The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Except at the Eiffel Tower – the grass is most definitely greener on the other side! I know this because I had the opportunity to travel Europe for a month over summer with my family and what a grand experience it was. All those wonderfully unique European countries, each with their own peculiarities, provided a framework of reference that wasn’t there before (especially for the kids). New sights, sounds, tastes and smells are so titillating for the senses, but more than that they provide new experiences for the whole being. “I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself”. I stumbled across this quote by James Baldwin, and it really captures the true essence of why travel is so important: we get to know ourselves in ways that we hadn’t before. We literally expand our being as we are forced to assimilate new stimuli, and without an existing box or shelf to stick them in, we create new ones. Indeed, these new experiences may even break some old boxes down!
The reason I am writing this though is the question I have been asked most since I have returned home to South Africa, is whether we are leaving or staying? I get it. Things are really bad. The economy sucks, violence and criminality are spiralling out of control, and the depth of the destruction wrought upon this beautiful land by the state capturers is nigh on apocalyptic. Run. Head for the hills (of New Zealand?)!. Take up arms! Fight! Do we stay or do we go? These terms and questions are so commonplace now that hardly a conversation goes by without them being raised. So what do we do?
The first thing my European trip taught me is that the grass is definitely not greener on the other side (except at the Eiffel Tower where it is literally lush and green on the one side, dead and brown on the other 😉). Sovereign debt, “the immigrant problem” (this is a big one for them), the threat of terrorism and generally the loss of their “old ways” to the culture of Instagram are big problems for most Europeans. In most places however, personal security was not an issue and this felt really good for a South African. Any form of violence is abhorrent and the degree to which this has become the norm in South Africa was really amplified by the lack of it there. Then we met Brits and Americans, and they too were talking about Brexit and Boris, and Trump and China. Big issues that they are facing whose outcomes will have a fundamental impact on their lives. So all of this left me asking whether it is all THAT bad in South Africa when I returned?
And you know what I realised? I realised that we have all been looking at this from completely the wrong perspective. South Africans (and privileged ones in particular) have become the master victims. And I am not talking here about the real victims of a particular crime as that is vastly different: I am talking about the mass consciousness of victim mentality that has become so stifling in this country that most people cannot breathe anymore. I am talking about the fact that we have adopted as a core belief system that everything is falling apart and is “going to the dogs”. But MOST IMPORTANTLY I am talking about the idea that this is ALL someone else’s fault [insert Zuma, ANC, Gupta’s etc] and we are all doomed as a result. We have literally decided that everything is so messed up because of [insert external factor] that we cannot continue anymore. I have seen people losing their minds over this to the degree that they cannot function properly anymore, let alone thrive. They are so anxious and fearful of a perceived future that their present reality has become a nightmare. And this is the thing about mass consciousness: it is (in)formed and fed by our thoughts, words and actions so is literally a reflection of what is going on inside of us collectively. And the more negativity and fear we pump into it, so it becomes more dense and the overarching mental state in which we live. And this is the key: we are so attached to this mental way of being that people are literally “going mental”. We have allowed a set of external conditions to completely consume every inch of us that we don’t know who we are anymore. This is what is truly insane!!!! How can we give anyone or anything so much power that they can control us to the degree that we feel we have to run away?
One of the wisest men I know once taught me that “the mind makes you run away from, and the heart makes you run towards something.” FEEL that for a moment…….. The mind by its very nature makes you run away from a situation and the heart makes you run towards one. But if our entire way of being has become completely mental i.e. fear-based, then how can we ever truly make good decisions that will actually best serve us? I know it is much easier said than done and only a handful of people have truly attained this way of being, but if we don’t even recognise that this what we are doing then there is no chance of ever fixing and shifting it. There are many tools that I have received over the years in my deep training in this field that I use to reprogram myself on this, but one of the simplest that we all possess is discernment. It has never been more important to discern the drama from what is actually going on, and then act from our hearts in making the big choices. Because then we are taking control of our own lives and creating our own destinies, as opposed to reacting to external influence all of the time. And this in turn leads me back to my favourite travel quote of all time: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart” – Confucius.
So where does this leave us? Every government everywhere in the world will use its particular set of circumstances and conditions to separate and control people by manipulating mass consciousness. Trump won arguably the most powerful seat in the world by doing this, and still continues to manipulate people with the fear of “the other” today. South Africa knows the pain of “separate living” and the fear of “the other” all too well, and we still have massive gaping wounds as a result. We also have our own very particular set of circumstances and conditions that we are grappling with, as mass poverty, mass unemployment, failing SOE’s and rampant crime cannot be ignored. But what I am absolutely certain of is that when we “go mental” over these things, then we not only further amplify the worst possible outcomes for them in mass consciousness, but we also just play into the hands of those few players that benefit from this. So stop feeding this monster with your fear, discern the drama from the facts, and take back your power! No external force can ever truly control you, save to the degree that you allow.
So what do I feel about South Africa and its future, and whether to stay or go; here is my answer: what does your heart say? If you feel like you are running towards something as opposed to away from something, then go! If not, then stay. It is that simple. But remember, wherever you go, go with ALL of your heart.