I have been away from London for more than a month, and upon return, I had the clarity of mind to reflect on past events and the energy I feel back home.
We live in one of the most abundant and diverse places on Earth with people from all over the world living here and cumulatively speaking more than 300 languages. On our street, a few miles away from the Grenfell Tower in West London, our neighbours are Muslim, Christian, and Hindu, and they come from Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Asia—you name it.
Every day, this multitude of backgrounds challenges me and helps me learn to respect the unknown and stretch my comfort zone beyond the habit of judging. My aim is to be able to see beyond my own beliefs conditioned by my background, family, nationality, and faith, and to raise my son in a way that is accepting of the diversity of cultures that surround us.
I grew up in a small town in communist Bulgaria, where there is still discrimination based on the colour of people’s skin or by their sexual orientation—which can be a risk to their safety. I used to spend my summer vacations in my grandmother’s village with friends from Turkish and Romani minorities, and it was natural for me to hear her speak different languages with the neighbours.
She grew up with them in that small village, and it was her way to connect with them and their culture, and show her respect. Our doors were always open and we celebrated Christmas and Easter together, and always enjoyed the sweet delights on Ramadan.
The dramatic incidents in London, and across the world, brought me back to this beautiful time of my childhood, in which religious holidays were a reason to celebrate living together—no matter your faith or colour. Living respectfully, caring about each other, sharing the moments of happiness and sorrow.
I passed by the Grenfell Tower on my way to the Queen’s Club tennis final two weeks ago. The view of destroyed lives and the pain of all the families was echoing in my heart while watching the game. I was present at a celebration of the human potential and could not stop thinking about the power to create and the power to destroy.
Aren’t these people all born in the same place? How can we help each other to be more caring and loving? London has been different after all these painful events, and it is our responsibility to be united in the face of sorrow—and not only then.
Being aware that I cannot control the events, my intention is to keep focusing on the positive things around the world. I believe that it takes simple steps. Have you heard the saying that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with?
Spending time with people I love and care about is my priority. Open-hearted connection is the ultimate aim, which brings me joy. Last weekend, I had the pleasure of spending several hours with a group of friends who have participated with me in Insight Seminars. We often get together to learn more about ourselves and the world. This mastermind group supports me in going forward and staying present in difficult times.
I am so grateful to be surrounded by conscious creators, people who want to create a positive difference in the world by working on issues in their own lives and relationships.
The first step always starts by looking at ourselves:
How can I take care of myself better to be able to take care of others?
How can I change my attitude and intentions?
How can I create a healthier environment for my son?
How can I be a better partner and a better human being?
The answers are not always easy and can sometimes bring up unhealed memories from the past. Holding on to pain from the past is life blocking, so I was very excited by the mental health initiative launched by the royal family, which encourages people to speak up about mental issues to help overcome them. I also find that talking about my issues is important to keep me healthy, and being vulnerable is a powerful step toward living the life I love.
We are facing times in which the hatred around the world together with the high expectations in the innovative technological era bring extreme levels of anxiety. In the face of sorrow, nothing is more important than our well-being.
How do we keep the intention to take care of ourselves so we are better able to take care of others?
My formula is to surround myself with people who share similar beliefs and values, who care about the world, and thrive living the lives they love. The heart connection has no age, no gender, no colour, no faith, no nationality. What is your way?
Author: Gaia Vacheva
Image: Author’s Own; Alisdare Hickson/Flickr
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina