When you hear the word travel or learn that someone is moving to another far off country that seems so different from their native one, you almost cannot help but sigh and these romantic images of sunsets over beautiful landscapes fill your imagination. At least, that what happens for me.
And so when I moved to Spain I had all of these romantic notions of sitting in lovely, cozy little cafes playing flamenco music in the background, sipping coffee as I typed away furiously on my laptop in between conversations with locals where Spanish flowed off of my tongue easily. I checked out of my then present setting of Brooklyn and my mind was clouded with these fresh images, scents, and sounds that were to soon envelop me.
But then you get into it, and you get into the nitty gritty of every day life, and that sense of romance disappears. Perhaps for me it has a lot to do with my location. I wonder how different it would be if I were in a different city, slightly larger, more diverse….
To be entirely honest though, I have to check myself and wonder why it is that I continue to blame the environment for my unhappiness. In New York I became passive and was like an automaton going through the motions. I disliked being in the hustle and bustle of the big city. It truly does wear you down after a while. So I came to Spain, and yet here I am once again malcontent. I am deeply unhappy with my job situation, stuck in a position where I have been forced to remain stagnant and am slowly losing my skills that I worked so hard to develop as a teacher, in a small town I quite honestly don’t want to stay in for longer than a week at a time.
In Nichiren Buddhism we say that the environment is a reflection of oneself. In other words, the situation or environment is not what needs to be changed, but your attitude. When you bring forth brightness from within your own life, that will be reflected back at you in the environment. But I am struggling like never before to truly dig down and bring forth the motivation and inspiration to change my attitude.
So what do you do when you realize that the place you ended up isn’t exactly what you expected it to be?
I’m still seeking an answer to that question and I’m determined to try my hardest to figure it out. After all, the one thing I have control over is my attitude, isn’t it?
“’Dig beneath your feet, there you will find a spring.’ The place where you are now is crucial. Never try to avoid that which you must do.” -Daisaku Ikeda