How we grow: people and love

The sun shines brightly. Puffy white clouds drift above the mountain ridges against a stark blue sky. At this 9AM hour, it’s already warm, and the dew begins to dissipate. We’re all up bustling around, packing, getting ready. The boys suit up, gear up, and hit the road. Us ladies make our way to gather our picnic goods from Greenwood Gourmet Grocery a few miles from the farm. We wind down Skyline Drive and pass the guys cycling up a semi-steep incline. We take a short break as they finish the ascent to the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center. We time it perfectly and arrive just as they do. A group of ground-level boulders suit our lunch-time seating needs, and we all dig in to the grub. We talk, joke, laugh, and savor the deliciousness. Time creeps up on us and they’re suiting up again to leave. We share a loving goodbye. He reminds me to “take it one day at a time.”

I will try my hardest to let that be the Small Act that guides me through this exciting time in my life. Change is happening; I begin preparing to relocate back to Western North Carolina and do some traveling of my own, and my partner is traversing the U.S on bicycle.

A new chapter

Change can be exciting, but definitely scary. The past few weeks helping him plan, organize, and traverse the first 300 miles of the trip have been incredibly inspiring. Sitting here today, after seeing him off one last time until who knows when, has been eye-opening. It reminds me of another Small Act that I strive to practice, but sometimes fall short: appreciating the people in my life.

I know from experience that it can be a challenge to express gratitude for someone you see every day. When “every day” isn’t the reality anymore, a sort of loss and period of reflection begins, even when he’ll likely return before I know it. What seemed like a fantasy a few months ago has become an enthralling reality, and life gets turned on it’s head.

Never stop growing

Change is necessary for growth and learning, both of which I believe are key in maintaining a constructive relationship with someone. Relationships teach us about ourselves, and about life and all it’s heartache and magic. Ryan has taught me something new nearly every day. I’ve learned something about myself from all my past romantic relationships, but he’s really pushed me to be my best self, and most importantly, has been patient with me while I figure out who that is. It might not always be an easy lesson, but it’s always worth it when that “ah-ha” moment materializes. He has taught me patience while encouraging me to “blossom.” He embodies a real love for life and a sense of adventure I’ve not seen in many others.

Building connections with others, besides a partner, is also essential for growth and learning. I have come to realize this as we’ve been traveling the past year. The desire for these outside connections was part of the drive for starting Small Acts Count. There is so much to learn from others, and when I allow myself to be open, offer help, and share positive energy with those around me, I only see it coming back multiplied. I can’t express the gratitude I feel toward all the friends, family, and even strangers that have been so supportive of his effort and so caring for my well being while he’s away. It reminds me to express gratitude for all those in my life that have supported me on my own journey and contributed to my growth in big and small ways; the strangers turned new friends, long lost yoga class mates turned business partners, and old friends that you pick up the phone to call and it's like you just talked yesterday.

Let go of the need to know

This transition is scary for me because of my past traumas and negative attitudes that I’m working to release. It’s exciting because it gives me an opportunity to challenge myself and the new attitudes I’m cultivating with Small Acts Count. There are so many unknowns and “what-if’s” that swirl around in my head that have the potential to bring me down. I think it will serve me best to stay out of my time machine, and follow his Small Act advice to “take it one day at a time.” Only when I let go of the compulsion to “know” all the whos, whats, whens, and wheres will I be free to follow my own journey and find my own bliss.

Life holds so much - so much to be so happy about always. Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don’t set conditions.
— Artur Rubinstein