I seem to have accidentally stopped taking quite so much control over my plans and it feels like this has led to some truly amazing things.
Much of the focus of this journey has been a personal one for me; I wanted to learn to be kinder to myself to overcome depression and that had to be the main focus. But in an early blog post I also said I wanted to get more in touch with environmental issues again and although that’s been very much in my thoughts, I haven’t focussed on it until now. A few things have happened to change that recently, without me driving that change, at what seems to coincidentally (or consequently?) seem to be a good time for my brain to relax and think about other things again.
Arriving in New Zealand I had no plans other than ‘see this beautiful country’, and only one night’s accommodation booked. This led to me complaining about hostel-hopping, which led to a friend sorting me out to stay with his kind friend in Auckland, which led me to think differently about accepting kindness. In one of the hostels, I happened to have a conversation with a girl about the environment and getting out of the rat race, and rather than over-researching like I normally would, this led me to Wilderland, where some wonderful inspiring people and situations led me to quickly feel valued for who I am and feel more comfortable in my own skin and with hugging people! New people arrived just as I was feeling the need to be seen as knowledgeable again.
Because I’d opened up about how I was feeling, a lovely woman called LayLin invited me to a day out to a beautiful non-touristy beach up the coast in mid-December, where I felt more comfortable on a beach than ever in my life. She talked to me about how she tries to make ethically-sound buying decisions and this led me (Coke bottle in hand – ha!) to think about the buying choices I make in my life and how much I could improve my choices for the good of the earth. I was suddenly aware that my sweeping perception of the reasons why anyone buys organic produce in the UK are for personal health or dare-I-say-it status reasons, not because choosing organic can be better in lots of knock-on ways for the earth. Am I wrong? Does anyone reading this make organic choices for ecological reasons? I’d love to hear from you if you do!
I wasn’t sure I could stay at Wilderland over Christmas and new year, but rather than booking some accommodation to be sure, I trusted that something would sort itself out, I threw myself more into the work and getting to know the people… and they confirmed I could stay the extra week I wanted. 🙂
This meant I was there when two people came to visit Wilderland to look around, to have a thoroughly enjoyable proper conversation about various ethical issues and to give one of them a big hug afterwards to show my appreciation. It also gave me some time to offer to do some life coaching for someone, which reminded me how much I enjoy that and want to pursue it. Happily setting off to work in the gardens on Christmas Eve, my laces got caught and I fell over on a steep gravel drive, needing 4 stitches in my right knee, lots of kindness from people (I faint at even the thought of blood!) and to stay sat down for a few days.
Cue talk of ‘this has happened for a reason’. I thought it was to learn more than ever before that it’s ok to ask for help from people, or that I should accept that people can appreciate me for who I am rather than what I do for them – I couldn’t do a lot of work when I couldn’t walk! I thought it had given me time to do yet more coaching (a sit-down way of spending time if ever there was one) and develop deeper bonds with my new friends.
It may have been those things. But it also meant that I was still in the area when I was supposed to have left, and when the lovely guy I’d given the big appreciative hug to found this out, he showed up on New Year’s Eve to give me a spare ticket to a festival where some other Wilderfolk had already gone. Instead of needing to control the situation as I would’ve in the past, I let go of my original plans and decided to go. We’ve had many conversations about environmental issues, and he’s inspired me even more to get informed and involved as I wanted to as part of my travels, instead of just letting it continue to be a thing that intermittently informs a few of my decisions.
On my personal journey, this new relationship and sudden change of location also caused me to suddenly confront a barrage of the anxiety issues I haven’t had to deal with in a long time (yes there are more than already detailed in this blog!) – for example, because I wasn’t strictly supposed to be in the communal area to feed myself, the person inside me who’s anxious about those situations returned one day but was overcome! (Strange to think I’m the same person who could confidently stand up in front of 100 people to try to inspire them to make personal change less than twelve months ago.) Many people blogging about mental health seem to have supportive partners, but I’ve been doing this alone. Until now? We’ll see!
To anyone out there who is in complete control of their life but not necessarily happy, I challenge you to let go of that control just a little, open up to new experiences and see what good things might happen to you.
Dear The Universe,
I’ve written quite a bit recently about life coaching. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert but whenever I have coached people, recently and in the workplace, they seem to have a really positive response. If you have any kind of goal or change in mind, personal or work, but you just don’t know what the next step could be towards it, and you think some free coaching might be for you, get in touch!