Life on a cruise ships.. some thoughts

As I write this blog I am at an altitude of 36000ft on a British Airways flight from London to Mexico City… About 2200 km left to go.. Currently flying over Bermuda.. And on the flight map I’m seeing lots of names like Nassau, Miami, Freeport, Key West, Tampa.. and seeing these names is throwing me back to my ship days… Which honestly feels like a lifetime ago!

Albeit that I am thankful for those years (and so many wonderful opportunities and experiences had!) I can also look back and remember the not so wonderful times that came along with working in that kind of an environment.

You see, it’s not always as glamorous as it looks from the outside! It has its rewards and benefits of course, but with these come a lot of sacrifice!

Much of the time the benefits outweighed the sacrifices but over a long period of time I found that these sacrifices began to take their toll on my personal life, my family, home, career and above all my well being.

So choices were made!

Overall I was lucky. That said, some contracts were easier than others. Each one bringing with it its own kind of challenge, be it personal or professional, but it certainly was a time of learning and I don’t regret the decision to go and perform for five contracts during those five years. I also recognize that it was kind of a blessing in disguise that my last contract exemplified much of the negative and unhealthy  aspects of working on cruise ships so that it kind of forced me to take the decision to finish… it had run it´s course.

Except for these handful of rather unpleasant and strange people with big egos and lots of insecurities.. I made some  lovely friends and learned loads! I also had time to focus on my Alexander Technique, reading, studying, as well as planning for the future. While cruising, I was finding out about new cultures and seeing places I would never have seen otherwise, so for that I am forever grateful.

And cruise ships only continued to feed my love of travelling as well!

Sometimes I can have a moment of longing for those long sea days where I would go up on deck and stare out at the vastness of the ocean and dream and think, plan and prepare.

Nowadays those days don’t exist! On the contrary, time off is rarity and life and work responsibilities/opportunities have taken the driver’s seat these past few years, which is fine for now, but eventually I would like to see the velocity slow down a tad and for balance between professional and personal priorities to prevail 🙂

I sometimes look back on my contracts ¨at sea¨ like it was all a dream sequence lol! Then I log onto Facebook and see some of my former colleagues who are still travelling and working on ships and I’m thrown right back into those memories!

Does it make me miss it.. NO! (That ship has sailed – pun intended!) Well actually, come to think of it, I do miss aspects of it… Like the aforementioned travelling and lots of time off lol!

There have definitely been certain periods of my life that had a very clear beginning and an end.. Cruise ships was one of those.

So what did I do on cruise ships?

I performed as one of the lead vocalists in the musical production shows onboard.  The performance cast consisted of approximately 17 performers. With four lead singers.

Luckily this job allowed me to continue to perform (and my love of JAZZ grew stronger and stronger!) and also save money! These savings allowed me to make some bigger and more permanent life choices.

One of those choices was to find my ¨land legs¨ again and it also made it feasible to move to Mexico City and begin my life here!

And gosh am I glad I did! SOOOOOO many wonderful things have happened since then! More to come in future blogs on that… for now,

I’m looking back on those years and I’m grateful 🙂

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Perspective…

Holding on to a semblance of perspective in times of challenge… In times of struggling with the infamous balance of time… These are the moments, when I am faced with, yet again, that thought or notion of … Perspective.

And of course, feeling subject, whether I agree to it or not, to other people’s opinions or feelings and equally their own personal perceptions and perspective. 

So what is it? How do I define this, for me? In what context of life and existence and how much do I do with it on a daily basis?

Well, I certainly don’t always have it in balanced proportions, that’s for sure. I am aware of its existence, most of the time, but it’s not always my “go to” solution or even desired choice in the moment as there are a number of different factors involved..
An example would when I am faced with a situation in my personal life, where the past, present and the future all roll into a series of rapid thoughts and become rather overwhelming …in fact QUITE overwhelming and so begins the sometimes inevitable downward spiral of thoughts that trigger a switch which makes it feel like things are quite simply “out of control”. It is a very strong experience and if perspective doesn’t come in quick (through me consciously activating it and practicing this awareness)… Well it can easily become a make or break moment.

 Putting things into perspective has a real accessibility to it in these instances and if it enters at the right moment it can, more often than not, lead me to make a more informed, slightly more calculated and intelligent decision with thankfully a more preferred outcome.

However if it does not come in, that’s a different story entirely.

A big part of this is my perspective on the moment, the issue, the situation. If I manage to have a clearer perspective, I interfered with by other people’s opinions and insecurities or need to control.. I can somehow clarifitnthings in my head a little more and clear out the mess, as it were. This then makes way for the gut feeling and intuition ..and decisions are taken in those moments a lot more quickly and are much more constructive.

A pack of perspective for me seems to equate destruction and limit, neither of which lean towards the positive scale..

So I’ve read books on it, I teach lessons incorporating it’s principles, however I never profess to be a perfect example of it. 
Who is?

 I do think though, that it is very evident when a person has a wide perspective on things or a narrowed one.. And we can all continue to learn and improve our perspective by clearing some space and staying connected to now.

There are so many other factors to consider as well of course…. Upbringing, culture, both community and family..
However, the above are just some thoughts I’m having right now on PERSPECTIVE as I finish up a short trip at home in Ireland and head back to my other home in Mexico City into what looks likely to be some work and life filled months..

So keeping some perspective as I venture towards new projects, new collaborations, new challenges, new lessons … Is something I’m sure will guide the way and support me.

Here’s a ted talk on some practical observations on perspective and how so many things are subject to different perceptions or perspectives depending on the information given and how that information is perceived… So staying informed also helps!

Food for though 🙂

– Louise

www.louisephelan.com
http://youtu.be/iueVZJVEmEs

   
    
   

Family … home.

 

 

So being back at home in Ireland right now, I’m always reminded as to how much I love being with my family as well as spending some time (albeit brief) in my native country..

There’s something that can’t be truly expressed with words about this unique sensation of familiarity, comfort and ease.

As far as being back in Ireland….
Well, the second the plane starts to approach Shannon airport I always make a point of staring out of the airplane window so I can see the green fields and hills and of course the Shannon river.. It’s something I’ve done for 20 years or so..

You see, every time I come back, I am coming back with a different perspective and of course having had many different experiences in life. 

I’m coming back.

Feeling changed yet again.

 And this turn beings with it a staunch reminder of all that has transpired in my life since the last time I saw that vast green landscape and my family. It always seems to be part of a circle, closing or opening inside of me.. The before and after that trip and of course, the thinking of predicting of what lies ahead during my days at “home”. 

Because Ireland will ALWAYS be home, no matter how long I live “abroad”. It just is what it is. 

(Incidentally, I now call Mexico City home too!)

I’ve mentioned in a previous log that I have lived out of Ireland for so long that I do feel a little disconnected to certain aspects of life here when I return.. But it’s not one of unbearable discomfort. It’s just the reality that I no on get live here on a daily basis and of course life here continues to move forward, develop, inevitably evolve and some other things stay relatively unchanged… 

But I have changed. 
I’m no longer the naïve 18 year who embarked on a one year long adventure across the US, Canada and Europe all those years ago. What I remember about that moment, is that I was desperate, not to leave Ireland, per say, but to see other places and have new experiences.. I was also intrigued by language, art, music and culture that I felt, even then, that I couldn’t possible begin to find and pursue a career if I didn’t venture outside of my “comfort zone” and get to know how parts of the world worked i.e. how people in other places, lived, worked, communicated, ate etc etc. 

I wasn’t even fully sure of what kind of career path I would pursue professionally but the desire was so strong that I took the leap and well, the rest is history.

It’s not always the plan to live ones life on another continent and far away from loved ones and family.. It’s not always the plan to do it a few times and have things not work out and have to start over either.. But things happen and life presents us with this turning points, be them challenges or life lessons.. And we follow along, as I’ve mentioned before, slowly turning the volume up on that intuitive voice inside that guides us towards our truth.

I do feel fortunate that I can look back and I have very few regrets and none of any real consequence.. 

I don’t necessarily subscribe to fully 100% “things happen for a reason” as I believe that this tag line or phrase has been warped out of context and seems to indulge and justify those who are not proactive in anything to do with their lives, to just settle and concede to ” well, sure, things happen for a reason”. 

There are times when those reasons are so bloody unclear. They are frustratingly invisible and yes I can completely look back in retrospect at the life and see that certain choices and moments were pivotal in steering my life in a particular direction and that I was forced into making them and committing to those decisions by the strength of my inner voice and that Louise inside that kept saying, about these decisions, “you’ll never know until you try!”

So I I did, I lived in different countries, I explored tons of different cultures, I speak a few languages, I’ve tried vegetarian dishes across five continents lol!

And is there more? OF COURSE, there will always be more.. To a real level of infinity given our life span on this earth… I will,never speak all the languages of the world (nor do I wish to), I will not set foot in every country, every city, every town that populates out planet, I will never be able to leRn every single song that was ever written etc. 

There are lots of “I will nevers” once one ventures out of our native land and our eyes are opened up to, well, figuratively speaking, lots of other worlds!

Having arrived at a place in my life where I know that time is precious when J am back home, I try to enjoy it to the fullest. This does not however means, exhausting myself running all over the place to see people and do things.. My family have become my main priority and continuing to nurture and develop a relationship with my three gorgeous nieces!

Could I see my self moving back on a permanent basis ? Not in the immediate future.. But never say never.

Ireland has changed a lot and continues to change thankfully. 

After all : Change is the only constant in life!

And as a dear friend of mine reminds me, there’s an element of holding on, while letting go, once we move out of Ireland and live somewhere else. We will never be natives of our new “home” but the world is getting smaller and thankfully this means that some (not all) of the harsh divisions are fizzling away..

I continue to change, I continue to see my family and my native country change and I am learning to embrace it more and more everyday and appreciate what is important in life and to let go of the things I cannot control..

Well it’s late here in Limerick, so I’m going to sign off and publish this blog entry..

L

www.louisephelan.com
www.facebook.com/louisephelanjazzsinger
Twitter: @louisephelan