Day 163 – sensorial meditations

I am watching The Buddha, narrated by Richard Gere. It is a documentary about the life of the Buddha, which means the ‘enlightened’ or ‘awakened one’. Using interviews with scholars, Buddhist monks and some animated depictions, the documentary chronicles the mythology surrounding Siddhartha Gautama from the time before his birth. Before achieving enlightenment, Siddhartha spent six years as an ascetic, forgoing food, drink, sleep or any other indulgences of the flesh. By denying the body all but the bare minimum to survive, the ascetics attempt to let go of their desire and find enlightenment. After six years, Siddhartha realises that he no longer has the strength to even meditate and on the verge of death remembers a time of unity he felt as a child, watching the insects in the ground at a spring planting festival. This connection to nature reminds him of the beauty of the simplicity of life. He eats and then finds the energy and the resolve to sit under the bodhi tree until he can find the answers to his questions about suffering and the transient nature of life. The documentary explains that Siddhartha moved away from the Vedic tradition that was steeped in ritual, and did not find solace in the renunciants path either. The tradition of Buddhism that he spread into the world is for every man, it is the middle path. It is neither the indulgence in sensorial pleasures nor the denial of what is necessary to survive.

I sigh as I step into the bath tub that smells of muscle relaxing salts. I realise I am at a crossroads in this meditation journey. Half the time I am delving deeply into the sensorial pleasures of meditation such as this bath and then every morning I spend an hour at least doing Sadhana in the austere Himalayan tradition, sitting rigidly with a straight spine and looping my breath endlessly. I know that I am walking closer to enlightenment every day, however I am not sure if I am on a straight path. It is true that I can now find meditation in nearly everything that I do, but I also find that I need the time to sit and be still and silent at least once a day. Like Buddha, I must find the middle path. I must find balance. I don’t believe I need to choose one path and follow it rigidly, but I think consistency is important and being a typical Vata personality, living in a busy, fast-paced city, I am in danger of being all over the place.

The Buddha says:

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

And:

It is better to travel well than to arrive.

So perhaps my two paths are not so different after all. Maybe it is better to take the scenic route to enlightenment and enjoy every last drop?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 159 to Day 162 – a very long weekend

Day 159 – treading the mills

I wake up early to run before work. Even though it is sunny outside, it is freezing so I decide to run on the treadmill. I feel like I have been running for ages but the treadmill says I have only run 2.5km. How is this possible? Am I just impatient? If I turn the speed up, I get more tired and then want to stop and what I am training for is endurance since the City 2 Surf is 14km. Maybe I am just bored. The early morning Sydney news is annoying me. I guess they have to be so bright and shiny to put people in a good mood for their day. I can’t handle it anymore. I am warm now, so I keep looking out the window wishing I was running outside. Then I see the wind blow violently at the tree across the road and I shiver a little. I can’t handle this treadmill, though. It is so boring! I want to turn the tv off and turn my running meditation on but I think I would be in danger of falling asleep. I am going insane. It seems harder on the treadmill, maybe it is because there are no up and down hill slopes, no change in terrain. The plastic whirs around at the pace I set with the touch of the button. I keep flicking between distance, calories burned and the speed meter. Maybe I should try this with a book. When I finally stop running, I think I am running late to work. I rush to get ready and finally make it through the traffic and arrive only 5 minutes late but it seems nobody has noticed. I have rushed for nothing. No customers even come into the pub for hours, until well after lunchtime. Once again I feel bored, which I really don’t like to feel because I worry that I am wasting life in boredom. I sing along to the background music as I scrub at the inside of the glass washer with a toothbrush. I am dying for one of the manager’s to come into the bar and speak to me, just so I don’t chew my own arm off. Being a Friday, around 3pm the bar gets suddenly busy and my plans to get to a yoga class at 6pm are thwarted by the knock-off beer hour. I decide instead to go home and get ready to meet my friend for dinner. I haven’t seen her in ages and as we catch up on years of life, giving only the most basic of dot points of life, I try to listen as much as I am talking. Basking in the warmth of the connection one can only share with a close friend, time slips away and it is like we have never spent any time apart. Time is irrelevant when it comes to friendship.

Day 160 – observing anger

Although I didn’t sleep until close to midnight, I wake up at 3.30am with anxiety.  I decide it is a good thing that I can’t fall asleep again, as it gives me a chance to do my Sadhana practice before I teach yoga. I hear my phone beeping so after my pranayama, I check to make sure the alarm won’t disturb my meditation. There are messages from my past and, feeling compassionate to another being in trouble, I take some time to offer comfort to a person I still care about. It doesn’t take long for the conversation to turn into a bit of a carousel. Sometimes we encounter emotional vampires and in giving them our time, we allow them to take a lot of our energy. When the conversation goes around and I have to explain myself again and again and again, I soon feel drained and angry. I finally have to step away from the conversation. Nobody is going anywhere positive with this and I am seriously firing up. I have to release the build up of frustration and anger, so I stomp my slippered feet and do a silent scream; you know the ones where you open your mouth as wide as you can but no sound comes out? The whole house is sleeping and I don’t want to wake them up. I stop and stand very still, feeling the energy in my belly. I witness this energy we call anger. What is it really? The mind is rushing around, making meaning and attaching to all the things just said that have caused such frustration, so I ask it to be quiet and just observe this emotion. This energy, this anger, without meaning, without the mind, is just a fire in the belly and it feels very similar to excitement or fear or surprise. If the energy is the same then there is no reason I can’t change what it is. I re-set the mind and sit down for meditation, allowing the excitement and joy to grow from deep inside. By the time I get into my car to drive to yoga, I am bopping around to the music from the radio. Isn’t it funny how the radio seems to play the song that you most need to hear?

It is playing Wish You Well be Bernard Fanning:

Up so early feel so bright
Didn’t get much sleep last night
Freight train rattled through my head
Whistle blowing love is dead
Is dead

Heart attacked by fear and doubt
won’t be long till the truth comes out
first impressions never last
Lover’s bonds they hold so fast

Restless future burning bright
The past is holding on so tight
Never heard the warning bell
And I just want to wish you well
I just want to wish you well

Later, as I am running, my precious iPhone, my fifth limb and second brain, falls out of my pocket and as I am still jogging, seemingly in slow motion I try to grab at the cord for the earphones as it falls down, smashes on the concrete and then bounces into the gutter and down the drain. I stand, open-mouthed for a moment and then, throwing a mini tantrum, throw the iPhone case, which is all I have left, into the nearest wall. Then I decide to keep running. I have to laugh at the irony. Once again, the universe is handing me a situation and daring me to be angry. Yes, I can get angry about this. It is certainly annoying to lose an expensive piece of technology with so much information on it. But then again, I can also just keep running. I can use this angry energy for a positive experience and just run it out. I decide to push through and I end up running longer and harder than I have ever run before.

It doesn’t matter what situation life deals, we always have complete control over our minds and emotions. The human potential is limitless! We are always the ones in the driver’s seat. We can always drive in the sunshine.

Day 161 – working hard to make a livin’

I didn’t realise how entirely dependent on my iPhone I was. I didn’t set an alarm and after a long shift at work, I wake up only 20 minutes before I am supposed to teach yoga. It seems my higher self is well aware of my schedule. I don’t even have time to blink twice, I race to the yoga studio and get there just in time. One of the other teachers has signed everyone in and the collective calm of the class welcomes me and settles me right in so that when I open my mouth to start the class, that guiding energy comes straight through and sets up the sequence, the poses, the monologue of adjustments and encouragements.

After class, there is only enough time for a coffee, a coconut and half a vegetarian bagel (delicious from M Cafe in Bondi), before I have to start work at the pub. It is the Queen’s birthday long weekend. I know it will be busy, but I have no idea how busy until later in the evening… The crowd at the bar has not stopped once. We have run out of Toohey’s New and fresh lime and we eventually run out of vodka and fresh lemons. The crowd heaves at the bar, shouting to be heard. And all through this chaos, I am moving to the music of the live band playing just upstairs. I smile at the customers and when they yell at me that they were next, I just laugh and say, “I hope you won’t die of thirst over here!” They don’t always find it as funny as I do. I remember working in bars and nights like this would stress me out. Running out of glasses, running out of beer, running out of vodka, when everyone wants to drink a vodka, lime and soda… those were the things that used to send me into deep and anxious chest breathing but today I feel good. I am in a rhythm as I work. I haven’t had a moment to sit quietly and close my eyes. I have barely had a moment to drink a sip of water unless I was pouring beer at the same time. And yet I still feel connected, I still feel centred. I still feel calm. With the music making me move and a shining energy from deep within my soul, it doesn’t matter if I am teaching yoga or pouring a bourbon and coke; if I carry the light within, then I am always in a state of meditation. I can always go within, even when there is chaos without.

After we close and get through the never-ending clean-up, we sit around and eat some pizza. One of the security guards has a pen and is drawing caricatures on the pizza box. He passes it around and the next security guard draws a shape that doesn’t look like anything in particular. When they pass it to me, I draw the first thing that comes into my head, which is a figure of a woman with a sun shining from out of her solar plexus. They are asking what is up with the chick, so I tell them that this is how I would explain the manipura chakra. Surprisingly, one of the guards has heard of the chakras. I start talking about them, drawing my entire sketch and explaining the emotional associations. The guard who drew the caricatures, who has tattoos covering most if his limbs and even up to his neck, jokes that he makes all his decisions from the lower three chakras. He has no idea how insightful this observation is. I tell him he is absolutely right. Most people wouldn’t even be able to recognise that they do that. Amazed, I realise that the whole group of bartenders and security guards are watching me as I speak. I wouldn’t have though that this would interest this group at all but they are all listening intently. I hand the pizza box back and the security guard beside me, who is only 19, decides to draw a phallus. Well, I guess he had to even out this sacred feminine pizza box with some sacred masculine energy!

Day 162 – spaced out

I have to get a new sim card and be back into the tele-communicative world so I make a visit to the local shopping centre. It is raining heavily today so it is busy but I get through all my errands as planned. I can’t focus. I didn’t get to sleep until 2am after work last night and it was a long shift. I feel vague, like my head is in a cloud and I am floating around the shops, trying not to let myself make impulse purchases. I make an investment in a running jacket with zip-up pockets. When I finally get my iPhone replaced, I need to make sure it doesn’t fall out again! I buy my running jacket from Lorna Jane, my favourite exercise label. The jacket is made of Merina Wool so it is extra warm and has little holes for the thumbs. I end up in the store talking to the girl for almost half an hour about Sumatra and India. When I finally wonder away, I feel like I should be in a rush to go somewhere but it is my day off and for once I have nothing to do and nowhere to be. I can actually relax and take my time! I am still feeling vague and dotty when I leave, but I have decided to embrace it. I can still function in the world. I can still hold up a decent conversation and despite feeling like my head is full of air and space, I can still drive around the city and halfway down the coast. My higher self clearly knows what to do, what to say and where to go, so it is ok to surrender to that and just relax. Today I allow myself the freedom to be vague. Today I allow my brain to check out early. Today I am clocked off from the thinking treadmill.

Day 158 – the glory of morning

Teaching yoga is my yoga. I rarely sequence a class before I walk into the room anymore, but just seem to know exactly what to say when the time comes. The energy of the room seems to reverberate with whatever higher source is guiding me and I simply allow the class to evolve on its own. I love the way the room grows still after we chant the sacred syllable of om; the way the students’ breath synchronises in ujjayi, the breath of fire, like the whispering of the ocean; and the way they laugh when I try to be funny. When I am teaching I am entirely present and connected to these people in the room, whether it is one person or fifteen people. I can see the expansion of the physical body as everyone’s fingertips reach higher to the ceiling or stretch apart in Viravadrasana II. I can sense the expansion of the subtle body as they exhale and let go in Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana. And when I say goodbye and we all leave to enter the early morning at only 7.30am, the sun has only just risen. From that post-yoga glow, the entire world seems to sparkle. The ocean seems bluer and the coffee tastes sweeter. I decide to treat myself to a coffee and a breakfast roll from my favourite cafe in Coogee, Morning Glory. It is cold but I sit outside anyway in the sunshine. The sun offers light but no warmth as the winter chill has arrived early to Sydney. I sit alone and hold the latte glass in both hands. I have spent my last bit of cash on this treat. I almost told myself to just go home, but then realised that I can make this decision. I can say yes to this. It is a small luxury and one of the many things I love about Sydney- all the cafes that surround the coast. Because everybody loves a great view and a great cup of coffee in this city. Here, in this place, I am exactly where I want to be and I feel open to the brightness of the day. Thank you to the students who wake up in the dark, who come out in the early cold and who breathe loudly and smile as they practice.

Day 157 – the art of tea

It is cold and windy, so the perfect day to sit by my brother’s fire and drink endless cups of tea. There is an art to tea. The different leaves, bags, tisanes, blends are like colours. Each delicate dried flower shades the flavour, adding subtle notes and characteristics. I have an entire cupboard filled with boxes, tins and jars of different teas. Early Grey, chai, green, rooibos, peppermint, lavender, rose, jasmine, Ayurvedic Vata tea, ginger, lemongrass, lemon… Tea pots in various sizes clutter the cupboard and there is always a thermos sitting in my car. Tea is a meditation in itself. To hold the steaming cup, warming the hands, take in the aroma, sip gently at the cup of perfection… and the world melts away. Nothing else matters, it is like the whole of consciousness is within the rim of the ceramic cup. The world always seems like a better place once I have a cuppa in hand. The warmth spills down, radiating through my body. I sit on the floor beside the fire, the cats curled up beside me. Still in my pyjamas, it is past noon as I sip and read. This is bliss. For once, I have nowhere to rush to, nothing to do and I can simply exist with this cup of Chilli Kiss (black tea with dried chilli flakes and cinnamon from T2). There are many truly great quotes about the Tao of Tea, so, here are some of my favourites…

I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea. -Lao T’ung

 

Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.  -Catherine Douzel

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.  -Anonymous

Tea should be taken in solitude.  -C.S. Lewis

Tea is liquid wisdom.   -Anonymous

Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.  -Honoré de Balzac

Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.  -Henry Fielding, “Love in Several Masques”

Tea…is a religion of the art of life.  -Okakura

Day 151 to 156 – run, climb and come out of the fog

Day 151 – exams are supposed to be stressful

I am standing alone in the yoga room in pre-dawn darkness wondering if any students are brave enough to leave their warm beds. It is still and silent before the birds have woken up in Sydney. I don’t even want to move in case I disturb this space, so I stand next to the heater and wait. Three people end up coming for early morning yoga and we flow through the sequence, saluting the rising sun. There is a magical quality to pre-dawn yoga that just can’t be compared, even to a morning in bed.

My exam for Indonesian is today but I know I haven’t studied enough. This would normally make me nervous but I know that any last minute cramming is useless so I decide to enjoy the brief sunshine and go for a run instead. The sages of India say that the true self is all-knowing, that ‘learning’ only serves to take us further away from the innate wisdom and realization we are all seeking. The “I” knows all the answers and it is only through turning inwards that we can find true wisdom. Well, the “I” seems to have forgotten the Indonesian word for ‘appointment’. Despite the confusion about passive and impassive verb use, I leave the exam hall feeling successful. I have managed to get through an exam without stress. I managed to enter calmly and recall more information than I thought possible considering I hadn’t studied. It was like, in that calm presence of mind, I was able to tap into a deeper level of consciousness; a state in which the memory was clear and sharp, and infinite knowledge can be accessed. Perhaps the secret to examination success is meditation? Well, I guess only time will tell, when I get the results back in a month.

Day 152 – the 7km high

Last night I registered for the City 2 Surf; Australia’s most famous run. It is 14km from the centre of the city to Bondi beach. I have never done it before and looking at the training schedule, I need to start my long runs with 7km. I think yesterday I only did about 4.5km. I decide to run to La Perouse, the birthplace of our nation and the explosive scenes of Mission Impossible 2. It is roughly 5km from my house, so including the run back, it should make it about 7km of run and 3km of walk. When I reach the bay, the sapphire pacific is charged with deep blue from the bright winter sun and the green grass is springy beneath my feet. I feel no hesitation as I jog uphill, making my way around the small hill and then back up to run home. I have checked my distance on the City 2 Surf app and found I am close to 6km. Before I know it, the wind of achievement has swept me forward and I forget to stop until 7.1km. I feel like I could keep going forever! The sense of achievement, the beauty of the destination, the fresh coastal wind pushing me on… It is like when I first stood on my head in yoga, or when I first felt my toe touch the back of my head. This overwhelming distance that sounded so daunting and impossible has been surpassed with ease and I am left wondering what else I could do. The human potential for success is limitless. I always tell students when I teach yoga that no pose is truly static; that we are always expanding exponentially, growing as the universe does. Even when we feel like we are still, the energetic body continues to open, forever moving with the space of the universe. There is no end, there is no finish line, there is no last breath. There is always one more step, one more kilometer, one more exhale.

Day 153 – rock climbing

I have signed up for a mountaineering course in August and there is the assumption that we know how to do basic rock climbing, knot tying and belaying. First of all, I am not entirely sure I know what ‘belay’ means. Google says, “A belayer is belaying behind a lead climber.” Hmmm.

And at the Sydney Indoor Rock Climbing centre at St Peters, it seems my friend Luke doesn’t know either. He is looking at the people around us to see how we hook up the harness… I have done this once before, so I approach the wall and try to remember what to do. Well, the idea is to just climb, right? We start easy and then move onto the inclinations. At one point I can feel myself relying entirely on the rope and then realize that if this was a real rock and I was really climbing, out in the open, on the side of the mountain, I couldn’t just hang onto the rope and pretened to climb. I would have to literally pull myself up. So I do. I grab for a nearby rock and use my feet to push further and further up, reaching the top of the wall. I almost thought I couldn’t make it, I almost gave into fatigue, but ultimately, the power of will took over and I pushed and pulled myself up. That’s just it- the best feelings always come after an uphill struggle. Life is just one giant rock. You can either let it roll over the top of you or you can climb it. I choose to climb!

Day 154 – Bel Ami

Although it had great reviews, I think Robert Pattinson can ruin any good movie for me. It isn’t that I don’t like him. After all, I don’t know him and I can’t judge him. I just keep wondering why there is a vampire in a movie adaptation of a 19th Century French novel. My friend, Saskia, who is a medical scientist, doesn’t get the point of a movie that seems to be all about the sex lives of the Parisian upper class. She probably doesn’t read 19th Century French literature, but then again, who does? Those of us who consider ourselves the snobby literati ? Perhaps. Perhaps it is the fact that I don’t know if Pattinson has read the original book by Maupassant. Uma Thurman steals the show, with a husky voice and sparkling character, she really does make the movie. My favourite line is when the character Clotilde tells Duroy that she finds politics boring and believes in enjoyment of life. He asks her what she enjoys and, placing a cherry in her drink, she says, “Well, I don’t know… Everything!” This is the true nature of 365 Days in Bliss. Finding pleasure, harmony, serenity, enjoyment and most of all, bliss, in everything. It is about making the whole of life the cherry on top.

Day 155 – meditating in my car

I arrive at my brother’s place and I know it is about dinner time, which means the kids will look for any excuse to avoid the green food on their plates. I haven’t had a chance to meditate yet, so I take some time in the car. I close my eyes and loop the breath; exhaling down the front of my body to my toes and inhaling up the back of my body to the crown of the head. I feel instantly calmer and my mind is quiet again. I don’t know how long I sit here for but eventually the wind shakes my car and moves me into the house. The kids run at me when I walk in the door and with pleasure, I embrace them both. After the kids go to bed, my brother tells me a story from his experiences as a Paramedic

“I got called to a job, it was for a young pedestrian who was hit by a car. On the way there we got multiple calls about how long it would take to for us arrive. When we got there, it was a chaotic scene; there were people everywhere with anxious looks on their faces. Everyone looked surprised, shocked. I remember the garbage truck blocking the street, a small body in the middle of the road and a doctor eagerly awaiting our arrival. He was a GP from up the road. We found a 10-year-old boy who had been struck by a van. It had hit him with the side mirror. The driver, a Rabbi, was being consoled at the side of the accident. It was early morning so the street was busy with people on the way to work and kids on the way to school. Mobiles were just coming in, so they were uncommon at that stage. The doctor was at the head of the child and there was someone else doing CPR. I took over and asked the doctor to move to the side. I prepared to intubate. I had to uncover his face. There was a towel or something over it. My partner was a station officer and he was attempting to canulate but he couldn’t find a vein so he had to drill into the bone to get the fluids in that way. It would be painful for a conscious person but not for this unconscious child.

“I intubated this patient with a traumatic neck injury. He was ten years of age. In the midst of it all, I remember, we were giving lots of drugs, sweating, trying to maintain control of our adrenaline and our emotions. I distinctly remember a healer interrupting the sequence of events. She introduced herself as a healer and asked if she could touch the boy. I felt like telling her to “f*** off” but knew that the situation required more tact and there was a lot of emotion involved with so many people around. My partner let her touch his feet. We continued our resuscitation attempts. She said she could feel energy coming back into him. After our stern looks, she went quiet and moved away.

“We loaded and transported the boy but we had no idea who this kid was, what his name was or where he was from. I think we had a police escort to the Children’s hospital. We continued resuscitation until the arrival at the hospital. The usual thing would be for a parent or family member or someone to be with them on the way or at least meet us at the hospital but that wasn’t the case and the hospital, to their credit, continued resuscitation for over 45 minutes while they tried to locate the mother. She was in transit to work so they couldn’t contact her until later. The job was done, complete, we cleaned up and had our own debriefing as to the way the job went and if there was anything we could have done better but there wasn’t. It was just a debrief. We went on with the rest of the shift.

“Over the weekend, I felt a bit… I don’t know how to describe it… heart strangled… that’s all I can say. I needed to go for a surf so on the Monday I was off work and started looking for a wave. It was pretty flat, so that led me along the coast until I realised I was being drawn to the location of that incident. As I was driving past I remembered hearing that this boy had a brother. Apparently he had walked past the scene of the accident when it happened but didn’t know it was his own brother that was hurt since his face was covered. I saw flowers on the side of the road. It made me look up into the street where the boy lived. I saw a little kid walking up that street. He looked very similar to what this boy would have looked like on any normal day. At the time I thought it might have been the kid’s brother. So I drove around quickly to try and enter the street. I had to make a detour as it was a one-way street. I started to get anxious, swearing at older drivers who were going too slow. I finally got close to the spot I was looking for, about 100 metres away. I just pulled over to the right and got out. I sat in the car with my heart beating fast, sweating from head to toe. Then I thought to myself, ‘Shit, I must be suffering from post-traumatic stress. What’s wrong with me? What am I doing here?’

“As I began to get my breathing under control, my heart rate began to increase again until it was well over the point it had been just a moment before. I saw two ladies walking up the street at that point. Between the two, I don’t know how I knew which one was the child’s mother but I knew which one she was. As she walked closer towards me up the hill, my heart rate increased even more and the sweating started again, though heavier. As she walked past the car, I couldn’t let her walk on so I got out. I said, ‘excuse me did you know Mark?’

“Her friend became very defensive and aggressive but I ignored her and spoke to the mother directly. I told her I was the paramedic who helped her son and that there were a few things I had to tell her.

“I didn’t have anything planned, just things I felt I had to tell her. I think it was Mark telling me to tell her. I wanted to say that even though she wasn’t there, that there were people there for her son; there was always someone holding his hand and that he had felt no pain. He hadn’t yelled out for his mum, he didn’t cry and he didn’t suffer. I told her that when I arrived, he had already passed away from the impact; that it was instant and we did the best we could. She began to cry, like really sob. She said that was the only thing that was killing her, that she couldn’t find out if he had been in pain, if he had suffered or anything detailed about what had happened. There was a big gap for her and she was very grateful. She invited me to the funeral but I declined. I didn’t need to go, I had said what I needed to say.

“I instantly felt my heart was released from that vice like grip. I think that Mark was the boy I saw walking up that hill. I think he made me go there to find his mum and tell her exactly what she most needed to hear. I went to the ocean and swam in the sea.”

Day 156 – coming out of the fog

As I drive down to my brother’s house, there are 110km winds whipping the fog around the wet road. I drive well below the speed limit as cars overtake me. When I eventually come out of the thick blanket, the road is eerily quiet. It feels like I am the only car on the planet, let alone on the road. When I get to the house, the cats curl up beside the fire with me as I write an email to a friend. I am telling him about this blog and in response to his question about what it is like to be back in my old/new life, I write the following:

Being back in Sydney was strange at first… I definitely see it with new eyes. I can’t wait to go back to India in October but at the same time I am really enjoying being here. It feels like so much luxury to live in this affluent society. I am working and training so I feel like I am busy all the time, which I like! I don’t have so many profound spiritual moments as I did when I was meditating six times a day but I feel like I am more connected to the every day tasks. Like, right now I am sitting by the fire with the cats and the simplicity of being in my pyjamas in the cold with a fire beside me is making me feel extremely content. I have never felt so satisfied with life before. I have never experienced so much love coming from deep within myself. I had depression for nearly a decade of my life and in the past year have found something to be grateful for every single day since recovering from that illness. The first thing that helped me was yoga but then I had to come off the contraceptive pill. I had no idea that was the cause of my sadness but as soon as I stopped taking it, it was like someone suddenly turned the sun on inside me and I could see life and energy. I started waking up every morning, genuinely excited to be alive. Every moment became a blessing. That is part of the reason I was able to start the writing 365 Days in Bliss. I started to realise how sacred life really is.

My experience of depression was, in itself, a sacred journey and one that I had to go through to become the person that I am. From the time I was around 15 I started to feel intense sadness, uncontrollable crying, anxiety, insomnia, unreasonable guilt, isolation, feelings of unworthiness and isolation. The illness itself was isolating. It is so easy to believe that nobody understands you and that nobody can help. I wrote about it extensively and when I look back at passages I wrote, my heart breaks. To see so much sadness is awful and I see myself as my family must have seen me. It was like walking in the cold dark fog for ten years and then, just as quickly as I had entered it, I suddenly walked out and found my inner being shining bright. If I could go back to speak to my younger self, I don’t know if there is one thing I could tell her to make it better. I would start by telling her to get off the contraceptive pill! But I had to go through many of those lessons to become who I am. No experience is without value. They say the darkest hour is just before dawn. I have lived through the darkness and I have come out of the fog. And in this early morning sunshine of my life, I can feel the warmth of that inner fire burning brighter than ever.

Next Newer Entries