Looking back at three years of November 12, and celebrating my alchemy. img_7186

Two years ago, on November 12, I left Colombia, starting to return from my biggest trip, being away for six months. I was interested in the urbanism initiatives to humanize the country. Deep down, I had this yearning to experience a very different life, to see how it could transform me.

It took me more than two years to summon up the courage to take this trip- leaving a job and the sense of security wasn’t something I could decide easily.

During the trip, I found out it is not the geographical distance I travel, but how close I am to my heart which matters, in how I relate to myself. I became more drawn to working along the lines of mindfulness/ well-being.

On my last day in Colombia, I learned about their traditional craft, the alchemy of purifying and perfecting gold.

Same day, last year, I became facebook friends with Emma – a most supportive mentor and mindfulness teacher of mine, and a clinical psychologist I once visited. She walked with me and lifted me up during some of my darkest moments just before the trip to Colombia.

At our first session, as I told her about my struggles, she said: “Maggie is like a puzzle that we haven’t put together”, and promised me, ” let’s look for different parts of Maggie, together.” I still remember her face at the time, almost tearing up as she said that, and the amount of support I felt.

dscn2006In the next three months we worked together to search for the missing parts of Maggie. She liked Courage Piece, one of the projects I co-created, to “en-courage” through sharing courageous experience over a game of Chinese chess. While I left for Colombia to embark on my own courageous journey, I left courage stickers for her to share with her clients who may need it. And I collected courage stories from people throughout the trip.

It is almost three years since we first met. I can’t be more proud and honored that I will soon be teaching Emma’s daughter yoga and mindfulness.

November 12, 2016– I finished another week training with Janet, a dear yoga teacher who inspire me in many ways. We worked along with fear, visiting dark corners of the heart which have become securely hidden over the past decades. She guided me to get to the essence of teaching: showing up fully, and sometimes, vulnerably.img_7184

The idea freaked me out – I hated being vulnerable.

It means showing up weak, I thought. And WHO wants to be weak?

After repeatedly trying and failing, very slowly, I am learning that it is about relaxing my habitual effort to perform at 130%. It is just about willing to be REAL.

Instead of trying so hard, to be GOOD, to be PERFECT.

And more importantly, this applies to life.

For a long time, I tried super hard, to BE myself, but felt I kept getting it wrong. The struggle was very real.

With the practice of coming back to myself, I am trusting more in my journey. I became my own alchemist- looking within to find and refine the treasure within me.

Nelson Mandela once said: as you let your light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

Let’s shine.

My Alchemy

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