New Beginnings

After snowy cold winter comes bright and shiny spring!

After three months in wintery and springy Holland, I’ve finally arrived back in Spain. These months back have been lovely. Having time to reconnect more with family and friends and letting go of my house and looking forward to the new adventure ahead!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get vaccinated yet, but for now, I also feel at peace with that.

It was quite the journey to organise myself to get back.
I had found a yoga therapy training that I wanted to join with Susi Hately. She is someone whom I’ve been following for a long time and had been looking forward to study with. But up to now I could never make it work, since she lives in Canada. Now, because of covid, everything is online and that has openend new doors. This first week intensive module of hers training would start on March 20th.

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In these past months I also found the time to finally finish my Relax@Work chair yoga 10-day program. Very happy and proud by how it turned out and quite some people who joined for the free run.

My parents had said that they would like it if I would still be home for my birthday the 16th and the training would start the 20th, so there was my little window for travel. My birthday, like last year on the first day of confinement in Spain, was again a quiet day. It was lovely to be sung to by my parents when I opened the door to the livingroom. We had a nice peaceful day with delicious homemade diet proof applepie, I had prepared the day before. A package had arrived at the postoffice for my yogatraining, with a smale scale skeleton in it. I’ve always wanted a skeleton, so that was a really nice ‘gift’ that I had forgotten I was going to get.

Before leaving I wanted to get my tests done for my kidneys. It’s a lot easier to organise that in Holland than Spain. And I also wanted to know if they had stabilised or not. So, just before my birthday I got those tests done. The results looked stable, which was good. However, I did feel a bit disappointed. I had hoped they would have improved, because of the changes I had made, feeling a sense of failure and fear. Now, with this idea of looking for my own terrain and all the work that will come with that, this fear of ‘what if my kidneys get worse and I loose all my energy…’, which is something that happens when your kidneys are failing, was popping up. How would I make everything happen then? How would I live? It felt comforting to talk with my parents about it and not digest it all on my own. Just coming back to 1 day at a time. I’ve had this condition all my life, I’m taking really good care of myself, so there is no reason why it shouldn’t work out. And even if something happens, which is always possible anyway, we’ll take it from there. Normally, I have this 1 day at a time mindset, but sometimes that temporarily fades and I’m back to fear and doubt. The call with Maria, my nephrologists also always helps me to feel more at peace. We’re on the right track and she’s now advised me to, for the time being, add some mushroom supplement, to support my kidneys and immune system. I also brought up if fasting would be and idea for me, but she said that once a week intermitent fasting (not eating for 14-16 hours) could be nice to try and maybe a series of once a week a day where I only take broth. So let’s see how that makes me feel.

Homemade, diet-proof apple pie time! happy birthday to me 🙂

To be able to travel I also needed to get a negative covid test. It would be my first time and it would be on my birthday (why not, who doesn’t like a stick up their nose on their birthday..). The guy who did was really gentle though, so it wasn’t too bad. The next day the result came back negative, but since I had done it at the GGD, I didn’t receive an official PDF saying that I was ok. In hindsight it kind of makes sense, but this meant I had to go again and pay for it. Fortunately, there was availability an hour later and I would have the results in the evening. All in time for my flight the next morning, but what a expensive hassle…

It had also been a challenge to find affordable flights. I couldn’t manage a direct one, so I had to transfer myself in Madrid. That went really smooth in the end, even with my extra check-in luggage I had brought. My dad gave me his old wooden toolbox with carpentry tools. It had been sitting in the attic for decades, and I figured I could use it well for building my little home in the near future.
The airplane was surprisingly full of people. Being seated so close to each other was a rather weird experience. I really was not used to so many people so close anymore, although that sensation faded quick enough.
On my second flight my laptop decided to overheat and die. Normally that would frustrate me a lot, but this time I felt surprisingly indifferent. I have pretty much everything backed-up (I’ve learned that now ;)) and I now have some financial space to be able to replace it and be good to go for.a long time. In a way I was also a bit spaced out by the travel stress and going back to Spain excitement, that there was enough to occupy myself with. Also, I was very lucky that I was going to stay with my friend Carlos who had a laptop that I could borrow for the time being, to be able to do my online training. Such a lifesaver! It would have been a lot easier to arrange a new laptop in the Netherlands, but everything, with time, worked out fine here in Spain.

The day after my return I went to pick up Lotje from Charlies finca. I was looking forward to my little house and my own space. Going back to the finca where I had lived the past year, felt like a big thing. Charlie was away, so I had time to do what I wanted to do in my own space. As I entered the van I saw all my cupboards covered with mouldy spots. Luckily my bedsheets and mattress

Lotje’s cupboards covered in funghi spots… Time for a big spring clean…

etc were fine, but my heart broke a bit. I had been looking forward to my little home, and now it was just one big mouldy mess. Winter is very damp in Spain and Lotje was parked under the trees, so that’s what happens, but still. It did make me very happy to hear that the engine was sounding great as I started it. And after breaking down my tent and packing everything, she drove away like sunshine!

The following days I spend my mornings thoroughly cleaning her and from 1530-2130 (mornings in Canada) I had my yoga therapy training. Pretty busy days! Before I was done, cleaning everything I made an appointment with the garage, because her gearbox had been getting a bit difficult and she was up for big maintenance and new tires. I had barely driven her the past year and the tires already had almost 50k on them, so it was time. I had set up my van tent properly to be able to do the training and I could sleep in Carlos’s yurt. Although, we put up his bell tent later, to be able to have my own space. My van tent is not really suitable for sleeping. I never like it when I don’t have Lotje around, but maintenance is an important thing, especially for an old like her.

My yoga therapy training space, with my new skeleton buddy Ben!

My yoga training was absolutely amazing! Six days, six hours per day, looking at how does the body move or not and how do you work with it to make movement more functional and thus reduce pain. I feel I’m pretty conscious of my body itself and how my body moves in space, but there is always more to discover. The group was lovely and the teachings were very profound. The first few days I hadn’t really landed in Spain yet, and with the cleaning and the training it didn’t feel really present. But on the 3rd day something started to shift. I noticed sensations within my own body, because of the movements we were making and all the information that was shared. We also started working with each other in break-out rooms. It was wonderful to connect with my fellow students in this was and the practicing teaching together turned out to be awesome. It’s a different way of paying attention and talking, but it works incredibly well. So at the end of that day, I felt so excited. The days that followed stayed fascinating and I got into a connection from shoulder tension that I could feel, to mid back tension that I knew was there and emotional stuff within that tension, but I could occasionally feel, to my kidneys and even the after-sensation of the biopsy that I had had 1.5 years ago. Everything started to link together in my awareness, so interesting. Everyone else was also sensing their bodies in a different way than before and things came up and pain reduced. In the last day, the feeling stayed that I wanted to learn more, because this is what I’ve been seeing and trying to work with for a while. I just don’t feel confident in the tools I have to actually be able to efficiently help people out of pain and move better. So I decided to expand the birthday gift to myself to doing the full yoga therapy training with Susi. Meaning 3 months of module 2. Where I need to do 25 case studies, with 5 sessions for 5 people. Followed by module 3 which is 1 year, with 5 intensive weeks and another 125 case studies. And due to covid this will all be online, so I don’t have to travel to Canada (even though that would have been lovely to do just once). It’s a big investment, but I feel confident that so much will come out of this. Supporting my own process with my body. It also makes my Wicked Retreat wish even greater with a space for helping people out of pain and happier living, sharing the range of tools that have helped me.

So all in all, it has been a tremendous time of new beginnings. At times it feels a bit overwhelming, feeling a longing for a more peaceful, stable, non-adventurous life for a while. On the other hand, there I don’t feel a real rush and pressure to make everything happen right now. My mind sometimes tells me to and has opinions about everything, but I’m learning to listen to the pace of my body and nature more and more.

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