Saturday, August 9, 2014

Well it's been a long minute.
I've tried very hard to write since returning to the United States,
but have undeniably been experiencing a mental slump.
I came back a changed person to an unchanged world; everything exactly as I left it.
This was refreshing at first... Seeing the places, people and things I always loved so much unmodified.
It was like stepping out of the time machine and discovering that I didn't screw everything up;
Familiar. Comfortable.
Perhaps too comfortable,
considering I had spent the last four months being anything but. Which begged the realization that maybe I had actually become more comfortable outside of my comfort zone [woah].
Thus, familiar relief was quickly replaced by boredom.
I wasn't feeling challenged on a daily basis the way I had been in a foreign country; 
everything seemed so painfully straightforward.
Then that boredom was succeeded by fernweh.
I ached for new frontier. 
I needed to be uncomfortable again.
And finally, this need unfulfilled left me empty.
I began to feel like the preceding four months were merely the contents of an elaborate dream.
I was distracted. I was not happy. I was not myself.
This was the case for about a month until, from this void, rose a great epiphany:

Happiness is internal.
A state of mind; of being.
It was one of those bits that I had surely heard before, but had never really stopped to delve below the surface of... to swim to the bottom and crack open the shell of ambiguity which had been lying in the soft sand, unknowingly sequestering true implication and instruction. 
But the moment that I fully digested this concept-- Happiness is internal-- everything changed. Radically.

I was a happy person. I always had been.
I had allowed myself to mistakenly contribute the euphoria I experienced while abroad to an ideal location.
But that isn't how happiness-- true happiness-- works.
When we look outward to the world (i.e. places, material things, other people) to fulfill us, we are often left disappointed.
The reason being that happiness doesn't originate out there...
It is hatched deep inside of us, in our centers; born in our souls, it spreads to our hearts and transforms our minds.
You are your own home.
You are the only thing in your life with guaranteed permanence for as long as your heart is beating.
If we cannot find satisfaction here, within ourselves, regardless of where we are or who we're with,
then new locations and new things will only ever serve as temporary solutions to our problems.
I look now at my surroundings that I once considered mundane and commonplace by contrast to the Spanish countryside, and see new life; new beauty.
Natural wonders and unobtrusive sites teeming with brilliant existence lie just behind every twist and turn in this crazy road we're all on.
We just have to find it in ourselves to recognize them.

here's to the love, the happiness, and the appreciation

photos by Sebastien Zanella

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