For a wee while I have been mulling over what will be my third book, ’50 Felafels’. The plan is to take the reader through a tour of my travel journals, detailing experiences perceived through the very innocent eyes of a rather green young woman in her early twenties. To think how naïve I was back then makes me laugh. I had no idea what life was about and yet, within my heart of hearts, I felt I was worldly. Pffft. Reading old journals you wrote as a kid is always a very insightful exercise. Retrospect is a wonderful thing.
I had thought of myself back then as adventurous and a free-thinker and a go-getter. What I realised reading these journals written by a 20-something year old hand with my 47 year old eyes, is that to the contrary, scared and on the brink of experiencing a big problem with anxiety, I was insecure, stressed, quiet and bordered on being depressed. The thoughts I expressed back then, before I left Adelaide, belonged to my mother. They were not mine. Flipping through the pages, through different cities, I realised my own thoughts and opinions only really started to seep through a few months after I had started being on my own. Funny – I hadn’t realised that before.
Was I Dreaming About My Anxiety?
Travelling on my own stirred my sub-conscious and would not let it rest – probably because most of the time I was only sleeping lightly due to constantly being in transit. I remember one occasion in February 1994. During a very turbulent evening on a ferry from Rodos to Haifa I had spent most of the time leaning over the side of the boat, emptying my stomach of the retsina and crab I had dined on the previous day. On reaching dry land, exhausted I clambered aboard a bus to Jerusalem where I had promptly fallen asleep.
I awoke half an hour later to a dramatic sunrise out the bus window, pondering a surreal dream I had stirred from in which I had survived an IRA bomb blast. Someone had taken samples of the long fine hair from between my toes which must have been at least a few inches in length. People milled around, tending to my blistered feet. A man came to tell me their tests had been successful and they would be able to trace the culprit who had detonated the bomb.
I was far too young back then to know anything about dream analysis, and my level of self-awareness was dismal. Dissecting this dream as an adult I realise it reflected my state of mind back then. Toes in dreams represent the manner in which you walk through life. Long hair indicates thinking too much without action, and blistered feet, well they indicate an emotional problem which prevents you from moving forward in life.
A Clue To The Path Ahead
My twenty-something year old self could not have conceived the anxiety disorder looming in just a few short years. This was (and to an extent, still is) the problem with my mind that has persistently challenged me throughout my adult life. I had been busy achieving feats and having adventures that my family had not even perceived possible for me. Yet there were some tell-tale signs of the anxiety problem that occasionally reared its ugly little head. However these incidents, dismissed as being due to exhaustion, were clues as to the emotional troubles I faced in adulthood.
I reflect back on many of the characters that crossed my path during my travels. There is recognition that the Universal Law of Attraction had been at play. I was oblivious to what these encounters meant. There was the psychotherapy-mad physiotherapist in North London who became my first lover. He taught me about a bit about Jungian analysis. There was also the erratic young Canadian called Josh whom I met in Rhodes whose anxious and depressive episodes confused me and was possibly in a sense, reflecting a little of the anxiety I was dealing with on the inside.
I realise there were clues way back then. A part of me wants to wind back the clock to experience the earlier part of my life more mindfully. I am curious to see how differently things would have turned out. The other half of me is content in knowing that I am exactly where I am as I am. Through my experiences in life I have learnt to accept people on face value for who they are, and to take the time to understand what others are dealing with in their lives. I have become stronger through learning how to overcome my problems with anxiety. I entrust in the fact that my earlier experiences in life led me to tools that helped me through difficult times. My experiences in working with these tools have provided me with a deep understanding that I can share with others to assist them in their own personal healing process. Life has come full circle!
Anne McCormack is a New Zealand-based Photographer, and Spiritual Healing Facilitator. Anne’s first book was Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind. Her second book, the award-winning, Peacock Dreaming: The Wisdom Of Flowers recently awarded the B.R.A.G.Medallion.
Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind is available from Anne at www.thepecockdreamingblog.com
Feature image courtesy of DariuszSankowski via Pixabay