ONE MINUTE EVERYTHING IS GOING SWIMMINGLY,
THE NEXT IT FEELS LIKE I'M DROWNING
BUT SALT WATER IS BUOYANT...
What a contradiction, that lately I've been extremely productive yet am struggling with feelings of underachievement.
Depending on which calendar you go by, we're either a month (and them some) into 2017, or if like me you also abide by the lunar calendar the Year Of The Rooster is only just under 2 weeks new. Oriental or Occidental, both 2016 and the Year of The Monkey were both terrible for this Fire Tiger. Happily, all that monkey business is now behind me, and true to my Chinese zodiac prediction the new year has begun on a hectic note.
Ironically, in the middle of this whirlwind of activity is the one thing I wish would move along - acting as the eye of the storm, ever still and ever impassive. Perhaps its this stagnancy which occupies front and centre of my mind, whose eerie gaze casts a pall on all that I do. No matter how many tasks I finish or how much I accomplish, all I can think of are the unticked boxes on my to-do list.
Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor, yet I find myself wishing for still waters...a calm respite from the storm in my mind.
Truly, even with my head above the water, I feel like I'm drowning. Paradoxically - or should that be fittingly? - in real life when I stop struggling to swim and instead relax, I find myself floating serenely and eventually drifting toward my destination. But enough metaphors for now - here is what has been keeping me away from the blog...
To begin with, this is the first entire winter I've spent in the UK. This bleak and dark season, the likes of which I usually evade in tropical climes or go the other extreme in snowy landscapes, is all the more melancholy for homesickness - this is my ever Chinese New Year in my life that I've not spent with my friends and family. With my support system on the opposite end of the world going about their festivities as though as I'm not missed, it's hard not to feel crushed by overwhelming loneliness.
Large bodies of salt water calm and restore me. Be it the buoyancy that makes my soul feel as weightless as my body, or the cool waves as they overlap my skin with so many comforting caresses, or the effervescent quality of the sun as it dances on the ripples - the ocean, for all its unfathomable dangers, is ultimately my happy place. As if by kismet, while I was reorganising my hard drive, I chanced upon these old photos from Cayo Largo Del Sur, Cuba. As I scrolled through each turquoise gem, memories and sensations flickered before me - the powdery smoothness of Playa Paraiso's fine white sands, the sweet scent of proper mojitos, and the sensual contrast of the hot Caribbean sun against the coolwaters that lapped around me as I lay on sandbanks...
...and then, if you can believe it, the mere sight of a sandbank in the middle of the Caribbean sea, so casually captured on Luxy's underwater camera, gave me a renewed vigour. I was reminded of the impermanent and precarious nature of sandbanks - ever at the mercy of the tide that comes to claim it whenever it wishes. And yet, in the short time it stays above the water, this humble lump of sand in the middle of the vast sea brings so much joy simply by existing. Like a sandbank discovered by accident, this fitting metaphor appeared to remind me to not be so damn precious all the time. Just enjoy things as they come and go, or even take the difficult times as they are and flow with it. Perhaps something is to be gleaned from this challenging period? And if no profit was made, why let it matter more than it should...let the tide come and collect it.