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Is there anything more heartbreaking than disillusionment?


When everything you’ve wanted or worked so hard for turns out to be something you didn’t want? Or possibly much worse than you imagined?


My life has been, unfortunately, plagued by disillusionment.


I’ve met career goals only to find they were nowhere near as fulfilling or exotic as I’d imagined. I’ve started countless hobbies only to find I had no desire to master them. I’ve gained credentials I’ve never used. I’ve put my relationships on pedestals only to find I’m not always so fond of the the real person underneath them. I’ve studied with yogis, meditators, and spiritual leaders only to find they have the same issues. I’ve felt I’ve finally belonged in communities only to watch them fall apart. I’ve traveled to exotic places only to find myself bored, aggravated, or unimpressed.


Travel is no different than life. There can be moments of enormous gratitude, heavy disillusionment, and everything in-between. So far, this journey across the world has been incredible, and I plan to share more about that soon. However, parts of this journey have been wrought with heavy disillusionment. There has been one word that has summed up much of my experience living in Vietnam: relentless. I’ll save the details for another post, but needless to say, the struggle certainly wasn’t what I expected.


Which is exactly the lesson I needed.


I can either continue to create expectations in my life, and continue to suffer, or I can finally surrender to what is.


Because I really am what my teachers have been telling me – I am literally, just this moment. So I’ve chosen to surrender.


When I surrender, I no longer have expectations. I am free. I can allow myself to live in the unknown. I am not limited by my past. I am not even obligated to be the same person I was 5 minutes ago. I can choose to breathe. I can choose to sit with the chaos. I can choose to allow whatever is here in this moment to be just what it is. I can let go of attempting to control what happens next. I can let go of thinking anything is supposed to be any other way than what it actually is.


Believe me, there is nothing like travel to shatter your expectations and force you to go with the flow.


Does this mean I won’t continue to struggle? Oh, hell no. But the beauty of presence is that it is always available. And there is a deep sense of contentment that comes with truly being present with what is, even when it means being with struggle. Because really, it isn’t the situation that causes us to suffer. It’s the expectations, the resistance, and the endless attempts to get away from this moment.


Thank you, disillusionment. Thank you, Vietnam. You didn’t give me what I expected, but you gave me exactly what I needed.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


“Our intent is not to feel better, but to get better at feeling.” -Michael Brown, The Presence Process