Lying in the yoga shala of Gedong Gandhi Ashram, on the east coast of Bali, I felt at peace in myself for the first time in years. I allowed my breath to settle, as my teacher sang an old folk song:
The river it is flowing, flowing and growing
The river it is flowing, down to the sea
Oh, Mother carry me — child I will always be
Oh, Mother carry me… Down to the sea.
Beads of perspiration from our first class together trickled down the side of my bare head. I’d asked my boyfriend Andy to shave it, just three days previous, back in our Dublin apartment. The night before I flew to Indonesia for two months of solo travel and, for what my friends and ex-colleagues no doubt thought, was some sort of Eat, Pray, Love self-finding mission. …
If you’d told me 10 years ago that losing most of my hair would’ve been the best thing to happen to me, I might’ve punched you in the face. (Or at least, I would’ve been tempted to.)
Because 10 years ago, I was 22. Still in college, still going through all those changes that happen in college and, rather than “finding myself” — as so many seem to do during this time — I seemed to be moving further and further away.
I was massively, helplessly depressed. I didn’t really know what depression was but I did know that I was on the edge of tears, all of the time. …