I sit by the window in the kitchen of the hostel and stare down at the cross roads, just off the busiest spot in town: Eyre Square. People are coming and going, rushing, fighting the wind, trying to keep themselves sheltered from the rain, but still needing to move as fast as possible… The west of Ireland seriously lives up to its reputation: wet, wild and windy.
I sit, darkness has fallen earlier today… it must be the heavy black clouds. Buses come and go… arriving from and heading towards all parts of Ireland… Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Derry (should I be on one of those busses too... part of me wishes I was) I don't run to catch any of them... I remain seated, surrounded by travellers; Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish… The television is blaring and the radio is playing, all at the same time… I wonder: ‘isn’t just one of the two MORE than enough entertainment!?!’ Obviously not… then again, I should be grateful that the music isn't the alternative rock that was being played this morning during breakfast :)
Reflecting on how this day started… I recall how I woke-up in the middle of the night at 2am – it's the wake-up call I get when something big is happening in my life. I’ve still not figured out why 2am is the time for me to wake, in times of confusion. Yet, still I do. Whenever this happens, I give myself a few hours to fall back to sleep, without frustration… but it rarely happens. So I always end up taking my journal and making my way to the kitchen to drink some tea, to eat some fruit and to pour my thoughts onto paper. This time I do the same; I grab my journal, reach for an orange and sneak out of the 8 bed dorm trying not to wake the other girls up. I walk to the kitchen half asleep, holding an orange and hoping to get some peace in the early hours of the morning. I know from previous experience that by writing before the dawn, I’ll suss out what has woken me from my sleep.
But, how silly of me for thinking I’d have access to the kitchen at 4am! The kitchen is locked… So, I make my way to the bathroom and I look at my reflection… small puffy bloodshot eyes – for lack of sleep and a long face – for not knowing what I’m doing. A part of me should really be laughing at this scene: an orange in one hand, a journal in the other… but no space to sit and eat, to sit and write… yet still walking around the hostel in search for… peace!? It obviously isn’t meant to be, so I’m drawn back to bed.
I lie there, listening to the snoring lady in the top bunk bed. I start wondering: what on earth have I started? Why am I doing this? Should I move onwards? Should I head down south? If I do, am I then running again? I can’t answer this last question truthfully, seeing as though my mind is foggy. So I let it go… I let my mind take me wherever it wants me to go… and before I know where I am, I’m in the south of Spain, then India and later Indonesia.
Refraining from wrecking my own head, I don’t get angry with myself for letting my mind run off and do what it’s accustomed to doing. Instead I simply wish for guidance. Then it comes… in the form of a dream (as soon as I dose off)… I’m trapped in a house, a place of my own. The back windows of the house are open and I panic. I need to shut the world out. Luckily I do… Then I look out the front window and can’t understand how I’ve landed myself in this new position, in this new home… of my own... in a place unknown to this world! A home that’s being invaded by outsiders and terrifying me at the same time… Terrifying me!!! Since when am I so fearful?!?!?! Still dreaming, I wonder how I’ve created a home for myself and I feel this pressure from inside and hear as well as feel this loud inner voice… it’s urging, shouting, pushing for me to wake up… I nearly scream out loud but luckily it’s the pressure instead of the scream that wakes me up and lets me break free from a space that’s being sneakily taken over.
Whatever guidance that may be, I'm not too sure of. But it surely does confirm what my surrounding situation is doing to me.
Hostel life is hard work and a shock to my system. The constant flow of people EVERYWHERE leaves me without a moment to be with my thoughts. I’ve no space to reflect on where I’m going, what I’m doing and why I’m here. I’ve been on the go for days, searching for time to find these answers. I’ve been searching for my space outside of the hostel, but how‘s that possible…when I’m in the middle of the city? Of course I can go for walks to clear my head, but in the pouring rain with the wind burning my cheeks, I’m bringing even more tension to my body and strain to my mind. So the only thing I’ve been doing is coffee shop-hopping, drinking herbal teas and vegetable soups.
I never thought I’d see the day, when I’d be going to church to meditate in the middle of a vibrant city like this. I never ever thought I’d reach a stage where I can hardly deal with this commotion, without needing to bring my mind to a silent point of balance on a daily basis.
The girls I’m sharing the dorm with invited me to a pub crawl tonight. Ouch… what to say? Am I tempted to give in and place myself in an environment that will drain me even more, just for the sake of ‘keeping face’? Temptation is so far from my mind… as I’d rather sit here on my bunk bed and write.
Wouw… How much I’m learning from this whole experience! How little I care that I’m not in the pubs with the rest. How little I care that I’m having to be quieter and less sociable when I’m in the hostel, just so I can deal with the commotion that’s going on around me AS WELL as inside of me…
This environment is shaking me about so much and making me conscious of how much I’ve changed, how delicate this journey is, how precious space really is and how important it is to place ourselves in surroundings that complement us and lift us up instead of bring us down.
Even though this is only for a few weeks, the effect already feels huge.
It’s the extremes again: when things aren’t easy, the toll things feel to take can be temporarily unbearable – in that moment. It’s like a weight we can hardly carry. On the other hand, when things are great, the boost we receive is one that brings life to a different level and everything feels to be possible and opportunities spring out of nowhere. Where’s the balance between the extremes? Is that balance in our silence… the space between our thoughts and emotions… the moments of nothingness… the place where all is fine and perfect, no matter how intensely difficult or extremely easy things feel to be?
I know so little, only that I’ll be moving soon, space will enter, clarity will come, answers will appear, energy will accompany and life will continue to flow.