My “real” journey actually started 6 years ago, in 2005. Funnily enough in April 2005. I used to work for one of the best media companies in the region, and at some point, the lines between work and personal life got blurred. Actually disappeared. Everything in my life was defined by my work, my job. We worked 6-7 days a week, 10-14 hrs a day, for nearly 5 yrs. Stress was normal. I was a complete b@$&$. Totally. Out to prove myself. Out to succeed. Dare cross me.
One Friday (on our weekend) we were working in the office. One of the guys in my team had high fever and collapsed in the office. I remember sitting there, waiting for the ambulance to come, whilst he slipped in and out of hallucinations. At some point he was talking to his father who had passed away. One of the scariest days of my life. It was so difficult explaining to his family what happened. Shook me to the core.
From then, I started hating who I had become. I am not blaming the company, but myself. They didn’t force me to become this nasty, unreasonable, stressed, temperamental, angry person. I became that to succeed. To prove myself in this industry of men. And the more I looked at myself, the more depressed I became. What the hell was I doing? I had no peace of mind, I couldn’t sleep at night, I started mixing up between my dreams and reality. My hands constantly shook from the stress. Hadn’t painted in years. Completely lost.
I remember roaming the streets of Beirut, thinking and hating myself for who I was, who I had become. Landed up in Virgin Megastore and bought a book on Dalai Lama, not even knowing 5% about him. Something about that unattractive plain blue book grabbed me. Week later, my family forced me to go on a far east trip with them. First stop: Bangkok. Took my Dalai Lama book with me …
The only thing I wanted to do in Bangkok, whilst reading the book, was visit Buddhist temples. Actually it was more of an unexplainable urge. My family happily agreed, and on day 2 of our trip, off we all go on a temple tour, with a lovely guide. I probably drove her mad asking questions heheh.
At the Temple of Dawn, I started roaming around, lost in my thoughts and I ventured into a restricted area where visitors aren’t allowed and entered a little temple tucked away somewhere. The guide comes running behind me saying – not allowed! The High Priest motions us in, and asks us to sit down near him. Entire conversation happens in Thai, with my guide acting as our go between.
He asks – “What do you want?”
I say – “Peace of mind, I have none. I am lost.”
He asks – “Can I pray for you?”
He prays for about 5 mins and gives me a little Buddha token with a yellow thread. My shocked guide has a long conversation with the Priest. Once she is done, we bow and leave.
I ask – “What was that about?”
She says – “You!!! You are a very very lucky girl!!”
Me – “How come?”
Her – “That was one of the most revered Royal Priests, and I asked him why did you pray for this girl? She’s not Buddhist nor is she of royal blood!”
Me – “So what did he say?”
He said – “She was a Buddhist in a past life, and she was always meant to come here. Tell her she will have peace of mind and clarity, and everything will be OK. Just tell her “listen to her heart”.”
A month later, I quit my job.