My time at home is coming to an end. And with it a huge phase of my life. Before I faced this transition with a combination of fear and excitement, but now I feel at peace. I’m ready to say goodbye and put this part of my life to bed. Time to start a new chapter. It’s weird because usually for me, transitions are high-energy. Excitement, fear, stress, sadness… and lots of it. But I feel so at ease right now. À l’aise as the French would say. I feel like this new, transitional energy represents a broader change in my life.
When I first heard the news about coronavirus, I knew I wanted to make the most of the situation. I first thought this could be traveling, but that was not an option for very long. So what next? I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to explore my hobbies: reading, writing, and YouTube. This is the first time in a really long time but I’ve had no real responsibilities or obligations. What better time to explore my passions?
I expected my time off to be blissful. I expected it to be freeing and filled with unprecedented joy and excitement. And it was at times. I also expected that most of my time would be spent on my hobbies. And a lot of it was. But I was not prepared for the true challenge I would face this quarantine: my past.
I’m a huge believer that what we hold inside of ourselves affects our physical reality and our ability to perform. For my entire life, I’ve been holding my past inside of me. And not in the loving way you look back at sepia-toned memories. It was more of a buried-as-deeply-below-the-surface-as-humanely-possible type of situation, to the point where I didn’t even think about it anymore. I probably could have left it that way for my entire life. But what fun would that be? We all know that I love a good problem, so of course when I ran out of professor-supplied problems after graduation, I had to start digging. But boy was I not prepared for what I would find.
It started with emotions. Being at my parents’ house definitely helped with that, but I started feeling everything. I’m pretty sure that when I was younger I must have buried every single emotion I came across because there was so much stuff down there. I didn’t have the time or the capacity to sift through all of that back then, but I do know. At first, I thought this would be a quick and easy process but that was just because at the surface, there wasn’t much there. I was proud of myself for graduating. I was happy with my life. But I was also avoiding my past and I didn’t even realize how much I was doing so.
So back to the emotions. It was a true roller coaster of feelings and instead of denying you’re trying to logically analyze it all, as I do, I just felt everything. I let all of my emotions bubble up to the surface and I accepted and embraced them for what they were. This is the first time in my life that I’ve been able to experience so-called negative emotions in the moment, with an understanding of the depth and value that they add to my life. Now I know that was a lot of pretty words, but trust me when I say it was not pretty. Understanding the value of something doesn’t make it hurt any less. I’m pretty sure I felt at least 10 years worth of happiness, sadness, anger, disappointment, grief, excitement, and anxiety in 2 months. Nonetheless, I’m so grateful that I had this opportunity and the accompanying free time to undertake this journey.
But I didn’t realize the true depth and meaning of my experience until today actually. You see I was sitting here thinking that writing a thousand words a day, tracking my dreams, and exploring YouTube content creation was the purpose behind my quarantine when its real purpose was smacking me in the face day after day waiting for me to see it.
Quarantine gave me the priceless opportunity to face my past, accept it, and put it to rest. From time to time over the past two months, I felt frustrated that I was missing out on my one big opportunity to travel before I was tied down to work or any other kinds of stability. And even though I try to live by the principles of amor fati, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the value of unexpected situations when you can’t see what that value really is. Believing that my purpose for this quarantine was just an exploration of my hobbies didn’t satisfy me. Not because that isn’t a worthy pursuit, but because that wasn’t what I needed in my life at that exact moment. So today, when I realized that the true purpose of my quarantine experience was to put my past to rest, I felt suddenly at ease.
It was like everything just clicked into place and I was flooded with peace and love. And you know the best part? I had the worst-best day today. I experienced every physical symptom of anxiety that I have ever felt before, all at once, for the entire day. And yet somehow I felt so secure and stable in my inner space. I felt so at peace. I was able to maintain my composure and take care of myself. It was like being tested with everything my body could throw at me and passing with flying colors.
For a while now, I’ve invested a lot of energy into working on myself internally as per my belief that our inner world creates our outer reality. Throughout that process, I found my inner strength growing. What started out as an occasional flicker of light grew into an increasingly stable flame. It wavered at times and I mistakenly let things outside of me blow it out, but that was all part of the process. I was learning. I feel like the last threat to my growing flame was my past. Even though I didn’t always feel it, my past was a wind silently blowing around inside of me. I was working so hard to protect my light when it’s biggest threat was already inside of me.
I cannot explain in words how truly freeing this experience was for me. It makes me laugh to think that I might have traded all of this for a month diving in Indonesia. As always, fate gave me the exact experience I needed and I could not be more grateful.
Ever since I started my first attempts to light my own flame, I knew that I also wanted to help other people do the same. But I had no idea where to start, especially considering I couldn’t even light my own fire consistently. My fire grew stronger and stronger but it was always at risk of getting put out by the outside world and by my own internal winds. But now I feel so confident in my fire. And that’s not to say I won’t ever face challenges again, in fact I know the opposite is true. I hope to face challenges every day of my life and I know that will be the case. But more importantly, I now know that I will always have my fire blazing inside of me while I face these challenges. I know that the peace I found today, that inner calm, will never leave me.
When I had these types of internal successes or reached these types of milestones before, I always wanted to tell someone about it. I wanted at least one person to validate my progress. But I didn’t have that today; that desire for external validation was replaced by simple peace. I was finally, I am finally at ease.
It’s such a deep and profound feeling. I used to feel so much excitement and happiness in moments of success, emotions that are inherently ephemeral. But being at ease? Even through the most anxiety-ridden day of my life? That’s some lasting shit.
And you know what the best part is? Now that I found my peace, I can be generous with my light. I can be confident that giving won’t put it out. I can begin to figure out how I can be most helpful to other people because I haven’t let go of that desire that everyone be able to find their light. And I have absolutely no idea what that process will look like but whatever fate has in store for me, I’m ready for it.