An Enchanted Land…..

It’s my last evening on  this enchanted island of Inishmore. It has been an amazing, magical and sometimes challenging 5 days here. I have become more comfortable with the landscape, and with myself.  It has been an interesting transformation.

 

I have had some interesting conversations with folks from all over, and the locals. I have talked to people from the USA, Canada, Ireland,  Germany. I have had surprising conversations with some local folks and had lots of laughs.

A couple days ago I was at a local pub getting some lunch. There was a family a few tables over, a mom, 2 children, a boy around 11 and a girl around 14 and a grandma. The family had finished their lunch and they were talking about going for ice creme. The boy says, ” I’m not buying ice creme I’m saving money for a puppy” Then Grandma says             “Micheal, I told you, you’re not getting a dog, there is a giant rat in the basement that will do you”  I just about fell off my seat laughing.

The next day I was coming out of the grocery store and this women starts speaking Irish to me. I guess the non response from me gave her an idea that I could not speak it. Then she says to me, “I’m sorry, I thought you were a local” I don’t mind. So we sat outside eating our ice creme and chatted. She asked where I was from, what I’m doing here, how long I have been in Ireland etc. So, I told her all about my trip etc. I also told how I have been feeling about Ireland and how it seems to be feeding my soul. She said, “That’s your Irish calling and talking. Its like you have been planted and lived in soil all your life, but now  your roots ave reached and found the subsoil and pulling up the nutrients” yep, that’s what its like.

I have been riding a bike for the last 5 days as transportation, I forgot how much fun that can be, and have been fine with getting off the bike and pushing it up one of the many hills. Back home I would have pushed myself till I was dying  and berate myself for not making it to the top of the hill with out getting off of stopping.

I have noticed how some old coping patterns still show up when I’m stressed and have been working on that.

I have woken up to the amazing cornucopia of bird song and heard the the Cuckoo bird singing its heart out while walking or cycling. I have become a familiar face  to some of the locals who know me by name, and the lodging I have been staying at is amazing and they have been warm and welcome.  Everyone on this island have engulfed me with care, laughter, and concern. It has been magical in so many ways. From the gentleman who gets water for his cows every morning and chats with me, to where I’m staying, to the workers ask me how I’m doing and chat. The local who saw me drop off my bike this afternoon, and I needed a cab ride back to the lodging, who picked me up but refused a fee. They have all welcomed me, made me feel at home, and part of this community.

As I wrote in the last post, the 7000 miles of stone walls are like fingers that stretch across this land, holding it down and secure from the storms. This has been an amazing 6 days, its had its challenges, but this has also allowed me to stretch my roots, down  into the subsoil of the land of my ancestors, into myself to discover who I am and what I an do.

Tomorrow I leave this magical place on the noon ferry.  I hope to one day be back, or maybe even be back for a few days later on my trip if it works out. I have taken lots of photos, have great memories, and tonight I will go for a walk and leave a few pebbles from home, somewhere amongst  the many stone walls, along with a small pewter medallion that says “Connection”

For this island has given me connection to the land, and to myself, and for that, I am full of gratitude.

Thanks for joining me.  Come along with me to my next stage of my Epic Irish odyssey…

Next stop…Ennis.

 

The Felt Sense of Ireland…..

“Felt sence”- Philosopher Eugene Gendlin coined the phrase “felt sense ” as a concept of which ” functions as a connection between the mind and body….the unclear, pre-verbal sense of “something” the inner knowledge or awareness “

Well, it seems like my felt sense had been on overdrive since landing in Ireland.

I am now sitting at my accommodations on Inis Mor (Inishmore ) island. I landed by ferry last night, and this morning I got a ride into the village and rented a bike, and biked back taking the lower, coastal route. Once again it is beyond sensational, beautiful, and seems to be feeding something deep in my soul. As I have said in a previous post…its like some deep ancient dry fiber in my soul and being is finally being watered and nourished There is nothing I can measure this with, no scientific test or measurement etc. But it is something I feel deep, deep within my soul, within my very being.

Everywhere I have been in this land I have felt it one way or another, and if I am quiet and still long enough, pay attention and listen, it speaks to me. The more I do this the more I realize that it speaks on many levels. I am starting to believe that Ireland has many levels to her being. Its hard to explain, but this very fleeting sense is the land speaking to me.

For those of you that know me, you know I am connected to nature in a huge way, it feeds my soul, rejuvenates and clears my mind and has been a huge component in my healing journey. Nature heals on so many levels, often I don’t even realize it till after the fact, as it sifts through my being, and stays with me long after I come indoors.

The same is happening here but on a much deeper, deeper level.

In my healing journey and mental health work I have come across research in “Epigenitics” – and have become interested in the theory that trauma of your ancestors can be passed down via DNA, to the offspring. In other words, trauma from a parent, can be passed onto their children.

There was a study with rats, where the rats were in Rat Hotel, all happy, then the researchers would put the scent of cheery blossoms into the cage, as they did something negative to them. After doing this a few times, whenever the scent of cheery blossoms was put into the cage, the rats would run and gather in a corner and shake, even if there was no negative actions. The rats remembered.

So, these rats then had babies, and no time during the pregnancy or after birth were they exposed to any negative treatment, or the scent of cherry blossom. These baby rats then grow up, move out of Mom and Dads Rat Hotel and move into their own Rat Hotel. They then have babies, and for the 1st time, those now adult rats, and their offspring are exposed to the smell of cherry blossoms, and guess what happens? Yep, they run to the corner and shake, even though they had never in their life been exposed to the negative treatment or the scent of cherry blossoms. Their DNA holds the memory. I find this fascinating and it’s very important for people who are working with folks who have experienced trauma, and their families.

You may wonder why am I telling you this. I’m telling you this because I wonder if this is why I am finding this land of Eire feeding my soul and whispering to me in ways I cant explain. Does, somewhere deep in my DNA remember this land, the language of its varied landscapes and sacred spaces. Am I being nourished by the very lands that nourished my ancestors?

As I write this a thought comes to mind. Is this how the Indigenous population back home feel about the lands? After all, that is the land of their ancestors. If so, I now have a better understanding.

As I look out the window now, I see hundreds of dry stone walls follow the hills and crevices of this island, like the braille of the land. And I guess I’m like the blind, reading the land of my ancestors, not with my eyes, but with my senses. I know I will be changed, more whole and authentic and like when I’m in nature, the benefits will carry with me when I go back home.

Those are my thoughts for today, thanks for joining me on this journey, and come along with me to see where this goes…

Suzy

It’s All About Connections….

20180528_194738260353330221042710.jpgTo start with this blog, I would like to thank everyone for reaching out, supporting me and letting me know I am not the only one to experience this Homesickness thing. As I said it was all new to me. But, by hearing the stories of others I realized its not “just me”, and with that came a knowledge and understanding I will get through this. Others who have gone before me shared their wisdom of what it was like for them, and folks sent me links on how to help with it and get through this. You have no idea how much I appreciate your love and support, it has made a difference.

If all goes well, this time tomorrow I should be on  the ferry about 15 minutes from Inishmore Island. The largest of the Aran islands in Galway Bay.  I have reserved a bike, and will pick that up sometime Wednesday. I will be there for 6 nights, and I want to ride, walk and write while I get the feel for the land, and yes I did bring rain gear just in case.

This morning I had a bit of anxiety/panic- who knows why, sometimes it just is, and after doing what I could, for the last few days- it just would not settle, so I took some medication for it, it was 1/4 of a pill, but it seemed to do the trick. It took the edge off and I was able to carry on and enjoy my day. I spent it walking around Sligo, writing, walking some more, watching ducks, pigeons and children. I thought about my last week here, the struggles, the accomplishments and growth, the people I have met and the amazing places I have scene.

I also wondered why I did not think of taking 1/4 of a pill before to help me. Well, its because the anxious brain does not always have the ability to think such things. And I also thought, if I am going to talk the talk and tell people there is no shame in taking medication, I should walk the walk. So once I was able to think these things, I took the medication. And it made a world of difference.

And with the ability to be calm, I could realize, and feel that even if I am over 7000 km from home, the people I love, who love me,and home, are right here with me, and that is huge. I was sitting by the river, writing when this realization came over me. The birds were singing, the river water sounded like  the wind gentle blowing through the cottonwood trees back home, and kids were laughing.

And something in me shifted and settled, and a calmness came over me. And I thought about connection and how it can make all the difference in the world, even 7000 km away from home.

And I thought of the work I do around mental health, and if I am ever doubt I make a difference, I will read this blog to remind myself, that I, and connection does make a difference.

Here in Ireland they have the Green Ribbon Campaign, to help bring awareness an to get people to start to openly talk about mental health. I found those ribbons today and promptly put one on my backpack. Why did I do this? Because I now what its like to realize your not alone, and we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, NO MATTER WHERE WE ARE IN THE WORLD.

Thanks again for being on this journey with me, and onto the next adventure- which really means I have to go pack. Stay turned….

PS- here is the link to the green Ribbon campaign

http://www.yourmentalhealth.ie/get-involved/community-action/green-ribbon-campaign/

 

Homesickness…

Three weeks ago today I was flying somewhere over Canada on my way to Ireland, my dream trip, a 48 year dream. I have met some amazing people and I have done a lot of “firsts” I have crossed things off my bucket list and been awed by the landscape of this country and amazed at the people I have met, but there is one thing I never really betted on, and that is being homesick. I knew I would miss home, but to actually feel homesick is a bit of a surprise.

I don’t ever remember being homesick before, or I should say “felt” homesick before. I my have been homesick in the past, but being so disconnected from my emotions, I never felt them. so yes, at the ripe age of 58, for the 1st time in my life, I am feeling homesick, and it has hit me like a ton of bricks, but I am told this shall pass.

I have tried to write different blogs here, but I realized today that until I write the truth of where I am, nothing else is going to come forward. I also realize that I have to be authentic in my writing, and traveling solo is not all smiles that I have posted on Facebook.

I have read a bit in travel books about missing home, but none have really gone into what it feels like to be homesick. That may also be because these folks had normal upbringings and went through this when they were kids, and got through it.

Homesickness is not a nice feeling, its more then longing and missing things you are use to, like your own shower or bed. your regular walks, coffee shops etc. Its more then missing the scenery and friends, family and those you love. Of course there is the emotional side, but there is also the physical part of it. For 3 mornings in a row I have woken up shaky, nauseous and can not swallow more then tea and toast in the morning. My neck hurts, my shoulders are stressed and I have not been sleeping great. I have been awake for the last 3 mornings between 2:00 am- 5:00 am and having broken sleep. I have been feeling anxiety and panic, and of course as you all know me, this brings up past stuff, issues, fears etc. Nope, they don’t write about this in the travel books.

But, as hard as this has been for me, and believe me it has. There have been moments I have had to just focus on my breathing and telling myself I will get through it, and yes I have cried , and cried hard. But there is an up side to this. I am “feeling homesick” , the operative word is “feeling”. For so many,many years I was numb and felt nothing, or afraid of emotions, so pushed them aside. So the fact that I am feeling what I am feeling is a good thing. This has also taught me that I am more connected to so many people and places in my life then I realized. And in a way, allowing myself to feel like shit, or as they say here “shite” it shows me how far I have come, how much I am loved, and how much I love others.

They say travel changes a person, funny how I had to travel through 8 time zones, and over 7000 km to find out how much I really am connected to home.

To help myself get through this I will stay connected to my family and friends, I have been in email contact with my therapist, and I need to make self care the #1 priority, which for me, means rest, walk, write, and write some more.

Thanks for joining me on this journey, and lets see what the next discovery is

Suzy

Those that travel with me…

I’m sitting here in my room, at the Newgrange Lodge in Ireland. It has been an amazing 2 days and today I got to go see Newgrange and Knowth. I was on the 9:15 tour- I booked tickets on line a couple months ago. There were only 40 of us- I heard in the afternoons it can be hundreds,- it was lovely, and I could have stayed there all day.

I did get to go into the Newgrange chamber, and even though it was for only a few minutes, it was amazing. Looking around and up, and to the top of the cap stone, which weighs 7 tons if I’m not mistaken, in a chamber of a passage tomb,that is 5000 years old, and bone dry was amazing. To touch the stone and be in awe of this very sacred place- well to me anyway. What a gift.

The tour then went to Knowth, and it was special and spectacular also. I walked around, on my own, talking to no one, being mindful of where I was stepping, touching the carvings and once again in awe of such a sacred place. The view on top of the mound was beyond spectacular. I found it moving. As my son wrote “how could you not feel the impact in walking in a place that was built before, well guess before pretty much anything we deal with today” and he is right. This place was important to so many peoples.

Yes, I seem to be touching stone a lot on this trip, its like it speaks to me.

After the tour I mindfully walked back, and back again over the Boyne River, listened to the bird song, the river singing, noticed the scents wafting through the air, – there is one that I have come across a few times, it smells like sweetgrass, but a bit sweeter.

This place speaks to my soul in ways I can not explain. Its like a parched plant whose fibers are finally able to pull up life saving water, and nutrients.

Its like every fiber of my being is being rejuvenated, or maybe its that they are finally being welcomed home. With this comes a lightness and dare I say it, a strength of my ancestors, as they help guide me on this journey.

I may be in a spot where I can now feel my ancestors on this journey, but I have had many, many, other people who have helped me get to this point during my many other past journeys. They have all added to the richness of my life, and I believe that I am now able to feel the richness of this journey because of it.

I want to write more, but just cant find the words, I guess I am processing.

Tomorrow I am on the move again , but will write more about that later. For now I need to process and feel what was brought tome today.

Thanks for following, and coming along with me.

Lifes Tapestry …

It has been an amazin­g 4 days here in Cros­smaglen, it is beauti­ful country here

I h­ave woken up and watc­hed as the early morn­ing mist rolls in and­ blankets the hills a­nd valleys, dancing ­to a tune only it hea­rs. Placed my finger­s on medieval chisel ­marks wondering who m­ade them and were th­ey my relatives? I ha­ve watched as the eve­ry changing skies hav­e ebbed and flowed, e­ntertaining me for h­ours.

I have walked the str­eets of Belfast, lear­ned of its history an­d it’s people. Had my­ first Guinness in Ir­eland- yes it does ta­ste better here, had ­my 1st “Tayto” Crisp­s- cheese and onionf­lavor- Yum, and met s­ome amazing people. a­nd seen some stunning­ landscape. This trul­y is a magical land ­in so many ways.

As I mentioned in my ­last post I am stayin­g with a member of “W­omen Welcome Women World­ Wide” and my Host Ro­isin has been amazing­. And it’s people­ like Roisin and othe­rs that I have­ ­learned­ so much and ­gained­ a richness that I k­now I will take home ­with me that will add­ to the richness of m­y own tapestry­ of life. This ­truly­ is a gift. ­

Before leaving the Co­mox Valley, I went down­ to the Spit, did a s­mudge and picked up s­ome pebbles. I had no­ idea where these peb­bles were going to go­, I just knew that I ­would leave them arou­nd Ireland. Today was­ one of those days. I­ have been carrying a­ pebble around in my ­pocket for the last f­ew days, waiting for ­the right moment.

Today I was in Carrli­ngford. A medieval­ town with ruins. Aft­er I stopped­ in the Tourist infor­mation I was going to ­go look at the ruins,­ but there was a pull­ for me to go across t­he road to the Carlin­gford Lough. I cant e­xplain it, it just wa­s. I walked out to the end of the ­pier, which is below ­­what was King John’s ­Castle, and pulled th­e pebble out of my po­cket.

As I tossed it ­into the water, it wa­s like I was returnin­g my ancestors­ home. Along with tha­t came a lightness ab­out me, as if I had r­eleased past burdens-­my own, and my ancestors­, and maybe that is w­hat this trip is all ­about.

Tomorrow I am off and­ will end up at Newgr­ange. I will be sad t­o leave my new friend­, but looking forward­ to my next adventure­. I have felt that th­e universe and the pe­ople have held me loveingly ­ in their arms, allow­ing me to grow and fi­nd my most authentic ­self. It is something­ I will treasure­. ­

Come along with me and let’s see where this path goes .