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Transforming Negative Energy into Positive: Discovering Girlosophy in Arizona

“Use negative energy in a positive way by allowing it to help you generate new creative output. When viewed this way, recording your world becomes a spiritual activity.”

Provoked by a restlessness while living in Pittsburgh, I decided to embark on a journey of uncertainty and travel. Many unforeseen events transpired that made my nine months in Pittsburgh some of the darkest and most unpleasant months of my life. Although rough, I also made incredible friendships and deep connections that kept me going. Delving into therapy provided an incredible source of strength, and through a strong mentor-friend-ship–even while experiencing negative feelings–I developed a positive sense of self. Surrounded by negative energy, I was able to use my experiences to generate a creative output that led me to the point that I could go and travel, though I didn’t know where I was going or what I was seeking. My desire to leave Pittsburgh partially came from a hurt and emotionally broken place, but I intuitively knew it was what I needed.

I have a firm spiritual belief in trusting your intuitions. If your body is responding to a situation, don’t ignore those responses. You can create fear around those intuitions: Where should I go? What will I do? Can I really just go without a plan? But ignoring your emotional response and instead following intuitions can be vital to a soul’s journey, and leaping will only bring some sort of positive change in your life.

Since being on the road I’ve been able to come up with a few foundational understandings behind my restlessness and what I’m seeking through my wanderlust. Some of these include:

  • Happiness
  • Introspection
  • Spirituality
  • Discovering what I want for my future
  • Re-connecting with important relationships from my past
  • Creating new relationships with people on my way
  • Understanding my country better
  • Education and learning

Arizona provided me the possibility to examine many of the above understandings. Spending a weekend in Mesa with my cousin Kara and her family, I was able to interact with cousins I hadn’t seen in years. I was blown away by the intelligent women Kara’s two daughters Annika and Kirsten have grown into, admiring their desire for knowledge and understanding of who they are are as females interacting in this world. Girlosophy is a book series Kara, Annika, and Kirsten started exploring this past summer and which they shared with me in my short time there (Click here for an interview with Annika, Kirsten, and Kara about Girlosophy).

Girlosophy is like the spiritual essence of my soul; the answer to my wanderlust and desire to find myself in this big world. This philosophy connects with my mission in this world as both a woman and spiritual being. Since spending time in Arizona I’ve been motivated through reading blog entries on the Girlosophy Web site, such as this one about writing that resonated best with me.

Through traveling and reflection I’ve been increasing my self-knowledge, as well as knowledge of the world I live in. As Girlosophy author Anthea Paul writes, “Throwing light on darkness – by which I mean the hidden or shadow Self – is the only way to confront issues and create real change.” Learning about myself in the context of travel truly exposes dark or hidden parts of who I am, which isn’t always pleasant. For example, while living in Indonesia for a year I journaled more than I ever had due to the lack of English I was able to speak. Through this self-reflection I discovered that I had been sexually abused as a child, and how that event had dictated many experiences and ways I’ve related with the world since. I threw light on the darkness of my past and was finally able to confront a lot of dark secrets. Since that point I’ve been drawn into advocacy for sexual abuse survivors through my project Our Stories Untold and work with Women Under Siege.

 

“Pain and rage can serve as pathways to a new level of involvement in your own life. Once you acknowledge their existence, you can transmute these powerful energies. They can be re-harnessed to serve you via new channels,” Anthea Paul states. Through writing I’ve been able to become a master of my emotions. I write best when traveling because I’m capable of seeing myself from a neutral standpoint in relation to a larger world; the two go hand-in-hand.

Now that I’ve discovered this (thanks to Girlosophy and Arizona), the next big idea is to continue channeling my wandering spirit to harness my creativity and writing. Is it a book on the way? A project? Organization? Movement? Who knows, but as long as I continue following my intuition I believe I’ll keep winding through the world to more beautiful and gratifying places.

Rachel Halder
Rachel Halder has been a traveling on and off again since late June 2012. A worldly woman with an English father and an adventurous mother, she’s been traveling internationally from a young age, most recently spending a year in Papua, Indonesia. She works remotely as a freelance writer and social media associate for Women Under Siege, a Women’s Media Center initiative documenting how sexualized violence is used in conflict. She also directs Our Stories Untold, a blog promoting conversation about sexualized violence in the Mennonite church. Join her on her travel adventures in her own country, and don’t forget to follow her on Twitter at @raerrh with the hashtag #raeontheroad2012 and #girlstravel!

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