In Search of Shangri-La


Pauline Collins as Shirley Valentine

Pauline Collins as Shirley Valentine

After stating that the majority of my inspiration is found either in the bath or on a train, I thought I would see what would happen travelling high above the clouds returning from a recent trip to Muscat.

The hotel that I was staying at was aptly named Shangri-La and as I was being driven through the mountains on the road that was specifically carved to give access to the hotel, I was filled with great anticipation and also a little sadness which prompted this article. (Anticipation at being somewhere new, another different culture and time-out …..Sadness because I was there on my own, working).

So what is Shangri-La, does it really exist, or do we create this ideal to block out the pressures and reality of everyday life? For me personally, I feel as though I have been searching for Shangri-La for a number of years, not really knowing what it was, how it would present itself and more importantly how I would know when I found it (not sure if anybody else feels that way)?

There must be others out there that feel the same – as if something is missing, something that will make you complete or whole, something that fires and inspires your thoughts and aspirations. So what do you do, or what have you done?

Searching for Shangri-La is indeed an adventure that will be different for each individual. There is no formula, no methodology or template, it is a journey that you take to discover who you are, what you want from life and possibly who you want to share that experience with.

My journey has only really started; my first signpost on the path of discovery was about taking a leap of faith, leaving the financial security of a full-time profession to pursue other more ethical pursuits that gave me a better quality of life and also some moral substance. The second signpost for me was finding my identity again and I guess in many ways following the whole Shirley Valentine dream in pursuit of self-actualisation. I have realised though that since that happened almost a year ago in Tobago, the reality of sitting on the beach drinking my cocktail and questioning what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be wasn’t this wave crashing epilogue that I had dreamt about.

So I said goodbye to financial security, I attempted to find my identity ….what next? Well, over the course of the year since Tobago I have seen many things and been many places. I have re-lived my youth with the help of my girlfriends, overcome bad karma (slight incident in the VIP lounge at the O2 in Prague whilst seeing Swedish House Mafia, well you can’t say she wasn’t warned!) loved, lost, re-kindled and embarked upon. Do I now know what my Shangri-La is – not a bloody clue! But and this is a big but, my life has become de-cluttered, I wake up most mornings smiling to myself and looking forward, being positive, excited about what’s around the next corner and that’s definitely a few steps in the right direction on this journey I have embarked on.

Life is so short and too precious to waste, there is a big part of my Shangri-La that I am yet to discover and I am hoping that some spiritual awakening will cross my path soon, over and beyond my singing bowl, Tao readings and the all too infrequent attempt at meditation. So for me I wait with anticipation as to what will happen in the future, the next instalment of my life … prince, my castle, my life of fantasies and my Morgan.

For you, Shangri-La may not even be tangible or measurable, but whoever said that all journeys of discovery have to be physically traversed? It could be about making a small change in pursuit of happiness or fulfilment. Don’t you think that you owe it to yourself to be the person that you want to be and also to an extent do the things that you want to do with the people you want to do them with? Why can’t 1+1=3? Why can’t men be more understanding? Why can’t women be less demanding? Why can’t dreams come true …… why because you have to make things happen! You have to be the catalyst and dreaming about Shangri-La is not enough, you have to go in search of it and when you know that you’ve found it by whatever means FFS hold on tight and think of me on my yellow brick road …. a sign would be most welcomed.

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About Sharon Yull

Sharon Yull is an academic, researcher, business consultant and published author of over twenty business and computing books and publications.She is qualified with a BSc, MSc, HND in Business and Finance, PGCE, Fellow of the Institute for Learning and also an Associate of the Assessors Institute. Sharon enjoys reading, swimming, outdoor pursuits, theatre, music and travelling. She is an inherent romantic always there to offer support, guidance and a shoulder to cry or laugh on.
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