Day 164 to Day 171 – what am I running away from?

Day 164 – the Third Eye Sandwich

When we imagine the breath, we usually just visualise the in and the out around the nose. In India, we were taught to loop the breath, exhaling down the front of the body to the tips of the toes and then inhaling up the back of the body to the crown of the head. This morning I use this breath to centre myself, to calm down and focus my mind. When I feel ready to bring my attention to the third eye centre, just at the centre of my forehead, the loop continues and creates what my friend, Chantal, calls a ‘yummy third eye sandwich’. But when I remember this after only 10 minutes, I find myself thinking of a real sandwich. It is mid morning and I still haven’t had anything to eat yet. I need to go running and before long my mind is racing with a whole list of things to do before I start work this afternoon. I can’t focus. I give up and decide to get ready. I can tell it is going to be a long week.

Day 165 – time to sleep

I have had less than four hours of sleep and despite the early morning rise, I feel alive and energetic. Waking up early and missing out on sleep can happen for many different reasons; anxiety, insomnia or work… but it is yoga that makes this truly worth it. After I teach, I practice for another hour by myself in the studio. Time moves too fast and I need to race through breakfast in order to get to work. Once again I am chewing as I get dressed. I really miss eating with reverence and peace. I always seem to be chewing while driving or showering. It isn’t until halfway through the afternoon when I hit the wall and need a coffee so desperately, I barely taste it. It is in this brief moment of pause between cleaning beer taps that I realise how quickly my life is moving now. I barely have time to sleep, let alone practice, let alone eat! In between training for races, teaching yoga, working and trying to make sure I get time to practice and then write about it, I feel like I never actually stop to catch my breath. Life is just a never-ending sprint. This is the whirlpool if city life. I recognise it. I have been here before. I can’t wait to sleep in. Then another voice chimes in from deep within my latent habits… “you can sleep when you die.”

Day 166 – feedback

Nobody likes bad feedback, but without a little criticism we can never improve right? Well, the ego still takes a little beating. I try not to look sad about this but I can feel this inner disappointment with myself and I want to just yank it out like a grey hair. I talk to my mother about it as I put on my makeup. I am getting ready and even though I am training for a race in a few weeks and nervous about injuries, I still make the decision to wear my new ridiculously high heeled boots, because let’s face it; high heels can make a girl feel like she rules the world. As my mum listens, she tries to find something wise to tell me from the book she is reading. It is called The Magic and is the sequel to the bestseller, The Secret. I have heard that this book is all about gratefulness. Well, I look at her and tell her thank you for listening and reassure her that everything will be fine. I have so much to be grateful for, but especially grateful for the feedback that will help me move forward as a yoga teacher. Feedback is just like that vegetable you don’t like eating. You learn to love it because it is good for you!

Day 167 – making friends and illuminating people

I am reading an article in Marie Claire about making friends. The writer goes on a month long experiment to find new friends. As an adult who works mostly from home, she finds it difficult to make new friendships and goes about joining running clubs, writing groups, networking and other painful situations in the effort to meet a new best friend. I wonder at this predicament, but looking through my own life I realise how hard it has become to make time for all the friends in my life as it is. I am lucky to have picked up friends from yoga circles, university and pubs I have worked at but it takes serious co-ordination to make time to spend with all these friends. I am sitting in the Globe cafe in Coogee by myself eating the most amazing Haloumi stack and realise that I could easily have a friend beside me right now, but, like the girl at the next table I am extremely happy to be sitting here alone. I have spent the entire night with friends and apparently stayed up until just before the sunrise. I feel young and happy and free. And I am sitting here with my best friend. She is me.

Day 168 – Kundalini shaking

I met this teacher, Galina, only a couple of weeks ago and have not had the time to join her class until now. I want to run but I also feel tired and I am seriously curious about the type of meditation she teaches. After a short talk about energy shifts and the change in planetary vibration brought about by the planetary alignments of this year, she tells us to get up. We stand and move about our joints, circling from ankles to the neck. Then she tells us that we are doing a Kundalini meditation. It is a style of meditation I have heard about through the Osho tradition and I know it is practised at the Ratu Bagus ashram in Bali. It is a shaking meditation. We close our eyes and shake the body, moving with energy. Even as my physical body gets tired, I can feel my subtle body expanding and I start to make bigger movements, feeling like I could keep moving forever. When we finish, I feel light, as though I have raised my energy levels and now I am floating. The heaviness and tired ache in my bones from a late shift at work has disappeared. I leave to go and meet a friend for lunch and the sun seems to be shining brighter. I can even take my jacket off in the sunshine and feel hot. I indulge in oysters and arancini balls at Ravesi’s as we look towards the sparkling blue water. It is said the kundalini shaking meditation acts like ‘an energetic shower. It shakes you free of your day and leaves you feeling relaxed and mellow.’ I definitely feel showered, relaxed and clean. My day has only just begun. My life has only just begun.

Day 169 – what are you running away from?

In racing around this city, I found some time to write to my teacher in India and ask some questions that were arising. In writing the email, I referred to myself three different ways; as Elizabeth, Eliza and as Lizi. He laughs at my Vata tendencies and when I tell him about the constant running and sprinting and failing to find time to honour my practice like I did in India, he asks the simple question: “What is Elizabeth running away from?”

I stare at the computer screen in more stillness than I have felt in a long time. What am I running away from? My past? My ex? My disappointment? My fears? My doubts? Myself? My ego? All of the above? This simple question has made me stand still for the first time in days. I don’t know if I know the answer, but I certainly feel the anxiety of getting stuck with whatever it is that I am running away from.

Day 170 – I used to be a rock

I am taking my friends down the coast. We decide to check out the blowhole at Kiama, but the tide is low and the hole is not blowing. We laugh and climb over rocks to get as far out to sea as we can. The sun is sparkling against the deep blue ocean and the wind is gentle against our warm skin. I keep pointing at the rolling countryside we drive through, saying, “isn’t it beautiful!” Krystle is Irish and James is Canadian, but I feel like the real tourist. I feel like I am seeing this beautiful place for the first time in my life. We stop at a small winery on the way to Berry and taste some chocolate wines as the sky clouds over and the sun disappears. The wind picks up and we are glad we went to the beach early. In a shop we are looking at some crystals when James starts to tell us that he used to be a rock hound. His ADD kicks in mid-sentence and he ends up saying, “I used to be a rock… hey! Tiger’s Eye!” We crack up laughing about his previous life spent as a rock. It is funny, but leaves me wondering about previous lives spent as rocks, or Tiger’s Eye, or tigers, or earthworms, or grapes? Could one have been reincarnated as a vine? They say that we are definitely inhaling the same air that was once inhaled by the Buddha. There is no doubt that the earth recycles and reuses everything and continues to move things through the endless cycle of life, but does this extend to inanimate objects? And if you get reincarnated into plastic, when do you truly die, since you are not biodegradable? My head is spinning and then I remember this fast-talking Canadian’s accent telling us that he used to be rock and suddenly I can’t breathe from laughter again.

Day 171 – just stand still

I am getting ready for work. Time seems to be moving quickly this morning. I don’t know how much time I will get alone, since I have to drive up to Sydney in peak hour. I am already tired. I get out of the shower and tell myself to just stand still. Even if it is only for a moment. I stop and breathe, I feel the loop and despite the mind wanting to just move and keep getting ready, I force myself to just stand still. It is like the eye at the centre of the storm. I know I need to just unplug from the world and wind down. I need a few days off. I need to retreat into silence. I look up into my reflection and I can see myself already moving towards my clothes. Time to get dressed. If time is an illusion, why can’t I just stay here in this stillness? The storm catches up to me and once again I am in the whirlpool, rushing around, trying to do a million things at once. But it is easier after I stand still. That is the secret. Stand still. Every day. Even if it is just for a moment.

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