"Being in an isolated location with limited resources, I slowly began my journey of leaving everything behind - and realizing that there was no point to chase others who willingly chose not to be there". (Excerpt from Holy Cancer by Amit Vaidya)
Over the past 12 months, I've worked my way back into civilisation with a very real goal -- to publish my book. I'm thankful that after a tumultuous journey, this month, my memoir Holy Cancer: How A Cow Saved My Life is finally releasing.
In the past year, I've had to constantly reflect, reaffirm and reflect again on these years that my book highlights. It's a strange thing. I'd gotten so used to not having expectations and just living in the moment that as I re-assimilated, I realised that this was next to impossible while living in the big city.
Every corner I turned, there was something requested of me. People needed to know my plans, what the future held and what I was going to do with my life. Rather than just live it-- the way I chronicle in the book -- I had to conform again to having answers.
"For the longest time, the cancer that had infiltrated my body was also rerouting my mind."
Isolation can be a double-edged sword. For all the arguments against living in solitude, there is a peace we develop and a certain comfort within our skin that permits us to not think outside that point in time. It's probably the most selfish yet selfless thing we can do for ourselves.
But the majority of us do live with, around and for others. Whether it's a tiny village or a metropolitan capital, our lives are interdependent. Most of this time is spent "chasing".
We are chasing wants, needs, desires, people, money, success, and fame -- so many things. Some come from responsibility while others come from our selfish gene. But every chase has an end.
I look back at my journey and thank my lucky stars that I left this behind. For the longest time, the cancer that had infiltrated my body was also rerouting my mind. The more detours I had to take, the more I took part in the chase. I needed to do it for my own survival but I also did it because it was my trump card for attention.
Over time, distance grew -- physically and otherwise. In addition, communication dwindled, with time becoming my healer. The healing that happened resulted in a psychosomatic cure for a physical ailment. In reality, the cancer that had spread from my body to my consciousness was now getting its own version of chemotherapy.
I literally detoxed myself of expectations and in turn, as I stood alone, focusing on improving my health, I saw that the only person left was me. I was longer chasing after people or things. I was standing still, living in the moment.
In that moment, as I stood alone, naked, with no mirror there to reflect an image, I saw myself. I wasn't happy with what I couldn't see. I had to shed the extra kilos I had carried, simply protecting myself from the judgment I anticipated as part of the chase.
One of the best therapies for ridding ourselves from continually repeating this pattern is actually running. For me the more I ran, the more I started shedding this added weight I had carried for so long. Choices others made no longer strained my back. I was standing taller knowing that I'd be okay even without the presence of anything and everything that once defined the person I thought was me.
It was a moment of irony as I realised that my morning runs from village to village while living the rural life far outmetered any chase that I undertaken in my head. All the time I spent on the chase had actually never even led me to a race.
Today, my legs are ready and willing to go the distance. Having left everything behind, I now carry fewer expectations and more celebrations. Every step is a milestone as it leads me towards a destination --a place that isn't defined by a chase or a choice. People in my life are there because I want them there, not because of obligation. It's the ultimate act of letting go.
I wonder how strongly I'll be able to hold on to these new convictions. I'm hoping all the questions and answers cancel themselves out with the book releasing. Perhaps that's why wrote this book in the first place. As I stand naked and exposed for the world, it's up to me to choose what's right for me on my race for life.