Ireland: Living Authentically & Transparently & Loving Life!

Please click to enlarge to see the full beauty!
Drombeg Stone Circle, Co. Cork, Ireland
And there it was again.

That complete feeling of being 'home' the moment I stepped off the plane and onto Irish soil.  I've felt it there before and the pull of my ancestoral roots was never stronger than the 17 days I spent in Ireland in September.

I went by myself, set my own schedule, did my own adventures, and soaked in every single second.  There wasn't a moment I was afraid in Ireland, nor was there a moment when I was lonely.  Every day was filled with adventure, exploration and joy.

 If I felt like climbing a steep cliff to explore castle or stone age fort ruins, I climbed it.
The castle of "the pirate queen",
Grace O'Malley
Outside of Newport, Co. Mayo, Ireland

If I was hungry, I pulled over and went into a pub and tried delicious brown breads and stews or fresh-from-the-Irish-sea chowders.

I had the best salmon meals of my life while there.

 I met people at the pubs...

 and on boats, in the streets and in libraries and on country paths.

 I drank more Guinness (one pint or glass a!) than I ever have before (mainly because I don't especially like beer and don't drink it at all in the States!)

and, whenever I could, I stopped and listened to traditional Irish music sung in Irish (they don't call it Gaelic when you're there) and English and sighed with happiness when the ballads were over and clapped and whooped to the fiddles and pipes and bodhrans! 

And in the midst of it all, I took the time to pause and enjoy the moment.

The Irish in the small towns are so authentic, so openly transparent.  They don't try to put on airs to impress anyone.  They are who they are - farmers, shop owners, bakers, musicians.

They are deeply rooted to the towns they live in and are always looking for a better day, always expectant of good things to come and never forgetting, however, those that went before them.

Ireland is a land of myths and legends and astonishing history of overcoming those who have tried - again and again - to oppress them.

The Irish love a good story, want to hear yours, and want to tell you their's.  If you take the time to listen, to understand who they are, where they have been, where they want to be... you can't help but fall in love with the land and the people.

And - if you're very lucky - as I was - you'll find new friends who you can be your authentic self with, who will not judge you or try to sum you up, they are content to let you be you, whoever that is, wherever you are on life's journey.

I was 'home' for all 17 days I was 'away'.


PS:  This is only the 'tip of the iceberg' (yes, I went to the 100th Anniversary exhibit of Titantic!) on my Ireland trip. I'll be posting more photos with captions and other tidbits on my ancestoral blog: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are! sometime in the next few weeks.  :)

Part I: Think you're escaping and run into yourself...

“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” 
― James JoyceUlysses

Click to enlarge, please!
Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland
September, 2012

I tear up a bit whenever I look at the photo above because, when I was taking the photo, I was profoundly aware of how incredibly happy I was in the moment.  I wanted to be no where else.  I wanted nothing more. I wanted to be where I was, experiencing what I was experiencing, and I soaked it all in and cried with the joy of it all.

So, my friends, here is what is going on with me. My life has changed profoundly in the last three months.  There is an old wive's tale that all things happen in threes and I have believed for a long time that the adage is true.  In the past three months - while I've been away from the blog and social media for the majority of the time - three life changing things have taken place.

I will list them in order of occurence:

My job that I have been so thankful for (see my last post on the blog) for the past going on seven years was 'dissolved' just before I went off on "sabbatical" and not later as I'd planned on.  (This was a good thing in the long run, though!)

I rediscovered the joy of living in the moment in Ireland and every moment of every day was profoundly thankful just to be healthy and happy and alive.

Even though she lives 200+ miles away, I have taken full responsibility for my elderly Mom who fell while I was away, was and continues to be hospitalized due to onset of dementia issues, and will no longer be able to be in her own home which means I have set about finding her a place to be as comfortable and content as possible as she "transitions from this life to the next" (as a dear Irish friend so poetically stated it to me).

In the past three months I have learned that life changes without a moment's notice.  You'll never be completely prepared for the onslaught of unexpected events. I don't believe we are meant to be always prepared.  But I do believe we are called to be 'present' in each moment... not to worry about the past or anticipate with trepidation what the future holds.

Longest way round is the shortest way home.

I am taking each step as it comes with decisions in my own life and in orchestrating what will be the remainder of my Mom's life.  I am not doing anything carelessly but I am not agonizing over each decision, either.  I am trusting in my gut, in what I have learned throughout my life, and in God.  In the midst of all the change, I am able to write this to you with a smile on my face and a feeling of contentment in my heart.

Oh, and here is a big a ha! moment:  I am not turning to food to get me through this time of uncertainty and change.  I am finally able to reach out and ask people for help and admit I am not able to do everything, always by myself.  Those who truly know me will understand what a huge transformation this is for "ms. independent me".

More to come here on the blog... in three additional parts on 1) my incredible trip to Ireland; 2) what I believe I have gained from not working; and 3) celebrating the good moments that remain with my mother and easing the not-so-great ones.

And last - but not least - HealthyLoserGal is oh-so-back!  I have a lot to share with you, pass along to you, and am so excited to hear about how YOU (yes, YOU!) have been doing, what is new in your life, and what challenges you've overcome while I've been away! So please update me in comments here and I'll be on Twitter and Facebook regularly again starting tomorrow, too!  Yay! : )

I've missed being here and sharing life with you, friends!

Dream ~ Believe ~ Achieve!
Jan / HealthyLoserGal