This post was sponsored by AVA Grace Vineyards. As always, all thoughts / reflections are my own.
At this time last year, I had just landed in Indonesia. Two weeks into my trip, I met a boy from Uruguay and his 17 childhood friends. I spent the next four months living and traveling with them around the islands of Bali, Sumbawa, Sumatra and Lombok. I turned 30 on a unicorn pool floatie in an amazing three-story villa in Bali surrounded by new and old friends. I was tan, happy and I had fallen in love.
I had not planned to come back to the States to tell my mom that I had a boyfriend. Nor had I planned to fly to Uruguay that next month, to meet his entire family and all of his friends.
Did I mention that I spoke almost ZERO Spanish before coming?
My lifestyle has always invited change (I’ve been traveling for four years now), but it has not always been easy to embrace the uncertainty that comes with change.
“Uncertainty causes craving for stability, but you can be at ease with the uncertainty of the world when you realize the certainty of the Self.”
And this quote, shared to me by my friend Pedro, got me thinking about all of the times I was too busy caught up in my own head, concerned about my problems. This happened way more than usual when I was in the midst of a change.
Life can bring forth moments that make everything seem uneasy, different, abnormal, or just plain stressful — like a death in the family, a breakup, new job or starting/finishing school or retirement.
You can be a creature of habit or a free spirit — no matter your personality, age or education level — change comes eventually. Sometimes it’s exciting, and sometimes it’s filled with anxiety.
In the midst of change, it can be hard to remain present and accept what’s happening around us. Learning to roll with it, appreciate and embrace it — is all part of the adventure.
But first, a little back story:
I landed in Uruguay and realized fairly quickly that I had no idea how to communicate with people on my own. I invited the challenge of learning a new language, but I had not prepared myself to be completely immersed in a new culture (without yet speaking the language).
Everything was unfamiliar. I was often lost in translation. Ordering delivery was impossible.
I quickly found an overwhelming appreciation and respect for the people I had met who spoke English as a secondary language. Because it’s hard to be in a new place surrounded by new people. It’s even harder when you can’t understand anyone around you.
Sometimes, my lack of Spanish led to missed connections, misunderstandings and bickering. I felt stressed that I couldn’t explain myself in the way I wished that I could. My mind was exhausted from trying to translate the conversations happening around me. I felt like I was watching my own movie, and sometimes, I felt very alone.
But what a waste this time would have been for me, if I had continued to focus on the frustrating parts of this new experience? I knew that I wasn’t allowing myself to take a step back, reflect and enjoy the good things that were happening in my life. And I know I’m not alone.
So when things are shifting and moving around beneath us, how do we remain grateful?
4. Find Gratitude
1. Give. (That’s it.)
I remember my friend Yurie telling me one day, “The more you smile, the more people will smile back at you.”
I realized that you can receive what you want by giving it to others first.
And don’t keep tabs on people. There shouldn’t be a receipt. I am learning to give without the intention of receiving. Give water, give love, give laughs. And share whatever you can. The more you share, the more you will make other people want to share.
Some of the things that I’ve shared with some other fine humans in the last year:
bathrooms and vans,
pants, couches, and pools
carseats, maté, pears,
wax, surfboards, skateboards,
and almost anything else you can think of.
Because life is much more interesting when you’re sharing it with others.
So I encourage you to share your:
I recently came across AVA Grace Vineyards Rosé and it’s now one of my favorites. There is nothing like sipping on a light, refreshingly cold glass of rosé on your favorite rooftop with good friends. And how beautiful is this packaging?
As we welcome the summer months, this wine is the perfect compliment to meals shared on the patio, with light and flavorful notes that compliment all of your favorite summertime dishes.
My favorite part? Sharing moments with home-cooked meals with friends and family. Even better when you can pair calamari cooked over the fire with an excellent Chardonnay, like this one from AVA Grace Vineyards.
Sharing — whether it’s a bottle of wine, a home-cooked meal or a lazy afternoon on the beach — has specifically allowed me to appreciate those small (often under-appreciated) moments of life. It’s allowed me to find perspective on what’s really important and for me — quality time with quality people, and living life to the fullest.
Trust yourself first, and then you can learn how to trust others.
Often times your heart and your mind can be at war. Anxiety is that feeling that comes from being uncertain of who or where you are in your life.
Trust is a decision. You can decide to remain open to new experiences, new relationships and new opportunities. You can decide to put yourself first, and believe in who you are and the experience you have gained.
Maybe you’ve forgotten how far you’ve come. Life got complicated and you feel more confused than you have in a while. Maybe you’re uncomfortable or people have hurt you and you’re worried it’s because of something you’ve done, or haven’t. Maybe you wonder whether you’re enough – wonder if you would’ve tried harder, things would’ve worked out. Because the struggles don’t seem worth it at this very moment, the path doesn’t seem easy and you’re not where you think you should be.
The reality is that you’re never going to feel fully ready for the next step. The path to greatness isn’t paved or well-lit. It’s filled with moments of doubt and lined with mirrors that force you to face your insecurities.
This doesn’t mean you aren’t on your way. It means you are being prepared for something greater. Take a moment to count your blessings, focus on what you’ve gained. Trust me when I tell you that good things are coming. Because your mistakes weren’t made in vain, and every single second of your life was spent becoming a more beautiful version of yourself.
I am still learning to trust myself, but the most important part is that I decided to try. And because I trust that I will do what it takes to care for myself, stay open and walk away from anything that does not bring positive energy into my life — I have learned to trust others.
Trusting others, like trusting yourself — is a decision.
I choose to trust the people around me. I choose to trust in my relationship. I choose to trust in my journey.
I trust that no matter what happens, or what changes take place, I will be okay.
Trust takes courage. So don’t ever feel ashamed for placing trust in people who break it.
No, you cannot change the things that have happened to you. You can only change how you look at them. This is the beauty of perspective. Easier said than done, I know.
Well here’s what I try to do: stop thinking so much.
Whenever I would get frustrated, anxious, or start thinking too much, I got out of the house and searched for nature. For me, being surrounded by the sky and sea always puts my problems into perspective.
Enter incredible sunset, and you’re too busy watching the world’s beauty, instead of focusing on the issues that once clouded your mind. Now take a deep breath.
It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of regretting your past decisions, feeling sorry for yourself, making yourself out to be the victim. It’s harder to break that habit.
I am learning, however, that it’s possible! It just takes a little perspective. I truly believe that the more we connect with nature, the more we are able to clear that space in our minds that moves a million miles per hour. We are able to give ourselves a break, choose to remain present in a beautiful moment. We become thankful for what’s in front of us, instead of the things that have happened in the past (or what may happen in the future).
People always tell you that you should forgive others for what they’ve done to you, but when is the last time you’ve forgiven yourself?
I started the process of self-acceptance when I made the decision to forgive myself. I hope you can learn to do the same.
4. Find Gratitude
When I learned to give, I started to receive.
When I decided to trust myself, I started to accept myself.
I slowed things down. I learned to appreciate the simple things in life, surrounded in nature.
I give myself opportunities to be thankful for the present moment.
And this is how I am learning to be more grateful.
I am grateful for the things in my life.
I am grateful for the people in my life, with whom I can be here in this very moment.
It’s the simple things in life that give me the most joy. I am grateful for what I have, instead of focusing on what I do not.
I will share a home-cooked meal with good wine and good conversations.
I will slow down the pace and stop thinking about next week, next year.
I will be present. I will be grateful with who and where I am today.
Thank you for reading and sharing this space with me. I want to thank AVA Grace Vineyards for sponsoring + inspiring this post. I invite you to learn more about their wines, and try a bottle for yourself here. (P.S. The Rosé is my favorite!)