I'm back online, which means you get the whole week in one post! This last week has been eye opening. After an incredible month in Bali with so much new experiences to process I had looked forward to a place more familiar. And when we headed towards the airport I wasn’t sad, as I knew we would come back next year for my retreat in June and also because I was so looking forward to see my happy place again, the place I experienced full presence for the first time in my adult life, where days flew by and we lived in close touch with the sun and the moon. In 2011 Dennis and me had spent a wonderful time in a tiny resort on a small island south of Cebu, the Philippines. It’s called Camiguin. Since October 2015 we had been preparing to come back and show our children the island, have new adventures with them together, have excellent food and the jungle at our door step. Because we didn’t want to rush through the experience like last time and have enough time to go diving, snorkelling, exploring the island with our boys and all the other things we thought we will stay for 2 or even 2.5 months. We were looking forward to the feeling of “coming home” and being welcomed.
I had stayed in touch with the wonderful resort manager from back then and although she isn’t here at the moment I was sure that we and our boys would be welcomed by the staff with open arms. The last time we arrived there was a personal welcome message and flowers on our beds. It was wonderful. Not so this time. This time they just had a staff goodbye party the night before we arrived, as the resort will close at the end of July, which is partly why we are here right now. Everyone is sad and desperate. Distant, caught up in their own fears and worries. It was all very cold and after the first day here we already felt more like another burden to take care of than like valued guests, especially as repeaters having had such a different experience the first time around. Over the week the service got less and less pleasant and one of the two managers didn’t even welcome us or says “good morning” when she passes. I know this is nothing personal and they have a lot to deal with right now, but I wasn’t prepared on how it was affecting everyone here. The internet is very spotty, less than ideal for someone with an online business. So my lovely hubs went on a 24 hour trip to the next island (another story for another post) to get an LET box that now is working for the last 24 hours and has already cost me around 100 Euro while I’m trying to catch up on all the work I couldn’t do. The food, this beautiful, fresh, inspired food we had 6 years ago had turned into a tiny menu with very limited options. With medium quality. And a lot of sugar which makes my brain foggy and triggers my depression and silent migraines.
And so for the last week I grieved. I cried. I doubted and wished and hoped. I really wanted to make it work. I didn’t understand why I was so unhappy. The thought of being here had kept me going for so long and now that we were here I didn’t feel like I imagined I would. I loved this place. Loved. Past tense. The feeling of not being welcome here triggered an old story to come up, ready to be released. A story, a belief that had been part of my identity for all my life, created back in the womb, when my mother, a poor student, found out that she was pregnant and had to come to terms with it. I don’t know exactly how it was created, through something she said or thought or something somebody said to her. All I know is how it made me feel. Unwanted. Not welcomed. I know that belief was there. I thought I had released it. But by now I also know that we release in layers, that the same things come up over and over again. And apparently it was time for another layer to be shed. My husband, holding me while I sobbed, releasing this layer on Thursday night, forgiveness for the belief my mom unknowingly planted and forgiving myself for believing it so long, helped me heal it by whispering into my ear that I’m always welcomed right there, in his arms.
After this deep healing awareness and surrender took over. I didn’t want to be here. The energy wasn’t right anymore. All my pregnant body craved was pizza and pasta. And to be able to sleep without a sticky 2 year old in my arm, sweating like hell.
Lucan got a rash over his face and his whole body from sweating. And so Dennis and I got brutally honest with each other and the situation: The heat didn’t work for any of us. The food didn’t either. All the places we really wanted to see would be done with one day on motorbikes and the boats tour we wanted to do because we had such beautiful memories of it wasn’t offered anymore due to lack of interest and guests. With my energy levels being all over the place through the pregnancy and the limited amount of food I’m able to take in I didn’t felt like diving at all and Dennis found out for himself that it was more the feeling of obligation - because we are here and last time it was so nice - than the actual wish to go diving again that made him think he should. So why stay longer? There were two reasons we had to consider: Number one was the feeling of having “wasted” the money. But it wasn’t wasted. We learned a lot by coming here!
1. You can’t go back in time. Life is constant change and even if you go back to a place 24 hours later the place and you have both changed. We saw that in a much more clearer version, coming back to Camiguin after 6 years.
2. There is no point chasing memories, just in making new ones. Enjoy every moment as much as you can!
3. Functioning and unlimited internet is a non-negotiable when traveling
4. We still have to find a climate that works for all of us
5. Constantly being surrounded by new experiences and foreign cultures while raising our boys is too exhausting and leaves us drained. We need to travel slower/ in smaller portions
6. I really need a door to close, no more one bedroom cottages/bungalows/villas. I need my space to recharge and do my mindset work.
7. Being able to control that our food is processed sugar free and having access to fresh bread and the ability to cook in our own kitchen is an other non-negotiable when staying for more than a couple of days
8. The serenity the ocean and the diving gave me back then I can now find in myself by tapping into my mermaid part
9. Dropping the expectation allows to make new memories that can be added to the old ones.
10. Some things you can only learn by actually doing them. I could have longed another 10 years for this experience because my Soul planted that wish to come back here.
Maybe I needed all of this to release and heal this deep deep hidden layer and let go of this part of my identity. Every time I do this, I let go of such an engraved part of what I thought was myself it leaves me raw and weepy for a couple of days, questioning every thing from my purpose to my sheer existence.
I seem to have moved quicker through this feeling this time, it seems all the practise I got in the last year paid off.
The other reason we had to consider was Mia, the tiger kitten who turned out to be a Milo. We found him back on Tuesday, when we were hiking through the jungle up to the hot springs.
Have you ever heard a kitten cry? It’s one of the most heart breaking sounds that I’ve ever heard. We left him sitting there after seeing that there was fresh water nearby coming out of one of the pipes running next to the street and promised him (and us) to get him on the way down if his mama still hasn’t shown up. Three hours later he still sat under the same leaf, crying for help. We took him back to the resort with us and after talking to the resort manager getting his okay build him a bed and an improvised kitty litter. In the last days he has taken our hearts by storm, the boys adore him and I love him to bits.
We looked into taking him with us when leaving but it’s nearly impossible, especially with the next vet being a days travel away and all the stops and the weeks in quarantine he would need to pass. We still don’t know when we will stop traveling, so we wouldn’t even know where to send him to. That means all we can do is love him with all our heart, cuddle him, feed him and play with him and give him a safe space to sleep while we are here. Hoping we can give him enough of a break from survival mode that he will be able to survive without us when we are gone.
There is a slim chance that a friend of the resorts manager will take him, we’re on it to find a solution. Right now he’s sleeping on my chest and tears are streaming down my face with the thought of leaving him behind.
*UPDATE 24 hours later: The whole evening and morning I prayed for a solution as my heart was heavy of the thought of leaving him by himself, I asked the Universe for a miracle. At the breakfast table we were told by Arno that the person he had in mind couldn't take Milo in. Tears streamed down my face again. But then he came back two hours later to tell me that he found a new home for our little tiger. Now he's off with his new family already and my heart is singing and ever so grateful for the kindness and help we received. It's weird how deeply others can touch us in a couple of minutes, moments, days. I will never forget the sweet snuggles I had with this little one.*
Yesterday we rented two scooters and visited my happy place, the Tuasan Falls here on the island. I talked a lot about this place in my first online business, Happy Place Birthing, which morphed into Happy Place Living and then into the Light Maiden. Last time we had to hike along the river for almost 45 minutes after driving up a ridiculous street that was so bumpy that we stopped our driver and asked him to just wait right there for us. This place was the place Dennis led me to through guided meditation between my contraction at the birth of both of our children to relax and recharge me. Right there was my first ever moment in my adult life where I was fully present, not worrying about anything in the future or being clouded through fears and old stories of the past. I remember lying on a bolder in the sunshine, my fingers in the water, listening to the waterfalll, a rainbow ending in a palm tree and dozens of swallows flying around me, diving down to eat insects. Dennis by my site and no-one else around. Pure bliss.
But life is change and even out here there is always progress. The scenic hike through the jungle, preparing you for the beauty you are about to see: gone. A big street instead. A parking lot, several food and clothes stalls. An entry fee. A step around the corner and a waterfall, still beautiful and majestic, surrounded by green, but the river below formed into man made pools, tables and benches and people. So many people. More grief came up, more tears, more release. Thinking of the place I held sacred in my head and my heart and which was untouched 6 years ago. I was so happy that the manager had warned me about this, so I didn’t get there unprepared. And then I remembered what I teach so passionately: Surrender. I did let the sadness pass through me and then removed the filter of the memory, seeing what is. And the sun appeared. I saw a place of incredible beauty, made available to more people, made accessible and safe to swim to enjoy a nice cool down on a hot day. A place you can sit and eat a fresh banana or a fresh corn on the cob while being surrounded by green and the clearing energy of the waterfall. I dropped my expectations and treated it as a new experience, a new adventure with my boys and my man. And the grief and the sadness moved on. Made space for an amazing day with my family on one of the most beautiful places this world has to offer. And I felt I learned what I needed to learn here, that this was what I came here for.
And so our decision is made. We’re heading back to Europe, to Rome, on Monday. The flights are booked and paid for, the flat for our first week too. I will be able to eat the things I really want to eat (gimme ALL the pizza and pasta!) and the climate will be better to deal with for us. I will be able to be there for my 1:1 and my group program clients again, my business deserves me showing up fully. I surrender to the need to return back into more of my comfort zone to process and write down more of the soul led adventure I went on as my Soul reminded me that I need to keep writing on the book that wants to be birthed. Maybe even our family can come down and visit us and spend a couple of days with us at a beach house in bella Italia. This is a big step, dropping all our plans of staying here so long, of heading on to Japan and Hawaii and Toronto and actually doing what feels right to us, right now. Surrendering to what is and what we need, loving ourselves and accepting our desires. I wish you that you can do the same. Remove the filters and the judgement around what you should do or wish for or had planned and instead listen closely to your heart! What is it that YOU are longing for dear Soul? With Love&Light,