Okay, it’s been a hot minute, I know. The last time I wrote a proper blog post was more than four months ago, right after I left Maastricht, about to embark on a new adventure in Hong Kong. At the time, I had absolutely no idea what sort of experiences lay ahead of me – but I mean, we can never really predict the future, anyway – but little did I know I was on the cusp of a beautiful journey into a deeper state of self-discovery, healing, and love.
In all honesty, the first three to four weeks in Hong Kong were EXTREMELY difficult for me. Sure, moving abroad sounds glamorous on paper, and one might argue that I was only going away for 13 weeks; but the reality of uprooting your life again and again, even for a short period of time, means having to learn to adjust to a new way of life in a completely new environment and culture. In addition, the decision on whether or not it was time for me to leave the safety net of bedside nursing, perhaps for-now or perhaps forever, was weighing heavily on me as the deadline to notify my managers of my decision was fast approaching.
My emotions at the beginning of May were completely all over the place; and initially, I found it quite difficult to ground and center myself. Alright, perhaps I haven’t been completely honest either, but in addition to all the aforementioned emotions I was dealing with, I was also nursing a fairly bruised heart after having said goodbye to someone with whom I had created a pretty deep and intimate connection with, and who had grown to become someone special in my life, even in such a short period of time. And so, as one can imagine, being alone with no friends yet, and no sense of routine, on top of dealing with some issues I encountered with my Master Thesis Project (I won’t bore you with the details) – I had a bit of a rough time, plain and simple.
Old methods of coping were not working so well for me, and so I knew I had to break “routine” in order to elevate into the best possible version of myself.
“What is this experience teaching me?” – a question I would often ask myself, time and time again especially in those moments when I found myself so consumed by my thoughts and emotions. And so through a new practice of meditation, namely Vipassana Meditation, I learned to observe my thoughts and emotions more than I ever have before, and this is what I found once again. E-motions are just energy in motion, and that is all they are. Although they do not define who we are, emotions are very much a part of the human experience. In order to work through our emotions, we need to move and feel our way through them. The only way OUT is THROUGH. And so instead of avoiding the discomfort and the pain – lean into it. Lean into the experience, and just allow yourself to feel. Facing ourselves and the emotions we experience is probably one of the most courageous things we can do for ourselves. Digging deep into old patterns and belief systems that perhaps may be the source of some of our emotions, changing those stories, and finding love for ourselves even in the midst of our battles against our shadows, is our life’s greatest work. To this day, I am still amazed by what the stillness continues to teach me about myself.
And so fast forward to June and July, I found myself in a much better place of peace and acceptance. Although I am not going to pretend that every day was “perfect” in any sense of the word, I found, once again that I was living my life with more intention – intention with my words, and intention with my actions. This feeling of living with more intention was quite similar, although not as intense, to something I had experienced back in 2015, when my heart was literally shred to pieces after the end of a five-year toxic relationship. With that being said, I think the universe is quite funny sometimes, and the only reason I say this is because of what transpired in the months following. Long story short, I was not planning on being back in Canada for a while, after I had decided at the end of May that I was not returning to my old job, but important family circumstances brought me back to that part of the world.
And boy, was I in for another emotional rollercoaster. All family matters aside, the last two weeks in Toronto were quite intense for me in terms of integrating the “old” and the “new” versions of myself – learning to fully embrace the wholeness of who I am, at this present moment. I had a few emotional moments as I was crashing on my friend’s couch throughout my stay in Toronto. The same couch I was living on just over three years ago when I was literally physically homeless, after I was forced to move out of the condo I was living in with my boyfriend at the time. It was quite surreal to me. I spent so many nights on this space, so lost and confused, my heart so completely broken, unaware of what the next three years would look like, but only that I knew I wanted something more for myself – that it was possible to dream of a life elsewhere. And here I was, in 2018, coming back to the same space where my thoughts of what a life in Europe would look like all began for me. It was like everything had come full circle.
And so, this is how the inspiration of this blog post came to be.
The privilege of a broken heart
With all this to say, it seems like the catalysts for these journeys into a deeper dive into myself stem from broken or bruised hearts, from 2015/2016 in Toronto and most recently from Maastricht & Hong Kong and the months following thereafter. But I am not ashamed of my story.
You know how you feel completely sore the day after running a marathon (well, I wouldn’t really know, because I’ve never ran a marathon, LOL!) – but it’s the “good kind of sore” because you know you earned it? Well that’s how I feel about my heart: “it’s the good kind of pain” – to know that my bruises and scars were earned because of how much I loved. I was operating at my highest level of knowledge at the time, with the information that I had, and although I know better now, I know that I loved fully and whole-heartedly still.
And so, in the words of Mark Groves, “I look at every past relationship as having a space in my heart that is reserved for what they taught me. At one point, they were exactly what I wanted, and whether it was my choice or not, they became a part of my past and taught me so much about myself and what I didn’t do so well, and how I could show up better; not just in relationships but also in life”.
My heart has been bruised a few times now, and yet I find my capacity to love and remain open, ever more expanding. The connectedness to myself, others, and the universe have only grown deeper, the more I operate from a place of love instead of fear. More and more, am I coming to understand what choosing love instead of fear means, but that is a blog post for another time, I suppose.
At the end of the day, we are all seeking the same thing, and that is the highest, truest expression of ourselves as a human being. I hold so much gratitude for the people in my life that I have loved and lost, because through my experiences of love (and pain) with them, I have grown closer to myself, and closer to my truest expression. It is a journey for sure, and one that I will continue to navigate.
Life is always speaking to us, through our experiences, and through the people we allow into our lives. It has been both an honour and a privilege to have loved and served the people that the universe has sent my way.
At this point, the only prayer that is needed is thank you.
From my heart to yours,
– The Phoenix