Maybe it’s time we started choosing faith over fear…
Whenever these questions crop up for me, I stand in front of a mirror, look directly into my own eyes and tell myself this: “there is a flame burning inside of you Smilas, and only you can ignite or extinguish it. Never ever forget that.”
I think a lot of us can have the same questions at times, but I truly believe that the body we are born into on this Earth and every living thing on this planet has a deep, relentless yearning not only to survive, but to live a happy and healthy life whilst we’re here.
If, like me sometimes, you find yourself afraid, wondering why things keep going wrong, thinking life is just too hard and feeling so exhausted you’re not sure why or if you should keep trying? Try holding your breath and you’ll see for yourself that your body will rebel. Your body will take another breath, because deep down- it wants to live, and it wants us to be happy against what or how we allow ourselves, other people or other factors to influence our thought process.
YOUR BODY BELIEVES IN YOU so why don’t you believe in it?
As a yoga instructor, vibrational energy therapist and lifestyle influencer with years of experience guiding and treating students around the world through their difficulties, I know only too well how life as we know it can suddenly change and fall apart. I’ve recently learnt this in my own way too.
Just over two years ago I gave up my life in London to embark on a new life in Goa, but a few months in I made the decision to get on the back of a motorbike and embark on a road trip of a lifetime from Goa to Mysore. It was a decision that almost cost me my life, but ultimately, is helping me slowly come back to life.
Doctors painted a very bleak future and little chance of a full recovery. A life filled with hospital visits and untold amounts of medication were prescribed to me as my only hope of survival. I sustained fractures to my skull and spine, was diagnosed with a type of brain damage and neurological disorder that affected so much of my coordination and normal day to day functioning, I lost my ability to walk properly, to see straight, hear, engage in social situations and even be around people. I struggled to read one sentence of a book or even watch the TV. I developed PTSD, bipolar, agoraphobia, an autoimmune disease and a form of epilepsy that led to daily seizures and such a loss of orientation I became almost house bound through uncontrollable panic. I shut down and cut myself off from the world.
Why am I telling you this? Because I’m learning that true healing and happiness is about pooling all of our belief and trust in ourselves, our bodies’ innate capabilities, and life.
My bohemian mindset rebelled against what people told me my life would be and I refused all forms of medication. I’m in no way advising anyone to go up against medical advice, but that was my choice and I took myself back to Goa to recover, somewhere I knew I could also survive financially in order to do so. Part of me was petrified of travelling all that way on my own with my injuries, not knowing if what people were saying was right and If I’d make it. But it was something I knew I had to do, and another part of me told me I could do. So I hung on to that with all my might.
Nothing is insurmountable unless we allow ourselves to think it is.
If we find ourselves with one last match that blows out, we can learn to make fire! If we find ourselves feeling depressed, lost, stuck, nervous, afraid or uncomfortable, we can find a way to move past that.
When all I could afford was a run down fisherman’s hut without walls, I learnt to use a machete and built one with the resources I had available- castaway palm fronds and foliage from the beach. The locals had a blast watching me drag what they saw as “rubbish” off the beach through their restaurant, and I became known as this crazy pacific island girl. It’s what got me my nickname “jungle girl.”
The hut had no kitchen or bathroom sink, so I moulded my own with a wok and some cement (which I sweet-talked some builders into giving me). The tap was by the toilet and who wants to brush their teeth by the toilet?? So I dug out a piece of bamboo, and hung it from the ceiling to bring the water to where I wanted it. I also learnt to enjoy doing the dishes with a bucket on the floor whilst singing…
I transformed it into a beach front (albeit quirky) bohemian boudoir that became my tropical healing sanctuary…
That is my fire, that through a relentless desire to pull through this, is refusing to go out. I’m choosing to believe in my body’s intelligence and strength over anything else. I’m re-discovering certain forgotten talents and resourcefulness. I’m doing things I used to love doing before life and responsibilities got in the way- recycling and bringing things back to life, because I think everything can be made beautiful once again.
This blog is now my personal journal of survival in every sense of the word: physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially and mentally. A story about overcoming trauma and a loss of everything as I once knew it. A “healing journey" like no other of unforgiving and seemingly insurmountable hurdles, of gut wrenching grief and mental anguish that at times even now, seem ongoing.
But amidst all the turmoil, this story is speckled with life saving moments of laughter at the irony of life and the cruel but kind ways it teaches us to open our eyes to what we’re actually capable of. Humour and playfulness come when we feel safe and will dissolve fear, which will further fuel that fire in all of us to keep going.
So many of us are afraid of our health and perhaps of our own bodies and the crazy things they do, as I am at times. We’re afraid of the state of the planet, the environment and political unrest, whether we’ll ever be happy. We make decisions based on fear of the alternative, believing in other’s advice over our own. Or we withhold making a decision at all- but this fear just creates walls around us, entombing our faith further and nothing will move or change if we don’t start believing in ourselves.
Telling my story is something a little voice inside me has been telling me to do for a long, long time now but I’ve been too afraid. Afraid of resurfacing after being underground all this time and how what I have to say will be received. But I feel that fear holding me back and hindering my recovery.
Communication is paramount to aid all of us in our survival, evolution and journey through today’s trials and tribulations. Storytelling is what humans have done since the beginning of time to share new concepts and discoveries of new lands, planets, people, plants and animals as just a few examples. It’s essentially a means of passing on helpful information to aid humankind. How else would we learn, progress and evolve? And being half Greek-Cypriot, we LOVE to tell stories- we invented storytelling!
As a yoga teacher I also don’t feel it’s right for me to keep quiet anymore because I’m learning what our bodies and minds are really capable of and feel this information should be shared. I truly hope it will inspire and be of some benefit to someone, somewhere.
Stories transport us out of those dark moments giving us a break from our brains, which we all need at times too to gain fresh perspective and positivity..…so this story is also about the unforeseen love story of the cowboy and pocahantas (as we’ve come to be known) that came out of tragedy and is standing strong against everything that still threatens to break it on a daily basis. Because no story is ever really complete without a love twist, right?
Going back to my original question: I may still have a long way to go on this barefooted journey as we all may do on our own journeys and creating the life we secretly yearn for, and fear can resurface at any point.
We never really know the outcome, but there’s really only one way to find out, right? And we always have 2 choices: remain stuck in fear or allow faith to move us forward. In my experience so far, when we make decisions that stem from faith, resilience, that fire builds in us, and I’m learning that we can do anything we put our heart and soul into.
That faith has got me to where I am now against all the odds, and trust me when I say, there’s been A LOT! But I’m still going.
If you’re still unsure, you can see for yourself by reading on.
To be continued…x