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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Always moving forward

Today I’m only realizing that I overcame the biggest fear of my life, by stepping away from India and moving towards Ireland…I shouldn’t have been scared though, because there was indeed a life waiting for me… And it took off in full flight, as soon as I landed… Hence my reason for not once having wished to still be back in that land of beauty, contradiction, chaos and love: that amazing India. Not once have I wanted to return. Not once have I regretted overcoming that fear. And now I’m astounded by the rewards a person can receive, in terms of rich fulfilment, when they permit themselves to do work that resonates with the purpose of their life. The energy that emerges is mind blowing.

I’ve no desire, at this moment in time, to start moving away from Ireland. Asia isn’t drawing me. Am I eagerly waiting to start feeling the pull towards that part of the world, or any other part for that matter? No. Because I don’t want to leave yet. It’s simple. If it happens, it happens. I won’t push it away, but I needn’t wish for it to happen either. If and when I'm meant to travel, it will be.

I’m living such a different life and I’m learning there’s a time and a place for everything. At the moment, I know I’m not meant to be surrounded by hundreds of children, all wanting a piece of me. Instead I’m to dream of them and to wake-up in the morning, humming their daily chants. I’m then to feel gratitude for having had that experience and having met those children. I’m not meant to be in climate that makes me sweat but I’m meant to be feeling the chill in the wind and excitement almost for what the Irish weather will do. My body is not in need of coconut curries but instead it requires boosts of energy that’s sourced from just about every food group that’s available.

The beauty in this change is that I’m not searching for ways to escape Ireland. When I came back, I thought this period would be very much the same as the time I was here in 2010, whilst writing the book. But, man, how wrong was I! It’s so different! Back then, I was constantly wishing to be elsewhere, even though I enjoyed my time here immensely. But I needed to move TOO! I remember to have had times, when I’d step outside the front door of my home here in Arklow, and I’d wish, with all my heart, for the world around me to be India. I wished for the weather to be hot, for the cars to be rickshaws, for the people to be foreign, for the language to be Hindi… I wished so deeply to be in the Indian world and thought that by visualizing this Irish world to be their world, I’d lift myself up out of Ireland and magically land myself in India! This is ‘seriously’ how desperate I was to keep travelling. As I’m typing this, I can’t believe that I actually thought that would work! ;)

Without wishing to be anywhere else, there’s movement in my life, more so than there was when I was in China or India. I’m moving due to the fact that I’m integrating what I’ve learned and appreciated most whilst I was in India, into my daily life here. So I still meditate twice a day and I practise yoga and I love every minute. I don’t let the opinions of those around me influence what I do from day to day. The yoga and meditations keeps me learning, moving, accepting and flowing. And each morning, after practise, I start writing. I process, I observe, I reflect. I sit, I drink tea and I journal. Then I sit some more and I work on what needs to be prepared or edited for the publisher. Then I go downstairs for a re-fill, I nibble, I munch and I continue to sit and email those who I can share my ‘mindful’ adventures with. This is my social part of life, however sad that may sound; connecting with friends and travellers through email. I'll always find it’s the way to keep the channels with the world open and I then also connect with a different part of me. It’s quite amazing.

I do realize how lucky I am, to have all of these things in my life and to have my days filled only with things that benefit me, on a whole. At the same time, I know how beneficial it will be once I get to start passing it on to others. So it’s work, not only for me, but for everyone who is willing to absorb themselves in whatever it is I’ve created or still wish to bring about.

Will I go back to teaching? Who knows! But what I do know is that I can’t turn away from the direction my life is heading for, as this process of publishing and writing unfolds. I have to keep going with this flow, no matter how different it may be from the Indian lifestyle I was living up until a short few months ago. There’s no point in clinging to that part of me. I’ve let go remember! Meaning: no holding on… we only hold on when we fear what will happen if we let go. And seeing as though I’ve already overcome my biggest fear (which was stepping back into Ireland and giving writing the priority in my life)… there’s not any other fear that will ever hold me back or to steer me away. I have to keep on letting go and trusting, trusting, trusting and trusting some more that all is well. And the feelings I had today, simply whilst sitting in the local coffee shop, drinking a cappuccino and journaling, were confirmation enough that all in more well than well could ever be!

The power of letting go

It’s been 2 months since leaving India. Does it feel to be that long ago? It feels like a lifetime. With so many things going on right now, I often forget what I’ve experienced. It’s like I left India, and that was that! Over and done with… Time for the next chapter. And the change that happened (and still is ongoing) was so drastic and fast, that I almost missed it! I almost didn’t see it happening… Not until recently, that is...

Within 2 or 3 weeks of leaving, Indian-living became a distant memory. No more waking up every morning at 5.30 am to the sounds of the temple music and the cook in the kitchen chopping the vegetables. No more head spins as a result of teaching and lesson planning. No more polite smiles whilst refusing the Indian chai that was way too sweet. No more sitting beneath the banana trees whilst eating breakfast and sweating buckets. So quickly these things became a thing of the past. I moved on so effortlessly because life here in Ireland opened up so much MORE than India (or China) ever could.

I arrived here and a life was waiting; the one of a writer. The space that was created in my head, as a result of leaving India and the teaching behind, was huge. With such head space and passion inside to BE this 'person' and to have this 'profession', I had move swiftly on from a lifestyle that revolved around hoards of amazing little children and dinners consisting of 5 different curries and I had to move towards a one revolving around words, words, words, fillets of salmon and high protein drinks to strengthen my body on a physical level. (Because, on every other level, this step back to Ireland, has strengthened me more than I ever imagined it would)

By returning, I took a leap of faith. And I was so scared of jumping. When I was still in India I never dared thinking of what would come of my life, if I wasn’t teaching and travelling as much as possible – or at least PLANNING such things. I was terrified to think of how drastic my life would change if I were to let my heart take over. Hours I spent by myself in the hostel (where I last was living)... hours and hours and hours… I’d be writing every minute, just to get to the bottom of what I needed to do in life. Then, once I found it, I was writing so as to pluck up the courage and take action in the world and bring what I’d found, to life.

I’ll never forget how big a decision it was; stepping away from travels and coming back home, to give my full focus and attention to writing. Man oh man, how I wanted to go to Nepal, but how I needed to sit and write AS WELL! It took so much, but I did it. I found the strength and courage to overcome the fear of letting go and I let the writer emerge (and I'm still currently in the process). I faced the fear of letting go BY LITERALLY LETTING GO! Just goes to show: we overcome our fears by acting on those fears!

So I let my spirit guide me and I faced the truth of my life: writing was (and is) becoming more of a priority than travel. The strength I found to face this truth and to act, was contained in the writing I was doing; meaning the writing brought me back home. And here I am, on the 21st of April, sitting at my desk on a Saturday night, looking out at the clear black velvet sky - in Arklow of all places – feeling happier than I’ve ever been.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Full Exposure

Getting the book out: it’s coming together, with so much patience and focus. Once I was back on my feet, last week Friday, I got stuck-in to editing the book, hopefully, for the last time. For 5 days straight, I was totally absorbed in the story. With every chapter I read, I wondered: will people understand what I mean? Is it clear and accessible to everyone? Or maybe I’m the only one who understands, because I’m the one who wrote it? Doubts were rising hard and fast…

I did put quite a lot of pressure on myself to get this last proof as complete and as perfect as poss. I took my time though… It was so slow going and the doubting didn’t help of course. As I was editing, I realized there’s probably nobody who has ever created something and has considered it as being perfect; especially not if the work is going to be shared with (hopefully) the whole world (I have to keep thinking and believing in big things here!), for the very first time! Anyhow, there will always be things to change and adjustments to make… I figured I could be editing this book for the rest of my life, and still it wouldn’t be ‘perfect’. Either way, I scrutinized my work and kept thinking: the next people who read this will be… PEOPLE (hopefully) EVERYWHERE! Wouw…

I’ve known this all along, of course. And it’s what I wanted; so my dream is becoming a reality, which is quite amazing to experience. But when you don’t see things materializing, it doesn’t feel real. You know things are happening, but you can’t see them yet. This tests the patience and the trust a person has in LIFE itself to work the way it’s meant to, in order for that ‘something’ to become tangible.

At this stage, things are slowly appearing. I’m working on the cover with my cousin Mark (by the way, I didn’t expect the cover to be such a ‘drastic’ decision to make… but holy smoke, trying to choose something that’s personal, yet eye catching AND portraying the right message to the public, is quite huge… but we’re getting there!). I managed to finish the ‘last edits’ too, so things are moving along nicely… BUT then suddenly things become daunting, because things are appearing REAL.

Over the weekend I started fearing being scrutinized and judged for what I’ve written (probably because I was scrutinizing myself...oops!). Also, I thought I'd do a much better job if I were to write it NOW, from my current perspective… But I kept on reminding myself of something someone once told me, about writing and editing: ‘first thought, best thought’ (meaning: don’t come along and change it so much that it becomes something different than what it was meant to be from the start!). So, the contents of the book that was written a year and half ago, has to remain as it is!

I know this is all apart of my own personal journey; learning what comes with writing and getting that particular piece published. And because this story is so personal, I have to see it as a part of me releasing my past, without a doubt in my mind that this will only be for the good of those who pick it up off the shelf. So I have to feel comfortable to share with everyone everything my life has come to stand for and revealing what it was that led me to these revelations holds no shame.

It’s quite crazy the way my own insecurities and issues are coming up, as the process of publishing unfolds. Issues of being rejected by the world try to knock me back; but I have to realize that, if the world doesn’t approve of my story, they’re not rejecting or disapproving of ME as a person… even if this work IS based on my life… I don’t seek for the world to praise or criticize me. I don’t expect for readers to build me up or to break me down, as a result of their opinions. Because I know why I’m being so REAL and exposing myself fully. It’s to help. And by writing and publishing this particular book, I’ll always have a duty towards sufferers of eating disorders. It puts me in the position to express understanding, to relate to their pain and to help. If I do so happen to hold on to these fears of being scrutinized and judged, then I have to face those fears as being signs that I’m not totally comfortable with the full exposure I’ll experience, once this book hits the shelves (and it’s not only about my whole life but that of my family too).

I guess I sometimes fail to realize just how big this is going to be, on a personal level – and hopefully on a professional level too. It’s full exposure and there’s not a secret I hide from anybody anymore. It could change the course of everything, only for the better… No, I won’t say it COULD, but I’ll say it WILL change things for the better. For myself and others. And feeling this deeply, makes the fears subside... Yes!

So, I’m now just gonna put this ‘out there’: I’m wishing for the publication of this book to guide me to where I need to be in the world.

Are there any dates yet, in regards to the launch? Nothing concrete yet. The promotion will be starting around the end of April and, all going well, the launch will be towards the end of May. And until that time comes, I have to acknowledge and savour this process as deeply as I can. Because it’s amazing.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Exaggerated Bug

Back on the planet, after being elsewhere. My last entry was on my 29th birthday, last Wednesday. After that… hummm… what can I say? I was knocked-back by something I first thought was only a bad headache and some exhaustion. But soon I found it to be a bug that was going to force me to stop everything in life yet keep me running ONLY back and forth to the toilet, continuously, for the following 7 days!

Thursday was torture, Friday even worse. Saturday I couldn’t move from the bed; weak, high temperature, no eating and hardly any drinking, but I was still flushing out my whole system. This was bad enough, but what made the drama worse was the fact that I couldn’t DO anything to distract my mind. I couldn’t read, write, work on the laptop or listen to music. Even watching a dvd was bringing on nausea. I went on a pity rant and, in my mind, my life was such a waste of space and time! Man, just lying there, thinking, thinking, thinking… bringing on the negativity… (usually I’d write myself passed it, or do something to shake it… but I was in no position to do any kind of ‘shaking’ to get passed negativity!)

It’s crazy when you have endless hours of staring at the ceiling. Those hours turn into a full day, then 2, 3… and before you know where you are, you’ve become accustomed to waking-up in the morning and being in… SICK MODE?! Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That wasn’t going to happen to me! Because within 2 days of ‘staring at the ceiling’ I was almost having withdrawals from writing; by Saturday night I was actually narrating pieces of writing in my head. I was dosing-off to sleep and poems were being recited by ‘somebody’ in my mind, they’d make perfect ‘sense’ and I’d want to make notes. But by the time I’d wake-up, the poems had vanished and the pieces of writing I was narrating were forgotten…No!!!!!!!!!!!! So, this was torture for me. But I needed to get me slowly moving again; so the 2 days didn’t turn into 3… and I had to look at it positively: all the bits and pieces of writing my mind was doing without ME actually participating, reminded me of how much I have to put into the new writing I’ve started to focus on over the past month or so.

Of course, when a person is willing to learn, there’s always a lesson in life; whether we’re facing a challenge or whether we’re gliding effortlessly through events that come to pass. Yes, my lesson was this: it’s okay to not be well, and it’s okay to let yourself get better too! Human after all, is all we are. Which means we’re susceptible to all kinds of things that can set us off-track, throw a tiny spanner in the works yet excite our lives as it’s happening.

I must admit though, this is such a typical ‘thing’ for me: such experiences ALWAYS are a lot more intense than they would be if I’d just accept a simple bug as being a ‘thing of life’ that needs to pass through! But oh no… my world nearly crashes down around me! And I literally feel everyone (who is everyone? I really don’t know!) outside the front door expecting me to be ‘out there’ (where? I don’t know!) being high on life, but because if I’m not, the days of my life are being wasted BY ME!!!! I make these tiny things into huge turning points in my life… Quite extreme most would say. And I’d have to agree! Haha… Because most would probably just settle for the fact that they’re temporarily putting their life on pause, as it’s the only thing they can do, in order to recuperate.

I do the opposite: I first try to push it away and carry on with what I’m doing. But I get knocked back. Then I start to give way, and it’s extra painful and feels to intensify. Because at the same time I’m fighting with arising urges telling me to write, even if I’m feeling bad (which would actually fuel the writing with the emotion I’m living through in that very moment of creating it – resulting in bad writing, which is therefore a bad move!). Then negativity starts to enter, because nothing is being done with my life AND because all the non-existing people outside the front door are waiting for me to simply to be full of life and I can’t give them what they want! So my mind is spinning as I lay in ‘stillness’ in the bed – it’s like hitting the pillow after a night of boozing… those good ol’ head spins!

But, but but… no matter how much out of proportion my negative mind will blow the tiny little bug in my stomach, the power of positive thinking THANKFULLY comes to rescue me and I manage to get back on top and I start seeing things clearly. I start to realize my downfalls and I see the hours of recuperating as ones that will help me to properly take stock of what my life is RIGHT NOW, and what I need to focus on.

And the truth of our present day lives is staring us right in the face; it’s in the experiences in front of us. My biggest lesson learned: I was away from the planet of Arklow, of Wicklow, of Ireland, of the world and in my own planet, to realize how I need to be physically sustained, so I can be apart of the planet of Arklow, of Wicklow, of Ireland and of the world.

Today, it’s Thursday I’ve got a great appetite and I feel life inside again. The bug hasn’t totally vanished and the strength hasn’t fully been restored… But the feeling of being on the planet again, is soooo close! Because I’m able to focus, to write, to read and to connect with more people other than this one person who is now writing this and my Mam who is downstairs (bless her wee heart… she looked after me so well!!!!) Yay… Life is so great! Enjoy the sun (whether it’s being hidden by the clouds or not!).