Is there such a thing as ‘The One’?

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No I’m not talking about Neo and the Matrix, but you know… the One! Soul Mate.  Life Partner. Destined one and only!  I used to be very sure that there was.  Growing up since my mid teens as a Christian and being a self-confessed romantic I felt sure God would lead me to the man who had been prepared in advance for only me and we would therefore be completely compatible in every way and he would be my prince and rescue me from all messed up views due to a lack of a strong Father figure and we’d basically live happily ever after.

As you know, this was not my story and it didn’t work out anywhere close to how it was meant to in my head seen as I am now divorced and a single parent!  So did I make a mistake?  Did I simply not choose wisely? Did I give up too easily?  Did God get it wrong? Of course I have gone over all these questions many times in the past few years and it’s caused me a lot of fear with regards to whether I would ever be able to make a ‘right’ choice of partner in the future.  The whole experience made me distrust myself more than I distrusted God about it and I am often heard to proclaim how ‘bad I am at relationships’.

However, recently I had a bit of an epiphany:

There is no such thing as ‘the one’ unless you choose one!

My ex was not a ‘wrong’ choice.  It just didn’t work out and the right choices were not made to enable the relationship to continue.  Just like to a certain extent your happiness is a matter of choice – i.e. you’re as happy as you choose to be – the right partner is the one you choose.  Bar of course those who are a clear bad choice as in they are damaging to you in some way.

This is not to say I believe you should choose just any old person.  I still long to be swept off my feet by someone who rocks my world, mind and body all with one look/word – which is no mean feat.  I want a best friend, some one I respect, some one I can have lots of fun with and talk all night with and some one I fancy the pants off! I am extremely fussy and hardly ever fancy anyone so it is quite a tall order to even turn my head.  But what I am saying is once all those boxes are ticked (which is hard enough to do in the first place) there is no need for the agonising over whether they are the ‘right’ person or ‘the one’.  By choosing someone and loving them, you make them the one.

I think there are many ‘ones out there – a few people with whom we could make a happy, healthy, fulfilling and therefore successful relationship with.  This is not to say it would be easy and plain sailing.  It may well be that your choice means you have your work cut out for you with many hurdles and obstacles ahead, but it will always feel worth it, because you chose the person and made them ‘the one’.

50% of why I have come away on my travels is to get over a man I loved who didn’t love me.  We were quite nearly perfect together except for he couldn’t choose me.  He is not my ‘one’ simply because he didn’t choose me!

I guess there will be another ‘one’ but in the mean time I need to put a few countries, a big bit of sea and hundreds of miles in between us in order to get over it and move on.  Life is beautiful and time is precious and not to be wasted.  There is fun to be had in this wonderful world and adventure called life.

Let the games begin!…

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So we have finally set off on our travels.  I can’t believe we’re really going to do it, but we are.  I really am going to backpack round Europe for the summer with a four year old!

It was a manic week of getting everything ready, buying a tent (special thanks to the very helpful David at Blacks Ealing), learning how to put up a tent, battling with a sore back and the prospect of carrying a heavy backpack, realising I hadn’t left enough time to receive my interrail pass and having to pay special delivery, realising it was holiday season for the Spanish, French and Italian in August so madly trying to book a few campsites so we’re not stranded when we’re out there and of course getting waxed and having a pedicure (priorities!)  The good thing is I didn’t really have time to think too much and get nervous. In fact I think I  finally tipped the scales so that I was more excited than scared seting off.

Backpacking with 4 year oldThe very helpful David at Blacks – Ealing

I’m excited about what I am going to experience with Bear Cub (who insists he is going to stand on the top of the Eiffel Tower on the flag and take a picture of himself even though I’ve told him we’re not going to Paris!) and I’m excited about being in the outdoors and feeling that sense of being alive and perspective you only get when you’re close to nature.  But I’m most excited about the possibility of new change in me.  I’m trying not to put pressure on myself but, I don’t see how you can’t be ‘awakened’ in some way when you simply take yourself out of one situation and put yourself in another.  I’m sure to discover new good things about myself (and Bear Cub) as well as new bad and ugly things too and I am ready!

The first leg of our trip is Spain.  We start in Alicante and then move on to Valencia, Castellon and Girona before getting a train to Perpignan in France on 31st July.

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We decided to hire a car for this first leg and have booked a guest house for the first 2 nights so that BearCub can catch up on sleep after being woken so early on Tuesday morning.  We’ve then booked some campsites which look like real gems (I’ll let you know if they turn out to be as good as they sound).

My friends and family have been incredibly supportive giving invaluable advice, contacting friends who live in Europe for local insights and very generously giving us money towards the trip even!! It’s wonderful how encouraging and excited people seem to be about our trip and I really do hope it will turn out to be inspirational for others as well as for us – especially as I plan to finally start the book I’ve been writing in my head for a while now!

I’ll finish with this incredible poem that a good friend sent to me last night and I have fallen in love with it.  Every line resonates with me for my impending adventure with Bear Cub.

I wonder what adventures Bear Cub and I will have had by time I next blog next week?!

Adios! Au revoir! Ciao!

For the Traveler

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

John O’Donohue

Every now and then you need to scare yourself to remember you’re still alive… Here’s what I’m doing!

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Around last Christmas I started to feel like I needed a challenge, like I really needed to give my life a huge kick up the bum!

I tweeted, ‘Some times you have to scare yourself a little just to remind yourself you’re alive’. 

By New Year’s Eve, when I was doing the obligatory (and depressing) year’s reflection, I vowed that I would not allow my life to be the same in 2013 as it was in 2012.  I needed to step out of my comfort zone.  A plan began to form.

The year Bear Cub was born was both the best year of my life and the worst. Best because he was, and continues to be, one of the best things that have ever happened to me bringing me an unending source of inspiration, joy and love.  Worst because it is the year my marriage broke down.

When I fell pregnant (after much deliberation) I could never have dreamed in my worst nightmare that I’d end up a single mother before my baby was 18 months old!

It’s been a hard few years.  My friends and family have been amazing and I feel as though I’ve been propped up, carried and cheered along by them all.  Somehow I got through the worst of it and somehow I’m surviving though it’s particularly tough financially, often tiring and sometimes lonely.  But that is all it has been in some ways – survival.  I’ve only had the strength to just about do what I needed to in order to provide for Bear Cub, make sure he is ok, get to work and back and complete the daily logistical nightmare that is the life of a single, working, parent.  It was New Year that I realised that although I could not say I am fully healed, I am standing on my own two feet again and I have run out of excuses to continue to just coast along.

My friend Ruth and I started More than a Mum because we both are big dreamers who desire and believe we can have the lives we truly want as women even if we’re mums!  I’ve always been passionate about wanting to encourage people to go for their dreams, to be the best they can be and not settle for anything less.  Understandably, and possibly forgivably, I’ve not had the strength to live life in this way this last few years but now I want to take up  the challenge again for myself.

After all, how can I inspire and encourage other women to do what I’m not living out in my own life?

It’s true to say I’m at a cross roads in my life and with Bear Cub starting school in September it will finally be my time to fully concentrate on my own ambitions and dreams again.  However, sometimes fear and life experiences bury those dreams down pretty deep and it takes some real digging around to resurrect them again and it takes even more courage to dare to believe you can achieve them.

I realised I was on a journey and I realised I needed to get off the merry-go-round of life for a while and to find some space and time to hear, to think, to know and to plan.  I needed a sabbatical and I needed an adventure.

What better way to realise a spiritual journey than to go on a physical one – so I decided I would go travelling with Bear Cub.

What started as visions of travelling for a year in Bali, Thailand and other exotic places was scaled down to a three-month road trip across the West Coast of the U.S and finally has been reduced to 6 weeks backpacking across Europe.  Throughout the planning I have faced numerous obstacles, let downs and disappointments but the revelation I received was that it was not so much the destination that was important, but the journey itself.  Furthermore, the length of time initially felt like  a bit of a cop-out but then I realised that you can change your life in a day let alone a few weeks! Six weeks is what I have so six weeks will have to be enough.

So there you go, that’s what I’m doing.  I’ve never done anything like this in my life let alone with a four year-old in tow so I am both excited and terrified in equal measure.  But I’m much more scared of not going at all.  Experiences will be had and experiences change you so I will come back changed – or at least clearer in terms of the direction I want my life to go in next.  That is my only agenda – that and having a really special, bonding, adventure with Bear Cub!

I never want to be one of those people who hear about people doing amazing and exciting things and then says, “I wish I could do that!’ The answer is we all can.  We just have to have the guts to do it.

We’re on a mega budget and I’ve not booked anything yet and we plan to leave week of 22nd July so if you have any travel tips (particularly with little ones), places we should visit, friends we can stay with or equipment we can borrow (I’m serious!) or potential sponsors, then please do get in touch.

I hope to blog once a week for MTAM while I’m away so I’ll keep you up to date on our adventures (and mishaps)!