The version of me that used to exist

by | Sep 7, 2023 | Human experience

As I was walking along the busy streets of Canggu in Bali, I kept on searching for something familiar. Buildings that used to be, cafes I used to love, rice fields that used to sway in the morning sun. But no matter how far I walked, and no matter how carefully I looked, I didn’t find anything familiar.

I walked to the ocean, at least that was still there. The beach where we sat in meditation together with other yoga teacher trainees, and the waves we used to listen to when moving with the gentle yoga flow.

It was a decade ago, but for some reason I was expecting to find that version of me there.

As if I would see her sitting there, unaffected by the events of the last decade, of covid and motherhood and getting older.

Back to a place we used to know

I didn’t have so many goals for my solo-trip to Bali, just to have fun and to reconnect with the version of myself that existed beyond motherhood and work. I wanted to remember how it was to live for yourself, and to do things that light you up.

I wanted to remind myself that beyond the beautifully settled life I have in the Netherlands, there is a version of me who used to live on the beach and bury her feet in the sand every night.

I used to have a life in Finland, and then in the Philippines. There was a version of me that was scuba diving on a daily basis, and wearing the same flipflops for years.

During my trip I spent the first week alone on Lembongan island, walking on the quiet beach and admiring the views to the main island Bali. I dove with the manta rays on the shore of Nusa Penida, and rented a pink scoopy scooter to see the connecting Ceningan island.

It was utter freedom. It was playful, fun, easy and full of flow. I loved being on my own, and I loved the island.

The second week I spent in Canggu on a yoga retreat with beautiful souls I met years back in the Philippines. Canggu was the place for me where I started my adventures ten years back – my home during my RYT 200 hrs yoga teacher training.

Maybe it was the daily yoga back then, or the quietness of the place, but all I remember from that month was a lot of blissful moments, quiet mornings on my scooter, rice fields and good coffee.

I remember the freedom and the space.

I guess that’s what I came here for.

Journey to the source

On the first day of the retreat I received a Reiki treatment. I didn’t have any expectations, I only knew what needed to come through would come through.

Almost as soon as I laid down on my bed with my eyemask on, images started to flow.

The first one was a memory of me and my partner meditating together years back. During this meditation I saw my son for the first time, although I didn’t know it at the time.

We were sitting facing each other, and I saw an image of a giggling child swinging between us, from heart to heart. I didn’t think I wanted children at that time in my life, but it remained one of my most beautiful and vivid meditation experiences.

As the image swayed in front of me, I started to cry. There was so much that wanted to come out, so I just held my heart and went with it.

The second image was a memory of the ultrasound where we found the sex of the baby, after which I cried for days because I thought I was having a girl.

I cried for the guilt I felt, and I cried for the gratitude that this giggling happy child had transferred into my belly.

The next image was my husband and my son next to each other as beautiful beams of bright, white light. I felt such gratitude that I got to spend my life with these two souls. Again and again I will gravitate towards them, life after life I will choose these two.

I was also shown the memory of a meditation where I experienced choosing my own mother.

And as a final image I saw me as an old woman ready to leave the earth, and my son as a grown man by my side. He laid his head on my chest and thanked me for giving him life.

Then it was over.

The finding of things I wasn’t looking for

Needless to say it took me days to process the trip.

It was cleansing and clarifying, and made me realize that the purpose for my journey was not to find freedom, or to get away from anything. And it certainly wasn’t to find the version of me I used to be, simply because it didn’t exist anymore.

I had quite literally multiplied.

I could never be the singular being I was before becoming a mother. I can never squeeze myself into the mould I used to be, because I have expanded. I have multiplied.

My sense of self now included my son, also because his cells are quite literally floating around in my body for as long as I shall live.

There is no me without him anymore, and that’s ok.

I have been fighting so long to remain an individual, or whatever that means to us westerners when we want motherhood not to change us at all. What a ridiculous and futile fight.

During that one our reiki session I realized that the only thing there is to do is to integrate all of the aspects of me into one.

That, and to stop resisting the change that had already taken place.

Every version of you carries within it the one before

As I was recalling the experience to my reiki master, I realized that just because the first years of motherhood were hard on me, it didn’t mean it wasn’t part of the plan all a long.

I looked outside the window to see all of the beautiful tropical flowers, and thought how me and my husband were now in the muddy middle of it. We have our hands in the dirt, it smells and we are tired.

But this phase also has a deep and meaningful purpose – we are tending to the soil and providing a fertile and safe ground for our little seedling to blossom into a flower of his choosing.

You cannot rush nature, and I cannot rush motherhood. The time will come when we are marveling the flower that grew out of the seed we once planted, but right now it’s still a bit muddy and dirty.

Just as it is futile to stroll the streets of Canggu upset about not finding the version of it as it was a decade ago, it was madness to cling on to a version of myself that used to walk those streets.

Life takes us continuously forward, one wave at a time. Relentlessly and persistently. Sometimes it’s easy to go with it and let go of a version we didn’t like. Other times it’s hard to let go of a version we particularly loved and cared for.

I will not spend any more time looking for what was, simply because it isn’t anymore. The answers are not in the way we were, but in who we have been allowed to become. The work is to let go, over and over again. Once wave at a time.

Luckily life moves in circles.

We return to the centre to “winter”, to “retreat”, before the next, more expansive circle begins. The beauty is that every larger circle carries the previous circles within it.

Every version of ourselves carries within it the ones before. We are always changing and always the same.

Eventually just balls of bright light on our way back home.


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Hi, I'm Kaisa

I’m a INFJ/HSP/HSS chasing joy, sensations, experiences, emotions, contradictions, LIFE. I’m here to share my experience of existence with you in the hopes that we feel connected at heart and strengthened by our shared experience.

“May we all know ourselves as the Universe created us. May we all know life as we were meant to live it. May we all love purely, deeply and totally. May humanity discover its divinity, and may we all dwell in the peace of the Universe” – A Course in Miracles