“The most important question facing humanity is: Is the universe a friendly place? This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.”
When Gita Schwartz, 63, looks around, she sees proof that we live in a fear-based world, where people are afraid of each other and can’t seem to get along or help one another much. Yet, true to her quote, Gita feels that if we could start looking at it as a friendly place, we could change the way we walk in the world and, perhaps, even change the world itself.
Gita doesn’t say this frivolously and she speaks from experience: she had a difficult start in life and struggled with anxiety and depression and living in fear. It took decades of therapy and self-growth to learn to listen to herself, to go with her gut. She’s worked hard to open up to the possibility that the world could be a friendly place.
Gita spent many years focusing on her career and raising her daughter, but she recently realized that, despite years of self-growth, her external world was a reflection of an old version of herself, not the woman she’d become. So, she decided to take a leap. Gita gave up her job, her apartment, her car – her whole lifestyle, essentially, so that she could achieve a major goal: to travel in Africa.
Though Gita is confident in her decision, she doesn’t pretend that it came without challenges. In fact, despite knowing it was the right thing to do, Gita felt an enormous amount of anxiety from both internal and external forces – worries about money, logistics and of course, fears that the whole thing would just fall apart. She had to take time to process her feelings and work through them, to do her research and plan as best she could, and then she just had to take a leap of faith. Gita trusted that the universe would be friendly and help her find her way to the people, communities and connections that would make it the trip of a lifetime.
Gita planned a 7-month trip to Cape Town, South Africa that became an amazing 2-year nomadic existence. She was looking forward to catching up with herself and delving into her artistic interests, stone carving and sculpture, in particular. The journey turned out to be that and so much more – two years of reinventing herself, sitting with her choices and deciding where she wants to go next.
Gita learned that life is all about the journey, about the process. You have to enjoy it as much as possible because anxiety and fear are going to come up. That’s part of life. It’s part of growth. And it’s part of making huge decisions that are outside of the norm. So, instead of letting anxiety stop you from doing what you want, just put one foot in front of the other and take the next step.
Following this advise, Gita can now look at her fears and tell herself that things will be fine, that she doesn’t need to abandon what she wants to do just because she’s anxious. Instead, Gita is a strong believer in listening to her intuition and holding herself accountable to it. When she starts to feel anxious, she sits down with the feeling, journals about it, or talks to friends. She’ll make room to listen to her own rhythms and needs. She’ll open herself to the possibility that the universe is a friendly place waiting to help her walk a lighter, more joyful path.
Article written by Amanda Milroy
Amanda is passionate about languages and writing and has a degree in translation and professional and technical communication. She’s honoured to be part of the SheTravels team and to help put these inspiring stories out into the world.