A New Volume is Starting
Introduction to the Last Chapter
To start explaining this journey in just one post would be a great underestimation of the immense changes I have felt in my life, the people around me, and the spaces I have been brought to through time. To completely grasp it, even for the people who care for me the most, I know is difficult. I’m blessed to have been touched in such a way, for I know many people don’t get these experiences in their entire lifetime.
This time last year I was in a different place, and for me, in those moments, what I was doing was the truth. As Gandhi taught me, my definition of truth can shift as my perspective changes. My perspective changed, my reality changed. Before I left, I felt a huge disconnect. I say it was because my heart, my hands, and my head were so disconnected that I had lost a sense of who I was and why I was doing what I was doing. Questions that had always rung in my head, rung louder. Why am I even here? What’s the point to all of this? What’s the point to Life? This can’t be it, I told myself so many times. This just can’t be it.
A life in a structured society, defined by expectations and the path already treaded so many times. Letting the river continuously take me downstream while my heart wanted to constantly fight against the current. For me, it didn´t feel like a life I could live. It still doesn´t.
From my high school years, maybe younger, I had asked myself this. Service to others, for me, was my point of life. It was what I thought my reason was for living, the reason I thought I was put on this earth to begin with. I dove in and did this so called ‘service for others’, but who was I actually serving to begin with? Who actually needed this so called helping?
Through time I felt something needed to change. I was losing control of my emotions, and internally I felt a constant battle raging on. I knew something needed to change, and I knew I needed to get out of context to understand what was going on within.
This is probably a good time to mention that I wasn’t unhappy. To say I was unhappy would be to say I was ungrateful for every blessing in my life. On the contrary, I was sensitive to my disconnect because there were so many points in my life where I had felt this sync between what I was feeling, what I was thinking, and what I was doing (the actions I was taking). When I felt that these three were off, I knew something needed to change.
When I left with my backpack in early July, I had walked in graduation, but still had one more semester left. Just a few months prior I had found out that I was to graduate almost one year early (I was in a 5 year program). This one year changed my life.
During the time I had left, Aahana was at its peak. We finally had a full functioning team and had a tangible direction in mind. Our initiatives were in a good place and we had a strong support system around the United States. Team members had expressed concern that if I was gone, it would be difficult to carry on. I said we would no matter where I was in the world, but little did I know that each step I took farther from Philadelphia, the more I questioned why Aahana even existed in the first place.
I continued on, country by country, meeting amazing people. To talk about each person and the incredible stories they had to tell would take pages. In summary, I realized it wasn’t as much the places, but the people who had lived there. The people who had treaded the same path hundreds, maybe thousands of years before to find the places I was now walking on. The people who now live in the deepest corners of this earth, nestled in homes on the banks of rivers and in the depths of valleys. More than this, I realized that it was from these experiences that I was looking for answers in the extrinsic world that only the universe within could answer.
All of these things we seek for in the outside world- love, acceptance, understanding, reasoning- they are things missing inside of us. A void that we are trying to fill. Something we look for in others and in things. A sort of happiness that only we can satisfy through love, acceptance, and understanding of ourselves.
This is the beginning of the last chapter. The rest to come soon.
With lots of Love,