Returning Home With A Change Of Heart
How do you merge a change of heart with your daily life back home? I was living in a temporary hippie community in Poland for two months together with 50 other people. We were all artists from 35 different countries. This experience changed my life completely and made me realize how simple many things in life are. The biggest challenge however, was not to fall back in the meaningless complications of my everyday life and forget about what I was made aware of in the hippie community.
In those two months, no two days were the same. Each day was a wonderful chance to experience something new; to observe and learn from the unknown and to have small inner moments of enlightenment. Never in my life have I experienced such a deep level of connection with so many people at once. We were all trying to be honest and vulnerable with each other; not trying to impress but to express. Being different from one another didn’t mean that we couldn’t manage to go through conflicts kindly, or that we couldn’t find common ground, accepting others as they are, but always making sure everything was out in the open.
What we made from this opportunity was a safe heaven where we all shared ourselves, our art and love with the people around us, so that we could help each other grow. What we did in the community was create together and share our combined artwork to show it to the world, or just keep it between us.
However, when I would describe this experience to others, I would always leave something important out, due to so many meaningful moments that I had there by myself, as well as with the group of people I’d lived with. We usually forget about the essential things that affected us and made small changes of heart within us, and we might slowly return to our comfort zone –especially when we are returning from somewhere entirely different from what we are returning to.
So, how do you return to the place where you live, without reverting back to your old self?
It is a decision you have to make everyday and remind yourself of. It surely isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to still be in touch with the realisations you came to while on your trip, exchange or whatever kind of project in the great unknown that made you grow. We are the decisions we make, and when I returned, I had to consciously make a decision to not fall back into what used to be normal.
What helped me the most, was my journal that I’d been writing while living in the community.
Here are some things that I’ve written down to remind me how to ”cope” with the ”real” world:
- I can create my own magic wherever I am, and the place from where I am coming from is just as real as the place I am returning to. The people of the community where I lived were not any less real that the people I live with now; they just decided to create beauty and be open with others in their lives.
- You don’t have to like everybody, and everybody doesn’t have to like you, in order for you both to be able to respect each other and share a common space. Nobody is flawless, and we all have different backgrounds that shape us into who we are. As one of my friends from the community would say: ”My ‘clean’ is not necessarily your ‘clean’.” This also applies to other things in life, and it is important to be aware of this fact so that you are able to accept (and not judge) people in your life. This doesn’t mean you have to be prepared to tolerate everything. Rather, it helps you see things from someone else’s viewpoint and work through conflicts from there, together.
- Correlated to the previous point, it is important not to look for problems outside of ourselves. There isn’t a thing in the world that cannot be solved without an open conversation. Don’t jump to conclusions when something happens and therefore create unnecessary conflicts and resentments. Also, the problem you have with someone leaving their toothbrush in the sink and not in the cup (as you would prefer) is still your problem. Talk it out and then hug it out.
- Let go of the things not meant to be. Listen to yourself, especially when it comes to other people. Not everybody will have the compassion, empathy and the will to understand you. And that’s okay.
- DO whatever you feel like doing if that thing is fulfilling to you and if you get tired of it someday, don’t feel inclined to stick to it. Life is your canvas. You can either grab those oil colours and then switch to watercolours, or leave it out for the birds to poop on it.
- People back home cannot, will not and don’t need to fully understand your experience. It was your experience and yours only. People around you have their own inner world and struggles, which don’t necessarily revolve around you. But that’s okay, because you and only you are responsible for what you do with all that wonderful gifts of growth. They might demotivate you sometimes, but you can always return to remind yourself what is important – YOUR LIFE AND HOW YOU DECIDE TO LIVE IT.
To get a sense of what kind of an experience I’ve had, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG9oEnbSZFM