This post is an excerpt from Claire Svoboda’s blog, a WorldTeach Marshall Islands 2015-2016 volunteer. See below for the link to more of her blog posts.
I have realized lately that I need time to myself for reflection, meditation, and re-finding my purpose of why I am where I am. It’s easy to get lost in all of this madness of being in a different place with varying scales of positivity, focus, and meaning. Some days I feel so heavy with negativity and try to remember why I am here on this island in the middle of the Pacific. I read the other day that:
“There would seem to be nothing more obvious, more tangible and palpable than the present moment. And yet it eludes us completely. All of the sadness of life lies in that fact.” -Milan Kundera
This speaks so loudly and each day has a challenge. We must decide to select our thoughts and cultivate the power to control the things in our lives that can be controlled. It’s all in our minds. We are all human so at the end of the day we are all slave to our emotions. But even emotion is oftentimes born in the mind. As in the quote, it essentially all boils down to that cliche saying that you must “live life to the fullest”.
However, for me it’s about being present. Present in my surroundings- feeling the bright equatorial sun against my skin or engaging in the children’s play outside my dorm. Present in my thoughts and emotions- recognizing when negativity takes over me, allowing frustration to leave my body, and directing gratitude into my heart. Present in my overall purpose. In the last weeks, I have taken the time to silence my mind and realize the opportunity I have given myself for growth in this place.
I got this book, “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, And It’s All Small Stuff” before I left which has 100 1-3 page chapters that have been perfect little pick-me-ups. There was a chapter about learning to live in the present moment. We all are guilty of allowing past problems and future concerns to dominate our presence. “We also postpone our gratifications, our stated priorities, and our happiness often convincing ourselves that someday will be better than today.” Unfortunately, this mindset is an endless cycle and it never ends up being that someday. Like the John Lennon quote, also mentioned in this book, (since today’s post is apparently crammed with them):
“Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans.”
Now is the only time we have, and the only time that we have control over. When you’re present, all of the other cloudiness is pushed out of your mind. The here and now is where I must focus my attention. The purpose that brought me here, rather than to so many other places doing so many other things, is the purpose I must hold on to through the day-in and day-out motions. Then, they won’t be just motions and it won’t be just this thing I did once for a year in the Marshall Islands. One day this will be an experience I thank someone, or something, bigger than myself for for coming alive inside me and giving me purpose and perspective.
We are all a little bit lost in the world. People just don’t like to admit that. Find the courage to take the next great stride in your own personal endeavors.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not 22 and claim to have it all figured out. I’m still trying to set this next to-do list aside so I can enjoy my Sunday.
Hope you’re enjoying your Saturday, or Sunday, too. Much love from the islands!
Check out other posts from Claire’s blog “Midwest Meets Marshall Islands” here!