Monday, 2 September 2013

#34 Healing up

"How much is it?" I asked. "You want to go now?". "Sure". Ahmed asked me some questions. I told him I was twenty nine, traveling alone and what I did for work. He asked if I was scared. "No", I replied, calmly. He sized me up, puzzled. "You're scared of something" he said. "You're uncertain". "We all have a duty, a reason to be here and you need to figure out what yours is". I knew one thing and that was that I wasn't about to start becoming a Muslim. Ahmed was right though, in fact I was scared of practically everything. Losing my job, being in the wrong job, heart palpitations, getting sick, never finding someone, finding someone but it being the wrong person, not being good enough and that even if I stopped thinking about all these things and really enjoyed life, it might go so fast that at the end, I'd just look back and wonder where the time went. 

I started to feel better after the conversation though and noted with satisfaction that I'd actually met someone on holiday, which was cool. The fear and the guilt vanished for a bit. In fact, it had turned into a puppy. It's strange because I'm really more of a cat person. This takes some explaining. I'd been carrying this guilt around with me for a few days now, thinking it might be useful. All emotions do serve a purpose. I took it on holiday, expecting to feel bad for like a week or two. It seemed like reasonable behavior. I hadn't exactly been the most caring person in the world lately. By the end of the first night, I'd given it a name and an imaginary persona. It was this big grey rock, about eight feet tall that I dragged around on a chain. It wasn't aloud to talk, but it growled and roared. It did this a lot. When I went to the supermarket, it followed, lumbering along and snarling, dragging its feet. It was a bit of a pain in the ass.

I found Ahmed back at the paragliding shack, talking to a family with young kids, who were eating at a next door restaurant. He played with the kids, asked the family questions about them and just made general chit chat. As we waited for the minibus to arrive, I told him what had been bothering me lately. He told me that I should stop thinking about it. I  told him "look, I'm always thinking about something". He said "you should be thinking about yourself, here, now, not about someone else and not about the past, because you can only help someone else if you help yourself". "You're losing yourself and your liver isn't working". "Excuse me?". "That's why you feel so numb. You need to eat three times at the same time every day, eat lots. Eat lots of protein, go to sleep at the same time every day and sleep well." 

This guy had good advice. Ahmed wasn't right about everything. I had no intention of seeking out the bearded guru from the pictures on his camera phone, nor were the couple sitting opposite us father and daughter as he had guessed. Still I took a few pieces of wisdom from him and thanked him. As I ran off the cliff at 2000m with a scruffy, student instructor strapped to my back, I did manage to feel something approaching nervousness. Good, I thought. Focussing on something more fundamental for a change, like how far away the ground was. "You need to move" he said. I shuffled around a bit. "Move" he yelled. I squirmed a bit more. "Is this ok?". "No" he replied. I wondered what the hell he meant by that and if he had any idea where we were. I tried leaning backwards, then forwards and pushing myself up a bit in the harness and finally found a position he was happy with. Phew. We'd be in the air for another 25 minutes. The instructor managed to startle me by doing some G-turns and eventually we landed. I walked back to the shack and thanked Ahmed. Maybe she'll speak to me again one day, maybe she won't. "What's meant to happen will happen" he said. 

I walked back to the hotel, paused and looked around. I think I'm in Turkey.