New Beginnings through NOLA

image by friend Jen Hillenga

image by friend Jen Hillenga

As I leave a business trip in New Orleans, I am once again reminded of the power of my choices.  I get to choose the life that I receive.  Up until now, I like to make up that life just happens to me and I am an innocent bystander to the things that are happening.  However, the longer I choose transformation, that more I recognize the denial and victim mentality in that thinking.  My thoughts and how I entertain them, open up possibilities or short them down.  My experience with New Orleans or NOLA is just a great example of what that looks like. 

I am not sure where I began to judge or decide that I didn’t like NOLA.  I had traveled there one time with my husband and kids about 9 or 10 years ago.  I don’t recall having any bad experiences.  I remember thinking the food was odd and being unwilling to try it. But other than that, my only memories are walking between our hotel and convention center several times a day.  However, the thought came to me, “I don’t like New Orleans.”  I then over time, decided that was completely true and began owning that judgement with a sense of pride and my dislike moved to hate. (I am so sorry.)  When opportunities came to travel to NOLA, I would immediately shut them down simply because of where they were located.  

I am a part of a mastermind group of sorts and we meet every year to inspire each other in our craft. Regular participation is an important part of being in the group, and one of the requirements is you must attend a minimum of 1 meeting every two years or you lose your seat.  I wasn’t able to attend last year, so this year was an important meeting for me to attend.  When I heard that it was going to be in NOLA, my judgements were immediately triggered, and the complaints began to flow.  Thankfully the choice to lose my seat in the group gave me the opportunity to interrupt my resistance to NOLA.  I made my reservations and was heading to what I had decided was my least favorite city.

As I continue to choose transformation in my life, one of the ways of being that is emerging is softness. I am so grateful!! As I choose softness, what was once rigid or black and white in my mind has the possibility of being something new.  I look back over the last few weeks and months as I prepared for this trip and I can see how I was slowly choosing something new.  My thoughts and language were focused on the excitement and anticipation in my heart about what might emerge from my business meeting in NOLA.  Yesterday’s agenda included half a day of sightseeing. As I prepared for my day and chose to experience joy throughout, I began to process my feelings about NOLA.  I realized that my current judgement wasn’t creating joy. I began to wonder if NOLA had something to offer that I was unaware of.  I realized that was possible.  I decided to set my judgements aside and walk into this sightseeing with new eyes of curiosity.  Other people love NOLA, so what am I not seeing.  I am so grateful I choose curiosity!  What emerged was a wonderful day of laughs, learning, and experiencing a unique city.  Some of my highlights were:

  • Sitting on a long curved rod iron bench, under gorgeous budding trees in a beautiful park as a group of about 10 of us got a sugar rush while enjoying beignets from El Mondi on the river.  
  • My head and heart connecting while my love of learning was ignited as we walked through a cemetery with a NOLA local and he explained the uniqueness of their burial traditions.  
  • The houses in Uptown opened up tradition and history as a narrator on our bus shared stories and architectural understanding with us. 
  • I found the people of the city to be so kind, respectful, and sweet. 
  • Last but not least, I saw quaint allies, shops, and dinner spots that I thought would be neat to try in the future.  

What?!? Have I shifted to wanting trips to NOLA in the future? My judgement of not liking NOLA had been replaced with curiosity and a desire to learn and experience more in the future.  WOW, so much can change by simply choosing curiosity rather than judgement.  

As I process this experience with the city of NOLA, I shift to thinking about how this shows up in other areas in my life.  What judgements do I have towards food, places, hobbies, and most importantly people.  How or what in my relationships have I decided I don’t like?  What possibilities am I shutting down.  What could open up if I recognized what I have judged as true about someone and decided to let down my pride about being right?  If I choose curiosity rather than judgements what could open up?  I would experience new things.  I would be actively choosing a new life full of new possibilities.  I would be experiencing transformation.  Thank you NOLA for opening up such a profound reality for me and please forgive me for all the years I have misjudged you and missed out on all you have to offer.

Are you as excited as I am?  I would love to hear your experiences with this.  What do you realize you have missed out on as a result of choosing to be right about something?  What judgements have you or are you choosing to interrupt and what new life is being produced?  Would you offer us inspiration by sharing your stories or realizations?

Julia Woods2 Comments