Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life Happens

came here to Thailand to learn “to be” and I guess part of the process of when you come to that point in your life, when you are ready to be still, is to start to understand and see the life that you had lived until that point. Being still is not about doing nothing but rather about being quiet in yourself in order to observe yourself so that you can understand yourself. I feel blessed that I have been given and also taken this opportunity to do this in my life. I tend to see life not as a mountain but more like a mountain range. Where our lessons are learned through the valleys and the uphill hikes through the mountains. The deeper the valley the higher mountain and at the top of each mountain is the most magnificent view. These last two weeks of my life have been extremely challenging and the fact that I have been calm through out the process is a sign to me that I have come a long way. I have not been as calm as a monk but I have been breathing and looking for the light at every corner. Normally when hit with so much I break down and let my world fall apart and then berate myself afterwards for the mess I have made and now need to clean up. It is not very self-loving but that’s why I am here to learn and try again to find the love. I truly believe that we create and co-create our lives. For me I find this idea empowering and helpful in making a better life for myself, my family and others around me.
So here I am on my second leg of my 24 hour journey back to Dublin to sort my business out. My eye has swollen up, I left my 2 year old throwing up in the airport, I am missing my daughter Aiko’s 5th birthday, I am missing my husband’s 40th birthday, missing thanksgiving with my family and missing Hanukkah. But with all that, I find the beauty in it. I can take care of all this. We celebrated my daughters 5th birthday a week earlier and she was none the wiser. Its not about celebrating it on the actual day but celebrating the event. As for my husband's birthday, well we just moved it to the 10th of December when we will all be together. Hanukkah, well, we can move that as well and as for Thanksgiving, well, I have a lot to be thankful for… If I can deal with this in a positive way I can teach my children that when things happen, because they do, and that’s why we are here to learn, that you can great these happenings in a positive way and grow. And even though I am so sad to be away from my family  maybe my husband needed to learn that he can take care of the children and feel the power in that. As for me, I can learn to trust myself, because that’s why this situation came in the first place. So I look at this situation as a blessing to find my power within me. It't not what happens to you but rather how you handle what happens to you.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful thoughts

Sometimes it seems that the most amazing realizations come at the most bizarre times or situations. Today I was lucky enough to have one of those realizations. I walked into the bathroom at school and saw a woman, who must have just come in a few moments before me, open one of the bathroom stalls, close the door again quickly and look round to me with a look of disgust and then walked into another vacant stall. For a moment I took in this information and stood there waiting for another free stall, but luckily a rational thought popped into my head, "take a look for yourself". I mean how bad could it really be? I mean at the end of the day what makes my shit better then anyone else's. It doesn't freak me out to flush my own waste down the toilet why should it freak me out to flush someone else's? I mean really if you want to break it down it's just food that didn't get used by the body.
So there I was like a brave warrior waiting for the worst to happen and as I opened the door I was only to find a bit of toilet paper that needed flushing. O.K. so no big deal, I can flush the toilet and get on with what I need to do. But what came to me after what pure light. I started to think about why it was so easy for me to just flush the toilet and know it wasn't a big deal. I realized it was something wonderful that my mom had taught me. She never got freaked out about those things. She just got on with it and never blamed someone for leaving it that way or really cared. All she knew was she needed to use the toilet and if you had to flush someone else's waste, well so be it. Big deal. So this made me think about all the other wonderful things she had taught me that help my life flow. Things I don't even really think about why I am that.  But I could certainly tell you why I am the way I am about all the bad and sad things in my life. I mean I could go on for days and years about what my mother didn't do and what she did that were hurtful but where would that get me. I've been there already and it doesn't make my life better it actually makes it worse because I get caught up in the lack which only brings me more pain. I can't change what has happened but I can change what will be. Today I decided that I would write out a list of wonderful and positive things that my mother taught me. Because there are many and I need to be thankful for them. Because if I can do that with her I can do that for myself and in turn I can do that for everyone else in my life and in my life in general. If you want to change the world change change your view of your life and watch it unfold like a beautiful flower. Have you ever heard anyone complain about a flower?

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Finding our way in this world can sometimes be tricky. For most of us we seem to wander around looking for our way stumbling through the dark. And at some point we get tired and maybe we decide to give up and just sit this life out but that's when it happens. That's when we see the light, or hear the voice or get the feeling and we start to remember. We start to remember why we came here. Why we came to this life. Most of us in the western world have this idea that we were just dropped into this world because two people had sex and well there we were naked with no choices and no way out.  But here on the other side of the world, in the East, they know that we come time and time again and that we wanted to come to this beautiful life to experience this physical world. They know that this world is an illusion filled with anything we desire because we create our own experience. Life does not happen to us, we are the life we have. We have the power to create anything, to turn darkness into light. How do we find this light? we look into our darkness and see that it is not darkness but rather it is the lack of light. And when we shine the light into our hearts we see the beauty that we are and that beauty radiates onto all beings. We remember that we came here to help one another and to inspire one another and to forgive one another. For if you are my friend in this life, perhaps you were my mother in another and have I shown you the same respect that I would my mother? For aren't you the same person?  And that stranger that pushed in front of me that I  have such contempt for maybe that was my child in another life. If I had know would I be so angry? For how could you have such anger for your child? We are all connected and we are all one. All we need to do is stop and feel the love for that is the only truth. Forget for a minute who you think you are and look into your heart and remember who you really are and there you have found your way.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Washing Machine

Today as I woke up I could feel something was different. Normally Sami, my two year old, is the one who wakes me up. She reaches over to me and presses her hand across my face with her eyes still shut. Once she can feel the touch of my cheek she slowly opens her eyes and either sticks her fingers in my eyes to get me to wake up or she gently puts her arm around my neck and cuddles closer. But today it was I that awoke first and not with that feeling I usually have that if the girls are still sleeping that that's my cue to take another doze, but rather with a sense of my own today. I looked out the window and and felt the sun on my skin. it's amazing how sunny days can give you such a sense of power. Down the stairs to be greeted by my loving husband making breakfast. Now this day was really going great. Wait!... No coffee! No worries, I'll just jump on my motorbike and away I went. I was feeling so good that I went to the local Starbucks (yes even in Thailand they have Starbucks) with an agenda. I was going to treat myself to an Italian espresso maker. The one we had, had been broken for ages and today I was feeling good about spending money. So I walked in grabbed my coffee maker and with no feeling of worry, slapped down my money and took my Italian coffee maker home with me.  Now back home with a fresh coffee in hand it was time to admire my major purchase from the day before. Now this was no small feat my purchase, it took a lot of strength. But after 4 months of doing our laundry down the street in the laundry machines on the road that barely wash and only have cold water it was time to and make the purchase. I had just done another wash and there was food still on the clothes. OK that was it. I had had it. I grabbed Aiko and went across the moat to the massive electrical store Siam TV. There in the super store filled with  air conditioning, I sat Aiko in front of the flat screen t.v.s and away I went to washing machine section. Without a clue about these things, I decided to throw caution to the wind. Whoever helped me first would get my business. I figured no machine could be so bad. They had to get us through at least a year or so. Without a girlfriend to confer with I made the purchase. I signed off on the credit card and grabbed Aiko. I was now the proud owner of a washing machine. I am sure there are others who will read this who will feel the same. Big appliances, cars and homes are landmark life phases. As I left the building, I heard the voice. The worry voice. "How will you pay for this? Where will you find the money?" I was worried but I was a big girl now I had to just get on with it instead of worrying about the money I had to put my energy into making something happen to bring in the money. Its just a shift in consciousness. 
So this morning Aiko, Sami and I watched the clothes go round and round. The sense of accomplishment was incredible. My clothes would now be clean and I could do my laundry any time of day and without the pressure to be there when the cycle was finished. No one would take my clothes out and leave them on the machine. But best of all, I had taken one step closer to taking care of me. I'm a great traveler but when it comes to taking care of me, I usually fall pretty short to basic survival. But today, today was a new day and a new sense of me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I think forgiveness must be the hardest thing in life to do. There is not a person in the world who is not effected by forgiveness. As I watch my own children and other children they seem to have a much easier time with forgiveness. I see very small children whack each other and graciously accept the others apology and then move on with what they were doing. They do no hold a grudge or get caught up in the after drama. They seem to be able to express their anger in one way or another like getting sick, or creating some sort of drama, throwing a temper tantrum or with cool reserve and then they move on to the next moment. But in adults it seems so much harder. We say that we forgive but when the same hurt happens again we don't concentrate on the hurt of that particular moment but rather add it on to a series of past hurts.
 I recently forgave my father for the intense pain he had caused me while he was alive. I choose to see the pain as a great kindness because it had taught me so much about what I could do on my own in this life and that if he had been kind to me in a way that I had wanted that maybe I would have never done as many things as I have. He used tell me that I was nothing without him and I used the feelings that those words had on me to achieve great things in this life just to show him. But really in the end what I realized is that he had given me a great gift. I had not shown him but rather I had shown myself what I was capable of. But even as I say this, I think, maybe it is so easy to forgive him now that he is dead. I mean sure, I am secure in the fact that he can not hurt me again. So if he were still alive would I have such forgiveness for him and cross the bridge into love and understanding. I struggle with this forgiveness. Especially with myself. I feel that if I could find that deep forgiveness for myself I could be kinder and more loving with others. I mean I truly believe that we are all loving and beautiful human beings at the core but the one thing I seem to forget is that we are all just human and that when we fall that, that is all it is, just  a fall. I heard a beautiful story of a boy who had lost his eyesight when another boy shot a BB gun at him. Later in his life the boy sought out the other boy who had done this and befriended him. He had felt that through his blindness that he had learned so much and had truly forgiven the boy who had done this and wanted to know him as a friend. I do not think of this boy as a saint but rather at the core of who we all really are. I hope one day to be as gracious and loving as this inspiring soul.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back to school

I have to say, there are some people in life who just love school. That can't seem to get enough of it. They go to primary school, then secondary school, University and then that doesn't isn't enough so they do for their masters and then their doctorate and then a new degree and then another masters and so on and so on and so on. For me I think if I could have left around the 7th grade that would have been perfect. I mean its not to say that I don't like learning because I do. I thrive on it. I eat information for breakfast and want more. What I don't like is the actual classroom. The minute I step inside I feel completely uneasy and lost. I try to find a seat where I can hide from the teacher and other classmates. I especially like to stay away from the really smart people hoping that the teacher will spend all her time talking to them and forget I'm in the room. But, sometimes in life, the places you hate the most are the places you must come back to in order to make peace with the uneasiness in your being. So here I am again back in the classroom. This time studying Thai. Now if you don't know too much about the language let me tell you. There are 44 letters and 5 tones. They don't use a roman alphabet so we are only learning to speak. To speak Thai you must speak the tone of the word. If you get the tone wrong you might tell someone that they are unlucky rather then what you were trying to say that they are beautiful. You can see how the tone is important in thai. I was in the grocery store the other day and was asking where the popcorn was and they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about because I said it in the wrong tone and they use the English word popcorn. They just say it in their own tonal language.

So back in the classroom... I've been learning for one week now and by the end of the class I am exhausted just trying to focus on what is going on and trying to take it all in. I am extremely lucky to have my husband there with me to remind me to stay clam. Every once in a while he looks over and calmly tells me to come back into the room and just focus. He tells me that I am not the only one who does not understand because it is all new and that I will get it but to just breath and stay calm. He's right. I do leave the room. I go into the sad and lonely place of "I'm such a loser. Why can't I get this?". Before this week, I would have never realized that I do that, go to another palce. I wish I would have know him back when I was in school, it would have saved me years of pain and I would have done a lot better in my grades. I mean I know I'm not stupid but those thoughts inside the classroom can throw me down like a snow ball gathering speed and size down a mountain and begin permeating into everything I do. It made me think about how powerless we all feel at one time of another and thinking that, everyone is getting it but us. I wish we all had someone like my husband to remind us to stay in the room, breath and know we will get it and like all new information it takes a while for it to process. Its the same when we walk into a room of people we don't know, or a new job or a new relationship or a new living situation. We get nervous of what other people that we don't know might be thinking of us or nervous that we don't know what to do. But of course we don't know what to do we are just learning something new and if we knew it already we wouldn't be learning. We  just need to breath, stay in the room mentally and enjoy the new information. Nobody ever falls down, we are just learning how to walk and when we can see this the learning is much easier and much more fun. Like children learning to walk, they never get nervous or upset about it they just fall down and while they are there they notice something wonderful on the ground that they didn't see before.
 I'm glad I have this opportunity to be back in the classroom. I feel like its a chance for me to revise my feelings about my early school experiences and learn that learning is all about allowing yourself to be where you are in the moment and enjoying. So to all of you who are trying something new, breath, stay in the room and enjoy the newness of the moment.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Weather

The weather is such a funny thing. In some ways I think we are all a bit obsessed with the weather. Isn't it what everyone talks about when there is nothing to say? Has anyone actually gone through their day without thinking about the weather? Maybe in San Diego where the weather is mostly constant and perfect, maybe there they don't talk about the weather. I have just lived in Ireland for the last 6 years where everyone talks about the weather constantly. I mean basically the weather is cold and rainy. I find is hysterical watching the weather on the news in Ireland. I mean to me what really is the difference between somewhat cloudy and mostly cloudy to a chance, and I mean a chance of sun, in the afternoon.
Feargal, my husband asked me to buy a thermometer for the house. WHY!!!!!!!!! I mean please, what is the difference between 92 and 94 or 86 for that matter. I can tell you the weather its hot and hot and more hot. There is a great character in the movie called "Good morning Vietnam", the radio d.j. Every morning he reports the weather not in degrees but just the same word hot hot and more hot. Monica is always letting me know what the weather is as well and I just laugh wondering if maybe I didn't know the temp, would I be as hot? It's 10 o'clock at night here and its 82 degrees (in Celsius that's 28) There is a light sweat over my body and I am trying not to move too much or I know I'll overheat. We don't have air conditioning and having a fan in this heat is like have your own mini heater. The fan just blows the hot air in your face, which I feel is a little worse then no fan. Plus the fan we have sounds like a helicopter. Its so loud it almost drowns out the bar across the way, where drunk Thai people listen to country music so that the whole neighborhood can hear as well. I'm not sure which is option is better.
When we lived in Dublin I was cold all year long and even my bones were wet. If you've never lived in a wet climate you can't even image your bones being cold but believe me your bones do get cold and wet. Now here in Thailand I have experienced the complete opposite a new sensation of actually sweating in the shower. No, you say. Believe me I never would have thought it either but yesterday as I was desperately trying to cool down, I took a cold shower and I was still sweating. I think I can safely say that my bones are now dry and warm. And I have to say after 6 years of cold, sweating in the shower only makes me laugh and be thankful I'm not cold anymore. And like yesterday, when I can't take the heat I just go over to the 7/11 and stand there in the air conditioning for 20 minutes until I'm somewhat cooled down. But sure what can you do but enjoy the journey.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

OK so here goes. My first blog. A little bit nervous about posting my thoughts but like the title into the unknown I go.
So its been 3 months now since we got here to Thailand and so much has happened. From miscarriages to 30 hour train rides to near civil war and now finally to finding a house to settle into, to get down to the business we came here for "just being". I mean that was the idea a year away in Thailand with our 2 children ages 4 and 2 to learn just how to "be" with each other. What better way then in a Buddhist country to learn to "be". I look around at the kids here and they are just so calm. I see little kids 18months just sitting and hanging out with their parents calmly and I am amazed!! As laid back as my 2 year old is she has never just sat quietly with doing nothing but being. But then again I can't remember the last time I just sat back and just was. But slowly as we are here I begin to breath again and notice that my shoulders aren't as wound up as high to my ears anymore. They aren't completely relaxed but slowly slowly...
I've been learning to ride a motorbike, which I have to say is no easy task especially when you have 2 small children with you. But Aiko, my 4 year old, is amazing. She is always so encouraging and has helped me work through my fear of motorbikes. For some reason I have always had a fear of motorbikes. I think it comes from riding on snowmobiles as a kid and feeling so unsafe but in Thailand the motorbike rules and if you want to get around you have to learn to ride. So there we are, Aiko standing at the front, our little captain, me driving, Sami behind me and Monica, our amazing Au Pair at the back riding through the streets on Chiang Mai. Aiko stands there holding on to the rear view mirrors encouraging me "You can do it Mommy, don't be afraid, I believe in you." At first I really thought there was no way I could do this, it was too dangerous with me at the helm but Aiko was right it was all about Fear and if I couldn't move past this how could I show her how to move past her fears into freedom. Everyday I get more and more confident and praise myself for doing to well which helps me get better. In the past I would have critized myself for being so pathetic that I couldn't get it on the first time. This is the first step in "being" not criticizing but just experiencing and moving forward on this journey. I wonder where I would be without my kids. They are constantly a source of love and inspiration for me. Tonight as we came home on the bike, me taking the back seat, I held Sami, my 2 year old, as we watched the stars and moon from our moving motorbike and I thanked the heavens for this incredible opportunity to be here in Thailand with my family and this incredible time just to be.