A decade

When the municipality’s arborist arrived a couple of months back to cut down the Oak tree in our front yard, I watched through the window with a wistful heart. I had known this would happen for some time, as I have always had a sense of when changes are on the horizon.

This intuition extends beyond natural shifts like seasonal transitions and bird migrations and includes changes in my own life and the lives of those close to me. I have a sense of others’ inner thoughts, deaths, and sometimes fortunes. While it may seem frightening or hard to believe, I have always walked through life feeling the higher forces at work.

10 years ago, just before I turned 23, I met with a so-called “omen” that had a significant impact on my life over the last decade. Back then, I had a few accomplishments that most people would, maybe, consider successful: completing the first year of a master’s program, working for a bank downtown, raising money for a down payment, having a vibrant social life, and everything seemingly going according to plan. But one day, as I was walking home from work, I met with a rather unusual event. It started with a sensation, a sudden wave of heat enveloped me, followed by a gentle wind brushing against me, and ended with a flock of birds passing me by with one hitting me right in the chest. For a moment, it felt like I had dropped into a different universe and transformed into an unknown woman. I can’t find the exact words to describe that sensation but it left me bewildered.

This experience triggered a series of questions about my life, making me feel lost and questioning everything. Even my work, studies, and relationship seemed meaningless. The next day at work, I was perplexed to notice my colleagues’ vanity and narcissism, and I felt completely out of place. Over the next two nights, I cried myself to sleep, not understanding where are all these questions coming from. Something bigger than me was calling me from afar, and I couldn’t bear to live the same life for another day.

Though I didn’t resign immediately, through a set of fortunate and unfortunate events, I soon found myself jobless, single, and sleeping on my friend’s couch. I felt enraged and stupid for provoking such a storm in my life and believed I had brought it upon myself. But deep down, I knew there had to be more to life, and I didn’t want to become apathetic, dull, and impoverished from missing out on experiences waiting for me.

The following week, my friend and I traveled miles away to a fortune teller, which may seem illogical considering my situation. As she laid her cards on the table, my nostrils were tickled by the frankincense and sage fragrance, my heart raced with anticipation. She said many interesting things but, one rather philosophical phrase, stuck with me: “Your life is a twist and turn. Rapid movements, changes that take you by surprise, and many, many roads under your feet. You’ll travel a lot. Always looking for home or someone but, you are neither here nor there. Always moving. Like a nomad.”

A small-town girl like me, brought up by conservative, middle-class parents, should have laughed at such a daring statement but no, I not only didn’t find it amusing, I have found that phrase to define what my whole being was telling me all along. That I am wider than everything I was ever taught, bigger than life itself.

Now, 10 years later, I have been through more twists and turns than I can count. Not all was good but none of it made me bad. If anything, it served as proof that every second, there is more to life that we can know. Something as insignificant as a bird waving her wings or a butterfly landing on a blade of grass, a door not opening until shaken for a few good minutes, or a stranger’s eyes looking back at you, and your whole world will take a different turn.

Or as Anais Nin would say:

” Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.”

The most wonderful thing is that this is there for anyone. Anyone who opens their arms.

And I have not come here by coincidence. I have come because I was needed. And because I needed it also. It took no less than a decade. Or maybe a lifetime.

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