A roadmap to my soul
My body is the canvas of my journey into freedom
The day we wake up, is the day we realise our souls have been guiding our journey with such grace and art that it takes a few breaths to sink it in. Whispering to us our entire lives, waiting for us to be ready to listen, becoming louder as we do. Preparing us to embrace who we are and live in alignment with It. My body is the canvas my soul chose to create the roadmap that led me to her. To me. One and the same.
Recently I have named my shadow. I felt it would help me see it more clearly so I could dissolve her. How silly was I, thinking the goal was to dissolve such power. I see now I have to fully LOVE her. Dance with her. Honour her. Bring her into the light. Create gold, with her. Giving her a name was the one thing that helped me do that. Looking at her showed me that there was no separation, like there is no separation between me and the moon. It’s funny how it was easier for me to feel one with the moon than it was to feel one with my Shadow. We tend to dislike our shadow. We see our darkness as our weakness, a part of us that we shame, feel guilty about, sometimes fear. So we disconnect. And when we disconnect from ourselves, we disconnect from the Collective, the Unified Field, God, Spirit, the Universe… So many words for the one same Truth.
My tattoos are the story of how I came to understand that.
I love to look at it - this human experience - as a film. How couldn’t I, when my soul created an Aquarius filmmaker? And in this beautiful film that life is, for every character I played there was a tattoo. For every break through, every lesson learnt, every layer conquered, every step closer to my truth, there was the image of it in my body. A subtle roadmap to my soul, a poem for me to trace, for me to heal, for me to aligned with me.
My shadow’s name is Sissy. She has lived many lives in this lifetime. She is shy, insecure, doesn’t feel like she belongs, thinks that she is too much, or too little, but never the perfect thing to be. Sissy is also sassy and she loves it. In fact, that’s the very first thing she accepted and loved about herself. How couldn’t she? I mean, it’s in her name.
Well, once upon a dream Sissy wanted tattoos, but she lived identified with her body, scared of permanency, scared of imperfection, scared of judgement, scared of not fitting in, scared of herself. I now know that fear is an energy that lives in our root chakra, the red one, located on our lower back. The energy centre where our physical world comes to be. When we accumulate fear, our reality is a projection of that. What I also know now is that no matter how identified we are with such things, regardless of the awareness we bring into them, we are always living our story as we are meant to, shedding fears when we are ready to do so.
Alan Watts calls it a game of hide and seek where sometimes we forget the truth of what we are. Back then, this was far from my sphere of understanding. I was as identified with thoughts and emotions as I was with my body. Still, the film kept rolling.
You see, we never really forget. We are dancing our dances as we do, in the karmic journey that we are, always only guided by love and light, always on the path, blindly following our river that runs regardless.
My first tattoo was a gift. I was 20 years old, working as a journalist in Porto, fresh out of my parents home, fresh out of university, slowly stepping into my passions, into my dreams. Little did I know the power of our dreams… So when this tattoo artist with whom I made a short film offered to tattoo me, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. I remember spending a good few days thinking about what it was I was going to get, knowing it had to be something that meant freedom. Sissy was so scared of her own truth she googled “freedom tattoos”. What does it even mean, freedom tattoos? My soul was whispering - and Sassy Shy Sissy was listening the better way she knew how.
I saw the dandelion blowing swallows and that spoke to my heart. I knew it was it. The adrenaline was so high, I left the shop singing with my friend about all the other tattoos we were gonna get. Later, when I was alone in my room, I couldn’t believe what I had done. The permanency of it in my body scared me so much I had a panic attack. How we dance between light and darkness amazes me everyday more. There it was, with light and dark, with excitement and fear, the first line of freedom in my skin.
I am forever grateful for my years working as a journalist. There is no price for the brilliant people I have met, for the places I have seen and for the stories I was honoured to tell. I lived an hectic life: fun, fast and loud. Soon enough other lessons were ready to be learnt. And this is what I mean, by listening to the whispers of our soul. I started to feel trapped in my own life, working more than I was being valued for, I was being asked to learn self worth. Don’t we all know how deep the wounds of that lesson go… It took me a while to listen, so my reality became louder. I started suffering from anxiety, frustration and an overwhelming sensation of wanting to be somewhere else. My soul was screaming to be set free. Like the swallows in my ribs, close to my heart.
When I was brave enough to take a leap of faith, I went to London to study documentary film. I was on a mission to expand my creativity. And - of course - expand me. My life changed drastically. I started working on hospitality to pay for my studies and a complete reorganisation of priorities started to happen. Oh, that moment when we start dissolving the attachment to the image we have of ourselves… It’s the most beautiful of transformations, to witness the peels of our outer identities crumble as they must, for us to set free.
The final project of the masters was a short film. I was so used to my journalistic approach to life that to take a step into a broader notion of what being creative means was a big challenge. When I decided I wanted to take the longest train journey in the world from Portugal to Vietnam and make a film about how we are - literal and figuratively - connected, I took a step towards my truth. Looking back at that film now - On the Move - I see a clear reflection of me. Seeking. Looking for answers without even knowing what questions to ask. The first time I experienced timelessness was in the Trans Siberian, half way through my adventure.
That journey taught me many priceless lessons, but the one of presence was the most wonderful of all. When I got to Vietnam, I got a tattoo.
It’s a world seen from above, a compass and a train line. Messy like I was. Gathering clues for the truth of Oneness.
Later that year, on Christmas morning, my cat died. Pastel de Nata, she was called - Custard Tart, the Portuguese egg sweet that is to die for. That was her. A light being that brought unconditional love into a scattered home. That was the first time I had to deal with death as an adult, I couldn’t believe how much pain we can feel. She used to climb an olive tree so high, she didn’t know how to crawl back down.
How poetic is that? Me, my sister and my mum tattooed an olive tree branch. In the chest, on the neck and on the foot - where either of us needed that reminder: climb as high as you can.
In my dreams, I was flying high into Australia land. Dreaming about the whales, the red desert and the unknown. Oh, that freedom I kept chasing… Three months before our flight, my boyfriend at the time changed his mind, he couldn’t do it. I was asked to take another leap of faith into the unknown. I see now how that was the perfect story for me, but I couldn’t then. The glimpses of liberation where not enough to ease the pain of having to decide between a relationship I was fully identified with and dreams of freedom. I didn’t even quite know what freedom was. That summer, I got a new tattoo, an upgraded version of my dandelion blowing swallows. I had never felt more beautiful.
Then Australia came - the country of Uluru, the energetic centre of the world. This place is so pristine and nature is so majestic that you can’t escape feeling at one with it. When I started driving around this massive country where sometimes google maps tells you to drive 15 hours and then turn left to get to your destination, I started to feel the freedom I had been chasing all my life.
It was right there, in my chest.
In all the wondering going nowhere, getting everywhere; spending countless timeless hours looking at the stars, finding oasis, encountering beauty like no other, not wanting to be anywhere else, I was vibrating nothing but the love, peace and joy we are.
My wind took me to Broome, in Western Australia. The most remote of places, a paradise in the desert of red cliffs and turquoise water. The closest big city is 19 hours away. There is a saying that goes, “I’m on Broome Time”, and you can feel into what that means. If I know now that time is a construct of the mind, it is because Broome pulled me into its vortex and made it as clear as water that time does not exist. Broome is a place where the full moon is celebrated like the magic she is and fires on the beach to go watch the Earth rotate is the closest thing to a routine. The moon alters the tides, and the tides in Broome vary over 9 metres… Then remember our body is 90% water… And imagine just how much you feel the energy you are in that place.
It was in Broome that I met my Cluster. They showed me unconditional love to an extent I did not know existed. The non judgemental, the pure expression of It. That was when I started to see who I was, because I felt so safe to be. Oh, the gratitude for those soulmates of mine… I started to embrace me, allow me to be free from identities I had been holding all my life.
Turtles always seem to bring me overwhelming sensations of presence. I saw a little turtle running down the vastest of beaches into the ocean, facing dangerous and hardship with nothing but pure intuition and trust. So little, but so strong. I was mesmerised by the strength of nature, the resilience, the poetry.
It was also in Broome that I started to spend time with aboriginals, learning from them a connection with and respect for the land that is enchanting.
Before my wind blew me to the East, I tattooed the turtle I had seen going into the vast ocean. That turtle was me.
I was going out in the vast ocean with a new understanding of love, magic, expansion, spirituality, timelessness.
Going East meant hours on Blanchie, our Honda CRV, driving the desert with my wife, a soulmate from my cluster. All those mornings listening to Kokoroko under purple, pink and orange skies carved deep the lesson that magic was within us, ready to be expanded, out there in the vast ocean. We drove to Uluru, for the full moon. Of course. We had embraced the witches in us in Broome, after all. Words cannot describe the beauty of that experience. The intensity of it. We wrote our fears and we burnt them, we wrote our dreams, and we buried them, right there, at the energetic centre of the world.
When we made it to the East Coast and our rivers where branching out, she wrote on a piece of paper, “It’s not you, its the moon”. Oh, how many times just the looking at it as served me like a spell…
By now I could see how powerful dreams are. My adventure flew me to Tonga, with my best friend from Portugal. To bring all these recently embraced parts of me into my past, my roots, my home was an incredibly powerful embodiment. We went to Tonga because that's where you can swim with whales. If I could tattoo a sound, I would. The song of a whale is the most wonderful of songs.
We lived on a boat with an Australian crazy wonderful man that drove us around Vava’u. The simplicity, peace and joy that comes from living holding such little attachments and so connected with such a majestic creature of the ocean is mesmerising. It was all so overwhelming I couldn’t leave without a ink. It was free drawing and I ended up with a whale in my chest that is also a pickle. What a great lesson of detachment from form. You see, I had written in my intention in Uluru that I wanted a whale tattoo like I had never even dreamt to come my way. And she did alright. Words are spells, hey! Malo was a birthday gift from my friends. A reminder of our roots, beautifully made in Polynesian art. No separation between my roots and these roots. One and the same.
Back in Australia I went back to Sydney, the place where I had started my Aussie wanders. To live and work in the same place, surrounded with the same people and see how expanded an experience it was because of how much more connected I felt was overwhelming. That was the proof that I needed that magic was not in Broome. Or the road. Or the desert. Or the whales. Magic was me. I was the magic. We are the magic. One with Broome, the road, the desert and the whales. Magic is the unconditional love that we are.
The masterpiece of this truth needed a masterpiece to go with it. For four hours I witnessed an inspired gorgeous man lay his art on my body and it was as divine as I know life to be. My spirit animal, my spirit flower, frangipanis for Broome and the unity of all. I adored every inch of pain, every line. It speaks my truth better than I could.
I have been in Australia for more than two years now, but it feels like endless lifetimes. Time really does not exist. I am floating around, with a backpack and my camera, making films about the New Earth and The Great Awakening. Expanded my understanding of healing, community living, timelessness. Everyday living a different lifetime, free. A gypsy, like my mum always knew I was, dressing me like one every carnival she could. Everyday connected more deeply with my soul. Everyday feeling more liberated. Everyday more love. Always more love.
Once upon a dream, there was a fairy that didn’t remember how magical she was. Sometime in her human experience, she forgot. She didn’t forget only about her magic, but of all the magic there is. Or so she perceived. Because now, every time that fairy looks at her body, she can read the map of her soul. Always aware of itself. Creating the story that we are meant to live. The journey she is on even when she doesn't know it. An expression of the connection within, the non randomness, the serendipity, the synchronicities. It is the canvas my soul is painting on. The expression of me, the different characters of me, the different experiences, the pathway to my higher self, my fullest self expression, my freedom. Each story is a story of liberation, a story of expansion.
How clever of our souls, to create wonderful stories, so that we can align in a world of creativity and art? Isn’t that what we are? Divine creativity?
The vision I have for the rest of my tattoos is hard to put into words.
And I know it will go beyond my wildest dreams.
As life does.