First, I must say that I am no guru. I entertain that thought from time to time though. Hmmm. What if someone actually thought I had all the answers to their heart's most pressing questions and burning desires? I imagine it would feel something like being the glorified offspring of Deepak Chopra and Wonder Woman. But at last, sorry to disappoint -- that's not me.
I don't hold the keys to a wealth of everlasting peace of mind, because if I did, I wouldn't be pursuing it with such vigor in my daily life. I'm actually writing this while undergoing one of the most transitory, ever-evolving phases of my life --the postgrad whirlpool where I'm constantly questioning whether opting for the "secure" path or the unknown is appropriate.
Life seems to get more complicated by the day. On a good day, I consider myself a pretty self-aware young adult. I enjoy the process of questioning the world and who I am in relation to it all. I vouch for the power of writing therapy, I praise self-reflection, and somewhere in between channeling my inner Lana Del Rey alter ego, I try to stay balanced and centered.
If you are wondering what this balancing act feels like, it's similar to finding yourself stranded in the vast ocean, getting washed over by the waves like it's the entrance of the semi-annual Barneys Warehouse sale and you are gatekeeper. Then, all of a sudden, you realize, but wait I am the ocean, so that means that these waves cannot push me around, because I AM the waves.
Or, in even more modern terms, losing your chill is like when the server crashes while you aggressively refresh for some Early Bird Ultra Tickets only to embarrass yourself in the middle of Starbucks because, IN AVICII WE TRUST. All this only to realize that the early bird may get the worm, but in a few years that worm is irrelevant. Life rages on -- and there's always Tomorrow World.
Hey, I understand. I already admitted, wherever the subjects of these metaphors are, I'm currently experiencing life's delicate chaos too, and I think we all do in various points in our lives. Disappointments hurt, setbacks frustrate, and heartbreak is brutal. Especially in this day and age, social media can snowball your private pains into some virtual circus where everyone thinks it's fun to poke the lion.
After a while, you can tuck the jokes under the sheets before you sleep, but bed bugs bite. And the reality of life's hardships hurts the dreamers and just gives pessimists one more thing to brag about. If you are a naturally sensitive and expressive person, then without self-awareness the emotional outbursts continue. And if you are the quiet, reserved type -- well, everyone has a breaking point.
Gasp. Does this mean that "zen" people are just pending emotional volcanoes?
The concept of confusing emotional and unstable as interchangeable terms has always puzzled me. We are humans, and I'm a firm believer that if the joining of an egg and sperm resulted in the creation of you, then you are here on Mother Earth for a reason. That means there are some lessons to be learned. Just think about it. There could have been thousands of other yous -- maybe one that was taller or less reactive or more practical -- but no, there is you and along for the ride are your self-perceived imperfections. That can be enough to trigger the feels.
Now imagine yourself standing on a hill looking over the vast landscape that is your life. I'm envisioning a Simba and Mufasa moment right now, except for you already know you are going to cross that forbidden boundary and make a few mistakes. Listening to advice always makes more sense in retrospect. Conveniently plopped next to you are two bags. One is clear and holds all of your insecurities. The second, inconveniently placed a little further away, is a dark bag that holds all of your strengths and potential.
Which one do we end up usually carrying on our shoulders?
Trick question. The answer is both, except for we can see all our insecurities so clearly and from time-to-time, we take them out of the bag and entertain them. Meanwhile, we still have at all times our bag of potential, but we are so distracted by all that seems wrong before us, that we don't even think to open the bag and take a look at our own gifts.
There are various experiences that hurt and frustrate us. When we undergo heartbreak, observe the tragedies of the world, or experience the loss of a loved one, it is simply not enough to accept that "everything happens for a reason." Sometimes we are not in complete control of what happens and that alone can be daunting. When we observe our emotional reactions on a daily basis and consider the choices we do have control over, we often lose ourselves in our insecurities and end up acting on behalf of fear.
But, you know what, I say no. I say the world can only harden us if we allow our minds to be treated like clay. No matter what pain we face, we can learn to heal over and over again. And for every hard lesson that happens to crash our mental servers, we will reboot ourselves.
There's a lot we can learn even when we find ourselves lost in the chaotic moments of life. In fact, it is exactly during those times in which we learn the most.