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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Counting my blessings

The more time that passes, the more I realize just how important it is for me to do what I’m doing right now. This is no longer a pass-time. This is my work. This is my job. I feel it so strongly. What am I talking about? Of course, It has to be writing.

2 places I can describe I’m in. Or maybe 2 dreams that I’m living and needing to bring together. Which are, without a doubt; travel and writing. I’m focused on 1 of these ‘places’ in order to keep on experiencing the other ‘place’. I’m writing to keep me travelling. I’m writing so that it becomes my travel. I’ve been given this amazing chance here in Ireland, here where I have my roots, so I can write. And the more I get along with what I’m doing, the more important it’s becoming. The significance is huge. And it’s no longer just a hobby. It’s actually my lifeline and
it’s all I want my life to revolve around.

I can feel so certain that writing is going to keep me on the road. And when I take a step out of my life and look at the bigger picture, I can see how valuable this time here is. It’s precious, because I know it won’t last. It’s precious because of what I’m able to create. It’s precious because it’s going to set me up, in ways I never dared imagine. It’s precious because it’s also my freedom. It’s precious and therefore time feels to have stopped. It’s not of the essence. Instead what I do each moment is of the essence.

The subject I’m working on each day is one that most people know about. It’s regarding the time in my life when I was here in Ireland, for 10 months, whilst recovering from an illness. Back then, I wrote my way through everyday, As soon as I was back to full health, I was on a plane to Oz and my travel dreams were becoming a reality. However the thing that always stuck in my mind, was the writing I’d done throughout my recovery. And it was my dream to be able to work on it, and bring something into the world to help others and to set myself even freer in the knowledge that my experience with illness and journey to health would be used to its fullest potential. This is what I dreamed of when I was travelling Oz, living in a van, being on the road and having the most amazing time. My writing still was my dream.

However distracted by the amazement in everything I was seeing and doing each day, I never found the peace or the time to actually sit and get to work on what I felt was one of the main purposes for me to have gone through the illness. Even when I was in India, on several occasions I had made it my priority and main goal, to seclude myself and work on my old writing. Never, however, did I take the proper time-out I needed. I mean, who would? When you’re in the midst of magic, experiencing a country you thought you might never see, the last thing on your list is ‘seclusion to write’. This is something I’m only realizing now, by the way. But it still played on my mind and I’d dream of being able to devote precious time to it. But it’s not about devotion of time, is it? It’s a deeper form of devotion; is devotion classed as love? If so, then time has stopped and the days aren't revolving around what the hands on the clock are pointing to instead. The days instead are fuelled by the sense of love you get from doing that certain thing. This is something else I’m only realizing now too..

I was teaching English, I was jumping out of bed each morning, I was learning, growing. I was simply in awe of contrasts India was bringing into my world and yet STILL I NEEDED to work on that writing. My visa expired almost forcing me to leave, when really I didn’t want to go. I felt it was too soon. But I had no choice. However, magically and flowingly, I returned to Ireland and what I’d dreamed of doing when I was in India, was now the only thing I could do. It was like the opportunity was presented to me on a silver platter – every ingredient I needed in order to pursue this dream, I was being given! Without intending, my dream became real, when I stepped on the plane from Holland to Ireland on the 7th of August.
Each day I’m feeling that the more I do this, the more certain I am that it was a blessing in disguise: having been ‘forced’ to leave India, for at least 2 months, before being able to re-enter on a new visa. I know that otherwise I’d have stayed, I’d have gone to Nepal, and I’d still be dreaming of that writing. But now, it’s being lived and it’s amazing.

Many people may not understand how such a normal thing, can be all-consuming and how it can make somebody feel so happy, regardless of the surroundings. To be honest, I never would have been able to either. But it’s such a different level of happiness I’m experiencing. I know what I’m doing now, is how my journey was meant to flow. I know that by writing I’ll always have my freedom. I know that when I leave, I’ll be freer than ever before. A deeper journey is what I’m currently undertaking, and I’m putting the illness I was recovering from, into a more important part of myself. I’m reliving many things, as I work on it each day and I’m learning and growing. The exact same as I was doing in India – learning and growing – but through means of something that is nothing to be considered superficial or unworthy of this devotion. So suddenly, so happily and so freely; it all came to me. I feel like the luckiest person in the whole world to have experienced this through the circumstances and the support of my family.

Another blessing for being ‘forced’ to leave India, (I was never actually physically put onto the plane by the police or by the emigration department or anything like that!!) is that ‘pausing in Ireland’ is giving my body a chance to recuperate. Whilst travelling so intensely for those months in India I lost too much weight. Certain foods weren’t agreeing with me, the times at which they would eat weren’t easy on the stomach, nor did the viruses that I picked-up a few time encourage my food-intake to be sufficient or my weight to remain stable. These aspects, along with the general stress and chaos to be experienced each day as well as the heat, made it the ‘perfect’ environment to loose weight. But for me, that wasn’t really the ‘perfect’ thing. I didn’t need to loose any, It actually was vital that I didn’t. But it happened, leaving me with no reserves to fall back on, should I catch a virus of some sort. Taking my past illness into account, the family was worried on my return. All the good I’d done throughout my recovery, was now undone. Or so they felt. But I didn’t. Because good wasn’t undone; not mentally, not emotionally. It is now a mere physical aspect that’s needing to be addressed. And being here in Ireland is therefore another blessing.

I’ve taken the wise decision (if I may say so myself), and with some encouragement from Ma, to take supplement protein drinks. These are the same energy drinks I took throughout my recovery. I’ll be taking them until the middle of October, so I consciously put on weight and gain physical strength for when I feel it’s time to leave (which will be when my writing is as complete as can be!!).
I sometimes can’t believe how life takes these twists and turns. And I know even more now, in my heart, that this ‘pausing in Ireland’ is pure magic. It’s setting me free, it’s showing me more parts of myself that I thought I was already aware of but am now realizing there are even more, and I’m bringing 2 aspects that ARE my life, together. So I continue each moment in this amazing life to do what I feel I must. Simply live my life, as I travel and write!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pressing PAUSE

My silence that has lasted for over 2 weeks, simply needs to be broken. How easy it can be to simply not log-on anymore, once a week or 2 goes by without blogging and connecting with those who still follow my whereabouts. It's scarily easy..

It's 6 weeks since I left Holland. 6 whole weeks!! Wouw.. It's 2 months since leaving India and was travelling with the magic of the world and going with the flow of life. I had the mindset of being on the road and everywhere I was going to "lay my hat, it was my home", no matter how long or short my stay was – be it 6 days, or 6 weeks. It didn’t matter, and it still doesn’t. Home was everywhere! And home still IS everywhere! Or to use a different and very familiar saying: ‘Home is where the heart is’. I felt, and still do that if there’s anybody that fills my heart or any connection to be made in that particular place where I choose to temporarily ‘lay my hat’, then that’s also my home!

Do I still have the mindset of being on the road? Yes, I do. It's not a thing of the past. I'm travelling and I'm using the present tense here, which is keeping it real! I don't even need to remind myself that I'm passing through. Because I don't need to convince myself that I am. I don't hear voices in my head telling me any different. The mindset I have of 'pressing pause on a passage I'm currently making through Ireland' is only being supported by everyone around me. Family are so supportive. Nobody asks me when I'm going, and nobody asks me how long I’m staying either. I'm simply here, in the present tense, that's all they know, that's all I know and it's brilliant!

Since being here, I've been secure enough to actually seriously question if this is where I'd like to press STOP instead of pressing a simple and less daring PAUSE. And, in all honesty, I don't want to press STOP, not now. Posing myself with this question was a big 'reveal' and a big 'truth'. If I had realized that I wanted to stay, I wouldn't have been able to go against it. I wouldn’t have wanted to go against it, especially not if it would make me happy. One very wise lesson I've learnt over the past year is that I can feel so strongly when a place or situation doesn’t fit; I can't function properly if it doesn't. But here in Ireland, I feel it can fit and because of the fact that me and Ireland can suit each other, on some level - which is totally new to me by the way - I purposely posed myself with this question: WOULD I SERIOUSLY CONSIDER STAYING, STOPPING AND SETTLING IN IRELAND? I considered, I wondered and I questioned and can now say honestly with all my heart that I don't want to at this moment in time.

It was so great that I was able to ask myself this question. It shows how settled and at ease I am with myself, and not ashamed to admit that Ireland would make me so happy; the person who always wants to embrace the whole entire world! The country I didn't want to return to! The fact that I'm here and seeing amazement everyday, loving it all and being excited as I jump out of bed each morning, really has the potential of offering me a place that would do me wonders. Wouw! I can't believe it! I'm 27 and finally not scared to admit that I can be happy here! Usually this consideration of staying in Ireland, would be one I'd put to the back of my mind. I'd not dare ask myself for fear that the answer might be a dreaded 'yes'; meaning all my traveldreams would be over and done with. I'm so certain that now, after being here for 6 weeks and feeling comfort but still yearning to travel, I'm no longer scared of the word 'settling'. I know I'm not running from having a possible settled and happy life in Ireland and I'd never say that Ireland can't make me happy. Because it can, it’s something I’ve learnt since being here.

But: happy and settled OR ecstatic, overwhelmed, challenged, inspired, learning, growing and jumping around the world? Never would I choose to give up living the second scenario to experience the first. As I'm typing this, I'm getting a slight pang in my chest and a feeling of panic is rising. Yes!! I'm sooooo grateful for that rising panic!! It's confirming what I was just expressing; my dreams are still being lived and needing to be followed through. Living out traveldreams! YEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!! I choose to see life as a dream. And if travels and dreams are forming the one word in my head, then travel is my life, just like dreaming is my life. They’re both one and the same. Right now, I’m travelling, pressing PAUSE. Each day does actually feel like a dream, so I’m doing all I must for now! What an amazing life. Now that I’ve established that I’m leaving soon, the next step needs to be addressed. When, where and how.. Humm. The game of life will show me the way, when I soon press that PLAY button!! How exciting!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Smiles for all

Out of India, 6 weeks. Have I distanced myself from it all? Have I forgotten about that place of magic? Am I so far away in time and space, that I can’t imagine I was ever there? Has too much happened since leaving that I haven’t been able to process the precious time I spent there?
The answer to these questions, is a simply “no”.

I may be focussed on other things right now, but I live India in my heart everyday. I can’t help it. I dream about it most nights. If it doesn’t come to me at night, there’s no escaping it coming to me during the day. I’ll regularly check what time it is over there (my mobile phone is still on Indian time), and I’ll think about what certain people are doing and seeing. I’ll hear the beeping of the horns and feel the manic driving, when the traffic here in Ireland is suddenly too civilized. I’ll sense the muggy air when the Irish wind feels fresh or even cold and I’ll feel the warm raindrops of a monsoon shower, when the drizzling starts and when people instantly stop smiling. But hang on! Were the people here on the streets smiling before it started to rain? Surely I would have noticed the smile of stranger, had it come my way! Those smiles can be so infrequent here that, when it does happen, it would definitely jump out at me! But they aren't jumping out at me! Even when I envision myself to be in a refreshing monsoon which is making me smile at this Irish world; I’m not attracting that smile back to me! But not everyone is that bothered to smile at strangers..

I won't be brought down by the faces that are exactly that: down. I see the world in a light manner and feeling India in my heart, keeps me distant from here, to a certain extent. I need that, for some reason. I know that engaging too much, can easily bring myself to also have that closed-off approach to the world; something I no longer appreciate and therefore want to avoid be. Just like negativity in every corner and complaining about nothing. Have people always been this way or am I only seeing this now? The art of complaining here, is second to none! People would be award winners, if such a competition would exist.

How can a person share all the joys that are being lived every day and every moment, when every single positive vibe or comment is being met with a negative? How can a person stay sane? Can’t a person express herself freely, without a “but” being the first word in the sentence of the reply she receives? Sometimes I really do wonder. I’m not wanting to send out these negative vibes myself, but I’m just being truthful about the way things are here. I’ve chosen to place myself in Ireland and therefore I’m experiencing myself differently amongst the people.

I’m questioning if I’ve really changed? Was I also closed off to meeting a stranger? Was I also starting every reply to positive remarks with a “but”? Who knows! But what I do know for sure, is the things that used to interest me, don’t anymore. I don’t watch the telly anymore. Commercial music sometimes resembles pure noise. Alcohol couldn’t be further from my mind. Shopping for clothes is not really a pass-time. I can’t listen to the radio; the news is aimed at depressing people and they’re succeeding; people are constantly feeding off each others’ misery and confusing their “compassion” for “giving their heads more worries to keep them awake at night and more things to gossip and complain about”.

This is the way of the world here so I can adjust and accept. It doesn’t so much get me down and instead of focusing too much attention on these aspects of society, I can choose to learn about what needs I have in regards to my surroundings, simply by relating to what I see around me, right here and now. I can realize where I feel comfortable and where I can express myself in whatever way I need to, and it will be appreciated.

I’ve adjusted and accepted the way things are here. But adjustment and acceptance don’t always lead to comfort. No matter how much I’m loving what I’m doing right now due to the “task” I’ve given myself (to write) and no matter how much I’ve learnt since being here and how gorgeous I’ve realized this Ireland really is, the fact of the matter is, I’ve come to appreciate other things in life and can often experience certain situations to simply be ones that I don’t want to find myself in. I’m not resisting, because I’m here and going with whatever comes my way. I’m just witnessing my place here now, and it’s changed. As have I. But change is good, it’s a welcome treat and can bring all kinds of different opportunities along with it. I don’t feel bad, I don’t feel odd, I don’t feel alien. I feel like me. And it’s so reassuring. So I can do and be wherever I need and I’ll find out along the way what’s right for me, simply by placing myself in different surroundings and situations. So wherever this chapter may lead, it can be nothing less than brilliant!! Care to join me…??