January 29, 2015

Day 478 – Karma

I talk about karma a lot, I believe in karma, if we do good then good happens and generally if you do bad then bad happens but of course this is not always the case.  Sometimes, we do good over and over again but only shit comes our way.  And for others, well they do shit but good keeps coming their way. Unfair? Yes, but then who said life was meant to be fair? But I believe in the universe and the universe helping you along.

What we put out into the universe is what comes back to us.  So, do we put out positive, happy, funny vibes? Or are we cold, distant and confused? I think it´s safe to say we all want to be happy and most of us want love but how many of us are actually happy or loving every day amongst people in society? As a backpacker, most other backpackers are happy and it doesn´t take long before you find someone on your wavelength.  But what about ´real´ life, when we off the road and back in a 9 to 5 job? What kind of people do we attract then? I have found that both at home and on the road, I attract similar kinds of people, those who laugh, who are happy and like to have fun. I tend to attract people similar to me for the most part but then also those who are a little mysterious, those who are like an onion and so I have to peel back the layers.

Sometimes, I know I like a person just by their energy and their body language. I met numerous people here in Paraguay and in Brazil who didn´t speak a word of English but I knew they were kind and caring because I felt it.  Whilst, verbal communication is great, we communicate with each other all the time using other means, sometimes more important means which speak volumes. So, I don´t always wait to hear or try and understand what is being said, I read people through their body language and sense their energy.  I have met people that don´t like me, which is fine, of course there will always be people that don´t quite like me and I can live with that.  There are a fair few people that I have met and disliked; they are cold, self-centered, rude, selfish, don´t care or appreciate all that they have and simply share a different outlook in life.  I’m not out for everyone to like me, that´s not the aim, it would be nice if others could accept you but that too, I realise is asking for too much. So live and let live, you do you and let me do me, we can agree to disagree and move on.

We are essentially social beings, we need people around us, whether we like it or not or whether we accept it or not. I am much more social now and appreciate the presence of all the amazing people I have met.  This wasn´t easy, it was a process, from being so anti-social, reserved and closed, I changed a lot. Given that I changed; my friends and my life also changed. I believe in laughing every day at least one, I believe it is important to laugh until you cry once a week, more if possible and if you are not the one laughing then you should be the one making others laugh. I value all those that make me laugh, truly it is a great quality especially when there is so much shit and sometimes all we need is a good old laugh. I believe in giving back to society, to people, dedicating time and energy to help others in whichever means possible. I am fortunate and grateful for the opportunities I had so I want to give something back. I don´t want or expect anything in return. I enjoy being surrounded by children who spend most of the day smiling and making you smile. I am able to spend my time now, to give back now, I like to think I can continue in the future but I don´t know what the future holds, none of us do, all we have is today, right now.

I know that life doesn´t just happen, we have to make things happen, we have to surround ourselves with what we want and we have to spend time overcoming hurdles. I know people with endless wants, nothing is ever enough, they get the house and they then want the car, they get the car and they then want the holiday etc. Nothing is ever enough and so they are never content. What do I want? I have a few wants and a long bucket list but none of these wants accumulate to material wants. I am in no hurry to come home and start investing in the latest phone or laptop. I want to study more, write, learn more, help more people and invest more time in doing what I can to help the lives of others. This doesn´t make me anymore of a human being or a better person. There are many people who are already doing just this or aspire to achieve this. The point is to work out what we really want and to go after it whatever it may be, however impossible it may seem to chase your dream.

Wanting something and needing something is two very different things of course. We don´t need the latest Apple or car or designer labels, we want them. We live in a capitalistic world where we are forever told to consume, part of this system, which is competitive and greedy.  At the heart is money, we never have enough and so spend forever working to earn money which we can never spend.  Most of us are so blinded by this system, walking along like sheep that we dare not do anything different. There is no time to save the environment, to plant a tree, recycle, the most we can do is sign a petition and read headlines on The Guardian online. We live, we die and the world continues like you never existed. Sure, your family and friends miss you maybe your local community but no one else, no one else knows you.

What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered? You die tomorrow and what would you want your tomb stone to read? Here´s the thing, there is so much more to life then this tenderous 9-6 job, to paying bills and rent. If your dream is to plant 100 trees then do it, if it is to work with a tribe in Africa than do it and if it is to campaign for better working rights for women in Bangladesh than do it. It´s not easy, it is never is and never will be but that shouldn´t be the reason stopping you. I know I want to be remembered as someone who was kind, caring and giving. Someone who was warm and loving, who laughed, who lived, who was a little crazy and made stupid mistakes but appreciated everything that life threw her way. If I died tomorrow I would be sad because my work here is not done but I would be happy with all that I have achieved, for all the people I helped and knowing that some of them will go on to help others. I planted seeds of curiosity and kindness and not greed or selfishness.

I know I have to accept things, people, that I know won´t change. I know my parents will not change, not today, not tomorrow, most probably never. They have come to accept what I do but they are far from liking it or encouraging it. My parents will never encourage me to travel for example, especially not solo. They will not encourage me to question social norms or values or religion. They would much rather I be a sheep, it is easier after all to be a conformist.  I will never be the daughter they want me to be and whilst I understand them, they are never really going to understand me. I just have to accept it, swallow it and move on.

I have grown in this past year, I know I have grown as time has gone on and I have learnt new things about myself and recognised others. Whilst yes my surroundings have changed, I have also changed whilst being on the road. I have experienced many things for the first time, some good and others not so great.  But every experience has taught me something and with the highs come the lows.  I have immersed myself in culture and at times lost myself, only to then realise and ground myself again. I´m still a vegetarian but I have tried some meat now, I´ve tried local food and heard local music. I’m still chilled out for the most part, I’m open minded and understanding. My level of shit hasn´t reduced but I know I don´t like small talk and if I don´t like you then I will not make an effort. I need to be more honest, I still don´t tell people exactly what I think or how I feel purely because I don´t want to hurt them and I don´t want a confrontation. I believe it is not what you say but how you say. I treat people how I want to be treated so when they lose it on me, I don´t understand it. I am empathetic, always have been and I give people the benefit of the doubt.

I believe I am responsible for my actions and choices and no one else. My choices have consequences which I have to deal with and sort out, no one else.  I believe we mirror what surrounds us and what surrounds us mirrors us.  So, for me, I have been confused about how long to stay in Paraguay and this confusion has essentially resulted in me staying longer, much longer than anticipated. But this confusion which was inside of me has also been projected outside, amongst friends I have here. The clarity we had seems to have disappeared, the relationships which formed so easily and effortlessly have changed. I have come to accept this change even though I want desperately to fix things, I know I can´t and more importantly that I shouldn´t. I felt crazy, good crazy and this too caught up with me and again I was surrounded by crazy. Confusion combined with crazy is not a good combination but I have some clarity and as I regain some balance within so does everything else. If we are cold, we feel surrounded by coldness, if we are bitter, we feel this bitterness amongst all the people we have in life.

Everything is essentially connected; what we think, how we feel, what we do and what we achieve. I thought I wanted to stay here longer, I felt that I should stay longer so I did stay longer and I was able to volunteer more and strengthen relationships with friends I have here. I know that at some point I will go, I will be terribly sad and will feel lost without all the friends and connections I have here because they are family to me but I know my journey will continue. I want to travel a little more, see a little more because I know I will be heading home, I know having spent over a year on a road that I will not be out here for much longer and whilst I am so grateful for everything here, it is not my life. I was welcomed and made to belong in this great, loving community and now I am attached and I will leave a piece of my heart when I go. There is no easy way to leave, to say goodbye, to part from all the love and kindness which you hope to repay, one day, somehow. There is no quick way of letting go of all the great memories and moments shared. There is no way of knowing how long it will take before your heart mends, before your head stops aching and you can sleep again. But I wouldn´t go back and change it, I wouldn´t change any of it because it was beautiful, everything I experienced.