I’m on the last day of this trip. The past few days have been a test of every bit of trust I have in myself, in flow, in what I’m trying to do here.
The short of it is that I had one whole life plan left, which was to spend the summer living on a boat in England. A week ago, that was as far ahead as I could see down the road of my life. It felt right.
That got fucked ten ways from Sunday.
Getting denied entry to the UK at the border, spending 18 hours in immigrant detention and being shipped back to Morocco has its way of dampening your spirits. Especially when you’re someone who’s biggest fear is being out of control.
I’m left with nothing but a choice: to trust, or to try to control. To panic, or be patient. I’m close to entirely out of money, spending half of the last money I have going to a writer’s conference to try and get my book(s) published and essays and stories out in the world, at a complete loss for how to make money, let alone how to save money so I can continue traveling in the future, and I’m doing everything I can to trust that things will unfold. That if I trust in the world and in myself, the right doors will open at the right times.
So I’m writing. I’m writing because I don’t know what else to do. I’m writing because it’s the one thing I know will always bring me back to myself.
I’ve learned more about myself in the past six months than in just about my entire life up until that point. I’ve grown more than I could possibly describe. I’m just hoping the changes stick.
I’m left in a space of a lot of fear. I’m afraid of backsliding, I’m afraid of getting locked into old habits, of worrying about money and prestige and following the wrong advice. I’m afraid of feeling alone, feeling insane, feeling like nobody around me understands anything I’m on about.
So I’m asking myself the question: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And, what am I afraid of? And, what am I gonna do about that?
This trip, or journey, or evolution, or whatever you want to call it, has illuminated so many things for me. The best way I can sum it up is that I’ve realized that the kind of person I want to be and the kind of world I want this to be aren’t different questions. I’ve learned to live my truths, and I’m afraid of losing that. I’m afraid that the changes haven’t run deep enough.
I want to sum up what I’ve learned, but the truth is, reading this probably won’t help that much. I can tell you things, but unless you’ve felt them too, the transcription of it won’t make much of a difference. To paraphrase Lao Tzu, This is not the thing. The thing is not in the words of the thing. The thing is in the feeling of the thing.
These are just words.
- Everything is a choice. The question, “What would I do if I didn’t have to _____” becomes simply, What would I do? What do I want to do? What do I want? What do I need?
It is startling how little we actually ask ourselves that question. What do I actually want?
- The world will break your heart again and again. Let it. Let yourself feel the pain as deeply as it goes and grow from it. Emotions are a hole and the only tool you’re given is a shovel. Don’t try to dig your way to the surface. It won’t work. Dig the hole as deep as it goes until it becomes a tunnel.
- Lean into fear. Do things not in spite of fearing them, but because you fear them. Say the thing you are afraid to say. Act the way you are afraid to act.
- Give yourself space to do nothing. When you jam yourself with expectations, worries, fears, doubts, pressures, obligations, and on and on and on, you have no space to listen to yourself. You’re in there. You are. And you’re speaking, if you listen to it.
- The right way to do something often doesn’t look right. The smoothest course of action may sound like the rockiest, most uphill battle. But life has its own logic. Its logic is not always tuned to a rational one. What feels right is far more important than what looks right.
- Feelings respond to needs, needs to feelings. They are linked. When you feel, there’s something you need. When you need, it’s because you feel something.
- Expectations almost never come to pass. They cloud what your life can actually be by imposing what you think it ought to be over it.
- Consent and honesty are everything to building human relationships. Being clear about what you want, what you need, what you and the other person are willing to give. Being clear when that changes.
- Your judgments of other people have everything to do with you and nothing to do with those people. Their judgments of you have everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. Don’t waste your time with them.
- The same goes for judging yourself. It has everything to do with Ego and nothing to do with yourself.
- The ego has its uses too. If yours is clinging on, let it. Trying to kill your ego doesn’t work. It has to be allowed to die.
- Listen to your body. It contains everything you are. Treat it well and trust it.
- The love you give gives you strength. I said give, not get.
Maybe this doesn’t sound life-changing. Maybe it won’t change your life. I’m scared it won’t change mine.
But then again, it already has. It’s already changed the way I speak to people, the way I speak to myself, the way I frame my life, the way I make decisions.
I’m not good at trusting myself, but I’m going to trust myself that what I’ve done won’t be easily undone. It will take time to become natural, but it is already innate.
I wish I had some hopeful message to sign off on.
I have this game I play with the sun. I look at it and I show it my wrist and I say, I have a tattoo of you! Then I put my palm up so it’s facing the sun’s rays directly and I just feel the warmth. I feel that warmth like love, like how no matter what I do, I get warmth from the sun. And maybe, there’s some love out there that’s coursing through the universe and wants us in it.
Maybe this is bullshit.
Maybe it’s both.