After leaving southern England's cold, grey, wet, windy weather behind I landed in Phuket in the height of high season. Warm days, cool nights, crowded and noisy beaches, busy and dangerous roads. It has taken me a few weeks to adjust and love being here on this island again. For a while I thought I loved it no more. But I still do.
I have spent my mornings lying on the day bed on the verandah of the beautiful house where I am staying, surrounded by swaying palm trees, dappled by sunlight, listening to the birds chirp and chatter and circle the blue sky before me. I have regular visitors here; the flock of cranes that circle at dusk, a magnificent eagle that soars by day, a pair of ravens that sit in the jacaranda tree at dusk and a pair of Indian Myna's that even landed on the verandah railing a metre away from me yesterday. I have been writing, reflecting, journalling. One can still journey even when they are standing still.
On Monday, I will start my return to Melbourne. For a few days, I contemplated delaying the journey, changing my flights and staying here for another month. I have had a tendency to cling to what I love. But no more. My life is a river. It weaves its own path into unknown terrain. Sometimes it pools for a while until it gains the depth and momentum to continue on. But I no longer dam it. It flows. And the flow is bringing me home to Melbourne, again, for an indefinite while.
In Pilgrimage - the sacred art, Dr Sheryl A Kujawa-Holbrook writes that "pilgrimage is a transformational experience, which moves the pilgrim from home and back again in order to view the self and the world differently. For pilgrims merely to reach the destination is not enough unless upon returning home they are compelled to make changes."
I am in the third stage of pilgrimage, incorporation, which she describes as "where the pilgrim integrates new learning and new ways of being into her life and journey home." In pilgrimage, there is a separation - a leaving, a transition - the journey and incorporation - the return home. I am returning home, bringing the fruits of what I experienced and learned and entering a new phase of my life. I have the answers to my questions that I have chased and pleaded and beseeched and allowed to guide me for 5 years. I bring a fierceness to begin.
There is no preparation required to return. Just a quiet surrender into the flow and to love every last minute of my time here. Massages, beach time, swimming in the sea, diving, sitting on the sand feeling the earth's softness and solidness beneath me, and dying into every sunset.
See you next week my Melbourne loves.