I haven't taken the time to write out my thoughts after what happened in mid-2017. I went through my depression and managed to get myself out. I felt like I had to conquer it on my own, as I didn’t feel like anyone really understood what I was going through, and I managed to gain some tools to move forward. In that, I started my spiritual journey.
The most significant thing I did after this was go on a life-changing trip. I travelled to a Thai village named Surin with a company called Bamboo. The aim is to provide education to the locals to reduce animal exploitation which has been supported by the Queen. But government money isn’t always enough to feed, look after and house an elephant, so through volunteering organisations like Bamboo, they encourage people to have an adventure whilst helping and giving back to the local community. The money paid for the trip goes back into the village in some way: helps out the Mahouts (elephant keeper), builds better water supply, goes to the hosts that put up volunteers, helps with food for the elephants etc. The idea behind organisations like Bamboo is to spread education such as reducing elephant crushing also known as breaking the spirit, split the will or Phajaan, whereby a baby elephant is tortured in order for their spirit to be broken and become submissive to their owners will. They also teach Mahouts that tourists are happy to walk alongside an elephant and don’t need to ride their backs nor do they need to train elephants for the purpose of entertainment.
I believe the main challenge I had was actually getting to Thailand on my own. That was a scary prospect to travel to a country where you don’t know the language, and could easily get lost anywhere in that country. I was thankful that it all worked out and told myself that if I couldn’t find the person picking me up, to attempt a call and if no one answered, buy a ticket back home. There was always going to be a solution to the problem. What I learned on my trip was that we overcomplicate our lives in Western society. I enjoyed the simple things and could see that these villagers were happy with what they had. I mean sure, everyone has their own set of worries, but even so, these people didn’t seem to be plagued with the problems like we seem to have. It was such a tight-knit community and people were readily available to help each other out. I certainly don’t feel a sense of community living in Melbourne though it’s definitely something I want to seek out now.
I think what I also learned, is that what we worry about in Western society doesn’t really matter in the end. If we aren’t living a life of helping the less fortunate and marking a mark to help a fellow human out or protect this earth and all its beings, then we’re not really making a positive impact. I used to be a person who didn’t care about environmental impacts because it was never at the forefront of my mind. I barely saw such hard-hitting topics forced in my face, and because of this trip, have been seriously thinking about the life I want to lead. It was such a tough time coming back to “my world” and realising: I don’t like the life I lead. We’re so heavily driven by consumerism to the point we don’t actually realise that has such a negative impact on the world we live in. I think about the changes I want to make in my life to be better. Amazing what a short 2 week trip can do to change your perspective!
Anyway, please find some snaps of my trip. I actually had a moment with one of my elephants placing my head on hers, which by the way, is very dangerous but I took a chance to gain some connection. Elephants can still run and crush you, they can wrap their trunks around and squeeze you, which wouldn’t be fun. It was a beautiful, gentle moment which I can’t really place into words. Imagine thinking about what you know about connecting with another being and then transcending what you know. That’s as much as I can really describe it.
I wrote out my goals for 2018 on this piece of paper. I did the same for 2017 but didn't gain much traction after having my own setback. I do feel good about this year though. With my 2 x 365 day challenges it's given me such great focus in such a short amount of time. I have to blog daily in order to share my experience through both of those challenges, and then, that has a flow on effect to my other goals. I hadn't picked up a book really in the past 6 months and I've started to do that again. I draw when I feel like it and I am learning Portuguese. Belly dance classes start in February and I am currently trying to sell things I don't use in order to fund other goals I have on this list. I am in more control of my finances after reading Barefoot Investor so that's another worry I won't have. I'm so looking forward to what this year will bring. I work in a witch shop called Muses of Mystery every Saturday for my own personal development, and have met so many good people, that I really feel more sense of belonging than I ever have. As I develop my own beliefs and abilities, I continue to grow to no bounds. It'll be exciting to see where I end up by the end of the year. What I really need to buckle down on is finding a charity that I want to volunteer for as I feel like it's a great step towards the person I want to be. I need to do more research on this. Another thing I hope to find this year is some love. Got to place myself out there in order to receive right? Anyway, I've done enough typing and I should probably stop before this becomes a book. Cheers to 2018!!