Letting go of knowing. It’s our biggest ask right now. Even amongst all the change, the upheaval, the daily wobbles – deep down I have this kind of knowing. That despite everything, it will all be how it’s meant to be. And that is okay.
When I truly allow, allow the flow with no resistance, my body tells me it’s happy. My mind feels at ease. There’s a deep sense, like now writing this.
Sat in a beautiful hippy cafe in Istanbul. I have tears rolling down my face, and a familiar choking, holding back a big cry. Simply because this is flowing. I can’t type quick enough. I feel as though, in every part of my body, that I AM MEANT to be here. Here. Writing. Expressing myself with these words. Only here. Right now.
And to me, that’s ease. My body at peace. It’s my whole being saying yes. Not thinking that I should be anywhere else. I’m simply not fighting myself. There’s no internal voice saying I should be outside walking the streets soaking up the sense of travel, smells, people watching, buying something to take home with me. I should be developing a concept for Soulhub, calling my family, my boyfriend, my friends. There’s an allowance for what is, either by choice, or by chance. Does it really matter? The only important reaction, is that my body feels rested. Still. Not fidgety and I’m not making anything wrong.
I’m sat with my book, the Salt Path. A book I’d chosen not to read before, because I too wanted to walk the South West Coastal Path, in fact I wanted to walk the whole of the British Isles. That was my intention in September 2019. By November it shifted a little. Only because I felt I didn’t want to put myself under the pressure of having no income. By December I was breaking the trip up into short walks of a few weeks at a time. To give me time to go home, or back to mums. For many reasons. Because I didn’t want to lose my home, my base in London. For some reason I wasn’t quite able to let that go. I know why now. For some reason I didn’t want to walk every day. I wanted the adventure, the exploration of new places, new people. But I also wanted to return to the faces of friends, and to keep both paths alive and to appreciate both. For some reason, as we all now know, it all shifted.
In February, Britain braced itself for storms Erik and Gareth. I hankered down at mums for a few weeks. With little energy but to spend time with my family. To connect differently to how I have in the last 10 years. Always in and out the door. This time I was around a bit more. Time to meet my sister and husband for lunch. Time to take my nephews to school. Time to go to the theatre with mum. Sit by the fire as mum knitted and I watched day time TV. Now that had been a rare occurrence. One I’d fight with the ‘I should be doing’ voice. Familiar to you too?
Then Sue invited me back to London to a gala ball, at the same time as a friend Laura gifted me a retreat to learn how to breath, and be fully still. And I thought I was still! Clearly not. I was being prepared.
The decision to step off the North Devon coastal path came when I was hiding from the rain with friends in their beautiful Devonshire cottage. Drinking tea, talking about family things, about life, and each day deciding if today was the day to walk. ‘Nope, it’s time for another cuppa’. What freedom. To choose each day as I wanted.
And now, here in Istanbul with a friend Piers, undergoing specialist cancer treatment. 18 months ago he was given months to live. And now here we are, for what we all hope is his last chemotherapy treatment to remove the final tumour.
We were meant to be here in March, just before lockdown. His blood pressure was high on the night before the flight, so we postponed. 6 months later, with time for his body to heal itself further, and prepare him for the final trip.
It was an easy decision to come. In March, at that gala ball (well just before) I met an incredible man Andrew, who has and is going to continue to teach me many things. Together we are practicing, at record speed, seeing and letting go. Being our own teachers. It’s one thing to let go on your own, its a completely different experience to do it as a couple. To see the mirror of my own behaviours, and choose whether or not to allow them to identify or shape me. So after 10 years as a single woman, I’m relearning how to co-exist, to be kind to us both, to listen deeply, to accept without judgement, to hold love and fear and to be loved for all of me. As I sit here, missing his warmth, knowing that these few days are exactly what he needed too. Letting go.
Of course it was, perfect timing for me to be here. To witness Piers going through the peeling of the layers, the pain of intense heat of his treatment, toxins pumped into his body, vomiting, nauseous. And yet in all that to have a level of awareness of the why. Of the healing that’s taking place and the further healing to come. There’s no surprise in my eyes that this is his time to wake up to him, whilst the world wakes up to what it needs us to be.
And it’s really simple. Kind to ourselves first. Love to ourselves first. Then we can give love, compassion and kindness. And those words might sound cliche. They might not fully connected with you because they are so simple. But in the simplicity is what we’re being asked. Because we made it all so complicated with our lack of consideration for others, for the land we live on, with our trauma. Our deep rooted layers of non-acceptance, of judgement, of anger, hurt and pain bodies. Those that repeat, repeat and repeat for generation after generation. We’ve made ourselves sick. The land is sick. We’ve been sick. We’re being presented with our own treatment. We’re being asked to choose. We can either take the toxic cleansing more difficult path, or we choose to go within and heal. Neither are easy options. They are the only options if we want to survive.
Inwardly we ask for self understanding of who we’ve each become, and taking no prisoners, ask ourselves to be kinder to ourselves. To appreciate where we are now. Because there is no other place. From here we can create. Create the dreams and existence we want, but with an open heart, a generous spirit for our neighbours and for human kind.
So as I read Raynor’s words, I’m transported back on to the path. Who knows how the next stage unfolds for me. Small trips to listen to the waves, absorb the sunsets, to smile and laugh with a local farmer, artist, shop owner, school kid. But what’s key, is to let go. Let go of knowing the path. My own intention is to live joyfully, sharing my experience to connect others, and if that’s on the salt path, a sandy path or a cobbled path, I don’t care. I’m just choosing each moment, each day, each minute to be me. The best me I can be.
(And I wonder. Andrew Smith. Did you tell me to write in Istanbul? I feel my creativity here….)
Writer: Carmen is Founder of Soulhub, and wrote this whilst in Istanbul towards the end of September.
Soul Words October: This month’s theme is ‘Letting Go’. Soulhub is sharing personal stories from Guest Writers including Emma Cannon, Harriet Macmasters-Green and Rach Allan. We’re aiming to continue with Soul Food Live every Tuesday (from early Oct) with Carey Davies-Munro, and we’re hosting a Wellness Online Retreat including a Q&A’s with nutritional specialists Sue Camp & Melinda McDougall.
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Our stories may well create some unexpected emotions. If you need any support, our Soulhub Team are on hand.