I’ve been living in Japan now for 2 years and up until a month ago, I thought I didn’t want to be here. I was convinced that Japan and I just didn’t get along, we couldn’t connect, and that we had nothing in common. At times I said I hated it and hate is not a word I use lightly.
I spent 2 years telling myself a story. A story about how I didn’t like it here and that there was nothing here for me. I constantly focused on all the things I didn’t like and what I didn’t have. I often told people that I felt like an Avatar walking around trying to find somewhere to plug in my tail, somewhere to connect to the energy of this place, and never being able to find it. This story was on repeat in my mind, day in day out, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. I started to feel despair, disconnected, deep unhappiness and unbearable sadness. Tears lived just under the surface of my emotions every moment of my day and were ready to spring forth at the slightest invitation.
What I find so fascinating right now is just how crazy the stories in our mind can become and how our life then “looks” and “feels” when we totally buy into them. This story almost cost me my marriage and it definitely cost me my sanity.
I took time out in Bali earlier this year because of the state these stories had worked me up into. I had identified with them so much that they were causing me intense pain, both physical and mental, and they were tearing apart my relationship with Ricky and my life. My mental state was so messed up and I was experiencing my life through this messed up lens, pointing fingers at everyone around me telling them how they were making my life feel the way it did when really, it was all me. This was both a hard truth and a blessing to discover.
While in Bali I was fortunate enough to have a life changing encounter that shook me to my core and woke me up from this crazy illusion. It forced me to take full responsibility for all my own actions, all my own thoughts, all my own choices and how they had led to me the exact place my life was in, in that moment. That I was no victim of circumstances, but rather FULLY responsible for my reality and that that reality had been created by my mind! That was an extremely difficult and challenging truth to come to terms with and to take responsibility for. But in doing so, I was truly humbled and deeply affected.
I have been able to return home from Bali with fresh eyes, not only for Japan, but for myself and my life. I have returned home without the stories, without a large chunk of my ego, with 80% less noise consuming my mind and a radically quieter mind in general. I can finally see what is really in front of me and just how amazing all of it is. The depths of beauty I can now experience every day, like the day in the photo above, without the negative story, feels so special.
I’m sharing this with you today for two reasons. First, because the contrast of how my life feels right now, and particular this weekend when this photo was taken, in comparison to those 2 years of story making hell, is so stark. This “awakening” from my stories has opened up my life to me for what feels like the first time in a really long time. That realisation makes me feel both sad and grateful.
And second, just to let you know, we all go through stuff, we all f*%k up sometimes, we all make mistakes and that is ok. I do too. And that when we do make mistakes in order to truly heal from those things, we need to take full responsibility for our mistake, sincerely apologise, learn from our misstep and then choose to do better. Most importantly, loving and accepting ourselves along the way because if we beat ourselves up for our mistakes, we are still in the thick of the mind story about who we are ie: a f*%k up. This does not help us move forward, it keeps us stuck.
Forgive yourself, love yourself and choose better. We are always learning, always growing and that growth happens when we don’t get stuck in our mind with our stories.