About Me

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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Believing in the door I do not (yet) see

"...your own knowledge that a certain event is to occur, or your desire that it should happen, is not and never can be the reason for its occurrence." -Baha'u'llah-

I am going through one of those periods in life where I am obviously supposed to be learning something very important. I know that I am going through one of those periods because I have set some very clear goals for what I want to be accomplishing, and so far no matter how hard I work at achieving them, none of them are materializing in the way that I had hoped. The biggest of these is supporting myself. Although I am not someone who has career goals like many of my friends, I am at a point in my life where it is very important to me to have full time, long-term, stable work. When I arrived in California last spring, my intention was to remain for a few months and then move to China or elsewhere for a while to work. But as I reflected, I realized that while my nomadic lifestyle has been amazing, and I do want to travel more, I am really ready to have a home to return to, and work that is ongoing. So I set my priority as finding life-giving work that I love and am passionate about, and have spent the past few months writing proposals for magazines, sending my resume to companies whose ethics reflect my own, and spending hours and hours job hunting.

I have never before placed my work as my priority in life, so this decision to stay put until I am certain that my next move will lead to stable and sustainable work has been a big one for me. Life has always been for living and enjoying, and although I have been fortunate to have work that I loved quite a bit in my life, opportunities have always seemed to come to me relatively easily. Sure -- I did work hard, but I always ran into the right person at the right time, and a job would materialize out of the conversation. So having made the commitment to pursue work that involves writing, and poured my energy into this effort for so long now with very little result thus far, the fact that I am feeling rather discouraged is not surprising. While the intention to pursue work that I am passionate about and love was one that my friends and family supported wholeheartedly when I started on this journey, many of them have started suggesting that maybe it would be a good idea to find work doing any old job to pay the bills -- at least until things start falling into place with my writing.

I am inclined to think that they are probably right. Maybe this whole writing idea is just not the right thing for me. Maybe I should go get an office job. Maybe I am just being stubborn. Maybe I need to get over the fact that what I think I want is not what God intends for me to do with my life. Maybe...but maybe it is time for me to learn that when you really want something in life, it requires some struggle. Maybe this is my time for learning how to dedicate myself to my dreams and not back down even when things aren't working out. It is easy to say "this is just not working...I give up." But it is harder to recognize that I am feeling uncertain and insecure and fearful. It is hard to face up to the reality that maybe the lessons I need to learn are not when to give up and go do something else, but how to be content with the things I have been given at this time in my life. How to recognize the small accomplishments. How to be patient with the fact that things do not seem to be going how I had hoped, and at the same time persevere in my job search. Because the truth is that while I have had to stop eating meals out, shopping and spending multiple days a week in coffee shops; have not been able to travel internationally for a while now, and have to borrow a car when I need to travel long distances, I have gotten to know many new friends since arriving here. I attend a devotional gathering every Friday night that is usually followed by a great evening of socializing. This Friday I looked around me and realized that there were 19 people in the room who I would now call good friends. Nineteen people that I did not even know this time last year. Last night, after returning from a full day of Baha'i activities in San Francisco, I was just too tired to go out gallery hopping with friends, and two other friends decided to come keep me company, and spent the evening chilling out and drinking tea and chatting. My parents have very generously offered me a place to live until I figure stuff out, and I currently have a lot of free time that I am using to volunteer on a local farm helping to educate children and youth about how food is grown, why the environment is so vitally important, and how a personal relationship with the land changes one's perspective on life completely. I have time to cook meals for my parents who are working very hard, and come home tired. I have more time to read books and educate myself about new areas of agriculture and free-trade products; I have more time to write friends hand-written notes, and I have more time to pray and meditate. I am not doing what I think I should be doing, but I am doing quite a lot, and I have a great deal to be grateful for. 

I have been thinking a lot about how important it is to find a balance between my dreams and desires and the will of God. We all want things in life. My dear friend Pascale just started her own business as a personal trainer in New Zealand, only to have her entire city destroyed by an earthquake leaving few people with extra funds to hire personal trainers. My friend Alanna back on PEI had applied for, taken multiple exams for, and been offered a year-long job posting in France that she was very excited about, only to be told a month before she was due to leave that those hiring her had not realized that they should not have even allowed her to interview for the position because it would be a demotion, and they had no mechanism for demotions of higher-paid employees. I imagine that those in Japan who just lost loved ones, property, agricultural fields, and livelihoods had other things in mind for their lives. But ultimately it is our will versus a larger Will. What we want versus what is best for us. How we think we would best be of service to the world versus how the world needs us to be of service.

I have yet to figure it all out, but I do have a sense that learning to put my will into line with a larger will gracefully, energetically, courageously, and with perseverance, enthusiasm, contentment and humility may just be a greater priority right now. And who knows. Maybe practicing bringing my will into line with His Will more is the element that is not yet in place. Perhaps shifting my understanding and perspective will make a door appear that I had not previously noticed. Obviously, I cannot know for sure. I am focusing on continuing to move forward with faith that something unexpected could very likely be right around the next corner. As my friend Ahava said before she left on the train, "anything is possible." 


  1. Brave Ariana. I hear you listening to your own deepest wisdom here. It is humbling and strengthening to realize that we are not in control. It takes a lot of trust to admit that we are a part of something larger, and to understand that ultimately our plans are only that, just plans. What is actually happening, now there's the real stuff of life. Like 19 new good friends, and chit-chatting over tea. Or like a whirlwind extended weekend of joy and beauty and deep friend love.

    How lucky we are with what we have been given, all those moments you speak of, and this one here, where I get to read your open-hearted, door-opening words.

    Continue to be here! It is the only place that truly is.

  2. it's simply refreshing to hear your reflections. this is life.. striving to live in conformity with the Will of God, whether it be big goals like one's profession, or 'little' goals like having a pure heart. surely your path of conscious service, reflection and effort toward all of your goals is aligning your life with the greater Will and purpose for your life journey -- and is full of such wonderful, meaningful moments for you as well. keep us posted :)

  3. Ariana my dear girl, i read this and seriously thought, "is she inside my head!?!?" - how very wonderfully charming it is to know you and that you and i are so well matched in our inward and outward views of things; it helps me to feel somewhat normal when i've always felt abnormal in a sense (not that it's bothered me, but it's just something i've always been very aware of). Something i love to read in such times is this quote:

    The Blessed Beauty often remarked: "There are four qualities which I love to see manifested in people: first, enthusiasm and courage; second, a face wreathed in smiles and a radiant countenance; third, that they see all things with their own eyes and not through the eyes of others; fourth, the ability to carry a task, once begun, through to the end."

    (The Stories Of Baha'u'llah, Compiled and Edited Ali-Akbar Furutan Translated by Katayoon and Robert Crerar with help from friends George Ronald Publisher, 1986, page 51)

    You live so organically and so truthfully Ariana, and always with a face wreathed in smiles! I am certain you will find the courage to continue in some way and to accept whatever it is that God has in store for you. Continue to write and to pursue your dream: if God doesn't want you to be in it then i'm sure as your heart is sincere, He will let you know.

    Much love dear soul sister! xxx