It’s been a whole week now, since our UK trip was supposed to start. I don’t want to keep banging on about it – we’ve moved forwards and are feeling really positive about everything – trusting the process and timing of things, at least – but I do want to write about the week we’ve had. A ‘grounding’… as I do feel more grounded than I’ve done in quite some time.
The thing about the trip, first of all, is that it wasn’t just a holiday we were looking forward to. It’s not just about how long we’d been planning, saving, and working hard for it happen. It’s that the UK is my native home – so much of me still belongs there, in many ways, and always will – and my little family have never even been. They haven’t been to the country where I grew up and have collectively still spent more than half of my life. They haven’t seen the places I lived and worked and loved, right before I abruptly left to be with Nick (expecting to soon be back). They haven’t met my extended family – grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins. And they haven’t been able to understand that little part of me that belongs elsewhere.
I could write about all of this at great length – and maybe someday I will – but the point is, from the age of 16 I have always had two places where I call home, but no one place where I feel I belong. And this, at times, can be really, very hard. Especially when those two places could not be further apart. I absolutely adore New Zealand and love living here – but I definitely identify more as being British, from a cultural perspective. So that can be confronting and, sometimes, it can even leave me feeling a little lost.
Lost is definitely how I felt after last weekend.
Firstly, however, I kept busy on the Friday (the day we were supposed to depart on this very long awaited trip) by doing something I love with the kids – we went to Auckland Zoo and had lots of fun together. It’s a place I used to take Beau often, with an annual pass, from when he was just a few months old. But I don’t currently have a pass, so Georgie and I don’t go, like Beau and I once did. So it was really nice to be there with them both, on a quiet and sunny winter’s day, with Georgie running around excitedly and Beau holding her hand often.
Beau now loves going down the big dinosaur slides in the playground there, something which previously scared him. And he’s becoming increasingly curious by all the animals, asking me to help him read all the information boards about them. Meanwhile, Georgie is full of squeals and wonder (“hello, otters!”) and climbing everything that she can. Watching them both grow, my little kiwi kids, is heart warming like nothing else I’ve ever known. It was so good to be there.
On the Saturday morning I did a sound journey at the Elevation studio in Titirangi, figuring that in lieu of a physical journey a journey within would be welcome – which it was. I also remembered, on my drive to Titirangi, the time when I performed Stephen Sinclair’s The Bellbird at Lopdell House, back in 2009. I had just graduated with my psychology degree and loved getting absorbed by this New Zealand story. I learned some Te Reo, I lived a character who had also emigrated, and simply fell in love with it all. It was a special time in my life & there’s just something about Titirangi, which I adore. I’ve made some amazing friends out there, for one thing.
In the sound journey, we were guided into a meditation with the shamanic drums to explore the lower and upper worlds. The lower world was primal for me – I slid effortlessly below the ground, rolling through a labyrinth of tunnels, emerging into what felt like the belly of mother earth, diving under water and rocks and getting further and further to the centre. Then I emerged through a final pool to reach a cave-like chamber, with a fire burning in the centre. I lay on the ground beside it and a snake emerged from the water, too, winding it’s way around my naked body. We writhed and squirmed together in a mud bath and it felt so incredible – like in some way I was returning to my body, returning to my womanhood, and embracing my sensuality. I later learned that the snake can be a symbol of our creative life force – and because they shed their skin, they can also symbolise rebirth, transformation, and healing. Obviously this was powerful for me.
My journey to the upper world was above the clouds as per usual. Lots of vignettes, jumping from one place to the next, not getting a clear story, feeling as though I was all over the place. I visualised a beautiful, lush green meadow, which I ran through barefoot… I felt myself being in the English countryside… but soon it became a place that felt more like New Zealand… and there was recognition, familiarity, but also that same old sense of loss. That I was not there, where I thought I was. But that I’m not actually sure where I am.
After the sound journey ended and everyone shared their experiences and started to leave, I held back. I wanted to talk with Claire and Will – who are about to leave New Zealand and return to Europe, where they are originally from (oh the salt!). I thanked them for all of the journeys they’ve led, which I’ve had the pleasure of attending and experiencing. I told them about how they’d healed my emotional wounds after my second emergency cesarean, through a beautiful sound journey of theirs, which I stumbled upon back at the NZ International Yoga Festival in February 2018. I’d been seeing them, fairly regularly, ever since that – most notably with a 6 weekly series focusing on self love at the end of last year, leading into the last summer solstice – and they were visibly touched when I told them how impactful their life’s work is. We had an awkward selfie together! I wanted to capture them for my memories (not that I’d ever forget them!) – and when I next make it to France (Claire is from France, whilst Will is from The Netherlands), I will be including a trip to see them in their soon to be set up retreat in the mountains.
I admit, their imminent departure/return to Europe leaves my heart aching a little. To lose these beautiful people from New Zealand is one thing, but to know they are following their hearts and going where they are called to, also leaves me feeling a little lost and unsure myself. Am I envious? Am I called, too? Where am I and where do I want to be? Etc etc.
Reflecting on the journey, I realised it was telling me something that I’d long needed to hear… come back to my body, be here, and that whatever it is I feel and love and identify with is always going to be here, within me.
I’ve spent nearly 20 years of my life feeling so torn – ripped in half, even – sometimes lost and very uncertain, sometimes content but distracted, and always there has been that questioning beneath the surface – of both my identity and my place of belonging. It’s not going to be immediately reconciled (although, maybe it will be!), but after that spiritual journey I felt this huge outpouring of love within myself – that everything is OK, that I am right here, and that all I have ever needed to do is ground myself, embody this very moment, and trust that I’m not scattered about on the wind, but that the powerful wind I feel is indeed the life force that moves within me.
My Full Moon Project, which I wrote about in my last post, was – I believe – my intuition taking action. Intentionally bringing me back. Honouring me, my body, my heart, my soul. Grounding me. Which is truly all I have ever really needed. My roots are so deep in this earth that they reach all the way to the other side. I belong exactly where I am. I am safe and loved and welcome, and so very worthy of being here.
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I kind of want to finish this blog post there – it feels cathartic and conclusive and like a new beginning.
But I also want to share some highlights of this last week, which have followed on from there:
- I’ve enjoyed reconnecting and using social media again (sharing stories from my Full Moon Project) – it’s like I’m finally coming out of my cave;
- The conscious intention to take the best care of myself has felt so deeply loving, and slowly I feel my sparkle coming back;
- I’ve been playful with the kids and lighter-of-heart with Nick – I look at the three of them, my closest people, and the love I have for them makes me feel invincible;
- I’ve had beautiful contact with friends – from lovely messages, sharing with one another, to generous and unexpected gifts delivered by both courier and open arms. I’ve had friends send memes they saw which made them think of me. I’ve felt seen and understood, and have had many friends offer support and reach out to me. I’ve felt all the goodness I see in them reflected right back to myself. I’ve spoken with old friends I’ve been deeply missing but had stopped feeling. But now I do FEEL again, and I’m about to raise the roof on this cave!
- I’ve spring cleaned the house, ready for a new season, and am in full anticipation of the spring-time and the summer to come. We’ve got birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate, adventures to plan, and much to look forward to. Yes, we are still in the midst of a great amount of stress and uncertainty – but one thing is for sure: we are here. Right here. And always there is something to be grateful for.
A moment captured this morning, a walk to the local park with my loves, before I returned home to write this & get stuck into my Celebrant work for the day.
What a beautiful grounding: