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I traveled to Bali, Indonesia for my 30th birthday: a birthday that usually marks new beginnings, deep introspection of life, and less-than-megan-the-stallion-knees.

Introducing our newest writer: Cash!

Written By Cash., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

I am thrilled to be introduced as a writer on The Crowned Series Blog. This group of amazing women have blessed my eyes with their stories and advice for the past year or so. And to be asked to accompany them in sharing words is a dream come true. To mark this (among other) new adventures – I traveled to Bali, Indonesia for my 30th birthday: a birthday that usually marks new beginnings, deep introspection of life, and less-than-megan-the-stallion-knees.

I can say that all of those things reigned true for me as I spent two weeks on the other side of the world. But the most important experience was the deep introspection. I took a solo trip to Bali for my 30th Birthday and here is what I learned…

Fear is a personal construct, created to keep us from achieving our own next-level greatness. I know what you’re thinking, so cliche right? I was thinking the same thing as I recited this to myself on the balcony of my Kuta hotel. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was in Bali by myself against ALL odds that had been put against me to be there. The weeks before I traveled to Bali, I went through illness, canceled plans of comrades and family, inconvenient personal matters, and the almost impossible choice of deciding if I was going to take an interview for a school or pour into myself one last time before letting it all go. Somehow, I made it to the place I was meant to be. You see, if I had let fear guide my decision at any step of the way, I wouldn’t have been able to be in Bali reflecting and guiding this new journey into my 30s. Allowing fear to be just another emotion gave me the control that I needed to make the decision that was right for me.

Self-love sometimes means critically acknowledging the pain you’ve created for yourself, and that you’ve allowed others to create for you. Yep, this wouldn’t be a self-reflection journey if I didn’t talk about self-love. Self-love is probably the most amazing form of self-care we can participate in. But, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes, it’s about acknowledging pain. Period. And this particular form of self-love actually creates the stepping stones to liberating yourself from creating the same habitual responses you have been used to when faced with a difficult situation. I realized during this journey that I had shown everyone in my life that I was okay with not being held and cared for (in the ways that I preferred to be). I was so used to being the rock and prided myself on being the strongest person that everyone knew, that I forgot to show them that I was, in fact, human. The weeks before my 30th birthday, I found myself reaching out to the people I cared about most, in a way I never had before – asking them to see me and to acknowledge that I was in pain because I felt lonely and unseen. This was new for me, but also inhibiting. It reminded me that I, too, deserve love and it’s my job to communicate the ways that I want to receive that love. Which brings me to my next point…

People do not naturally understand boundaries. It’s your job to set and communicate them. Just as I’ve learned that you can’t get upset when people don’t know how to love you, if you don’t tell them; You can’t get mad at someone else if you’re showing them through your actions that you are always available. Trust me, the time is never better than now to communicate that you are not. This is actually healthy to share what you can and can not do to support others in times of self-care. Don’t think of this as being selfish, but being self-full. You deserve the space to be in joy alone if that’s what you choose. You can say no and decide not to always be “that friend” that shows up whenever people need you. This is not because you don’t care about the people in your life. This is because you, too, are a vessel, a cup that needs to be filled. How can you carry another’s energy when you haven’t even dealt with the emotions and feelings in your own vessel?

And finally – Forgiveness is necessary to create a clean slate for your next opening/adventure in life. Joy comes from a clearing. There, deep down within yourself, are situations and people that you need to forgive to create that clearing. So often we think that we are defined by the burdens that we carry. But, who we are without them is authentic and ready to explore whatever new moments life has for us. In Bali, I did things I never did before! I took chances – I ate food foreign to me, I threw up on a catamaran, I got a tattoo. But at the end of it I realized that these actions were just metaphors for a space that I was creating for myself to invite new experiences into my life this year. I don’t know what this journey has for me. However, I do know that this year my practice is to constantly forgive myself and create those clearings so that I might be ready for the next authentic journey.

I went to Bali on a solo trip defining the mark on this new 3rd decade of my life and there I found greatness, self-love, boundaries, and forgiveness. My charge to you on this next birthday is to sit with your own clearing and see what authentic experiences you can create. Thanks for having me as a part of your journey this year on The Crowned Series!

Cash., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

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