To be where you are

Finding the comfort in the discomfort- it’s universal in the nature of starting something new. This was obvious, and something that I expected to have to do.

I have always spoke about personal growth in these terms, in finding the comfort in the discomfort. It sounds deep, but in reality it is really just a coping mechanism- a humanistic reflex response, if you will. We’ve all traveled to new places, faced tragedy, and perhaps encountered varying levels of adversity. We’ve all had to find the comfort in the discomfort at one point or another in our lives. And this was one of the platforms on which I persuaded the Minerva Fellowship selection committee that I was a worthy candidate. Sure, I can find the comfort in the discomfort.

But here I am, one month into my fellowship, and I have found myself facing a new challenge: finding consistency in an ever-changing place.

I am a creature of habit. I like my routines (thanks, Mom). Each time I feel as though the novelty of this place is wearing off, and I begin to feel comfortable in my new surroundings, something changes.

  • Last week I started teaching my own classes at The Global Child.
  • This week- throw in some English lessons at the school’s café, Joe To Go.
  • The friends I have made will be continuing on their voyages beyond Siem Reap
  • The roosters that woke me up each morning at 3 am for three weeks- gone…
  • The oldest grade will graduate from the school in a few weeks
  • If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.
  • If the Wifi is working, wait 10 minutes…

You get the point.

I have never been a fitness/wellness/health enthusiast- any one of my friends could tell you that. But in an attempt to create some routine for myself, I reached out to a new yoga studio that had just opened in town. After two weeks of practicing yoga and a bit of meditation with an amazing teacher, I am finding myself able to just “be.” (OK yeah. I’m also really sore.)

Before leaving home, I worried that I would be missing out on that quintessential first post-grad year: working and eating and drinking with all my best friends in a new city, while the world continued to turn and everything merry (some of you may call this FOMO) I deeply longed for this for the first few days I was here. And it hurt. But in longing for this hole to be filled, I wasn’t here, I wasn’t present. And I knew that to gain the most from this wild and crazy adventure, and for me to contribute meaningfully, I needed my whole self to be here, and to be open and vulnerable to this community. I found this sort of faith (?)- faith that my relationships back home are strong, and will persist through time and place. It’s certainly not a “one and done” kind of deal. Like everything in life, it takes work. Being present may be one of this world’s hardest challenges to overcome, but arguably one of the most important. Learning to “be” has given me the ability to stand strong and tall when everything around me is changing, and to be entirely welcoming to whatever these changes may bring.

One thought on “To be where you are

  1. Oh Syd, your ability to articulate such strength, humanity, and insight is breathtaking. Many, possibly most, people take a lifetime to reach where you are now. The Buddha took a life long journey to seek the truth, the path to enlightenment. Self actualization. Your journey promises such beauty, peace, clarity. My privilege is to be able to watch as you continue. Love Dear Sydney, Grandma


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