“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
- Marie Curie
Over the past year I have been on my own a lot. Traveling from one place to another, embracing the freedom that I created for myself, I got so deeply in touch with myself like I never did before. I’ve become much more aware of my own consciousness. My ‘me’ time has been a sanctuary for me to process my thoughts and feelings. I’ve really gotten back to genuinely enjoy my own solitude again. As the oldest child with a strict mother, I used to really enjoy my own solitude. I would escape from the negative outside noise into my own little world of art, music, thoughts, and dreams. My imagination and dreams were my sanctuary, my therapy, my meditation, and my best friend. Since I’ve been on the road a lot, I have had to deal with my emotions alone with my own internal voice. Below is what life has taught me over the years.
1. Life constantly involves the decision to close one chapter in order to move onto the next.
It is easier said than done, isn’t it? In hindsight, every disappointment in life happened for a reason. It happened to push you into a different direction. It happened so that you could move on. But that process of letting go is never easy no matter how many times you’ve gone through it. It hurts. It really hurts. And even though you get better at grasping control of your emotions as you get older, it still hurts. Even though you’ve mastered meditation and finding things to fill up your time, it still hurts. Letting go is never easy. Maybe it is not meant to be easy. At least the pain you feel when you close one chapter in order to move onto the next makes you feel alive. Life without pain is probably life without the feeling of being alive. There is no Yin without Yang. There is no light without darkness. There is no pleasure without pain. Letting go has not gotten easier, but at least it teaches me to realize that I have not lost the ability to let myself become vulnerable. Because only when you let yourself become vulnerable, you take a shot at feeling life’s greatest pleasure - though that also means you risk feeling life’s greatest pain. After all, no great creative work has ever been born without pain. Pain makes you feel alive.
2. You can never take control of time. But you can choose to understand the virtue of time.
As you get older and go through different phrases of life, you might have noticed already that life is about timing. When it comes to our own timing, we don’t feel resistance because it is our own life that we’re living. But when it comes to the timing of those we love, the timing of those we deeply care about, the timing of those we feel connected to, especially when it doesn’t match ours, resistance occurs. Suddenly, life doesn’t flow like water anymore. Something feels wrong. Something doesn’t feel right. Something hurts. Every now and again, you build a strong bond with someone only to realize later that that bond has to be broken and twisted because you two are moving at different paces in life. Suddenly you have to learn to accept again - to accept the virtue of time, to accept that people’s lives are not going to be the same as yours, to accept that you have to let things go. I have learned that the key to mastering this is to learn to “understand” life’s truth. Because with understanding comes acceptance. With understanding comes unconditional love. With understanding, you can relax and feel more secure.
When life feels like pain, focus on becoming “understanding” and the pain will be eased away.
3. You cannot change people. Only they can change themselves.
I’ve never been one to try to change people. All I do is to inspire change. For some reason, I seem to have the ability to inspire those around me to become better - through my own actions, energy, and words. I have learned that if people are not ready to change themselves, no matter how hard you try, they will not be able to see themselves in the mirror reflected back at them. We all have ego which prevents us from seeing the weakness that we hold and the flaws that we have. It’s hard to accept that sometimes certain things happen because of our own fault and because of who we are - and that we have the power to change that. I believe it is important to sit back with ourselves, when an unfortunate event occurs, and look into our own shadow to see if we have been any way that may have caused that unfortunate event to occur. Have we been too controlling or pushy? Have we been to negative? Have we been complaining too much? Have we been too selfish and self-absorbed? Have we lost the ability to be understanding and empathetic? Sometimes we’re caught up in our own emotions, needs, and insecurity that we forget to realize the impact our actions and words have on others. Sometimes we forget to care about the other person’s needs. What do they really need? What they need might not be what we need or help us fulfil what we need. But maybe the best solution to the resistance that is occuring is to be understanding and accept the fact that the other person has different needs. You cannot change people, only they can change themselves. At the same time, you cannot change yourself, unless you let go off your ego and reflect on you. The ability to accept our own fault and improve our own self is crucial for a happier, healthier living and building beautiful long-lasting relationships.
Life does not always go as planned, but the beauty of it is that it can surprise you any moments with the most splendorous of serendipity. The key is to keep moving, knowing that the universe has your back and that life is meant to get better as long as we internally feel grateful and strive to become better and experience the feeling of being alive.
“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
- Paulo Coelho