There was a time when I wanted to be somebody else. There was a time when I didn’t like who I was. There was a time when I thought I was lost. And I was. Maybe I still am, one can never be sure. That’s the whole idea of being lost, when we know we’re lost we can do something to find ourselves.
So many dead ends and so many wrong turns have helped me become who I am now, and while I know I’m not finished – and never will be – at least I know who I am now. And I know myself well enough to know what’s important to me and what makes me – me. And I know that it will change, because everything in life, everything in the universe, that’s the nature of things around us, it will inevitably change.
For many years I thought I could get by on my own, and I did, until I didn’t. Now I know that I need friends. I’m lucky to have them, some very close, some far away, some I see regularly, some I’ve never seen and maybe never will. I thought I was self-sufficient and I’d never have to ask anyone else for help and I asked, I asked many, many times. I was sure I was tough and I’d never be sad, but I was, oh how sad I was, how dead deep inside, how cold and lonely I was. I believed that tears were a sign of weakness and so I cried, I cried a lot, I cried from my heart and my soul. And they were with me, and I know they will be, my friends.
Money or fame, power or career have never been important to me and I hope they never will be. Freedom and independence have always been important to me, but over the years I’ve learned, the hard way, that freedom doesn’t mean the ability to do whatever I want, and independence doesn’t mean loneliness. I’m still looking for freedom and I still believe that freedom is a human right, freedom to think, freedom to live how we want to live, as long as we don’t hurt others. I still want to be independent, and I still reject ties, but I know that the tie is not friendship, but our attachment to possessions.
So I chose to go light, to have less, to collect nothing. I chose to reject the bonds of having things and depending on things, and I chose to spend my time and energy – which is limited – on things I know I’ll always have with me. That is the wisdom I have gained, the knowledge I have built, the experience I have gathered. It is my ability to deal with whatever life throws at me, my ability to adapt, my ability to survive. But I know that I can’t do it alone, I know that my ability to deal with things, to adapt and to survive is built on other people in my life, so I have chosen to spend my energy and my time on those that I love and who love me.
Going light also means always being ready to go. I have learnt that everything can change in a moment and it can happen that I have to move on. I’m ready for a journey, whatever that means, sometimes moving cities, sometimes changing my beliefs, I’m always ready to go. And that’s possible because I have few things and beliefs that limit me.
Few beliefs accompanied by many wounds and scars, and they helped me to be lighter. I was angry, I was angry all my life at those who made my wounds and scars, but I forgave them. Now I know that they are part of me and my story is on the one hand just the story and doesn’t have the power to hurt me anymore, but on the other hand it is the reason why I am who I am.
Being vulnerable means that everyone I meet can hurt me and many will. Being resilient means that I will deal with them and there’s no reason to close my heart to those who want to know me, who want to be a part of my journey through life, even if only for a brief moment. That’s part of life too, learning how to let go, how to say goodbye and move on. That’s the part of going light and not collecting unnecessary baggage.
It took me many years to realize how important it is to connect with other people. I still struggle with it sometimes and asking others for their experiences and opinions isn’t the first thing I do, but I’m learning to do it more and more and just use our collective wisdom, which is and always will be much greater than my own. I have learnt so much since I first opened myself up to others and their stories, and I have met so many beautiful and good people who I now call my friends. That wouldn’t have happened if I had to listen to my ego.
My precious ego, which I defended against everything, against everything that could have tested it, that could have shown me that I wasn’t as great as I liked to think I was. My precious ego that prevented me from building valuable relationships because no one, absolutely no one, was good enough for me. I was the best, I thought. Life wasn’t easy for me, and I’m grateful, because when it crushed me, it crushed my ego, and when I rose from the dust, there was no ego with me. And I was lost because there was nothing to guide me through life.
The world we live in is a brutal place, so many people are lost and so many people hurt others. I don’t think they’re evil, I think they’re lost, like I was once. They’re lost and they’re scared and they’re lonely. And I have chosen not to bring any more evil into the world. I don’t want to be the one to make the world a worse place than it already is.
The world we live in is built on money and power, and it’s hard not to take part in the rat race, it’s hard to stand aside and choose a different path. It’s especially hard when there’s nobody who understands and shares the values I believe in. I’ve felt that way, but I stand by what I believe in and I don’t regret it. Now I can see people who believe what I believe and who share those values.
The world we live in promotes egoism and selfishness, and capitalists and politicians try to convince us that we must get as much as we can, and we must look after ourselves, because nobody else will, and everybody else will steal, and we must defend our possessions with all our might. But – surprise – amazing things happen when we share what we have with others, and when we talk to each other, and when we build together as one, instead of hiding in fear.
There’s a lot of good in the world too, but it’s getting harder and harder to see. It’s my job, and your job, to take that little bit of goodness and feed it and help it grow and nurture it until it’s big enough to be contagious and we can have hope that one day, one day it will change everything for better.
Vulnerability and sensitivity are our last hope.