A Personal, Honest and Vulnerable Letter To The World

india2015 samadhi12

Dear everyone,

I have been inspired to speak up.

For some reason in my subconscious I have struggled with caring a bit too much about what people think of me. I am afraid of being judged and it has caused me to never be completely myself around people including close family and friends. It causes me to take a very long time to be comfortable with new people and opening up. It even took me a while to be assertive with my very own husband who currently takes first place in being the person I am most comfortable being myself with in the world. But even he has yet to see some natural parts of me including singing at the top of my lungs while driving by myself or getting into the music while alone at home and dancing around the kitchen.

The main reason for writing this letter is to finally tell the world what my life is all about. My true goals and aspirations.

I feel misunderstood by family and friends but maybe that is my own fault because I have never really laid it all out and have only shown bits and pieces of my true life. I am not a person who expresses much or well in spoken form.

I have left a lot out and maybe that’s confusing.

I have been afraid of being judged and criticized but the alternative hasn’t been all that better. I almost feel like I am living a secret life and having secrets can be exhausting.

In 2009, when I was 20 years old, I made the decision to change my life and live the life I have been living since. I decided to go against expectations, I dropped out of college, I cut financial ties with my family, I moved out of the country and joined my soulmate to live a life attempting to surrender to God.

Over the last 6 years my life has been constantly changing, we have moved 8 times, lived in 3 different states and two different countries. We have sold everything we had but our suitcases more than once, we have lived in our car and traveled across the East Coast for months, we have encountered disease, opposition, exhilaration, happiness, comfort, discomfort, friends, humanity, evil and some very good movies and food.

We have experienced having just a few cents in our pockets, giving away our last few dollars to a homeless man, as well as lived in a nice house by the lake with two kitties with a whole bedroom to themselves and spending hundreds on Christmas gifts one winter.

We have never gone hungry or cold. In spite of at one point reaching complete poverty we have never been without shelter or food and I attribute that 100% to my faith in God.

One very important thing to note is that we have both chosen this life.

Not a life of poverty or wealth, not a life of comfort or discomfort, not a life of moving a lot or staying in one place, but a life of surrender to God, a life where money is not the priority, nor is “success” or fame, where having a nice house or car is not the goal, where being in debt to achieve material gain is far away from our desire.

We currently live in a basement apartment. When people ask about my current situation I tell them I live in the beautiful state of Oregon in the country in an old renovated 1920’s schoolhouse with a lovely kitty cat near the amazing city of Portland.

All of this is technically true but the part where I’m not truthful in fear of being judged or misunderstood is the things that I leave out, and this is what I’ve been doing for years.

The complete truth is we live in the basement of the aforementioned schoolhouse which above us is very nice, but our place lacks natural sunlight and all of the furniture is used and was gifted by our landlords from their auction-goings, and where the traffic noise is a nuisance because we live near the highway and this country area isn’t really that nice, with no suitable place nearby to go for a jog.

That is the truth but it doesn’t end there.

The truth is also that we get to share a wonderful garden with organic produce, we don’t go hot or cold and we don’t have to deal with utility bills.

The truth is also that we have chosen to live like this because this we know is where we are supposed to be at this time.

We could change our situation but we don’t. I don’t believe in forcing anything but going with the flow.

Hubby could get a 9-5 job with benefits and we could live in a nice house and have a nicer car but we choose not to… We choose not to play the game; we choose not to climb any corporal ladders. We choose to put no priority on money or things.

We live on a cash only basis where we only purchase what we can afford. We have no credit cards and no material debt.

We choose to live a simple life, have little, have enough; remain detached. 

I am content. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is my path and how I choose to live my life and follow God, this is the path He has chosen for me.

I simply choose to follow Him, and He chooses the rest for me. This is how I can be content by following the path He lays in front of me and not the path I decide to take.

And I am so lucky to have found a partner/a soulmate with whom I can lead this life, who allows me to follow, gives me the freedom to follow, and even enhances my true values.

Unlike me, (I nag him all the time), he never tells me what to do.

I admire him because unlike me, he is not afraid to speak his mind and will not do things that go against the truth of his soul just to please others. Because he doesn’t give in to other people’s desires, so many have gone against him and it only goes to show how much we are all actors in this world. We need to get back to our true selves, we need to stop expecting others to act a certain way to please us, we need to stop being selfish and give importance to the roots of God in humanity, to love one another and to be honest.

We are not ascetics.

We do have a lovely kitten and enjoy the occasional outing in the city. We often fantasize about owning out land and traveling to Italy.

I am not a saint. I do give in to desires, but I try not to.

It is hard to describe this life to family and friends and I don’t even attempt it with strangers or acquaintances.

They believe I am not happy because I don’t lead a conventional life, because I am not settled in a nice house or a career or a job. After all, this was not the life I desired growing up, but it is now. And who is to say those things bring happiness? I can be willing to attest that many people who have those things aren’t truly happy.

I am not going to pretend (as I have been) that I am happy all the time, but I am content, and being content is better. It makes everything easier.

I have been very happy and I have been sad just like any regular human being living any kind of life.

And I am happy in knowing that I am leading the life I’m supposed to.

My goals and aspirations are:
To be kind
To be honest
To love God
To love everyone
To surrender to God
To be desireless
To be selfless
To have no attachments
To remain cheerful in spite of suffering
To hold on to His daaman
To find the Truth

I am no expert in any of them but that’s why they are goals I aspire to achieve and live up to, and I try to do so by living this life and straying from worldly goals with no meaning and no lasting value like financial and material success. Never will those things give me true happiness nor help me find the Truth.

I find very hard to live up to these values and reach for them in this world where more and more people have lost faith in God and worship money instead. I also find too much judgment and illusory temptations which is why I try to guard myself from it by not expressing it.

I really wish I didn’t care about what people think of me. That would be very lovely. I would love being able to be free to be completely myself no matter the cost.

God has taught me that one of the worst things to be is a hypocrite; to pretend someone you are not and I’m afraid I have done so many times by not expressing my true values and beliefs out of fear of rejection or criticism.

With this letter I am taking a step forward to being not a hypocrite, to being true to myself, to be free.

But how to remain this way?

I face challenges. I lack strong will. I am more of a go with a flow gal than forcing anything.

When I visit the home where I grew up it is hard not to fall back to my old habits and my old life. Things that don’t matter to me most of the time begin to matter. I wear makeup and dress up to go out for drinks with friends, I go shopping with mom, I dine in nice restaurants with dad, I gossip and talk about salaries with friends, while the whole time justifying and giving excuses for my unconventional life. And I enjoy doing all these things.

But it’s like a take a vacation from my true self.

I want to own up to my chosen life and values, but another thing I am keen on is not shirking worldly duties and responsibilities.

But what are those?

Do they include being a good daughter and friend? I think so. But how do I do so while not being a hypocrite?

Am I being a hypocrite when I accept a plane ticket from my dad to go to the most peaceful place in India or a ticket to Mexico where I indulge in a “wordly life”?

Some of my other responsibilities as I see them are to be kind and honest, being a good wife, and feeding the cat.

I have taken a step forward today. I no longer have to pretend I lead a “normal” life. The secret not so secret is out. I am not stuck on a life I didn’t dream of, I am not unhappy and I don’t have much.

As long as I have God I will have everything I need.

Disclaimer: my life may change tomorrow or in a few years, we might keep moving, we might live in a car again, we might live in a mansion or we might endure great pain and suffering. It is all His will. I don’t see the future, I just try to live in the present and follow His wish and will for me.

I don’t have a permanent home, I don’t even have a home and that is what I seek but will not get there until I find the real Truth and break from illusion.

Till next time,

Mani, the nomad

“Want nothing and you will have everything.” – Meher Baba

38 Comments

  1. There is so much truth here, Mani. I believe in not forcing anything but going with the flow! I recently came from a well planned, controlled life until one day I told God I was tired. The world was so dictating, full of standards that I need to follow in order to be validated. He answered that prayer and made me see I was already validated even before I came to this world, even before I made plans to be who I want to be. He made my plans His own and following wherever He leads me to. He is now giving me the chance to love myself, fully dependent on what comes next according to His purpose. And I have never been joyful. Thank you for this post.

    Reply
      • Truly easier said than done. I battled for the most part, which only left me in pieces. But that was just the turning point because, being in pieces meant something new is taking place. And travelling definitely helped back up again.

        Reply
  2. I really enjoyed this post (thanks La Sabrosona for reblogging it). What a beautiful thing, to live with intention.

    I hope you will not judge yourself for the times when you have difficulty speaking your truth to people. I believe that women in particular learn in our culture (in most cultures) that being pleasing is more important than showing our authentic selves to the world. So of course it is a struggle to go against this. I will say that you are young, and it becomes somewhat easier over time and with practice.

    It’s also okay if you sometimes like to visit the conventional world and even have fun there. We human beings are full of contradictions and I think it’s reasonable to accept that both things can coexist: your commitment to living according to your values and your occasional pleasure in visiting the world you came from. What matters is where you spend most of your time and energy, and whether that matches your values.

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking post, and may you continue to find meaning in your unconventional life.

    Reply
    • Thanks for coming over and for your encouraging words. It’s hard to find a balance. And thanks for the invite to the conventional world haha.. Actually, the thing is I have been there and decided to leave it, but like you say I can come visit… And I do. 🙂 Thanks again for your comment.

      Reply
  3. What a beautiful letter Mani. I wish you peace as you continue to follow the path that God leads you to take. We are to be “in the world, not of the world”. Relating to your family and old friends in a language they can understand shows love. They may never understand who you are, but that doesn’t keep you all from loving each other. God bless!

    Reply
  4. This is beautiful, strong and brave, Mani. I love your devotion to being a better person; to God – the very same thing in my eyes and heart. I wish you every blessing on your adventure of discovery and truth. I am on my own journey as you surely know. May God give you the energy and mind to discover more and more in what already appears to be a life of exploration. Thank you again for sharing such purity and heart.

    Jx.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words James, it did take a bit of courage for me to share. You may have connected the dots, but this is what came out of from the words you gave me around that time. I also wish you guidance and blessings from God for your own journey.
      Love, M

      Reply
      • Thank you! I really am so happy they helped you. Sometimes words just come out, not even sure what you’re going to say and, before you know it, you’ve pressed send. I think you were obviously meant to hear such words, and you connected with me because I obviously had the right words to say. Life, it seems, also does a bit of connecting the dots! …God bless. Anon. Jx

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      • yes 🙂 I was unmarried until 31, and when I was around 28-29 my extended family from India visited Orlando. So I drove down from Tallahassee to see them. At one point the women caught me unawares and said “So when are you going to be happy!?” I was confused. I said “I am happy. I have a wonderful life, a very sweet dog who I rescued and who is my child. I have a job, I have friends, I exercise, I am happy.” They said “No, you cannot be happy unless you are settled with a family.” I said “You asked if I am happy, and the answer is yes.” But it was amusing, yet annoying to me! This is a very Indian thing. Anything that is different from the norm is wrong, and must be shirked, or that person must be judged in some way.

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  5. First and foremost, thank you. Thank you for writing something so honest. It can be terribly difficult to be yourself when every one is constantly judging you. When you lead a lifestyle that is unconventional or live in a way that others cannot fathom doing themselves the judgment comes tenfold. May you continue to to find the strength to be open and honest. Continue to uphold your own values and live in a way that you believe you are meant to. Forget the others. As long as you are content that is all that matters. “Normal” is relative. Those that judge you and think you’re not happy struggle themselves with finding happiness. Sending love and positive energy your way. ~Jessica

    Reply
    • That was so sweet Jessica, thank you, I really appreciate your words. You’re right, “normal” is relative and this is so true: “When you lead a lifestyle that is unconventional or live in a way that others cannot fathom doing themselves the judgment comes tenfold.”
      Thanks again, peace to you!

      Reply
  6. Home is found within, I believe. And I applaud and admire your transparency, your honesty, in seeking to be truthful and authentic in who you are. Your life is yours, your path is yours, and to embrace it and claim it is very powerful. Simply being who you are is what it is all about. Through that, I believe that the Divine can and will use us. And not being attached to the earthly, material things, is such a freeing way to live. I, myself, have (and enjoy) my material things. But, I do not need them. I am grateful for the life that I live, and I can feel the gratitude that you have for your life. I, too, have moved and sold everything that I have had multiple times in my life – and I intend to continue to let life come as it may. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your beautiful, peaceful soul. I wish you continued peace as you journey on – living the life that you feel called to live.

    Reply
  7. I already admired you before because of the kind way you can share your life through this blog. The way you write, the words you use, the pictures and comments you share have always made me think that you are a kind and true person, living such a soft and sweet life, caring about others and receiving that kindness back on your weekly small pleasures. Thank you for sharing this honest and open post, I hope you keep living this beautiful life you choose and that you keep inspiring other people, like you are inspiring me now. I do believe that good things happens to good people, so I just can wish all the best for you and your husband.

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  8. Mani I applaud your honest expression. spent way too many years caring about what others thought. I still do to some degree but that has eased with effort of personal growth on my part. I wish you strength and confidence as your life journey unfolds.

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  9. I am so much touched by you stories, because I was going through the similar route to get where I am right now – happy, satisfactory. Most importantly I am living the life which I was fighting so hard for years ago – away fro judgements, criticisms, expectations of others, etc. keep doing what you are thinking it’s right, you will eventually get there .

    Reply
  10. Beautiful letter. As long as you are true to yourself and your beliefs all the rest falls into place is something I learned a long time ago. Also, as you get older caring about what people think you realize is pointless. It is your journey, not theirs and if they judge you it is about them, not you. Peace to you.

    Reply
  11. What a wonderfully honest, open post. I really hope you continue to live the life you want, and not what people expect you to want. Only you can know what makes you happy, so sometimes you just have to trust in that. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Reply
  12. Beautifully, powerfully written. Life is this constant ying/yang for me. You are in a beautiful state of mind…you are mindful and you can handle the swings of life’s passage. Everyone has their own values, standards, comforts….parents want you safe, comfortable, secure….everyone will come to see (if they haven’t secretly already accepted) that you will be quite fine and imagine the wisdom (evident), strength and humanity you both have acquired in life. 🙂

    Reply
  13. I can connect to you Mani. I really wanted to meet you during your stay in retreat centre but my husband, Tarun is away on a exercise for three months and I could not come over there alone. I read about your experiences and you are a blessed child of God. You will have evrything in your life. love, Rashmi 🙂

    Reply

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