I do believe that your life is the result of your level of self-awareness, and if you are conscious enough you can feel when you are, or are not on a path that feels right for you. - Jalynn Bosley
We All Have a Series of Possibilities
I wanted to be a classroom teacher. After some time in the “job waiting game” that many of you are all too familiar with, I was hired as a Phys. Ed. Teacher for the Toronto District School Board. After time spent in the classroom, I experienced the shocking realization that the job that I set out for did not feel right. It’s a humbling and uncomfortable feeling when you realize that you are not where you are meant to be. As well, there is a real sense of vulnerability when you don’t know what the next steps are to get you to where you are meant to go. I certainly do not believe that there is only one path for each of us to follow. No doubt, we all have a series of possibilities. I do believe that your life is the result of your level of self-awareness, and if you are conscious enough you can feel when you are, or are not on a path that feels right for you.
I think some people are satisfied by living a life where they go to work, make whatever money they feel they need to sustain their life, and at the end of the day, see it as a means to an end. Then there are other people, like me, who have an inability to ignore that inner gnawing that demands meaning, purpose and a need to do something that is congruent with their own deeply rooted values. It was impossible for me to ignore what felt like a higher calling. I was working towards the slow realization that I was meant to be a teacher, but I was not meant to be in a traditional classroom with four walls and roof. I was unhappy and craved more freedom.
Unhappiness Can Be Fuelling
Unhappiness has a funny way of propelling us to look for more. In my experience this feeling was profound enough for me to quit my job without a plan. At the time I was full of fear, sadness and lived with a constant, aggravating feeling of being “lost.” Looking back, I think those of us that have some challenges earlier in life with regards to vocation are blessed. My sense is that it’s easier to tread the waters of transition when you are younger, rather than later on. Having said that, transition will forever be an ongoing part of all of our lives.
I did not quit my job with careless abandon. It was a very difficult decision for me, yet I felt compelled to see what other possibilities I could create. I was blessed to be young and naïve enough to dive into the unknown. Not everybody has the privilege to experience this vast void, which can be full of beautiful surprises if you take the risk and travel there.
Go With Your Gut
It was on a road trip across Canada and USA where I began to look for answers. I intently watched road signs hoping for some kind of hidden message. I peered over the edge of the Grand Canyon thinking the answers were there. I stayed in hostels and camped my way through many stunning National Parks. Somewhere around Mt. Rainier, I was offered another teaching job over email. I still had not hatched a plan, and decided that maybe I should go back to the classroom. Doubts, fear of judgment from others and no money were creeping into my being and so I quietly decided that I would go back and try it again. I got to Vancouver, with the intention of driving back across Canada in a week to start a new job. I was flipping through a random magazine at a friend’s house and I stumbled upon an article called, “Go With Your Gut.” There was quote in there that said, “More times than not, when I made the right decision it was instinctive– it came from my heart. And more times than not, when I took a faulty step, it was because I made a decision based on what seemed right intellectually or looked right to other people. After years of learning to trust myself, I have come to understand the phrase; what you think of me is none of my business.” I don’t know what the magazine was called and I don’t know the author, but that article literally changed the course of my life. I read it at the absolute perfect time. The only reason I know the quote is because I sent it home to my parents in an email on October 13th, 2000, with the subject heading: Job decision. My Mum only recently sent it back to me. It was pretty incredible to read my thoughts from 15 years ago, right in the thick of my very personal journey through the unknown.
Adventure * Leadership * Individuality * Values * Empowerment
Through reflection, it became increasingly clear that some of my life’s greatest lessons stemmed from my time at camp and from the daily rhythm of long canoe trips. I was most happy and fulfilled while immersed in nature dipping my paddle, sleeping under the stars and lying on rocks warmed by the sun. Even the rainy days with a head wind and minimal distance traveled stood out to me as some of my greatest teachers. It became increasingly obvious that I wanted to be part of helping create those experiences for others. I decided to pursue teaching in the outdoor classroom and thus, ALIVE Outdoors was born. ALIVE Outdoors Inc., (www.aliveoutdoors.com) a company focused on outdoor education was registered in December 2000.
I had zero business background and not for a second did I think about all the intricacies involved with owning a business. It would take me pages and pages to explain all the mistakes that have been made along the way. There have been triumphs as well, and I am only just now starting to take a step back from time to time to appreciate what has come from the seed that was planted 15 years ago. ALIVE has been a real gift, not only to me, but also to many people along the way.
I once read “passion releases all the energy that you possess.” I feel that is true. With passion comes beauty, stubbornness, weaknesses, laughter, commitment, fear, pain, hunger, care, love, insecurity, hope and the list could on. Passion brings up everything. It has been the fuel driving ALIVE Outdoors for all these years. Many incredible, passionate people are responsible for the beauty of the ALIVE community.
In your own times of transition, I encourage you to breathe deeply. Go for long walks. Get outside into nature. Keep a journal. Write honestly from your heart. Read inspiring words from others. Do anything that you feel will bring you closer to deepening your own sense of awareness. Keep moving through it. Don’t stay still for too long. If you are discouraged or unhappy, let that be fuel to propel you forward. Do your work. Dream big, even if you don’t have the skills or knowledge to back up those dreams. Trial and error is an amazing thing. What I have found is that if you ask people for help, support, guidance, or just a loving ear most of the time they will be there for you. Not everyone has a passion that screams loudly. Sometimes you have to create quiet and be alone to listen to where you are meant to go. Like I said, I believe we all have a series of possibilities. I wish you the very best of luck finding a path that feels right for you.
Happy Trails. Safe Journeys,
Jalynn Bosley is the Owner and Director of ALIVE Outdoors, an outdoor education company specializing in experiential learning through delivery of customized programs to organizations and schools, and inspiring personal growth, self-reliance, courage, cooperation, leadership, and self-esteem in participants. For more information, please visit http://www.aliveoutdoors.com/.