As I begin the summer season in my new home, Vassiliki in Greece, the period of settling for us all takes hold. Moods swing are in flow as my expectations are not met and assumptions made not realised, but then relief to be in such a special place surrounded by lovely people. We are all tired, moaning and questioning the choice to come out here. How can we be like this in such a beautiful place?
I came to Healthy Options five years ago on a holiday. It was September and the last summer before my accident. I had a great holiday – lots of SUP yoga, fitness classes, drinking and dancing.
This time as I arrive to work here, we all complain, fault-find and react to this scenery change; our individual desires lead as we place our stake in our new territory. Without conscious awareness, we have permitted our ego to take hold and separate us. Who has what role? How do I sell my massage when introduced to clients? How do we work together? Do we judge each other’s teaching? What makes me special from the others? What is my niche and how do I sell it?
Old habits, bad behaviours from my past, hidden emotions and things I thought I had addressed rear their head. Fears of some nasty hidden me reappear, a failure or worst of all, not being of value and demonstrating my worth on this planet rears itself. I am working too many hours with extra massage bookings. The workaholic is back – “It’s ok, I love doing it” I hear the words tumble out of my mouth like old habits with glee to regain their hold of me.
Worst of all the Wi-Fi here is shocking so it’s hard to keep in touch or get ‘work’ done. As I run around town in search of decent Wi-Fi I gain the reputation for ‘always working’ within 2 weeks. I chose to come to Vassiliki to face the last remains of old Nid and she is game for the experience. I feel ungrounded. Groggy. Yuck!
I begin to feel my chest hurting like I will get a chest infection. My heart is crying for some compassion! What happened to that love I discovered in Costa Rica? Remember that there is no need to prove my worth. I should not judge, label or worry about my role – I can just do what I do, be present, stay with the quality and enjoy the experience. Yet, that seems too hard.
I begin to talk with colleagues, we share and express our fears over cups of tea and as we do so, the separation falls and relationships deepen. We can connect into where we are, see the beauty and vibrancy of what there is on offer here. Conversations of our pasts stir up emotions and I find myself waking from sleep in floods of tears and sadness. How can I still have so much sorrow?
Even the clients I attract are all the fast-paced workers who want to do it all. I can hold their space with compassion, but hear my own reflection back at me of the words I share with them. “Be in nature. Feel your feet on the earth. Go slow and savour the moment. Rest and allow things to come to you rather than trying to solve the issue.”
I begin to consider my diary: less massage slots (I know I will still take on more but it is a start), sunbathing 30 minutes a day is key, cut out tzatziki and pittas (although one bakery item a week is required given they let me sit there for hours every day using their Wi-Fi!), play on the Swiss ball as this always makes me smile.
As I break down my larger behaviour (and thoughts), I become aware that I am frustrated by inefficiencies that are connected to my disappointments. I find myself wanting to ‘improve’ things in Greece. But my new life is about less. On my walks, I can feel my body burn with frustration. I acknowledge the desire to control things – this is the first step to release those unconscious self-hating habits that restrict my freedom. Each time I find those old impulses in Greece I must face them head on with clarity and compassion. I have no anger at myself, just the clarity that I lose my sense of freedom and self-love when I let the old habits in.
When one guest teacher mentions to me that she is relieved I struggle with thoughts and emotions too when I seem so calm and peaceful, I chuckle. It is always work to keep the ego at bay. When I am sloppy she comes back to destroy my joy and drag me back to my black hold of misery.
This summer will no doubt continue to bring up the ghosts of my past. That was the choice to come here and I revel in shedding more layers of myself. To be less of me is to become more of my true Self.
Change is circular
When we make changes in our life it only ever brings up your old self to readdress in a new situation. Whether change is a choice you make or one that happens to you, it always highlights deeper layers of self-growth. It is what makes change so scary – what is beneath what you know. As you recognise the cycles of your layers, it becomes quicker and easier to draw awareness, make a conscious choice to change and enact those changes until the new change becomes the unconscious normal. Like learning to ride a bike, it only gets easier as you embrace it more.