“Deep down inside me a tiny voice was calling. At first scarcely audible, it persisted until I could no longer ignore it. It was the voice of the wild places, and I knew that it was now part of me forever.”
It is now the final countdown for the end of a wonderful year on the road. A trip that started in January and took me to several places, way different than where I was expecting to travel at first. The feelings are overwhelming and it’s hard to express all that it’s happening inside. It’s bigger than me! It was a year filled with discoveries at all levels, especially self-discovery, to which I am forever grateful! I suspect that I will only intake all of it in the upcoming future, after time has given it the necessary perspective to absorb all of these life experiences.
The list is endless and it could (well, it does) go on and on, but amongst the amazing things, I discovered and/or learned, here are a few:
- How to be a Road-Bird! After the fear and two falls, one of them with minor injuries, I not only finally learned how to ride a motorbike, as I fell in love with it. The sensation of being one with the motorbike, feeling your own balance, it’s like you’re a road-bird! I LOVE it! On the way, I also learned a technique using water with the amazing Clarissa Hoffman to help me change my mindset when the fear was taking over my attempts to dominate this skill.
- How to heal myself from Pleurisy with essential oils (episode that I shared exclusively with my Patrons).
- How to be grateful to my body, the vehicle of my soul in this lifetime, and how to be patient while recovering from a (painful) bursitis. Two weeks after this trip begun, I slipped and in order not to fall I used my right arm to support myself. I felt an agonizing pain, but I thought it was just something of the moment. Next morning, when I woke up, I hardly could move the arm. I felt acute pain all over. I was scared and worried. I ended up having to go to the Hospital (with the help of an angel called Rai in the shape of a beautiful Thai lady). It turned out I had ripped the muscle… And yes: essential oils did support me and I’m sure I recovered faster because I used them. Two of my tiny bottles were nearly gone during this episode. After those days, I started to improve considerably and I remember the enormous joy I felt when I was finally able to do the simplest of tasks again! We hardly notice how incredible our bodies are and all the wonders they can do and how the simplest of tasks is a miraculous connection of muscles and bones and tissues (yes: that includes brushing your teeth or simply putting a shirt on or tie your hair). One of the things I did during those days, was watching all the Oscar Nominees movies, since I couldn’t do much more than just lying there. It was, basically, most of “cinema” that I watched this year, since I’ve been far from my usual passion. But those days gave me the beautiful pearl Call Me By Your Name, whose soundtrack was a constant presence throughout the year.
- How fun it is to work with children for they remind us of our own inner child. I had the opportunity to work with a 7-year-old at the Kung Fu Retreat, my youngest student so far. It re-inforced my wish to see children learning Qigong all over, connecting them with their own unique Qi from an early age. Working with children is exhausting and demanding, but it’s so filled with joy and laughter that it ends up being one of the most rewarding activities of all. They are truly open to what you’re saying and that clarity of spirit ends up teaching you something every time. It reminds me of that sentence from Jack: “You know why I like to teach children, Jack? So I don’t get wrapped up in being an adult. So I can remember there are other things that are important in life – like riding a bike, playing in a treehouse, splashing in water with your good shoes on.”
- I love being an Essential Oils Ambassador. I am really happy to share the wonderful benefits of the oils wherever I go, relieve this person or that symptom (Laura can testify on this one!), spread the joy of incorporating them in a daily routine and offering the tiny bottles I had along the way for this or that purpose, to this or that person under this or that episode. I love to share wellness and health and information, I like to spread smiles and somehow feel like I made the difference in someone’s day. I think that is pretty much summarised in J.M. Barrie’s words: “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, can not keep it from themselves.” So blessed!
- Sum Chien: body, mind, spirit! Sum Chien was probably the most amazing thing I’ve brought from my Kung Fu practice. I ended up missing Pushing and even Sticky Hands. Yes! I actually miss it! But Sum Chien is one of the most powerful forms of exercise I have discovered and I can happily say it is a part of my daily routine. And the Sum Chien Face is priceless! Isn’t, it, Renee and Blaze? 😉
- Tantra & Tao! I’ve covered the whole topic on a different post and – once again – I shared more details at the time exclusively with my Patrons. But, overall, the Tantra & Tao journey, just like Kung Fu is something that is now a part of my way of life.
- Yoga is within. I did took a Yoga Teacher’s Training back in March, but it was not the course that really made me dive into Yoga, but the experiences along the journey, each of them resonating more and more with what my Yoga Teacher and Inspiring Human Being Johnny Nasello expressed about the philosophy of Yoga and going back to my mat over and over again.
- The Kung Fu way of life. I spent quite some months at a Kung Fu Retreat. I – of course – plunged into it as if it had all the answers and as if somehow it was going to save me from I didn’t even know what. The place and its people turned out to be very different than what I had pictured. And – perhaps – for that reason, it was not only one of the most enriching experiences of my life, as Kung Fu has impregnated everything that I do. It is a way of life! One of my Kung Fu Brothers expressed it brilliantly “Kung Fu is a process, not an event. Trust the process!”
- How to deal with disappointment, something that is inside, not outside. As I was leaving the Kung Fu Retreat, way earlier than what I had intended, I knew I just had to let it go. Otherwise, I would be blocking the process and even though I wasn’t physically at the retreat, I would still be there. That’s when – not by chance – one of Nelson Mandela’s quotes reached me: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” And I felt and feel forever grateful to my Kung Fu Family for all the lessons that I learned that far exceed the physical practice itself.
- How music is always present and it’s almost a friend in itself (or a character of the movie of life)! Music is everywhere, it permeates everything that you do. I have my usual goes to and I can tell you that nothing is better than listening to Eddie Vedder’s voice under a beautiful night sky in the middle of the mountains, starting the day with Beach Boys anytime anywhere, going back to Sting ever and ever again, being touched by La Divina in glorious scenarios of nature’s wonders, doing my Kung Fu routines with Depeche Mode (yes: Depeche Mode! Try to do the Shuang Yang with them on!), or constantly re-discovering The Doors (me and Jim had a very special moment this year during the Soft Parade), amongst many others that I am faithful to: from classic to rock, including my beloved movie soundtracks. As I write this paragraph I can hear Love My Way on my mind, song I stole from Call Me By Your Name (I know Isabel Leirós is smiling as she reads this!) which also gave me Sufjan Stevens, one of the new companies I’ve adopted after watching the film (that curiously is also part of the I, Tonya soundtrack, movie that I watched while I was lying down recovering back in February). And when I think about the Kung Fu Retreat I can’t help the chords of Pink Floyd’s Learning to Fly from popping into my head.
- How important it is to have Spiritual Guides. I’ve recently come across the Applied Heart Intelligence Coach Gabriel Gonsalves, whose work has been a source of inspiration. And I can say this journey might have taken very different turns if it was not for Ana Remelgado. I am also blessed for coming across Lucidor and Isolda on a perfect splash of synchronicity!
- The ever-present reality of synchronicity. As Jung put it “Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have the eyes to see.” This year was a perfect example of that and as I look back into my life I can really see the nature of synchronicity ever present. I had episodes throughout the year that are a confirmation of this reality, especially the shoulder injury with the angelic presence of Rai and also an episode in Pai that seemed to be taken out of a movie!
- The power of faith. This is something I’m still learning, but after synchronicity, the one thing I can clearly see everywhere is the infinite capacities inherent to the human being and somehow accessed through faith and surrendering (wonderful reading on the subject: Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by Dr. David Hawkins). As my favorite Norwegian, Thor Heyerdahl, expressed it: “Borders? I have never seen one. But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.”
- The sea is my endless oracle. For the first time in my life I have spent 4 months away from the sea (I think the maximum I had ever experienced were 2 weeks or something). I really did miss it, for somehow I always find comfort on its endless movement. My connection to the sea is much stronger than I imagined! I will return to it over and over again. And the beach has become undoubtlty my favorite place for the Shuang Yang hypnotised by the sounds of the waves caressing the sand.
- The unconditional power of friendship! I was already aware of this one and I’ve always been very fortunate to have the most incredible friends (I actually had friends visits during this year and those moments were more re-energizing than I realized at the time). The energy of some of my friends who have been with me throughout the journey is so powerful! I can feel their light shining upon me. They know who they are and all I can humbly say is: THANK YOU! This road wouldn’t have been possible without you!
- Synergy is powerful! This can be summarized in Bruce Lee’s words: “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” Both Yoga and Kung Fu/Qigong are ways of life. They are not mutually exclusive, in fact, they are enhanced for cooperation and application of both in the daily adventures that life throws at us. Keeping their practices very much alive is a way of cultivating and feeding the light inside. It’s a daily work that becomes more and more natural as you dive deeper and deeper, because – deep down – you’re just diving into yourself. And once again in the words of my favorite Norwegian, Mr. Heyerdahl: “Pearls rarely turn up in oysters served to you on a plate, you have to dive for them.”
- Blissful shower of de-romanticization! No, it is not in the sense that we often associate to romance or romanticizing, it’s a larger way of seeing life and the world as described by Dr. David Hawkins in Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender. This year made me strip from my pre-conceived ideas and fake beliefs, from my pink sunglasses (why would anyone want to filter the world and not admire it exactly as it is?). It is a way of seeing and of being that is humble and sees things for what they are, as they are, accepting and embracing them exactly as such. It’s a way of being which I’m learning each day and that I’ll be learning throughout my life. And for this chance: I am forever grateful!
- How beautiful our planet is! It’s always good to have a reminder on this one and to let ourselves be amazed and fall into the awe that landscapes and cities provoke us in their endless beauty. Amongst the incredible jewels I was blessed to experience, I would like to leave a special word of appreciation to Pai and Hoi An, two of my sweet homes for this year!
- How other people are the real journey. The most important and precious thing I’m taking from this year is the contact I’ve had with other human souls. All the people that we meet along the way, the ones we connect with, the ones we don’t really connect with, all are there to show you something about yourself. Each relationship is an opportunity for deeper inner-connection and also for gratitude for the gifts that life constantly presents to us if we embrace it with all its experiences. I’ve had the opportunity to interview a lot of souls, some of them translated into wonderful interviews for this blog that I shared with you and others translated into a moment of energetic connection that is beyond words and more importantly beyond time. As Tesla brilliantly put it: “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” And that’s exactly what we are: energy beings vibrating in the frequency of life.
- My relationship with Myself! I’ve learned a lot about myself, like never before. Louise Hay is helping me accept myself unconditionally and teaching me to love myself more and more at each new day. David Hawkins is teaching me about letting go, the pathway of surrender, the pathway of higher vibrational frequencies, the pathway of love. All the people taught me something about me, made me look inside, all the books, all the wonderful work of people like Bruce Lipton, Gregg Braden, Carlo Rovelli and so many others! I think nobody really expressed it like Anaïs Nin: “We can not save people, we can only love them.” I can’t save myself, but I can certainly love myself more and more. And this is a path whose road I can’t really see, for I realize now this is a never-ending-journey. It’s a work in progress that will last my whole life and it will never be complete. It’s Kung Fu! Again in Bruce Lee’s wise words: “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
I want to thank everybody and I mean EVERYBODY who was a part of this incredible year in my life! People along the journey: you ARE the journey! Thank you! People back home: you are my strength and support, my safe shelter that I go back to over and over again either literally or through the eternal sunshine that you bring to my mind. I know you are with me each step of the way!
I want to send a special thanks to my Patrons, for believing in me and in my work and for supporting Skin at Heart with a monthly contribution in order to allow the website to be alive and running. And also for inspiring me to learn more and more and send you exclusive tips, information and books. The fact that you believe so much in my work that you have decided to demonstrate it by becoming Skin at Heart’s Patron means the world to me!
As I finish writing these words, the burning sun gave place to a beautiful waxing crescent moon which will soon turn into a full moon in an endless permutation of moon phases, seasons, experiences, life.
To finish this very heart-felt post I leave you a thought by J.M. Barrie:
“Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always try to be a little kinder than is necessary?”
Sending you my sincere love and deepest gratitude,