I count myself as one of the blessed on this planet, the oh-so-very blessed. Not only because my cup overflows with good health, happiness, a quick wit and an ease and pleasure for contact with others. These are infinite blessings in and of themselves, you might think I have it all already… and yet I humbly recognize that there is more. My greatest blessing I believe to be this one special something, this mystery, this force, this connection that allows me to dream my dreams, plan their realization and then – I shudder with happiness and amazement just to type the words – live my dreams in reality.
It is a sudden, heart-stopping surprise to realize in this moment that I am living a reality I dreamed of and planned for in my past. When thought becomes material, when my heart recognizes that it has been heard and is being cared for… this is pure magic to me.
This week, a new dream I have dreamed has taken form. I have moved to Africa, I am living in Africa, and I am blessed with work that fills my career values in a most beautiful way, in Africa. Yes, I dreamed of Africa (lol). My fourth continent, a new expatriation, my desire to feed this curiosity and longing to understand the world and its people is being nurtured. I feel fulfilled, and it’s only the beginning! I am in the sunshine of Dakar, Senegal after a vibrant week of meetings, training and integration. My boss who accompanied me during this first week has returned to France, and I am here now to continue the work with our local team, clients and partners. I also have the time and opportunity to pursue so many other pleasures, be they music, travel, culture, sports or activities or places I have not even heard of yet. Again, I marvel that all of this can really be true.
Also, I am amazed and humbled to see some of my own wisdom and life experience and especially all that I have learned from Tara Shakti, my study and work as a coach with Awakening Coaching and my beginning steps into the exploration of Buddhism serving me oh-so-very well. All speak of practice and of looking inside to recognize the comings and goings of the internal Universe. In the last years I have been slowly and surely incorporating many practices into my days – different forms of meditation, yoga, internal dialogue and regular nudges out of my comfort zones are a part of my world now.
This week my practice has been simple and profound: it is the practice of recognizing and loving myself.
For as I find myself living my dreams and connecting with my gratitude for all that I have, I also find myself in completely new surroundings, in a place I do not know yet around people who do not yet know me. In addition, I am new to the industry I am working in (maritime insurance and merchandise surveying) and this triggers ancient beliefs of “I’m not good enough” or “I am not competent” which in turn trigger a profound desire to shout from the Dakar rooftops into the hot sun all of my prior accomplishments. I am competent and smart in so many other things, darn it! Perhaps if I force-feed this information into whoever cares to listen then and only then will all of my intelligence, big heart, sensitivity and depth be recognized. “You do not know me yet Dakar, so let me scream to you my value so that you will recognize me now!” …and when I realize this internal desire, this feeling like a bruised ego, I chuckle to myself. The chuckle turns into a smile. Perhaps this is exactly the opportunity my heart has been asking for. The opportunity to give recognition and to give love to myself.
And so, in the midst of this bustling work week, in the pauses in the back of taxis as we inch our way through traffic, I close my eyes and I pray and speak to myself. “I see you, I recognize you“, I remind myself. “I can see your bravery, I can see how much in your life is new right now”. Brand and shining new, from location to work to people. and “I recognize you and your journey”. I take a deep breath and let the recognition sink in. And I recognize you again, and again and again, Katalina. I speak to me.
And I needed (continue to need!) to hear and to feel it again.
It it not so much a mantra, as a strong reminder. Beyond the reminder it is a big, internal hug to myself. A bear hug.
This is turning into a profound exploration of what it means to be my own best friend. What it means to be my own anchor, my own center. It is also the first time in my adult life that I am single. This too is an opportunity! Before, it was one kind of a teaching to share my life, hopes and dreams with a partner and to be recognized in his eyes…and it is a whole other kind of teaching to share my life, hopes and dreams with my own light and to recognize myself and my own wisdom in my own eyes. It fills and fulfills me in a way that feels right and healthy. And, what’s more, I believe it greatly influences all of my relationships, new and old. I hope that it means that meetings with others and sharing can be enjoyed for their own sake and for the complementary nature and pleasure of another energy and heart. It all shifts, doesn’t it, when I’m not seeking outside of myself to fulfill my own basic needs.
So here I am…stepping out yet again to meet and discover this new place and new people. I continue to pray and to recognize that Universe always has my best interests at heart. I am well cared for, and I am exactly where I need to be right now.
And, I am discovering, I already carry within me all that I have so deeply longed for.
Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read