Lessons from my Island Life

Sometimes you have to be removed from a situation to be able to see it clearly.

After almost a year in Seychelles, the distance has helped me realise how overwhelmed I was in Australia being told what I should feel was important on a daily basis. My time here has also made me appreciate how comfortable and easy life there is, and much of the struggle I ever experienced was internal.

In so many ways our time here has been like a life cleanse. We are not exposed to the constant flow of marketing on tv or in magazines. And in its absence I have come to realise how much noise it was creating in my mind. Here there is no pressure to be a certain way, wear particular clothes, style my hair, wear make up, or maintain a mask. I have the space to just be me, and do all those things when and how I feel like it because it is joyful, not a chore.

This space has been healing for me, as it created room for things I had been suppressing to come to the surface and demand attention. I’ve had weeks of feeling down, angry, frustrated and lost. But through each of those experiences I have come out lighter, softer and more peaceful.

I have also had the space to learn how I want to be as a mother, and write a little about what I like to call Vinyasa Parenting. I know what is important to me as a mother, and what I want to share with my son. The distance has also helped me understand which values and ideals are truly important to me, and where I want to direct my energy.

I’d love to share a little about some of the differences I have experienced here in Seychelles, as well as four major lessons I will take away from my time here.

Food

Food here has its challenges. There are no superfoods. People don’t talk about being gluten-free, paleo, or FODMAP, and its nice to be away from that chatter.

The locals just don’t think that way. They buy and eat what is available, and eat to the seasons. There is no overthinking, competitiveness or pressure to be the healthiest mum on the block.

Because we are on an island, food is mostly imported and often processed so it lasts longer. There is no fresh dairy, and I soon realised I could forget about almond, rice or oat milk.

We buy our vegetables direct from the farm stalls, and some of them are beyond amazing. They are larger, more flavourful and fresher than anything I have bought in Australia.

When we left the Seychelles, I missed the bananas, avocados (these are sweeter and so delicious), passionfruits and breadfruit the most!

Utilities

We lose power a few days every month. Water is switched off during the day in the hotter months to conserve levels, and you pay for your all your water usage.

Power is also more expensive here, as is phone and internet access. And the internet… Let’s just say we can’t use YouTube.

When I first moved here these things left me feeling frustrated. I resisted it as a reality instead of embracing the silence and pause in daily routine it created. Now I use it as inspiration to spend a day at the beach, travel to a resort and play with Narayan poolside, take a long walk with Narayan in the carrier, or read lots of books together.

Family & Parenting

In Seychelles family is very important. People often live with their families, and caring for children is something everyone is involved in, even the older siblings.

It is nothing for Narayan to be taken and played with on the beach with the local children. They love that he always smiles and laughs at them, and they are always so gentle and loving to him.

I also find that Seychellois are more relaxed parents. Children play on the streets, they get dirty, fall down, eat sand, and are not watched. People here don’t judge other parents, and there is no animosity about breast or formula, pro or anti-vacc and it is so nice not to have to discuss those topics all the time.

Shopping

Being here has cured me of my slight online shopping habit (some may say addiction!). Our internet is soooo slooow so you really have to want to buy something to stick with the process of loading several pages, and most stores don’t ship to Seychelles. Sending something to my family to post over can taken one to two months, and it has put into perspective my idea of want and need. A lesson I will always be happy to learn.

Spending almost a year without buying any new clothes, and limited access to what we can buy for the house has forced me to step back and question if what I buy is for a temporary feeling of happiness, convenience or a genuine need. I am always surprised by how well we get by with just the basics.

Because everything is imported, there is less choice and things are often three times the price they would be back home. Sometimes we happily pay it, and other times we are happy to get by without it. Another perk is no more spending 30 minutes trying to decide what brand of dish sponge (for example) I want. Here there is just one, so the choice is made for you.

If I can share these four lessons with you…

  • Switch off what isn’t working for you. Turn off the TV, unfollow pages or accounts on social media that make you feel anything other than empowered, question what you are told by the media (does it feel true, are they just trying to fear monger?), and remember that fear holds back growth.
  • Before you buy something, step back and ask why you are buying it – what is your motivation? There is nothing wrong with buying something because it is beautiful or fun, but are you buying it to satisfy a deeper longing?
    Happiness is not found in things, they make life more beautiful but they cannot repair spiritual breaks.
    Just the process of asking this question will have you understanding and clearing that stuck energy.
  • You are enough. You do not have to be anyone or anything that doesn’t feel right to you. Don’t try so hard to put labels on things – your beliefs, processes, ideas or understanding.
    Just be, and give yourself permission to change your mind.
  • Don’t worry so much about what you eat. Happiness is not found in a superfood smoothie or vegan cheesecake. It is found in your inner landscape – how you feel about yourself. Take it in three steps. Eat food that makes you feel full of energy and love, move your body a little every day, and go outside, breathe fresh air and get your feet dirty.

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