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I’ve been processing lots of changes in my life and events that are unfolding at what seems to be a supernatural speed.
I don’t think we realise that sometimes we are going through life so fast that we don’t give ourselves enough time to grieve a loss, whether it’s the loss of a partner, a friend, or an old version of ourselves that doesn’t fit anymore.
I’ve just come back from a trip overseas seeing my family and friends after almost three years being unable to travel due to pandemic border closures. I think society expects us to simply roll on and just adjust to the jet lag and that’s it, but for me, it’s not that simple. I come from a Middle Eastern and North African background, from Egypt, but I live in a predominantly Anglo Saxon culture, in Australia. To snap in and out of two cultures like that almost always needs some time to adjust to the differences in lifestyle and culture.
I spent three hours on my flight back to Australia just journalling all the things I’ve learned in that trip, and all the ways that I can use those lessons to move forward in a positive and clear way when I return. I didn’t realise how much this brain dump was necessary for me to process a trip that was incredible, yet heavy on me in how it brought up lots of emotions that were swimming below the surface, childhood triggers, and how much my spirituality has taken a hit by my lifestyle in Sydney and its crazy busy ways.
Now I find myself in Australia, feeling good to be back in the place I call my second home, and yet somehow a feeling of grief is taking hold of me. I miss waking up with my family around me, laughing, having coffee with my mom and sister (even if it was followed by heated arguments), and more than anything, missing the depth of spirituality and contentment that I experienced there by the culture. I can’t help but see the contrast in spirituality here and there.
In Australia, spirituality isn’t valued as deeply as it is in Egypt. This didn’t frustrate me before I travelled because I didn’t realise how much Australia had rubbed off on me, and I had slightly disconnected from my own spiritual side here. But now, I know this is the antidote I need here. It’s the part of Egypt I need to carry with me in Australia and not let go of. I now know it’s deeply embedded in my identity to connect to my spiritual side, and a life that is removed from that makes me feel distant from my own heart.
I know that there are religious, Muslim communities here that I can actively choose to be around, yet I somehow don’t resonate deeply with everyone in the community either, and I worry that I would feel even more alone if I chose to participate when I feel like an outsider.
But I realise that I’m an outsider looking in with a lot of things in my life, which is why I crave connection and valuable, meaningful relationships all the time.
I sat with myself and started thinking: What can I do for my heart right now? I was feeling proactively heartbroken, a feeling that is hard to describe because you are feeling saddened yet at the same time, you hold the sadness with so much involuntary grace that it doesn’t envelope you, but instead, it slowly moves you forward.
I realised the answer, and the thing I need to fall back on, is my one true nature.
My one true nature is who I am without the chatter of the mind, and without my projected fears about the present and future.
My one true nature is my soul when it realises it’s holding the essence of a woman of character and dignity—beyond the aches and pains of life’s tribulations.
My one true nature is the space between the moment when I wake up and before I realise what day it is and what I need to do.
My one true nature is me when I believe that I am supported simply by way of being born into this world, for a specific purpose.
My one true nature is me lifting my head to the morning light, and resting my head with the evening solitude.
My one true nature is spiritual yet inseparable from the material world that I chose to exist in—and daily confront.
When I remember this, I begin to feel that my heart’s contentment rises above my ego’s needs and desires to be perfect or worthy by a measure that isn’t even realistic. We can keep chasing the carrot that’s dangling in front of us, or we can make a commitment to never let go of our nature, who we really are in the gentle waves of our day.