Packing and unpacking has been part of the story of my journey for the past seven months figuratively and literally. Each time I land in a new place my suitcase explodes all over the room in a matter of minutes, my mind does the same, while I settle in and make myself comfortable for another few days. When it’s time to go, I roll it all back up and neatly pack it all away to carry to my next destination. Throughout the journey consciously and unconsciously items have been left behind, given away to those who need it more all as a way of letting go both materialistically and superficially.
The process of letting go of the things I no longer need or that no longer serve me have slowly made their way out of my backpack both real and imaginary. Real tangible items, my comforts, right along with those unconscious burdens that filled my imaginary backpack. Today my load is lighter both literally and figuratively and that tiny voice that was so hard to hear for so may years continues to become more audible as the journey unfolds.
Today would be another one of those days where I packed everything back into my case and wave goodbye to another place, another experience. Some places like ThailLife Resort would fill up my imaginary backpack with items that support me, tools for the road to take the place of those left behind.
I slip into my travelling warrior suit and face the next leg of the journey head on without any expectations, half the time I don’t have all the details I just know what is in front of me and I will figure it out as I go along. Stepping into the unknown, living in the unknown. Today I would be driven to a bus station and dropped off without really knowing what was going to happen next. I have been given a series of vouchers which I hand over to someone each leg of the trip, I handed over my voucher and received a tag for my luggage and a ticket for a boat. Two buses sat in the parking lot and I knew I was getting on one of them, but did not know which one, to take me somewhere to catch the boat to that would bring me to my final destination of Ko Phangan, a tiny island in the south of Thailand. As I carefully watch myself and my old patterns of behaviour that so easily sneak up behind me and present themselves, I realize that there is part of me that lives in equanimity and is unshaken by the unknown but I also see another other part of me that needs to know everything minute by minute. They were both there that day.
I did get on one of those buses and took the front seat at the top of a double-decker to watch it all unfold. Another 4 hour excursion that would wind through the villages between Puhket and the Port of Suratthani. During the voyage, I let my mind wander as we meander along the highway, passing through small villages, roaring past the wild jungles, through the confusion of road construction, with the beautiful sun shinning through the windshield one minute to the roar of the pouring rain the next. I reminisce and let the experiences of the last week settle in. I close my eyes and find myself deep inside the inner recesses of my mind as images of my past life play out like a movie on a movie screen, I remember things that have not surfaced in a long while, memories that were buried so very long ago. I stay with myself and continue offering myself self compassion, love, forgiveness and support and these memories, sometimes uncomfortable, float in and out of my mind.
This journey to the self is one that involves releasing the prisoners of your past knowing that each time they emerge might not be the last time they will visit, they are on probation so must return over and over again until they have served their time and the system has finally cut them loose. Each time the prisoner comes we get the opportunity to see them from a different perspective. Perhaps when they were behind bars we felt anger, frustration, hatred for the things they had done, over time we find that we have compassion for person who has committed the crimes by looking through a wider angle lens, as they come to the completion of their probation period we see them as a human being who made a mistake we realize that they are not the crime they committed but rather someone who committed a crime, we find we are able to forgive them, to understand them and to love instead them instead of hate.
As I exited the bus the rains were heaving a heavy sigh falling out of the sky instantly forming oceans of water on the ground. Most of the tourists were dressed for summer weather but instead greeted by monsoon rains. I would get completely soaked exiting the bus and retrieving my bags out of the back. With an hour to wait, I had time to change out of my slippery flip-flops and into my sneakers allowing the security I needed as I took my next steps.
The only constant in life is change and sometimes we are not prepared for the change, sometimes we don’t have the right clothes, sometimes we don’t have the right attitude, sometimes we are filled with frustration and anger but no matter what – the change is imminent – and it become our inside job at adjust, to apply flexibility, malleability, humour and joy and come back to the only thing that provides any certainty at all, this moment.
The boat that would transport us across the angry ocean, a high-speed catamaran, I would settle into a seat by the window hoping to be mesmerized by watching the swells of the ocean only to realize a few minutes into the journey there would be no visibility. The water spraying across the entire span of the windows leaving my view virtually drowning as the water spread like a curtain across the window. The ride was very unstable and rough. It seemed that another metaphor of life was being served to me, another change, with my visibility virtually shut out, my expectation momentarily shattered, showing me that with expectation I will always find disappointment and fear. With rough and instability of the Ocean my fears come rushing to the surface. I have to reach into my tool box, shutting out the fear and disappointment and pull out my meditation skills. I settled into focusing on my breath and allowing my mind to settle into the moment after ensuring my safety plan and route were well established before closing my eyes allowing the curtains of my soul to close momentarily and move into a place of solitude.
Arriving at my next location for the next 6 nights, The Beach Village Resort, I would settle into another room and go through the whole process all over again with my suitcase exploding all over the room. I immediately scan the room to ensure my basic needs are covered, using Maslow’s Heirachary of Needs, I take care of my physiological needs by ensuring everything is covered. The room is fully enclosed, no bugs or rats! The bed is clean, the blanket and pillows are comfortable, the toilet functioning, the shower containing some resemblance of warmish water (hot water has long become a luxury). I sometimes move furniture to suit my space to accommodate my writing and my general needs. Now I can move onto the next, safety. I ensure there are adequate locks on the doors and I have privacy. I have come to learn that safety does not necessarily mean locks on the doors, having had to learn this the hard way, I now have a new sense of security and know that if someone wants to get through the door, they will. I trust that my karma will carry me through the night and tomorrow will be another day. I trust.
I keep my need for belonging and love alive by keeping in touch with my front row and meeting new people along to keep my sense of belonging and connection.
Self actualization is the journey along with writing, creativity abound.
All needs taken care of. Check.
I would notice some of my stuff surfacing as I realize my bungalow sits in front of the beautiful pool just steps from my front door. What a wonderful surprise! I soon came to realize that I have landed on an island that is known for full moon and half moon parties, which as you can imagine, brings many young partiers to the island. A half-moon part is scheduled for July 1st and they 20 somethings are arriving in handfuls. They would gather around the pool my first morning at the resort which contains a fully stocked bar complete with that music, like fingers raking down a chalk board, boom boom boom, lyrics that fill your mind with all the wrong things. I would find myself instantly triggered, agitated, angry, frustrated feeling the need to get away. It would bring up so many memories of my children playing their awful music on full blast and me climbing the walls with a deep desire for silence. This same feelings would emerge.
I would watch myself and my reaction. Feeling entitled to quiet, to peace at the same time recognizing that I am not the only one here and it is not my right. I had a few choices – plug-in some headphones, which I did for a couple of hours, or walk away from it, go somewhere else, which I did for the next few hours. It made me realize a couple of things, the outside world is going to continue being the outside world and the only way I can maintain the quiet within myself is internally. Remove myself or go inside of my inner world.
As you know I love people watching and I realized quite quickly that this was prime real estate to watch the 20 somethings do their thang. It was quite fascinating to watch the groups of girls huddled together, in one corner, talking incessantly to one another glancing over at the boys inconspicuously. On the other side of the pool the boys gathered in a group peacocking around in hopes of catching the eye of any one of the girls. Big macho men with tiny plastic pails filled with their drink of choice getting louder and louder as the day unfolded. I would leave for a couple of hours while the alcohol seeped into their bodies. Upon my return one group had formed, the boys and the girls together as one. Loud girlish giggles floated into the air while loud male voices overpowered these beautiful melodies with gruff testosterone filled, chest puffing, animated stories riddled with foul language. Hormones filling the air as my own depleted supply reminded me yet again with another hot flash to enjoying the moment of youthful exuberance.