A Modern Gypsy

How does one know they are a gypsy?old-retro-antique-vintage-163136-medium

In my case it consisted of 5 elements.

The first was being born into family that already has its share of misfits, mystics, and psychics. My maternal grandmother was a midwife, tea leaf reader, and herbalist. My paternal grandmother was a garden diva who’s life revolved around the cycles of the Moon and the seasons. Both grandmothers were psychics.

Added to this generational milieu, was my love of travelling, my secret desire was to be a hippie, the pull of wild gypsy music, and books that took me to foreign countries.

Which brings me to element number two.

I was 16 lazing around in the backyard on a sunny summer day when I heard a voice. Yes, a voice!

This voice stated very precisely, “You were going to live and work overseas.”

As strange as it may seem, those words resonated with me and I had no doubt that they would happen.

In the ensuing years I based many decisions on this voice. For example, my career choice to become a teacher and the subjects I studied.

And although life took me down a few paths that appeared incongruent with the message of this voice, it continued to whisper to me.

An example of this, was urging my husband to pursue an overseas post with his company. Needless to say, he didn’t have the same inner pull that I had.

This became evident when divine intervention, the third element, changed our plans and thus the course of my life.

After much persuading my husband agreed to a holiday in Europe. Four of us planned a summer in Spain but destiny had different plans. For a reason I can no longer remember, that plan was cancelled and instead we headed to Greece.

From the moment I stepped out of plane in Greece and saw Mt Olympus I began to change. The pull of the voice became a magnet which culminated one day on a beach in southern Crete.

I looked over at my husband and said, “I don’t want to go home.” He replied, “You can stay. You have another month of holiday, but I have to go back.”

I looked over at my two friends but they both had solid reasons for returning to Canada.

I left the group and waded into the water looking south. Wouldn’t you know it – there was the voice. This time it said, “Africa is over there. You will be there one day.” Once more I knew this was truth.

As we boarded the plane for home I vowed to Mt Olympus that I would return. The person who made this vow was very different from the one who greeted the mountain a month previous.

In Canada, I not longer fit into the world I had left and a 2 year battle began to raged within me. My spirit urged me on while my sense of duty and guilt tore at me.

Finally, I knew which path I had to take.

Stepping away from my marriage, security, and in some cases friends and family, was element 4. This was the step toward my vision. For the next couple of years, I was lead by an amazing series of synchroncities, one which opened the door to opportunity.

The opportunity was a chance conversation where I heard about CUSO at the U of A. How come I hadn’t heard about CUSO before?

From the moment I entered the CUSO office I knew I was in the right place. Here I was surrounded by friendly people sharing their stories of living in exotic countries.

I wasted no time. I signed up and then waited for my posting.

The voice from Crete whispered Africa but the CUSO staff felt it would be Asia. To be honest, I didn’t really care.

So, where did I go?

Six months later I found my self on a plane heading south to Nigeria, Africa. As I sat on the plane I knew without a doubt that there was a force much greater than myself sitting in the driver’s seat.

The final element in the making of this gypsy came on the day I moved into my new home.

With great ceremony Mrs. Scobie, the headmistress, drove the short distance to the house. She was so proud of it. On the outside a nice bungalow with an attached garage.

On the inside rickety furniture, curled and missing floor tiles, a seatless toilet, sink and tub but no water, a kitchen that consisted of a small stove and couple wooden boards for shelves, and 3 bedrooms with beds I wasn’t sure I wanted to sleep on.

Then there was the dust, cobwebs complete with spiders, termites in the door frames and more interesting creatures to be discovered later.

After Mrs. Scobie left I wandered from room to room and I all I could think of was, “What the hell have I done?” I sat in the living room and began to cry.

Right on cue there was the voice. “You have a choice go home or stay. It’s up to you.” I paused. I stopped crying. In popped the voice, “You wanted this.”

Yes, I did!
I was going to stay, make the most of it and have fun.

This was the final element in the making of a gypsy.

I choose this path, listened to my inner voice, followed where it led, took action, and made a decision to make the most of it.

This had taken me to 80 countries on all but one continent.
I have made the world my home.

My motto was and is: Where I am – there is home.

Are you building walls saying NO? Ready for YES?

 
Are your thoughts creating wall and barriers preventing you from experiencing more of life?

Mine were!

Does this sound like you? A friend calls you up or texts with a suggestion to go out for lunch. You pause! Your mind is frantically searching for the right answer. Should I go, shouldn’t I? If I don’t go what excuse can I use? I have so much to do right now. I don’t know! I have to pick up the kids? The litany goes on.

I know this all too well. I went for a period when I built walls around myself and fended off almost all invitations, making up all sorts of reasons why I didn’t want to or I couldn’t. Often after I turned down an invitation I would spend hours thinking that maybe I was missing out, maybe I should have gone, why didn’t I say yes.

Ah, the thought games we play!

When I realized I sitting home alone far too often and was receiving fewer and fewer invitations even to me my excuses sounded lame. I decided ENOUGH.

I saw that it was only my thoughts stopping me from enjoying life, friends, family and new experiences.

I was thinking myself into a lonely secluded life surrounded by 4 walls and no new stimulus. Did I really want this? NO!

Once I knew that I had to change my thoughts in order to change my life I decided to start saying, “YES”. I did it in little steps. That was easy because I wasn’t getting very many invitations.

I accepted the first invitation that came my way. I went to a movie with a friend. More invitations came as I continued to say YES. To begin with I accepted all invitations just to practice saying Yes, then I became more selective.

When I did consider saying NO to an invitation, I would pay attention to the thoughts and feelings around the no. Why was I saying no? Was it something I really did not want to do or go to OR was I just building walls again?

Saying, “Yes” has brought back more joy, curiosity and people into my life. My life is richer from the giving and sharing that has ensued.

In our busy lives we don’t often realize that we have been constantly declining invitations and limiting our experience of life. It is so easy to fall into a rut of sameness. When you ask someone what they have been up to, how often to get the reply, “You know, same old same old.”
Is that your answer?

Perhaps it is time to turn that NO into a YES and see where it takes you. You might find that you have more energy, more joy, and yes, even more time to get things done.

Take the challenge and give yourself permission to say YES and see what happens.

Stop the runaway train and take time for yourself.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve spoken to several people who are going through a time that is especially hectic, challenging or demanding.

As a result, they’re emotionally and physically just DONE—yet finding themselves needing to dig down a bit deeper to find a bit more energy, compassion or patience for whatever life has brought.

It can often feel that life resembles a runaway train with no brakes. Just rushing on at amazing speed with no ability to stop.

But stop you must if want to be at your peak with clear thoughts, energy and creativity.

If you keep going at the speed of a runaway train you’re bound to crash. The stress of keeping up this pace will eventually show it’s self in some form of health issues. Stress is the #1 factor behind most illnesses today.

When you run out of fuel and come crashing down, who are you really helping?

Have you ever been on an airplane? As the flight attendant goes through the safety talk you’re reminded to “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping your child or anyone else.” Why? If you aren’t safe how can you help another?

The same goes for you, getting sick only adds to the issues.

You might be thinking, “Yeah, sounds great but, where do I fit it in?” My answer would be, you plan it. If you don’t plan for some self-care time; it might be forced upon you.

 

What is self-care time?

Self-care is not selfish, it is the opposite. It is giving to yourself so that you can give to others.

It allows you time to reconnect with yourself and helps you to get your equilibrium back. It is a time to recharge your batteries, feed your spirit, and de-stress.

Having a plan to regain your equilibrium once a week is a wonderful gift for yourself.

Self-care is doing something that you love. Something that gets you to forget your to-do-list. Something you can get lost in.

It might be painting, drawing, walking, dancing, sewing, a martial arts practise. Anything that connects you to your authentic self. Where you transcend time and space for a while.

For me it is walking or sitting in Nature, anywhere! When life starts to speed up, I go for a walk by the river or in the park. In the winter when it is too cold to walk I attend a yoga class.

What is your self-care plan? How do you recharge and refuel your spirit?

If you don’t have one, could this be the moment to create one?