"Why do you want to keep on traveling?, asks my friend." "Why not?", I answer with a smile. It's easy to convince myself that I want to travel because it's fun, educational and simply because we have a job that allows us to do so. But I know way too well, just like Katrina Kenison writes: "that in order to go, I first need to learn how to stay. If I'm to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in new ways, I have to be willing to be fully present right where I am. Before I can move forward in my life, I must take the time to go down into it, to deepen it."
The Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön suggests that we try exchanging our intense desire to be comfortable for a willingness to be curious instead, opening ourselves to both the bitter and the sweet experiences in life, the light and the shadow. "If we're committed to comfort at any cost, Pema says, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we're going to run; we'll never know what's beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing."
And here I am, very different from the young adult that made decisions quickly to escape the ache in her belly, a feeling deeply rooted in anxiety. Once anxiety was under control, I could for once in my life make a decision that was not simply a reaction to the fact that the current situation felt intolerable. I was truly free.
I am making peace with my impatience and intensity, trying to sit still with my non clarity, my desire to make a decision about what is around the corner. It's a first. And in times like these, I notice that less movement is better than more.
**All the photos were taken with a Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens, borrowed from a friend. I always do my post-editing in Lightroom 4, mostly with the VSCO film products.