popcorn and peppermint tea near portobello

Change is surprisingly hard to deal with, it seems, as we get older and more settled in our ways. Yet everything, including our self, is in a constant state of change. Traditionally, we’ve observed this process through the seasons, ritually marking different periods of our lives, in terms of our activities and focus.

The summer is slowly waning into a cool autumn, as I prepare physically and mentally for the winter. With a new house and new flatmates, and a shift from city to countryside living reflecting a change in priorities, I wonder what the next six months will bring. As a traveller, I bask in new experiences, new environments and new people. Nevertheless, letting go and moving on is a tough process. It must include honouring the moments and the season that is to pass away.

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settling and slowing down

It’s time to simplify. It’s been time for a long time. In fact, it’s always time.

I suffered from chronic tension, stress and anxiety for years. Even as I recognized it, observed it, gave it it’s dues, it didn’t and still hasn’t fully left me. It became more noticeable when the issues finally reflected themselves through the physical body. My shoulders, neck, and spinal area have become misaligned, full of knots and tensed up tight. My nervous system feels shot. Indeed, my adrenal glands (the “anti-stress” glands, a backup system for your body to be able to relax after experiencing stress) literally shut down. They could no longer take on the load of stress that my mind was making up in its own games.

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three weeks of summer

So I just hung up all my washing on the clothing line outside, after already waiting over a day for them to dry, for the rain to begin again, pulling the clothes back down and back inside on the radiator. I’ve become used to dry weather again with the first summer Dublin has seen in years. Thought I’d enjoy the sound of the rain and fresh air from the chalet, and write out what’s been going on for the past three weeks as a way to recognize and process all that has happened.

Continue reading “three weeks of summer”

it’s perfect

Warm evenings, sitting outdoors by a  fire, with the company of good friends, and yummy food. Drinking cider, and herbal teas, discussing shamanism, and other things.

What more can you ask for from a summer?

At ease, among the garden plants, the chairs digging in soil. At peace. Legs bare, skirt of a Cambodian dress rests lightly, air breezes across all my skin. It’s midnight, in Ireland, and I’m warm. A neighbour plays a rattle in the near distance.

Lost in the stars and dark skies spotted with greyish-white clouds from the moon’s reflection along the house-top horizon. I’ve always loved the skies as I’ve travelled. They are a sight in themselves.

Unique to each place. Ever captivating.

Dublin, Ireland

“Like a shaman’s drum, the rattle is used to aid in achieving the “altered state of consciousness,” that brainwave frequency measured between 7-8 Hz which is the threshold to journey work, reportedly in the Theta/Alpha range. That is roughly the same as the Earth’s natural frequency, known as part of the “Schumann Frequency” range…”

Quote taken from here. 

a summer’s eve

pink clouds and street lamps light glowing leaves
drying, let down hair and sandals
a summer’s eve stroll, hugging the canal
this strange and long sought welcome for the city
drinks are had and dogs are walked, on the grass
a friend met by surprise, to then continue on
life happens here.
energies settle, falling into the night
as slumber sets in with the dusk
an artist’s stroll for a summer’s eve.

coffee shop thinker

I hid away in a hostel coffee shop on Anguier street, Dublin 2, with a European latte in a wide rimmed white mug and an egg sandwich on a toasted bagel. I nourished myself with food and with space as I kept sheltered away from the rain outside. Like Cambodia, it is sometimes so obvious how the spontaneity of life revolves around the weather and how much of a blessing it can be. I went with Nature. Allowed it to gently encourage me to break away from my structured plans for the day, take time to eat, and a have a few moments to appreciate exactly where I am.

I looked beyond the large, wall to wall to windows directly ahead of me. A sign, pointing directions to Temple Bar, Dublin Castle, and the Chester Beatty Library, had a glossy glow as raindrops dripped down and onto the grey pavement. All of these places had a significance to me now. And I indulged in appreciation of being on the road again. I’ve been living in Ireland for four months, yet it still feels like I am outside my comfort zone, unaware of what to expect next, entering into unknown surroundings and happenings, and into the mentalities that naturally exist within them. In this sense, I am still travelling. Life is a pilgrimage. An experience to keep us constantly confronting ourselves and pushing our boundaries. Otherwise, what would living really mean?

Sipping up the creamy milky froth, I remembered to breathe. Every act in the string of events that brought me to this moment was fate unfolding through my own intentions. The simplest of intentions cultivated everyday from the heart. In the big picture, everything feels perfect. The busy-ness of my mind that puts boundaries and limitations on me in the every day movements of life are simply distractions. Live through the heart and allow life to flow. Then accept whatever the world brings to us. Because everything that comes to us in life is a creative manifestation of our own doing.

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You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV 4.5

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In  Newtownmountkennedy, surrounded by the Wicklow mountains, with family and community, surrendering into the Earth, and floating through the weekend. <3
In Newtownmountkennedy, surrounded by the Wicklow mountains, with family and community, surrendering into the Earth, and floating through the weekend. ❤
With family and beers along the canal, southside Dublin.
With family and beers along the canal, southside Dublin.

the healing powers of a garden

Spontaneous days are the best days. I finished my 9-530 shift last Friday night, eager to get out of the office and start my actual day. The part of the day where I’m doing what I really love. I knew what I had to get done that night – shopping for supplies for the back garden and homemade hummus and cutting up 1000 squares while figuring out how to make origami flowers, in preparation for an event I would be hosting the following day. There was a lot to do, and most of me by that time wanted to just veg out, but the night turned into magic.

The housemates came home and we all pitched in together on making a massive batch of delicious garlicy-cuminy hummus for our event, cleaning the house and digging up more of the garden. The mini heat wave of the past week brought warm air that kissed our cheeks and invigorated our spirits to work well into the night. Music blessed our ears, fake beer filled our bellies and the flames of a backyard fire lit up the garden. Before we knew it, a full on garden party was happening!

It followed with so much laughter, as we attempted to learn how to make origami at midnight so we could teach others how to do so the next day. We kept on until we couldn’t keep our eyes open, and after the laughter got a bit too giddy, to drift off into a sound slumber of a friday night well spent.

The next morning,  I was getting everything ready for the event. We had space at the Harvest Moon (healing) centre and invited many friends for help to make hundreds of origami flowers for me to bring to Belfast this coming weekend, during the G8 summit. They would have messages of peace and other positive solutions to the injustices of our global economic system. You see, I’ve become a little sick of fuck-the-system, us-vs-them discourses and mentalities, yet I believe we should not completely disengage from action towards social change. Just maybe, this is my way of engaging.

I barely looked at the time all day. I floated through the activities as the wind brushes through the trees, with an effortless force. We made two hundred origamis, the company was inspirational and the day finished with a freeing bike ride home after a sunny lie-down in the park. My mind wandered again to the garden, the sanctuary that it’s become for me while settling in a new city and new post-degree phase of my life that’s been as challenging as it has been rewarding. I thought back to that morning, when I was sitting in the sun in the garden, when I cried.

I cried for all the joy and contentment of feeling in harmonious balance with my environment and relationships, even without any of them being ‘perfect’. For having support all around me, even when I don’t honour it by giving its appropriate recognition. For having people in my life that understand why I’m doing what I’m doing, for the deeper, underlying reasons I expend so much of my energy on what isn’t tangible, what can’t be measured, what doesn’t make money – even when I don’t even know what it is I’m trying so hard to do. For being supported by beautiful friends that tell me I’m cool, open-minded, beautiful, and that I inspire the fuck out of them.

I am consciously creating the lifestyle that I want for myself, one that is in harmonious balance with my environment and my relationships. I felt, that morning in the garden, how this is becoming true. And significantly enough, I officially graduated this weekend. A needed reminder to recognize how far I’ve come and where I’ve come from. That whatever-it-is-I-have-been-trying-to-do-this-whole-time has been the search for living in my own Truth. My life is showing me every day that I am supported and that I do trust myself in doing exactly what feels right to me – because it feels so damn good that I cry in concrete-walled gardens of  houses in random countries. 

DSC06507 DSC06512 origami origami2 origamiparty

again, why Ireland?

Everyone seems to ask me why did I come to Ireland. What was the motivating factor? Why did I choose a country that everyone born here wants to get away from? Tough economic times, poor politics and cold and dark weather don’t equate to the ideal vacation destination, let alone a place to settle down in.

Yet I’m always shocked when asked the question. The Irish relish going on holidays, and understandably make a frequent habit of it. I love that I get to help people travel for my job, because there’s just so many god damn people here doing it. The ideal of being somewhere different than Ireland, somewhere that is somehow more appealing, more exciting or simply just warmer is dominant in the mindset here. Hence the question: why (would you) come to Ireland?

Well, travel doesn’t translate the same way for me. I feed off the culture shock, the new experiences, the unexpected mind openers. Everything that led up to choosing Dublin as a destination was almost all by chance. Having finished my degree without having any tangible career plans and yearning to live abroad to continue travelling as a life path, the destination wasn’t my main concern. It was how to make travel, and the deep transformations that it can bring, into a lifestyle. Despite it never being in my mental itinerary, Dublin fell into place. I trusted my heart and intuition, and just went with the flow.

As usual, I didn’t do any research about the country before arriving. I might as well have pointed my finger down on a spinning globe with my eyes closed and booked a flight. I landed myself here without knowing what to expect, without knowing what the living or working conditions would be like, without knowing anyone who lived in the city. I didn’t expect how cold it would be… or the lack of indoor heating. I didn’t expect a western European country to appear as if it was crumbling down upon itself, nor the lack of urban cleanliness and organization. I definitely didn’t expect all the slugs, and all the other crawly critters I’d have to share my home with.

But the beauty of Dublin, in my own experience anyways, is much more subtle than what’s on the surface. I have found a community of people who are self-aware, socially conscious, creative and critical thinkers, yet light-hearted, laid back, chatty and plain funny! I’ve encountered activists, historians, yoga teachers, yogis, gardeners, foragers, urban rooftop farmers, raw foodies, cyclists, and healers. They say what makes one enjoy a place the most is the people. It’s hard not to love the Irish, for their quick wit and ability to say things as they are, their patience and relaxed nature  in the belief that ‘everything will be grand’.

I’ve explored intriguing, rough-around-the-edges spaces for fancy coffees and cozily cramped  venues with low ceilings for unreal live music. The city beats with life, and feeds me with it’s intrigue, the way it lures me to delve further into it’s spaces, it’s happenings, it’s mindset. I haven’t yet been able to put my finger on Dublin’s appeal. I just haven’t been able to figure it out. Maybe that’s why I want to stay.

one month into Dublin

“the north irish winds blow the trees and bang the walls of my wooden tent. i cuddle in the covers for warmth, that radiates off me from a heart opening to the subtle beauty and raw abruptness of Dublin”

It’s been one full month since I arrived in Dublin, Ireland. I’ve fluctuated a few times between trying to make my experience here fit into my standards and expectations (which I believe happens the more you grow older), and then letting all of that go to allow whatever this city has to offer come to me. Everything we need comes to us anyways, if only we recognized what we already have is providing for us and become clear on what our intentions are.

As I came to Dublin, I found myself walking into a healing centre and living in a garden. The Harvest Moon Centre (http://harvestmoon.ie/), a holistic healing centre running for 17 years in Dublin, was my first destination to set up a work exchange with the owner for a place to live. Since I found a job here really quickly, I haven’t been able to help much around the house, but nevertheless I’ve been welcomed into the home by my three housemates, Peter, Amy and Rahaja, who are each beautifully unique beings that I have the fortune to be blessed with by their company. They’ve been generous, have introduced me to conscious-minded spaces in the city, and have been supportive friends.

The house is adorned with paintings all over the walls, in no standard order, and small artifacts or dishes line any free space one could come across. The vibe is eclectic and busy for the mind, yet the energy in the space is comforting and grounding. My space is the back shed, otherwise known as the chalet, where I’ve created a safe and warm haven for myself in the midst of a foreign and physically cold place. The unused garden patch surrounds the chalet in a bit of an L shape. It’s a treasure of potential for growth – both for food and for myself.

I don’t really know what brought me to Dublin, except for the ease in which I found myself here. It sort of just happened. An intuition from the heart. Sure enough, I’ve found myself among people and opportunities that support my own healing process and contribute to my personal growth. And I didn’t have to ‘try’ to do any of it.

my home in Dublin
my home in Dublin