I hope this email finds you well and that you had a wonderful day yesterday. Personally, I love Christmas but have to admit that this year I struggled to feel “Christmasy” under the baking sun. No amount of cheesy music and Santa hats could convince me it is normal to be wearing a bikini on Christmas eve!
Last week saw its ups and downs in the land down under! The “up” was climbing to top of the viewing pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The construction of this enormous bridge is a testament to what people are capable of when they put their minds and physical power to it!
The “down” came the very next day when my nine-year-old son, Luca, developed a bout of extreme homesickness. He had gone off camping with his cousins for a full week leaving myself and Ciaran, my husband, in Sydney, for work reasons. The problem in this case is that “home” (Sydney) for Luca happened to be a 7 hour car journey away!
I’m sure we can all recall, as children, the horrible feeling of being homesick when moments feel like hours and days like weeks. This is different from loneliness and hits you right in the pit of your stomach. Luca is already very far from home (Ireland) but it was his parents that he really missed, so perhaps homesick is the wrong word as it’s really the people we love that we miss.
Remembering this feeling from my own childhood, we decided the best thing to do was to go and pick him up as he seemed inconsolable. Just as we were about to set out on the long journey to collect him, Ciaran decided that chlorine needed to be added to the pool to keep it clean while we were away. In his rush a splash of the toxic chemical got into his eye despite him wearing sunglasses. Not usually prone to the dramatic, Ciaran came running though shouting he had been blinded! Our attention had now swayed from our distraught son to getting Ciaran medical attention as suggested by Dr Google. Many hours later and a few hundred dollars down, Ciaran was told his eye was fine! In the meantime, Luca had had a 360 degree change of heart and decided to stay at the campsite and told his auntie to tell his parents that if they hadn’t already left, not to bother! Throughout the day, as things changed from moment to moment, I found myself taking a big step back and my ability to trust the sequence of events showed that everything worked out just the way it was meant to: no long car journey needed and Luca more time to play with his cousins.
What I didn’t expect was to wake up on Christmas morning suffering my own feelings of “homesickness”. I hadn’t slept well and the thought of my parents and sister at home getting ready for our annual Christmas Eve party coupled with echoes of Christmases past, missing relatives now long gone came up and the tears started to flow.
Christmas provides us with a window in which the everyday business of life comes to a halt and our focus turns to what’s more important – love of our family and friends.
I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again, when an emotion swells up, please give yourself space to really feel it. Repressed emotions lead to ill health in both the body and mind. If you feel homesick, sad or lonely at any point, then embrace these feelings. In my case, I let the tears flow and allowed myself to reminisce for a while. After a while everything settled, the sun came out and I had one of the best, most unique, beautiful, loving Christmases I’ve ever had and I didn’t even mind the fact that I was wearing a bikini!
On our arrival in Cairns (Queensland, Australia) we were greeted by a friendly, young guy who booked our coach transfer from the airport to the apartment we were staying in, a resort about 30 minutes from the airport. Almost everything he said finished with the expression, “too easy!” This really made me smile and I have found myself echoing his words frequently ever since. I think he meant that nothing is a problem. Life, when we choose it to be, really can be “too easy”.
Cairns is known for its tropical climate and when we arrived it was very hot and humid with a lot of low-lying clouds. Shortly after arriving at our beautiful resort the clouds opened and torrential rain fell on and off for the next three days! Locals told me that there hadn’t been a drop of rain for five months! To think that on cold wet days in Dublin I had visualised myself basking in the tropical sun sipping cold drinks by the pool. Not to say this didn’t actually happen but inevitably, we had to run for cover every time it rained (frequently).
The work that I do is about helping you create your own inner sunshine which is not dependent on external factors; the ability to carry an inner light full of joy is empowering. Your choice of response to any situation allows you true mental freedom. You choose what will become “too easy”. By mentally choosing to create your own inner world of light and peace, your feelings, behaviour and experiences will all be imbued with a positive light.
We were fortunate enough be able to book a trip to the rain forest, one of the few remaining in the world. And yes, it did rain! But as I soaked in all the beauty that surrounded me and witnessed the incredible power of waterfalls in that jungle, I felt connected – the flow of water represents life, always changing. The ability to “go-with-the-flow” Aussie style is certainly a path to freedom as is being able to accept each and every precious moment of your life. This is what allows you to live and love fully.
Let me tell you, I had no problem “going with-the-flow” the next day when we made a trip to see the Great Barrier Reef, something I have always dreamed of. We set out with our umbrellas (in case of rain), determined to snorkel and witness one of the most incredible wonders of the world before it eventually vanishes. From the moment I woke, I knew that this day would be one for the positive memory bank. We met a lovely group of people on our tour, Luca found pals to play with and the day was filled with laughter and light – the sun really did come out! I had moments where I felt my heart would explode with joy and gratitude.
As I snorkelled under the water and saw incredible fish and coral, a beautiful feeling of excitement and peace came over me. Under the water everything is still and quiet and yet full of possibilities. I took a mental snapshot of this moment and I know that whenever I need to feel like this again, I can simply close my eyes, feel my wet suit and listen to the silence of the sea. “Too easy!”
As I write this, Christmas at home seems so far away but I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and joyous celebration. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog and for all your feedback over the last year. It has been and remains my privilege to be able share my thoughts with you and to help you in any way I can.
Please do take care of yourself and stay calm even if you are surrounded by Christmas chaos. Take time out if you feel anxiety or stress building. Please read my article in A Lust for Life which gives some tips on how to deal with the wonder and chaos of Christmas.
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