It’s almost laughable the timing of everything that is happening right now in my life. I am truly being challenged in every aspect of my life; career, family, finances, and relationships. Each challenge and lesson learned lends itself to the next, which I think is quite fascinating, and as hard as it is right now, can only be a sign that I am growing and expanding my life, and for that I am appreciative, and fighting hard to continue growing so that I can make a positive change to a world in desperate need of it.
Following a week of intensive study of Nichiren Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra, this morning, as I was chanting, it was the first time I truly felt like a confident and independent young woman, owning who she is. I wasn’t the Nina that family/society/a lover thinks I am/should be. I was and am, simply myself, confident in my truth, moving forward to greater things, actively changing the world.
That’s when the universe gives you the next challenge, because the reality is that you’re ready for it. Turns out though, this one was quite a slap in the face. I find myself once again, for the second time with the same person, in a situation where timing and geography simply aren’t in our favor, or rather, my favor, but for another lucky person, they are. I wasn’t expecting it to cut as deep as it did, and am almost shocked at how difficult I’m finding this to process.
“Whether or not that person ever learns how you feel in your heart, with time those feelings will grow and mature like a fine wine. When you become an adult, the memories of your youth will envelop you like a beautiful fragrance.”-Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth, p. 70
However, I’m not here to focus on the heartache, rather, the timing of it all. That this news followed my new found realization of who I am, and owning that, is profound. I honestly can’t express how right now (though from a place of bitterness a part of me can’t help but laugh at the irony), but it is profound.
“If you are strong, even your sadness will become a source of nourishment, and the things that make you suffer will purify your lives.” -Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth, p. 69
I have planned since the moment I submitted my application to Spain in November that my journey until then would be one of intense growth and laying a solid foundation of faith and practice to prepare me for the entirely new challenge of living alone in a foreign country. Every single situation that has arisen in my life is the universe telling me, “We hear you LOUD AND CLEAR, and we are going to give you exactly what you need.” Of course, it’s hard to see in the moment that what you’re experiencing is exactly what you need, and it doesn’t mean that what you need is going to be handed to you on a silver platter either; it is going to be hard to work through. But how else do you develop your muscles other than sweaty and uncomfortable exercise leaving you with a sore body? While my heart may be sore for a little while, my capacity for love, my compassion, my wisdom, the treasures of my heart, will only grow stronger as a result.
Related to the timing of my growth is the state of turmoil our world seems to be in. As I grow myself along with my other young friends, I realize that the challenges we are facing are vital. Now more than ever society needs every single youth to stand up and fight to make a change, as young people around us reach a truly dark state of life, losing all hope, and committing terrifying acts of violence. Now more than ever, we need to wake up, own up to our challenges, and confront them head on, pulling forth from within our own lives the courage and wisdom to do so. In the process we have to share with others, dialogue with others, and develop a network of friendship and trust, connecting to each other, and planting seeds in the seemingly barren earth.
“The Norwegian poet Bjornstjerne Bjornson wrote, ‘The greater the courage of pioneers, the more people will follow in their footsteps.’ Courageous young people are the pioneers of new routes. They are a great, unstoppable ship moving ever forward, like the Fram.” -Daisaku Ikeda, World Tribune, April 12, p.5
So once again, I joyfully take my lesson learned, own my challenges, and face them head on, proving to myself along the way, that I am the strong, independent, unique and confident young woman I thought I was not. Feeling more true to myself than ever before, I pick up my pen and paper and I write…and even as my tears hit the page, I know that something bigger and better is waiting for me, and something bigger and better is waiting for the world.