I like to think that there were bluebirds singing and the sun was shining, you know à la Snow White, but I doubt that was the case.
In fact the historical forecast says it was:
“Dull, rather cold and very dry”
So, not the Fairy-tale entrance I would have hoped for
I have always loved birthdays.
On your birthday, though you may be shy or uncertain how to receive it, the one thing you are allowed to get and like receiving on this day in particular – is attention.
But for me it’s been much more than that and always has been.
I have always had a sense of the spiritual and revered birthdays even as a young child. I didn’t know why then, but I guess it’s because birthdays, much like New Year’s Day often cause us to become contemplative.
More importantly I have always felt that birthdays are an opportunity for me at least, to start anew and change what I may not have liked in the previous year.
I believe that we are precious; each and every one of us.
The wonder that is YOU !When I look into the wonder that is the face of my grandchild and I feel the overwhelming joy she brings and the immense gratitude that showers when I think of how I have been so blissed and graced with the beauty of her soul.
I am awed…
I am awed because I realise, I too was and still am SO wonderful…
So too are YOU!
I am awed by the trust her soul has placed in me, by choosing me to be her guardian and her ‘Ya Ya.’
The day she was born was unreal…
I relived the heightened, intense and deeply emotional rush of love, protectiveness and sheer unadulterated joy that I’d experienced with the birth of her mother before her and her mother’s siblings.
It confirmed what I think I instinctively knew as a child and why I have always revered birthdays and made an effort to celebrate them.
It confirmed to me, that with birth we get to truly touch and be reminded of our connectedness to all…
The intensity of birth (and I have no doubt of our soul’s passing), is electrifying and that surge of loving energy reminds us (or me at least) that we are more that just the skin and bone shell we inhabit and that we are limitless!
So, today especially, whether or not we are celebrating birthdays or not; We can try and remind ourselves every day.
This is my new mantra… Why not make it yours too?
I will remember my connection to all there is
I will remember I am love and kindness and compassion embodied if I so choose
I will remember I am infinite
I will remember to forgive myself and others for perceived failings
I will get up, and get on with living
I will be gentle with myself and talk to myself as I would my granddaughter
Here’s the first instalment of my ‘Pissouri Pilgrimage’ posts. There was some learning and there was some insight, so for the next few weeks I’ll share them here with you.? My hope is that they help you in some way by shining a light on your thoughts about yourself or life, or give hope if you’re feeling less than confident. Maybe they will confirm for you how amazing life is!
4th October 2015
Pissouri – Cyprus 23.55 (local time)
I’m away as you can see.
For some strange reason I had a real feeling of trepidation about travelling and was almost in tears as I left this morning at 8am for my flight to Larnaca from Leeds & Bradford Airport. I had no idea why, I just felt so fearful; a complete feeling of dread was nestling in my chest and I nearly didn’t come. If it wasn’t for the fact that I would regret wasting the money spent and that I’ve had hassle changing bookings and etc. I think I may have ‘chickened’ out.
But, I’m here now.
10 days…alone with myself abroad.
It’s quite daunting and I think this is what made the fear rise up in me, even though I have travelled alone before, but that was some time ago.
I managed to re-assure and calm myself on the plane by playing with my angel cards, (I have brought them with me). Whether they provide comfort or not I believe they do and so that’s all that matters.
On the flight I sat next to Carol and her friend Margaret. Both phenomenal in their 70s (looking decades younger) and travelling to meet a friend who is very familiar with the island as she used to live here. They’ve both been before, but never alone and called me ‘brave.’ Hmmm… not sure I was feeling too brave at the time, but hey! I was still gripped by this in explainable fear, but you can’t exactly tell the pilot to turn around or stop the vehicle now can you?
Through someone else’s eyes
Airport terminal and they were aghast that I had not sorted my onward journey and had no idea how I was going to get from Larnaca to Pissouri. It turned out to be quite simple. A bus from Larnaca to Limassol and then a taxi to Pissouri. The bus was only €9, a bit better than the £74 round trip it was going to cost for transfers when I tried sorting it from sunny Leeds!
So there I am, pleased with myself that I’ve sorted the bus and I won’t have to spend a fortune and dip into an already sparse pocket. I’m still panicky, so I remember to be grateful and tell myself I’m lucky to be where I am and to be having this experience. I focus on reminding myself that the universe will support me and that things will turn out OK…
I believe it (kind of), but I say it to myself none-the-less.
It’s funny how we see ourselves differently to others. They saw a brave woman, going it alone, but because I was on the inside of me I focused on the nervousness I was feeling. Yet they would never have done what I did and would rather have lost the money they spent.
Sometimes it does you good to listen and see yourself through other’s eyes. You may just be surprised by what you discover.
Well, just as this girl thought she’d done ‘good,’ the bus driver says I have to get off at the first stop and get a taxi. Now when I bought the bus ticket the woman made it quite clear (she even circled it on the bus timetable she gave me), that I should get off at the second stop; St. George (a church – I get the impression there are a few churches here, to say the least!)
Something tells me this is bit of a ‘swizz’ and the bus driver and taxi man are in cahoots, but I have no choice, my driver is going no further.
€40…YES €40 later I am at the apartment.
Don’t get me wrong, me and Mr. Taxi man had a lovely chat. It turns out his daughter is studying ‘Biomedical Science’ at Leeds University, Yes, my hoe City – Clever girl!
What a very small world indeed…
He has three children like me and like me has two girls and a boy. His son is just finishing school and will have to do National Service and daughter no. two they are trying to get a position within the navy or something as she tried studying in the UK as a make-up artist, but gave it up. I don’t think he was too impressed.
The conversation sounded all too familiar and you realise that no matter where you go, people are all the sam. The same wants and dreams, the same concerns and issues. The language and the customs and the faiths and the cultures are wonderful manifestations of our uniqueness, yet below the surface there’s the universal experience of life that connects us to each other.
Underneath it all we are ONE…
But, I’m at this point smarting from the realisation I may have been ‘HAD!’ and I’m seriously worried about how I’m going to survive here.
This, I think was what my panic was about. I know how to penny pinch at home, but abroad?
And who wants to feel restricted in such beauty? But then I tell myself I am as confined and restricted as I think I am.
After orienting myself around the apartment, which is lovely by the way. Modern and very, very cleeeen! My kinda place. The lovely Theodora came up and introduced herself and gave me a bit of a run down. She’s from Eastern Europe, but says she likes the weather here.
A quick shower…
The panic rises again…
That first night out and dinner alone.
I talk myself down and take another couple of angel cards. Pretty Stupendous they are too: ‘Blessings,’ and ‘Archangel Michael.’
So off I pop, telling myself blessings are all around me, that Michael is with me and will take away my fear…
I’ve just returned from dinner (yes alone).
Halloumi, olives, pitta and hummus…delish! I DO love that cheese, and proper goat’s milk too, so no bilious belly and cramping later, but so very rich; I’m going to have to abstain and not indulge every day methinks.
At dinner I people watched and gave thanks for the lovely food and the very handsome cats that hovered like vultures wanting anything that might fall from your table. I had visions of the god almighty bloody scrap that would ensue if all five (or was it six?) of them descended on some morsel I might drop and I’m to put it to the test, but declined.
Being open to connection
After eating and feeling very satisfied and just whilst I was just taking in my surroundings, a gentleman started to eat the grapes that hung from the roof of the restaurant. I did for a moment think they were real, but there were so many and they seems so perfectly round and plum and juicy, I’d deduced they’re fake.
Xenios offered me some (at least he wasn’t called Costas – That was the taxi driver!) and I have to say they were delicious, though a tad dusty, but what’s a little dust between new acquaintances? We chatted and he seemed to know quite a few people…he is also, it seems rather accomplished as a businessman as he seems to run a lot of different enterprises. Anyway, no doubt I’ll bump into him again as he has a water-sports business on the beach.
Conversation over, I walked back to the apartment in that profound darkness that there always seems to be when you’re on holiday and marvelled at the fact that I could clearly see the constellations and I was so grateful for the lack of light pollution. I mused how we can only connect if we are open to it. If I’d been fearful or resistant Xenios would not have approached me. Sure he probably does it with everyone, but for me alone, it was a welcome distraction from my nervousness and fear.
In what way could you connect? you could be the person who relieves a moment of anxiety for someone else. so consider the next time you pull back from reaching out due to your own nervousness or fears.
I decided to write-up my day in a diary, but then realised that perhaps this trip will contain significant learning & insights that I can share, so here goes.
Today has been about trust:
Trusting that the ‘other’ source is there to support me and to support all of us.
Trusting myself and my instincts to get it right
I was tested and thrown into strange and unfamiliar situations and with people I did not know…
This frightened me.
I was tired and not wanting the challenge of having to do this all alone.
I had to rely on myself and more importantly, to trust that the universe would create the best outcomes for all concerned.
She did…but the outcome would have been very different I suspect if I’d gotten into panic and continued to have negative thoughts when my fear arose.
Like the boy in the Polar express I kept feeling my way when all I wanted to do was give up or turn around and go back.
I stayed in gratitude, trusting that I’d be OK…
I now believe I will be just that…OK.
I swallowed my fear and ventured out, when I wanted to stay in and hide and give myself the excuse that I’d just arrived and I could go out tomorrow.
Instead, I pushed through my panic and fear and…
I ate well
I made a connection
And the crème de la crème… I found a vegan raw food restaurant on the walk home…
Guess where I’ll be eating from now on?
Kale chips a plenty!
23.24 UK time: 1.24 Pissouri time. Time to sign off
Today’s post is an attempt to at least scratch the surface of a situation that many of us are in, a state that we can suddenly be plunged into or a state that can creep up over time, but which none-the-less we can find a challenge to grow accustomed to…
It’s a theme that’s been revealed to me at least three times this week (even this morning as I read a post on LinkedIn) and so I thought it warranted some examination.
The State of ‘Aloneness’
Many, many people are living alone or find they’re spending significant amounts of time, perhaps more than they’d like, in their own company. “Nothing wrong with that!” I hear you shout and indeed there is nothing wrong with that, IF it’s a milieu of choice.
You’re right being alone can wonderfully liberating. It has the potential to be a space in which you really get to understand who you are: Your wants, needs and desires; an opportunity to tap into your deepest fears too and gain a 360’ perspective on yourself. This of course is vital if we are to have healthy, secure and long-lasting friendships and relationships. It’s true, unless you know and love yourself, you cannot hope to truly love another.
But, for some…
That aloneness becomes too weighty to carry.
It begins to feel like isolation and disconnection, especially if it is not a state or space person wants or when there is no deeply felt connection.
101 ways to aloneness
The state of being alone can manifest for many, many reasons or occur because a myriad of changing circumstances and it’s not just the elderly or middle-aged that can find they are now languishing in extended periods of isolation:
Perhaps your friends’ life stage has changed. They now have responsibilities you don’t or are studying and you’re not, or they’ve moved away for study or work so you’re not able to connect as often.
Perhaps you’re an ‘empty-nester’ and your children have left home and your partner has died or you have suffered a divorce leaving you in aloneness for much of the time once you return from work or whatever it is you do
Perhaps you’re elderly and your spouse or significant other has died and you never had children or your children have moved away, or (as is often the case today) your children are not really bothered about connecting with you.
Perhaps you’re shy and it’s a challenge for you to connect easily. You are respectful and converse as necessary at work or whatever, however socially your opportunities few and others neglect to invite you to events assuming it’s ‘not your thing’ OR ’S/he probably wouldn’t want to come…’
Perhaps the opposite is true, you’re gregarious and lively company, so people assume you’re bound to have an invitation to X, Y, Z event; someone ‘MUST’ have let you know?
But guess what?
They all did what you did and made and assumption, they decided the responsibility wasn’t theirs and simply didn’t check (Obviously I’m not going to list 101 here, but you get my drift).
The spinster and her cats
I know we’re all familiar with the stereotypical image of the spinster and her cats, alone and dead for so long no one discovers her for months. To be honest, though it’s used as a joke it’s far from funny when you think about it.
I mean to think that anyone is so cut-off, so disconnected from another human, so separate that no-one cares to look in on them or is aware that they are not around.
What does that say about the society we’re creating?
The Legacy of Noah
Noah built his Ark and led the animals in two by two. I’m sure most of us are familiar with this tale regardless of Faith, but what it’s created is the concept of ‘otherness’ for those who find themselves alone or in a state of aloneness.
If you’re not part of a couple or partnership in some form you’re often penalised and made to feel ‘outside the norm:
There are supplements and extra charges if you want to travel alone, book a hotel room for yourself, but are audacious enough to want a double bed!
As soon as you meet relatives or friends you’ve not seen for a while the first thing they want to know is if you’re ‘courting’ or ‘dating’ or ‘seeing anyone’ YET – The ‘YET’ hanging in the air like a pregnant pause, taunting you with a gnarly, pointed finger and a ”Hmmm… so what’s wrong with YOU?”
Every form of media seems to focus on the pursuit of love (coupling) and or the loss of it (heartbreak) and much like the propaganda around body image & size, there is the equivalent range and quantity of propaganda around single-dom and being alone
Join a club…
Get yourself out…
Get a hobby…
All possible solutions yes, however they come from an assumption that it’s just getting out that will solve the problem. Hobbies are often expensive, so can club memberships and getting out can mean yes you’re outdoors or at an event, but again you had to call on the courage to do so alone.
Ironically, when you’re out alone you’re less likely to have people want to connect with you.
I’m not going to patronise those who are in this situation by making helpful but actually facile suggestions. You see, the matter isn’t often that those in a state of aloneness are anti-social, often this is far from the case.
I’m making the distinction between being alone (circumstantial, sometimes active, can be positive, or by choice) and Aloneness (a persistent, perpetual state that seeps back into your every day existence and is often unwanted and or more likely to occur over time if you are often physically alone).
You see, as I often assert, we are here for connection. This is why aloneness can affect even those within a relationship.
*Real connection is: Communication with another in which you feel recognised and heard. You feel that you, your thoughts and dreams, opinions and efforts matter to someone.
When ‘Connection’ takes place, those with whom you connect support you, no matter the distance, no matter the crisis or triumph, Those who ‘connect’ with you don’t do so out of duty or out of a passive aggressive ‘surface’ support or love; (when really they doing little to support you or are actively sabotaging you through comments and actions).
When you ‘connect’ your emotional and spiritual energies are nourished and nurtured by the meaningfulinteractions you have.
If this type of communication is taking place, even just occasionally, then being ‘alone’ is a walk in the park and why you now see that ‘getting out,’ or ‘getting a hobby,’ will not necessarily cure the ‘aloneness’ state of being.
Interaction Vs. Connection
When we’re involved in social activity, there’s a limit to the ‘depth’ a conversation or interaction will take. So though a person has a hobby, or is active in the community or has joined a club these can actually exacerbate the situation.
When you are out and connecting on a superficial albeit enjoyable level with others and I would not recommend a person does NOT do these things; once you return to the silence and just the gentle pulse of your own breathing it serves to highlight, in stark contrast…
‘Yes’ you Interacted,
but ‘NO’ you didn’t truly Connect!
*(See previous paragraph for my definition.)
So what’s to do?
My suggestion is make the effort…
We can all recognise a that person who has an air of aloneness about them and if you don’t recognise that about the, but know they live alone (and so there’s the potential for aloneness to be a state they’re in) then instead of stepping away (coz they’re a real ‘saddo’ and you don’t want to be associated with them), step towards them!
Would it really take so much from you to just give someone an hour of your time?
Would it be such a hardship to try truly listening to the next person you speak to, so they come away feeling filled up and included as a member of the human race again?
Would it be such a challenge to open your heart?
So for today and the weeks ahead practise
Speak with your heart open
Listen with your heart open
Connect with another…
Heart to heart…
You may just be the one thing, the one interaction that shifts their feelings from
‘What’s the point?’ to ‘I have a purpose’
and in so doing you may just….
SAVE A LIFE!
A chance to connect…
A chance to support.
Help the Angel Help you.
This is a select and intimate workshop to help you move int he direction you want for your future work or home or career…or just a space to breathe and take stock