“What am I here for?”
“What is the purpose and meaning of my life?”
“What do I truly want in life?”
Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
Since I was a child, I always have this unexplainable knowing that I need to teach or share something with others. I never knew what that was or what it might have entailed. Nonetheless, I have been following and honouring my knowing.
The journey has thus far taken me from my humble background, from living in a government estate in Hong Kong to having lived in 7 different cities globally.
After graduation, I worked hard and climbed the corporate ladder like many of us. I made my first 6 digit annual income at the age of 27. For the first time in my life, I felt I was living life with ease and freedom, enjoying the comfort and the luxury that money could buy.
Whilst life seemed to be going well, I joined a group to South America for a holiday. When my flight was descending in Los Angeles, I suddenly had a profound and unexplainable knowing that was asking me to move to Los Angeles. I didn’t know what it was about. What I did know was I needed and wanted something more than my successful corporate life and my good and stable income. But I had no friends, no job and no home in Los Angeles.
What would you do if it was you? Would you leave your hard earned stable income and established life behind and take a leap of faith after you had broken out from your humble background?
I did after trying to figure out how best to do it. I requested an internal transfer with the company I was working for. I asked around. I emailed the companies listed on American Chamber of Commerce.
In the end, it was a choice of either continuing to wait and see when a door might open up for me to go to Los Angeles or taking a leap of faith and see where life would take me to. So I packed up my life and went to Los Angeles with 2 suitcases and a laptop, not knowing what to expect or what I was looking for.
Do you think I was crazy? Most people I knew did.
It was a crazy idea to most people because they didn’t feel what I felt deep inside me. They were looking at it from the outside — using their minds to make sense of things whilst I was looking at it from the inside — using my heart to sense my life.
In Los Angeles, I had to learn to find my way to sustain my stay, financially and legally. I went for networking mixers. I cold called companies. I went for any interviews I could get.
I even met with 2 lawyers to seek advice about my stay as I only got a 6 month tourist visa stamp. Believe it or not, the advice both lawyers gave me was to marry an American man as it was the quickest and easiest way! And believe it or not, one of my new gay friends in Los Angeles offered to marry me when I told him about the advice from the lawyers.
Would you consider his offer if you felt such a strong connection to be in Los Angeles or anywhere else that you felt connected to? How far would you go to honour your knowing?
I did consider his offer but decided not to take it. I could and would leave many things behind in life to pursue my dreams and knowing. However, taking risks in life is one thing, trading in my truth, integrity and honesty with myself is quite another.
I had more downs than ups as far as securing my stay was concerned. Luck didn’t seem to be on my side no matter how hard I tried. There were very few opportunities, and the ones that came up eventually disappeared.
I spent hours and hours sitting on the beach reflecting about my life, aligning mind, body and spirit on a yoga mat, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway to clear my head and more hours just crying my eyes and heart out doubting myself and wondering “What am I doing here?”
It was a bittersweet experience that helped and forced me be absolutely clear with my mind and my heart, and how to have them work together to make sense of and sense my life so that I could continue to follow and honour my knowing. There was no room for any excuse or justification as it was my life and my truth on the line.
After about 18 months, I felt a sense of completion. I felt it was time to leave Los Angeles even though I didn’t know what and where. The journey in Los Angeles wasn’t what I had expected but then again I never knew what I was expecting.
As challenging as it was and as senseless as it might seem to some, the time spent in Los Angeles was the best time in my life. I learned so much about myself, pushing myself out from my comfort zone in all sorts of directions. It was a truly priceless experience even though it was burning my bank account at the same time.
Right at that moment when I was ready to make a move, an opportunity came — a position in the Middle East but that would mean going back to the corporate world.
Would you go back to the world you left behind knowing it wasn’t serving you? How would you decide what to do putting financial concerns aside?
I decided to go and check it out. And my life changed in the following 10 days. I got a contract with a regional role within days after my arrival in Dubai.
After about a year, life was going well at work and I was making new friends in the region. Just when my life was settled in the Middle East, I suddenly found myself having to decide whether to continue to stay in Dubai or relocate to Hong Kong to see if a new found relationship would work.
What would you do? Would you leave behind your newly established life for a relationship with no certainty on the new horizon? And how would you decide?
I relocated to Hong Kong not knowing what my next steps were other than 2 things I was clear of: 1) I didn’t want another corporate job, and 2) I didn’t want to stay in Hong Kong for long term or for good.
I chose to move because I knew staying in Dubai would be a safe and comfortable option but it wouldn’t fulfill me as an individual for as far as I could see. Moving to Hong Kong wasn’t what I had in mind either but it was an opportunity, risky or not, to discover what I didn’t know and see what I couldn’t see yet. So I moved.
You can always find a job, good or not.
But you can’t always find opportunities, risky or not.
There was a yoga teacher training course commencing soon after I had moved to Hong Kong. Within weeks, I became a qualified yoga instructor.
I did think that perhaps being a yoga instructor was my path as I have been a yoga practitioner for almost two decades. After all, we hear so many stories of former corporate high flyers turning into yogis, doing something alternative or going off grid somewhere.
I started teaching yoga and slowly I built up my regular students. However, I didn’t feel as fulfilled as I thought I would be even with regular students showing up. When that happened, I knew something wasn’t working. Then came the realization that yoga is my path but teaching yoga isn’t.
How would you feel and what would you do if you had that realization having just moved to Hong Kong and changed your profession from one extreme to another? Would you ignore that knowing and remain as a yoga instructor? Would you quit?
I decided to trust the knowing even not knowing what I would do next.
This period of my life had its shares of unknowns and challenges. I am not generally a risk taking or a daring person. Yet, I felt I was living my life to the best and the fullest I could albeit challenges after challenges.
Many of us stop ourselves from doing what we want when we don’t have all the logical answers our minds demand. The truth is many answers can’t turn up until we have started the journey our hearts desire. We can live a liberating and fulfilling life even when faced with unknown and uncertainty.
No matter what goals we have, what we want to achieve in life, when we are at our final moments we will not be thinking about our success or achievements. Rather, we will be asking ourselves, “Did I truly live my life?”
The key to make life changes easier is to take a step back from the outcome itself and look at it from a bigger life perspective.
Every step we take and every decision we make will and can make an impact in our life.
After all, it is not about, “How will I be remembered?”
It is all about, “How do I want to remember my life?”