A while back, I crossed paths with a Russian couple visiting Norway. The woman told me the story of her Grandmother. How the difficult circumstances of her life had caused her to create her mantra about life:
“When you get stuck, get dressed and get out of the house! By getting out of the habitual surroundings you never know who you will meet or what you will encounter that will change the direction of your day or your life.”
We all receive a hand of cards when we are born, in the form of family and birthplace. With these assigned cards in hand, we begin to live our lives. How these cards are shared is and remains part of the mystery of life even though there are different theories in different cultures on how this happens, and science has its explanation.
I get dizzy in my head if thinking much about that, but I think we have all come to school here in our human body. It is about raising awareness. Would I have felt this if I had got a different hand of cards when I was born? I’m not sure, but these are the cards I received and must play the game with.
A common perception among those who have a spiritual view of life is that we go through the same Homework at the school of life until we learn the lesson. These lessons are entirely individual. Only after we have learned what we are going to learn will we move on to the next step.
Doctor Wayne W. Dyer, who has now passed the other side, described spirituality so simply and beautifully: “Spirituality is about experiencing.”
Isn’t that what we all do as human beings? In that sense, we are all spiritual beings. Whether we perceive ourselves as it or not. Life is a process from A to Z, from being born until we die, and duality always characterizes earthly life. There is no night without day, joy without sorrow, so the dance continues between the opposites of duality. But how is the balance of duality created?
Sometimes life forces us into one corner, which requires action and change. I learned this in the fall of 2016 when I ended up in a situation at work that required a choice.
Either dealing with the lousy situation or continuing where I was or renouncing my current job’s safety, quit and jump off into the unknown. If I chose to continue, I would have to change my view of how I experienced the situation and deal with the loss of my integrity. If I jumped, I had to accept being out of control and do everything to get a new job. The fact that I am solely responsible for my son played a central role in my decision. Regardless of choice, I felt mentally and emotionally it was a check-matte.
For several consecutive years, I live in a country that has been voted the world’s best country to live in. Norway. It is a beautiful and safe country cultivating safety and similarity, Which has its positive and negative sides.
Doing Something as drastic as jumping off in this country that values safety is not so easy. I learned this the hard way. My choice to quit was interpreted badly among employers. The change I was hoping for never came; my desperation just grew. Have you ever known that feeling? Then you know for sure what’s coming out of desperation—nothing, except for more misery and despair.
When I decided, I was also unaware that I had put a pair of roller skates that would send me full speed on a profound inner journey. Since there was very little happening in my daily life, the trip went deeper and deeper until I reached the bottom and discovered that I had ended up in prison—a prison with walls made of emotions and thoughts. Here I could decide to stay forever, feel sorry for myself, blame it on this one or that one. But would it help me?
In this prison, I also discovered the art of seeing the beauty of little things in life, much more than ever before. I learned to feel deeply grateful for all I had. I had My son, the roof over my head, and food on the table. Religious? Not really. I think gratitude is something we humans often forget. We complain about everything we do not have instead of keeping in mind all the things we do have.
In this self-constructed prison, I also began to hear the Russian grandmother’s mantra. It screamed in my ear:
“Maybe it was time to get out of your habitual surroundings, try something else and see if it will open a new door.”
I had tried to make a change for a long time without getting any remarkable results. During the journey inward, I began to look back on my life. I had lived an exciting and intense life, with both good and less good experiences. I had LIVED.
For the first time in my life, I had to admit that I had gone through a lot. The madness, force of will, and stubbornness helped me overcome challenges, especially after I became a mother. They had also kept me away from helplessness, but now I was utterly exhausted. I did not feel like fighting anymore. I could not convince myself nor the outside world about anything anymore. There are diagnoses for such a thing in our modern Western society, but I did not believe in diagnoses.
But I found shelter in the spirituality, and the message I could hear was this:
“How do you accept what life has to offer? Because as a human being you can never know what the next moment holds. Are you ready to keep your course without getting bitter, angry and full of hatred or jealousy when the wind blows hard around you and you’re completely out of control? Are you ready to open your heart even more and live a life without judging? ”
Suddenly, the great Persian poet Rumi and his poem “A Guest House” got a new meaning.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
How difficult it is to accept feelings that cause pain, and how often do we run from ourselves to avoid and get to know our shadow sides? It is always easier to turn the headlights outward than inwards to find the answers.
I had reached a point where I needed a change, and with this recognition, I suddenly stood in front of a thick wall of emotion, and the key to change was acceptance. Easier said than done.
Russian Grandma’s mantra haunted me over and over again.
“By making a change and getting out of your habitual….”
That’s how I started planning a trip a bit out of the ordinary. An intention trip, and with a backpack full of different feelings, thoughts and questions, I turned to Abadiania in Brazil to visit Casa de Dom Inácio.
You can also read the Norwegian version here.