Take the time to listen

29th August 2015

My frustration defined me and I let it.



“Instinctive responses appear akin to emotions, but they are not emotions in the true sense of the word. The fundamental difference between an instinctive response and an emotion is this, an instinctive response is the body’s direct response to some external situation. (fight or flight), an emotion, on the other hand is the body’s response to a thought.”

A New Earth
Eckhart Tolle


This picture below pretty much sums up how I have been feeling from time to time these past few weeks.

I wish I were a unicorn


These first few weeks in Guilin have been emotionally challenging but for the most part enjoyable.

Finding places to eat and to avoid has been quite an eye opener. If you ever come to Guilin and want cold, oily, boiled to death Chinese style Korean food I know a great place…  I mean someone has to like it right or why else would a restaurant have been built selling it???

Working out which streets go where, which ones take you home and which ones take you to football pitches and, hand on heart, I can honestly say I am not far off expert level now thanks to Michael’s “oh who knew we would end up here!?!” city tours.

Deciding if I want to buy my fruit and vegetables from the gossiping lady at the bottom of the stairs to the flat, who not only sells vegetables but also offers financial advice as she insists on a breakdown of costs of everything I have previously purchased that day only to tell me I spend too much money but I should totally buy her garlic or potatoes or some other thing she has that I have no idea what it is. Or, to buy my fruit and vegetables from the potentially narcoleptic/hyperactive lady inside the wet market. She will be in the deepest sleep but the moment I touch a tomato, BOOM she is awake! “You like tomatoes? I have tomatoes! So cheap and so good! You like <put any vegetable name here (even if she doesn’t sell it)> ? I have <said vegetable (even if she doesn’t)>! etc etc.”


As I have said, these small encounters make everything that little bit more enjoyable and even though I do sometimes get irritated by seeing another ‘who knew it was there’ football pitch I wouldn’t change these adventures and I treasure the memories. Plus if I fall on hard times I will set up a football pitch tour company – unique if nothing else!


However there is a reason I can relate to the picture of a unicorn. Since I have been here I have had to rely on other people to help me with a very important aspect of my move here.
This has not gone as well as it should have – many simple mistakes have been made and no accountability taken for them. The level of frustration I have felt these past few weeks has varied but it has been there.
An underlying wave of frustration.

My frustration defined me and I let it.

When I read ‘A New Earth’ last night, the extract I put of the beginning of this post resonated.

I am caught up in my thoughts.
I am living in the past, ‘If they had done this…’, ‘If they hadn’t done this…’
I am frustrated because now I replaying the situations, conversations, mistakes in my mind, I tell people about them.

Now, I am aware this can give the impression I am sitting at home, brooding.
I am not.
I am living my life and I am enjoying my new chapter, China Part III and most importantly learning new ways to hide things I have bought in bags, umbrellas, on my person from the lady at the bottom of the stairs to save judgment.

BUT, I do, every now and then, get caught up in my thoughts of ‘If only…’ and in turn my response is simply emotional. Frustration.

If only they had…, I could have…
If only it had been communicated clearly, I could have…
I could have… if I had known…

The thoughts, if I let them, would never stop.


My friend Danny & I were talking the other day and our conversation gave me something to think about. Later he posted a picture of everyone who graduated from WLYA August 2014 (this is where we met) and in his comment he wrote

Being spiritual doesn’t mean I’m positive all the time, it’s means I’m aware!

This sentence was the bridge between my frustration and Eckhart Tolle’s words.

It takes time and it takes practice and above all dedication to live a life where ‘letting go of a story’ happens naturally. However, being aware is the first step and a step I can say with confidence I have taken.

Now I know when the frustration comes, I am aware of the changes in my body, my breathing, my mindset and my words I use to communicate.
Most importantly I am aware of the emotion that is linked with the thought.
So I stop the thought.


“Because of the human tendency to perpetuate old emotion, almost everyone carries in his or her energy field an accumulation of old emotional pain, which I call ‘the pain-body’.

We can, however, stop adding to the pain-body that we already have. We can learn to break the habit of accumulating and perpetuating old emotion by flapping our wings, metaphorically speaking, and refrain from mentally dwelling on the past, regardless of whether something happened yesterday or thirty years ago. We can learn not to keep situations or events alive in our minds, but to return our attention continuously to the pristine, timeless present moment rather than being caught up in the mental movie-making.  Our very Presence then becomes our identity, rather than our thoughts and emotions.

Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now; and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?”

A New Earth
Eckhart Tolle

Before getting upset



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