When I came back to Calgary – it was all I could do to find signs and affirmations that this place was where I was supposed to be. In August, it all looked right on the outside. Amazing friends, a steady boyfriend and a new job.
And then, it started to crumble. The summer came and went, and so did the new boyfriend.
It’s autumn here, and I find myself almost in the same position as when I arrived to Canada: a feeling of unrest. And today, I am beginning to understand why.
I had forgotten that I still need to play an active role in my happiness. And to be brave enough to push further.
It’s the same in my yoga practice – last week while in wheel I yawned and scratched my head. Obviously I wasn’t going deep enough. I was just performing an asana for the hell of it. The next class, I pushed. And it was just me, the breathe, and my desire to go deeper into the pose.
Today I was talking with a dear friend, and he told me he believes that happiness is an active force. You can’t expect “happy” to come to you; hoping upon hope you will magically become the person you’re destined to be.
I had started to become passive in my own life. I know what bravery is – leaving my life in Canada to move to Botswana was courageous. But when I came back, changed, I had just been hoping happiness to come to me.
This autumn, I want to fight for that woman who wasn’t afraid to leave everything comfortable for the next adventure.
And once I begin that fight, that push to find what will allow me the freedom to be happy? There’s this essential piece: reveling in the moment.
Being present is allowing all of that active work to come into fruition. It’s the same glorious feeling as to be staring into the eyes of someone you fell for, being able to talk for hours and not noticing the time.
It’s reaching a new point in an asana and then settling into the new limit of your body. It’s the breath.
It’s been two months since I landed back in Canada.
I have the overwhelming feeling that this life isn’t as easy of a fit anymore.
I was walking through the suburbs of my childhood, getting lost in a place that was my home for years. And the incongruities between my two lives hit me: no fences or barbed wire allows me to see right into people’s homes as I pass. As I walk on the perfectly formed sidewalks, across the pedestrian crossings, I don’t get stared at or followed, and cars stop and wait for my leisurely crossing. Basically, walking through a neighborhood is easy: pedestrian crossings, perfectly formed sidewalks, dogs on a leash type of easy. I am not dodging mobs of dogs, or rubbish thrown on the side, rather I am consumed by the smell of freshly cut grass as it lingers in the air.
My brain hurts from the constant comparisons – honestly, walks here are far less interesting.
And so I start to wallow as I try to find healing and a sense of purpose. It’s that allusive glimmer of hope that I will eventually feel whole again. But I am taking baby steps in finding what is next. Each decision that I make, I first ask the question: will it make me happy?
And so, instead of pursuing a job in Oil and Gas or in another volunteering capacity, I took a job at Starbucks.
My new job as a barista continues to make me feel unsure of what I expect out of life. But there is something beautiful in providing a coffee and a smile. That’s it. That’s all I am responsible for. No newbie arriving from America and needing to be held through the process of orientation and cultural fit. No drunk mechanic requiring constant supervision and a development plan. It’s just coffee.
I needed this job. I am so burnt out from nearly four years of caring too much, and near the end feeling constantly unsafe and scared.
And so back in Canada my days are filled with learning the basics of a coffee shop, sun tanning, day drinking and learning how to be with a man who actually is decent and cares for me (something I have never allowed myself before).
I have decided my only mission this summer is to fall in love with life – here in Canada.
It is official. The tickets are booked, and my Botswana end date draws near.
Why back to Canada? Well, it’s basically this: I need to sort my life out which includes a way not to be poor.
But I am not totally ready to close the door on Botswana. Why? Well, there is no plan beyond the 15th May when I land in Canada – I will be flat out broke, living in my parent’s basement, searching for the next thing. Funny? On the outside not much has changed since September 2009.
The mixture of emotions right now is starting to make me crazy. Sure, I am happy – hell, I finally made a decision about the next steps, one that I have been waffling about for months. But this isn’t the kind of happy that makes me want to jump around in glee.
I am realising how hard it is to shut down a life.
And the woman that goes home to Canada is so different to the one who stepped foot off that plane more than 3 and a half years ago.
Leaving isn’t something I take lightly.
But today, right now, I choose gratitude with a hint of mourning, and a dash of excitement for what surely will be an even greater chapter in life.
there’s an inexplicable shift when you finally make decisions. it’s a freedom i couldn’t even fathom a few months ago.
i am living in the moment.
no pressure, no expectations. just being present, because right now, in this second, it’s perfect.
there’s something so innately wonderful feeling drawn into just being. and so i fill my days with the smallest of victories; where I am experiencing pleasure.
a yoga class. coffee and a health muffin. a man telling me I am beautiful. underlining in a book. twinkle lights in a garden. wearing a bright pink skirt that blows in the wind. beautiful ruminations that allow me the courage to act on dreams. and girlfriends who surround me with swapping clothes, kind words and wine.
so today. this moment. and Rumi:
“let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. it will not lead you astray.”