Sarah Somewhere Discovering the beauty of an imperfect journey 2014-09-14T14:10:29Z http://sarahsomewhere.com/feed/atom/ Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[Consuming vs Creating: finding clarity at Costco]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=10246 2014-09-14T14:10:29Z 2014-09-14T14:10:29Z Keep reading...]]> The other morning I had a bit of a crisis about my writing and my purpose. With red eyes and the sort of lethargy which comes from a morning spent sobbing on the bed in my bath towel, I tagged along with a friend on a shopping trip in an attempt to shut down my pity party.

First, we hit a few flea markets, which I loved. From old baby strollers to sofas to artwork, I perused the dusty offerings and wondered about the story behind each piece.

Stacks of identical chairs towered in one corner of the warehouse; the remnants of someone’s failed restaurant or hotel dream.

Hot dog

I saw this hot dog cart and briefly considered throwing in the writing business in favour of touring the country with it, ‘Chef’ style. Only I am a crappy cook and vowed never to work in customer service again.

Afterwards we ended up at Costco in Puerto Vallarta. I’d never been before and was a little excited to see what bargains lay inside.

A large round of Brie cheese and a huge tub of hummus sat in the bottom of my gigantic cart as I pushed it down the aisle.

Turns out there really wasn’t much that I needed, let alone wanted, except of course, CHEESE.

I felt like I had failed to live up to Costco’s expectations of ‘buy hard or go home’.

Then I came across this.

shoe rack

A shoe rack.

A rack for your shoes.

I had a flashback to the days when shoe racks were a rather important item to me. I needed a rack, several actually, to house all my shoes, most of which I hardly wore.

I looked at this storage rack for shoes like an alien thing. A frantic feeling rose up in me as I remembered my previous attempts to organize, store and accumulate products, back when I had a job, an apartment and deep well of discontent within me which I tried to fill with ‘stuff’.

I was a total consumer back then and it gave me such an empty feeling. There was never enough stuff or storage to hold said stuff to make me feel complete. I think that was the whole idea, actually.

Standing in Costco with a near-empty cart and a lack of desire for anything in the mega-store, I remembered something I’ve known for a while.

I wasn’t born to simply consume. I was born to create.

Suddenly my existential crisis about my purpose seemed like a pretty good one to be having, compared to my old ones of how I would organize my shoes.

I was immediately grateful that my big problem of the day was questioning how I can best Show Up in the world in order to help others feel more connected, rather than how to assemble a shoe rack with a damn Allen key.

I realised then that no matter what doors may open or close for me, I’ll continue creating things I think will move me closer to my vision (however hazy it may be) because it’s this process by which I am transformed.

And perhaps my only purpose is to grow more and more into the person I was created to be, while encouraging others to do the same.

creating

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[Peace is a discipline and God is the eye of the hurricane]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=10306 2014-09-06T14:41:08Z 2014-09-06T14:41:08Z Keep reading...]]> I used to think that discipline meant mindless dedication, but have since come to realise that the word, derived from the word disciple, means ‘student of.’

I’ve recently learned that in order to have peace, I must lovingly dedicate myself to learning about it.

If I want peace, I must love it more than I love drama; I must love it more than I love being liked. To have peace I must value it more than I value having the last word or being right.

It’s not easy to live in peace with our highly developed egos poised to react to every occurrence in our lives; hence the value of being a disciple to peace even if we can’t be masters.

My own journey with peace has been tumultuous. I’ve had to learn that I alone am responsible for my level of peace in any situation.

I’ve gotten myself in so many states of unrest over the smallest of situations and made enough valuable mistakes that today I must become a disciple of peace in order to experience it.

It must come before social status, success and other people’s expectations.

When I am in distress over a situation I cannot control (i.e most of them) I force myself to get really still and quiet while my thoughts and feelings swirl around me like a ferocious hurricane.

While it feels like I am being whipped around by its centrifugal force, there is a place deep within the beast which exists in perfect stillness. Sometimes I can barely make it out and other times I find myself held in its calm embrace. Though I may struggle to stay there, I take comfort in knowing it exists.

If I was ever to describe what God feels like to me, it’s that eye of the hurricane where all is calm and quiet and peaceful; where nothing needs to be done or managed or controlled. A state of being where no matter what is flying around me, threatening to destabilize me, I posses a deep knowing that it all is well.

It’s a place of recognizing the powerlessness of my ego with its many hurts, resentments and fears; understanding the power of what actually is: Peace.

Not everyone wants peace. For a long time I didn’t know to want it. Now I do. I want it above all else.

In order to experience peace I must dedicate myself to it and become its disciple, forgiving myself when I wander off course and spending as much time as possible seated in the eye of the hurricane, while the world spins round and round.

Peace mandala

Mandala by the very talented Ashlie Woods.

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[The long, hot Mexican summer: an update]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=10226 2014-09-01T17:36:32Z 2014-09-01T17:27:04Z Keep reading...]]> I think it’s safe to say we survived the long, hot Mexican summer! We arrived at our house sitting assignment in La Peñita de Jaltemba (don’t know where it is? Yeah, neither did we!) just over two months ago and it was HOT AS HELL.

I settled into the high humidity by reassuring myself that my skin is always better in the tropics and threw myself into pool maintenance so I had someplace nice to cool off. Of course the view helped.

El panorama Hotel

I promised myself I would watch these magical sunsets every night and while I have missed a couple, they simply do not get old.

Tyrhone, on the other hand has had internal thermostat issues for years, namely that he was set to HIGH at birth. Despite spending his childhood in South Africa, he has always struggled with the heat.

So for the first month he barely managed to leave the house lest he be immediately soaked in a shower of sweat which sprang forth from his overworked pores.

We did manage to squeeze in a few day trips though, and my favourite spot was the small bay of Chacala about half an hour north of us.

Chacala-bay

Hangin’ (literally) at ‘Chac Mool’ restaurant, Chacala.

More recently, Rob and Kellie of Hungry Escapades came to visit which broke up the stay nicely. They brought the word ‘Ace’ and lots of tea with them.

hungry-escapades

San-pancho-sunset

We got to take them to a few spots before they moved on to San Pancho for a few nights and Tyrhone also got to show off his flying skills to Rob which he was quite chuffed about.

paramotoring-mexico

The house we are caring for is a B&B called El Panorama which is closed for the summer. It is spacious and luxurious; the largest place both Tyrhone and I have ever lived in. Hard to believe that this journey has taken us from a $7 bungalow on the beach in Cambodia to a mansion with a rooftop pool, but such is the nature of this ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ lifestyle: you just never know what’s next.

It’s fortuitous that we ended up here and I am so glad we did. We weren’t the first choice for the assignment, but received a message while we were in San Miguel  asking if we were we still available because the older couple chosen for the job had to leave.

It’s very different here on the ‘Riviera Nayarit’ to the Caribbean coast and both locations have their pros and cons. It certainly has a more local feel here, particularly in the small Mexican town we are staying in. It seems we are the only Gringos braving the summer heat.

While the beaches may not be as post-card perfect as the Caribbean, they definitely have their own beauty, flanked by jungle covered mountains. Our local beach of Guayabitos is a hive of activity. I love setting up a chair and umbrella for the day surrounded by Mexican families, eating fresh seafood for a steal.

oysters-guayabitos

I am going to miss the fresh oysters on the beach for $2.50.

shrimp guayabitos

And skewers of plump, juicy prawns served with rice and beans for $5.

We also discovered an amazing restaurant overlooking Guayabitos beach called ‘Vista’ which serves the most delicious, gourmet meals.

Vista-Guayabitos

Tyrhone calls it ‘The Posh Place’ and we go there when we want to feel like millionaires, because between the food, the view and the service it really does make you feel like one (as if living in a mansion isn’t enough).

Vista view

The best part of this experience though, has been bonding with our adopted cats. It is also the thing which will make it hardest to leave.

kittie

That face!!!

Over the course of the last two months, we have become very fond of the kitties we are looking after, Chica and Matu. They are brother and sister and were taken in by the owners as strays, found on the empty lot next door.

Now, they are living a life of royalty and they are seriously the sweetest cats I’ve ever known. Chica (above) is aloof and independent. She doesn’t care too much for me but has become very affectionate with Tyrhone.

Matu, on the other hand is a sensitive, anxious soul, much like myself, and likes to snuggle, especially at night. During some particularly heavy storms, Tyrhone and I took to sleeping in separate rooms with a cat each so they wouldn’t freak out (it was for them, honestly).

Of course it hasn’t all been rosy. Matu likes to eat gekkos, well, actually just kill them, so we often arrive home to gruesome offerings of decapitated reptiles in the living room. Once, he brought a dead bird. That was fun.

Also, there are bugs, lots of bugs. It seems the house is a designated insect graveyard and keeping up with the disposal of their remains as well as being on constant alert for scorpions is a full time job.

It’s the normal things though like buying pool supplies in Spanish that do it for me. While I am certainly nowhere near fluent, I get by quite well with the basic stuff and always get a kick out of using it when I can.

The other day, after a fun-filled time queuing up to pay the phone bill with thirty other people in a room the size of a shoe box, I had this moment of realization like,”I am doing what I have always wanted to be doing – actually living in another culture.”

We have one month left of the summer here and thankfully, it is beginning to cool down. My sister and her best friend are coming to visit this weekend and I am looking forward to showing them around our temporary home.

After we finish here early October we will be driving up to the states where we hope to continue house sitting and road tripping. Our plans are uncertain but one thing is for sure, we will never forget our time in the Big Yellow House on the hill and the Long Hot Mexican Summer of 2014.

Big Yellow House

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[The importance of Showing Up]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=10203 2014-08-26T14:48:53Z 2014-08-26T14:41:08Z Keep reading...]]> I’ve got it!! I’ve finally got it!! After all my searching and asking and experimenting, I have discovered the most important practice in the universe: Showing Up.

That’s it. It’s really that simple.

Okay, I didn’t say it was easy. Not at all. Far from it, but it is simple.

Just. Show. Up.

Showing Up has been a theme for me of late.

I became acutely aware of Showing Up when I committed to a daily meditation practice, which was difficult and confusing and scarey because I was like, “Who am I to do this when I don’t know what I’m doing?” Then I had life-changing experiences and began to share what I discovered and was like, “Who am I to tell others about this? What do I know?”

And some people loved it and some people didn’t but it didn’t really matter because while I thought I was helping others what I was really doing was helping myself. I was showing up for myself, and as a result, I’ve become more myself than I ever have been.

In truth, I’ve been showing up for a while. The first time I ever Showed Up was my first recovery meeting. Before that I had always hid from myself and the world in some sort of substance or form of pretending.

Showing Up that day completely altered the trajectory of my life. Showing Up full of shame and confusion meant I would be one day be writing to you about it which I would never have believed if you’d told me.

And that’s why I continue to show up, because something magical happens to me when I do.

When I go to a meeting, I am there for myself. I am showing up to pay respect to the disease which killed my father and almost killed me and has destroyed so many lives in my family. I’m not hiding from it or denying it or pretending it doesn’t exist. And in that process of showing up for me I get to show up for others too, offering myself and my experiences to them.

It helps me because it helps them and it makes sense out of my suffering and my father’s suffering and Tyrhone’s suffering and the suffering of all the people who never made it. To me, it makes sense of it all, because it is for something.

My suffering heals people, including me!!! It’s nothing short of a miracle.

I practice showing up for this blog, the book I am struggling to write and a new project I’m working on which scares and excites me in equal measure.

I could use more practice with Showing Up in my relationships (and I just realised that). Because Showing Up without expectations of people is the greatest service you can ever do for them, and I have a long way to go with that.

So I am re-committing to the most important spiritual practice in the universe: Showing Up. I encourage you to also.

Show Up with your doubts, your fears and your faults. Show Up in spite of the voice in your head which tells you you’re not good enough, not deserving, not talented enough, well connected enough, together enough.

Show Up for that new class, the job interview, the therapy appointment, the recovery meeting, the date, the dinner.

Show up for the things you are most scared of. In my experience these are the things which will alter the fabric of your life for the better.

When you show up, you change your future.

You are sending a message to the universe that you are here and that you are taking action toward an idea or a dream, and it cannot help but listen.

I cannot promise that you will succeed immediately or that things will go the way you planned. I cannot promise everyone will like you or support you or understand you. But I can promise that if you Show Up, you will learn something about yourself which will carry you to the next step, and the next.

You will be fortified by the experiences you encounter, especially the tough ones.

You will grow. You will transform. You will serve the world. And by doing that, you will discover that your whole purpose for being here is Showing Up as yourself so that you may encourage others to do the same.

just-show-up

Speaking of showing up for scarey things, I recently showed up for an interview with Uma Girish, author of  ‘Losing Amma, Finding Home,’ a memoir of love and loss published by Hay House.

I had never done a live voice interview before and I was terrified. I almost said no, because, what do I know about grief? What could I possibly offer? Surely there would be a thousand more qualified people than me. But I showed up, full of fear and doubt.

It was actually a very healing and cathartic experience thanks to Uma’s well crafted, interesting questions. Sure, I forgot my own train of thought once and got cut off by the Mexican Telco, but I Showed Up as myself and shared my truth.

I talk about authenticity, recovery, grief and healing and you can listen below.

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[The day Kim Kardashian stood me up]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=10052 2014-08-20T15:43:17Z 2014-08-20T15:25:32Z Keep reading...]]> I was scrolling through instagram the other week and saw that my friend, Kim Kardashian was staying just an hour down the road in Punta Mita, along with her husband Kanye West and their baby daughter North.

Punta-Mita

Punta Mita

Kimye

#mexiconightswithmysexyman

“Perfect!” I thought as I quickly invited her and her ‘fam’ over for a pool party the following day via a comment on her instagram feed.

I didn’t hear back, but I hadn’t asked for an RSVP so I took her silence as a ‘yes’.

cocktail

The next morning I was up early preparing for Kimye’s arrival. I busied myself by making snacks and drinks, cleaning the pool, sweeping the terraces and prepping the cats on Kardashian etiquette, i.e get ready to be called ‘kee-yout,’ a lot.

Chica

Chica should have been a Kardashian, she’s such a poser…

I even prepared the guest room in case they loved it so much here and decided to stay the night.

Kardashians guest room

I wondered what we would talk about and thought I had better brush up on conversation topics such as spray tans and Botox. I wondered whether I should buy North a floaty for the pool.

gangsta

I imagined ‘Yeezy’ hanging out with Tyrhone and thought that they would probably get along quite well due to an unspoken connection between the ganstas of the world.

Part of me wished Khloe and Kourtney were coming too because I think we would probably get on much better as a group, as long as they didn’t want to play the vagina sniffing game again.

With everything prepped, I waited for them arrive. I hadn’t set a time on my invitation so I guessed their Mercedes had gotten held up behind a truck on the road leading from the up-market destination of Punta Mita to our lovely little fishing town of La Peñita.

Kim-Kardashian-lilo

Kim’s Li-lo floated empty in the pool as I questioned whether it would be sturdy enough to sustain her substantial derrier.

It was probably a good thing they didn’t show in the end, as I really couldn’t afford the lawsuit when she fell off it and injured her million dollar body.

Kim-Kardashian

I was a little sad I didn’t get to meet North though. She seems like a kid who has her shiz together and I was hoping to get some tips on selfie angles and social media domination.

Oh well.

I comforted myself with the knowledge that they would have come if they could and would have definitely had the time of their lives with us.

At least I didn’t need to research the latest fashion trends or ask those awkward questions about what really happened between Khloe and Lamar and whether Scott is actually sober or if it is only a matter of time before he goes off the deep end again.

Perhaps it was for the best because the last thing I would want to do is invade their privacy. I’ll just continue to watch from the sidelines and always remember with great fondness the day that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West almost came to my pool party.

Sarah-Somewhere

Almost!

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[Why I meditate]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=10094 2014-08-17T20:17:39Z 2014-08-17T13:10:03Z Keep reading...]]> I don’t meditate to be cool. I don’t meditate to become more spiritual. I meditate because there is a window of about half a second between the moment I open my eyes and the crush of thoughts which descend upon my being like a plague of wasps.

They are jumbled and quick and fleeting and overwhelming.

Wearily, I grab some water, a stick of incense and maybe some pants, put the coffee on downstairs for when Tyrhone wakes up and I go someplace to sit in stillness for as long as I can manage it.

Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but the longer I keep dragging myself out of bed and onto the floor or into a chair to sit, by myself, for myself, the less I identify with the discomfort of my racing thoughts and the more I know that I am the pure awareness within which exists in perfect peace and unshakeable stillness.

I’ve had amazing, life altering experiences via meditation. I have been overcome with a warm wash of love and felt my brain dial down into blissful nothingness so that I become the life giving energy pumping through my strong, soft heart.

I have been filled with the awareness of my divinity and the Oneness of life on this planet. I have had ego-dissolving moments of such pure bliss and an absolute absence of fear I thought would last forever.

It didn’t.

They were amazing gifts, but the thing I have learned about my journey with meditation is that I have to keep showing up. A realization one day does not guarantee it for the next.

That one was a real bummer to learn.

The other reason I meditate is that in spite of all these consciousness raising experiences and internal transformations via a daily morning meditation practice, I am still ten types of crazy by 5pm.

I meditate because the thought of my mind state without it is scarey. No, scratch that, I meditate because I have experienced my mind state without it and it IS scarey.

I meditate because I choose not to medicate with booze or shopping or pretending anymore. I meditate because I really, really want to experience the truth and I truly, truly believe that truth is Peace and Joy.

I meditate because the longer I do, the more I am able to see through the false beliefs of society and see what a big bag of lies they tell to sell products to people who think they are lacking without them.

I meditate because I have come to see beyond my own opinions that I am not enough and have discovered that my greatness does not exist ‘out there’ but at the very core of my being, ready to be accessed any time I choose.

I meditate to take responsibility for the years I escaped myself via alcohol, drugs and people-pleasing; to make amends to my soul which I neglected and ignored for so long.

I meditate because I have realised that healing and happiness require a lot of work from me, to unlearn destructive thought processes and ingrained emotional patterns.

I meditate because it is the only practice which has ever filled me with the knowledge that I am not the tape which plays on automatic shuffle in my head, but the shimmering, eternal awareness within.

It’s taught me that I can choose to either listen to the tape on repeat or shift my focus to the miracle of my very existence via the breath which flows through me; a place from which I am grounded, transcendent, energetic and peaceful all at once.

I don’t meditate because I want to, because quite often I don’t. I meditate because I need to.

Ram Dass

THE HOW

Meditation is one of those ‘things’ people talk about but don’t really tell you how to do. The reason for this, I think, is that there are so many different techniques. You can watch your breath, chant or use mantra, mentally scan the body, or even meditate while walking.

Sometimes I dance around wildly to expel energy from my body and disconnect from the thoughts in my head.

Is this meditation? Well, for me, yes. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

I think the hardest part of meditation is actually showing up. Many of us have not been brought up with rituals or practices like these (myself included) so it can feel weird and difficult to do.

Starting small with a mere five minutes per day for five days can be life changing. It is a short enough time to not be too daunting and ‘five for five’ is an attainable goal.

I’m including some links here to a wide range of techniques and talks about meditation. Basically, I think we are all trying to get to the same place of peace and contentment and meditation is not the only way, but it is a tool which has made a big difference in my life.

As always, take what you like and leave the rest!

Love xxx

A Beginners Guide To Meditation by Gabby Bernstein

Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge

Getting Started With Meditation by Osho

Guided Meditations from The Chopra Center

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[Transcend]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=10074 2014-08-12T14:13:18Z 2014-08-11T17:56:26Z Keep reading...]]> #soulshots is a series I’m creating over the summer as an expression of my inner journey. #Soulshots provide immunity to fear and guard against the suffering which arises when we forget we are made from and for Love.

You are not your past. You are not your parents. You are not what you have done or what has been done to you. You are none of those things.

You are not your sadness, or even your happiness. You are not your thoughts of inferiority or your worries that you may never achieve your goals.

You are not your mistakes, or your accomplishments. You are not the teacher or the mother or the ex-wife or the boss or the employee.

Those are roles, yes, and experiences, absolutely. They all happen to you but they are not you.

You, are light. You, are love. No matter where you live or what you have, you are love.

Transcend the noise of the world by getting quiet. There, in the silent stillness you will meet yourself, the ‘you’ of pure awareness, the witness to your thoughts and feelings, your failings and successes.

Transcend your opinions of yourself by dropping into the steady beat of your heart which pulses with the expansive life force of which you were created.

You.

You are a miracle.

Know this, and you automatically transcend every insult, every judgement, every opinion, even your own.

Transcend your doubts that you are not enough by placing your perfectly formed fingers upon your rhythmic pulse which carries the tune of existence.

Transcend your false ideas by realizing the Perfection within you.

Not for what you do, or say or how you look but for who you are, exactly as you are.

It’s never too late to transcend what you have been taught to realise what you know, what you’ve always known, but have forgotten.

Remembering allows you to transcend the confusion of your morals, religion and politics.

Transcend what you think you know about yourself to discover what is.

From this place, grounded in the core of your being, you are unshakeable. Free to co-create, to fail, to succeed, to be the wife and the employee and the friend; to accomplish whatever you desire without becoming any of it, for nothing can ever compare with the undeniable magnificence of who you truly are.

Transcend

For Robin Williams, whose spirit transcends space and time.

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[Showing up for Peace]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=9873 2014-08-08T00:13:58Z 2014-08-07T19:00:45Z Keep reading...]]> It’s rare that I send out two posts in a day, but I felt an incredible urge to get this one out (which I first wrote a week ago) before the Global Gathering for Peace tomorrow. Thank you, as always, for reading.

In the wake of so many large scale atrocities occurring on the planet, including but not limited to the Malaysian Airlines disaster, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the war in Syria and the mistreatment of asylum seekers in Australia, it is easy to become disheartened, disconnected and afraid.

While I have witnessed a large outpouring of compassion and an increased surge in gratitude by those of us who are lucky enough to be living in countries free from large scale violence, there seems to be a wave of resignation and fear-mongering sweeping the planet too.

There are always certain media outlets or individuals who seem to rise to any newsworthy occasion to proclaim us all doomed so they can profit from inciting terror. Then there are the people who gobble it up like bitter candy for reasons I am not sure I will ever understand.

It worries me how little responsibility people are willing to take for the acts of atrocity which occur on this planet while being more than happy to dole out a dismal diagnosis for the rest of us.

More than anything, though, I have compassion for those who hold a world view so dependent on the latest new story (for that is all it ever is for many of us) because it is a sad way to be indeed. I cannot blame them for the recklessness of the media and its absolute ferociousness when it comes to peddling its terror.

We are all victims of it, with some countries such as the UK, Australia and the US being hit worse than others (in my opinion).

But my point is, we are in this together. You may not believe this, but there are some things I know to be true and am willing to stand my ground on and this is one. I may struggle to know it my head at times, particularly during times of terror and violence, but I do know in my heart that We Are One.

world-peaceThere is no ‘us ‘ and ‘them’. The very idea of ‘us’ and ‘them’ is an illusion. What is happening ‘over there’ is also happening ‘here’ because we are inexplicably, unequivocally connected by the very virtue of being alive on this planet.

And what one of us do, we all do. I am not saying we are all running around with land to air missiles blasting aircraft out of the sky, but what other types of missiles do we carry around on a daily basis, ready to blast our latest victim with? Even if it’s only a hurtful, hateful thought or an unfair judgement of someone.

I’ll tell you, I carry a lot. And quite frankly its not bloody good enough. It’s not good enough because I have a responsibility to be the best person am capable of being. I don’t mean the sort of person you think I should be, but the kind which my heart longs to embody. My loving, kind, giving heart which I believe to be the very same heart that beats inside the chest of every single human on this planet.

Every single one, even terrorists.

Acts of violence do not come from ‘animals’ but from human beings just like us. Just like you and me in every single way except for their circumstances in this specific point in our human history. Acts of war, violence and genocide occur when the very characteristics we all maintain on some level – but mainly fear – boil over into uncontrollable delusion in enough people to cause widespread damage.

Taking responsibility for ourselves means we are not helpless. It means we are not unwitting victims of some poisoned arm of humanity, but rather responsible for weeding out fear in ourselves. Because anything we do here, happens there. Any time we overcome a fear based judgement in ourselves, we help to elevate humanity to a higher level of consciousness. By taking responsibility for ourselves rather than sitting back and pointing the finger or throwing our hands up in apathy we surely develop a more productive approach to life.

It may be easier to take on the role of victim and separate ourselves from the atrocities which occur in other countries, adding it to our ever growing list of reasons why life on earth is doomed and humanity is an evil stain on the planet, but what good does that do?

And what good can we actually do? What is in our power to change?

I can only speak for myself, but I could do with – among may things – fostering a greater awareness in my daily life. I could be less quick to think about what’s in it for me and consider others more. I could be more grateful for every moment I get to walk upon this glorious earth and be more vigilant with thoughts of negativity, fear and resentment.

And that’s just the beginning. I have a long way to go to become that person my heart longs to embody. If embarking on that journey is not my sole purpose for being alive on this planet, then I don’t know what is.

If anything, I have a GREATER responsibility to humanity because I am blessed to live in a country which is free from war.

It doesn’t mean I need to go out and join the peace corps if that’s not the direction my life is heading, but it does mean I need to open my eyes and my ears and my heart to ways in which I can serve, today. Ways in which I can rise above my own destructive thinking and behaviours in order to elevate us all as a whole.

Obviously, there are many ways to do this. But tomorrow, there is an opportunity to participate in one of the world’s greatest global gatherings for peace without leaving your own home.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be participating in the Global Meditation for Peace because I think intention matters and I believe with all my heart that I can make a difference by showing up as I am with what I have, including my confusion, my fledgling faith and my faults.

In fact, showing up as we are for a cause as worthy as Peace on Earth, is probably the most courageous act we can ever take.

global meditationWe can make a difference. You can join me here.

Follow the link to register for the event and follow the #IAMPEACE hashtag on social media.

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[The ride of my life]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=10026 2014-08-06T16:29:01Z 2014-08-06T16:15:33Z Keep reading...]]> Here in the Riviera Nayarit on Mexico’s Pacific coast there are early morning beach walks, delicious meals and lots of relaxing by the pool to be had.

La-Penita-beach

Linguini

Pool sideBut my favourite days are Tuesdays and Saturdays when I drive forty minutes south to the surfing town of Sayulita to attend a recovery meeting.

At first I thought it would be a bit of a drag driving so far to go to a meeting. They do have meetings here in La Peñita, in Spanish, and also an English speaking one in the nearby beach resort town of Guayabitos, but they are on a hiatus for the summer as the gringos return to their northern homes.

Sayulita is the closest English speaking recovery meeting operating during the hot, humid summer and so twice a week I bundle into the car with a chilled bottle of water to make the trek.

This drive is one of the most beautiful forty minutes of my week. I crank my music and sing at the top of my lungs as I pass wobbly old trucks stacked high with ripe pineapples, marveling at the beauty of the tropical jungle which enfolds the road like a warm embrace.

Jungle mexicoMy cracked wind shield… it had to happen some time.

I think about how I came to be driving along this road, a certified gringa in my mud-covered Mexican car which has carried me to so many places within this amazing country and beyond to Belize and Guatemala.

I think about my first recovery sponsor telling me in the early days of my sobriety (which I navigated as shakily as a newborn foal), “Hang onto your seat girl, you’re in for the ride of your life!”

I think about how she didn’t know exactly what was in store for me but that she new it would better than what I’d experienced so far, and how that must have given me a sense of faith before I knew what one was.

I wonder if driving along a jungle road in Mexico, returning the waves of the cheeky road workers who probably expect me not to and belting out this song while gratitude and joy pervades my every cell was what she meant.

Sometimes I think about all the hundreds (thousands?) of people I’ve had the privilege of meeting in recovery rooms all over the world, from Bangkok to Beijing to Bali, Guatemala and Mexico and I think about what a shame it would have been if I’d missed out on all this.

I think about how I can never, ever, explain how recovery has cracked my life open in every conceivable way and started me on a journey so rich; so filled with discovery, connection and love and pain; good pain, the kind that heals.

I used to sit in meetings and think, “Fuck, my life has come to this,” and now I think, “Fuck! My life has come to this!!!!!” and I feel humbled and grateful and beyond blessed that my greatest failures have led to my biggest discoveries about myself; about life; about the power of true human connection.

Sometimes, like the other day, I think about my friends; my girlfriends from back home who have known me almost my whole life and who have stuck around and supported me through everything and a pang of sadness rips through me that I cannot be in their presence to curl up with a cup of tea for a chat.

Then I just feel so blessed for the messages and calls and photos we share, about their job or their kids or the Kardashians, and about how sometimes one of them will ask me for advice which completely and utterly floors me; they they are asking me for advice on life which I clearly have more questions than answers about.

And I think that maybe that is what is what the people at my first meeting meant when they told me, “Keep coming back, it gets better.”

When I pull into the entrance of Sayulita, there is often a young man who navigates the pot-holed road on crutches, his legs twisted under him like driftwood. His strong brown hand clutches a used yoghurt pot in which to receive coins.

As I deposit some change and say hello, his smile, so genuine and glowing and joyful gives me enough inspiration to see me through to the next time.

People are amazing. People in small towns and villages and cities all over the world are overcoming and transcending their circumstances in quiet, humble ways and witnessing it gives me the impetus to continue overcoming mine.

I drive through the touristy town of Sayulita filled with quaint boutiques, taco stands and beer stores, while seedy vendors try to sell weed and coke to amped up surfer wannabes and holiday makers who don’t know any other way to relax than getting totally loaded.

I’ve been there, but I’m not there anymore, and in spite of the occasional desire for instant gratification via the consumption of mood altering substances, I’m grateful I don’t have to be.

Sometimes I buy a vanilla ice cream loaded with chunks of chocolate and gooey caramel, which really should be classified as a class A drug for how utterly ecstasy inducing it is. It doesn’t make me abandon myself and say something I don’t mean or become rude or arrogant or miserable, however, so I think I’m okay with it.

I pull up outside the meeting room on a dirt road in a local neighbourhood, where tiny children wearing only their underwear run around barefoot amidst stacks of green coconuts and piles of trash.

The sign over the door says it all as I walk in to see my new friends, who seem as happy to see me as I am them. And I sit down, grateful to this journey for always bringing me home.

Welcome-home

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Sarahsomewhere http://www.sarahsomewhere.com <![CDATA[The day Mexico lost]]> http://sarahsomewhere.com/?p=9979 2014-08-03T15:35:22Z 2014-08-03T15:20:15Z Keep reading...]]> The day Mexico lost to Holland in the world cup, we woke early to sip strong coffee on the roof terrace and watch the sun rise over the mountains.

sunrise mexicoDeciding to take an early morning road trip, we bundled into the car and headed north on winding jungle roads.

Chacala MexicoThe town of Chacala was just waking up as we padded along its shores in the post-dawn light.

We kept driving. The road snaked through hillsides and dense green jungle. We arrived in another tiny town which consisted of a few shacks on the beach.

Mexico oyster manFishermen were shucking oysters and preparing their catch for the day. I asked this man how much one oyster was. I remembered my friend Penny telling us about a time she ate oysters straight off the rocks and it had sounded to me so utterly wild, like the way food was meant to be eaten.

“For you?” he replied.

“Nada,” he continued, before silently shucking one, dousing it in seawater, squeezing lime over it and presenting it to me.

lime oyster Mexico

Oyster Mexico

oyster eating Mexico

Sarah Somewhere oyster Mexico

Delicious.

The road beckoned us still further north past miles of deserted coastline until we arrived in the small fishing town of San Blas. We drove around the town for a bit then decided to head back to the oyster place for an early lunch.

As we were departing the town, we passed a roadside grill presenting bright orange lobsters and huge, sizzling marlin steaks.

“Turn the car around!” I blurted out suddenly, remembering that fresh, cheap seafood is one of my reasons for living.

Tyrhone followed my order and did a U-turn next to a crocodile infested lagoon, bringing us back to the grill laden with creatures of the deep.

Mexico-lobster-grillThe world cup football game was blasting from a television inside the restaurant and was almost half way through. The crowd, though dressed for the occasion, were rather mellow. They sipped from over-sized bottles of Coca Cola and picked at huge shared plates of fish, salsa, rice and tortillas.

restaurant-san-Blas-MexicoHe’s not cheering, he’s stretching…

We ordered and sat down to watch some of the game. The score was zero all. We were in with a chance.

lobsterThe food arrived.

Tyrhone seafoodMexico scored a goal. I rose to clap and cheer along with the crowd but seemed to be the most excited spectator. Maybe I was really cheering for the meal. Haven’t you ever wanted to do that? Or perhaps I was overcompensating for the fact that the locals might think I was Dutch. Tyrhone wearing the opposition’s colours certainly didn’t  help.

With just a few minutes left in the last half, Holland scored.

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Our stomachs full, we watched on, slightly nauseated as Holland were awarded a penalty just before the end of time.

Score.

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

When the siren sounded about ten guys rose from their seats, shook their heads and headed back to work.

I was heartbroken for those guys in the tiny town of San Blas who could have really done with something to celebrate at work that day.

It was so very disappointing to lose on a penalty. Especially one, I might add, which was total bullshit (and yes, I am biased).

The crowd took it in their stride. I perhaps took it a little too hard and was surprised there wasn’t more of an uproar.

Sunset MexicoThat evening, we returned to the roof terrace of Casa El Panorama, the BnB we are house sitting, to watch the sun set over the Pacific. The tiny isla in the center of Jaltemba bay lit up like an erupting volcano.

It kinda put things in perspective. Reflecting on a day of jungle roads, tiny coves, deserted beaches and fresh seafood, I mused that while Mexico may have lost their world cup match, they were winning in ways much of the world could only dream about.

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