Not the end of the world, but what now?

Heading into 2013 there was a lot of talk about the end of the world... but as it turns out, it wasn't. One of my very cynical and honest friends put it very eloquently and said: "I can't say there was not just a bit of hope that after all God would dare to flush this whole fucking world away. But... as always... we got out with one more millennium on probation"... 

Apparently we are currently shifting from the Age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius; the exact date of the 'dawning of the Age of Aquarius' has been the subject of much speculation and debate, but the growing consensus is that this transitional phase has commenced and it is supported by the Mayan Calendars. Similar prophecies and predictions of worldwide catastrophe have existed among the people of all continents including the Sumerians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, Hebrews, Hindus, Scandinavians, Greeks, native North and South Americans, Eskimos and the Fiji Islanders. 

Throughout our history we have shifted through different ages from sharing ideas/thoughts/philosophy, religion focus, always driving forwards. But apparently now, we are moving back to a shift in consciousness aimed inwards. We have the science, technology, wealth - but we also have war, poverty and suffering still. Society has taught us that in order to succeed in this life and be truly happy we have to work hard. But what is the definition of 'success'? There are countless souls working the 80+hours a week, driving to whatever definition of success society has created for us; and to what end?

The Mayans believed that once we move into this new dimension/age/shift it is moving into a new phase of spiritual and mental evolution. For whatever else, I believe that there is some truth in this. Little by little more and more people are starting to ask themselves the question 'what else is there?' 'what are we here for?' And this makes us gaze inwards for perhaps the first time in a long time, or ever. And what will we find when we finally shift our gaze inwards, will we be happy with the people we are, and what we are doing in this life? Do we even recognize ourselves or our true voice?

It has been said that those that shift into this new phase and look inwards will continue to evolve in this life at a very fast pace; but those that continue to ignore or try and silence that quiet voice that keeps saying "there has to be more"... will find life ever more challenging, swimming upstream, lost in the illusion of society's portrayal of success and happiness.

I have had a strong feeling deep within me from as young as I can remember, that I am here to make a difference somehow. Growing up the voice that rang so clear to me as a child, slowly faded out, or more so was just lost in the orchestra of life - what to be, where to go, study, career, friends, partying. A life so full, yet so empty. I was selfish, unaware and self-destructive thoughts invaded my mind constantly. Somewhere deep down that voice was still there, but I didn't want to hear it, because I didn't know what to do about it, so I drank to completely drown it out - do something stupid, and then my ego would be sitting beside me the next  day 'tut-tutting' me, saying "see you are no good, you are not here for some greater purpose - this is it all there is". Drinking, or more being the 'party girl' became my identity, what would I have without it?...

A change, or realization can come from anything - we see and hear the big stories all the time, someone facing a catastrophe and overcoming the odds to become a stronger person, their story inspiring thousands. So what about the rest of us who don't live these exceptional lives? Well I am sure there are a thousand stories, scattered around the world like confetti; maybe they are not worthy of a blockbuster film, but they are there if you search. 

For me, the start of my journey inwards began in my early 20's while I was at University still. I had been working at a pub part-time while I studied for 3 years. I started in the kicthen and became the kitchen manager, then started on the bar and really wanted to become one of the bar managers. Then the position opened up, and they promoted... someone other than me. They promoted a guy that was younger and had less experience. I was furious to all ends, anger and negative thoughts pervaded my thoughts and being, simmering inside until I finally asked the owner - WHY??

His answer was simple, nothing so profound and anyone else hearing these words would have forgotten them in a second. But for me, they struck a chord, it was literally like a slap in the face or someone throwing an ice cold bucket of water over me. He looked straight at me and said "Newbs, of course we thought of you, you have so much potential, but your energy is scattered, you need to find focus". This episode happened at the height of my self-destructive alcohol phase - simply put I had a problem. I don't know why this hit home so hard, many friends had tried to talk to me about how I was living my life at the time, but I didn't listen, I didn't want to hear it. The owner (who had become a good friend and someone I had the utmost respect for) somehow said everything without really saying anything. Once the words had settled, I slowly shifted my gaze inwards, and was shocked at what I found. The positive person and energy that I thought I was, was a brilliant act to the outside world - because the thoughts going on in my mind, were extremely negative and self-loathing. Who was this person? And how long have these thoughts been here?

I stood and looked out over the garden of my mind, and found that anything beautiful was in the shadow or being choked by the weeds of negative thoughts. So I tentatively put on my gloves and started trying to attend to my garden. Clearing out the weeds, and even trying to spot the areas where weeds weren't visible yet, but had a tendency to grow. I am using the word garden, because a beautiful garden requires constant attendance, care and love. If you leave it for too long unattended it will grow wild and the weeds are sure to resurface - just like negative thoughts.

Since that first awakening, I have had many similar stories, like when I lost myself again because of work, a friend said to me out of nowhere "don't lose yourself in all of this Tash"... Another shock awakening which made me step back from work and figure out what it was I wanted, and working 70hours a week for someone else's business wasn't it! When we fall off our path, the Universe always sends us exactly what we need at the time (which isn't always what we think we want); in a person, event, words of a friend, or smile of a stranger.

I sometimes still have doubts or anxiety that I am not doing what I should be, or that my family or friends no doubt question what I am doing - I have a law degree, have studied and worked in Psychology and have managed one of the top restaurants in London, I have had endless opportunities for 'success' and prosperity; yet here I am nannying in Florence... But I am sound in the fact that I am where I am meant to be, and everything will fall in place, I just have to continue to live in the present and be the best version of me that I can be in every given situation.

It has taken me years to get to where I am, and my garden still goes through the throes of seasons. But I finally feel I am in a space where I am truly blooming. I hear my inner voice a lot clearer; and while I am still not 100% of what it is I am meant to do to make a difference in the world. I have taken more joy in the smaller things, and understand that maybe my story isn't newsworthy, or I won't make the cover of any magazines; but I find comfort and like to believe that what I do in the here and now IS making a difference, to the family and friends I know, or the people I meet. If my kind words or smile can make one person's day, how do I know what the long term affect of that is? I am sure that these guys didn't know that when they said those simple words to me, that they would have such a profound affect on the course of my life, and the person I am today. The song from 'The Prince of Egypt' comes to mind here "a single thread in a tapestry though it's colour brightly shines, can never see it's purpose in the patter of the grand design... the answer will come to him who tries to look at his life through Heaven's eyes..."

And doesn't this thought bring a smile, comfort and purpose to the day to day, which essentially is what this life thing is all about right?!

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