I landed back home in New York yesterday, after a two-week trip to Finland, with a brief stint in Barcelona in between. New York is swelteringly hot right now, but I’m glad to be back, ready to continue on with my work and life routines.

This was most definitely the best time I’ve had in Finland ever since I left 17 years ago. During this trip I became aware of how much I’ve changed within a year–unbelievably for the better. I have a newfound serenity that I can rely on, even when faced with challenging situations or painful truths. Serenity to me is not something permanent, once attained. Instead it is a state of mind that requires constant work to maintain. But I have found some sliver of it and it’s already changing my experience of life and people.

“People will treat you how you allow them to treat you,” said a friend of mine in a conversation upon my arrival back to New York. I believe this to be true, and it absolutely is my experience when it comes to my recent encounters in Finland. During my trip I found myself in social situations quite different from how they would have panned out in the past. Sure, I took a few missteps too while I was there, but I am learning to take them as part of the journey. The big picture is overwhelmingly positive. Not to mention that out of this trip I will have a gorgeous new music video!

I am tired, but content and I feel more peaceful than ever about the future. The skills that I’ve acquired in recent years in handling my life are allowing me to take bigger and better steps forward in my career also. All life-skills are connected to each other, and trips back home are a real thermometer for me about how far I’ve come. This time was utterly different. And for this, I feel very grateful on a Sunday-afternoon, 7th of July, 2013.

β€œIt is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”
― Abraham Lincoln