Well, I reluctantly said goodbye to Thailand yesterday, and now I am shacked up in Singapore! The city is incredible - a huge shift from where I've been the past month, but also a welcome change. I'll be here for nearly two weeks, so I'll be sure to post some pictures of my wanderings around here over the next few posts!
My amazing friend Meg, who lives and works here with her fiancé, is graciously allowing me to stay in their apartment! In fact, they're actually traveling right now and wont be home until tomorrow - but they finagled this amazing plan to get me a key so that I could settle in to their place even though they aren't even back yet!
So yesterday, I got to take a *real* shower! I also bought a few little groceries so that I could make breakfast for myself in a proper kitchen! And today, I did my laundry! **grateful for the luxuries**
So I've been trying really hard since I started this blog last spring to not peak ahead at the next blessing coming up. Sometimes it happens inadvertently though... I just accidentally see the title. Or maybe its not really an accident, haha. Maybe my subconscious takes over or something.
Anyways, that is precisely what happened with this past week's blessing. I saw the title a few days before I was supposed to, and I have to admit... it scared me a bit. A Blessing for the Breakup of a Relationship. Sigh. There it was, staring me in the face.
So after my last blog post, instead of reading and posting the next blessing as I usually do, I completely avoided it. I was on an island paradise! I had absolutely no desire to read something that was going to bring me back to reality. So I spent the first half of my week basking in the warm light of denial :) trying to simply forget the fact that the blessing coming up was probably going to be a bit of a doozy for me.
And let me tell ya, it wasn't too hard to distract myself! I had an amazing week exploring the magical island of Koh Lanta. I kept going back and forth between imagining that I was in the show Lost or the movie Jurassic Park. At one point, when a big group of ginormous lizards crept up on me, I was pretty sure I was in Jurassic Park. But then, I peeled a mango with a knife and ate it while sitting on a deserted beach... which is so totally Lost.
I woke up early every morning to meditate and do yoga on the beach, followed by a giant coconut mango fruit shake and a heaping plate full of fresh local fruit. And then it was on to the beach, or the jungle, or snorkeling, or reading in the hammock, or a massage by the water. And then I would end the day by watching the sunset, taking one last swim in the turquoise sea, and then before heading to bed, I would watch the stars come out while eating a tasty local dish, drinking a tantalizing cocktail, and perhaps chatting with a new friend or two.
I mean come on... how amazing is that?
There were a few moments, though, when I was faced with the harsh (and also slightly humorous... at least in hindsight) reality of traveling alone. Like when a fist-sized spider climbed on to my bed the first night. Yup, fist-sized. Or when I got lost in the jungle of the National Park. It was clearly not a good choice to wander off the path, haha. I watched a gecko scale the walls of my room and then disappear behind a curtain as I was trying to fall asleep, and of course my imagination flies to an image of me, fast asleep the middle of the night, with a gecko crawling into my ear. *shudder* And then, to top it all off, there was the time I was chased down a dirt road by a very *very* angry monkey. I'm not sure what I did to offend him, but he was definitely not happy with me.
But I have to say, all those incidents that, in the moment, were actually quite scary, now, looking back, are pretty hilarious. I wish I had a video of my facial expressions as I ran from the screaming monkey.
I have always dreamed about buying a little motorbike and scootering my way around Camberville. Gah, that just sounds like heaven! And this past week, one thing that I was determined to do was learn how to drive a motorbike. Like I said, its something I've always fantasized about, and I figured there's no better (or more romantic!) place to learn than on a tropical Island. So earlier this week, a new friend of mine offered to teach me. The only trouble was, he didn't speak the best english. Plus, I think maybe my confidence level was at a bit of a inappropriate high... Bad combination.
First moment on the bike, I gunned the engine, lurched forward and nearly hit another biker, yelped, freaked out, and jumped off. Thankfully no animals, humans or motorbikes were hurt during this whole ordeal, haha. The poor guy who owned the bike clearly realized that I had no idea what I was doing, and swooped in, grabbed the bike, and drove a defeated me back to the guesthouse... where I retreated to my bungalow and promptly burst into tears.
I don't think it was actually the motorbike incident that brought the onslaught of tears, but rather just simple reality catching up to me.
One of the tricky things about being alone in paradise is, that for the most part, you're surrounded by people in love. Honeymooners, folks soon-to-be-married, retired couples who've been together 40+ years who are now exploring the world together, families taking their first big trip together... In many ways, I loved watching these people this week. So much love, so much trust, so much respect, and above all so much tenderness and heart. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
But there was also something quite lonely about being the witness. And I think my tears after the motorbike catastrophe were actually about that - they were about being lonely.
"Unknown to themselves, certain small things touch nerve-lines to the heart and bring back with color and force all that is utterly lost."
So after I had a good cry, it was time to face reality. I took out the new blessing and read it a few times.
Wowee. Yup, it was a doozy. But also beautiful. And so right on. As he's done a number of times, O'Donahue was able to put words to the confusing and powerful emotional rollercoaster I was (am) on.
The words were hard to read, but I think they were important for me to take in at that moment... I have to accept the fact that this is still an ongoing process. I am still healing. And in many ways, I am still grieving... though its a different kind of grief now, I think. This whole experience is - and always will be - a part of who I am now. Of course, that part of me will change and grow and morph as I do. But the truth is that there is no fantasy cure - I can't simply erase the hurt by traveling halfway around the world. But what traveling has given me is a chance to step outside of my normal life, my normal routine, and look at things from a different perspective.
I don't know what all these different perspectives will teach me... Ya know, I may not be able to articulate that until after I return... or maybe I'll never be able to. But I don't think that really even matters, in the end. It just matters that I experience it - experience life.
"If you remain generous... you will find your feet again on fresh pastures of promise, where the air will be kind and blushed with beginning."
I remember back in the late spring... or maybe it was summertime... I was hanging out with my dear friend Alle, and I was feeling very sad. I was also feeling very sorry - she was my rock during those first few months when I was such a mess. She was the one who saw me at my lowest low. And I was feeling sad that thats all she was seeing of me. I remember saying to her "Yesterday I was feeling stronger and I was excited to show you that I was getting better, but today I'm feeling sad again and you have to be the witness for that."
Here's what she said to me..
"Just because you're feeling sad today, doesn't negate the strength you felt yesterday. Every day is another day forward, whatever that means, no matter what."
Thanks Alle <3 Your words have been with me a lot this week :)
Happy Chinese New Year everyone -- its the year of the wood horse.