“Healing occurs when you align with the pure, positive energy that created the planet – and that keeps your heart beating and your blood chemistry normal. Healing occurs when you release all your resistance to well-being and allow yourself to be well. Healing occurs when you’re in harmony with your life’s purpose and those who are meant to accompany you on this path. Healing occurs when you’ve created a sense of safety and security in your life. Healing is a major leap of faith in this culture.” — Christiane Northrup, M.D.

The “ah-ha” moment struck me somewhere in Utah, while trekking across six states in 40 hours on the last day of my 60-day Greyhound Discovery Pass, headed back to the mother-land of Iowa. The moment of great reverence, awe, and wonder; the moment of beautiful, divine conclusion.

I was possessed with the great and shaking knowledge that what I embarked on was a 60-day healing passage, perfect in every moment of frustration, happiness, conversation, connection, and wonder that took place.

Sitting on a Southern California porch a few days before my December 6 departure, I told a new friend and spiritual guide that I felt the conclusion of this trip wasn’t just conclusion of my adventures through the U.S., but instead a conclusion from traveling to Indonesia, a journey I set out for two and a half years ago. At the time I couldn’t quite grasp why that was; how could it be that the end of this trip felt like the end of a seemingly unrelated event?

Upon graduating from college I was broken. I wanted to be a spiritual person, but I struggled finding inner peace. Seemingly strong on the outside, I was insecure and hurt inside. Choosing the path to Indonesia over my boyfriend, I had a break-up that was anything but civil. Then once in Indonesia for three months I realized I had been molested as a child—an unknowingly huge influence on most of my decisions and ideas of self-worth since a very young age. Realizing this abuse was shattering, yet it compelled me to seek out therapy in Pittsburgh where I moved after my year in Indonesia. Therapy became a positive (albeit painful) experience, as did my short months in Pittsburgh, which contained some of the darkest moments in my life. But it was because of that move—and the determination, drive, and understanding I gained in making that move—that I mustered up enough courage to uproot myself in July for a journey yet to be determined.

Pittsburgh was imperative in my growth. It was my dark chrysalis into the light, and it was in that dark chrysalis I found the most nourishing gifts of friendship and survival, which allowed me to become a butterfly. In May my friend Kate and I made dream boards (also known as vision or manifestation boards). My board included a strong desire to travel, a need to write, and a longing for spirituality, connection, and community (among other items). Within weeks of creating the board I made monumental decisions to follow my dreams to wander. It was manifestation at its purest form.

Kate Stoltzfus of Yinzpiration.com and I with our finished dream boards that we created in May.

Though I wasn’t making a full-time salary I took a wild leap of faith that I could provide for myself, both financially and emotionally, while experiencing the world head-on. I trusted The Universe to provide the plan, the connections, and the warmth along the way, and The Universe responded enthusiastically. In fact, The Universe responded so enthusiastically that it also provided me the spirituality and community I desired in the form of healing powers and love.

Early morning Utah light and reflections that I captured on my iPhone moments before my “ah-ha” discovery. My favorite part of traveling via Greyhound was the ability to gaze at ever changing landscapes for hours while contemplating my life.

Healing is the process where we release what no longer serves us and cultivate that which does. Healing happens when we are conscious of what we put into the mind, body, and spirit, and when we stimulate the flow of energy in our bodies. The great Buddha once said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” By taking my leap I was proving to myself that I loved myself as much as The Universe loved me.

People often asked me along the way, “Aren’t you sick of moving around? Don’t you get tired? Aren’t you having crappy experiences?” And typically my response was, “Honestly, I’ve never been happier!” A glow came from me; an aura of joy, love, and peace. Self-discoveries happened naturally, and the world I lived in began to make sense. What I sought, I found, and what I found, I needed, and what I needed, I shared. I strongly desire to create a positive impact on the people and world around me, but I couldn’t do that to the fullest strength without having a positive impact on myself first.

This healing journey taught me self-love and self-care, two vital lessons I’ll forever carry with me. I’ve landed on a vibration of positive energy, and through this I’ve brought in the people, safety, and security I needed to make me whole again. I know the process of life will drag me into dark places again, but I also know that my heart has in no way suffered from going on search of my dream, and for allowing myself to finally see the light and to be well.