It been just 3 weeks since The Doolin Ferry Co. landed me on Inis Oirr Island. Leaving behind the mainland and all that August had manifested, landing on that Island induced in me an instant state of calm. It marked the closing of a Summer of outdoor wellbeing excursions and the start of bringing it all back into the heart space.
I spent a week on this Island diving into the blue, triggering an ancient mammalian reflex and finding a safe space within, a space which exists even in the absence of breath!
Inis Oirr is an Island of great meaning for me as I have had many get-aways there with close friends from my chemistry Ph.D. days. It was the first time I got that immense sense of ‘switching off’, a feeling that surprised me as it made me realize how wired I had been. I marveled at the difference between how it felt to always be asking the inner questions, ‘where’s my life going?’, ‘when will I fall in love?, ‘what do I do next?’, and the feeling of just being where you are, the lighthearted feeling that it is enough to just be. This was all over 13 years ago so I’ll admit I didn’t fully expect the Island to provide that same sense of peace for me again. I even felt that expecting it would probably cause me to be underwhelmed. And how lovely to be proven wrong when a brief morning stroll turned into 3 hour chill time on a secluded rocky outcrop. Island magic had worked its charm on me again.
The beauty of the Island isn’t in a profound moment or a deep revelation, its just in its simplicity, in the slowing down of everything. Hiring a push bike with a trailer because there are no taxis to carry free-diving gear for us. Being in the the life that your living, by having to get yourself everywhere, because there is no easy lift, which in effect makes it easier. Options reduced, decisions come easier and satisfaction expands!
Taking a moment to reflect, this week was also significant for me as it marked 7 years of life without Paul. In truth it really marked 12 years of life since Paul. There are so many aspects of my life that could, from the outside, look like things I have done since losing him, but all these seeds were planted in the years I had with him. And the drive to do what I do comes from not wanting to waste this precious life with that massive hesitation we tend to use ‘I’ll do this until…!’ There is a whole other story around this thought and the profound moment I had when I finally listened and heard myself thinking it. But like I mentioned earlier, the Island energy is light and that’s genuinely how I felt on this anniversary.
There is a sunken church in a sandy hill top graveyard, and in that church there is a sacred stone, apparently if you visit this stone after midnight you can communicate with those who have past. Now, I did NOT go there at midnight, I didn’t really feel the need to get myself spooked. And being honest, I don’t feel the need for a midnight excursion and a sacred stone to feel a connection with Paul. When I need it, I know its his wind on my back and his fins on my board. However I did take a spin down on the push bike on the morning after the 31st of August. I talked to the Island and the waters there about the man I had met, and how we had loved, and all that he had woken in me since I last visited these shores. I got the funniest feeling that the Island spoke back, with a gentle joviality I somewhere heard the repsonse ‘Ya, we knew that you would!’. It was only as we were leaving the Island and crossing the waters once more that it occurred to me ask ‘what next then?’ As I looked back at the Island dissolving on the horizon I felt her smile and sensed an answer being planted in my heart.
I wonder when I’ll be back there next and what stories I’ll have to share with her then. For now I grin and look forward, feeling blessed to be where I am and ready for the next heart felt adventure.