So, here I was – starting again at 30. It isn’t an easy place to start, I was way behind some of my world-wise friends who had began building their empires in the twenties. I had no equity, knew very little about GICs, RRSP, and Mutual Funds. Having spent my twenties on spiritual pursuits of answering existential questions, seeking truth in Churches, Krishna and Dao Temples, Meditation Centres, Meeting Monks, Asking Questions, Looking within, Practicing Yoga, Abstinence and Fasting just to discover this – that thirty may be a difficult place to start building your life, as a female anyway with the biological clock ticking louder every day, but it wasn’t as difficult as lying on your deathbed with any regret or chips on your shoulder.
It isn’t easy to leave the world behind, but it is much easier to walk away from the world than it is to stay in it, without taking it all too seriously.
The fundamental mistake I had made as soon as I began to study yoga is that one must abandon everything, having thrashed myself physically, emotionally and mentally to a place of exhaustion in my early twenties, dropping off a few bags of accumulated stuff at the Salvation Army was no big deal.
It was only years later that I understood that what I really had to leave behind was not the ode to my excessive shopping or artefacts; what clang on to me, and was travelling with me through all these years no matter how humble my clothes or simple my lifestyle was something far deeper inside.
The point is not to lose identity, it is not the issue, the trouble is the distraction of the desire to become attached and lazy.
Our identities become thick, sleepy layers within the depths of which we hibernate perpetually, outside of reach.
To be raw, to be vulnerable, to be in the moment, required more than shedding of clothes, it required surrounding attachment to all of the mental blocks that are preventatives of being better, and doing good.
The most difficult thing, for me, was battling my past, the self that was hurt and had developed a comfortable identity within that pain body, calcified and harsh, coarse like a lemon peel but desperately yearning within to be released from this self-cocooned coffin.
And so, slowly, slowly, the peeling process began, at times reminding more of something of the process of peeling an onion where with each thin layer a stronger, more pungent smell is revealed, crying through it all “I love you”, until it’s finally all ready and sizzling with butter on the hot skillet with some mushrooms – then that onion is suddenly not so bad, you know what I mean if you have ever fried an onion with butter, not even any spices on it yet, but as soon as it starts to brown every person in the house scurries down to the kitchen “Oh, that smells good,” they poke their nose, I swear – every single time, “what are ya’ cooking?” “Uh, just frying up this onion with a bit of butter…” I’d reply, confused. “Wow, smells great, keep going”.
And that’s exactly what this process has been like as well, while I was just this raw, smelly onion, crying, weeping, cutting myself into pieces, falling apart – not that many people were around wanting to land a hand, but it’s not up to them, it’s an individual process.
But as soon as I stoked the fire, and fried that baby up with a bit of butter (because – “Butter makes better!”) everyone and their cousin wanted to come over for dinner.
So, to make all this vegetable allegory clear – the process of purification is experienced, alone; it’s messy, sad and no one is to blame for not wanting to be there (except your mom – she’s gonna stick around, so make do with that if you got her) but the rest of the world – nah ah, they are going to wait until you’re ready to meet them, because each one of us goes through this process. I have seen each one of my friends fall apart into pieces, and there was no way that I could help except at times remind them of a missing piece or two, but it was months and sometimes years later, that I would see them whole again.
And this is beautiful, that we are all like ancient cities, like elaborate buildings which, time to time, wrap themselves in tulles of veil while they rebuild and then reveal themselves again, like the mourning women after they are done their grieving.
And when we come back to shine with the rest, we are ever brighter than before, having endured change and chaos, and having discovered new depths and harnessed the heat of the fires within. Each time we go deeper, and emerge renewed, this is the natural process of everything in Nature, and life.
30 is my year of return, and it feels as almost the eternal return; this year like never before I give gratitude for the teachers which were the life lessons I had endured.
Life is not about winning the race or making it perfect, I know this for certain now. Perfection steals away from life and kills creativity outright. Life is a moment, like a butterfly; to live it artfully, one must always remain the creator, and who is God but a child with a paintbrush?
So, if there is anything I could see as worthwhile is to paint memories on the giant canvasses of our imaginations, using all the tools and the colours, getting our hands dirty and watching them wrinkle, and with these hands hold smaller hands with smooth skin and teach them the beauty of getting their hands dirty, and dancing in circles without their heads spinning, and telling them how we are the shining starts in the sky and other fruitful things like vegetable allegories, cheesy jokes, and simple things.
In the end, no one really knows anything, but everyone has a story to tell. Goodnight.