“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” [Joseph Camphell, 1904-1987]
I recently watched the movie, Eat, Pray, Love, based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. And, yes, I know, it did not get great reviews, but I loved the book, and… well, I’ve been to the same countries that she goes to on her journey. I wanted to see how they portrayed India and Bali – Bali especially, since I loved it there.
What I was not prepared for, was the emotion that this movie evoked in me. Not because of the story, but because of my own story. I was reminded of the time when I read the book, so many years ago. I was still living in Pretoria, unhappy with my job, hoping for, and talking about an escape. And, then I was in Bali – remembering how incredibly difficult it was for me in the beginning – how absolutely terrified I was, and hot and ready to stop all the insanity and just fly back home. I also remembered the incredible people I met along the way, and the experiences that I had. I felt a sudden sadness and fear that I would never have any of this again.
These strong emotions confused me, because, at the moment I am settled and comfortable and very content in this new (currently still temporary) life in Greece. I absolutely love the tranquility and the slow pace. And, at this very moment, you would probably have to hold a gun to my head (or use some kind of force) to get me to leave the island and fly anywhere. I’m all travelled out. I would love nothing more than to just be here for a while, find a way to earn a living (that does not necessarily involve waitressing) and just relax into this life.
Eat, Pray, Love reminded me of how it often takes only one decision to set things in motion. Life very rarely stays the same year in and year out. When fear about the future or about this moment sets in, I always ask myself: Where were you a year ago? Could you have imagined then that you would be here right now? How many of the opportunities and experiences that you had could you have planned? The universe has always presented me with incredible opportunities when I opened myself up to them – whether travelling around the world, or simply trying to find a new way to live life.
A year ago I was depressed and cold and absolutely miserable in London. I had just bought my round-the-world ticket and thought it was the biggest mistake that I had ever made. At that point, I could only think of going back to South Africa. I never thought about where I would be a year later – and here I am, living on Ithaca, in a house where my great grandfather used to live, taking time for myself and learning to slow down.
As this year draws to a close, and I reflect on where I’ve been and how much I’ve grown, I am reminded once again that you have to be open to life. It is constantly changing, opportunities come along and you choose which ones you want to go along with. But, I’ve also learnt that this too shall pass (Eckhart Tolle) – whether it is good or bad – nothing ever stays like this forever. That is what makes this journey so incredible.