Life Is A Spiritual Journey – This Is Mine So Far
Table Of Contents
A Quiet Start
Born in a small village in Hertfordshire, an idyllic childhood in typical English village. The days when you left the backdoor open and the milk money on the kitchen table in case the milkman came when you were out. No cell phones, that seemed like science fiction, well it was they had them on Star Trek, ah but we still had Doctor Who, my first one was John Pertwee, assistant Sarah Jane. Who would have thought that at 47 I’d still be watching my favorite show in Italian and Sarah Jane would even make an appearance or two. And I’ve now got the theme tune as a ringtone on my phone.
So what was my destiny as that quiet child in that quiet village in Hertfordshire? Well one day a gypsy lady came to the back door and as she was talking to my mum I ran into the kitchen, so I’ve been told. The gypsy lady looked at me and said something like, ‘Ah yes, that one will travel.’
And travel I did……
Whatever you do in life, wherever you are, whatever happens there are things we learn as we go along. Each time we learn something it’s like getting a gold star, sometimes we get real ah ah moments and other times we only understand years later what it was that we had to learn from a given situation or experience.
An End and a Beginning
After all the bits in-between, like education, degree etc and in so much debt a job was becoming very necessary, I landed a lovely managerial job on the south coast of England. Very nice…. maybe.
One day in the bank, the clerk started to give me advice about getting a mortgage and the possibility of paying it off in 40 years. The alarm bells started to ring! The clerk had just written of 40 years of my life in a few sentences. ‘Time for a cappuccino and a think.’ My cappuccino moments have become a real inspiration through the years, if I need to reflect, think or make a decision it’s off for a frothy coffee.
This was one of those moments where I had to choose……. the 40 years or the unknown. I chose the unknown, dumped the suit and the briefcase and cycled off into the sunset.
You Can Change Your Life
During this period there were a lot of what I call ‘bubbly bits’, those times in life that are very busy, very full and sometimes disastrous. We’ll skip the details here because the details aren’t so important it is the conclusion we reach at the end which is the home run, a century in cricket, a gold medal at the Olympics.
After this series of ‘bubbly bits’ my gold medal was these five words.
It’s incredible how sometimes we just don’t realize this, that the only person in this world who can really change your life is YOU. Yes that day I scored the home run! I was down the beach, not really thinking about anything, my life needed to change but I just couldn’t get it together at the time for various reasons. Then as if from nowhere those five words entered my head and I finally understood. I knew now that all I had to do was act to change my life, one step at a time.
And so I did….
It was turnaround time, that one step was all it needed and one thing led to another and before long I was up and out of the country on my way to even more unknowns.
Appreciate the Simple Things
Now a qualified English language teacher the world was my oyster and I was off for some adventure. It was all turning out how the gypsy had predicted all those years ago. I headed for Lyons, France. Once there I wondered where I was going to sleep, in those days in was backpack, the cash you had in your pocket, maps and phone boxes. I thought I knew the way to the youth hostel but I didn’t, no one understood my terrible French and it was starting to get dark. If you’ve ever not known where you are going to sleep then you’ll know the feeling. The park bench idea wasn’t very inviting.
In the end I found where I was going, it was further out of town than I had expected, oh boy did I appreciate my bed at the youth hostel that night. I realized that we don’t appreciate the simple things in life as much as we should. I was shown this again when I ended up in Rome a year or so later. I arrived in Rome at about 10.00pm, it’s never a good idea to arrive in a foreign country late and not know where you’re going. Everything looks so different, even sinister in the dark, especially around railway stations.
Well to tell the truth I did know where I was going but the taxi driver didn’t, some taxi driver! Maybe he had been out with his wife in the car and decided to pick up a bit of extra cash. I didn’t speak Italian but I had the name and address of the YWCA where it was my intention to stay. I showed them the address and we set off. Before long they were both shouting and waving their arms about at me…. well that’s what it seemed like but probably it was all quite normal, Italians are after all very animated in their conversation. However at the time it was all rather disconcerting.
Incredibly as it seems now I had to get out of the taxi and ask someone the way how I did that not speaking Italian don’t ask me, but I got someone to explain to the taxi driver. Finally I got there and once again I was so grateful for my bed. A bed, in a single room that locked, for me that night it was the best thing that could’ve happened.
My adventure wasn’t over, the next morning I went to get the train to my destination, as I was approaching the station about 6 gypsy kids all jumped on me and tried to grab what they could, by this time I was fed up pushed them all off with some choice English words and went on my way. there were no trains that day because of a strike so it was back to the YWCA. The YWCA was actually very near the station, I had been well and truly ripped off the evening before by the price of the taxi.
Once safely back inside the YWCA I got another room, closed the door and didn’t go out again until the next day. Yes I certainly appreciated my safe warm bed.
Ask for Help – it’s easy to get lost
In one of my adventures I was in France grape-picking. The countryside was so beautiful, vineyard after vineyard. For the first week I was working at a vineyard a short distance away from the farm where I was staying. After a couple of trips there and back, one afternoon following a grape-picking session I decided to walk home. I assured the mini-bus driver that I knew my way and set off.
I honestly thought I had memorized the twists and turns in the road but after a while I discovered that one grapevine looks very much like the next and I had to admit to myself that I had no idea where I was or which road I should take. It was starting to get dark, there were no lights and I started to get a horrible feeling in my stomach. A cell phone would’ve been very handy. I turned down a road and before long came to a farmhouse, it wasn’t the right one but I hoped there was someone at home.
I plucked up the courage to walk up to the front door ignoring the barking dogs, after all it was this or wandering around the French countryside all night. A lady answered the door and I stumbled over a few French words which I hoped she would understand as can you tell me the way to Pierrre’s farm. (I can’t remember his surname).
She tried to explain but must have seen the look of confusion on my face because she stopped half way, or the directions were so complicated I would never have been able to follow them. At that point she grabbed her car keys and drove me back to my farm. Her and Pierre were great friends and I’m sure both were highly amused at my wanderings after I had been so sure of knowing the way.
It was easy to get lost in all those rolling hills and vineyards, it was not so easy asking for help but sometimes we have to unless we want to remain lost and in the dark.
We Are Life
I have two children, being pregnant and giving birth was an amazing experience but something I needed to understand hit me a good few years after having children. When you are pregnant you can feel the life growing inside you, it feels like fluttering joy, a truly incredible feeling.
However, once I gave birth I somehow felt empty as if the life that was inside was now outside, what was internal was external. It wasn’t until later on that just as I had felt the life of my child inside me, so I was life. I too am that fluttering joy that I experienced; just as we all are. We are all life, we are all that incredible energy that sparkles and glistens with joy.
These are just a few of the things I’ve learnt on this spiritual journey we call life on Earth, the learning continues so stay tuned….