Ruin is the Road to Transformation

For H

There was something in the air on Saturday. Some kind of eerie tri-fecta with it being Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby and the super moon all on the same evening. The day started out a bit rough, and with a slew of bad things happening along with it being a sad anniversary of the passing of an old friend, I was ready to call it an early night entirely. However, I was caught in the super moon’s orbit and after a night of too many of Pravda’s Sake-tinis I found myself glued to the tv watching Eat Pray Love at 2am…

“A friend took me to the most amazing place the other day. It’s called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it along with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome’s first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins. It’s one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won’t let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked around at this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.

Eat Pray Love

I love this book/movie because it hits so many crucial areas: love, finding yourself, spirituality, exploration… etc etc. This instantly reminded me of how many of my friends are unhappy with how things have turned out and feel trapped in their current circumstances. My cousin Prem and I even had a similar conversation a few years back when we both felt stuck in a rut. That rut is what got me to change big things in my life. But the real problem isn’t with being unhappy where we currently are, its what happens if we choose not to do anything about trying to fix it. Ruin is indeed a gift – it gives us the courage and the ammo we need to start over. Dory, one of my close friends in California, recently left her job after being miserable for several years; hearing from her today and how she is having an amazing time pursuing a new career venture brought me back to how I felt when I had just left my previous job and had taken time off to travel. Trying a new job, taking part in some long-term traveling, moving to another country… these are all very different things but can be quite terrifying but give us that same high. And for many of us, we won’t get to that point of rediscovery until we have been pushed to our limit with how much we can endure in our current situation.

Everything in our lives is fleeting. Today’s success and happiness may not be there tomorrow, but same with today’s worries and feelings of inadequacy. And if you are feeling like a mess, or well, just stuck, then I hope that you are able to channel that energy and use it to propel you forward in the right direction. Or maybe just any direction. You’ll figure it out.

Because this is a travel blog after all, I would like to keep it relative. If you are nodding along reading this and feeling like you need to make some changes in your life, perhaps consider taking part in some work exchange/volunteer programs in other countries. It’s relatively affordable, you’ll be able to visit amazing places, and you’ll find yourself working odd jobs that you would never have seen yourself doing before. A girl I spoke to that did this for a year and had jobs like shucking oysters for pearls, working with sea turtles and herding sheep. Sure its a little atypical, but the positive impact you make with the work you do just may give you the kind of inspiration you need to make some positive changes in your own life.

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