BrandiBali

“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world.

Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” – Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

This photo was taken on the last day of my off the grid trip to Bali, Indonesia. It captures the essence of the moment. The ocean has and continues to be a place of sweet refuge for me personally. I can sit for hours looking out into the ocean and ponder topics like: what is my purpose, what is it that I am to do in this life, how do I take all the experiences I have had and use those for my own personal growth.

The beauty of the ocean is that each day is different. At times, the ocean is beautiful and calm. Within minutes, the ocean can engulf you in large waves. For me, there is a parallel of life in there. I have spent years traveling to the ocean searching and seeking the deep wisdom within myself. I can sit for hours peering out into the vast big blue that has never failed me. The amazing difference for me is that it matters not if the ocean is calm and collected or filled with rolling waves – I always walk away with a sweet feeling of peace and calmness inside my very soul.

As of late, I have had the great fortune to share many of the experiences of my life with friends that are going through tough situations in life. I have had the honor and privilege of being with friends and family member’s who were experiencing very difficult situations with life’s daily trivial nuances.

It has taken a while, alas, I am keenly aware that life does not in fact get easier as you go through it – BUT, you gain wisdom and insight and you simply know that you are going to make it through whatever it is that life tosses on the road in front of you.

I have not always had the good fortune of this deep wisdom. Yet, somehow, when life would throw me a curve ball, there was an inner knowing that all I could an should do was keep getting up, showing up, and putting one foot in front of the other. Experiencing whatever it was that I was meant to experience and moving through it.

For the record, it hasn’t always been a graceful dance with life. In fact, at times, it has been a real inner struggle to LET GO of the way I thought things were meant to be.

I have recently thought about my own personal journey to try and sort out the experiences that have molded and shaped me into the woman that I am today. I have thought about my incredible family that continues to be my biggest fans, supporters and encouragers (even when my choices scare the living shit out of them) – by family, I not only refer to my birth (belly button family), but also the family that I have created and chosen in the world.

The last seven years for me has been a cycle of perpetual change. Change is a wonderful and down right soul crushing terrain to navigate. I have managed to make changes in the last seven years that I never thought were possible.

These changes taught me to embrace the unknown. These changes taught me to trust the unknown. Again, it HAS NOT always been an easy road. Alas, I have always managed to navigate the changes.

These changes have taught me that the right people and the right experiences do in fact show up (sometimes “just at the right time”). Now, my gift is to share these situations and teachings with anyone who is ready to hear them. Of course, with a deep understanding that we are each on our own journey and will view through various filters of experiences! But, at the end of the day, we are all human and in some ways, we are all searching for some common comforts.

I have been surrounded in life by some of the most remarkable people, places, and experiences. I have gone out searching for said people, though often times – I had NO idea what I was searching for.

I share with you a recent and personal account of such an experience.

This year, I spent 4 months in Indonesia (with 11 days being spent in India – I am still processing through India – but so much to share from the India journey). My time in Indonesia this year was much different than my trek there in 2012 – where I was truly letting go! I had a suitcase, some money, and a plan to not have a plan upon my arrival in 2012. (for the record – 2012 was a remarkable and game changing experience).

In 2013, I had a plan to change the world during my travels (again, more on this changing the world business later – I have learned a few lessons about this one too). I arrived with an open heart and an open spirit, and a calling to make a difference. It was a difficult experience to work in an NGO for 3.5 months for a multitude of reasons.

I spent my 39th birthday, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas holiday in Indonesia this year. The notion of being home sick had never occurred to me.

Do not misunderstand. Being away from my friends, family, and local comforts is always a difficult thing for me. Alas, I have always managed to make friends on the road and this had in past trips curved the feeling of being alone.

This time it was difficult because I was living life on “an island”. I was working and having experiences and I realized that I did not have my network of support to reach out to, to visit to muse about things, to feel their presence and comfort as I tried to work through difficult situations.

I was home sick and still had another 25+ days (which included India). I still remember a woman from Australia saying to me – You are going to INDIA after this trip to Indonesia! I had no idea what she meant by that. I do now! India was a hard place to travel for various reasons.

During the last two weeks of my time on the island. I met two fabulous women in Ubud, Indonesia: Sue and Amy. This traveling duo are from Michigan. Hell, I don’t know that their american accent wasn’t my first draw to this incredible and fabulous DUO. There was so much more to these two fabulous women. I met them in a little local warung (Indonesian term for restaurant). They were sitting at the table next to me. Within minutes, we starting conversing and proceeded to spend the next 7 days together. We shared stories about life, ate fabulous meals together, and had a few massages.

On my last day in Ubud, this incredible DUO showed up on my patio and together they sang the song: Lean on Me – When Your Not Strong. I stood there in absolute awe at the beauty of this gesture!

The funny thing is this….. I had no idea what I needed in that moment! You can bet your sweet ass that when I met these two fabulous women and they covered me with love for a SOLID 7 days – I knew that I needed them!

So, folks, I share this with you…. You are never alone! Do yourself a favor and go for the next adventure! The right things, people, places will show up for you!

“Lean On Me”

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow

But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

Please, swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear that you can’t carry
I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load
If you just call me

Call me (If you need a friend)
Call me (Call me uh-huh)
Call me (When you need a friend)
Call me (If you ever need a friend)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (If you need a friend)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (Call me)
Call me

My soul is screaming at me to take another step forward – a big change for me! I have been fighting this change internally since I stepped foot back onto U.S. soil.  I share with you today – the more I let go and allow this thing to unfold – the better I feel! I have not reached “grace” in my dance/decision! But, it is coming! Stay tuned!

Take a Chance! Take a Risk!

In Gratitude, Brandi J.

4 thoughts on “

    1. Thank you, Rebecca! You have been on this long incredible journey with me for seven years! You have been an amazing supporter and friend! So thankful for your continued presence in my life. We are all blessed to be on this journey through life – the good and the bad! blessings to you fellow sojourner! I love that word! Much Love!

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