|Image by me (St. Martin!). Quote by... someone?|
One year ago, I was reeling from being out of Haiti when I didn't want to be; I was in the throws of personal, professional and family issues and I just needed to escape and recuperate. One year ago, I ran to visit my best friend in Central California for a few days and stayed a few weeks. One year ago, life was difficult and in the deepest of the deep, I wondered whether I would ever recover.
The only constant in life is that we are always learning, growing and changing, as the best philosophers say. One year ago, if you would have asked me what I learned during my first stint in Haiti, I would have bitterly responded that I learned to not trust people and I learned how I react when under extreme amounts of stress and that was about it.
One year ago, I was angry, bitter, upset, a little depressed, confused, hurt, alone, emotional and just really, really struggling.
Oh, how things change in a year.
I describe 2011 as the most challenging year I have ever had (those who have read other parts of my blog will have noticed). But best part of the challenge was learning to not just sit and wallow in all those emotions. Instead, I felt them, and felt them fully! I gave each part the time it needed to work its way through my body, my mind and my heart. I went on lots of walks where I yelled at God; I shut myself in my room; I went on road trips where I could be alone; I took menial jobs just to keep my self and my mind busy; I went to the gym and learned what exercise does for my brain and my emotional state. But most of all learned how to work through the whole process, learned to recover, and, eventually, I sorted myself back to normal (well, mostly...).
I learned that life is full of its ups and downs - you can't always control it. And in those moments you feel out of control, its ok! God gave us a vast scale of emotions, to feel them; they are there and they are valid and feel them, you should! So if you are grumpy, it's ok! If you are lonely, that's ok; if you are sad, that's ok; if you are anti-social, that's ok; iIf you are happy and bouncy, that's ok too!
Life is too short to hold onto the past, to hold grudges to hold onto anger. Yes, feel your anger, but then let it go! Let it fly away with the wind! Only then will you realise, as I did, that letting go and letting yourself feel is the real path to freedom.
One year later, I am entering my 29th year, living in Haiti, working in a job that I love (that challenges me everyday), adventuring regularly, loving great friends, making new ones, living with joy, with freedom and with spirit.
As my tattoo says, "to everything, there is a season." My 28th year was a season. It was many seasons. But at this season, I am happy in the struggles, learnings, laughter, dances, late nights, stresses, hopes and dreams that my 29th year promises to bring.