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.
The motivation behind this blog was how one women inspired me. It seems only right that I mention other people that have inspired me in similar ways
Life can hand out some crazy shit to us all and quite often, there are one or two connections that come into our life just at the very perfect moment. This was unexpected as my years in Chiang Mai has seen me make many friends, but very few I had a real connection, a real bond with. Up until now, I accepted that it was rare to come across a friendship like this while travelling. But but but, back in November, a stocky, bearded guy from California arrived in Chiang Mai.
He arrived as a stranger. He left with me calling him a brother.
If you stood us side my side you probably wouldn’t think we had too much in common. This is simply because, on some level, we didn’t. He is highly motivated and driven. I however, lack motivation if there is no instant reward. He drinks shots of wheatgrass. I drink shots of Jim Beam. He practices yoga, fitness and meditation. I am lazy, love to sleep and, up until lately, have been a part-time meditator. He wakes up at the crack of dawn. I press the snooze button several times before I wake up momentarily hating the world and it’s early morning singing birds.
Despite all these differences; we shared a connection. A connection I can only relate to having with my own brother or sister. I was at a point in my life where I was in desperate need of family, but had chosen to return to Chiang Mai. I naively returned, in an attempt to chase my previous life, not knowing how desperately I would need unconditional acceptance of my emotions and behaviours. This is what family is for right? Well, he come along and very early on gave me the green light that I could be myself, no matter what mood I was in. Every aspect of me, it seemed, was accepted; my sadness, my lost’ness, my British’ness, my sense of humour and, to some extent, my decision to buy Nong-B.
But, like all things in this chaotic and swirly life of ours, things inevitably change and last week, he left. His purpose of being here in Chiang Mai was fulfilled. It was time for him to hug the ocean in Bali, touch base with his family and live out his dream of beginning a life in Southern California, or ‘So Caaal’. Innit?
The day he left I posted a note on his Facebook wall for all to see. I had this urge to let his friends and family know how much he had supported and inspired me during his time in Thailand. Due to my laziness and the efficiency, these days, of copy and paste, here is the post::
Normally i’d keep this more personal, but I want people that know you to know this.
You came into my life back in November2011 and for me, it was perfect timing. I was going through a dark time in my life, lost in an ocean of sadness with very little direction. I reached out to you and you gave me a much needed hand, filled with compassion, respect and brutal honesty. You were not afraid of my darkness and accepted the dark night I was, and still am, enduring. This hand showed me light and prevented me drowning in my sadness. Something I will be forever grateful for.
I respect and admire your drive and motivation in this life and it will always inspire me. You have been on a journey for the last five years and I feel you have reached a point in this life while being out here in Asia. I’m proud of you man.
I know and understand we are different on a certain level (fitness and health, hmm and EGO), but the level of consciousness, outlook on life and love we are on the same page man. We have the ability to love, the ability to connect and the ability to feel. We feel pain to an inexpressible amount, but we also feel love in the exact same way. Through this, we have shared a connection that I can now call you a brother.
Take it easy bro. Enjoy Bali. Enjoy life.
I’ll see ya on the other side
“Never try, never know”
Now, he has gone. However, in the last few months we have knotted, not only a friendship, but a brotherly bond that equals only to that of my own brother and sister.
P’Adam, brother, I am forever grateful.
PS Gonna miss ya on the other side of this world, but i’ll catch ya in ‘So Cal’.