During the holidays, I set out for a day hike with my family on the Appalachian Trail.
We started from Sam’s Gap, right near the North Carolina-Tennessee border. I knew I had been in this area before, in June 2018, on a writer’s retreat with two poet friends. We had rented an Airbnb which turned out to be located just a short walk from the Appalachian Trail.
I spent many hours on the AT that June weekend, breathing in the fresh mountain air and trying to listen to the quiet voice of my soul - which has always had a tendency to grow louder and clearer in the mountains.
I was seeking answers to so many questions at that time. I was just beginning to understand the deeper purpose that was calling me… the path that would eventually lead me into life coaching… but at the time, my head was spinning with overwhelming questions.
How could I actually make a living from this purpose?
How do I start a business all by myself?
Was my current home in Charleston SC the right place for me to live my dreams?
Would I ever finally start living the life I really wanted?
Three and a half years later, here I am walking the same trail, still listening deeply for the voice of my soul among these Blue Ridge Mountains.
Just then, the shady forest trail suddenly opened into sunlight and we stepped out into a wide-open meadow, with 360 degree views of mountains and blue skies.
It all looked strangely familiar to me.
We passed by a small campsite, with the remnants of a fire and single log for a hiker to sit and rest their weary bones.
And then I remembered. I said aloud to my parents, “This… this is the spot.”
It looked quite different three summers ago, the meadow covered in wild flowers and green leaves.
But this was definitely the spot.
This was the place, just a small stretch of earth on the Appalachian Trail, where I made a sacred vow to myself.
This was the exact spot where my soul whispered to me… “This is where you belong.”
It was one of the most profound moments of clarity in my entire life.
It was the moment where I decided in my heart that it was time to leave Charleston - my home for over 15 years - and start a new life in Asheville, North Carolina.
And in these mountains, I pledged to myself that I would start building my dream life as a self-employed life coach and writer.
I made myself a promise that I would live my purpose unapologetically.
I didn’t know yet how I was going to make it all happen. I didn’t know all the details.
But I did know this: every step I take forward from now on is a step in this new direction, towards the vision I am just now beginning to see.
Three and a half years later, I am filled with gratitude to say that everything I dreamed on that day has come true.
And the lesson I learned during those three and half years is this: You must develop an unshakeable belief in your own vision.
You must become a fierce advocate for your own highest and greatest good.
You must make your soul a promise you refuse to break.
That promise will carry you through the inevitable storms of doubt, setbacks, and feeling misunderstood by those who cannot see the beauty of your vision.
Some people didn’t understand why I wanted to move from Charleston. Some people didn’t understand why I left my career as a public school teacher. Some people didn’t understand why I chose to leave the Charleston poetry scene that I had helped build. And plenty of people thought I was crazy for thinking I could be a “life coach.”
But I made a vow to myself that day... a vow I refused to break.
It is that vow, made in sacred silence on a summer day on the Appalachian Trail, that guides me to this day.
If you have read this far, I’m guessing that you also have a vision waiting inside you, a vision ready to become reality. So let me ask you a few questions for your soul to ponder…
What vision is guiding you towards the life of your dreams? What does that dream life look like for you?
What livelihood, what home, what relationships, what community do you most deeply want?
To begin making this vision a reality, do you need to leave a current job behind? Do you need to break free of a stagnant relationship? Do you need to find new roots in a community that supports your passions?
Are you ready to risk it all for what you really want?
Are you ready to make a vow to your soul, a vow to make that vision a reality, a vow you refuse to break?
My work as a life coach is all about supporting people on this journey of making their vision a reality.
My calling is to empower clients like you to find their own unique life path, to walk by your side as you embark on your own personal hero’s journey towards the life you feel most deeply called to live.
If 2022 is the year you decide to start walking a path to call your own, I’m here to walk that path with you.
Book a Pathfinding Session with me today to take your first step down the trail.
- Matthew Foley