When I arrived in Hanoi I didn’t like it at first. I was so looking forward to changing my life and leaving behind the exhausting rat race lifestyle and my boring office job, but here I was – feeling dissatisfied. I saw everything around me through a fog of expectations and mental exhaustion.
It took months to prepare for this change and although I’d ticked most of the items on my to do lists, I appeared to had arrived unprepared. During all those months I was imagining how I’d be enjoying nature, writing, meditating, practising yoga and sharing what I’d gathered with others. I’d imagine beautiful parks, lakes, trees, flowers, sunshine and exotic birds celebrating life with their gentle singing.
The reality was quite different. I arrived in winter and although the weather was warm and pleasant in the beginning, it got cold and humid very quickly. The temperature was around +16C on average and although it didn’t feel that cold outside there is no heating in the buildings and it was freezing at home! And then there was mould – everywhere!
Crossing a road in Hanoi is a skill unfamiliar to most westerners. The traffic never stops – it’s an endless river of motorbikes and cars. This river appears to have no rules and flows where and how it wants. Every time I had to go out I’d feel helpless and full of doubts whether Hanoi was the ‘right’ place for me. Air pollution and wearing a mask only added to my concerns.
I craved the freedom of movement. I always used to walk a lot and this is something that I really enjoy. While living in London I used to walk to work; I’d spend around two hours a day walking and I was always looking forward to it. I missed London and my friends, I missed all the wonderful things you can do, all the magic places and beautiful parks you can visit there.
I kept repeating “I trust that this is the place where I’m supposed to be. I trust that I am here for a reason. I trust that the universe guided me here so that I can learn and grow. I trust the divine guidance and I surrender. I trust, I surrender. I trust, I surrender. I trust, I surrender.” This was my mantra and every time I’d repeat it, I’d feel peace – I felt things were as they should be. Eventually I grew to accept what was through trust and surrender.
Instead of dwelling in sadness, I let my heart be filled with gratitude to my family and friends – for knowing them and for all the beautiful moments we had and were yet to have together. I felt grateful to the universe for guiding me – for the life changing experiences, for the places I love and for the people that enrich my being. I kept expressing (and I still do!) my love to those I hold dear and I felt deeply connected to them and yet free and content. I felt the immense power of inner alchemy, I felt peacefully empowered.
Trust and acceptance go hand in hand. You can’t fully trust without accepting what is and, on the other hand, you can’t fully accept something or someone without trust. You can’t love without trust and acceptance – be it self-love, love for another or love for life. Love, trust and acceptance are intertwined so deeply; they grow one into another creating the incredibly beautiful invisible pattern of life. When you feel your being filled up with joy – you see this pattern with your heart. It’s in your heart, it is you.
I trust, I surrender, I accept, I love. I see myself and my life here in Hanoi with different eyes now. I’ve regained the clarity of vision and I can finally see all amazing gifts it has to offer. I see the purpose and the beauty, I feel the abundance of life here. I see how with every step I learn, grow and connect deeper to my innermost being and what is.
Change never comes easy – be it a lifestyle change, move to another country, breakup, illness or a loss. We may experience the whole variety of feelings, anything from mild discontent and self doubts to severe pain, fear and even anger. Change is often accompanied by the events we struggle to accept or understand. We resist what is and as a consequence life seems to be full of suffering and the world appears to be a dark, unjust place.
Whenever you feel like this, just remember that there is no darkness without light and you only need a little effort and awareness to see it. There is light, there is purpose and everything we experience is there for us to enrich us, even if it’s hard to see and believe at first. There is good in every bad, ultimately every challenge is a blessing in disguise. Trust, surrender, accept, love. By doing so with all your heart you welcome miracles into your life.