You know that feeling of slowly going crazy?
Sitting here with 19 open tabs on my laptop browser, half-made tea next to me, and a handful of half-written emails. Moving-boxes are all around the apartment; the contents of my life half packed up, the other half scattered around demanding attention.
I’m leaving my job and my home, Amsterdam, to become a nomad for the next five months.
The fear has just gripped me.
I’d been keeping busy—seeing friends, writing, participating in the Elephant Academy and traveling for weekend trips.
Enjoying the precious last moments in a city I have fallen badly for.
At the end of a hectic few weeks, a stomach flu forced me to lay low for a few days. The reminder that I needed that our bodies are what we should be listening to, not our minds. “Why can’t our bodies keep up?” A backwards perception we tend to have when it should be in reverse.
There’s much our minds could learn from taking a close, conscious, listen to what our bodies are telling us. In this case, “Slow Down!”
Enduring the stomach flu, I tried to get the bottom of my fear, which, strangely enough, I usually feel in the pit of my stomach.
It turns out I am not afraid of the next adventure, rather, it’s the fact that I may never return to where I am now.
Nothing will be the same as in this moment.
As certain as death and taxes, we can never turn back time. No matter how similar the surroundings or feelings, no two moments are ever the same.
Through the crazy uncertainty of the last days, this is what i’ve learned:
1. Let go of attachment.
“This too, shall pass.” ~ Sufi Proverb
The Buddhist principle that all suffering comes from attachment is a difficult pill to swallow in our lives. Whilst packing up—for uncertain times—has been confronting, even painful, it has also been (en)lightening. An opportunity to (literally) shed some of the load. Attachment to my past life and to the beautiful city that I live in is futile. Who knows what the future holds?
Instead, I can only be thankful for having had the opportunity to have lived here and loved it. And to be certain that even better things will come if I make space for them to come in.
2. Busyness, stress and lack of focus are not things to hold on to.
It’s not okay, frankly, it’s disrespectful. Disrespectful to the present moment, to those you are with in that moment, and to the task at hand—not to mention bolstering the Ego.
All we ever have is the present moment. A second at a time. Those seconds can’t speed up or slow down, let’s do ourselves a favor, and take things one step at a time. In the present moment we can accept, enjoy or become enthusiastic. Resisting only adds strength to what we are trying to get away from.
Hating and resenting is a call to stop. Immediately.
And walk away.
For me, trying to do 10 things in one second means that I don’t do them properly and the present moment goes out the window. Learning to let things unfold with patience is a life practice.
3. Accept fear of the unknown, of uncertainty, and loss.
I have always had a problem with “letting go.” Not that I don’t want to, but hearing people tell you to just “let things go,” when you’re trying with all your might to do just that. Trying way too hard perhaps. Whilst I cannot summon up mystical powers to wipe things from my memory. I can accept how things are, and that I do not yet know how things will be.
Most importantly, I am learning to have faith. Faith in God, his plans, faith in those I know and in the world.
Most of all, to have faith in myself.
So in the spirit of faith, I leave you these words:
“At the point where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith.” ~ Robert Brault
“Faith makes things possible, not easy.” ~ Author Unknown
“Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.” ~ Victor Hugo
“Your heart is a sun—
Joy its stars,
Faith a moon, shining in your darkness…”
~ Terri Guillemets
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Author: Ellie Cleary
Apprentice Editor: Elizabeth Brumfield, Editor: Renée Picard