Bliss is Stillness

In Berlin, The Art of Travel Spring 2015, Bliss by Meredith1 Comment

While there have been specific moments that an epiphany occurs, it seems that the entire time spent on this adventure in Germany has been one long epiphany playing out in slow motion. I find myself strolling in the park thinking about an event two months ago, and I realize how that event has slowly unfolded, weaving itself into my psyche and being encoded into my personality, into myself. I suddenly can pin point the exact experience that led me to the exact thought process that led me to the specific personality trait that has married itself to me.

“Discomfort is when we are pushed to do our greatest thinking”, a friend once said to me, and my entire time abroad has proved that statement true. Of course my time here is coupled with extraordinary newness that takes time to understand, but it is in the moments of discomfort from that newness- new social norms, foreign streets, unknown dinner dishes, unrecognizable language, and so on- that I begin to see the floor plan of the world. And with the vision of seeing the world in its entirety I can find my place in it, I am a small dot- like a star in the night sky- that belong to nothing and everything. My place in the universe is fluid, it changes depending on the context, the only constant is the person I carry with me in every kind of surroundings. And now, thanks to Berlin, I have formed a self that will remain constant throughout the future places to dwell in and people and cultures to learn from. Now that this self has been formed it makes room for new lessons and meanings to incorporate, instead of shying away from all that once scared it. So I guess that is my moment of bliss. But it is not quite a moment, but a lifetime. This is not to say that every hour to come will be filled with un-messiness and tranquility, no, but it is the confidence that when earthquakes come the mountain will still remain. Only now, it will have marks on its edges that hold reminders of past moments that seep into the core of the being. I am the mountain, and I welcome future earthquakes and the flowers and trees that will one day grow over the fractured and muddied parts.

Just yesterday I found a new friend. And it was during my discussions and getting to know her that I began to get to know parts of myself. In this exploration I could see myself from an exterior angle, and that view was bliss. That view showed a person wide open to any kind of opportunity, experience, and conversation. A person that wouldn’t fear if she approached something in life that would make her question all that she was, instead I saw a person who yearned for every moment to pose ten questions to think about, and the hope of answering. I feel that I have been left with so many of life’s answers and to every answer at least twenty questions. But those questions are no longer a threat, instead they are the trail to lead me to the rest of my life. They excite me regardless of the emotion they invoke. They are the questions that simmer within me and serve as my guidebook as how to go about life. That view of that girl, who has been morphing into a woman, brought pride and contentment- a hinting of self-actualization and eternal peace. I used to always identify with the wake of Lake Michigan in the middle of a storm, but now I think the calm, serene, stillness of the water on a perfect day suites me better.


  1. It sounds like you are growing internally through your experiences in Berlin. I loved your metaphor about stars in the night sky: “belong to nothing and everything.” I definitely agree with that. Although our presence may seem minuscule in the grand scheme of the universe, we do function as a small cog in the system that, in any small ways, help build the world as it is.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of your semester! Let’s catch up when we get back to New York!

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