In 2007, I went to Japan for the first time.
At the beginning of my trip, I received a fortune from a Shinto Buddhist shrine. It told me I had to climb a mountain, meet a hermit and find out what it is like to be free. If I don’t my heart will be empy, and the person I wait for will never come. Something inside broke when reading this. It’s just a piece of paper, but it was given to me. When receiving fortunes, called O-mikuji, you randomly choose fortunes from a box (hoping it to be good). When the fortune is deemed bad, it is tradition to fold the paper and tie it to a pine tree so the bad vibes attaches to the tree and not the bearer of the fortune.
On one of my last nights in Tokyo, I stood at a pier in the rain – my favorite of all elements. My family disapeared around the corner, and I was alone with the city staring back at me. I thought about a lot of things. Most of all, I thought about that fortune. It was a metaphor; it didn’t mean I literally had to climb a mountain and meet some random person in a hut. My dreams were the mountain, and my inner soul was the hermit. I realized that I needed to change my furture to feel full; re-route it in the direction I choose.
The next day, I went to a shrine once again, and slowly unscrolled my new fortune. This time it said “a thing you have lost will be found soon, and the person you wait for will come.”
I left for Greece the very next year, and I still keep that fortune in my wallet to remember I have to power to always find myself when things seem lost.