After the blog post last week, with more questions than answers, we’ve let ourselves off the hook for a while. We’ve relaxed into the mood of tiredness, confusion and tried to “live the questions”, like the quote by Rainer Maria Rilke that Helena wrote in a comment.
For a couple of days we simply didn’t answer any local calls – we simply decided to have a vacation and change our pattern of doing things. No planned events, no promises and no set times or saying yes just because it’s too hard to explain why not.
In this time, and the following days, we’ve also made sure not to make any big decisions, but to let ourselves be in a space of not knowing what we want to do of all of this. Just be.
The people working at and running the guest house where we stay have been very nice and helpful during this shift, taking special orders for foods we want, letting us be a bit more flexible and make sure we’re doing well and get what we want.
Anders have spent time watching movies in the room, I’ve taken walks on my own and slipped away from some of the many conversations that are easy to get into just by looking at someone one second too long. Surfing together a couple of mornings, reading and asking for separate dishes for breakfast and dinner – not always eating the same food just to make it easier for others, but to get what we really want to have. And we’ve eaten some of the meals in our room instead of in the restaurant.
In these few days that have passed, a new calmness have started to settle, and also an understanding of how tiresome it is to adapt; to try new foods, places and to most of the time try and make sure we don’t insult anyone by saying no to their invitations. We’ve had great experiences with many people along the way thanks to them letting us be part of their lives, and it’s also taken a lot of energy to try to understand, to be around people and to communicate without having a complete shared language.
With help from friends and family memebers, we’ve also started to see more clearly how used we’re to having time and space for ourselves, to be able to retreat into a quiet house or nature, to simply not having people around – something that’s common in Sweden and parts of Europe, but very rare in Asia.
These are cultural behaviors and ways of living that we’d like to mix, but that up till now have been totally separated, and that’s also part of why we feel tired and overwhelmed at times.
Now we’ve settled into staying here in Sri Lanka, for now, and take one day at a time, not planning or booking too much and letting others “kidnap” our time just because we try and say Yes more often. We still want to feel that we’re able to choose what we want and need rather than to be nice to others.
This has been a good reminder of patterns we’ve had since long time, patterns and behaviors that are easy to fall back into. To do things out of habit rather than out of choice. It takes for us to slow down a bit, to build new ways of communication with our friends and the family here, to reset the way of approaching invitations and also to be clear about what we want, and make the space for us to do more of what we want and feel good about. It can still be to spend time together with others, maybe not so often though. If that is to be a bit “awkward” or different, so be it, it’s time to be grown up in that too and just be comfortable in being different.
Take care and see if you can listen a bit more closely to what you need today.
// Wivan and Anders