I started this year on a farm in Wisconsin working at a butcher shop in the midst of a complicated situation and painful breakup. I had no close friends near me, we were in the depths of COVID lockdown, and my uncle (who I was living with at the time) forgot my birthday (even though I literally wrote it on his calendar).

  1. I learned how to sit with restless loneliness while simultaneously creating joy for myself. Counterintuitively, this was one of the happiest times of my year because I took every moment as a challenge to find joy. Happiness was my only focus and I took nothing for granted. Energy flows where attention goes. 

I drove away from the man I thought I would marry to follow my wild heart west.

  1. The moment before leaving/jumping/taking the action is always the hardest part. 
  1. We let ourselves completely romanticize our dreams so we’ll commit to the journey before logic has a chance to remind us that the journey will not be so glamorous. Because if we knew from the start that at some point along the journey we would end up cursing ourselves and God for getting into the bloody situation at all, then we would have never taken the first step. 

I lived out of my Hyundai Tuscon for ~3 months by myself driving through 19 states, while simultaneously starting a web design business and taking a virtual Yoga Teacher Training. 

  1. Don’t start a business and uproot your entire life at the same time. Stability matters. For creativity to be successful we need security, safety, and reassurance in at least some area of our life. 
  2. The only thing you need to take on your travels is acceptance. You have no idea what is on the road ahead of you.  Being attached to timelines, items, expectations will inevitably cause suffering. A plan can be good, but it will change. You won’t make it to every stop you mapped out and your favorite places will be the ones you didn’t know existed until you arrived. 
  3. Nature always provides. Drop the struggle. You will be taken care of. 

Traveling by myself was one of the best decisions I have ever made. On the open road with no real timeline, completely governed by myself, I intimately befriended my weaknesses, insecurities, fears, truths, and strengths.

  1. Travel by yourself. At least once in your life. Especially when you are young. If you want to get to know yourself, take on an adventure alone. I believe there is no better way to get to know yourself than to explore the depth of the discomfort and joy that accompanies true independence.
  2. There is a fine balance of solitude and shared experience. At some point I realized I was running away from human connection out of fear of being hurt, even though I deeply craved community and an adventure partner.

Solitude had been an informing challenge, until it became a crutch. We have so much to learn from other people.

  1. Talk to strangers at hot springs. You might meet a british cowboy to travel a leg of the journey with who will have you laughing so hard, you can barely make it to the top of a trail in the Montana mountains. 
  2. You might think you’re alone because you didn’t see a single soul on the last 8 miles of back country trail, but the moment you strip off your knickers to plunge into alpine waters, is the moment you’ll finally see another human. People are more embarrassed to walk up on another naked person than you are to be seen. 
  3. The homeless population deserves a wealth of compassion. The wealth disparity in this country is utterly overwhelming, especially in California. Maybe it’s easy to ignore their struggles when passing people on the streets in day to day life, but I had an intimate look at their often inescapable experience. Imagine struggling (even slightly) with mental illness and then having everyday difficulties intensified, exasperating your sense of desperation. Everything is inextricably harder without the amenities most of us take for granted and once in that situation the inertia seems binding. Who wouldn’t be driven to insanity under compounding conundrums?

I explored the west with the intention to land in San Diego and build a life there. Upon arriving in San Diego, I heard my heart start whispering sweet things to me about Florida. My parents had just moved to the Tampa area and I desperately wanted family time and a real bed… 

  1. When following a wild heart expect wild turns. I aimed for San Diego, California and landed in St. Petersburg, Florida….

Lessons I learned from starting my own business are an entirely different story, but most importantly:

  1. You will fail. There is no way around it. Learn to dust yourself off with grace, pivot, adapt, grow. 
  2. If you’re going to be brave with your life, people will try to stop you with their own fear. I think mostly they come from a good place – a place of protection, but stopping you from following your dreams is not the best thing for you, and in my opinion it’s not unconditional love. They can’t see what you see. It’s not your job to get them to see your vision. God gave you the vision so you could birth it into the world. Don’t take advice or criticism from people who aren’t being brave with their lives – it will fuck you up every time. 
  3. Nothing is worth the price our body pays for stress. The body has to come first. Good sleep and quality food matters. 

Then I moved to St. Pete. The place I’ve always dreamed of. I literally had visions for years about how my life looks now – down to random details about my apartment.

  1. This life can literally be anything you decide. Sound simple? Yes. Easy? No. Most people write this off as “too good to be true” but our belief systems rule our reality. It really is that simple. People give up because it takes a lot of work to actively flow against the grain of a lifetime of conditioning that has told you you can’t live how you desire. 

After such a wild streak of independence, I clearly saw that the next lesson on my journey was to build community around me.

  1. Talk to nice strangers on the beach. Most of them will change your life or at least invite you sailing 😉 
  2. Say yes to new things more than you say no. You might meet best friends while dancing at sanctuaries or find a job as a seamstress for a local conscious fashion company.

I tend to run wildly in any direction I turn and often go a tad too far. I’ve already had so many beautiful adventures and experiences with my Florida community, but lately I have felt like I burned out my social battery

  1. Balance is the goal, but it is not a static state of being. Life has many phases and paces and it’s okay when your body, routine, and habits fluctuate. 
  2. Don’t make decisions when you are lonely. Learn how to be your best friend so you don’t sacrifice any part of your energy for the cheap company of someone who doesn’t set your soul on fire. 

A year ago today I wouldn’t totally believe you if you told me the details of where I am now and how I got here, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I took some difficult turns that ended up being a lot of work, but in the end the journey taught me how to trust myself and the process of life. 

  1. Our desires are safe guidance. People who don’t get it will tell you that you are asking for too much, putting too much out there, not doing enough, doing too much, not living the right way blah blah blah. We weren’t given these visions and passions and desires for no reason.
  2. Your gifts will make room for you. If you’re meant to do it, opportunities will arise and they will not leave you alone.
  3. What is meant for you cannot pass you by. There is no need to struggle or cling. If people, things, opportunities don’t stick around – then they were never meant to be yours or at least not any longer. 
  4. There is no power like the power of decision. Decide it is already yours and you are halfway there. 

I left out about 3 months worth of lessons from this year because they were very painful for me and I am still integrating them, but I do hope I can share them with you soon because, oh, they are juicy – money, heartbreak, and setting boundaries. 

I am dedicating this next year to fortifying everything I worked to build this year. Practicing setting healthy boundaries and stepping into the boss energy that I am meant to embody. When building a Queendom or Kingdom we must learn to strengthen our walls and protect our resources or we will be leaking energy all over the place and everyone will think they are invited to take what they please. I deserve to set healthy boundaries and I welcome the lessons that will guide me to fortifying the Queendom I continue to construct. 

Here’s to another trip around the sun. I hope by this time next year I again can say “I can’t believe how far I’ve come.”

Love you always,

Abigail Dean