Nepalese Flow (November, 2008). A year after my experience in Guatemala, another journey brought me to Nepal. I anticipated something really spectacular, but the reality surpassed all expectations. The mixture of its nature, people, colours, rhythms, smells, and sounds uplifted all of us, a group of seven. Three of us came from Lithuania: Inga, Elf, and I. Others were from Switzerland and Germany. We all met in Kathmandu where we were welcomed by Chris, our teacher, our leader, the heart and soul of our journey. We spent the first few days in Kathmandu, where we enjoyed watching its rhythm of life. We ate at local restaurants, wandered the streets of Thamel, and visited temples. My first intense impression was of the early morning near Bodnath Stupa where locals start each day with prayer by spinning prayer wheels with the most beautiful greetings, letting the wind carry them to all the countries of the world. The power in that place was stronger than almost anything I have ever experienced. I could feel patience, vitality, presence, and power in the air. The first part of the journey was a seminar, which began a week after we had arrived. We went to a retreat centre in Nagarkot at the entry to Himalayas. We spent five days there listening to Chris and exchanging our experiences and thoughts on the themes of the seminar—topics that covered the relationship between women and men and parents and children, sexuality, how to avoid getting caught up in games, and how to truly see things. I didn’t find many answers, but clear questions were revealed to me. My understanding and curiosity were increasing exponentially. This always happens when I spend time with Chris. Exchanging with him always pushes me toward boundaries that I think I can not overstep, but when I do, the boundary stretches even further. This allows me to grow and change, even if these changes sometimes scare me. There are moments when I can’t find anything to hold onto to prove my identity, where it seems I don't know who I am. All my behavioural strategies disappear, and I feel vulnerable with only my fears and insecurities. In such moments, I just want to feel safe. But I also understand that such moments are opportunities for growth and getting closer to becoming real. These are the moments when I must break through the fences that border my comfort zone and explore the unfamiliar parts of my being. And these are most precious moments of my life and the only real treasures of this world.******************************************************************************************************************************************* What I Have to Say Today Fits on One Sheet of Paper (Written in April 2009) Following my return from Nepal and back to my daily life in Lithuania—my office, my projects, and my circle of friends—I have been thinking a lot. I’ve tried to uncover what motivates people to act, to move desperately forward, to create goals and plans feverishly. I’d never questioned it before, because it seemed that there was no other way. But I find myself in a very strange period of my life. Everything seems to have stopped: me, affairs at my firm, relating with others, decisions, and ideas about where to step next. Sometimes it even seems like it’s hard to breathe. I feel like I’m surrounded by glue, and it reaches around my neck or around me like a vortex because sometimes I can‘t even feel the wind on my face. So now, when everything has stopped, I ask myself why I think I need a goal in order to carry on. Why must I busy myself with the need to go somewhere for a reason? The answer: Because this is what I learned, and because it gives me comfort as well as security. I have only ever known how to live this way: idea, purpose, pursuit, a new purpose, and so on. If I don‘t have a goal and if I am not busy, it’s like I don‘t exist, like I’m dying. And If I don’t have a purpose or some measurable result, I am overtaken by a sense of absurdity, like I’m nothing but emptiness. Go from goal A to goal B, then from B to C and so on. This is the only way I’ve known how to prove to myself that I am. This is where my purpose-driven existence took me: In the beginning, it was very traditional: Lithuanian school, university, boyfriend, well-paid job, good apartment, good car, wedding. Going through this algorithm, I expected to feel fulfilled at the end, not to suffer from a sense of emptiness and absurdity. I was so sure that it would work, but it didn’t. So I had to create new goals and pursue them, and believe, again, that when I reached them, I would feel fulfilled and satisfied at last. The new trajectory was: divorce, my own business, financial success, a perfectly trained body, a luxurious apartment, a brand new car, membership in business leadership clubs, and so on. It took surprisingly little time to accomplish all this, and at reaching the final goal, I was confused. It should have suited me. Life gave me everything just as I wanted it. Like attentive lover, life did and gave everything I wished for. I should have experienced a sense of plenitude and satisfaction, but all I could hear was humming silence. Then I decided that I needed intimacy for happiness—a person with whom I could share my soul and body. We would cry together in times of misery and laugh together in times of joy. This wish was also granted. When that person appeared in my life, I began a new cycle. I found a new purpose beyond being a successful woman: to grow together with a man I really liked this time. And what do you think happened next? I ended up at the same conclusion: this doesn't feel right. It was really strange. Wherever I ran, whatever goal I chose, I always hit the same wall of emptiness. And every time I hit it, I thought that maybe the algorithm was wrong, that it wasn’t my way of happiness, and so I started the search again. Recently I met a guy. During our meeting, he was bombing me with his knowledge about politics, religion, meditation and teachings. The date was a real flop, but in looking at him in all his insecurity, I could see myself. I was at my breaking point. I could clearly recognise the strategies I had used to escape feeling by keeping myself busy and focused on a goal. In the same way that he uses knowledge, I have busied myself with running around like crazy, taking on projects that didn’t truly inspire me, meeting people I had no real interest in, going to parties without a single drop of desire to be there, having hundreds of thousands thoughts about how, where, and how much, and on and on. I could also see that others were trying to escape feeling—to avoid being vulnerable and real—by keeping themselves busy with work, love affairs, material wealth, friends, sports, shopping, anything at all. I could see that some even focused on their role as mother or father in order to avoid deeper thoughts or feelings about their existence, life, world, or the path they had chosen. And I finally could recognise the motivations of my actions: to avoid. Through focus on artificial goals, I’ve been avoiding anything that would make me doubt myself, my path, my parents and friends, or my opinions and judgments. Any doubt was a direct threat to my existence. I put all my energy into feeding a false identity, because that was who I thought I was. I was not free. I was not the master of my life. This may be why I led myself to frustration and emptiness again and again. After I drawing aside this curtain of avoiding, I’ve found that I’m actually hanging in the air. I’m hanging in obscurity together with my boundless emptiness. For probably the first time in my life, I managed to open my eyes. And what I saw was really scary. I looked at myself and the people around me. I looked, and I could see. My heart was touched. What I saw was so beautiful, so human, so sad, and so helpless at the same time. I know now that I don‘t need to keep trying to escape feeling or to constantly look for my identify or proof that I really am, because I am. I don’t need to reach for a goal or run from point to point, because I am. I don’t need a new goal to rush toward anymore, because I am. I don’t have to hurry anymore, because I am. I am, and at the moment, I am hanging in the air. I’m hanging, and I don‘t know where to step next. But it isn’t so important anymore, because I am. I also know that this clarity can leave me at anytime, but I will find a way back to it. I know that, with the time I’ll learn to live with it and that this might take many years.