Conclusion: A New Volume Has Started

Philadelphia 'Burbs

Conclusion: A New Volume Has Started

Metaphorically, I wanted this post to be the end of this year long journey I have treaded. Although one year ago today I was leaving to backpack, I believe this journey spans much farther back than one year. If I’ve realized anything it’s that my journey spans generations and it’s something that can’t be written up or slapped up on some sort of platform. This journey of generations has, in the end, catalyzed the decisions I am taking. I am who I’ve been all along, but in the end, it’s been the cause of many sparks that has fueled this fire.

The past 10 posts have been common themes that have run through me throughout my journey. While there are so many more, it feels like those themes are the gifts that have created the most amount of inner transformation. I’ve come to realize that there’s a beauty to coming to understand my own truth and there’s a beauty in having the opportunity to come to this truth. Although it may change over time, to have this opportunity comes with a sort of liberation unlike any kind. This liberation comes with a conviction that is so rooted in values that eventually become the driving force to all things in my life, both tangible and intangible.

I don’t really know how to sum up all of this because it all comes down to one thing: Gratitude. From all things since my birth to now, I’ve felt an immense amount of gratitude for my roots, family, ecosystem of support, and just in general, life. If it’s anything my dear friends at Service Space have taught me, it’s that we live our lives so focused on scarcity in our lives and in the world that we forget to realize what an abundance of things we have. As I’ve been taught, service doesn’t start when we have something to give, it starts when we have nothing left to take.

Before I started all of this, I was immensely grateful, but there was something that made me stay with searching within the have nots. I don’t have this or I don’t have that. I don’t have happiness, satisfaction, dreams, this or that. I started to ask myself, “When it’s all stripped away and when you’re the only one standing in the world, what do you have?”  This is the place I needed to get to that completely changed me and the trajectory of my life. Who am I when I strip myself from every label and circumstance? Who am I and who have I always been beyond every misconception, unthoughtful action, and spoken word?

I tapped into this sense of self, just for a second, many times. Just as fast as it came, it was gone. I was able to work my way into myself and I can’t describe it other than I tapped into my sense of being. It’s been a wave of ups and downs since a lot has started to change, but if meditation has taught me anything, it’s that everything comes only to go just as fast as it came. 

Moving past the philosophical part of this post, I’ll get into the journey itself and what has come as a result of many of these realizations.

The first comes from all of these years of education I went through. As I mentioned in one of my past posts, Last Four vs Next Four, I am grateful for my education because it’s what has made me realize what I realize now. The questions that I have held for most of my life haven’t been answered by any form of formal education that we respect in our society today. The point of education shouldn’t be to get us a job or to make money. While that brings a certain amount of happiness, I don’t think that brings sustainable happiness. We talk a lot about ‘sustainability’ nowadays: creating sustainable models to help solve the issues we are faced with in today’s world or create sustainable enterprises or programs that are long lasting. How about sustainability beyond the dollar bills?

For a long time I thought I would be able to ‘save up’ for what I really love to do. There were only two sides of the coin I saw: our 20’s are for setting up our financial foundation or they are for experimenting. I was only seeing two when I was failing to see that there were so many other sides of the coin. Not just that, but there were so many other currencies I was failing to acknowledge.  I realized my wanting to accept certain opportunities was coming from a place of fear. A place of not having enough, but when I looked at what I do have, I realized there already was so much. My skills, knowledge, experiences, support system…all the things that are completely priceless.

So, in the end, what did I decide to do?

This is where the second result comes in: I decided to decline the corporate offers, other job and fellowship offers I had. I decided to focus on discovering more of what I don’t know. I decided to start making my life revolve around the practice of selfless giving to myself and others. I think I have so much work to do, but it’s something that I am working on. Strengthening my relationship with myself and the values I wish to practice in my life have become the forefront of almost everything. This includes creating a deeper level of understanding between me and my family and also a deeper level of my understanding of the world I would like to live in.

I’ve decided to start spending more time on my writing and meeting people who inspire me every day. Discovering unique ecosystems that are building a world surrounded by compassion, nature, and love. I’ve started consulting with organizations and companies that have missions that align with the values I am working on living by. Above all, I’m focusing on my internal growth and transformation. My meditation practice and creating an alignment between what I am doing, what I am thinking, and what I am feeling is something I’m consistently working towards.

I’m on a journey towards becoming that child I once was. As children, our lives are easy and sometimes because we don’t have an ego. We are so innocent, we don’t know how to form judgement of others or consistently feed into our own negativity. I’m constantly learning and practicing how I can become that child I once was. The child who was pushed down, but would pull herself up without crying. The child who was resilient, calm, and effortlessly egoless. 

Although my formal education is complete, I feel as though I have so much learning left to do. I’m consciously dropping myself into the world of the unknown. I’m allowing myself to explore various models and topics on mindfulness, nonviolence, ecological living, and so on.

This brings me to my third result: I don’t think I’m done traveling and I don’t think I will be for a while. There’s a wealth of information and people that are living consciously to make this world a better place. I believe there’s so much wisdom to learn from them and share with the rest of the world. I could go on and on, but that is for another post :)

There are times that I really don’t know what’s next. Sometimes I find myself in an internal battle of doing what the heart wants and finding the practical route to living. The more I dig, the more I find fear as the driving force behind a lot of things we force ourselves to do. The more I learn and experience, this fear becomes replaced by values and I realize that the differentiation between the ‘practical’ and the ‘heart’ only causes more misery. Rather than seeing the differentiation, seeing it as one will only create harmony in my life.

I’ve realized that at the end of the day it’s just me. I don’t mean that in a selfish way, but actually in the most opposite way possible. I think when we realize that we have come into this world alone and we will die alone, we reach a level of understanding that there are only a couple of things that we are seeking in our lives: peace and happiness. At the end of the day, we do what we do so we can achieve these things. I ultimately came to an understanding that if I was going to die tomorrow, I don’t want to die with a list of things I’ve never had the opportunity to do. I don’t want to live a life sacrificing the values I hold dear and practicing a life I don’t believe in. I believe in living each day inspired, so that if I was to do die tomorrow, I would leave this world just a little different.

I believe in living for something much, much greater than myself. To seek the unknown and keep seeking it. To live a life of gratitude, service, and peace. To share this with others and help cultivate it within myself. As Lao Tzu said, “Would you like to save the world from the degradation and destruction it seems destined for? Then step away from shallow mass movements and quietly go to work on your own self-awareness. If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”