I lived in Latvia for a little over two years. It felt a lot more. Nothing happens in Latvia, at least for me. My Latvian-Russian friend, a sensitive wise soul, told me that the energy in Latvia is flat and wide. It is not magestic, not grand, no highlights, no razamataz, it is deep rooted, slow and sure. Friendships take a long time to build and when they do they are deep built on trust over the years.
But I had only been there a few month before Covid came crashing in. I was scared at first. I had no friends, only new acquaintances. It was the first time in my life I didn’t have a back up. I remember at night, turning off the light, and saying outloud, startled, ‘Well goodnight’ to the thin air. It was continually shocked no-body was in my life. Just me.
I began over the weeks to become accustomed to being completely alone. I started to not mind it. Nothing was actually happening. FOMO (fear of missing out) was dissapating – it was, selfishly, so reassuring to think that no-one else was doing anything either. That we were all in this aloneness together.
I began making decisions completely by myself. Small ones. Bigs ones. I began to develop secret joys (which of course I’m not going to tell you about) but even now remembering back they feel like suns shining inside. I had days out doing stuff I would normally never do. Days in doing things I would never normally do. Experimenting, finding out what it is that I like to do, what nourishes me, what makes me feel alive.
Nobody knew what I was doing. Nobody cared: it was true liberation.
And I began to enjoy myself. I enjoyed the solitude. With the days stretching out in peace and joyful activities or stubbling over emotional rocks, I walked deeper within myself.
I began to like my company. I began to like who I am. I began to respect me and my decisions. I stopped needing approval, or competition, or a shared goal. I didn’t need someone else’s eye.
And slowly over the months I realised that I was coming out of PTSD. I feel by only going through fear can we turn around and drop the fear. That’s the irony: it’s fearful to go through, but when we turn around to look at where we have been, the fear isn’t there. It depends on the eyes that we look with. It is not fearful anymore. I began to realise in so many places of ‘my past’ that I was seeing something that wasn’t. And definately isn’t now: not here, sat on that red sofa. Sarkans divans.
In the same way only coming into adulthood can we turn around and drop the childishness, drop the controlling, drop the expectations. As adults we rely principally on ourselves and our perceptions, our lessons in life, our version of who we are. Only coming through the hoop can we drop our childhood defence mechanisms, our resentments to others, our fear of not being enough, not being liked, being rejected. Like clouds clearing, it became clear to me that anything in the past was simply the springboard to where I am now. That this is only about me. We all live in our stories, and I decided to live in my own.
In short in Latvia I became a fully fledged adult.
In one of my secret days of pure enjoyment I stumbled over a deep pain: I am disappointed by life. I have had a wonderful life, I have travelled and lived and had a priviledged work/play balance. I have played music, been creative, lived in 7 or 8 different countries and stayed in many more. I’ve travelled to more than 50 countries, and though not as many as countries, I’ve have many lovers, people who have opened to me and have become close, intimate, growing together, sharing paths for a while. I have felt love. I have loved. And yet in this torrent of feelings surging through me, I was being wracked by deep, painful disappointment. Gutteral. Visceral. Bigger than me.
I was brave enough to feel it: I am disappointed with my life.
It took some weeks to process, until I could see it as a gift. This is freedom. I didn’t now need to deal with the disappointment of being disappointed and in so doing understood at a bodily level that no matter what happens (at least in my case) life is disappointing: mainly because of expectations. Mainly because those expectations have been made when I was a little girl before my frontal lobe was even beginning to grow.
I did stand up comedy later on in Latvia, once we came out of covid restrictions, and one of my jokes was, ‘Don’t you think it’s a cosmic joke? Our frontal lobes are not fully developed until we are 27, yet our breasts at 13? We, unless you have older parents, are all a result of this terrible equation.’
I developed, at the tender age of 12, expectations of relationship. They were not consciously processed any more than the popcorn I was eating. As a result they stored themselves the backroom of my mind, in the ‘control centre of the unconscious’. These life plans were based on watching Back to the Future with Michael J Fox and Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
Life did not happen as I expected it to.
Here I was living in a foreign country, unable to speak the language and single. Not living in an amazing beautiful home with a man who cherishes me. I look around, no family. I’m sat in a room, a dingy room.
And yet, here I was happily single. I was the one ‘left on the shelf’ which I was starting to call the golden shelf. Quite happy in my bohemian low cost room giving me the freedom of time.
But more than anything I have been starting to realise that no matter what happens to me, wherever I am, with whoever, with whatever circumstances (all of which I don’t believe that I can choose) that I can choose to be happy, or I can choose to react with fear. When I was 24 I lived in Nepal in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He found enlightenment locked up in a dirty Indian prison.
I’ve been through so many changes in life and here I am and it is all still OK. I can choose to be happy.
Only by going through the hoops of our inner fears can we look back and realise that it wasn’t as we saw. It never can be that simple! – we can only ever see tiny partial truths of our own existence, let alone this uncontrollable immense pattern of life we find ourselves in. I have no idea at all about what is happening, and realising this I can forgive myself completely of what I was and was not and liberate myself from a self-made prison. I can accept myself and simply be as I am. Now.
Which changes by the hour by the way.
I’m finding that the more I can drop the past, and the fears of the future, I can access inner happiness to a far greater degree. It is that easy (and also that difficult). It’s a choice. My choice.
And in learning all this, I was able to accept that I was alone and to accept that I was not who I thought I should be when I was creating my master plan of life sat at my homework desk as a child. And I was able to accept that as long as I am in contact with happiness, nothing else matters. At all.
I began to find my own soft power, to allow myself to be who I actualy am. Right now. Without justification. I began to allow myself to not need to suceed, to not run after unconscious life decisions made in childhood. I began to embrace that being happy IS success. I changed the way I observed myself. Nothing really mattered. Not really.
The only thing that matters is the and only choice: to react to what is with love or fear. Now. Here.