Embracing the unknown

“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.

Waiting for sunrise at the top of Mt Batur (I did not think I would survive the climb up this volcano), Bali, Indonesia

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.

Before sunrise - Varanassi, River Ganges, India (June 2010)

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.

With my backpack, from Wales to London, December 2009

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.

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5 thoughts on “Embracing the unknown

  1. Hoe mooi skryf jy nie! En hoe neem jou woorde my nie saam na plekke toe nie! En hoe laat jy my nie nadink nie! Nou sal ek ophou met die uitroeptekens en retoriese vrae. Wil net se jy skryf regtig goed – lekker vloei, beautifully gefraseerd, fassinerende inhoud wat my laat stop en wonder. Dis ‘n gawe wat min skrywers het. Ek dink jy moet ‘n boek skryf… En hierdie belewenisse en jou vertelling daarvan kan die basis vir so baie soorte boeke wees – ‘n paar: ‘n humoristiese chicklitstorie oor ‘n girl wat op ‘n reis gaan; ‘n filosofiese nadinkboek oor reis en vrouwees en menswees; ‘n self-help Eat Pray Love tipe boek vir SA girls; ‘n prize-winning novel; ‘n fotoboek … Toe.

  2. Sjoe May-Ann jy het so ‘n wonderlike gawe met woorde. Jy het immers ‘n hele paar skrywers in jou SA voorvaders en jou diep Griekse wortels op die eiland, wat ek glo bydra tot die rustigheid wat jy daar ervaar. Stem saam met die voorstel van ‘n boek/boeke. Dit kom al ‘n lang pad – ek dink aan die storie ‘my ouma se lappieskombers’ wat jy in St 6 of 7 geskryf het. Jy skryf met jou hart – dis wat dit so stunning maak. Laat dit (wat ookal jy skryf) rustig ontwikkel. Jy weet ons is nie deadline mense nie!! Sien uit na die volgende blog…

  3. It was lovely to have met you on your journey, Im sure that your life will be full of many more – its a great thing to relax and breathe and stay put for a little bit.

    Have a lovely xmas.

    Nicole xoxo

  4. hi May-Ann,

    Luv luv luv jou blog en so ongelooflik inspirerend! Jy het ‘n ware gawe om mense saam met jou op jou journey te vat and such a way with words.. Ek is tans besig met Eat, Pray, Love boek en reeds die fliek gesien. Jou blog is baie meer exciting om te lees en kannie wag vir jou eie boek nie. Skryf away suster, jy het reeds ‘n paar fans wat voor in die ry gaan staan vir die eerste kopie. Njoy elke oomblik en dankie dat jy dit deel, gee my altyd ‘n positiewe inspuiting en lus om iets nuuts aan te pak. Jy was so ‘brave’ om jou tassie te pak en die wereld binne te vaar – kyk net hoe blom jy. Maak mens lus om jou drome te lewe, die lewe te lewe en nie toe te laat dat die ‘rat race’ jou insluk nie. Thanx en kannie wag vir die volgende blog,

    Liza x

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