It’s been a year since I left Botswana. So much has changed. But more than the steady job, the good apartment, a great yoga practice – I’ve learned to breathe.
And with breathing, I have found out how strong I am. I handle panic attacks and flashbacks by being mindful, and actively breathing. Sounds simple? It’s taken a long time and hours of therapy to get here, and it’s still a process.
In realising how much I have transformed, I found this online from Energy Muse Jewelry:
Wear your Evolve Mantra Wrap to help grow and transform yourself to reach the energy of love. African Turquoise helps to heal old wounds and aspects of yourself that are holding you back from personal growth.
It hit me hard. That’s what I need to do – move on, heal the old wounds and continue on a journey of personal growth. So whether or not I buy this piece of jewelry is insignificant. I am moving forward, in love.
With that, it seems only right to continue my ramblings to a new space. Moving to a blog that isn’t about me in place I no longer live. Obviously, this Sheila ain’t in Africa no longer.
If you care to follow – here it is. It’s still under construction. But isn’t that true of life too?
So cheers, to an amazing 5 years together. I’m so thankful.
Today, I am nostalgic.
I asked him to pick me up.
“I want to drink wine and dance,” I said.
I didn’t mean for it to feel like a date, hating that the end is coming.
I ate beforehand. His invitation to feed me dinner was too much. It was more intimacy, which I was trying to avoid but so desperately wanted.
We drove up to the concert at an outdoor venue. This was set to be my last concert with him, and with some of my favourite girls before I would leave Botswana.
I was feeling all pretty and carefree in my borrowed hoop earrings.
He reminds me how the last time at this venue, I blew him off. It was because I was with another man. Knowing what I know now? I wish I would’ve noticed him sooner and never looked back.
The main act comes on stage, and we start dancing.
I pretend not to want to take his hand. Rather, I focus on the moment, dancing with friends I will sorely miss.
Tonight, I go out with new friends to bring in the Chinese New Year. New friends, new year, fresh focus. And yeah, there might be more wine and dancing too.
I ordered a glass of white wine at lunch – “I am unemployed!” was my response to the raised eyebrow. He said he couldn’t join me – “you know, because I have to work…”
Aaah, yes, that beautiful moment where it feels like the world is at my feet. I can choose to do anything (I guess until the money runs out). But I can’t wait to really choose what the next steps are. Full of freedom – I can move anywhere, and not just survive, but thrive.
So, I will recover from what feels like a really long few years.
And then? Find out what’s next, and fall headlong into life once more.
Everyday is busy as I spend my final few weeks in Botswana – selling things, trying to wrap up work while fitting yoga among drinks with friends. During all of this I am overwhelmed with nostalgia.
This isn’t some greatest hits album though – some of it has been absolute hell: full of politics and pain.
I love this place even more because of those moments. And I don’t want the hard bits to overwhelm some of the greatest experiences of my life.
Lately during Savasana I have cried. It’s the one time where I am totally still. I let my body fall into the mat. And I cry. For the loss of a life, coincidentally, that I am happy to leave.
Basically, I am stressed – the fingernail biting not sleeping thing has got to end soon.
I read this just now (via Radiant Body Yoga) as a meditation during Savasana, and it rang true to the very core of my being:
Consider all the pain and all the pleasure
You have ever experienced,
As waves on a very deep ocean which you are.
From the depths, witness those waves,
Rolling along so bravely, always changing,
Beautiful in their self-sustaining power.
Marvel that once, you identified with
Only the surface of this ocean.
Now embrace waves, depths, undersea mountains,
Out to the farthest shore.
It is official. The tickets are booked, and my Botswana end date draws near.
Why back to Canada? Well, it’s basically this: I need to sort my life out which includes a way not to be poor.
But I am not totally ready to close the door on Botswana. Why? Well, there is no plan beyond the 15th May when I land in Canada – I will be flat out broke, living in my parent’s basement, searching for the next thing. Funny? On the outside not much has changed since September 2009.
The mixture of emotions right now is starting to make me crazy. Sure, I am happy – hell, I finally made a decision about the next steps, one that I have been waffling about for months. But this isn’t the kind of happy that makes me want to jump around in glee.
I am realising how hard it is to shut down a life.
And the woman that goes home to Canada is so different to the one who stepped foot off that plane more than 3 and a half years ago.
Leaving isn’t something I take lightly.
But today, right now, I choose gratitude with a hint of mourning, and a dash of excitement for what surely will be an even greater chapter in life.
there’s an inexplicable shift when you finally make decisions. it’s a freedom i couldn’t even fathom a few months ago.
i am living in the moment.
no pressure, no expectations. just being present, because right now, in this second, it’s perfect.
there’s something so innately wonderful feeling drawn into just being. and so i fill my days with the smallest of victories; where I am experiencing pleasure.
a yoga class. coffee and a health muffin. a man telling me I am beautiful. underlining in a book. twinkle lights in a garden. wearing a bright pink skirt that blows in the wind. beautiful ruminations that allow me the courage to act on dreams. and girlfriends who surround me with swapping clothes, kind words and wine.
so today. this moment. and Rumi:
“let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. it will not lead you astray.”
I just saw Taco Seasoning mix on a foodie blog’s recipe post, and cringed. Seriously? You just can’t put some cumin in your burrito?
I love knowing exactly what I have put in my food (and being able to pronounce it). Botswana forced me into it though… no taco mixes here… and so my cooking has changed into health foodie style – despite myself. Just in that – not finding what I saw as normal, forced me to change. And the more processed foods I couldn’t find – the more I longed for good that was healthy and unprocessed.
And now I want to change again: to be thrown into something I can barely hold my head up in. Maybe that’s why I loved this place so much. Because seemingly everyday something else was thrown at me that I couldn’t handle. Hell, I couldn’t even find taco seasoning.
I was telling a friend that I was needing something to distract me, during a time of me trying to sort out what this change might look like. He said, “So find something else that can motivate you, push beyond the job, do something for yourself”
And I am. I am plotting the next. And I am getting excited. This year? There will be change – lots of it.
Two weeks ago I would have left Botswana. Forty degree heat without air con, sorting out my feelings over a man, and wondering why I think being far from family during festive season is such a brilliant idea…
My life is so circumstantial sometimes – my decisions feel so based on weather, or relationships, or whether I can get a decent cup of coffee.
So life feels negative, and I can’t seem to get over that energy. I start beating myself up over decisions, bringing up the past. It takes courage to work through, to get beyond the negative. Courage I don’t think I have the strength to muster.
I went to my mat. I needed to surrender. To take deep breaths.
I went to a place where I was forced to meditate and pray. Forced to stretch myself beyond what I ever thought possible.
I read this and it felt so true:
“Often it’s a struggle just to get on our yoga mats. And there are moments we struggle once we get there. Some days it is a wrestling match of the mind. Other times it is a wrestling match of the body. And the only way to liberate this so-called struggle is to soften and surrender. Savasana is taking all of that work and just letting it be. Allowing it to reabsorb into us. It is the taking and acceptance of the final fruit of our efforts. (The Girl Who Hated Savasana)”
Today, when I was doing a back bend, resting only on the crown of my head and the tips of my toes. I crossed my arms and smiled, releasing all of the negative emotions.
My yoga practice has allowed me the privilege to see that I am strong, I can do the impossible, and even when I struggle or it doesn’t feel right: I will get it, trusting my body and my mind.
Isn’t that it? Finding the courage inside of myself, to surrender to that.
Bravery isn’t only for the superheroes…
It’s been a rough year, full of setbacks.
I look back on so many experiences where its been hard. My life became a cycle of crying, therapy sessions and moving homes. I took no vacation, and allowed myself to be dragged into some pretty painful relationships which were like poison.
How do you recover from this kind of year?
Well, right now my answer is this: by dwelling in possibility.
I am done. I need a vacation.
You know that point? Where it feels like you’ve hit a brick wall?
Yep, I am there.
And so I am here at the office. Counting down.
But not in a fun advent calendar full of sweets kind of way… more like dragging.
Slogging through the work that so desperately needs to be completed. Fun, right?