Riding the Wave
Alicia Assad is a long-time member of the WYLD Tribe and a gifted healer to mothers around the world. This year, she left her American home behind (along with a lifetime's worth of belongings) for an unknown next chapter in Hong Kong with her family of six. Here's her story on Letting Go.
Have you ever envisioned your best possible self?
I first did back in my twenties during a guided meditation. On a yoga mat with incense and music directing my senses to zen, it was easy to manifest a women of ethereal grace and authentic happiness in my mind’s eye.
After peeling myself off the mat and wandering back into reality, I wondered,
Great, now how do I become her?
Through a career transition, a marriage (and the family we went onto create), life unfurled too fast to focus on anything other than keeping up. Or rather, I just kept striving, gathering, and reaching for things I thought would protect me from all that was negative and painful thinking “positive" was the path to happiness. On the notion of grace, well, that was lost somewhere in sleep deprivation and toddler tantrums.
Over a decade and four kids later, I found myself in the attic of the dream home we worked so hard to build. I was peering at the remnants of my life knowing I had less than three months to purge it all for a move to Asia. I was uprooting the kids from our meticulously crafted suburban existence and putting 8,000 miles in between friends, family, and familiarity. More than ever before, I wanted to cling to the objects in my life for comfort, but since there wasn’t a boat big enough to schlepp my baggage from New York to Hong Kong, I was forced to let it all go for the sake of adventure.
From the holiday decorations I clung to after my parents' divorce to the wardrobe I packed up when I left my career as a professional dancer, the objects I hoarded in my attic reflected the stories I lived. There was a bin of maternity clothes, the high chair I fed each kid in, even the compression garment my toddler wore for a year following his burn injury. Purging these items meant it all was officially over and letting the physical objects go brought closure to chapters I’d left open with old and neglected subconscious emotional wounds.
As I surrendered expectations, grudges, and perspectives that no longer served me, I consciously chose a more positive narrative to define the story of my life. Every painful moment I survived is now a hard earned lesson that shaped me into the storyteller of resilience I have become. Indeed, purging was a spiritual journey that demanded things like self-compassion and forgiveness, but what I found beneath all my baggage was that woman I manifested on a yoga mat back in my twenties.
Or maybe, I was her all along, but what I realized about my best possible self is that she doesn’t need anything more than she already has. There is no goal she needs to accomplish or problem she must remedy. She also doesn’t need to cover anything up, for the scars she caries are symbolic of her strength and therein lies grace.
However, walking an authentic path is treacherous in today’s culture, which demands and expects perfection. There are endless distractions that clout my instinct, and surrounding myself with like-minded women is what keeps my vision clear.
This is one of the reasons I cherish the WYLD tribe and co-hosted a retreat with founder Kristin Gregory. Just days before I boarded a plane with a one-way ticket to Asia, 12 women gathered in my home for a workshop on Simple Abundance. I relayed that letting go of the beautiful suburban home I loved and all the expectations I built into it had something to do with the happiness I claimed.
After insisting that things like joy, love, and courage don’t come without sacrifice, I watched these women write down what was no longer serving them on pieces of paper. That’s when it dawned on me that what was missing from my 20 year old's vision of my best possible self was a circle of women who were willing to stand with me in vulnerability.
After each woman tossed her weapons into the fireplace, I lingered behind to poke at the embers ensuring every last inscription of fear, insecurity, and anger were burned to ash. As the smoke of surrender wafted towards me, I inhaled the strength I needed to free fall into the unknown.
Letting go was painful and downright terrifying before it was exhilarating. In fact, I’m not sure I would have surrendered if I wasn’t forced to.
But since adventure pried my white knuckle grip off of everything that was holding me back, and countless authentic women helped me land softly into a new life half-way around the world I’ll ask,
Who is it you want to become?
What do you need to let go of to claim her?
For more stories and advice from Alicia, check out her blog here.