Monday, July 9, 2012

A letter to me

"I have found, that if you love life, life will love you back." - Arthur Rubinstein

When I left home in November 2010, I'm not sure what I was looking for. Maybe just an escape, a break from the constraints of what society had told me to do - study, work, marriage, babies, rinse and repeat, retire and then you can start doing what you want to do. Maybe I was just running away from a broken heart. I don't really know anymore.

I had no idea I'd be gone for so long. Although I had a brief stint home in February of last year because of the earthquake, and more recently just to visit again, I've been gone almost two years - it will be 23 months before I finally 'move' home.

I've learned some big lessons along the way, those that I doubt I could have learned without pushing myself well out of my comfort and into the deep unknown. 

In November 2010, when I was in Thailand, I remember feeling moved to pray. I lit some incense and sat before a temple and all that I could think to ask the universe was (I'm not religious) for the ability to find joy in unusual places.

And since then, I've found it in the strangest places.

After the devastating earthquake, I tried to learn perspective. In that, although things were awful for me in that period of time and there was so much hurt in my family, that life could still be good. I searched for a similar beauty to that found in the truth that "the ocean never stops kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it is sent away" - there's a beauty in perseverance, even more so when it's harder, when it hurts more.

Almost a year ago I was stabbed in Indonesia, which is one of the most frightening experiences of my life. A few days after the attack, I learned to forgive in a way like never before. I could understand my attackers motivations and instead of feeling resentment or anger, I just felt a blanket of contentment and appreciation; for something terrible happened and I was fine.

I'm not really sure when it happened, when exactly I fell in love with life. But somewhere along this trip, I've developed the biggest crush on my world. There's a lot of sadness in this world, but I choose not to take it on board, too often. 

I think stripping away my materialistic positions, my attachment to a tangible home and my consumer lifestyle has opened up a lot of space within me to take life in. I notice things that I never used to. I have a greater affection for sunsets, the taste of food, and how sunshine feels when it dances on your skin. It's as if all of my attachment towards things has shifted towards experiences and they have become my priority in life.

I've been living in Madrid for three weeks now. It's the second place in the world that I've moved to without visiting first and it's the second time this has been one of my wisest decisions, ever. This city is more alive than any I've visited before. There's something infectious and fun about Madrid. All of the foreigners I've met who are living here are secretly plotting ways to extend their stays. I would be too, if I didn't have something so magic waiting for me at home.

One day, I'll return. But for now I'm so grateful that I'm spending this summer in Spain. I'm loving life and it's loving me right back. 

So, this is just a little note, to remind myself all that I've learned and loved since I left.