, many of us go through life never really thinking about our purpose. Or we spend our whole life trying to identify a grandiose reason we are on this planet. I now have a written life purpose, and it’s SIMPLE. But I truly believe in it! Sure, it may change, but for today it feels right. I have a list of values that I’m going to live by. I’ve prioritized these values in a way that helps me to make better decisions in life. Sure, these values may change, but for today it feels 100 percent like the best way to live. I’m now living life true to who I am, 100 percent certainty I’m headed in the right direction and 100 percent certainty that there is NO SUCH THING as CERTAINTY. Life is a journey! My purpose here on this planet is to simply, “Enjoy the journey.”

If any of this struck a chord with you, I strongly encourage you to begin a journey of your own self-discovery. Leveling up and fulfilling your destiny simply begins with a commitment. Decide today that you want to live true to all that you are at your core.

Remember this…”I AM.” (Thank you to one of my group leaders for planting these two powerful words inside me.) Everything you want to be, and have, and do is already inside you. You already ARE all these things and emotions and attributes. You just need the clarity and courage to step into your true self. Make today the day you begin to live true to the “I AM” you were born to be and the powerful “I AM” you already are.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chin down, guard up, more hip, less fear: My experience as a Muay Thai rookie

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The ladies I trained with at K.Y.N. — strong, scrappy and beautiful inside and out.

Each phase of my journey comes with its own set of challenges. This leg of the journey, was no different.

As my plane landed in Phuket, Thailand, I started to think about the reality of the next 24 hours. I was signed up for three days of training at K.Y.N. Muay Thai. I didn’t even know how to spell the name of the island where I was headed. Koh Yao Noi is very remote and only accessible by boat. I had never done Muay Thai or any martial art or contact sport in my life. All the campers were to purchase pads. I could only imagine what those were for. Yes, I’d signed up for a three days, six training sessions, of getting punched in the face, grabbed around the neck and kicked in the shins on some remote island. What was I thinking?!

Fear. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Whatever you choose to call it, I had to fight hard to push it out of my mind.

From the moment I arrived at K.Y.N., it was as if I was always meant to be there. Lisa, who owns the gym with her husband, welcomed me and knew who I was without even asking my name. She fitted me for pads and showed me to my private room which was next to the pool and just steps away from the gym. I put my things away and headed to the restaurant, which is the hangout for all “campers.” (I call them campers because an experience at K.Y.N. is like summer camp for slightly crazy, active adults.) By early evening, and after conversations with a few of the others, I felt like I fit right in. One of them asked me what my goal was. I responded that by the end of the week I wanted to be able to throw a real punch and not “punch like a girl.” He laughed and said that was a lofty goal.

I woke up bright and early and did something I know how to do — went for a run. The path led me along the water, the sun rising and dozens of boats already on the water. The locals waved as I jogged past. As I entered the gym for training, I had another moment of doubt. “Maybe I should have done a little more research? I mean, I have these pads, and I really don’t even know what to do with them. Do I wear my shoes? Am I actually supposed to hit someone?” I recalled every time I had tried to throw a punch in the past, only to be laughed at.

We began the session with stretching and warm-ups followed by shadow boxing. I felt completely out of my element. It was worse than my first day of strength training, and that was pretty bad! I think the coaches assumed I had some idea of what I was doing because I have an athletic build. My lack of technique and the clueless look on my face gave away my rookie status very quickly.

I felt like my body and brain were completely disconnected. I was punching with the wrong arm and swinging it like a hammer. I nearly fell over every time I tried to kick. And my blocking was…well, basically non-existent — unless you count blocking with the elbow five seconds delayed when I was supposed to be blocking with my leg.

The Thai trainers were wonderful and very patient, but I was having a difficult time interpreting their enthusiastic and brief instructions. The other campers occasionally translated for me. I was paired up with a young boy, approximately 12 years of age, for sparring. He literally kicked my rear.

After the first session, I was mortified and frustrated. I thought I may drive the coaches crazy if they had to repeat “more hip,” “relax,” “no hurry,” or worst of all — “no good” which usually came along with a look of disappointment– one more time. Part of me wanted to quit. I could stay the three days, sip coconut protein shakes and sit by the pool. “Sign me up for that, and enough of this Muay Thai stuff,” I thought.

But as challenging as it was, I was having so much fun I couldn’t bare the thought of quitting. Something about the idea of starting from “nowhere to go but up” made me want to push harder. It’s like I was cheering for the underdog, and the underdog was me! I told myself to just keep showing up, do my best and have fun! And that’s exactly what I did. It’s amazing how much fun getting punched in the face and kicked in the shins can be. Eventually you learn the hard way after being clocked in the face enough times to keep your chin down and your guard up.

By the end of the second training session, I was smiling from ear to ear. I had already gotten the hang of kicking, and clinching had come pretty naturally. By the end of the third session, I had signed up for three extra days – as long as I could possibly stay before making my way to Sydney for my next course.

This was a long introduction for me to get to the moral of the story. Please excuse my language, but I cannot think of a better way to say this…Fear is bull $%&#!

Since my words are not so eloquent, I’ll rely on a quote from Tony Robbins to help me say it better: “The quality of our lives is directly correlated to the amount of uncertainty we can live with comfortably.”

Think of all the times you were fearful and you pushed through and experienced one of the most exciting times of your life. On the flip side, think of all the times you let fear overcome you and shrunk back, only to regret it later.

In this situation, if I had let my doubts control me – if I had let every question I had consume me – I would not have experienced one of the most exhilarating weeks of my life. If I had let the fear of being punched cause me to hole up in a corner, I would have gotten my behind kicked and my face punched in.

My six days of Muay Thai training brought me face-to-face with self doubt and fear and taught me a valuable lesson about doing it anyway. I’ve started to look at all the aspects of my life where I’ve previously let fear dominate. Fear can show up in a variety of different ways. I’ve seen it in my views on money and my resistance to leave a career I didn’t love. I’ve seen it in clinging to old habits, material things and relationships that no longer suited me.

I’ve also seen it in my interactions with others and the way I tend to hold back my real thoughts in order to protect myself from judgment or to protect others from things they may not want to hear. I experience it each time I click, “publish” on the “Iron Gypsy” blog and expose my deepest thoughts and editing errors to the world. I’ve also seen fear show up as attempts to control every detail of my life. I used to call this minimizing risk, but there is a point where minimizing risk becomes a detriment to living life.

I’m committed to observing the different ways fear shows up in my life. As I observe, I can work toward overcoming. Where there is resistance, that is fear. Where there is anxiety, that is fear. Where there is a voice that says, “I want to, but…” or “I should…” that is fear as well. Fear is stopping us from having the things, experiences and relationships we want in life. I’m learning to recognize it, acknowledge it and give it jab, a hook, a knee and a kick to the gut with all the “hip” I can muster.

My Journey Toward the Middle Path: Four things I learned from chatting with the monks in Chiang Mai

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These two young monks are studying in Chiang Mai and participate in the “Monk Chat” program to practice their English and educate “foreigners” on Buddhism and the life of a monk. Interestingly, they do have cell phones and one of them is even planning a trip to New York in the near future. On the flip side, monks must follow 227 strict rules for their lives.

I was raised in a small town with little to no cultural or religious diversity. Nearly everyone I knew was either Catholic or Lutheran with Scandinavian or German heritage. Up until about a year ago, sadly, my main source of knowledge on Buddhism was the quotes I had seen on social media attributed to Buddha. It was about that time that I started to become  curious about various religions and began to research.

One of the first things I learned was that Buddhism is not a religion at all. It is not concerned with creation and how we all got here, and there is no worshipping.  Buddhist philosophies focus on solving the problems of human life and making individuals – and society – better. The teachings focus on spiritual development and inner freedom.

Buddha means “Enlightened One” or “Awakened One.” Buddha was born in the area that is now Tibet in sixth century B.C. He was born a prince, but at the age of 29 he realized that “worldly life” did not bring happiness. He was determined to find the cure for human suffering. At the age of 35, after years of meditation and seeking, he found a way. “The middle path,” he called it. He wandered from place to place sharing his message until passing away at the age of 80.

Recently, I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of Buddhism while spending time in the cultural center of Thailand — Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai has dozens of temples in the old part of the city alone. There are Buddhist monks on every street and many young monks studying English and other subjects at university. While in Chiang Mai, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, so I attended a “Monk Chat” and a one-day Buddhism meditation course.

I don’t claim to be an expert on this very deep topic, but my limited knowledge has brought me to a place of appreciation for many of the ideals. Nearly every Buddhist monk I met has what I am seeking — a smile that can light up a room because it’s genuine, and a love for others and for life that comes from a place within and is not based on any external achievement or material possession.

Look at the Dalai Lama for example. There is no denying that he has something ALL of us are seeking — joy, peace, love and fulfillment. There has got to be something to this whole Buddhism thing. I’d like to share a few of the concepts that I learned and hope to apply in my life. Whether you are Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Muslim, another religion, or do not practice a religion at all – my hope is that you can find some new inspiration.

  1. What goes around comes around (aka Karma): Karma simply means cause and effect or what goes around comes around. When I began to reflect on this, it allowed me to release some of the fears I have about being taken advantage of. Many times, I fear that if I give or trust too much, I will allow others to walk all over me. If I focus on doing the right thing with no expectations other than to do good, it releases much of that pressure. The concept of karma has also caused me to look at how I treat people and my surroundings much differently. You can see this in Thai people. They approach both material things and people with great care and respect — always taking off their shoes before entering a building and bowing. I want to approach life and others with this same reverence.
  1. “Don’t blindly believe what I say…Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real.”: 
 Buddha encouraged his followers to experiment with his teachings and see the results rather than blindly following. In my Christian upbringing, I made the mistake of doing just the opposite. I followed many of the traditions with no feeling and no ownership. I am taking a fresh approach to my spirituality, building it from the ground up based on my curiosity and genuine commitment.
  1. All we have is the present: I have been extremely guilty of speeding through life, not stopping to “smell the roses.” My new philosophy is not only stopping to smell the roses but seeing, smelling and touching “the roses” throughout the entire journey. I’m focusing on enjoying my food, taking in the beautiful sites and literally allowing myself to be carried away by the amazing scents of Thailand. And my hope is that this approach will continue long after this beautiful experience. For Buddhists, a major part of learning to stay in the present is meditation. Buddhists practice a style called Vipassana, but essentially all meditation is similar in that it teaches us to breathe and have a single point of focus. This may be breath or another sensation in the body, the movement of feet in a walking meditation, a color or light, a mantra or even a focus on feelings. I plan to post more in the future on the how-tos of mediation. Most importantly, breathe deeply through the nose and relax the body and mind.
  1. The middle path: Buddha believed that suffering is caused by attachment to things that are impermanent. As humans, we attempt to fulfill our desires, which only lasts for a short time, before more suffering occurs. Buddha suggested a life of balance rather than resorting to extremes. I think of this as a life of simplicity and gratitude, versus a life of desires for material things and achievements. As a person who is in many cases has resorted to extremes, this one is probably the hardest for me. I think it’s also the most important to master in order to have freedom and inner peace. I could (and probably will) write an entire blog post about my attempts to resort to extremes in training, in my job, in relationships and in life. One thing is certain. My first month on the road, many great conversations and much reflection has led me to believe that happiness is found on the middle path.

Once again, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’ve taken much of what I learned to heart. If you are interested in learning more about Buddhism, there are many great resources on the internet and books out there. I’m currently reading one by a monk who founded the “Monk Chat” program called, “Buddhism Ethics and the Path to Peace.” It’s a good read if you’re curious!

Whatever you decide to do with all this, my hope is that we can all find our own path to peace and happiness.

Iron Gypsy Travel Update: Reflections on India

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Oh India. You provided exactly what was promised to me by every travel blog, You Tube video and visit with other travelers.

Transformation might be a strong word, but at a minimum, I feel molded. Just as everyone suggested, India is one of the most challenging places I have ever — and probably will ever — travel. It can be crowded, loud, dirty, you can’t drink the water, and you have to be careful about what you eat (which I learned the hard way!) A trip here is like stepping back in time, especially for a female traveling alone.

But hold on…There is a much brighter and intriguing side to this country.

Visiting India came with great rewards. Those who remain connected to the traditional Indian culture demonstrated they recognize the important things in life. They approach life with a sense of ease and a focus on family and health. For example, traditionally, Indian people sit on the floor and eat food with their hands. At the Ashram, we ate in silence. It was explained that eating with the hands and sitting on the floor allows for connection with the food and providing energy and balance to the body. In my yoga training program, we learned breathing practices to balance lunar and solar energy (or masculine and feminine energy) prior to eating and meditation. We also learned post-meal breathing exercises to aid digestion.

There is great emphasis placed on Ayurveda and eating according to your dosha. I have only begun to learn about Aruyveda, but I certainly buy into the principle that our physical make-up and personality should affect how we eat. We will thrive with certain diets and crash with others.

I also found the view of women in India to be particularly interesting. Women here do not show their legs and shoulders. However, they do take great care of their appearance. Women wear colorful, jewel-encrusted saris anywhere and everywhere; they are not reserved for special occasions.

I had the opportunity to visit a traditional Indian home and learn a little about their lives. As I entered, there were four women sitting quietly in a dark room with several children sleeping on the floor. Although it didn’t appear they had much for material possessions, they welcomed me with open arms. I shared gum and almonds with them; a young lady, about 15, offered to paint henna on my hands. She painted for almost 30 minutes, steady and focused the entire time. One of the women asked to put red lipstick on me, and I obliged.

We discussed, mainly in gestures, that I had been to the gym that morning. The women could not believe that I would go to a gym. One woman asked to feel my biceps and smiled and pointed at hers. She certainly had some muscle! In broken English she explained they don’t need to go to the gym because they work keeping up the home. In fact, the first gym I visited in the city of Jaipur was for men only. This is changing as women begin to work outside the home. I did see women at the gyms in Delhi, but they did not have the muscle development of women in the U.S.

In this family, the men (7 sons, two of which I met) work to provide for the other family members. The women cook, clean, do laundry and care for the children. Some of the kids go to school. Since they have to pay for each child, the family decides who will go. From what I understand, the two sons who spoke strong English are self-educated.

Indians also love to celebrate! I was able to experience a festival called HOLI and an Indian birthday party. HOLI is a festival of color, love and friendship. The people paint one another with powder and feast on “sweets” which symbolizes leaving all hard feelings in the past. At the Ashram, we had a bonfire the evening prior and the next day walked about painting one another and even had an impromptu dance party! The birthday party was a beautiful celebration marking the birth of a three-year-old. Guests enjoyed an amazing meal in a beautiful hotel courtyard and danced with the boy and his family. It was a fantastic celebration of life and love!

I’m blessed to have had these experiences, which gave me a look inside real life in India.

A couple of other eye-opening things to note if you ever travel to India:

  • If you have light hair and light skin, be prepared for lots of photos. This was especially true during my trip to Jaipur. I estimate I took nearly 100 photos that day. Westerners are few and far between here — maybe one in a couple thousand people has light hair and skin. It was fun to see them get excited when I agreed to take a “selfie” with them, especially the children and teenage girls. It’s the teenage boys you have to look out for. One group tried to steal a kiss and “a feel,” and I had to explain that is not how you treat a lady!
  • Be ready for animals…running wild…everywhere. I thought the monkeys were adorable until it was explained that they will attack if you look them in the eye and do not like to be photographed. On one occasion at the Ashram, we had a gecko who was wreaking havoc on my roommate, nearly falling onto her face in the middle of the night. Cattle and dogs roam the streets. The cows are considered sacred and do not create too much trouble except for causing a traffic jams every now and then. Apparently many of the dogs have rabies, and even in cities like Delhi you may hear them barking or fighting with one another through the night. It’s all part of life here and the locals do not seem to notice, but even this farm girl found the “wildlife” a bit shocking.
  • I think most people are aware of the crazy traffic in India, but it’s worth including in this post because it’s unlike anything I have ever seen. Honking is continuous – both when passing other vehicles and pedestrians. There are very few actual sidewalks so most of the time pedestrians are walking on the side of the road, close enough to have their toes run over. In addition to the cars, the streets are filled with tuk-tuks, motorcycles and rickshaws. I did see a few high-end vehicles and SUVs in Delhi but very few compared to the U.S., which makes sense considering the congestion on the roads. At one point, I was riding in an Uber (yes they have Uber in India), and we heard a loud thud on the back end of the vehicle – like someone had hit us. The driver just said “huh” and kept on driving. Another day on the streets of Delhi!

All that being said, I am so grateful for this experience. I was looking for a destination that would challenge me — and change me. India provided that and more. I will return home with a new outlook on all the excess we have in America.

India, thank you for shedding light on an alternative way of living and for also making me grateful for all that I am blessed to have in my life in America. To all of the amazing new friends I met, thank you for opening up your lives and sharing your culture with me. India has truly been an experience of a lifetime!

Next stop…Thailand.