Lessons from Jersey: Healing, Freedom and Being Present

Jesery taught me some principles of healing, freedom and being present …

It was only two days into my holiday and it might as well have been over. My feet were hurting. Terribly. My legs were achy and wobbly, especially behind my knees. My thighs were throbbing and ankles sore. When I moved, it felt like I’d been carrying lead plastered all over my body. 

This is all because I’d spent a long time on my feet the day before, walking about 18 minutes from my base in St Saviour to the Liberation Square in St Helier, a grand distance of just under mile!  Of course, I strolled around the Square, and then hopped on the Le Petit Train for a 35-minute gentle ride to St Aubin’s Bay, taking in the scenic coastal beauty and listening to peculiar bits of history and anecdotes about the Island.

Jersey ice-cream, yummy
Jersey ice-cream, yummy!

I had to cut short my walkabout in the lovely St Aubin because my feet and legs were screaming for a reprieve.  I listened to them, got myself an ice-cream and sat on one of the many benches that dot the Island to wait for my return train.

I found being ‘homebound’ due to these physical pains frustrating.  There were places I wanted to go – the Howard Davis Park was just across the road, in it was a Garden Tea Room that I just had to sample. Beyond it, some 10 minutes at the most, was the Havre de Pas beach, which I really would have loved to get to before the sun went in.  But, I ached all over ☹.

Howard Davis Park
Howard Davis Park

Overwrought mind

My hangout had an aqua dome.  No thanks to heavy and painful periods, I hadn’t made use of that either.  I could see it from my window, in all its glistening glory. My heart yearned for the pool.  My body longed for respite from the aches and pains.  My mind kept asking: are these symptoms of the menopause or is there something else going on?  Oh,  and so many other questions for which it could find no satisfactory answers.

Lesson No 1: It doesn’t really matter whether you are on holiday.  If your mind has a predisposition to working ‘overtime’, it will, regardless.

Lesson No 2: If you choose to notice what is going on in your mind rather than fight to shut it down, you will come to a place of inner rest, and begin to have a holiday experience. You can learn to do this even during turbulent circumstances.


I am conflicted as to whether to share my mini meltdown at the airport on my trip out and how fragile I’d felt all day on my arrival such that any unkindness on the part of hotel staff – who may have been overwhelmed with their checking-in and checking- out processes – threatened to bring on again the familiar flood of tears.   Later, I wondered whether the trigger was rooted in my experience at the airport on my way back from my mum’s funeral round about this time two years ago.

Also, I wondered whether my emotional fragility was to do with the menopause or whether being peri-menopausal had depleted my resources to deal with life events… or was it that life events had depleted my resources to deal with this natural rite of passage?

Lesson No 3: The phrase: ‘time is a healer’ isn’t true.  Without any additional work towards healing, it is possible to remain wounded many years after the initial injury was inflicted/experienced. And, very often our present lives can be contaminated by unresolved traumas from the past.  If you want to explore this further, contact me here.

Being Present

There’s nothing like a holiday to practice living in the moment.  Jersey offered me ample opportunities to simply luxuriate in the present.  Good food that tastes like actual food.  Clean air.  Beautiful bays.

St Brelades Bay
St Brelades Bay

As the days wore on, I found nourishment in walking to the park and resting in the firmness of the earth, taking in the firm trunks of the trees, seeing colours and shapes of nature, feeling different textures and imbibing smells of plants, flowers, grass and soil.  I found sustenance in hanging out on the beaches, foot paddling the waves, feeling the different textures of sand, pebbles and seashells on the different ones.

I found hope in the story behind the Liberation Square, where, on 9th May 1945, British troops claimed back Jersey from Nazi occupiers.

Liberation Square, St Helier
Liberation Square, St Helier

Lesson No 4: according to the Greek philosopher, Thucydides: “The secret to happiness is freedom…And the secret to freedom is courage.”

By midweek of my holiday, I was feeling much better both physically and emotionally.  I availed myself of the tribute acts put up in my hangout and enjoyed live piano every evening. I visited places randomly and rested whenever I wanted.

What surprised me the most was that I hardly felt ravishingly hungry nor did I desperately crave snacks!  This confirmed and reinforced what I already knew:

Lesson No 5: Inordinate cravings for food and snacks (or alcohol, drugs, or whatever substance it is for you) are really a substitute for craving/needing something else. . .

Which of these lessons speak the most to you right now?

What are you going to do with it?

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