The Meaning Of Antevasin

When I started writing my story it was because women would say things to me like; “well, you can do that because you are strong” or “oh, you are that type of woman, but I am not”… and I was always a little shocked and perplexed because I still did not feel strong or courageous. I did not feel like I was “that type” of woman. And even if I did, I was still feeling the growing pains from all the work that I had done to get there.

I felt like I needed them to be able to see how far I had come.

They needed to know that there were steps that they could take to get from there to here… and then go even further.

So, although most days I feel like I do not fit in here in this modern society, and I would rather retreat to the woods and live alone with my children away from all the mess we humans have made of things, I stay. I am here. On the border. I can see the ones who are living in the light on the other side. I would be so much more comfortable there. But I stay here at the edge, so that I can light the way for my sisters. Call to them and show them where the path is. Leave some breadcrumbs for them as I take steps towards healing.

If you feel lost and alone. Know that I was there once, too. Some days I still am.

If you feel like your body hates you and you don’t know how to begin to heal… I’ll show you something to try, and then you can start to take some baby steps. Baby steps are wobbly and awkward and small… but they are the most inspiring, because they are the ones where you go from not walking at all to taking those first steps.

And I will be here to smile and cheer you on.

I will hold the candle and light the way as you wander.

The name I use for myself is Antevasin because that is the best description I’ve ever seen for myself. I was so excited when I found it in Eat, Pray, Love because it was the first time I’d come across a word that so perfectly describes me.

“A Sanskrit word appeared in the paragraph: ANTEVASIN. It means, ‘one who lives at the border.’ In ancient times, this was a literal description. It indicated a person who had left the bustling center of worldly life to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. The antevasin was not of the villager’s anymore-not a householder with a conventional life. But neither was he yet a transcendent-not one of those sages who live deep in the unexplored woods, fully realized. The antevasin was an in-betweener. He was a border-dweller. He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I am not a spiritual master or a sage. I am a seeker. I feel the pull of the spiritual world, but I still live in this world of calendars and clocks and yes, even televisions and computers. I am in this world, but not of this world.

And I love this term Antevasin to describe myself because I am quite literally living on the edge. I live at the edge of the woods, on the border of two towns. I have two mailing addresses for one mailbox. I am in the city, but in the country at the same time. My kids go to school and participate in some mainstream activities, but we also teach them to think for themselves, to believe is something larger, to strive for something more.

By staying on the border and teaching them about different ways to live, I hope that it will give them more choices for their own journeys. I teach them how to light a campfire with only one match, and how to climb trees, watch the flowers grow and listen to the birds sing. And I also get them all dressed up and show them how to sit quietly and appreciate a performance at the theatre or look at art in museums.

And I am a scholar. I keep searching, investigating the connections, and learning new ways to see the world. I love when I connect with others who let me see the world from their perspective, and then my soul grows some more.

Whenever I hear from another mom who connects with my story, who was inspired by my journey and it helps her find the courage to take another step on her own, it inspires me to let my light shine more brightly.

Being an Antevasin means “Looking into the unknown”, and that can be frightening. Taking that leap of faith can be huge. Turning from all that you have been taught, and all that you have known because you’ve heard that voice calling you, telling you that there must be another way.

You know that what you’ve been taught hasn’t worked for you.

You know it is time to try something new.

It is time to believe in yourself and start to tell yourself a new story.

You need to break the pattern and write a new story for the next generation.

Do not feel alone. I will hold the candle and show you the path.

5 thoughts on “The Meaning Of Antevasin

  1. Shauna says:

    Amazing post, thank you for sharing all this with us. I had no idea what antevasin meant. What a great word, I am sure many of us can relate to it and your story.

  2. mbantevasin says:

    Thanks Shauna. I had an explanation of the word in the book, but I realized how much more it has come to mean to me in the years since I wrote. I was in a women’s circle talking about how hard it is for me to stay on the edge some days when it would be so much easier to run away. But then someone wrote me a thank you after reading the book and told me I was like a candle leading the way for her. So I was inspired to write and I thought maybe I should explain more about this word for my online friends.

  3. Sav says:

    Hi there,
    THANK YOU so much for creating this page. I only discovered the word “Antevasin”TODAY! Reading about your journey and various other articles online described me to a T.
    I always felt like I never belonged and when you try to explain your journey to people, they look at you like you are from another planet. Thank you once again 🙂

    • mbantevasin says:

      I’m so glad that you found my story and that it has helped you to feel less alone on your Journey. Mb.

    • Cristina says:

      I understand you Sav. I feel your pain. I’m one of the misunderstoods too. I have trouble explaining my journey in a way most people would understand. I’ve been told there is something wrong with me. I’ve never really felt like I fit in anywhere I’ve worked, went to school or socialized. I always feel like I’m living my life in between lives. Do you feel like any of this is true for you too? Don’t lose hope. The ones who feel like they don’t belong eventually find one another at some point in their lives. As one of my friend’s, who is also misunderstood, said, “We recognize one another immediately.”

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