Honestly, this year has been anything but. Less rollercoaster ride, more ‘I’m-a-chew-toy-being-flung-from-side-to-side-in-a-dog’s-mouth.’ That’s life, though, isn’t it. There have been points where I’ve literally said to myself, ‘This just isn’t worth it.’ There have been points where I’ve looked at others in my life and felt in complete disbelief that they can still continue on. My Mum. My Dad. My friends. People in my life that I care about. I have tried not taking anti-depressants for a little while of late, and I’m wondering if I’m recognising more darkness in the world around me because of this. But in saying that, there have also been points in recent times where I have felt like the luckiest, most blessed girl in the world. Must say, though, the whole “do the drugs really affect me, or can I stop taking them?” is doing my head in right now.
Today a work colleague was talking with me about the view out of my office window. There are paddocks, trees, the Sky Tower, the ocean off in the distance, and the motorway.
“I like seeing the movement,” she told me, “The cars passing. But I suppose I am a city girl.”
Could say I was born city girl, too. Well, a born-and-raised suburbs girl, anyway. And yet I can’t think of anything I’d rather return home to more than the stillness of the countryside. On the weekend, after a nursing shift at the veterinary clinic, I was at the mall fetching a few things in preparation for the wolf trip (I leave next week – too good to be true!!!), and I remember noting how absolutely abysmal the traffic was. I couldn’t wait to get back out on the country road – yes, you must look out for rabbits and possums and tractors, and you’re a fair way from any main shopping centre, but I love it. Guaranteed I will see at least one horse rider on my way home from work – they always smile and wave when you slow down to carefully pass them. I can’t wait for the summer when I’ll finally be out riding some of the horses my landlady owns.
Stillness can be difficult for one to achieve. One who is like me, I should say. When there has been a bit too much emotion in one day, it comes out as pressure against my head, and that makes it hard to breathe calmly and rid myself of busy feelings. Meditation would be beneficial, but I have never been very good at it. The closest thing I get to, at the moment, is in the studio where I take ‘circus’ classes. The tutor of these classes is an incredible woman with a fierce, glowing heart, and the studio is adorned with images of Buddha, Japanese cherry blossoms, twinkling fairy lights, and always smells deliciously of incense. For one to two hours I am painfully twirling myself up in circus ribbons hanging from the ceiling, trying to perfect poses that I can’t quite achieve yet with my very limited (read: nonexistent) upper body strength. Everything else just disappears.
The greatest time I have ever felt stillness was when I was sitting opposite darling Tehalin, the most incredible wolf spirit I have ever met. I have mentioned before how we would spend time together at the top of the mountain at the White Wolf Sanctuary – he would gently reach out one massive paw for me to pat or groom, and stare right into my eyes. Some days I would tell him everything I could think of, other days there would be silence. For hours (unless his sister came running and bowled him over to fight for my attention). To think, I will be back with them in a week, all going well. It is said they remember you forever – we will find out if this is true.
Preparations for the upcoming trip haven’t helped maintain a calm mindset, as is to be expected of travel planning. I have so far had flight ticket mix-ups, extra money to pay for date changes, not to mention completely unnecessary stress caused for family members in regards to some horrible challenges they are facing. I suppose, as said above, this is life. There are always little disruptions, and unfortunately there are also major, life-changing obstacles and ordeals – experiences we always have to prove that we can get through. Since that wonderful, incredible, childhood inspiration of mine – Robin Williams – unbelievably passed away recently, there seems to have been a cascade of other, similar tragic events. Of course I don’t know his real story – all I know is that it broke my heart knowing someone so many people cared about was not aware of how much he meant to so many. I suppose it only takes one moment to forget how much the people in your world need you; one moment that can lead to utter hell for the people who love you. The last few days a few people I know have lost loved ones; family members and dear friends. These people in my heart are the types of people I look at, and I think to myself, “How on earth do they carry on?” I don’t have the answer, but I am incredibly glad that carry on they do, however they manage it.
Right now is not a good time for me to be leaving certain people here in New Zealand. But I know if I tell them this, they will simply be their selfless selves and say, “Sam, there is never a perfect time – life always brings some hurdle to get over.” But I still feel guilty. How do you choose where to dedicate yourself? The romantic, stubborn, dreamer’s part of me likes to think that one person’s heart can save the world. But it is utterly impossible to end the suffering of every single person, creature and environment on this planet. I guess just do what you can, when you can, even if there is no perfect time for it. I’m going back to the arctic wolves, to greet old fluffy friends and to meet and learn the stories of new ones. We all face hardships, and life will always bring challenges, but if you decide to do something good with what is inside of you despite all that’s going on, I can guarantee you will be more fulfilled – and the world around you will be better for it.