2016, what a year! I won’t fall into the details of why this has been such a difficult, changeling and emotionally hard year for many of us, because I strongly believe each country (and each person) has go through an unique struggle on their own, added to the big ones that have been too obvious for the media to magnify. I want to talk about us and our process to go through not only this specific year but any personal moment filled with despair, stress and pain.
My path through this year has set my mind in a permanent state of reflection: as I was finishing my final semester at university just as my thesis dissertation, one thing came to my mind: I needed a rest; I needed a time to process all the learning and all the journey that university itself had been for me. I loved my teachers and all the knowledge I built thanks to their guidance but academic life can become a really draining experience and now I believe in those who say that isn’t meant for everyone.
As an introvert (and INTJ if you’re familiar with the 16 personality test) working in groups is difficult, and even more with people who didn’t seemed interested in the classes or even the career they had chosen to study, so that bought loads of frustration and unhappiness to me, making this final semester even hard to cope with.
What about my health? Not any good, I had to incorporate chicken to my already flexible ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet, and I couldn’t have felt any more miserable about it. 5 years ago I decided to become vegan and I even though the first year and the ones after it hadn’t been the healthiest (because I’ve never had a balanced diet) at least I felt happy and in peace with myself.
This past year has been really difficult in my country in the economic/political field and finding all the food and having the time to prepare them was just not happening, and since I needed energy to go through the day and finish my thesis, I end up sorting things out the easiest/unhealthiest way: eating in fast food chains (that were all over my uni).
I can’t help to think how ironic it is that when I had just became vegan and started to find alternatives and get creative with food; people judged me or undermined my efforts. Now those people know all about alternatives and creative meals and have lost quite a few pounds and feel healthier, thanks to the economic crisis we’re living in, while I seem to go backwards in a year where some backward choices had been made as well.
What I’ve learned so far is that I need to check how my internal being had processed or reacted to the reality we’re being thrown into, that each mind and body has a different way to cope and that feeling lethargic, unmotivated, depressed, hopeless is nothing but a wakeup call to take care of ourselves so we can take good care of others and help to build a better present, so the future brings light after so much adversity.
This is how this year I’ve come across spirituality like never before, to give myself time to know who I am, what’s okay in my life and what doesn’t and needs to go. Looking for inner peace is important to sort ourselves out.
And to those living in a chaotic city/environment/situation: understand the chaos without becoming part of it, don’t let it put you away from your mission or goal that you have (found or have to find) in life.
Maria Guerra is a Venezuelan photographer, journalist and animal lover who have just started her journey to a healthy lifestyle and spiritual conscience, in the hopes of creating a better environment.