So Zuri, what took you so long to come back for your final visit?
Wow, we really are jumping right in, aren’t we?
Yes, well, its been quite some time since our last interview; folks have been waiting to hear about whats been going on!
Yes, you are right about that. I have been a little bit neglectful. I sometimes find it challenging to maintain the balance between experiencing this journey, processing it, and then documenting it as well. I also recognize that I can be a bit verbose at times, and these days my mind is flooded with thoughts, ideas, emotions, etc. so capturing it all sometimes feels overwhelming. I admit I’ve avoided a tad.
Ok, so what prompted you to grace us today?
I spent the entire morning crying.
Whaaat? Why? What happened?
I don’t know. It was a series of small little things that finally tipped the bottle, and then the flood gates opened and wouldn’t close for some time!
Are you willing to share more?
Basically, I think I needed to purge emotionally. And instead of pushing things down and keeping them inside (what many of us tend to do – I certainly did), I just let it all out. It’s funny. Somewhere along the way someone sold us the silly claim that crying, shedding, and/or sharing our emotions was a sign of weakness. That keeping it all in was true strength. Granted, there are times and places when we must hold it together and just push things down. But more often than not, I think its a cop-out. Let me tell you, it was tough to allow myself to not just cry, but cry harder. I started crying for things that I didn’t even know were inside, but evidently needed to get out. I would have sobbed even louder, but didn’t want to scare the gardner or housekeepers! lol
What kind of things were you crying about?
Well, it started with little things. After having a series of really great days, I suddenly found myself feeling lonely. I realized that while I have cultivated a couple of good friendships, for the most part I hadn’t really made any new ‘friends’ in the two and a half weeks that I’ve been at my latest location – Ubud, Bali (sounds silly saying it now!). But the tough part of being a long term, slow traveler, is that you’re in a place long enough to see tourists come and go, but not quite there long enough to cultivate more sincere relationships with those living in a place. And because I’m on a journey thats not about external travel, I’m not always out and about to meet new people or cultivate relationships. So, as a result, I meet a lot of interesting people in passing and do have some really interesting lunch and dinner conversations with folk sitting around me. In the end, though, it can start to feel a bit shallow.
In addition, I was giving myself a hard time because I felt like I was getting slack on my inner journey for the past week or so and was wasting my time. Granted, I have to find a new place to stay and was also getting everything ready for my ‘visa run’ to Singapore in two days.
So you weren’t exactly wasting your time, then!
No, but I do recognize the blessing and uniqueness in having this opportunity, and want to make sure that I take full advantage of it. Not only for myself, but for everyone else – friends, family, other – who cant take this type of journey at this time in their lives. I feel like it would be disrespectful to myself and to them to not maximize my time here. I was also briefly feeling uncertain of what, specifically, I should be working towards/for.
Anyways, that was the second factor. Next, one of my Bali friend’s mothers was hospitalized once again. This was like a peripheral incident, but while I was trying to send emotional support, I found myself once again deeply mourning the loss of my mother. Remnants of emotions that I had pushed down at her death in order to be strong and get through everything was finding its way out. I truly believe that emotions will find their way out eventually, one way or another, whether we like it or not.
Ok, so you had issues of feeling lonely, finding a new home, being a foreigner, self-induced pressures of self-exploration, and mourning the loss of your mother surface all at once.
Umm, yeah, pretty much.
Well, when you bunch it all together like that, I want to cry for you! lol So what did you do?
I cried. I reached out for support from a couple of my good friends from home. And cried some more! Then, amidst all the tears, I realized that it was ok to be experiencing all that I was, and that each of these little issues were part of my greater need to just purge emotionally. I started to recognize a pattern where each time I was just about ready to move to a new place (mentally and emotionally, that is), that right before it happened, everything started to feel crappy and miserable. I realized that this wasn’t because life was just full of challenges, but it was really my insides telling me it was time for an emotional spring cleaning.
We recognize the need and value of periodically doing a deep cleaning in our parks, homes, and even our bodies. Why doesn’t it seem obvious that our insides (spirit, heart, whatever you want to call it) need periodic cleansing as well? So I picked up my emotional Clorox and boo hoo’d my morning away! Afterwards, I took a shower and went for a great hike to a beautiful place. I couldn’t have felt better!
Wow. That’s kinda crazy. I never thought about the idea that we need to just periodically let it all out!
Yes! All our hurts, fears, angers, jealousy, etc. need to come out. Instead, we fester and dwell on these emotions carrying them with us for way too long! All that bad stuff just rots our insides out, when in reality all we have to do is let it out then let it go!!
So let’s get back to what you were saying earlier about feeling like you weren’t accomplishing your inner journey goals. What, exactly, is this inner journey all about? Are you trying to find yourself?
Lol. I’m so glad you asked me this question! When I say that I’m on an inner journey, everyone assumes that I’m trying to ‘find myself.’ Honestly, its quite the opposite situation. Its because I finally found myself that I knew that I had to take this trip. I realized that I could no longer be true to myself and continue living the same life that I was – specifically around my work and my lifestyle.
Washington, DC is a ‘power’ city. People’s identities revolve around their work, who they know, how intelligent they are, how socially active they are, what great restaurants they’ve dined at, etc. I was living a really great life with a good job with amazing friends in an phenomenal city. But it was all self-perpetuating. I tried to start to redefine my life and future path within that environment, but ultimately it became an effort in futility. Life helped me realize that, and I was soon on my way to Bali! Granted, my experiences here help me discover more and more of myself everyday.
Ok, so you were found when you started this journey. So what do you want to accomplish, then?
Well, first, I want to become better connected with me, my spirit, my inner core so that I won’t ever have to go through such an arduous process of reconnecting with myself! In other words, because I had become so disconnected from my true heart, desires and will, it took a long time and hard work to even recognize the real Zuri. I don’t want to ever lose that again. It’s like losing weight. Anyone can do a fad diet and lose weight quickly. But only those who make fundamental changes in their overall health habits will sustain it. There’s no point in making profound inner breakthroughs only to go back to one’s old way of life. I’m not talking about changing one’s lifestyle(I can still come back and live in DC), but rather how we handle and process the bigger life decisions.
Ok, you want to reconnect with Zuri in a sustainable way. Second?
Second, I want to build a new vision for my life and career. I want to start phase II of my life! I have some ideas of what that looks like in the big picture, but I want to make that picture more concrete. Ideally, when I come home I want to have a clear plan of at least what my next one or two steps will be in beginning to build this new life.
Wow, starting a new life… that’s kinda big!
Yeah, well, that’s why I knew I had to get away from it all to start painting that picture on fresh canvas!
Ok, so how are you doing in accomplishing those goals?
Well, the first goal is the toughest. In fact, I now realize that its an ongoing life-process. The catch is I really need to get to a certain level of strengthening my internal connection before beginning to build my future. Otherwise I could find myself falling into the same external traps as before. I’m also no monk, so I’m allowing myself to work on both simultaneously. And I find the more I go within, the more all sorts of exciting ideas come out! Nevertheless, its definitely a work in progress!
Well, I’m sure I speak for many of our readers when I say that we look forward to seeing and hearing about what comes from this whole experience of yours!
Thanks! I’m excited to see what comes of this whole thing myself! lol
And thank you for visiting us once again! We hope you’ll come back and update us with how things are going!
I most certainly will! And do check in with my blog; I will be posting more of my experiences and activities in the near future. Sometimes I get into all the deep stuff and forget to just share more on what I’m doing and what life is like here. I’m learning so much about Bali, its people, and so forth!