Trust the universe

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Wow. What a day! What a week really. I’m in London after all, it’s a city where there is a lot going on and things happen quickly!

 

I can officially declare that I have adjusted to the circumstances. I have stopped bursting into tears when people ask me how I am.  The band aid has been completely ripped off now and the soreness has almost disappeared. I have been doing lots of meditation and breathing exercises (until I got my first cold in over a year) which has helped me gather perspective on my current situation. I am looking at London from an outsider’s perspective and being in awe of what I observe.

 

Last week, (at least I think it was, I’m still totally disoriented to time, just like I was on the sea…), I went into my old office to fill out paperwork in case I am so desperate my only options are prostitution or doing sessional work for them. I’m still not sure which one I would chose if I get to that point.  I’ll write a blog on the thought process if I find myself faced with that decision.  Anyway, I was sitting on hold with Human Resources, staring out the window and watching London go by and my mind started drifting. It started drifting to how I use to do this regularly and being on hold use to stress me out because I had a million things to do and probably other people to talk to. I would sit with my shoulder holding the phone and catching up with emails or the report I had to do or the holiday I was trying to book so that I could try to salvage my sanity. After 20 minutes, I would become increasingly angry and anxious that HR was wasting my precious time. How dare they! I would start swearing and complaining to my colleagues about how ridiculous it is and they would of course join in and offer sympathy.

 

I looked down the office room, which since I’ve been there, has been converted to hold more desks and people. I saw people on other teams sat at their desks typing away, making phone calls, sounding stressed, trying to get something done and getting impatient down the phone. No one was laughing or joking or having a regular conversation. It was all about getting stuff done, stuff that’s impossible, stuff that is so incredibly important because if they don’t do their jobs as well as they can and someone re-offends, they could lose their job. Not to mention the guilt if another victim is created. Of course it’s not their fault, but the system makes it out to be.

 

After 30 minutes on hold, I was lost in my peaceful thoughts and my colleague was getting mad for me. “Jesus! How long has it been?? That’s ridiculous!” I just looked at him and said, “Yeah, I don’t have anything else to do, it’s alright.” Then I stared out the window again and watched people literally rushing to and fro, looking stressed and dishelved. I looked back in the office and then I looked inside of myself and I smiled. I used to be one of these people rushing in the street and being stressed out in the office, but I escaped. After 53 minutes on hold, I put the phone down and just made up the answer to the question that I needed in order to complete the paperwork. I put the phone down knowing that I wouldn’t have to deal with this again and that since I have escaped, there is no turning back.  Not unless I want to kill my soul again and stop living life. I finally discovered how to live, no way am I going to give it up. Excuse the bad language, but it’s fucking awesome!

 

I have been busy catching up with friends. After two years of not having friends, it feels great. It’s amazing to know there are so many options of people I can call to have a laugh with and talk about nice things. Everyone has been so supportive of me, so giving, so loving, so encouraging. To be honest, I’m very surprised and feel so fortunate. On my bike today, I realised that these people were always here. Always. I just wanted to live life alone because “I am strong. I can do it. I am an independent woman. I don’t need anyone’s help.” All of that is true, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t need other people from time to time. Well, all the time to be honest. One thing sailing life has taught me is that life is about teamwork. Helping that stranger who is struggling is just as important as helping the ones closest to you because it really all does come back one day.  Trust me, it’s happening to me now.

 

After a lovely lunch catching up with a good colleague of mine, I couldn’t open my bike lock. I just bought the thing nine days ago. I had been having problems with it before, but normally I would take a deep breath, do some yogi magic and Voila!! It would open. Well, this time it wouldn’t. I was there for an hour and a half. I recruited the security guard to help me, while he went in to do his real job, a stranger came up to me and said, “You’ve been here for a while, can I help you?” What a kind kind man. He couldn’t help me either. Another ex-colleague found the maintenance man who came out to help me and he said it was a faulty lock that was poorly made and the best thing to do was cut off. Unfortunately he didn’t have the necessary tools. I was nearly in tears. I was so ill with my cold, so tired and just wanting to be out of the cold. I have no money to travel, so my friend gave me £10 to get home and to a training I need to go to in the morning. I was sitting on the bus wanting to cry and then thought, “Why? What is really the problem?” Ok, the problem is, where I’ve left it, I’ve left it before in broad daylight and parts were missing when I returned, but really what is there to cry about? Instead, I looked out from the top of the double decker bus and decided to enjoy London from a perspective I hadn’t seen before. I put in my headphones and listened to my Latina music and enjoyed the ride. I decided that it was all going to be ok whether or not I got my bike back. London truly is a beautiful city and I sat back and soaked it in. Why stress about my bike when I can’t control if someone is going to steal part of it or not? It’s not like I’m going to sleep next to it!

 

I got home, grabbed the spare flat bike that needs a lot of work to function and walked to the bike shop where I purchased the lock. I was expecting them to say something ridiculous and unhelpful, but after calmly describing the situation, the manager said, “Just get the lock cut off, get a receipt and bring it in. We’ll reimburse you for the locksmith and I’ll give you a new lock.” I then asked him if he could look over the bike I brought in and if he had a spare lock. He adjusted the bike so it was usable short term and gave me a spare lock.  You know why that happened? Because I trusted. Because I went in expecting nothing but to tell him that he should warn other purchasers about the lock so they don’t lose their bike too. Because I asked for help. Simply because, the world is a beautiful place when you can step back, remove the stress and discover what living really means to you.  

 

I have very little money, I have no job and soon I will have no home other than the kind offers of numerous friends. The good thing is, I have everything else. I have love, support and a huge cheerleading team who want to see nothing more than for me to carry on living in a way that suits me.  What a wonderful world I have built myself. So really, if I lose that bike, I’ve actually lost nothing at all. There really is nothing to be stressed about for if I fall, I have a nice cushy landing of smiley, loving faces who will just push me back up again.

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Making new steps with the old ones

 

img_7881“Why don’t you just stay here and sign up for the crew agencies?” said one of my flatmates. I shrugged my shoulders up to my ears, tightly gripped the cup of tea I was holding and said, “Because it’s freezing in here!!!” When I looked at the thermometer yesterday as I was shivering so hard I could barely type, it was 10 degrees Celsius!!! When they built all these purpose flat blocks in the 70’s, they really didn’t think through the insulation. I understand why so much violence erupted, it’s not fun permanently shivering. Thank goodness for my electric blanket.

 

Besides, I’m having a tough weekend and I just needed to get out. It’s now been one week since I talked to Captain Cool and it will probably be two more weeks. I had a great week at a training course and with the friend who was kind enough to take me in as one of her family during the course.  Now I’m back in the igloo in London with yet again no purpose other than to frantically look for work as I have very little time left with the money I have. I’m not doing so good so far, the job I want requires me to have yet another certification which will cost about £250 (ouch!!), but if it gets me a really good paying job on a yacht, I guess it’s worth the investment.

 

Anyway, I digress, actually there is no digression because there isn’t really a point to this entry, other than like all the other ones. Live in the moment, to the fullest and trust in the universe! Yesterday, I went to pick up my old bike. When I left 20 months ago, I sold it to a friend who sold it to a friend who never used it, so sold it back to me! It’s way cheaper than public transport even though I will hopefully only be here for a maximum of one more month. It felt so good to see Sky again. Like all of my possessions, he is blue and not the prettiest of bikes, but the fastest of a bike his size. My bum sat on the wide cushy saddle and sighed with relief. I spent two years using him as my sole means of getting around London and it felt great to be back on him!

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I was just going to go to a cafe down the road, but that wouldn’t be such a good reunion with Sky, so I decided to go down to the Southbank which is about six miles from where I’m staying. That’s always been my favourite part of London and always will be. I’ve had many romantic strolls, romantic endings, many strolls discussing life (ok, dissing whatever boyfriend I was with at the time) with good friends, strolls alone as I thought and thought and threw all the negativity into the rapidly moving, mesmerising, cleansing and energising Thames. Many memories, but always feelings of hope, positivity and rejuvenation. What a good place to sit and work on my job applications.

 

Off we rode, down the familiar streets we used to rush down always late for something. Sky never let me down, but sometimes the traffic did as I scrambled from one tightly scheduled commitment to another. I refuse to do that now and life is so much more enjoyable. Sky really does ride fast so it was hard not to go a bit slow and breathe in all of the sights. We started off in a newly built neighbourhood where the buildings aren’t so pretty and are very boxy. As we cycled towards Westminster, the huge grand Victorian houses started appearing. They are so beautiful and carry such a fascinating history. We passed by hospitals that even though may not be in use anymore, still have their historical significance painted on them. I really do love that about London. Our ride was along the river and I noticed all of the new builds, of which there are many, that have occurred since I was last here.

 

Just like that, we were at the roundabout where if you turn left at MI-6, you would arrive at the very first place of work I had in London. I remembered the excitement I felt the first day I walked along the river in complete and utter disbelief that I FINALLY got that job in London after 12 years of planning and working hard to get there. To be honest, that feeling took a long time to fade. As a US citizen with no roots in England, that seemed like a pretty impossible dream. I just didn’t want to give up. It’s a good thing I’m an expert in making things happen. I must remember that now as my current dream/goal seems to have just one too many challenges.

 

Soon I saw the tops of the Houses of Parliament appear over the trees and I giggled with the memory of how this was the walk to get to Paul’s work. He took me under his wing when I moved to London and we had lots of fun, usually involving too much alcohol, all on his wallet. Well, let me correct that, I had lots of fun and he had lots of trouble. We’re still in contact, so I guess I didn’t do too much damage. The closer I got to the pinnacle Big Ben, the pavements became more and more dotted with people. People of all different ages, sizes, colours and languages. For the first time, it felt good to be home. As I cycled by with the cold wind trying to enter my ski hat and face mask, I could hear all different languages. There is no city in the world where I’ve been to that has been so diverse. Mind you, there are lots of big cities I’ve never been too. I didn’t feel the need to visit after I moved here.

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I went around Westminster square and crossed over the bridge. It gave me the opportunity to play my favourite game of ‘how many photos can I be in?’ which used to entertain me on my journeys in between offices. It’s great to see the faces of people who are visiting this city and have never seen Big Ben. The pavement on both sides of the bridge was just packed side to side of people taking photographs and wondering at the marvel of it all. I never took that view for granted and often planned my cycle commute so that I would pas by. The crowds of people never bothered me.

 

I was soon to arrive at my destination. I made a sharp left after the bridge and 10 seconds later, saw the massive steel structure that is the London Eye. I have been in it four times and the view is always beautiful, day or night! I smiled again thinking how many times I met people just in front of it, always out of breath because of course I was late! The smells from the street food near Southbank Centre kissed my nose and reminded me to breathe in deeply. I parked up in the same spot I always did and wandered off to see my old friend, the Thames.

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I found myself a prime seat in the Southbank Centre, overlooking the Thames with my back turned so I couldn’t see all of the paying customers searching for a table. I took out the water I brought from home and started to work. It was great to look up and see the river rushing by, children running to and fro, people standing by the edge of the balcony pondering life. It’s a beautiful place. It’s noisy inside, but a nice background noise because if it’s too quiet, I just think about how much my heart hurts and how I know I can’t do much about the situation with CC and I (especially when we can’t talk!!) right now. There are people of all colours wearing all different styles of dress and speaking all kinds of languages. London truly is a magical multi-cultural place. I love it. If I could get a job on the river and bring CC here with me, I would happily live here temporarily in between our circumnavigations.  

 

 

I took a basic boat safety training course last week (that was amazing!!) which made me realise that maybe my dream of paying off my student debt quickly and reuniting with CC isn’t so far fetched. So that’s the dream I’m working on now. Let’s hope with all of my experience in turning dream to reality, it doesn’t take 12 years. I’m just looking forward to getting back on the sea because if I can’t be with my human love, than I can find comfort in my natural love. As long as I have the sea, things don’t seem so bad.

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Life as a river.

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For the best part of the last two years, I have been sailing down a beautifully calm river in a warm environment with my soulmate and lover by my side. Our home was our haven. It was beautiful, bright, clean, safe, homey and with a great energy. Whenever we ventured out onto land, we always breathed a sigh of relief and smiled as we jumped back into our rocking base. On anchor, we would be happy not leaving the boat for a day or two. After all, we could hear the outside world and preferred our little bubble.  Suddenly, we started sailing down some rapids, but it was ok because we were together and we had our fun little games which made us giggle. We had our frequent cuddles and kisses that always produced smiles and warm feelings.

 

Then there was a fork in our beautiful river.  Unfortunately I didn’t like the fork that Captain Cool wanted to take, so I jumped off feet first with hardly anything on my back. I could see the rapids from our safe haven, so I knew it would be a bit of a rough ride, but everything else was unknown. The first time I saw the rocks, I started to panic hoping that it wouldn’t be too painful when I crashed into them. I closed my eyes and waited for the worse. Then somehow, I found myself being lifted up onto a soft raft that could go over the rocks while I only felt slight bumps beneath me. I opened my eyes, saw some blue sky and relaxed for a bit. Just as I was ready to sit up, there were some stronger rapids and I fell off the raft, plunging back into the whirling rapids seeing rocks on both sides of me.  I was scared, but I knew someone would come back with that soft raft where I could feel safe again for a moment while the rapids rushed noisily beneath me. This pattern of falling off and coming back up again is what it’s like being back in the city.

 

I am of course talking metaphorically. This is how it feels leaving CC and being back in London. The soft raft is my friends who are an extension of my family.  I have been very touched by the welcome I have received. I have way more friends than I realised and they are so understanding. They want to see me, but understand when I get a bit overwhelmed by the whole planning process. Even if I say not right now, they continue to send texts to see how I am settling in, if I need anything, if they can help in anyway. I know the world is going a bit crazy with Trump, but there are so many beautiful people in the world and I wish there was more social media about them.

 

Entering the life of planning is hard. Do you know how I’ve planned for the last two years? I’ve stepped into the marina and if a friend is around, I tell them what we’re up to or they tell us and ask if they/we want to come along. There is no, “How about next week?” Sure, sometimes it’s planned two days in advance, but anything more than that is just crazy. A whole bunch of life can happen in that time!! I mean, the main confusion amongst sailors is what day it is and since most sailors are unconcerned with their phone, we don’t even have a phone to tell us who is guessing right. Now I have to wake up and think what day it is and if I have something going on, how to get there, who I need to call/email/text. I’m sure it sounds so normal and simple to most readers, but it’s not my life anymore. I liked it not being my life. I don’t want it to be a part of my life because it made my life complicated. I know this means I will probably hardly get to see my friends because everyone in London is booked up for weeks or months sometimes. It will get lonely, but I’m a firm believer in being true to myself. I found something that works for me, why change it?

 

And lonely I feel right now. I’m fine when I’m frantically searching for jobs (I don’t want!!), walking somewhere or visiting friends. Actually, just the one friend who is on maternity leave with no hectic schedule and has been my saviour. It’s waking up in the morning and not having my soulmate to greet and bury my head into.  It’s when I’m cooking by myself and eating by myself. We always cooked and ate together. Always. We would spend the time chatting (ok, mostly me!) and not watching TV or glued to our phones. Not to mention he normally cooked so not only do I have to do something I don’t enjoy very much, but I have to do it alone! It’s bedtime with a racing mind about re-building my life and a body who is still in a different time zone.  I am up until 12.30 or 1 in the morning thinking, thinking. I try to imagine being back on the gently rocking boat and using my hot water bottle as a CC substitute, but then it just makes me miss that life which is so suited to me.

 

Another lifestyle change is this work business. Oh my god they make it impossible!! Do you know what? If I didn’t have my student loans to pay, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be in Cartagena either, but I would be sailing, probably for food and accommodation, but I learned that the only things I really need in life are that. Food, accommodation, a sail boat and love. I’m signing up for temp agencies who need to see utility statements, national insurance documents, bank statements, blah, blah. You can guess how many of those I have right now! The last 2 years and 4 months of my life if I needed work, I went up to someone, smiled and said, “Hi, I’m a yoga teacher. Do you need one or know someone who does?” “I do Thai massage. Want one?” One guy I worked for never even met me or knew me! How I got the sailing gig was by saying, “I love this. Will you teach me how to sail?” No references required, no paperwork, just my smile and positive energy! Oh how complicated us Westerners can make our lives. Before you get defensive, I know there are certain rules for a reason.

 

I don’t need the advice that suggests to go out dating, shagging or whatever meaningless activity that will only make the loneliness worse. I don’t need those “words of comfort” that suggest everything is fine, “but you lived a life most people only dream of. It’s time to get a real job now,” or whatever other well intentioned, but completely unhelpful statement I’ve heard. Don’t feel bad saying them. God knows I’ve said my share of unhelpful things! What I need is patience, time and understanding. Exactly what I’m giving myself.  I will be fine. I know that. For now I appreciate this time is difficult. It’s a HUGE change, I’ve lost my right arm (not literally, I’m talking about CC!) and I’ve been thrown into swirling rapids after a long time of a lazy river. It doesn’t mean I’m weak, depressed or negative. It means I’m adjusting and that’s ok. Nothing is permanent.

 

Since I believe there is not nearly enough time in life to experience everything it has to offer,  I’m still going to find bright moments. Nothing will stop me! I cherish the times I have with one of my closest friends and her beautiful baby. They brighten my day and comfort me by not saying anything. I love reading all the kind messages I receive. I’m really enjoying walking again. Something the sailing life doesn’t offer a lot of! I love walking up and down the streets of London feeling the energy. It’s a beautiful and unique energy. Yesterday as I was walking along the narrow tree lined streets listening to the birds singing proudly while the cars whizzed by, I was trying to figure out why the energy is so unique. What a beautiful thing to ponder. It made me forget everything else. I came to the conclusion that it has to deal with the rich history London has. I’m currently reading a book about the cholera outbreak in 1854, which offers a lot of insight into London in that time. So much pain, suffering, humanity, laughter, tears, hope, hopelessness, courage, death and life amongst millions of people in a small space. They may have left long ago, but their energy is still around and I love feeling it. Londoners have always been survivors and enthusiastic to live, even if they over do it a bit!

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Then there are the sounds of London. Sure there are the sirens, the sound of water rushing under tires on a wet road and the loud buses. But listen closer. If you pay attention, you hear birds singing in almost all parts of London. There are so many green spaces for them to hang out! They sing beautiful songs all year round. The narrow streets and perfectly matched houses in terms of height along with the constant cloud cover, mute noises. Sometimes there’s a muffled silence if that makes any sense at all! The click clack of shoes pounding the pavement as people rush to where they are no doubt late for.

 

I mustn’t leave out the smells. Sometimes you don’t want to take a deep breath, or any breath at all, but I was fortunate to be temporarily housed in a posh part of London where there are trees, front gardens and parks. Yesterday as I was walking home and listening to the birds, I smelled freesia. I just stopped, closed my eyes and breathed in it’s warming fragrance. I smiled and thought how life is so beautiful when we keep it simple.

 

A friend told me yesterday that I seemed so much calmer within myself. I had to agree with her, even if I still have everything to sort out! You know why? Because I’m not searching for anything. I’m not searching for a man, the best job, the best place to live, the best wardrobe, etc. I found what I needed. Peace. Much to contrary belief, peace does not mean you walk around happy all of the time with nothing affecting you. It means that despite the water rapidly rising above your head, you can close your eyes and trust that it will all be ok and simply enjoy the good and bad parts of the journey.   This is exactly what I’m doing despite the heartache, loneliness and uncertainty and yes, it is all going to be ok. I remember that nothing is permanent and one day it will feel normal to be alone again.