“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” ~ C. JoyBell C.
I left Asia more than a month ago thinking that that was going to be my holiday. Thinking that I was going to go there to disconnect from everything and everyone so that I can fully recharge, restore, renew and reconnect with my heart and Soul. And even though all of these things did happen, I later on realized that there were many other reasons why my heart and Soul wanted me to go back there. Reasons that were going to be revealed to me once I was there, and reasons that were going to bring a lot of joy, love and inner peace into my heart 🙂
You see, after living and working in Malaysia for two years, interacting with some of the most wonderful, bright, kind and loving people I have ever met, in the fall of 2013 I felt that it was time for me to move on. I felt that it was time for me to say goodbye to my job, to all those beautiful places and wonderful, beautiful people and continue my soulful journey someplace else. And so, I bought my flight ticket, packed my belongings, said goodbye to everyone and flew back home. I flew back to Romania not knowing how my new life was going to be like, and not knowing whether the energy of that place was going to swallow me and trick me into thinking that I was still this small, fearful and insecure girl I used to be, or not. It happened to me before and I was afraid it was going to happen again.
When I first arrived in Romania, everything seemed to be just fine. I seemed to be very happy with where I was and the life I was living. And to my surprise, I realized that I actually loved being back home. I loved playing with my nephews and nieces, I loved the fresh air, the beautiful sunrises, and sunsets. The many magical and mystical monasteries that I kept visiting, the delicious food, the energy and pace of the place, the peace that surrounded me…. I loved everything. But as time went by, as I began writing the book, things began to change. My state of being was beginning to change.
If at first I felt a lot of peace and joy flowing through me, enjoying and welcoming a new life and being all happy and cheerful, after a while I started remembering things that were long forgotten. Memories that my younger self had suppressed because they were too painful to live with, were coming back to the surface. And I knew it was all happening because of the content of the book.
“Come to the edge, Life said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, Life said. They came. It pushed them… And they flew.” ~ Guilliame Apollinaire
Life has a very interesting way of helping us grow, a very interesting way of making us see the things we need to see, and of making us do the things we need to do. And I guess because life sees the big picture, and it knows that the Pain of Letting Go Is Less than the Pain of Missing our Destiny, it will “force” us into living the life that we were meant to live; pushing us when we don’t want to move, and constantly challenging us to face situations that frighten us so that we can discover more about who we truly are and the greatness that lies within us all.
Even though as years went by I have learned to never run away from the things that frighten me, and to never allow the darkness of the past to keep me from seeing the light of the present, when all those dark and painful memories from my past started bursting in, I panicked. I felt frightened and I wanted to run away. I wanted to hide and escape from everything.
“Why are you trying to run and hide?” I would often hear a voice inside my head say to me.
Don’t you know that by running away you are giving those things you run away from more power over you?
Don’t you know that running away is what makes you feel smaller and your darkness bigger?
Don’t run away from your darkness, run towards it. Love your darkness. Accept it. Embrace it. Make friends with it. And soon enough the darkness will turn into light and your Light will start shining brighter than it ever did.”
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown
If at first I cried, screamed and panicked a lot, as time went by I began to think that maybe life didn’t bring me back home because it wanted me to suffer. Maybe life brought me back because it wanted me to heal all the parts of me that were in need of healing so that I could be free of the heavy burden of those painful memories and live my life from a place of love, light and inner peace. And so, I started tip toeing my way through that darkness, running towards it felt like too much for me at that time. And even though I had moments when I felt that I was going to lose my mind and that I was never going to finish writing my book, in a very beautiful and miraculous way life made sure to give me the necessary strength, courage, wisdom and confidence to boldly face all the things that once frightened me and bring light and love to all those places where there was once so much fear, pain and darkness.
Now you might ask: so what does this have to do with your trip to Asia?
Well, you see, whenever the memories of the past were too painful for me to deal with, and whenever I would fall into a “dark hole”, my mind would automatically look for ways to “help” me escape from everything I was going through. As a result, it started replaying memories from the time I was in Asia.
Because there was so much sadness, so much pain and so many horrifying memories to deal with at once, my mind tried to balance things out by replaying memories that were less painful… memories that were kind, peaceful and loving, so that I won’t go crazy. And that’s how I started struggling with being present.
All that time I was home, I felt as if there was this constant battle between my mind and my heart. My mind wanted to escape the now by going to Asia, and my heart and Soul wanted me to be fully present where I was. And I wanted to be present, so, so badly; no longer having to look back, and no longer having to waste so much time and energy ruminating about the past, but I struggled. I struggled with being present, and I struggled with letting go of my attachment to Asia. But the moment I went back, the moment I saw everyone, and the moment I revisited all those places and all those spaces that had such a huge impact on me and my life, I finally understood why I kept looking back, and why my mind kept begging me to go back there.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ~ Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
You see, when I left Asia almost a year and a half ago, I didn’t fully leave. There were still parts of me I left behind, without me even realizing it. And because of that, I had moments when I kept looking back with nostalgia, missing certain experiences, certain people, but also many of the places I once loved so much. I couldn’t always be fully present where I was… But being back there after one year and a half, reconnecting with all these places and being able to experience everything once more, I finally understood why I had to go back. Why I needed to go back.
It wasn’t because I was obsessed with that place and that I had made an obsession for Asia. No. Nothing like that. I needed to go to Asia for closure, to come full circle with that place. I needed to get back the many parts of me I left behind; to close all the doors I left opened and finally say goodbye to all the places and all the people that had such a huge impact on me and my life. I needed to go to Asia to say goodbye to the life I had lived there and then move on with my life.
That place gave me so much, and I gave back a lot as well, and I just knew I had to go back… The energy of the place was calling me, and I couldn’t help but go.
“Your time may come. Do not be too sad. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
The whole month I spent there felt like a dream to me. It felt as if I was time traveling. As if life gave me an opportunity to go back to the past and do things that I “failed” to do the first time.
I remember walking around the office, on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, laying down in the grass of Lake Gardens Park – Kuala Lumpur, and playing in the warm sand of Koh Lipe, Thailand, feeling so happy and so full of life. But not because those places were making me feel that way, but because there was already within me more peace, more love and more joy that all those places and all those people put together were able to offer me. And that for me felt like a miracle.
I no longer needed to go to a paradise location to feel the paradise; to feel full of life, love, and joy. I had already found a paradise deep within my heart and Soul, and it was all mine…
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
With everything that had happened to me while I was home, all the lessons I have learned and all the wisdom I have gained while facing everything I had to face, I was shaped and transformed into a totally different person. And this new person that I had become couldn’t fully take over until the old me was fully gone. And being in Asia made realize this. It made me understand that the main reason why I had to go back there was so that I would say goodbye to the past; so that I would let go of all my attachments and allow the person I once was – Dana, to die, in order for the person I have become – Luminita, to take over… I guess I went to Asia for closure. To express my love and gratitude for all the wonderful and magical things this place offered me, and then to release it all so that I can finally be free. To die to the old so that I could be reborn to the new. And that’s exactly what I did. That’s exactly what I achieved. I finally realized that “the pain of letting go is less than the pain of missing your destiny.” ~ Joel Osteen
Interacting with every person who impacted my life in a way or another, and reconnecting with all the places and all the spaces that were so dear to me, I felt how I was taking back all of me. How I was becoming whole and complete once more, and how by doing so I was giving up all my attachments to those places and those people, but not my love. It was the strangest but also the most beautiful feeling in the world.
“Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.’” ~ Dr. Maya Angelou
A lot of us live under the impression that life is something that happens to us, but from my own experience I can honestly tell you that life is something that happens for you. I have come to realize that there is this beautiful, clear, magical and unique path that each and every one of us needs to walk upon. A very special, profound and purposeful path that was designed for each and every one of us. And the more we cleanse ourselves; the more we practice letting go of everything that no longer serves us, grows us or makes us happy; and the more we free ourselves of this idea that life is meant to be lived in one place and with certain people, the easier it becomes for us to know this path, to see it, to trust it and to walk upon it, but also to go where life needs us to go, and live the life we were intended to live.
It was in the last year of working at Mindvalley that I learned how to follow, listen and honor the wisdom and guidance of my heart and Soul. And the moment that voice started asking me to leave the beautiful life I had build for myself in Malaysia behind – my job, all my friends and all those magical places I had come to love so much, I knew I had to do it. I knew I had to honor the wisdom of my Soul even though it seemed like a crazy and stupid thing to do.
“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” ~ Alan Alda
People, places, experiences, they all come and go. Nothing lasts forever. And if we are asked to leave something behind; if we are guided to leave the life we have built behind in order to start something new, that’s because we are done with with those things, those places, those people and those experiences. The Soul finished its work and it needs to create something new, something bigger and something better someplace else.
We are not trees. We are not meant to stay in one place forever. We are meant to move, to explore, to discover and to constantly create new things. And if we resist and choose to move against the natural flow of things and life, we will continue to think that the it’s us against the world… The world is full of people who think this way. Don’t be one of them. Go where life needs you to go and do the things your heart and Soul are asking you to do. Let go of your history and by doing so, you will step right into your destiny. True story!
P.S. I would love to dedicate this blog post to my past. To every person, every place and every experience that shaped me and helped to become the person I am today. Good or bad, you all contributed to my growth and evolution, and I love you all.
Now, here are some photos from my trip to Asia…