My second evening without alcohol and for the second night in a row, I found myself unable to keep my eyes open. Once again I found myself putting my book on my nightstand, falling asleep with the lights on, awakening just before dawn. Was I falling into a comfortable new routine?
Following another yummy breakfast, a challenging session of yoga, leisurely laps in the pool, and a new treat for lunch – tropical nachos – I attended a journaling workshop hosted by Elicia Woodford of epowerme.com, one of the many free workshops offered at the Absolute Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Thailand, each week.
Woodford started by briefly introducing the concept of journaling and its potential benefits as a means of achieving greater self-awareness. She then passed out pieces of paper and asked us to write, “Why am I here?” near the top. We were then asked to skip a space and answer this question – stream of consciousness style – not paying attention to grammar, punctuation, or spelling.
Participants in the workshop immediately started asking for clarification. What did “here” mean, they wanted to know. Thailand? Koh Samui? Absolute Sanctuary? The detox centre? This workshop? But that was for us to decide. Here was supposed to mean whatever we wanted it to mean. That was the whole point.
Looking out the door to the sunny skies beyond, I started writing about the gorgeous weather, the tropical surroundings, the delicious food, the joy of doing laps in an infinity pool, meeting new people from different parts of the word, I could have written on and on.
When we had all nearly finished, the teacher asked us to read over what we had written and write a one sentence summary in the blank space we had left at the top of the paper. I read over what I had written and wrote, “I am here because I am happiest when I am in beautiful surroundings.”
The teacher asked for volunteers to read what they had written. When a woman from India raised her and said, “I’m here because I want to lose weight,” I had a change of heart. I raised my hand and said, “I had originally written that I’m here because I’m happiest when I’m in beautiful surroundings. But that woman has reminded me of the real reason I’m here.
“I’ve been struggling with my weight for most of my adult life,” I continued. “I’ve gone from 222 pounds a few years ago to 172 pounds today. I now weigh less than I have in 35 years. I’m 95% of my way toward achieving my goal. For the first time it seems to be within reach. I’m here to make that final push.”
So what really was it – beautiful surroundings or realizing my goal? I’m not really sure.
Copyright: Michael Taylor
Pictured: I’m happiest in beautiful surroundings.
Courtesy of the Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui, Thailand.