The past weeks I was feeling rather stuck. Although I planned a ton of exciting new adventures, I couldn’t get myself to undertake any of them. I felt overwhelmed by the tiniest things and was completely drained after a day of work. It was as if my body was telling me “Sorry love, there is no space for new experiences in here”.

Friday arrived. A friend invited me to join a sound ceremony. Despite my slightly deplorable state, I ignored the “no space”-warning and rocked up unsure what to expect. After an intense but fascinating experience, I went home realising where all the resistance suddenly had come from. It had been there for quite a while, I just hadn’t been able to face it until now.

In 2016, I returned to the Netherlands after living in Australia for two and a half years. Besides Australia being absolutely amazing, living in a country with different culture than my own had an immense impact on my personal development. On the other side of the world I was a foreigner, a European to be precise. Naturally certain social rules applied, but most of my quirks were taken as it is or even appreciated because I wasn’t Australian. Since my return, I’ve somehow felt constrained and insecure about expressing my whole self in this place I used to call home.

So what had I been doing? I’d been holding on to my experience abroad. I would visit it in my mind and I kept comparing my life here with the life I had there. Coming back to the Netherlands, I hadn’t been totally present and fully embracing what life is like here. Why? Because it hurts to let go and I was trying to avoid the pain.

These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.

Najwa Zebian

With this knowledge, I went through some of the memorabilia I’d kept. While letting go of some items and carefully putting away others, I discovered somethings else. This me that I’d felt I’d been unable to express, that I thought I’d maybe lost in Australia, was still there. This me had been there all the time, I just hadn’t been present enough to notice and, perhaps, not courageous enough to show it.

Aware that I had to close some doors to move forward, I took a little box filled with tiny things I collected during my last weeks there and let the contents be taken by a waterway close by, that leads up all the way to the sea. I let go. Grateful for the past experiences which I’ll always carry with me in my heart. Creating space to be present with my life here, embracing it with my whole being and, hopefully now, able to find the courage to truly be that pretty incredible self.