One of my favorite theorems is the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, which says that every number greater than 1 is either prime or a unique product of prime number (order is irrelevant.) How one arrives at the prime factorization is open to exploration. The product itself is always unique. For example, 24 can be rewritten as:
There is no other prime factorization for 24, except for the one above. What a simple & elegant statement. Yet, it made such significant contribution to mathematics!
That is how I view life. Each of us ultimately, I bet, wants to live a happy and fulfilled life. Whatever that means, of course. How we get there is irrelevant. I strongly believe that it is not the grandest of grand journeys that had a huge impact on our destinations, but rather the tiny little experiences along the way.
For me, it was my visit to the tombstone of Rumi in Ankara, Turkey. I expected to have a life epiphany of some sort, standing 6 feet away from my spiritual teacher, yet I felt … nothing! Walking back to the hostel from the museum in the heat of July in the midst of Ramadan, I started to regret my decision to travel across the world. I laid down on my bed and facetimed Omar Zayed. He was out at Wolf Trap at a concert and said he couldn’t talk. Feeling rejected, neglected, I retreated in my anger. Luckily, the heat and call of prayer lulled me to sleep. In the early morning, I woke up feeling refreshed and it dawned on me:
Heaven or hell, it is all within me.
I was not really angry at Omar. He didn’t do anything wrong. Omar was being Omar. I was just unsatisfied with the pace and ease of our relationship. There it was, my biggest life lesson, delivered to me by Rumi.
I am not always successful at re-evaluating my emotions and looking within myself; however, this glimpse into the spiritual world made a big difference in how I live my life as a traveler, adventurer, teacher, wife, mother, sister, daughter, and farmer. So, here is my conjecture–in order to live a good life, I must:
Live simply. Buy less. Love more. Travel wide. Do what we love. Invest time and energy in the people who are good for us. Say goodbye to those who are not. Grow our own food. Eat well. Smile.