The Last 10 Years

This whole “ten year challenge” that’s been going around on social media has me thinking a lot about the past decade of my life. So much has changed, yet there’s something steady underneath that has been there all along...10 years ago I was 19 years old, and I was just starting to open my eyes, like a puppy finally ready to see the world, like the sun slowly peeks over the mountains shedding light on the valleys below. At this time I read my very first “self help” book: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It changed me. Then I found the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?” and I was changed even more. The simple understanding that I had the ability to shape my reality, or at least my reaction to reality, was life changing. After that I somehow discovered Alan Watts and Terence McKenna lectures on YouTube. I found so much comfort in what they had to say and was finally starting to make sense of things. Then I found this book at a thrift store “I Am” by Jean Klein and learned even more about non-dualism and the nature of being a seeker and what that means. I read more books by Osho and learned even more about how to unlearn all of the programming I’d received since birth. 

More time passed and life carried on, with more lessons and experimenting and experiencing; more unlearning and deprogramming, figuring out what was acceptable and what wasn’t. At 22, fresh out of college, I moved from my home state of Mississippi to Austin, Texas to experience living in a city for the first time (I grew up in a town of 7,000). I got my first full time job as an elementary special education teacher and quickly realized that full time employment, working under someone else, was not for me. I felt like a bird trapped in a cage, a fish with it’s tail caught under a rock, tied down when all I wanted was to be unfettered, soaring with my own wings, jumping from river to stream and back again, with the sovereign right to do so. 

At 25 years of age, I had quit my teaching career, quit the nanny job I got after that, had sold most of my possessions and packed my car up to go to live and work on a few farms in the Austin area. I was working for room and board and loving every minute of it. I knew, innately, how much my body longed to work outside, hands in the dirt, muscles aching and skin sun kissed. I learned how to drive an excavator, install drip irrigation systems, eviserate chickens, feed pigs, clean chicken coops, and most importantly, how to be free. That was also the season in my life where I attended my first ayahuasca ceremony and met my future husband. For real. 

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Here I am now, almost 4 years later and my life is a complete and utter dream: MY dream. I live on the land, collecting firewood, learning how and tending to a garden, pooping in a compost toilet (aka a bucket), helping my fiancé build garages and cabins, and earning a meager living with my art. My future self was holding my hand all along, gently urging me along my own path, allowing me to fall down and make turns down dead end streets and even explore some dark and creepy alleyways, but always whispering for me to find my footing again, that what I always dreamed of was possible and did exist. 

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Marlena Jarjoura