After well over year of backpacking the world solo I have traveled by plane, trains, boats, Tuk-tuks, bicycle, canoe and chicken bus. I have taken over 30 flights, visited 5 Continents, and 8 Countries.
I have purged and detoxed and treated myself like a human science experiment by means of Ayahuasca purging in Peru, Ayurvedic Vireachenna detoxes in India, Using Master plants for Dream therapy in Colombia and more Herbal Concoctions in Scotland.
I have delved into the world of self-development and discovery along with enchanting doses of enlightenment by means of studying Acupressure in Australia, Foot Reflexology in Indonesia, Meditation in India, doing an Internship in Master plants Mayan Cosmology & Ethnobotany in Colombia and finishing with an Apprenticeship in Herbal Medicine, Celtic Intensive and Plant Energetics in Scotland.
I pushed the boundaries of my mind and body by camping with just the most basic of needs, with just one other, for a month in the Australian outback covering over 8500km and hitting all territories. I Climbed 5 Volcanos, one of which was Fuego in Guatemala where I was almost killed by Lava-bombs overhead. I rappelled 60m down a forested sink-hole in Java, Dived with Manta Rays in Noosa Lembongan, Rode the back of a motorbike almost vertically up and down a non-existent broken track with my backpack hanging off the front handlebars in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and got lost in the Polylepis Forest in El Angel.
I found moments of peace, calm, and stillness and learned how ‘Expectations’, both of ourselves and others, are 80% of our misery. I learned that in order to deal with any uncomfortable experience in life there are only 3 things we can do… change remove or accept the situation, and I now have a tattoo of this on my back which I designed and had done in Colombia.
I became aware of how much I had turned away from the divine feminine energy and what this means for the planet, on which I am still understanding and developing. I discovered I may ‘know’ something but it means nothing unless I ‘feel’ it. I learned in order to replace old misinformed learnings… I needed to exercise new learnings over and over and over again until it replaced the old patterns…. Just how the old patterns replaced my authentic self in the first instance.
I learned that I am not defined by the past or the future but by the present… a lesson I am currently still exercising over and over. I learned that rules are man-made and a ridiculous attempt at suppressing our wild selves… nature has no boundaries and only man creates limitations. I learned the word Tribe, and fell in love with the idea, and then suddenly realised across the world on my travels I have found that and, no matter how far away we are, that energy and spirit of Tribe connects us through time and space.
I learned that being loved is as hard to accept as not being loved and that strength is also the ability to be vulnerable and open and still trust that history does not always repeat if we have learned the right lessons. I learned the true meaning of sex, and that it is more than an act of desire but a way for two people to become one, to transcend time and space and lose themselves in each other, to melt and reunite in the ether.
I learned that fairy-tales are not the false unworldly plastic dreams that Disney have sold us but the fearless, brave, brutal and sometimes bloody stories of which my ancestors, the Celts, used to teach us about life’s difficulties and how it’s not always rainbows and unicorns but that there are lessons to be learned and if we can stay present, brave and honorable while learning them then there is a happy ending for all of us. I learned that we are the designers and painters of our now and what we spend time manifesting is what we get… so be careful and mindful of who we paint our pictures with. I learned that the words we use to express and convey ourselves, whether by jest or by inheriting the use of language from our family, friends or culture, we can affect not only our health but the company of those around us and how we move in the world.
After all this, upon returning home to Ireland, I all of a sudden feel none the wiser! Such a sudden halt to a year that seemed to have an endless ebb and flow and full of possibility now has begun to feel stagnant, unproductive and without direction. Its as though I have studied in the school of the world. I have completed each semesters lesson, done my homework, practiced and rehearsed some more than others and then learned, forgot and re-learned new lessons. I have had lot of time to do so at my own leisure and now the end of the School year is over and the exams have begun, a test of what I have really learned and what can be easily recalled is here!
Upon returning home it feels like the exam at the end of it all… testing and trying my knowledge to recall and exercise all of these lessons in one sitting, all together, to see what I really learned! All of a sudden, I feel nothing has stuck, everything seems to have escaped me… all that learning… where did it go? I studied! I did the homework… I felt it in me! This make me wonder if perhaps I should have rehearsed more, so it would come more automatically! I feel a sense of cold sweated panic! Some exam trials I feel very present with and use my new learnings on old ways like I am top of the class and egoically proud of myself for being so present. Sometimes the exam trials are confusing, foggy, not so clear, more subtle and harder to see and therefore more difficult to know to be present with them… it’s these I feel I fall asleep on, talking in old language and letting old patterns take over, then I wake up and realise I had fallen back into default settings and where possible try to find the opportunity to re-sit that exam.
It seems that within the exam itself there is another lesson… one that acts like the glue that binds it all together…. The exam which shows you what it’s all been about… being present. It seems for all I’ve learned it is now I have to be most present, now that I have to be alert for the tests to not catch me out. I feel as though I have to be truly awake to avoid missing or overseeing important parts of the exam. Like when you first start meditating there is nothing but noise and distraction, and then the calm comes once you practice being present and aware that noise and where it is coming from. All of a sudden, I feel I have lost all of the learnings, my mind is noisy and busy and I cannot find the calm or quiet to see the lessons… this makes me feel as though I know nothing…. However, it is said that true wisdom is realising that really, we know nothing!
After over a year of constantly being active, banging the drums, making noise and testing the sounds and metal of the world around me I have arrived home and within the stillness I am making noise like a child….
I feel as uncomfortable with myself as on the first day of Vipassana… and have made several attempts to meditate, find stillness and peace. To quieten my mind. ….Then one day while ‘actively’ looking for stillness I came to a great realisation…….
When I stopped…. the noise stopped!
The realization didn’t last long before I was clanging and banging in my mind again, but I found the noise maker once again and continue to practice being present as much as possible!