A hard landing

The problem with highs (even natural ones) is that there is only one way down.

In the space of a month I have gone from experiencing elation, peace and joy to absolute frustration, confusion and (dare I say) depression.

To say it’s been a hard landing ‘coming down’ from Bali to Mexico is an understatement.

No matter how many times I utter the words, ‘this too, shall pass’ during the difficult times, I never quite want to accept that it it rings true for the good ones too.

Adding to the jet lag, the loneliness of not having my Bali retreat sisters or nieces to wake up to and my inability to acclimatize to suffocating summer humidity, has been my guilt that I should be somehow feeling differently.

Tyrhone gave me such a beautiful welcome home; lavishing me with the type of affection and care usually confined to the honeymoon period of a relationship, rather than the beginning of the tenth year (yes).

IT PISSED ME OFF that I was receiving the kind of tenderness I usually revel in while feeling utterly unable to receive it with my weary heart.

And so began my battle with how I was feeling as opposed to how I should be feeling after such a blissful trip.

And it continued until this morning, when, at the height of my misery (and subsequent insomnia), I cried out to God to help! me and the tears began flowing into the pillow at the realization of my predicament.

Too many shoulds.

That I should be relishing meditation after discovering such bliss on the mat in Bali; that I should still be in love with Mexico as I have been for so long, that I should be able to maintain the peace and contentment I experienced on retreat.

Should, should, should, but none of it has been so.

This morning, I let go of the shoulds and accepted what was. That I was exhausted, drained, discontent and trying too damn hard to be otherwise.

I’ve experienced so many highs of this path of self discovery. So much healing. So many glimpses of enlightenment.

The truth is, I want that feeling all the time, but I am just not there yet, and maybe I never will be.

Like a baby bird who is learning to fly, the falls are part of the practice.

Perhaps, the most important part.

My hard landing has been emotionally debilitating, but only because I wasn’t accepting myself. I haven’t treated myself with compassion like the baby bird I am, but as a mature eagle who should effortlessly soar through the sky.

I needed to experience this in order to see the ways I’ve been sabotaging myself (yet again) with perfectionism and mis-aligned motives; the ways I have been pleasing others ahead of myself which disconnected me from the truth of my soul.

I’m slowly, softly and ever so gently, tending to my wounded wings so that they may soar higher, farther and more gracefully next time.

Perhaps the next fall will be softened by my newly tenderized heart.


This is helping.

So is this.

Also this and most definitely these guys.

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A hard landing — 33 Comments

  1. Hi Sarah, you always seem to write exactly how I feel. I didn’t expect to feel so sad and confused. I felt so confident and at peace when I left Bali. I’ve only felt love and acceptance from you and I continue to learn from you.

    • Aw, Bisa, you made me cry (again). Yes, next time I will be running a post retreat-retreat to prepare for re-emergence into ‘the real world’ :-) For me, it’s been a case of running head first into responsibility, obligation and relationships rather than making time for spiritual practice. This always happens when I prioritize the external over the internal. I am sending you some Mandala energy today and hope that at some point, you can find some time for you. You are such a beautiful person and you deserve it. So much love xxx

  2. I hear ya Sarah. Me too. I’m also “coming down” from a whirlwind of joyous highs these past few weeks. Those dreaded shoulds. Any transition is gonna stir things up emotionally I’ve come to realize, and agreed – the key to acceptance is self-compassion. Such a great reminder to create time and space for that no matter what. Thanks for sharing! Sending hugs!
    Sam recently posted..Ten YearsMy Profile

    • I read this and think, “Yay for the highs!!” :-) They are, indeed, worth it and I am so happy you experienced them Sam! I guess it is a case of integrating them into daily life. As I mentioned above, it really has come down to me not making time for (gentle, loving) spiritual practice and I think its so important to do those things (meditation, hiking, dancing, massage, whatever) that bring us back to center before trying to be productive. I am learning… Lots of love to you xxx

  3. Sarah, I know exactly what you mean- it’s always hard coming down from such a blissful, mindful experience like Bali. Just be kind and patient with yourself. Oh- I LOVE that video. I actually almost spit my coffee out- super funny!! I’m starting to look in tickets to Mexico- just waiting to see how my vacation time is going to play out!!! Miss you!
    Kristine recently posted..Why I love Travel…..My Profile

    • Thank you Kristine, I know, right, these guys have been single handedly responsible for curing my depression – I think they should definitely show them in Psych wards!!! You are right – kindness and patience is the key. Would be great to see you in Mexico if things work out with your leave. Miss you too! XXX

  4. Patience. Acceptance. Allowing. Time.
    Oh Sarah, may you give yourself time for you to do what you feel rather than those damn shoulds. Natural to experience highs and lows and have those unexpected expectations.
    Lately, I’ve been surprising myself with self-compassion and congratulating myself for all I’ve been doing rather than focusing on what I haven’t. A BIG change for me…

    Yet, I’m aware as I embark on my new adventure, next step- back in a country I didn’t think I’d go back to live, I’m predicting I may have some down moments. Only natural, right?!.. Hoping it’s not the case but in so much preparation and doing, I sense the realizations of “oh shit, this is happening/happened” is going to kick in..

    Loving all the links you included at the end, especially the video. :)
    Lots of love!
    Lauren@ Imroamingtheworld recently posted..Croatia bound!My Profile

    • Hi Sarah,
      Just off to bed here in Perth but wanted to just acknowledge your pain as you have done for me so many times. Somebody told me recently to stop ‘shoulding’ on myself!! I went through a similar thing last week. The wonderful relaxation of Bali and not having to do anything through my commitments into sharp focus and I realised something had to change. Hard to organise when you’re a person who wants to please. But it’s worked out for me and change is happening. Like you, I don’t like acknowledging that even the fantastic times will pass. I’ve been reading your guide to Play del Carmen. God, if I come to Mexico, how big a depression is that gonna be when it’s over?!!!
      You help so many people by shining your light and showing so much love. You’ve made a huge difference to people’s lives and I include mine in that. It’s time to be oh so loving to yourself baby bird! We all love you! Irene xxx

      • Oh Irene, now the tears are flowing again, but they are tears filled with healing, love and gratitude. Thank you SO much, more than words can say. I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends like you XXX

  5. I struggle so much with this, it is frustrating!! But it has been a great learning experience which has instigated positive change, which I am always grateful for. Looking forward to seeing you sooner rather than later gorgeous girl xxx

  6. Hugs to you, beautiful Sarah. Those mountain-top experiences are amazing and the coming back to ordinary time is jarring and unsettling. As much as we know we can’t live forever in the high moments, it sure is a little grieving when they are over. Love and light and lots of Key and Peele!

  7. Thankyou so much SarahSomewhere for touching my life in so many ways, your post retreat blog has made me feel so much better….so open and honest and there for us all to see.
    I feel so guilty and selfish when I try to live how we were in Bali, I find it very difficult and as others have shared, very quickly revert back to the ‘should’ way of life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am now off to do my readings and prayers. and then to meet up with our Bali sisters for lunch – Yaaay xxx

  8. I know the exact feeling! Beating myself for how I ‘should’ be reacting, as opposed to accepting myself and my capabilities in the moment. Sometimes our emotions and feelings just take us by surprise. Sometimes we just need to rest, a time-out. Sending you an extra portion of Grace and warmth and love. You are beautiful, even at your ‘worst.’ :)

  9. Oh totally! It is so easy to judge ourselves on what we think we ought to be feeling, instead of accepting what we do feel. I have found this post-event low on most big journeys that I have undertaken, and the weird thing is – I’m not sure you can appropriately prepare for it. This kind of depression seems to sneak up out of nowhere, even if you do try to give yourself more time, a la a post-retreat retreat. But maybe that’s the point? Maybe these emotions come up when we aren’t expecting them because if we did expect them we would probably not feel them as sharply as we need to in order to learn the thing we need to learn?

    (By the way – if you’re not aware, September 2015 is a generally rocky time astrologically anyway. Two eclipses and Mercury retrograde, among other huge things. So don’t worry; the Universe kind of set you up to have this breakthrough. But things are always better on the other side. xx *hugs*).
    Karyn Jane recently posted..Back To Hanging Rock (And Straws Lane!)My Profile

    • Karyn, it completely floored me!!!! Woah. I am through it, a little bruised, but also a little wiser. I certainly did learn a lot. Thank you for your encouragement xxx

  10. We all need down time every now and then, and for me (like you, I suspect), I can be especially fragile after returning from an amazing experience. As you say, the only way out of a high is to come down. But you will be high again – and you will drink the sun!! Until then, you are allowed to feel any way you do – it’s perfectly natural, and it’s part of our imperfect journey in life <3
    Tim UrbanDuniya recently posted..A Sri Lankan monolith: Striking SigiriyaMy Profile

  11. Isn’t it a universal truth that as soon as we attain something, we must lose it or let it go? I think that’s why I love that idea of trying to grasp onto sand…the more we grip, the faster it falls. Sending you lots of love and understanding for your continued healing and awakening. <3 (and mine, too!)
    Carmel recently posted..20 WEEKS DOWN, 20 WEEKS TO GOMy Profile

    • Yes, it is and that is a perfect analogy. Clinging and grasping is a problem for me. It never goes well! Letting go and surrendering to what is always makes for a peaceful life. thank you xxx

  12. Those hard lows are tough after such intense highs, but it is all human. I feel the same as you – demanding perfection of myself even when I am treading in a completely new realm. I hope things have levelled out and the path that is meant to be has begun to unfold for you. hugs xox
    Emily recently posted..Oh hi.My Profile

    • Thank you Emily, they have indeed. They always do, but while I am in the center of the storm it doesn’t feel like it!! Thank you so much sweet girl xxx

  13. Ah, sweet Sarah. I am sending you a virtual hug. “HUG” Reality is hard to face at times, isn’t it? After coming home from our 3-month European and Iranian incredible journey, I too crashed landed. I think it’s only natural. We take ourselves out of the norm and then wonder why it’s so difficult to jump back in. Heat and humidity sucks the life out of me and I don’t function well, so I completely understand that aspect of it. It makes everything so much harder. Can you find an old-school swamp cooler for your apartment? I hope you’re feeling better, if not, go lie in that wonderful water hammock you sometimes post pictures of. :)
    Patti recently posted..Channeling Ma Kettle ~My Profile

    • Thank you so much Patti!! It has cooled own a LOT here and that suffocating humidity has gone. Thank God. Almost seems like a bad dream… The hammock is at the resort where the retreat is next year… I will be visiting again soon. XXX

  14. Hi Sarah.
    Just read this post and wanted to tell you how much it means to me and im sure, many others… I have just begun my calling/escape/adventure whatever it is. I wish I had your abilities to put into words the complex feelings I am experiencing. I know deep down that they are a necessary part of my journey and growth. Pain brings about surrender, surrender brings about humility and with humility comes peace! That’s my theory and its what I continually strive for. Remember those words “Pain is the touch stone of spiritual growth” God bless you

    • Wise, wise words, Andy. It’s difficult to remember at times, but you are exactly where you need to be. This recent contraction was necessary for me to expand further. Pema Chodron’s work (her talks are on youtube) really enlightened me during this time. This too shall pass, friend, so many blessing to you too.
      Sarahsomewhere recently posted..Embracing Contradiction in Cuba – Part ThreeMy Profile