Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Manifest Your Destiny.

These were three words that came to me as I sat down to write at a busy Barcelona café last night.

I have decided to embrace that spirit, as I feel the strong pull of returning to this place that truly feels like home, but of course in recent months I have been anxiously analysing the details, like not yet having a job lined up, or the ridiculous Brexit deal being floated that treats EU citizens as lesser people, and I worry about the repercussions for UK citizens settling in the EU.

But the new model (cobbled together from plenty of thinking, and listening to others I trust, but little reading on the subject) is thus: Don't worry about what might happen. That's such a waste of energy. Instead, focus on the goal. Envisage it as clearly as you can. Drive all your energy towards it. Imagine how it will feel when it is achieved. What you can imagine, pretty much, can happen. 

I wrote down those words. They were somehow already familiar to me. Googling them quickly I realised they are a best-selling book on spirituality by the late Wayne Dyer, one of the most widely-read self-help gurus, and a former high school guidance counselor. That's the job I do right now, by the way; some weird synchronicity there.

I'm trying hard to live those three words. I'm trying to both live in and embrace the present, as well as envision the future I would like. I think it's important to do both, but mostly to be grateful for what you already have. In the past few days, meeting up with friends I made whilst living here in Barcelona, I have verbalised the plans I have had for a few months now, to leave Costa Rica at the end of my work contract there in 2018 and come back to the city I love, the one I miss when I am away from her.

Of course all of this is accelerated by Brexit in 2019. If I'm going to stay here, I figure, I may as well get here and settle as soon as I can, before my passport makes that more difficult. In the last few days, I have mentioned to my friends the ideal school I would like to work at: The British School of Barcelona, which is not in the city itself but in a small neighbouring town right by the sea. I could spend less in rent there, meaning I might be able to afford a flat with a balcony or some outside space, get a small dog, and come to central Barcelona at weekends. I thought about it first because they have always been a supportive and welcoming school, one which I have had contact with now for several years as I used to visit them for my old job.

So imagine my surprise when I was crossing the street coming from the supermarket this morning in my friend's neighbourhood - a place I just happen to be staying, to look after her cat - and I see, two steps in front of me, my contact from the British School of Barcelona, who was the Head of the Secondary school. I greet her, and she clearly remembers me. We exchange updates, and it transpires that she is now the school's Headmistress. I tell her about my tentative plans to have sent her an email in the coming days and my eventual plan to relocate back to the area. She encourages me to send the email, and we exchange warm goodbyes. I am left stunned, smiling at my good luck and at the universe seemingly throwing me a line.

Maybe it's possible. Maybe it's happening. Maybe that balcony, and that dog, and those walks by the sea, are in my future. I walk along, thanking whatever universal force there is, and I can already smell the salty sea air.

Monday, June 5, 2017

To You, From Recovery

I guess I'm finally ready to write to you.

It's been two years since you let me know that you had cut me out of your life. Thinking about it now, I don't really know how my heart coped with that searing pain. I think of it as if it that raw flesh had an encounter with a branding iron. "SINGLE AFTER 6 YEARS", or "DAMAGED GOODS" are what come to mind as what I was marked with, but I'm probably being overly dramatic.

Everyone gets their heart broken at least once, right? Everyone grieves, and has those days when they can't get up and they can't go to work and they can't eat and they lie there, in whiteness, in soundlessness, and wonder how their heart will ever recover. And you, in your grief, after losing your father, no doubt experienced the same. And then your heart disappeared, and burrowed itself away. And mine? Well, it went into hibernation.

You see, our hearts had shared a beat once, and mine, without yours, hurt in my chest. Sometimes that chest-ache is felt right at the beginning, when you know you're falling for someone. Maybe you also felt the ache when you ended us. Maybe you didn't. I don't know. You were very far away, and even when you came on a plane to see me, I still didn't know what you felt.

These days, my heartbeat has had to self-regulate. It beats with no-one else's, stronger and more stable (strong and stable leadership is a thing these days, apparently), with a regular rhythm. It's not been won over, nor damaged, since it beat with yours, but instead I've been working on making that most important of all muscles more resilient; running, singing, surfing, driving in Central America. I've done so many things that scared me, to build up that heart until it felt Ox-like. It feels like it could take a beating, because, well, it did.

My heartbeat is stronger because of, and in spite of you. And all I have to say for that is: thank you.