It’s been one year since I moved to Portugal.
Along with last weeks of this academic year I was called to review it all, look back and face all the emotions, failed expectations and basically everything that took place during last 12 months, and not so in terms of events, accomplishments and external changes in my life, but above all internally.
Two years ago I walked my first Camino de Santiago, which is a spiritual pilgrimage that ends in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. We chose to do the Portuguese Way that goes along the coast of Northern Portugal, starting in the city of Porto. As I stepped my foot in that city, I felt such an intense call to come back, to dig deeper into that place and to move there for a while. There was something pulling me strongly to that city on the vibrational level and I couldn't quite find the words to explain it. I traveled a lot and saw many beautiful places, but this wasn’t merely about the scenery and beauty. Somewhere between the steep streets of the Lower Town, cold Ocean water and the view of the seagulls flying over the Douro river were hidden the lessons that my soul was finally ready to dive into.
I didn’t know that at the time, but I couldn’t ignore the call so I moved here, found a faculty where I’d continue my studies and met the boyfriend while I was still in Croatia, who happened to live nearby (talking about synchronicities). I made the decision and the Universe arranged all of the details to support me in that, so there was no doubt it was the place I was meant to be this year.
However, learning new lessons is often tough and it may require forgetting all we knew up until then. It may require burning all of our beliefs, taking the ground underneath our feet so that we can discover a more fertile ground to step on that will serve us better during the next stage of our evolvement. And it takes courage. And faith. Looots of faith.
I had expectations coming here and as the time was passing, I had to come to terms that all of them can go to thrash as I didn’t come here to live comfortably, to indulge in the external layer of this human experience, or to continue to bypass my bullshit, numbing myself out with “healthy&positive” stuff, which was what I did for last 3 years, after I gave up alcohol and drugs to soothe my internal pain.
I realized there is no difference - numbing, bypassing and distractions are always just that, no matter which substance we use to obtain them. It is obviously “bad” to drink ourselves to oblivion, overindulge in food and toxic relationships or harm or bodies in any other way, but running away from the internal discomfort by reading, working out every day or filling our to-do lists to the fullest is also damaging if we use it as a tool to avoid what’s cooking within us. I am not condemning any of this actions and tools - reading is great, drinking glass of wine as well, working out is an amazing way to get our energies moving and clean our heads - but the intention behind it is what counts.
I found comfort in my routine, in my environment, in my daily dose of medication for depression and anxiety, in people I know and safety that all of that was providing to me. I was stagnating, going in circles and not growing.
What I realized recently is how damn little I trusted myself for the last couple of years. I made some decisions during my teenage years that I labelled as “bad” as they brought pain and disappointment to my closest, so I unconsciously decided that I was simply incapable to make good decisions for myself and even though the internal screams were sometimes almost deafening, I had immense fear of acting upon them, of taking the leap before I overchewed it 100 times with my therapist and each one of my friends. I don’t think asking for advice and opinion is intrinsically wrong, but I took it to the extreme, giving all of my power to others and rejecting to take the responsibility over my life and the reality I live in - whatever it may bring up.
I don’t have the conclusion for this post. I am still processing and reflecting upon everything that went down in last couple of months, which has been fairly difficult with the final exams and projects for my faculty and I am quite exhausted on all levels.
But I am also grateful. Deeply, deeply grateful for this cleansing period that pushed me back to level one just when I started to feel I was “above it”, that I knew it all.
I don’t know shit and I am fine with that at the moment. I don’t know where I am going, I don’t know what will happen, I am curious, but no longer fearful - ‘cause I know that it all comes in Divine timing and order.
Thank you for all the tears and sleepless nights.
Thank you for aimless walks in the middle of the night and days when I thought I was out of forces, but the next moment I found a new well within me.
Thank you for waking me up to my internal power.
It’ s easy to be grateful while the road is smooth and detours mild and rare.
It’s easy to trust the Universe when there are fruits and flowers evolving you in their scented embrace wherever you look.
It’s easy to keep going when the signs are bright-coloured and frequent, nurturing your faith with every new step you take.
What when the Storm comes and destroys everything you loved and cherished?
What when the Ocean decides to swallow everything you’ve been certain of?
What when the pain finds shelter within your bones while you were asleep,
draining your forces slowly and steadily, without any signs of leaving?
How to say “I am loved. I am worthy. The Universe/ God/ Source takes care of me and does everything in my best interest” when everything is shattered and there’s no solid ground to lay and rest upon?
How to believe that “It’ll get better. It all happens for a reason” when the pain you feel grows deeper and stronger with each new sunrise and you start to forget how it was to feel the sunrays on your face?
whose heart is bleeding and eyelids are sore from trying to shut them strong enough wishing that by doing so, eventually they'll shut forever, so you wouldn’t have to go through another day of trying to catch your breath under the water.
who feels like getting out of resources to continue the fight,
whose soulache is so excruciating that you need to inflict pain upon your physical body in order to distract yourself from the internal one, even if it is just for a brief moment, or two.
I cannot tell you it’ll soon get better - because I don’t know that.
I cannot tell you it’s just a phase and once you’re out of it, it will be just rainbows and sunshine ‘till the rest of your days - because it won’t.
The only thing I know for sure is this...
The Universe loves you unconditionally.
It would never give you the amount of suffering that you are not capable to handle and come to the other side.
Pain is necessary part of our soul’s curriculum in order for it to learn and integrate the lessons, grow, expand and evolve. It came forth into this physical plane for that reason and once we are able to truly grasp that concept and fully accept it... no, the pain won’t suddenly and miraculously stop and go away, but our suffering will become more bearable as we’ll gain a new perspective on it, new faith and trust in its purpose and benefits it’ll bring us once the bitter taste washes off.
It’s hard to keep this in mind and heart when the pain grows so intense that the only dreams we’re having are the ones about hitting “the reset button” and leaving this planet, but it’s right then when it’s the most important to nurture the faith and self-compassion - in whichever way we can.
I am not telling you to just get over it, rationalize it and spiritually bypass it or try to numb the pain or distract yourself from it, ‘cause it doesn’t do you any service long-term.
Instead, surrender to it, let it swallow you, let it push you down to its dark, humid bottom - so you can rise brighter and stronger than ever, integrating the lesson the Universe lovingly prepared to you.
I love you.
You can get through this.
Oh, young woman,
why are you so quiet?
How much more voice can you swallow
until you feel your lungs
bursting at the edges?
How many more dreams can you bury
until they start to haunt you
grasping for your ankles
and pulling you down
to the ashes?
Let us hear your screams
and the amplitude of your voice
let your cries
water this dry ground
so the new flowers can blossom
nurtured by your stories.
Turn your palms upwards
show us your shining scars
and those bruises
that pushed you towards
the wholeness of who
Your struggles are your lessons
and your mess is your message,
do not deprive us no more
of the lush of your wounds
as its sparkles the growth
within our forests as well,
and lights the hope along
this shared path
as you are we
“Love is not form. It is content.”
So many times we believe we know what we want and in order to manifest and attract a certain thing, situation or person into our life we attach ourselves to the form in which we want this thing to come. But love is not form, it is content.
I spent a wonderful, challenging, expanding summer one year ago in Algarve, South of Portugal, volunteering at the Meditation & Yoga Retreat Center and wanting to get away from busy urban area of Porto and reconnect myself with nature during this summer as well I started to look for a job in Algarve. I wanted nature, beaches, challenges and experience that will allow me to grow and expand. Last summer it was in Algarve that I got all of that, so my mind automatically connected that place with those kind of feelings and experiences. But love is not form, it is content.
I sent million e-mails to various hostels, hotels, retreat centers and surfcamps in Algarve, receiving little or no response and all of it negative. As a typical Taurus, I kept pushing on, sending more and more e-mails until it became obvious to me something was off. Algarve wasn’t in plan for this summer. I surrendered and started listening to subtle clues, looking for a direction. Where would you have me go? What would you have me do?
Portugal is a country with a huge coast, so if I wanted beaches and that kind of nature, there are so many places I could go, yet I limited myself to Algarve believing that that’s the form in which I’ll receive what I desired and craved. I started to send e-mails to different places on coast and also I sent one e-mail to the surfcamp on islands of Azores as well, which are situated in the middle of the Ocean, half-way to the States. The funny thing was that I was kind of reluctant to send an e-mail looking for a job there, because it is so far and my mind was trying to prevent me from doing so offering very logical explanations why I shouldn’t do it.
I did it anyways, mostly because Azores were jumping out of nowhere for a few months already and I found it kind of weird - I’ve been seeing random people with Azores T-shirt at the street and in the gym, people I follow on social media were traveling to Azores, YouTube was suggesting me videos on Azores even though they weren’t related to the content I usually watch at all.... Everything was pointing that direction, but I was so attached to the form in which I believed my desire will manifest itself that I was blind for all those signs. But love is not form, it is content.
Needless to say by now, I got job in Azores and I’ll be spending this summer there, 3 months living in a tent and working in a surfcamp in a beautiful isolated place immersed in nature. Couldn’t imagine something so stunning and amazing even if I wanted to.
What I was reminded through this is that the way we approach our wishes and desires should shift if we want to really embrace the whole manifestation potential that we have. Of course, desire naturally arises within us and there’s nothing wrong or bad with that, but I believe we should get to its core, discover which feeling states are we actually craving and focus on that, leaving to the Universe to decide how it will wrap the manifestation this time around instead of getting attached to a certain form. Because love is not form, it is content.
You may have already experienced and I did as well,(oh so many times) focusing on the desire that is a pure form falsely believing that that form contains the content we crave for and then getting disappointed. Because love is not form, it is content.
Surrender your desires to the Higher Power and let it guide you to the paths of which existence you are not yet aware of.
Lots of love, my friends.
Once they told me
that if I think hard enough
of clouds becoming solid
I may discover
and I could walk on them
like on a firm ground,
without my feet slipping through
having to come
So, I thought hard enough
and even harder,
imagining the fluffiness of
the clouds getting denser
strong enough to support my
body and offer me a
shelter, so I could
leave this ground
and make my home
in the sky
It may sound weird, my friends,
but I’m living here above now
seeing the world upside down
forgetting how it was to walk
on the ground
The only trick is to never
(and even harder),
as once you stop
the cloudy floor
may crumble down,
spitting you back on the ground
with the memory
lingering in the soles
of your feet
of how it was
on the clouds
I laid down on the wet sand, with my belly touching the ground and closing the eyes, feeling my head being supported by Her. Surrendering and passing all of the weight of my body onto Her, letting go of the strength, letting go of the tension that’s been burdening my back and chest for days and weeks on end.
At the first moment, the light sensation of floating in nothingness terrified me - unused to walk around with my guards down and my fists relaxed and open, the feeling of pulsing expansiveness scared the shit out of me. Surrender. I took a breath in, held it for a few moments and then let it all out through my mouth, hearing the sound of profound relief coming out.
I felt her embracing the flesh of my body from underneath, holding me in her mothering arms and whispering loving words in the language of wind and oceanwaves. My body started to get really warm and I felt energy flowing to its center, forming a ball of burning red light inside my uterus. I couldn’t ignore it no more. The pain I’ve been feeling and trying to numb, avoid and suppress was calling out for my attention, asking me to dive in, to take a look and drink at its well of ancient feminine wisdom.
As I entered the field it exploded and overflooded all of my body. I could feel the pain of generations and generations of women running through my legs and arms, I could hear their cries and screams in my head and above all - I could feel their strength. The strength that they were so attached to, that they let guide them towards suppression and disowning their feminine powers in order to blend in more smoothly into the world dominated by the masculine.
Lifetimes and lifetimes of shame and unacknowledged pain accumulated within my womb, testing me if I’ll continue to hold onto my masculine side, fighting and being strong in the way the patriarchal society taught us to be strong, denying my softness, my womanhood and the richness of my intuitive feminine nature. Hot tears started to run down my face, the well was open and I felt like it would never stop pouring out. There was just so much that had to be released.
So I let it all go, I surrendered to the waves of excruciating pain, feeling it cut through each of my organs and coming out in warm salty drops that were drank by the sand, going back to Her. And in that moment, I knew I wasn’t alone, I felt her soaking up my pain, sucking it out of my body, clearing those ancestral wounds as I permitted Her to do so. Thank you for being strong. I heard Her say. Strong? I replied. I am crying here like a pussy, I am not being strong at all.
Then it came to me as clear as ever: this is the Strength. The real Strength that comes from faith in being truly supported, that reveals itself once we let go of the attachment to the strength as the Ego and our society define it.
There is a strength and then there is a Strength.
I found out that the second one comes in when we release the hold of the first one, when we fully step in what is and stop disowning the parts that make us feel at unease and that make us question the construct of the identity we grew addicted to. When we finally allow ourselves to shed into pieces, fall humbly on the ground and accept that we are out of resources, that all of the external entities we brought inside to solidify the illusion of safety and certainty, that all of them failed miserably at the job we expected them to do... then we find ourselves face to face with it. Falling back down into the arms of the Universal Mother and sinking into the real Strength that has been waiting for our visit since the beginning.
When an emotion arises within the body, it should be given attention to, be felt and then expressed, because the very nature of emotion (hence the name energy-in-motion) is movement and it asks to be released. If we don’t acknowledge our emotions and then let them come out, they find a shelter in the corners of our body (both physical and emotional) and start to grow, sabotaging our joy and lurking for the opportunity to escape and finally be expressed through creating us difficulties in normal day-to-day situations. The more time passes, the harder it gets for them to find their way out of our body.
When we embark on the journey of being really present to our feelings, acknowledging them and giving ourselves time to release all that pent-up energy through crying, shouting, working out, complaining or simply sitting with them, there’s a trap we can easily fall into.
Being with our emotions means bringing our awareness to them, watching their movement, colours, intensity as they move around our bodies - we don’t even have to label them as a particular emotion, but simply notice how and where we feel its presence. This process may seem simple to do, but it is not. Our mind adores to grab our hand when realizing that the Ego is somehow endangered and in order to protect it, it starts to create stories in our head and although we may believe we are being present to the emotions, we are giving our attention to mind’s story that provokes new wave of emotion and often even more waves (we tend to fall in the rabbit hole of re-chewing a mental image and as a consequence making ourselves suffer double or triple times then it is really necessary).
What happens then is that instead of processing the emotion, we are holding onto it and feeding it regularly with our thoughts and focus. I fell into this trap more times then I can count and now I am really working on catching myself and questioning whether the emotion I feel is “original” or is one reinforced by my mind, while I was believing I am letting go of it. While for many of us talking about our emotions and expressing them verbally is a great method of releasing, in certain occasions it does more harm than good and it is when we don’t bring our vulnerability to the act of speaking out. If we talk from the Ego’s place about our emotions, leaving the vulnerability out, we are just talking, we are not FEELING. And remember, emotions have to be felt before they can leave for good. The more we talk, (avoiding the feeling part because it is too uncomfortable) the more we draw our focus on it and the more thoughts on the subject follow up. We make ourselves suffer creating a pity party that grew way out of proportions. We drag around for 5 years emotions that could have been released in 5 minutes.
So, how can we make sure not to fall into this trap?
What works for me is intentionally setting aside time in which I’d be alone with everything that’s inside: I can cry, I can complain in my journal, I can burn photos, scream into pillow, break glasses... whatever I feel urge to do. In my case, there is always some physical action included as I noticed that physical movement facilitates the purging of the emotional baggage. However, when the time is up, I have to go do something else, move my focus away before the mind starts talking shit and dragging me back to the story about the situation, as that way I’d fall into toxic cycle of thoughts followed by emotions followed by thoughts.... produced solely within the mind.
I think many psychological problems have their root in inadequate processing of the emotions that is omnipresent within our society and not mysteriously so - our parents and teachers never taught us about what to do with our feelings because they didn’t know as their parents and teachers didn’t teach them to do so and so on. But, as we are waking up and rising to a new level of consciousness as the collective, we should get more acquainted with our emotional-self, raise the awareness of it and start growing new generations that won’t be so cut-out from their feelings.
So, what’s the plan? How do we start this emotional-revolution?
Just take care of your own emotions. Cultivate loving presence for that part of your Being and give it as much attention (and even more) as you give to your physical body. That way, by regularly clearing our energy field, we are contributing to the frequency of the collective energy and creating a better, more loving and lighter world for all of us.
Lots of love,