In the follow up from her first article for the Sisters, the group’s founder and globally acclaimed speaker, author, and ocean rower, Roz Savage, shares how she opened herself up to an entirely new way of living and, in so doing, found her mission to raise awareness of planetary health and well-being.
You can read the first part of this article, Beginning With the End in Mind in the magazine.
Once you’ve seen a fundamental truth, you can never again un-see it. When I did that obituary exercise and realized that the life my soul yearned for was not a life of shallow materialism and easy comfort, but rather a life of adventure and courage and being of service, I simply couldn’t go back to how I had been. It was as if I had opened a portal to a parallel universe where I was living the life I was supposed to be living, a life that was vividly technicoloured, joyous and juicy, compared with the rather grey existence that was my current reality.
It sounds like a no-brainer of a decision. Who wouldn’t want to live the most vivid version of their life? And yet it was also terrifying. As Marianne Williamson says, ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”’ And it was exactly that fear that was holding me back.
But the heart wants what the heart wants. Even though my brain could think of a thousand reasons not to embrace the life I had imagined – What about your job? What about your pension plan? What will your friends think? – on some deep level, even below the level of conscious knowing, this alternative version of me wanted to be born.
So over the next couple of years, my life changed. To many, it probably looked like a train wreck. To me, it felt liberating. I quit my job. My marriage ended. In fairly short order I found myself jobless, homeless, separated, and fairly close to penniless.
What happens when you lose everything that once you had held dear? In my case, I found that none of it mattered as much as I thought it did.
It was around this time that I first read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, which summed up this chapter of my life: ‘no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.’
Another significant book in my spiritual education around this time was The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. Partly inspired by that book, I formed a plan to go to Peru. I was experimenting with the Celestine way of seeing the world, in which there was no such thing as coincidence, and every conversation was an exchange of energy. Travelling around a new country seemed like the perfect opportunity to put this world view to the test.
The three months I spent in Peru were life changing. The experiment succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I wrote a book about my travels, called Three Peaks in Peru, which I may publish one day as an e-book. In short, in Peru I danced with life in a way I had never danced before. I opened myself up to any encounter and any experience, my only criterion being that it should be interesting. And Peru never failed to surprise.
Besides finding a new and more easeful way to live, I also came back from Peru with a new-found environmental awareness. New friends there had introduced me to Pachamama, the earth mother, who exacts revenge on those who take too much from her by afflicting them with earthquakes. This vengeful deity was very different from the endlessly forgiving and gentle Mother Nature who I had previously known. I had also seen the glaciers of the Andes, that my new friends told me get a little smaller every year, and this was my first introduction to climate change.
And so started the mission that would inspire me to row alone across oceans to raise environmental awareness, a mission that would dominate the next seven years of my life.
Roz Savage MBE is the first woman to row solo across the ‘Big Three’ oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian. Her adventures raised awareness of environmental issues, as a result of which she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen. She now writes and lectures on global challenges, sustainability, and the urgent need for change in the collective human narrative. Having herself made the journey from bystander to activist, Roz passionately believes that women have a unique and crucial role to play in creating a better future, and that every woman has the potential to find her inner leader.