At the end of April, I traveled back to Birmingham. This time I was dog sitting for 5 weeks. Winston is a 7 years old boxer and a very special dog. We connected very deeply, very quickly. I was surprised how I got to connect in such a way with an animal. Many times, we would be walking, Winston would be off the leash and ahead of me, I would think of going left and he would go left, without me actually saying anything.
We trusted each other right from the beginning. The second day I walked Winston, I let him off the leash, allowed him to run free in the park and trusted he would come back. He did, every single time. We walked most days three times a day and sometimes two. My body, having been sofa bound for quite a lot of the time in the previous weeks, was in a lot of pain because I was walking way more than before. It got better in the second week. I got to know Winston better and was able to focus less on him and notice my surroundings more. I would generally walk twice in Highbury Park and a shorter walk at the end of the day at King's Heath Park. The area I stayed in had easy access to these amazing parks. Highbury felt extra special. It was a lot wilder and less manicured, it had loads of different trails and landscapes within it and I loved exploring it. I don't think I had ever spent that much time in nature in this country before and that park was perfect for it. It felt magical.
The time with this very puppy like and playful dog sparked my imagination. There were times where I felt like a child playing with a puppy. It was fun. When I started looking around the park and paying more attention, I started noticing places, many places, where the energy felt really good and very special. There was a particular place, where it felt like a beautiful church underneath the canopy of several trees. Others seemed to welcome me underneath their branches and I would just feel at home. In my head I had all sort of ideas that fairies lived in many of the trees in this park.
The whole notion of fairies is fairly recent to me. I read fairy tales of course, but in Portugal, at least to my knowledge and experience, the culture does not have many stories of fairies. Back in Thailand, last year, it was the first time I entertained the idea of fairies existing not only as fairies but also in human bodies. I still do not feel completely comfortable speaking about them, there is a self judging part of my brain that just keeps telling me it is all nonsense. Yet, here I am writing about them. I have learnt a few things along the way but am in no way an expert. Highbury Park made those thoughts of fairies come back into my head. Regardless if I believe in them or not, I was convinced if they were to exist, they must certainly live there.
Winston and I explored many paths. I walked in the rain and the sun. I wore dresses with walking boots and imagined myself to be a Queen Warrior, an Amazon or Viking woman fighter. I connected with my imagination, felt playful and enjoyed seeing the pleasure Winston had in the most simple of activities. I was inspired by his energy and living in the present.
I started feeling more energised. I worked on two Intuitive Art commissions and had a great time connecting to the energy of my clients and creating something unique for them. Something that supports and heals on a subtle level.
At the end of my stay, I felt different. Stronger, more connected to myself and ready for whatever was to come next. I still miss Winston and am adamant that I want a dog and it must be a boxer with a brindle coat.
At the beginning of June I was back in Newent for a couple of weeks. Daily nature walks felt very important and once again I got to explore different nature walks as well continue to move my body.
Back in January, a friend I met during my first month in Thailand last year, and with whom I have kept in contact since, got in touch and asked if I'd like to join them at the end of June in Formentera. They were going to a wedding in Ibiza days before and had rented a studio for the week after. They had booked the place and I only needed to pay for the flight. I sensed it was a bit crazy to book something like that, but the desire and intuition to go was there. I'd think of the rest after. I booked.
As the date to this trip approached, my financial situation got critical. I'd been living on credit cards that had just reached their limit, I was not earning enough. My new life felt unsettling, nothing had gone according to what I imagined to happen. I struggled in those two weeks in Newent, with self doubt, feelings of failure, and uncertainty.
Yet, I booked my trip to London, where I'd be catching my flight to Ibiza. I asked friends if they could have me stay. When speaking to someone else, they offered their place during the week before my trip and I took the offer gratefully.
I arrived in London on Monday, 11 June at Victoria Coach Station at exactly 11.11 in the morning. I took this as a sign that I was at the right place at the right time.
The next few days were spent seeing friends, going for walks in nature when possible and resting. At this point, and a few days before my flight, I had a sense of being stuck, not having clarity of what my next steps were meant to be. I was feeling sensitive and cried for anything and everything.
A few weeks earlier I had decided to face the word homelessness. I had been avoiding it, as I never really felt without a home. I was not staying in my home, but someone else's home. However, if I look at the facts, I do not currently have a home and that is best described with the word homeless. Not really as in the homelessness you see in the street in big cities in the UK, but a different sort. I also came to realise that during all these months, I had been attempting to nest in all the places I had been, and this had caused me to be anxious every time I had to pack and unpack as well carrying far too many things with me. I was carrying, and still am, a much too big load, both physically and mentally.
Being back in London, a place where most of my friends are and where I used to call home, brought this sense of homelessness back. Together with this, was this fear of being judged a failure, of not having accomplished anything of substantial in the last 6 months. At the same time, feeling very sensitive and touched by how my friends welcomed me into their homes, cooking caring and loving meals.
I have received a great deal in the last few months, both from my close friends, new friends and people I got to meet just this year. Yet, I am still struggling to receive and not having to give something in return. I feel that I have to do something to pay back the generosity I am receiving. Sometimes people just want to give, they are willing to do so and I struggle to accept this. It is becoming better, but more work is needed on this.
The other side is that I feel grateful but also question if I am being grateful enough. It was a time with a lot of questions and doubts. I have learnt and continue to learn everyday from everyone I meet and spend time with.
When time came for my flight to Ibiza, I turned up at the airport with minimum luggage as my allowance was only 5 kilos. It was an interesting exercise to shed several layers of items until I was left with what I could physically take and what was necessary.
I felt nervous. I was aware that I was going to take a flight to a foreign country, to meet a friend and with hardly any money with me. I was so torn and at the same time I felt that the way was forward and there was no going back.
Meeting my friend at the airport was like time had not passed since we had last seen each other. We had been in touch pretty much every week in the last year and few months and we both had been present and supportive of our individual shifts and changes since our time in Thailand. My friend was very open, they told me they knew what my financial situation was and they made clear that they would be helping me out financially during this time. We agreed what our expectations of the next week were and we started off to Formentera, which is a small beautiful island by Ibiza.
The week was full of great conversations, which in themselves can be incredibly healing, sun, beautiful beaches with the clearest of water, rest, good food, laughter and much more. I had not realised how stressed I had been in the last week. It took me 4 days to finally be able to get into holiday mode, allowing myself to relax, enjoy my surroundings and this wonderful opportunity I had been gifted. I snorkeled for the first time ever and loved seeing the many fish that were swimming around me. I felt my sense of wonder returning to me, I felt healing, in particular my throat and most of all, I felt I was in the right place.
I wrote these words on the airplane back to London. I felt happy and with my well a bit more replenished, my heart feeling fuller and memories to relish. I also felt clearer about my next steps and what needed to be done next. And so the journey into the next 6 months of 2018 starts. I wonder what they bring?