Years ago, I volunteered in the Philippines with children living on the streets doing informal education. Since we did not speak the same language there was a lot of dancing to Low by Flo Rida.

The song is especially important because it was that song that reminded me of my recent ex. The ex I was supposed to marry. The ex that dumped me the same week I was fired from my job all while my savings were slipping away in the recession.

My life as I had known it, the life I had dreamed of, the life I was planning for, the life I was living for, had completely evaporated. To say I was devastated is an understatement. I would curl up in a ball and cry for hours at a time. I was lost. I was so confused as to how I was surrounded by so many people and things that could be gone in an instant. I felt alone.

I’d like to say I volunteered out of the goodness of my heart. Sure, there was some of that. I had always dreamed of being in the Peace Corp and this was a way to satiate some of that dream. The reality is, I escaped to the Philippines to disappear. I felt like if I traveled halfway around the world that I could get away from all my problems. Yet, there it was, all the memories wrapped up in that one song playing over and over and over by the ENTIRE country EVERYWHERE I went.

Every time that song played I thought about my ex, the job that I lost (which is a story in and of itself), and ultimately myself. Who was I without that relationship? That job? Those dreams? How did I end up getting so lost? The problem was not my ex. The problem was not the job. The problem was me. I had lost who I was. I had made my priorities penthouses as opposed to purpose.

I also realized I was trying to run from something by going to the Philippines. If I am running from something, I am in a place of avoidance making happiness hard to find. If I am running to something, I am making a conscious chose of which way I want to live my life leading to greater fulfillment.

When I got home to Chicago I decided it was time to leave and found my way to San Diego. The minute I walked off the plane and saw the harbor filled with sailboats and palm trees I knew I was home. I took a 50% pay cut to live in a place that I loved. I was finally choosing my heart over anything else, especially money. Instead of running away from the world, I ran to me. I ran to MY dreams. Here I am, 11 years later, and I am happy as a pearl that shines!

(NOTE: Please know that I am not saying money is bad. There are deeper stories as to my unhealthy relationship with money that I will share down the road in hopes that it benefits you. What I want you to walk away with is that something external was driving my decisions as opposed to my heart and intuition.)

Now, let’s talk about you.

Is there anything you are trying to run from right now? Why?
What if, instead of running from something, you shifted to running toward something? This subtle shift will help you live a life by design rather than default.
Is there anywhere you are letting external factors override your inner knowing?
And of course, what is your favorite song to dance to? (Please do NOT say Low!)

Marlys, send me a note to let me know. I read everything.