SOUL FUEL COLUMNIST: Introducing ANZA member and holistic wellbeing author, consultant and educator, Kim Forrester – ANZA Magazine’s brand new columnist.

Soul Fuel Columnist, holistic wellbeing author, Kim Forrester

In the coming months, I will be sharing a regular column with you, right here in the ANZA magazine. And I will be doing so for one, vital reason: to help you appreciate that you are not a machine.“Of course I’m not a machine!” you say. “I’m a living, breathing human being!” But the trouble is that much of what you have been taught about yourself – much of what you have come to believe is true – is based on this exact premise. That you are a machine; predictable, programmable and logically perfect.

The science we build our lives upon today arose around 400 years ago. This was the beginning of the Industrial Age and machines were starting to revolutionise the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, scientists of the time began to envision the universe as a giant clock, animals as mindless, mechanical objects and humans as nothing more than an intricate piece of engineering.
As this thinking progressed, anything that was not physical, tangible or explained by mechanics was deemed to be impossible or purely imagination. We learned to deny a vital part of ourselves; the intangible sense of self; the instinctive knowing; the connection with something grander and wiser. This may be known as the soul to many people, or perhaps chi, mana, prana or life force.
Thankfully, there is a new science emerging and it is not just dissolving all that we know about the universe, it is also urging us to reconnect with the non-physical side of ourselves; the soul or essence that was lost long ago. Put simply, quantum physics is revealing a universe that is not like a machine at all – it is not solid, not static and certainly not predictable!
In fact, physicists now know that our solid universe is only a tiny percentage of what is real. We can only see and measure 4.6% of what makes up the universe – more than 95% of the universe is made of energies and influences beyond our comprehension.
“What does this all mean?” you ask. It means that the side of you that you have been told doesn’t exist is more probable and more real than the limiting machine-like persona you have been turned into.
And it means that, while you attend to all the various challenges and demands of expatriate life – the banks, schools, social circles, and paperwork – it is also abundantly necessary for you to nurture the non-physical needs of yourself, and those you love.
For the past 16 years, I have lived the life of the nomad. I have struggled, searched, thrived, fallen apart and found myself numerous times, and I know that you will too. So, out of a deep compassion for you all, and a longing to help you live fully and heal deeply, I offer you my monthly column.
How are you? How can you find purpose? What does happiness mean to you? These are questions I aim to ponder with you in the months ahead. And so, to the Column…

Photograph by Dingzeyu Li

There is something deeply compelling about the beginning of the year and the promise it brings for all things new – whether it be new projects, new resolutions, new homes, or new friendships. However, it’s important to acknowledge that for many expats, the New Year is often also a time of letting go of the old: of saying goodbye, of loss and sadness.
So, as you launch into 2018 and all the beginnings of the New Year, I also encourage you to pay attention to where you, or others around you, may be dealing with ‘endings’ and take simple steps to ensure this time of transition is as smooth, and healthy,
as possible.

Stiff upper lip. She’ll be right. We all know the phrases that imply that, if you’re feeling low, it’s best to just toughen up and get on with life. But, if you are dealing with some form of ending, it’s natural and perfectly okay for you to be experiencing a low mood and/or low energy. If you are in the midst of an ending, allow yourself the freedom to feel what you feel.
Note: If your low mood continues or deepens, you become unable to feel joy or happiness, or you develop anxiety or harmful thoughts, please seek help from a trusted medical practitioner. You are precious and deserve to be both happy
and healthy.

If you have just completed something significant – perhaps you have farewell-ed (another) beloved friend, sent a child to school abroad or finished a long-term job or project – there will be a very real impact on your daily schedule and, probably, your daily sense of purpose. It’s okay if you want to retreat for a while and give yourself time to recalibrate … just don’t make the break indefinite. Set a timeframe (“I’m going to lie low ‘til Easter; I’m giving myself six months before I start again”) and, ideally, get a family member or friend to hold you accountable. By creating a finite period for personal retreat, you will be better able to make the most of this rest time and you will not wallow longer than is healthy for you.

As with everything else in nature, our lives are often cyclical. So, as tiresome as it can feel, don’t resist the opportunity to start again. As soon as your retreat period is over, take bold steps to create something ‘new’ in your life. This may be as simple as inviting a new acquaintance for drinks, or launching an ambitious new project.

Every expat is familiar with ‘new beginnings’, but do remember that every beginning also involves an ending. Most importantly appreciate that we, as expats, rely on each other for support. If you have a child, friend or acquaintance that you know is dealing with an ending or loss, reach out. Be there for them, and help guide them through the healing process, outlined above.

Kim Forrester is a holistic wellbeing author, consultant and educator.

Kim Forrester, ANZA Magazine’s new Soul Fuel columnist