A solitary sunset on Koh Chang
After 6 yoyo’ing months being in Chiang Mai, there was no better excuse to get away than my mum and her partner coming to Koh Mak and Koh Chang for a small break from good old Blighty. It’s been a long time coming. They’ve been saying they’re coming to Thailand for the past three years. Better late than never, innit?
The preparation for the trip was difficult. New associations of the past unexpectedly hit me with a few waves of pain when I tried to do the simple tasks such as pack, leave Chiang Mai and arrive in Koh Chang. The hardness was felt due to the fresh and raw associations, strongly linked to the past I hadn’t yet had been confronted with. Once the first is done, it’s easier (Kinda like eating a frog the moment you get up, everything after that is easy). The return to Chiang Mai for the first time alone was hard. Now, everyday is easier. Similarly, this situation of travelling alone will get easier the more I do it. Hmm…. Note to self: Travel more.
Realising. Adjusting. Adapting.
We loved sunsets, but it was now time for me to appreciate this love of the burning sky alone. Solitude is healthy. Aloneness is good. Those words are a few of many that I took from my Vipasanna meditation retreat. It allowed me to find peace with myself and I could again appreciate my own company; something that was always valuable to me.
So, it was sunset o’ clock and I was compelled to get myself to the beach. The sky was clear, the day was beautiful. I sat on Kai Bae beach in the heat of the cooling sun and watched the burning sky for a few moments with the sand tickling my toes. As I watched came thoughts, dwellings and memories attached to the past. I let them. I appreciated them and I respected them. I wanted to know them. After a brief visit to the past, it was time…
… time to close my eyes.
Once my eyes are closed, it is a commitment I give to myself to stay in the present. I find peace in the present as if nothing can harm you. Often my mind wanders and I slowly reel it back in with no question. It wanders once more, again with no frustration or questions I pull myself back to the present. With this, my consciousness had rapidly shifted from the past to the present as the heat of the sun hugged my body and the wind blew on my face, neck and arms. I was sucked in to the ocean and skies presence. With each minute that passed, the warm hug became lighter, became cooler. I could sense the sun sinking into the sea. Two transitions were happening.
The sun was sinking and the emotions were rising.
They were rising from my gut, to my heart and out via my tears; the release I was hoping for. (kinda like squeezing the last little bit of juice out from the lime. Although, there is a lot more juice left in this lime). So… as I digress, it seemed the inner me was in conflict. It seemed there was a battle between two forces: my consciousness and my ego. My mind, my ego wanted me in the past, it wanted me thinking I was not alone, it was stubborn, it was sad. It wants to keep me sad. Maybe I had found some identity with this sadness over the past 9 months. Maybe my ego is sad, maybe sadness is now my ego’s addiction. Maybe not. I believe there was once a time when I needed to feel such intense pain and sadness. It is this pain that is allowing myself to bounce back and grow. Now, after nearly nine months of feeling such emotion, I struggle to fathom a purpose. I let go of alcohol and it’s distractions as it didn’t serve me. It is time sadness gets the same treatment. I am letting it go, or at least trying to.
I remained present.
The deeper the sun fell, the more focused I was. I was determined to remain in the present with a middle finger and a rational, “fuck you!” to my ego that wanted to keep me caged in the past. Raw thoughts and memories came up bringing intense sadness that gripped my heart and gut. Over the last few months, especially after learning Vipasanna I have learnt that with any storm, there is always a calm. I observed and accepted the storm of tears and the calm inevitably came; the pain and sadness was released from my body. I was finally in peace. I sat, still being tickled by the sand, and remained still. My eyes opened.
The sun had sunk. The day had passed.
I was content.