I believe I’ve figured out why Costa Rica has become so much like home for me; it is the only place I have been, where I felt that I found and was my true self.
That may seem like a stretch for those of you that know me. When I state that I feel as if I don’t truly know and believe in who I am as a person and what I’m capable of and that I am easily swayed by others, an initial reaction may be disbelief. After all, I’m a teacher because I love it, truly, I travel because that is what my heart desires, and I’m moving to Spain because it has been a long time dream.
But on a fundamental level, understanding and knowing my own truth evades me. I touched on this briefly in my post Faux Mountain Climbing where I wrote about an issue that continues to resurface after a few years and continues to sway me as I begin to find my footing on my own path. After reflecting on it even more, I realized that I allow myself to be swayed by other people on a continual basis. I get caught up in other people’s enthusiasm and passion, and while this may be a good thing in allowing me to learn and experience new things, I seem to be unable to do it without truly thinking about what it is I may feel. This stems from a lot of issues, but the main one being my inability to fit in with any group of peers for a long time and never understanding why, and I believe even my being multiracial has a role to play in this as well. While people were trying to box me in, I was fighting hard not to be…and yet at the same time because I felt so unclassifiable a part of me wanted to be. The questioning stares and borderline rude questions I received as I grew up, and even those I receive today, has embedded in me a self-consciousness deeper than that of physical appearance…it is a self-consciousness about my culture and identity.
Now that I’m older it’s a different situation, it is not as if I’m making ridiculous choices that lead to consequences, but I think that I tend to neglect what it is I want to do, or feel guilty about not doing what it is I think I should be doing that I don’t want to do. For instance, I find myself getting caught up in other people’s love and dedication for music, and while I am dedicated to my cello, right now my desire is to simply learn it and play music, while writing music and performing on a regular basis may be something I desire later on down the line…or not. I find that I also compare myself to others or to a person I believe I should be. I think we’re all guilty of this at some point in time, but wouldn’t that time much be better spent in doing the things I know I want to do? And what good does it do to say, “I should be more like her/him/that”? At the end of the day you are unique and you are your own person.
“It’s not important how you compare yourself to others but how you compare yourself to whom you were yesterday. If you see that you’ve advanced even one step, then you’ve achieved victory.” -Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth, p. 6
And yet despite knowing that, I find myself getting caught up in other people’s desires and feelings, forgetting my own. When it comes to someone who is strong willed who wants to do this versus that, I allow myself to be persuaded. While it’s nothing like the rash things I allowed myself to be persuaded into doing while I was younger, when it comes to my dreams as a young woman, I find that I cannot focus on them fully because of the imposition of other people’s dreams.
“When you hold fast to your beliefs and live true to yourself, your true value as a human being shines through. Buddhism teaches the concept of manifesting one’s true nature. This means to reveal your genuine innate self, your true inherent potential, and bring it to shine, illuminating all around you. It refers to your most refined individuality and uniqueness.” -Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth, p. 8
Now imposition in this case does not imply blame. At the end of the day it is not my surroundings or those around me who are keeping me at bay, it is myself. Until I fully believe in and have faith in my individuality, uniqueness, worthiness, and capability, I will continue to be swayed. I know this is something that will take a long time to work through, but I’ve already laid down the first level of the foundation of my life by finally taking the step to move to Spain after pushing it off for two years(first for a relationship, second for a compulsion I felt to immediately start my career), and by finally picking up the cello two years ago after having wanted to learn it for six.
“Don’t ask the world what it needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
I have always known that I would make a contribution to world peace. There has never been a shred of doubt in my mind that my mission is huge and important and will create a change in our society, in our educational system. And yet, I have limited my mode of thinking to believing I needed to do something gigantic and seemingly impossible such as start an NGO, or have the brilliance to come up with an idea like building schools out of plastic bottles. But realistically, one, I am still young and still learning and developing those skills I need to implement the large scale changes I’m imagining, and two, my practice is about human revolution. And really the most immediate way I am going to have an affect on society is by living my life and encouraging and inspiring people around me by being true to myself. Isn’t this exactly what my blog is about?
“Do small things with great love.”
And so, despite the fact that I am leaving in September to go to Spain, as much as I think I should spend my summer home because I’m not sure where my traveling heart will take me after Spain, I need to listen to my heart right now too, which is telling me to go back to Costa Rica for a portion of the summer. I fell in love with an organic farm in Bijagua almost immediately, because of the beauty of the farm and wildlife, as well as the absolute dedication of this incredible farmer. To work on this farm and learn from it, as I further delve into and explore myself and who I am, would be an absolute dream, and an incredible prelude to my year in Spain.