Finally, the blood is here and she is full and juicy and red and gushing. After a 47-day cycle, nothing is more satisfying.
So much is coming up for me right now. About life and aliveness. About men and the masculine in my life. About polarity and equilibrium.
I miss feeling wild and free and just ALIVE. I’ve become so domesticated the past 8 or so years. In order to heal the trauma and habitual fight-or-flight patterns I’ve had to slow down, create safety and self-regulate but at the expense of feeling that buzz of aliveness from the constant drip of cortisol — the only addiction still wired into my cells.
I used to live one day to the next, totally absorbed in each moment in perpetual survival mode. It was exhilarated and I loved living in the emotional chaos of one adrenaline rush to another in the form of a lifetsyle that meant never being settled, feeding off uncertainty and danger, defying conventional society.
I wanted to change. I chose to heal. I knew I had to stop chasing the chemical highs that were my normal from growing up in an unstable environment. Yet I mourn a version of myself and my life that was once my own. I feel complacent about my life. I feel rebellious and filled with rage at a world that has gone mad under the guise of protecting itself from the unpredictable nature of life.
The past two years have shocked me into a fearful complacency that I am not familiar with. I am trying hard to shake it off. Is it age or is it too much comfort that makes me fussy about details like the just-right firmness of a mattress and how the morning light creeps in?
There was a decade of my life where none of that mattered, years spent sleeping in strange uncomfortable places bouncing awake bright-eyed and filled with enthusiasm. Like the time I fell asleep on a chair in the middle of the Mexican jungle waiting for the world to end. It was 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar. To awaken at two in the morning to the sound of distant drums and following that sound to a circle in a clearing. Where I stripped off and danced and sang in the rain until the sun rose with 50 strangers whose names I did not know.
is that life over? Is our world so regulated that I will never experience this kind of spontaneity and freedom ever again? Is that girl I once was gone?
Replaced by sensible bedtime rituals and daily routines to protect the fragile vulnerabilities of my human body and mind. I miss the liberated wildness from a life where I did not care what happens while fiercely appreciating the tenderness and sanctity of life I have now. I want to find an in-between those two versions of my world. A “middle way” as Buddha suggests.
I am moving through the final threads of healing something around men and the masculine. I have been carrying a thread of disappointment around with me the past two years as I make peace with how my own conditioning has led me to participate in and enable the patriarchy and take responsibility for my piece of upholding a sick and imbalanced perspective. With this recognition, I have witnessed so many disappointments. Men, so self-unaware, so entitled, so irresponsible, lacking integrity, shielding their fragile egos with little lies. There is a holy rage running through me and I need to burn it out.
As I feel it I heal it. As I feel it I redefine it. As I feel it I see another path. As I feel it I let it go.
I woke up late and pulled on leggings and a jumper to jump in my car. I picked up a friend at the end of her road and drove to the most south-western point of Mallorca. We hiked up a hill that made me pant and sweat and groan until we were greeted by views of an island that looks like a dragon’s head rising out of the sea. We sat at the lookout and snacked on carrots and nuts and let our hearts fill with the nourishment of nature’s beauty. We scrambled down a cliff face where the path fell away and trudged through bushes and grasses to find our way until we were met by the glittering sea again. I stripped down she did too. Naked we tiptoed our way into the cold winter sea until our bodies submerged. We screeched with delight as our breath was returned after the initial exhilaration and remembered what it is to feel alive.
After months of stagnancy, physical and emotional pain and drudgery, and wading through sticky molasses-like energy, so much are finally shifting again. I have almost finished my Compassionate Inquiry course with Gabor Mate and not only is it fuelling me on so many levels professionally, but it has also offered me a new perspective on my own childhood trauma and the tools and practices I have around handled these aspects of myself.
If the last two years taught me anything it is the deep capacity to hold space for the darkest parts of myself and others in such a way that it is so safe and easily transmuted. My emotional maturity has new layers to it. I used to bypass and diminish the aspects of myself that required validation of ugly emotions and feelings but I don’t do that anymore. It is all welcome here. My capacity and compassion have been broadened and expanded. It is so safe to go to those places within myself now. Which is significantly mirrored in my work.
I just woke up from the strangest dream…
I was a slave, working for a wealthy family. It was set on the seaside in an almost apocalyptic version of the ’80s or ’90s. I owned nothing, got paid nothing, just slaving all day every day and rushing in some meals in between. I felt like I had zero choices zero possibilities, nothing to live for. I wanted to die. I felt at peace with that decision.
Two of my slave friends, a daughter and her mother felt the same so we decided to run away to kill ourselves. The mother had access to syringes and poisons that put you to sleep forever and we planned everything meticulously. We ran away from the house we were enslaved in and met up in a slaves room of a hotel one night.
Each of us had syringes filled with this poison each sitting on a single bed. I was so ready for it to be over I rushed to put the syringe in my left arm and pushed the liquid into me. As I lay there on the bed I started to feel really sleepy and I thought this is it this is my time. I was at peace and content to go and fell asleep.
But then later I woke up. I looked over and saw my friend and her mother dead on their beds. And I looked at my arm and there was a big swollen bulge where the poison had gone in. In my rush to get it done, I had pressed it into the muscle of my arm instead of a blood vessel and my body had neatly protected itself from the poison so I find myself, alive, breathing, with a second chance at life.
I have nothing except my life. I realise something. I am free! I always was free. All I had to do was make a new decision and act. All it took was to leave the situation I was in. All it took was a leap of faith. Life wanted me to live. It always does. We can always make a new decision and act on it. Liberation is literally a choice away.
Wild. What a wild dream.
I have had a devilish relationship with my body and its fluctuating weight since I can remember, like most women I speak to. I have a small frame and put on and lose weight equally as easily, but staying in that self-determined “perfect” state has been near impossible.
I “feel” the best and like my body the most when I’m slender. When I’m slender I’m not eating. I’m newly in love or stressed or heartbroken or travelling in a country where I don’t control my meals. I wonder if that feeling that I’m chasing is actually love. The love of a world that validates a woman when she is slim and gives her snide side-eyes when she’s not.
Why is it that we live in a world that celebrates women for their girlish figures? It is normal at 40 to still want to look like you’ve hardly been touched by the life that you’ve lived?
Most importantly when do we begin distinguishing between our conditioning and our true desires to redefine what we really need to feel good / loved / safe?
Hey, I don’t have answers. Nor am I cured. I lie here writing this laughing at the absurdity of me wanting to starve the softness of 5kg off my bones. That’s why I’m asking questions here.
I think my period is due.
Every time my blood returns I celebrate. I have celebrated and loved my cycle since I was 23, naturally compelled by the secret mystery that lives within me. Every month it’s a delight when those first twinges of my uterus lining tearing, move through me bringing me back home into my body. I am grateful for the cyclical capacity to let go and release emotionally and physically over and over again, reminding me that I can trust the rhythms of life. Nothing lasts and nothing is lost.
2021: Trial by fire.
Today, I am closing the loops. An energetic loop is the container of something that began that needs to be closed. A calendar year, a relationship, a trauma cycle, a life. These are all energetic loops.
2021 found me pulled under the current and tumbled in the backwash of a turbulent world that I had actively opted out of a long time ago. I held my breath and froze. I stopped dreaming dreams for myself this year.
I pulled back this year. I sat back on my haunches and allowed the currents of the world to wash past me while I waited. I plucked at the thorns in my heart and planted wildflowers in terracotta pots on a balcony that was not my own. I watched them grow and loved them through the shortest summer and their even shorter lifetime.
I was held afloat by the women in my life this year. Women who saw me and heard me when I felt I had nothing left in me. I hurt for a world that is unfamiliar to me and over and over I keep wondering if it had always been this way but I had not noticed while I was firmly living in a fairytale world of my own creation.
I drove a Fiat across 4 countries this year and learned to parallel park on narrow winding streets that lead to stairs into the sea. I fell into an obtuse coma fuelled by loneliness and self-reflection and revisited childhood trauma after childhood trauma and grieved all the grief I had suppressed. I needed to feel it all, to heal it. I grieved my past hurts hoping to create space for the light to come in. But mostly, I waited, sitting back on my haunches, for the tide to change.
Until today. Until today, when I decided I would not wait for someone or something else to close those loops for me. I have sovereign responsibility to myself and my life experience. This year has walked me through the fire and taught me energetic mastery. I know where the line of my fierce embodied discernment lies, where I am no longer available to participate in old patterns, and where my wholehearted “yes” lives.
Energetics is the feeling of truth in our bones. It’s the energy that runs through each moment and reveals its core, its verity, the integrity of the current moment and those interacting in it. We work with energetics every day to witness, amplify, conceal, move through what is. More tangibly, energetics is the intersection of our patterns, learned beliefs, and choices. Energetic mastery is how we consciously choose to act on them. It’s our intentional vibe.
When energy loops need to be closed, meaning, they are still open, we feel them leaking our energy leaving us feeling frustrated, tired, confused, foggy, avoidant, crazed, anxious, lethargic, ungrounded. I wonder if you want to close the loops with me too.
Today we have an opportunity to consciously close out open energy loops that need to be closed out before we head into 2022. Today is a beautiful opportunity to kick off this upcoming year with intention, presence and self-love in the form of letting go of what’s ready to go.
CLOSING THE LOOPS RITUAL
— Take inventory of the open energetic loops in your life by writing down a list.
— Determine which loop is the most exhausting/pressing/ scariest and begin there.
— Address it. Either make peace with it, or have that hard conversation, or set that boundary (and keep it), or scream it out. Whatever you need to do to move it. Go through your list until you’re done.
— Watch/feel/sense your inner energetics rearrange themselves. You may feel tired all of sudden and that’s ok. That’s the release. Rest is encouraged after this ritual is complete.
— Burn your list or shred it up while setting the intention “I give permission for any old, stuck energy that no longer serves me to be released with absolute ease from my body while I rest/nap/sleep. Thank you, body.”
— Enjoy the reset, rest, celebrate, feel liberated.
I stuff Danger in his crate, hug my friend whose backyard AirBnB in Chichester I’ve rented for the past week and climb into my car. A soft low mist is hanging over the country roads as I drive towards Newhaven to catch the ferry across the English Channel. It’s romantic, mystical, the perfect picture to leave this island with as I trade it for another.
Apprehension of the border crossings ahead leaves me feeling tense. There’s an inner conflict growing within me, as I try to merge the version of myself that I have known from the past who would travel through the most questionable situations with complete grace and trust, and the version of myself now who feels overwhelmed and drained by the unpredictable uncertainty of the everchanging travel rules that make zero sense to me. I want to be cool, chill, at ease… but instead, I’m leaning into the subtle fear and trepidation reminding myself that whatever happens, it will be ok.
Boarding the ferry offers a welcome respite from my concerns. They check nothing as I leave the U.K. Even the security guard who is supposed to inspect my car asks me to open the trunk, takes one look and says “That looks very neatly packed, I’m not going to mess it up!” and then advises me to hide the houseplants so that I can smuggle them into France. I have 4 hours to fill and answer emails on the shoddy wifi and manage to press publish on a fun article I write on 13 films and series to inspire entrepreneurial women.
On the other end, I slowly roll through passport control prepared with my test and documents where I “on my honour solemnly swear” not to have the C-word and to get out of the country within 24 hours or isolate for 7 days. The 3 men squeezed into a tiny booth are excited to talk to me. As the only young woman amongst 200 pensioners in their mobile homes and 50 cyclists on tour, I imagine I am some respite to their boredom.
They look at my car, packed with life-things, the cat crate on the passenger seat and delightedly ask “You finish with UK?”. I assume it’s a rough translation for ‘are you leaving the UK?‘ and smile and nod. They celebrate with looks of glee and French-British rivalry is evident on their faces. They don’t ask me for my papers the I hurriedly had printed and then painstakingly filled out the night before. Nor my negative test. They look at my passport and see that it’s European and then pass me the scanner to scan Danger’s microchip. He’s cleared and they wave me off. After all the government elucidation on the website, I am surprised. I had anticipated an unpleasant inspection and interrogation.
I drive out onto the road towards the only hotel I have booked for the 4-day journey ahead and remind myself ‘right side, we are on the right side now’. I am surprised at how natural it feels. The relaxed entry into Europe makes me wonder a few things. One, I wonder if all these ridiculous rules have less to do with a virus and more to do with politics. I’m starting to believe that this pandemic has become a convenient excuse to globally tighten control. Two, I wonder if, since they didn’t ask for my paperwork, I am no longer forced/required to get out of France within 24 hours. Because a 10-hour drive tomorrow to make it out in time is terrorizing. Four hours later I arrive in Orleans. I decide to risk it. I look at the map. It’s a 12-hour drive to the ferry port in Barcelona and book another hotel in France for the next night 6 hours drive away.
Two more full days of driving ahead, I have a lot of time to think. I think about how I haven’t been very present with myself nor my life recently. I think about how I’ve been feeling like a body operating on autopilot. I think about how I miss feeling immersed and enchanted by the human experience despite its ebbs and flows, ups and downs. I think about how I used to be able to transcend and override fears and doubts quickly. I think about how I used to pride my ability to be present with things, moments, hours. I think about whether pride is an ego-driven feeling and if it’s spiritually healthy to recognise one’s strengths. I think about the fact that I have concluded that, no matter how consistent and comprehensive your spiritual practices are, they cannot compete with a lifestyle and culture that requires you to be racing forward, geared in the direction of more, more, more all the time. I, at least, cannot be the centred, present, whole I like being in this world.
I think about how, when I was at my happiest I had very few things, commitments, nor agendas. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved travelling to developing countries. No one holds you to the expectations of your culture and society to ‘pursue validation via success’ when you are in a culture or society that values being present, making food and family connections. Most of all I think about how I miss bathing in my own essence. I’ve been busy/avoiding it/feeling tense/uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m feeling the duality of shame and disappointment in myself, I want to be better than this, while also having compassion and understanding, for a life that has felt hard lately.
There is a moment, in a hotel room in the south of France when the pain back pain from my recent injury wakes me. I turn to see that it’s 1.30 am… and I breathe into the area, massage it and work on it the way my physical therapist and osteopaths have taught me, consciously thinking words of healing, release and learning when suddenly the pain subsides, and my left hip relaxes back down to its normal position for the first time in weeks. The body always holds the score. While I still can’t intellectually make full sense of it all, I know this injury is here to teach me something big and meaningful and necessary.
France is beautiful. I take all the no-toll roads. The idea of having to stop the car and run around to the other side every time I need to pay at a toll booth impales me. Id’ rather drive an extra hour here and there and see the scenery. Small cute villages, sunflower fields and windmills, a palace of dreams softly glide past. On the third day of my drive, I go up into the Pyrenees to cross the border into Spain. I need to wee but I decide to wait for one of those cute French roadside rest stops. Three hours later I’m still waiting and desperate and nearly at the top. I finally pull over on the side of the road, skip out into some bushes and pray that my wild wee will go unseen. Back in the car I’m so overcome with relief I miss the exit to Spain and drive into the tiny shiny shopping mall, liquor store and petrol station bespeckled tax-haven Andorra by mistake.
20-minutes down the mountains on the other side I see a Spanish flag and assume I must have crossed into Spain. Eventually, two men in uniform on the ragged edge of a road wave me down and I roll to a stop. I pull my passport out but they just ask me where I’m going and where I’ve come from and tell me to have a good trip. At the outskirts of Barcelona, I stop. I haven’t eaten all day and I run into a shop and buy a cheap sandwich. I’m relieved and exhausted. The final part of my journey, an overnight ferry to Mallorca, is a few hours away.
Danger is an absolute angel the entire way. Happily snoozing in his crate in the car without complaints, exploring the new spaces and demanding cuddles when we arrive in the hotel rooms. Until we get on the ferry. We have a cabin to ourselves but the engine is loud and the motion unfamiliar so he panics and tries to escape into a hole in the cabin wall. Finally, he settles in the little round port window where he can watch the water down below. Neither of us have much rest. I book a pet-friendly hotel 20 minutes out of Palma while I look for our new home for the next few weeks.
Exhausted, bleary-eyed I arrive at the hotel at 6 in the morning. Check-in is not until 2 pm but I hopefully ask if we can have a room early. They tell me to bring my bags in and then wait for a couple of hours. I ask if I should leave my cat in the car or bring him in too. “Cat?! We don’t accept cats.” the receptionist responds. I had emailed them two days earlier to check and received a response saying they accept pets up to 5 kg. Danger is 6.5 kg but no one is actually going to weigh him to check. I show them the email. “We have to wait for management to come in to ask,” I tell them I’ll be back soon and go find my car. I sit down in the driver’s seat, close the door and cry. I’ve reached my limit. I know everything will be ok, but I have no more capacity for anything.
Half an hour later, armed with a list of hotels that will accept us, I walk back into the reception. “It’s fine”, I tell them, “I’ve found another place”. It’s next door. An expensive resort hotel with a private beach, spa and sauna. I walk in and they get us settled by 9 am. Danger loves manifesting the best life for us, always. I have some breakfast at the breakfast bar, take a nap, and go straight into a full day of calls with private clients.
The first four days are full of work commitments. Between working and sleeping and trying to recover my energy from my injury, all the changes, and the long drive I have zero time to explore this new place I hope to call home. I struggle with the fact that I feel so exhausted and depleted. I should be happy. It’s warm. The sun is shining. I can swim in the sea. But I have no capacity for feeling pleasure right now. All I can think about is getting through this week, and letting my body rest and heal.
I start to feel some kind of reemerging. I’ve been here a week. My body is brimming with stagnant emotions that need to be cleared. No amount of shaking and meditating and journaling is shifting it. My mind keeps going to really dark places, filled with insecurity and self-doubt. I find it hard to respond to texts, kind words from friends, or do anything that extends beyond the most necessary. I know this is not who I am, but a response to how my body is feeling. I need help. I go see a craniosacral therapist. Her touch is tender, nurturing, subtle. She confirms that my body is completely depleted and full of sadness, anger… The next day I spend the entire day crying in the car while I try to understand this island, look at some potential apartments, and get an idea of where I might want to live. I’m releasing so much. It’s not pretty but it’s necessary. I need time to rest/cry/feel/read/process. Time that I don’t have right now.
Many parts of Mallorca are starting to close down for the winter. I don’t want to be isolated and lonely and decide I need to stay closer to Palma at least for my first 6 months while I find my feet, and narrow my search to 3 specific areas that give me good vibes when I’m in them, 10-15 minutes out of the capital. I look at more apartments. There’s one I like. It has a balcony with sea views, cute cafes nearby, and feels warm and welcoming. They offer to furnish it from IKEA for me. I negotiate a 100 Euro monthly reduction from the asking price and ask them if they would allow me to give them my preferences for the furniture. They agree. I have a home. We move in next week.
It’s Sunday as I stand on a London Overground train between Hackney and Dalston, sardined by the most people than I have been in two years, my nose safely tucked into my own armpit to escape the humid wet-dog smell emanating in the carriage. I smile to myself about both being in such intimate proximity of other humans and the fact that, if things had gone to plan, I would have at that moment, been 1,222 kilometres south racing through France and into Spain in Punto-baby on a 24-hour visa.
But “not on your timeline,” the universe said.
At the start of September, I do something out of character. I sit down and plan my trip to Mallorca. I write down dates and book ferries and hotels and mentally start packing my things. This is kind of fun, I think, I get why some people love planning. And that’s it. I feel ready.
A few days later I receive a call from the lady whose flat I’m subletting. She tells me she is going to come to Brighton for 10 days to organise and pack some of her things, clean the flat, and handle the handover to a friend of mine that I’ve arranged to take over the sublet. Great! I say. Where are you going to stay? I am shocked and outraged as she tells me that she expects me to sleep in the living room while she takes my bed and bedroom.
The conversation intensifies as I tell her that does not work for me and she refuses to look into alternative arrangements. After half an hour of back and forth, I end the discussion and feel my body fill with holy rage. My boundaries are being crossed and I am quietly furious. I want to know what my rights are and contact Citizens Advice where someone assures me that she has no right to request to stay in my flat while I am living in it. They send me legal documents that I forward to her in an email with a calm and formal statement that she is welcome to access the flat at agreed-upon times but may not stay there. She does not reply.
I am unaccustomed to having to take legal action and hold such strong boundaries. My body feels tense and apprehensive at this new experience. I know I am doing the right thing and also rewiring the parts of me that would have once allowed me to be subjected to such overextensions. I feel it in that quiet place inside that shows me the way.
Halfway through September, I take Danger to the vet for his Animal Health Certificate required for international travel. Inside, we wait 45 minutes until she sees us and then tells me that she can’t do the health certificate because his rabies vaccine isn’t compliant with the brand they accept. You’ll need to get another vaccine and then have to wait an additional 21 days before you can travel. She says. I look at her with disbelief. We are leaving in 10 days. We have ferries booked. We have nowhere to live. She looks sorry in that polite way that British people do, big ‘it’s not my fault’ eyes. She gives Danger new rabies shot and as the chemicals hit his bloodstream he wets and shits himself. Poor baby. We both have a nervous system collapse and drive back home.
It takes me a few hours to collect myself and self-regulate through reframing the situation, rest, handing it all over to the Universe and taking tangible steps to accept these changes. I cancel all our hotel bookings, reschedule the vet appointment and the ferries across the English Channel and the Balearic Sea. I also take to Instagram and ask my community for help. I need a place to stay for two weeks until I can attempt my trip again. Within 24 hours Danger and I are generously re-homed. I feel deeply grateful and so supported.
Twelve days before my move-out date from Brighton I hear back from the lady I have been subletting from. An excessively long, emotionally charged email lamenting me for not allowing her to stay in the flat and accusing me of having destroyed it and inviting strange people to live in it. It’s so ironic. I think to myself. The flat is cleaner and nicer than it was when I moved in and she’s suggesting that I’ve turned it into an opium den. It’s ridiculous. This woman is clearly mentally unstable. Again, I go to Citizen’s Advice who advocate that I acquire written accounts from my neighbours who have visited the flat and see who comes in and out, to affirm that her suggestions are untrue. As advised, I respond shortly and formally with legal statements.
A week later, she replies, again trying to assert her control and dominance with a novel-length email that I skim-read to learn that she will no longer come. She requests peace and time to do an inventory of her things before she returns my £1,000 rental deposit and requires me to give the keys to her friend who will then give them to my friend, instead of me giving them to my friend myself. Fine. I’ll give her to the end of the year. I have all the legal documents ready including information that she is receiving government benefits while being out of the country and will destroy her if she tries anything. My fury with her disrespect and lack of common sense is high.
I spend a week packing and cleaning until on the final day my lower back aches so badly I have to lie down in between washing the floors. I promise to book an appointment with an Osteopath as soon as I have arrived in my temporary home in London, the house of a friend of mine that is empty for a week while she is away. They are fully booked on Saturday and I have plans to see my friend on Sunday, the day I find myself in a fully packed overground train, and walking on the Heath for so many hours I have to support my back with my arm on the way home…
On Monday morning I find myself on an osteotherapy table in my bra and leggings underneath the gentle warm hands of one of the most attractive men I have ever seen.
He tells me that the acute back pain isn’t actually structural but rather a physiological response to the internal organs on my left (feminine) side contracting so tightly to protect themselves that they have pulled my spine and posture out of alignment. He asks me if I’ve been eating anything differently which may have cause inflammation but I instantly know it’s not physical. It’s emotional.
My finely-tuned super-sensitive system has been slammed with abnormal emotional challenges all month long and this is how it has responded. By curling into a fetus position within my own body. He spends an hour working through the tight muscles between my organs in my stomach, hips and back.
I feel relief and release and watch his gentle face concentrate on his work. Tall, dark and handsome, I wonder if it would be inappropriate to ask him to marry me. Come back in a week. He says afterwards. I’m leaving on Friday. I smile back regretfully. And you’re never coming back? His right eyebrow arches quizzically. Probably not. I laugh. At least not until after winter. I leave feeling much lightened and saunter across East London to meet up with a friend who jubilantly reveals that she’s pregnant. I cry, in part because I am genuinely so happy for her, but also because the emotional release from the opening of my cramped-in organs has begun. I find myself in tears from the smallest things for the rest of the day.
A full day of sitting down with private clients leaves me feeling stiff and sore. I book another osteotherapy appointment at another clinic, 90 miles from London, in the town I will spend the remainder of my extended time in the UK for the following week. A sleepless night of progressing aches and pains in my stomach and back bleeds into another full day of private clients. Moving, walking, bending shoots crippling pain through the left side of my body.
My movements begin to resemble those of Gollum as the gurgling protests in my stomach and acute pain that even seldom-used painkillers don’t offer respite to. By mid-afternoon the way I feel alarms me so much I call the osteopathy clinic seeking comfort. The girl who answers the phone looks at my file and assures me that it is expected that I would be unable to do anything but rest for up to a week as extraordinarily deep work had been done. I wish he would have told me.
I cancel the rest of my calls and the next-day yoga retreat that I had been given as a PR gift. Disappointed I find the only position that I can be comfortable in, lying down flat and straight like a sardine with my head propped up. From this place, I can watch films, type on my laptop and drink tea.
The next day, today, I just lie there and type. I type email after email until every email I’ve needed or wanted to write has been written. I write this. I pack up my life once more. Tomorrow we are moving to a new town. One we’ve never been to before. With a lighthouse and sandy beaches and an Osteopath who tells me to meet him outside of the rugby club that houses his clinic.
The month of September has been an extreme rollercoaster of tests from the Universe, recalibration, growth and healing. Landing me in this position here, right now. I know there are many gifts and lessons for me to learn. Lessons around flexibility and flow, around having humour when things change. Lessons around having a strong backbone and supporting myself when someone tests my boundaries, a sign of my growth and evolution as a human, woman.
It awes me how, over and over again, the body shows me that human existence is one interconnected system: thoughts, emotions, experiences, food, actions… everything you do impacts the whole. It’s a classic example of my reticular activating system in action. And if we zoom out and apply that same perspective on the world at large, there’s no question why the planet is facing the difficulties it is right now.
Photo by my delightful Brighton neighbour Fern Edwards.
There are times in life where extraordinary things happen in an ordinary way and all the pieces of your life fall apart and then rearrange themselves like a cosmic puzzle piecing itself into place. The past week has been one of those times. I don’t have answers but I’m trusting the path my heart is being pulled, the kismet tug I’ve lived my entire life by.
It’s been 18 months since that pull brought me to Brighton, but it feels like a lifetime has passed here, living through the most unfamiliar oscillation of our current existence. These 18 months have had me see the world through new eyes. And fall in love with it in an entirely new way.
On one of the first sunny days in late June, sitting on the beach with a group of girlfriends, I turned to them and say “I have some news… I’m leaving Brighton at the end of September.” Sad faces and well-wishings came with the question “Where are you going?” “I don’t know yet… I have friends in France and Greece and Spain and Portugal I want to visit. I think if I go see them the answer will come. Somewhere sunnier and warmer”. Mallorca, an island I’ve never been to, kept tugging at my sleeve.
13 sunny days in the past 3 months is the disappointment that some people call ‘Summer’ has etched my decision into my heart even deeper. I keep buying summer dresses on Depop under the pretense that it would encourage summer to finally start, but that did not work. I wasn’t thriving here anymore. At the start of the year, I had entered some kind of lackluster stagnation, a sensation I refuse to be a willing participant in. I don’t know how people live in a tiny box enclosed by the same four walls year in and year out. I am not those people.
My loose plan was to put my 3 bags that contain my life possessions in storage, leave Danger-baby with a friend, and travel for a month or three, while I let the cosmos move me to my next steps. Then, like dominoes falling, all my potential cat-carers pulled out, the place I might have stored my things was no longer available and I was left with a question in my mind. “If not this, then what?”
In my distant past, the not-knowing would have made me feel tense and uneasy. But the years I’ve dedicated to retraining my central nervous system to soften, relax and trust when the emptiness of the unknown arrives, have paid off. Ultimately there’s an opportunity for redirection and undiscovered answers here. When things aren’t flowing, I pull back and let go of any plans and ideas. This is the space where the extraordinary can happen.
Returning home from the 3rd festival in a month, satisfied and tired, on the 2nd day of my moon, I let my mind wander back to the topic haunting me, What are my next steps? My inner voice replies, You need a car. I can feel some resistance in my body. Ugh… a car. I don’t love driving and I’m slightly traumatized from the last time I bought a car, 8 years ago, that blew up after 3 weeks. This time is different, she says. That was the past. Let go of the past.
This feeling in my body, I know it well, alive with inspiration. It’s one of those times where I am transported to a realm where I am not in control and everything happens to me, for me. I love those times. It’s one of the reasons I love to travel. I get to access it more often in the spaces between. I type “used cars” into google and find a place with the best reviews. There’s a cute car there that looks brand new and only has 10,000 miles. I feel drawn to it immediately. I go to Facebook marketplace to compare prices and models from the same year.
I return to the original listing… there’s something about it, I don’t know, but I trust the feeling and leave an inquiry about it. The car dealer calls me back and answers my questions and I tell him I’m going to sit with it and then come see it if it feels right. I text my most practical friends to find out about buying cars in Europe vs. the UK in terms of quality, price, and ease of driving left and versus right-hand drive. In unison, they tell me that the UK is the best place to buy.
That night, sitting on the floor having a picnic with a group of girlfriends, I ask them “Does anyone here know anything about cars?” Most of them shake their heads, two of them nod and give me their best tips. “I am thinking about buying a car…” I continue. “What do I need to know?” The circle of women looks at me wide-eyed. “Where did this come from?” “I leave you alone for 24 hours and then this happens?!” “What? Why?”. We laugh and I tell them about the inner guidance I’ve received and show them the car I am thinking about. They oooh and aaah in approval. I’m going to go look at it tomorrow, I’ve decided.
It all happens really quickly. The car salesman whom I spoke to on the phone guides me to the car and as we walk I vibe him out. His energy is pure and clear. I can trust him. This is the only way I know how to make decisions. I feel everything and I’ve learned to trust my intuitive feelings unreservedly. He leaves me with the car to check it out while he moves some cars around the car center. The car feels solid, gentle, safe. A blue Fiat Punto owned by a grandma for 10 years who drove it to the high street once per week. We take it for a test drive while I ask him all the questions I pulled off a google search titled questions girls should ask when buying a car. It passes all the tests and I take it to a mechanic for a final check.
I buy the car. A new plan unfolds. It feels fluid, graceful, fun, easy. This is how I know I’m on the right path. Punto-baby, Honey Bear, our things and I are going on a European road trip across France and Spain to move to Mallorca. There are moments in life that I know will be extraordinary before they happen and this is one of those moments. I breathe in deeply as it comes.
I’ve been 40 for 1 week, today. It’s so strange, this counting lives lived by the number of spins we’ve spun around the sun. What if we counted, instead, maturity levels and wisdom and capacity to hold and heal the hard things and find love and joy in all the little things. Some people with 50 spins might get a rating of 15 and some with 17 spins might get a rating of 89.
The electricity in my seaside flat went out yesterday morning. Being a Sunday no one could come to fix it until midday today and so I spent 30 hours with my books and thoughts and watercolour paints and an evening writing by candlelight. I wish the electricity would go out more often. The quiet humdrum solitude gave me space for words: a new article, 3 poems, and some deeply insightful journaling came tumbling out of me bringing me a peace I had wished for because words from under pens and tip-tapping fingertips are the only balms that reach me under my skin.
My guiding anima visited me at 4 am this morning. She only comes every so often when I have things I need to know and hear, often after I have beseeched her for guidance in my waking life. Knowing that at 4 am I will listen without retort pinned down by the heaviness of slumber in my bed. She told me to get the battery in my laptop replaced to give it a second life. She’s much more pragmatic than I am, the voice of a loving grandmother, filled with practical magic. She told me to stop replying to the man who keeps messaging me proclaiming words of love that dissolve into thin air unsubstantiated by gestures. She told me that all the familial healing I’ve been doing for the past decade is done. And that I can finally turn to larger issues. She told me to write a poem about it.
I still have tendrils of that poem floating about in my mind but am yet to put them to paper. The boy I unfriended and unfollowed and archived all his messages determined not to respond the next time he calls. My laptop has an appointment with the Apple Genius Bar this Thursday.
My friend Petra said something to me today that really laid my heart to rest. I was bewildered by my inability to “settle” that I speak to in ‘finding home‘. She said that ‘nesting’ isn’t the comforting necessity that people make it out to be but an illusion to soothe the sense that life hangs in a delicate balance. I resonate with the sentiment as I have noticed that since ‘settling’ in the UK I have found myself being increasingly measuring and inflexible compared to how I normally am to allude myself with a sense of control. I miss my fearless ability to rest in the uncertainty of living in the world.
But now I have a fluffy Mexican fur friend whom I feel I owe some kind of home. Sometimes I wonder if I am projecting all my maternal instincts on him. More than is healthy or natural for an untamed feline. But his soft, gentle love has made me this way.
I yearn for a return to more natural living and am counting the weeks (five) until I find us a home in a gentle Mediterranean bay where I can dig my fingers into the soil and have my bare feet balance over rocks, seashells and sand, diving my sweating brown body into warm salty seas and writing moments at a time in the cool shade of early mornings or evenings. Where my work and art are the fruits of a life lived and not the contents of it.