14 Jan This Day Includes Me: Writing the foreword to my first book!
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
I’m writing the foreward to my book, before my book even exists. A few nights ago, lying in bed, a simple message popped into my head, “Write the foreword” was all that it said. I woke up, turned on the light on my nightstand, and scribbled the words in my notebook. It didn’t make much sense to me, but then again, these messages don’t usually make sense at first. It’s only when I look back on my actions, and look back on the moments when I have trusted the, “flashes of inspiration” that I see how the pieces fit together.
I was born with a curiosity for life that has never wavered. From a young age, I declared that I wanted to be an adventurer, a writer, and a violinist – and yet, somewhere along the way, I lost my path. An eye roll here, a disapproving glance there, a family friend scoffing, “Oh that’s just Anastasia and another one of her adventures.” What started for me as a life of infinite possibilities was gradually whittled down into a life of, “doing what I was supposed to do”, and desperately trying not to disappoint the people who had expectations of what I should be doing in my life. I checked all the boxes: good job, husband, no late credit card payments, an acceptable allowance of work time versus recreation, and a devout dedication to the things in life that I needed to care about – my retirement fund and my health insurance. And yet, while I was seemingly doing everything, “right” – I knew in my heart that something was not right.
I am not more special than any one person on this earth. When we come into this world and enter our physical bodies, we are placed here with the knowledge that we are a part of the universe. That who we are makes a difference. We are connected to the truth. We have the knowledge that we were placed on this planet for a unique reason. We embark on a beautiful journey to blaze a trail that is ours, and ours alone. In a world of over 7 billion people, there is only one of each of us – isn’t that remarkable? And yet, somewhere along the way, the trail grows faint. We convince ourselves that we are being silly and foolish. We spend our days, trying to be just like everybody else, or doing what everybody else tells us we should be doing. I’m not saying that there is ill-intent from these well-meaning people, but rather to suggest that much of the unfulfillment that we often feel in our life arises from the experience of walking a trail that is not truly our own.
I had to walk on the wrong trail in order to discover my purpose in life. I had to know what it felt like to be, “stuck”. I had to understand what it meant to, “unconsciously design your own life”, and I absolutely had to learn how to jump out of that endless spin cycle and onto the path of clarity. After a lifetime of watching my inspired ideas die again and again while I was paralyzed by the fear of looking, “reckless” or “irresponsible”, a near-fatal car accident shook me to my core. It destroyed the concept of stability that had shackled me in place. It was the sign that I had been begging for – the reminder that every single thing in life is built on a foundation of being grateful for the not-so-simple gift of a beating heart and breathing lungs.
Throughout this process of re-discovering myself, I tried new things – I started meditating, I started writing poetry again (something I hadn’t done since I was a young girl). I started playing my violin again, which had been sitting quietly in its case, waiting for me to come back – waiting for me to remember who I was. Flashes of inspiration started entering my life again, but this time, released from the grip of fear, I started following them. I started carrying my violin into the wilderness to perform concerts for nobody on the summits of mountains. I started sharing my vulnerable heart with the world. I started following the signs and omens that were guiding me on my path. I allowed my heart to speak to me – once and for all, I stopped silencing it. Even when it was scary – even when I doubted myself or I felt like nothing was happening, I trusted the universe that everything was happening exactly how it was supposed to. Each day, I watched the magic unfold. Each day, I received new clues – like little trail blazes – guiding my path.
I always knew that writing a book would be a part of this process. When I first spoke my personal mission to impact and inspire millions of people, I hesitantly included that I wanted to write a NY Times Best Seller. I was so scared to write those words – what if I failed? The old doubts started sneaking into my mind again, but I knew that I needed to ignore them, because by not sharing my dreams, I was ultimately ensuring that I could never be successful or be the change in the world that I wanted to be.
This book is an authentic expression of me. It is a combination of words and poetry that came to me on my own journey, and through my experiences climbing mountains and bringing my music into the wilderness. Sometimes, I don’t even know where the words, “come from” – rather, they almost feel as if I “channel” them from the deepest parts of my soul. I share them with you now in the hopes that they help to unlock something deep within you – that idea you’ve always wanted to pursue, or the secret whisper in your heart that you can no longer ignore. Those ideas and those thoughts are who you are – they are your heart trying to guide you to a place of clarity that is so beautiful, you can’t possibly imagine it. Yes, it’s intimidating to take that first step, but if you can simply let go and surrender to the current of the world around you, I promise that your life will become the most perfect expression of who you are. You will blossom into the person that you have always known you could be.
On a mountain summit at sunrise one day, I received the affirmation that has become the title of this book. As you watch the world wake up around you, and as you feel the mountain breeze, it’s hard not to feel gratitude. This day includes me. This day includes you too. Shine brightly and dream big – we need you.