A lot can happen in a month; a year; a second. Your life can be catapulted into success, or plummet into turmoil within a split second. Most of us have experienced all of these, and whilst this all sounds terrifying, its also a liberating thought too.
Today marks 18 months of sobriety; 548 days into a new way of living, with 182.5 of these days discovering myself through travelling around the world.
*Alexa, play ‘Kool & the Gang – Celebration’*
My sobriety has been the biggest gift that I have ever recieved. Each day I learn something new; whether that be a challenge of thought or a change of perspective. It keeps me on my toes, prevents me from being complacent, and reminds me to remain in the present…something I still struggle with to this day.
Sobriety has allowed me to invest in a deeper and more profound relationship with myself. I have invested in countless self-help books in the past; flicking through the pages in order to find a flicker of hope.
• The Secret
• The Magic
• How To Mend A Broken Heart
• The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down
• The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober
• The Power Of Now
I used these books to help me find my voice through others’, and yet, whilst these books speak truth, I was still unable to speak my own. Although they all advocate self-love, it’s only the experiences that you endure which can validate such accreditation and put those feelings into practice. Saying that, these books have inspired me to condition my confidence whilst doing so! Definitely worth a read!
Sobriety has allowed me to hear my own voice, and although I can’t bear the sound of my voice when listening to it via answer phone messages and recordings, its comforting to know that there is a sense of clarity from within.
These books mentioned all vary in topic, but they all have one underlining theme…they discuss the investment in a power greater than themselves. Coincidence?
Another relationship of mine that has blossomed through my sobriety, is the one with my Higher Power.
So what is a Higher Power?
A higher power is something greater than us. For many people, God is a higher power. For others, a higher power isn’t associated with religion or a deity. It’s a connection that we share with all living things. … Regardless of what a higher power is to you, having faith in a higher power can benefit your recovery. – drugrehab.com
Definition of higher power: a spirit or being (such as God) that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people. – Merriam-Webster.com
When visiting places such as India, Thailand, Bali, and Malaysia, there is a celebration of spiritualism. People from around the world admire this sense of ‘magic’ which dominates the cultures and characters within these countries.
Activities such as Yoga, Meditation, Fire and Water Rituals and Blessings are welcomed by tourists, and are respected as a significant part of their experience when visiting. So why do I feel like we often grimace at the thought of introducing such practises within our own lives back at home? Doesn’t seem so zen when you picture yourself doing this on the Victoria Line to Brixton does it? Perhaps it is not that at all….perhaps there is such a thing as ‘magic in the air’ and it just so happens to be missing back at home….or perhaps we don’t find the time to source it.
I have always been a spiritual person, I have always believed there to be something greater than myself…I am not a fan of ego. Then again, I had always considered myself as a healthy person; checking the nutritional breakdown on the backs of products before checking the back of wine bottles for the highest percentage of alcohol…I was ‘somewhat’ selective with it.
Prior to coming away, my bag had already been packed a month before my journey began. EVERYTHING you could possible imagine was squeezed and squished into my backpack. Metal straws, water purifiers, first aid kits, universal plugs, a head torch, compression socks, and a partridge in a pear tree. I had packed for a pilgrimage. Whilst some of these ‘essentials’ have had their usage, some of them have been ‘lost’ along the way.
One item which I did pack was my higher power. I knew I needed it, and although it did not come with manual instructions, I knew deep down that it would come in handy.
Now my relationship at first with my higher power was somewhat like a car journey with someone in the passenger seat. Naturally, the driver takes control of the wheel and the choice of direction. During the journey, the passenger may suggest a different direction to where the driver is going in which the driver kindly declines and continues on his/her desired route. They hit heavy traffic but the driver is adamant that this is still the best route. They continue and come to a crossroad. The passenger has been here before, offers their opinion, but the driver decides to follow the sat nav’s instructions like others have recommended to follow. Eventually they arrive at a dead end. Road closed. The passenger shrugs. The driver is perplexed.
I was the driver, and my higher power was the passenger…constantly shrugging…and me? Yes, constantly perplexed.
My bag was packed over a month before I had boarded my first plane. My itinerary was planned down to the first cafe that I would order coffee at, to the final place where I would snap a selfie recommended by fellow bloggers.
The real magic happened when my plans came to a close. The real journey took place once I switched off the sat nav and ventured off the main road. You could say that I took my hands off the wheel, unfastened my seatbelt, and spilled into the passenger seat; letting something or someone bigger than me take the wheel.
During this time, I was still part of the journey, but I was able to take my eyes off the road and enjoy the views. There is a difference between giving up control and giving into trust. This was the latter.
I started this journey due to saying one no. No to alcohol. I planned to go travelling for three months. Three months away due to closing the door to alcohol, and opening the door to opportunities.
Six months later and I am here today. This really is my journey of saying one ‘no’, and how it opened up a life full of ‘yes’.
Six months; 182.5 days. When writing down that number, 182.5, I was somewhat shocked. That is quite some time to be on the constant move, no? Quite some time to be focussed on the ‘when’ as opposed to the ‘now’, especially when visiting some of the most breathtaking places in the world?!
The thing is, I haven’t felt like I have been on a constant move; constantly in the drivers seat. Since giving up control and giving into trust, I have enjoyed the views along the way. Until now.
I have always been someone who has been fixated on the future. I have always been focussed on what is around the corner, often ignoring the present, and spending little to no reflection on the past. Basically, I have lived for the ‘when’ and not the ‘now’.
Whilst being the passenger, I have experienced some breathtaking views.
Since returning back to Bali, it is as though I have tried to grab hold of the wheel and steer us into a lay by…desperate to pull over and hit the breaks.
I have become so comfortable and stable with where I am, who I am, and how I feel whilst here in Bali, that I almost feel an overwhelming sense of uncomfort due to how unstable my current situation is. I am in no means ungrateful for where I am or my life at this present time. In fact, I am so grateful for where I am the journey that I am venturing that I am somewhat living in fear. Fear of this current situation reaching its expirary date. At any point, someone is going to find me here on the slip road and send me off on my way and back on the road.
I have resulted to counting my change in fear of meeting my financial needs. I have resulted to limiting my time outdoors in order to increase my time here in ‘paradise’. I am living with fright rather than celebrating with freedom.
This needs to stop.
I have been so busy with trying to catch the sands of time, that my time spent walking along these sands and shores have been somewhat overlooked. This is why I am writing. When I am not writing, I find it hard to dedicated time for reflection. Without writing, I am guilty of focusing on the ‘when’ as opposed to the ‘now’ and ‘then’…two things which are imperative in sculpting the future.
A lot has happened in the space of just over a month, and no matter how much I focussed on the ‘when’, my current ‘now’ bares no similarity to where I thought I would be.
Cheesy I know, but hey, the saying ‘there is no time like the present’ must have its place on the wall of ‘famous mantras’ for a reason!
A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to fly back to England for paid work during the months of November and December. During this time I would have seen my family for Christmas, earned some money, and picked up another six months supply of medication with a paid flight back to Bali. The offer was a miracle which could not have come at a better time.
Unfortunately this plan has since ceased, and due to this, it looks as though my time in Bali must come to an end in February when my medication runs out.
Its situations like this, which are written in the stars, that I find so hard to accept as fate when they fall through.
I must accept that there is a situation more suited for me than the one I had hung so much hope on? Perhaps I can’t see that now, but right now, there is no other option than to believe that. It’s worked for me before, so why is it any different now?
There is literally no time dedicated to the future; to upcoming ventures, plans, ideals, or goals. Nothing is promised to us apart from this present moment, yet, I am guilty of gambling the certainty of NOW for the uncertainty of WHEN.
My journey began when I stopped taking control; when I accepted letting go and letting flow.
So why do I find that so hard to do right now?
Back In August, I had envisaged being in Bali for around a month. Coming up to three months and I have made a circle of friends and family here on the island. I have made myself a home, a modest income, and a routine which makes me smile every morning….yet, I find myself staying indoors and counting my change in order to prolong this life…but by doing this, am I in fact living this life at all?
I am trying to take control of the wheel again. I can feel myself digging my heels deep into the Bali soil. I am fighting against everything in order to stay here and delay my departure…but whose to say where my departure will take me?
It is as though, if I leave, the doors will close behind me and I will no longer have the opportunity to return. It is though, if I leave, I will leave behind the characteristics and qualities which I have collected and conditioned during my time here, and I will step off this trip with ‘nothing to declare’.
If I buckle up back in the passenger seat, what could possibly happen other than what is best for me? The route to the unknown is a scary thing, but it has been the best ride that I have ever experienced.
The power of thought is apparent, and although this is somewhat daunting, miracles have also arisen through positive thoughts and gratitude.
I do not know where I am going to be in a month. I did not know where I was going to be this time six months ago. Reflecting on the past has allowed me to take my eyes off the future and to focus on the present.
My passion for the present has been reignited. I have started to focus on doing things which I love, and focusing my quality of time spent here rather than the quantity.
And today? Today is about appreciating the present…and the beauty salon next door which offers massages for £4.70. Now that is something you don’t get on the Victoria Line.