In the past 12 months, four women (three whom I have never met before) contacted me wanting to come to my little island of Phuket to work on themselves, their relationships or their lives. I point them to a clean, reasonably priced accommodation down the hill from my house, near a yoga studio and the sea. wahere they lived their few days of solitude and self-discovery.  

I personally think it’s healthy to get away once in a while (often!) to take stock. What do you feel when you are away from your partner? I think you either grow closer or grow apart.  

This is a little piece of my self-discovery. 

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We tell children, especially boys, DON’T CRY, conforming to the stereotype that we have to be strong externally to be strong internally, and in the process, deny the very basic human need to be loved and cherished. When we are loved and cherished, we feel a deep sense of well-being and we lead healthier, happier lives. Life becomes meaningful. That’s real science,  derived from decades of following people from the beginning to the end of their lives.

Yet we need to open up (no, truly open up, rather than tell selective truth to the world and ourselves) for the deep  connection with another human being to happen. But all too often, that part of us is not accessible even to our own selves. We run away from our innermost self, we avoid our innermost self with incessant chatter and stories, especially if that self had been badly hurt. It is a natural defence mechanism: lock that hurt child away to protect it from the world.

That hurt child cries out to be loved and cherished, but the walls get thicker with the years. Those who ‘love’ us end up loving the walls we create with our chatter and stories, that even we ourselves come to believe in over the years. I have been loved before for my strong, capable, ‘doctor, mother’ external wall, but when that exterior crumbled and the sick, vulnerable and frightened child was revealed, only the strongest was there for the child. So I think it was good that my wall fell down. Because it gave me the precious opportunity to know and live an authentic love, before I use up the years I have left in this life.

 

My yoga teacher in London, Harry, intones, “Find your eyes in the mirror, hold your own gaze.” No, it is not about vanity. The first few minutes, of course: oh, I have a roll of fat here, hmm, my butt is looking good, uh uh, I have to sort that patch of grey hair out. 

But who do you see there?

This is for my difficult soulmate, he who was there, who constantly reminds me that he is not my love (“love is too trivial a word”) but that he is my mirror, my yoga. In him, I found that innermost me.

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