Last week I celebrated one of the major achievements in my life. I survived a whole year without having a job or even trying to get one! And not that I just survived – I met the world, and myself, in a very new and truly invigorating way. I haven’t experienced this kind of freedom since I was five, a freedom to simply be yourself and playfully roam for days and days through the space that you perceive as The World. But this was not a matter of luxury. This was literally a matter of life and death. I’ve chosen life, and the whole year was about restoring and nourishing it.
It seemed like the first step in restoring life was to move. It’s a kind of an impulse, isn’t it? I didn’t plan to travel for the sake of traveling, but since this time last year I crossed 40.338 km and probably a bit more. If I intended to make a trip around the world, I would have made it! The Earth’s circumference at equator is 40.075 km. I even went some extra miles! Just to keep up with that silly habit of mine. To go the extra mile… so typical for the ‘burnouters’.
Hm, the trip around the world… That sounds nice. As a child, I was so enthused by Jules Verne’s Around the world in 80 days and other adventure books, and back then I made quite a few itineraries for my own trips around the world that never happened.
This time, however, I didn’t intend to go around the world and I didn’t plan to rush. My only intention was to move on, to get back to life and find again my shiny self that I new was still there. I lost her somewhere in a run through life that was perhaps just as any other. Or perhaps it was the run spiced up with a bit more of ideals, first class grades and visas, than of an average lower-middle-class-girl from Europe. In any case, I felt cheated.
Does living a grown-up life really have to be conditioned by losing yourself? Certainly, my last workplace made a huge contribution to this ‘hide and seek game’ that society plays with us, and it pushed me to the edge from which there was nothing else left but to j-u-m-p. Jumping into bare life was quite an event, as you can imagine. There was no blueprint to guide me through, there was just a wish to rest, and a faith that I will find the spark again. I had less then 3 month salary on my saving account, and I had two keywords: yoga and sunshine.
Some six months later, on the last day of December 2015, as I was sitting on the lovely roof terrace of my hotel in Oaxaca City in Mexico, recalling the months of that tough and beautiful year of 2015, I jotted in my diary:
August 2015. A BIG FREEDOM OPENS UP, and it comes with a glass of fear, anger, sadness and confusion. To prevent an abrupt and uncontrolled happiness. […]
September 2015. Crete & Bliss. Sweet waters start to run…
diary, notebook 4
This slow transition from darkness to light started to unfold on Crete, in an astonishing yoga studio sheltered by olive trees. ‘Oh, this is a paradise!’ I uttered as I entered the studio before I even managed to say hello to yoga teachers that were getting ready for the class. One of them calmly and warmly replied: ‘The paradise is in you’– she smiled – ‘Hello and welcome!’ And that was the grand opening of an extraordinary year in my ordinary life. A 40.338 km long year of freedom to search for inner heaven and to practice the art of living – not a small thing to celebrate?!
This week’s book inspiration: To Have or To Be, by Erich Fromm.