It has already been one year since I received my Canadian Citizenship but it feels as if it has been more like 10 years. I remember all the stress of compiling all the papers to apply, even though I have been contributing as any other Canadian for the past 7 years, my legal status was “resident”. Being resident implies that you have all obligations and rights as any Canadian but the only differences are that you don’t have a Canadian passport and are not entitled to vote.
So the stress of getting all the papers is enormous, and yes even though I practice and teach meditation, the process can still be stressful. Gathering travel receipts, employment history records and so on for the past 6 years was a detective’s work. How many e-mail accounts did I used to have? I had to remember all the information that will help authorities to determine if I was suitable to be a Canadian or not. And no, I am not complaining at all; it is understandable for Canada to do a diligent job since you are allowing a stranger to live in your Country. But now I have a different kind of appreciation and understanding for all immigrants around the World, not only in Canada.
It is not only that you are leaving behind friends, family, customs, sunny weather (I was born and raised in Mexico). It is also that you need to have a high sense of adaptability and flexibility. To reprogram your past beliefs and open up your perspective about life. All of it becomes relative; what you thought was expensive, now is regular price or low price and shoes... don’t get me started! What you thought is cold weather, now is warm, etc.
It wasn’t until I attended the Canadian Citizenship ceremony that I realized how lucky I was. Not only was I lucky because I was in the room making the Oath of Citizenship to the Queen (WhoWhat?! That is what Canadians say when I share my experience, yes I didn’t take the Oath to the Land or its people, I took the Oath to the Queen, interesting eh!) but I was also lucky to have a tool to focus the mind. That is what helped me the most. To survive the long winters without the sun, to not grasp the negative thoughts and to get into low morale mode when I was trying to get a job in my field while working part-time in retail.
The sanity of my mind was kept by constantly remembering that the reason I am alive is to be the light and bring it into the world. Also by not listening to the thoughts that are constantly commenting or judging my experience or actions in life. Who knows why I ended up living in Canada, when I could be living in sunnier, warmer places but I am here and I will embrace it with all my heart, body and soul.
Hearing the Judge on ceremony day was inspiring and powerful. “Now look to your right, now look to your left, this is Canada: 90 people from 25 different nationalities. Now you have the opportunity to leave behind your past and build a new future.” All my body was on fire with energy, my heart beating fast as the emotion bubbled up to my cheeks and finally to my eyes. There was a big knot in my throat as the tears of joy came pouring out. I didn’t know where the tears came from, relief or gratitude but in one instant that one instant of Eternity I knew that I was in the perfect moment. It was the perfect time with the perfect people sharing ourselves, and eager to share our best selves with Canada.
There are very few people that are granted an opportunity to start a fresh new life, you can create the life you want and deserve, it is up to you. There is such an amount of freedom in Canada that it is almost impossible not to follow your dreams. If you are a Canadian, regardless if you were born in Canada or not, the only limitation that keeps you from not experiencing the best of you is inside your head. My experience is that, every time I think I can’t do something, or I deserve better or think I am a victim of society it is because I am believing in the past. I am putting attention in past beliefs that keep me believing that I am small or not good enough. This bad habit doesn’t allow me to see the Truth that underlies the pattern of these thought streams. The Truth is there are endless possibilities in each moment and also new and better possibilities than anything that my mind could come up with. That is the power of Presence or being in the Now that allows us to access the Universal Wisdom that lies beneath creation.
What I also experienced that day was a sense of not only being Canadian, but also being truly human. It was an open invitation to embrace my humanness in its fullness. Summing up, the True North Strong and Free is beyond physical freedom but more importantly about freedom from the habits of the mind. It is about waking up from the dream state that we are all living that is blinding our view with past beliefs and judgments and starting to live life at its fullest. And no, you don’t need to come to Canada to experience true Freedom. (Although hiking in Beautiful British Columbia helps out with that by getting in touch with nature and I highly recommend it). This is one of many experiences in life that have been unfolding in the awakening state. This is the great mystery in life that wherever you are living in this moment and whatever you are experiencing is the perfect place and situation for you to wake up. The Universe is constantly inviting us to wake up and to remember who we really are.