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Freedom

Following my heart and being true to myself and my needs has lifted the weight of the world off my shoulders. Shedding shame and fear of others’ opinions and I feel free. My choices are mine and I’ve just made the best decision in years.

Be true. Stay true. Be free

I Love You
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Dear Mum & Dad

I’M COMING HOME

I can’t help but feel deflated that my travels are ending like this, or feeling like I am coming home having achieved nothing, once again not finishing what I set out. I know you love me regardless and don’t see this as true. It is hard to admit I’m not OK, that I need to come home. I’ve taken a big gulp of pride and fear of opinions and swallowed it because really it is not important. My well-being is important, connection is important and you are important. I’m coming home because I want to be the best Michelle I can be and right now I can’t do this in Vietnam.

I know that the world will still be waiting when I am spiritually and emotionally ready but first I must surrender my own internal world and stop trying to run the show. There’s a big guy for that and to him I give my surrender.

I might be late 30s but I am always your child and right now I need you and I know you will be glad to have me home. All I ever want is for you to be proud of me. I know that you are. I need to learn to be proud of myself.

I love you xxx

Just float
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Just Float

My roller coaster is on the up today. After an extremely difficult day yesterday I woke to a beautiful message from my parents sending me support and love for whatever decisions I make regarding my travels and/or coming home. After a few little tears I pushed myself to get out of my bed and face the day with determination and courage. Sometimes it is tempting to stay under my blanket of self pity and sadness as depression is familiar and sometimes it feels like it is easier just to stay there. But it does not serve me or my use to the world and I recognise this trick of the mind. So I force myself to get moving and without fail I am always the better for it.

The ocean is my solace and always provides me with relief. I dive under the water and feel its smoothness on my skin and my worries and cares slip away. I love to lay under the water and look up through the surface at the sun and blue sky and it feels like I am in a different world, one where everything is OK. I slip to the surface and lay there closing my eyes and I feel like I am being held, embraced and loved. There’s nothing to think about but this knowledge and comfort that everything is exactly as it should be. When I float I feel free and reconnect to everything, the universe, myself and the truth. No matter how I am feeling it is my choice to do so and it is usually my perception, I want things to be different.

This year has been spent in countries of poverty where people have so little but with what they have got they are happy. In Cambodia I observed the men and women of 40 and above and know they have lived through the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge reign. For 4 years they slaved, starved and suffered under the evil, power driven party and a quarter of their nation lost their lives through execution, starvation and hopelessness. Some simply gave up the will to live. Just about every Cambodian would have been touched by the loss of a loved one. If they can rise up to each day and continue then definitely so can I. I look at my pictures and am reminded to be grateful for the countless blessings in my life. I’m sure they would swap places and have my problems in a jiffy, but then maybe not, they know how to be grateful.

So whenever I am feeling ungrateful and unhappy with my lot all I need to be reminded is just float.

photo credit: Marvin Chandra Kat via photopin (license)

The struggle

Struggle Town

In early recovery some days are easy and some days are hard. When I left Australia late March for my prolonged Cambodian stint I was a few months past my two year milestone. I guess deep down I knew I was off on my biggest geographical yet but I had conveniently hidden this knowledge deep inside and I would not admit it until the inevitable occurred. Without putting conscious thought into it I no longer considered myself in early recovery, my sobriety felt solid and I could not imagine ever picking up a drink again. I could not have been more wrong and my foolishness and pride are still paying the consequences.

At two years, seven months and eight days sober, delusion set in and I made the decision to drink knowing full well the price would be costly but somehow avoiding to process the severity of this and drinking anyway. In this last statement I do not allude to the monetary expense of the alcohol for the cost of that first night was less than $20 for a 700ml bottle of Vodka and a bottle of red. No, the 4 days of drinking was to cost much more dearly in the physical and mental torture that ineluctably follows for me after a drinking spree and insanely lead me to other substances to ease the pain. Swapping the witch for the bitch I think is a fair term to describe it.

By the grace of God I had managed to put everything down and get back to the gratitude and enjoyment of life but my isolation and loneliness, longing for home and missing the vital connection with other alcoholics steers my thoughts back to drinking and I am frequently in the battle to stay sober. The direction I thought I had found with my kite instructing doesn’t seem so important anymore and I’m wondering whether to just swallow my pride and head home to the support of family and friends who love me.

Today is a hard day and I have struggled to get through it. The deceptive lure and promise of comfort from a drink has been tempting me yet again and it has taken my utmost to resist. The insanity of alcoholism is baffling. I know life is too good, family so precious. Feelings wont kill me. Alcohol will.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

photo credit: Norbert Eder Alone via photopin (license)

confusion
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ThE DaRk fAiR

The Dark Fair

By Michelle England

Mechanical music spins behind my open eyes
Variegated colours entice my tenuous spirit
I close my ears and shut my eyes as I’m drawn against my will

Maybe if I fall asleep I might wake up
Maybe if I look back I might move ahead
Maybe if I fall to my knees I might rise up
Maybe if I remember to just breathe
Now whatever I put out will be reflected back
The world will unfold regardless of what I decide
In hiding I expose myself to my soul
My inner child wails crying out to be heard

But I turn my ears from the truth
I close my eyes to the light
The grey comfort of numbness deludes me
A Deception so cunning
My monster clothed in a different mask
Distorted music playing this fake parallel
Paradoxically jovial and insipidly drab

The carousel keeps on slowly spinning
Crazy unicorns grin madly teeth flailing
Dirty and dancing their infinite revolve

A cackle of insanity reaches my ears
Taking my breath in its sound
I realise I don’t want to be here
But I can’t find my way through the maze

Welcome to the carnival
Welcome to the dark fair

photo credit: Craig Walkowicz Illusion of Chaos via photopin (license)

Twins
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11

11

By Michelle England

I was blessed from creation sharing the womb with another
One egg that split I grew with you sister
11 minutes separated our entrance to the world
11 minutes you waited so we could be whole

11 is our numerology number
1 and 1 side by side we stand together
I miss you dear sister without you I’m incomplete
I beg come back to me please let me in

My Great Babies

Family is Everything

2016 has been a whirl of culture shocks and South East Asian adventures, triumphs and trials. I remember when I was preparing to leave Australia the biggest pull to my heartstrings was two little cherubs by the names of Isaac and Alyse. My great babies I like to call them, belonging to the beautiful, gentle spirit that is my niece, Melanie.

I feel particularly protective, proud and loving of Melanie and her younger sister Hayley because they are the two amazing girls of my twin sister Anne and since we are twins and have shared a lot in life it’s only natural to feel like they are partly mine 🙂

Melanie is cool, calm and collected, never in a hurry, bless her, not like her aunt. I can learn a lot from Mel. Hayley is high energy and a high achiever athletically and I swear she takes after me with her sporting prowess. I’m proud of her natural outgoing confidence, something that she definitely didn’t get from me as it is something that I have had to learn.

Now the babies, when I left in March Alyse was just short of two and Isaac turning one and the one in the belly yet to be conceived. I had spent four weeks at home and the babies were becoming more familiar with me and my fear when I left was that they would forget their Aunty Shell. If I hadn’t already booked a flight out of Australia before I had even arrived back in it I quite likely wouldn’t have left. However my fears have been quelled by the wonders of technology i.e Facebook and Messenger allowing me to keep in regular contact and ‘see’ my gorgeous family. The odd gift from my travels sent back home surely doesn’t hurt also.

Babies are easy to miss and that feeling is heightened by the sense of missing out because they grow so quickly passing many little milestones. Recently I have been feeling a deepening longing for my immediate family also. My parents, brothers and twin sister.

Loving unconditionally.

I discovered recently that I hold unrealistic expectations of virtually everything, including family. How tiresome! My stubborn unconscious holds these expectations and is constantly disappointed when the impossible can not be met. I have previously held a fantasy notion of what a family should be and mine doesn’t fit into that neat little picture. My family is mine, and I have learned to love each and every member of it unconditionally. I’m not God, I can’t control the paths of each individual and the experiences and lessons they must learn, so what nerve I have had in the past to judge this. I’m not perfect and we are not a perfect family but I would have no other. I have a family who love me and for this I am grateful. I look forward to my return home and loving my imperfect family and letting them know how much I love them and am here for them no matter what.

And how could I not be excited about cuddling and playing with my great babies, supporting Hayley and Melanie, and being there for the birth of number 3!

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Universal Questions

I wonder if you are wondering????

Yes I stated earlier that I have stumbled, well maybe not stumbled it has actually been a lot of work, but let’s just say I have come to Mui Ne Vietnam and somewhere in the bustle among the pointy hats, motorbikes and colourful kites I have found Michelle and some direction. One could say that the training I have embarked on to become a kiteboarding instructor is direction as indeed it is, as is the pursuit of a freelance writing career and successful blogger. However the direction I have found is (well honestly it was so graciously pointed out to me by a mentor, an amazing woman I truly admire) the only direction that I truly need to be headed to be happy and free, is to be on the path of spiritual growth.

Sounds simple eh? One day it will be second nature and just part of who I am and how I live (I am hoping) but in the beginning it takes training. With my keen dedication I am steadily progressing. However a daily application of some simple practices is essential and certainty makes better of my day.

I am a child of the universe no less than the stars and the trees. Oh how I love the Desiderata poem. A belief in something bigger than myself and handing over the director’s hat make life a lot easier and when I stop pushing and have faith my world simply blossoms and I sense all is unfolding exactly as it should.

For this ocean lover there is another lovely string of words I have read that I can not resist quoting here, ‘When I stop struggling I float. It is the law.’

How crazy we are to hang onto behaviours that clearly don’t serve us. I can look at my behaviours and whack in an opposite and bam! On paper they look less appealing than controlling the show but here lies the deception! Now to give is to receive, love to be loved, pay service to be free.

I made a pretty fine mess of my past but not one day would I surrender to avoid some of the pain because each speed hump, mistake, non achievement, sorrow and shame is mine alone and is a mere facet of the whole diamond I am becoming today 💟

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Hello world!

Hello World! and all the humans within it, particularly you 😁

Welcome to my blog. My name is Michelle, but you can call me Shell. Most of my friends do.

I’m a complicated, dysfunctional and slightly unstable woman who makes no excuses for this. I have dragged myself in, through and out of addiction and live in increasing peace and harmony with myself striving to reach the sunlight of my spirit.

I’m a good runner, literally and figuratively and this year I found myself running to South East Asia (figuratively of course, obviously I flew) where I have spent the majority of the year in various countries searching for myself and direction. And oh, what a ride it has been.

I’ve visited Thailand, Cambodia and Bali before heading back to Australia to sell virtually all my possessions (not much, it netted me 3K) with the purpose of continuing my running quite aimlessly really through Vietnam, a prolonged stint in Cambodia with another quick surf trip to Bali (no waves in Cambo), finding a job then finding out it was a scam, bolting to Vietnam and landing in Mui Ne 5hrs north of Saigon where direction and myself were to be found.

And here I sit now setting up my blog to bare my soul to you.

I understand I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of coffee but hey everyone is not mine, so if you would like to read my stories, learn of my adventures, nightmares, and follow my travels, I’m happy to have you tag along. I’m over the moon to be precise.

So strap yourself into my roller coaster and get ready for the ride. I promise always to be totally raw and vulnerable  with no excuses for my intricate humanness.

Woohoo.. Get set, here we go 🎈🎈