Day 196 – trusting friendship or trust in friendship

I realise as I stand with my two best friends that it has been a long time since I have allowed a girl to make a connection to me. I had a series of really intense friendships over the past few years that all seem to have ended badly. Best friends can almost feel like a relationship sometimes and the key factor in breaking up with those friends was when one of us got a boyfriend. Inevitably, the boyfriend felt threatened or jealous of the closeness I had with my best friend, was worried she didn’t like him or that she was telling me to break up with him. Ultimately, I would spend more time with my partner and ended up losing the friendship altogether. It has hurt to walk away, but I also trusted that it was for the best, that we had grown apart and that it wasn’t all my fault. But for the longest time, I couldn’t allow myself to trust girls. I didn’t allow myself to make close friendships. I didn’t want to hurt another girl by not being there for her when she needed me, so I kept all my friends at arm’s length. I hesitated if they said they loved me. I didn’t call all the time and I isolated myself. When I broke up with my fiancee, there was the realisation that regardless of that isolation I felt, my friends were still there for me. I made new friends, new connections in India, in Bali and in Sydney. I started to trust friendship again.

The measure of a good girlfriend lies in what she says to you. You know that she moves from acquaintance to friend when she can be honest about what you are wearing. You know that it moves on to good friends when you call each other just to say, “Hi, what’s doing?” and you know for sure that she is your best friend when she tells you a secret that nobody else knows.

Day 195 – conscious decisions

I don’t just love chocolate, I am severely addicted to it. Having the flu has forced me to cut back on my consumption. The cough that has lingered has come back with a vengeance and I spend most of the day coughing and spluttering. I walk past my favourite cafe and stare longingly at the liquid chocolate fountain. Just one tiny cup of that molten deliciousness couldn’t really be that bad, could it? I am practically salivating but then I feel the rattle in my throat and I bend over in a coughing fit. This is that moment where my lower mind and higher mind meet and discuss my body. The lower mind is stomping her feet and screaming, her only argument is, “But I waaaaant it!” and the higher mind looks on calmly, with compassion and tender love. The body is busy still coughing and eventually the higher mind just wraps her arms around me. With love and devotion to the body as the vessel, as the home in this world, as the greatest miracle to sustain life, I comfort myself and say it is for the best to just walk away. Sometimes the conscious decision is to say yes and have chocolate for breakfast. Sometimes the conscious decision is to say no and walk away. The higher self always knows the answer, we just have to look past the screaming tantrum throwing lower mind to be able to hear the truth. This may seem like a fairly simple decision to make, but it is often one of the hardest when it comes to food. I succumb so easily to the temptations of the temporal. Once swallowed, the pleasure is over and the body is left to clear up the mess. Even when I consume healthy, whole foods, the digestive system has to work hard to get it all sorted, absorb the necessary, separate it from the rest and then get it out again. If we could pull back the layers and watch the whole thing happen, I would probably hold back on so much more food. I look at the chocolate fountain as I walk away and a horrible taste has come into my mouth. I guess this is the body’s way of telling me that I am making the right decision; the taste wouldn’t be worth it. I am making the conscious decision to be loving to myself today by listening to what my body needs and not what my mind wants and I am very grateful to myself for this.

Day 194 – the winter sunshine

The sun is probably too far away to even do anything to my skin, but at 22 degrees, I am not missing the opportunity. I practically run down to the boat ramp at Malabar, throwing my clothes off. The wind is still a little cold but it feels amazing to just soak up the Vitamin D. I have a bag of organic popcorn and a berry flavoured cider and a whole 2 hours before I have to even think about going to work. I lie down, watching a man fishing nearby and read Dickens. For a moment I feel guilty. Shouldn’t I be in front of my laptop, studying? Shouldn’t I be racing to work? Did I train enough today? No, Liz. There is no reason to feel guilty for this. I have to talk to myself with love and forgiveness and remind myself that I can actually do ANYTHING I want to do. And today, I have already trained, I am studying right now and there is no rush to be in. I have all the time in the world and all that time is the NOW. The sun is here to be worshipped and loved and it loves us right back. As the wind picks up, I get dressed and then before I leave, decide to do a short yin practice in the sun. The boat ramp becomes my yoga space and I settle right into my samadhi poses. Am I dreaming? This life is perfect. Enjoy every breath.

Day 193 – amongst the crystals

There is a peace that overcomes you when you are around so many minerals and crystals. They may be pretty rocks to some people, but they hold a vibrational energy that has the power to shift and change things within you. Like the moon, a giant rock, that affects the tides of the world and the tides of our bodies. I am working at Embrace today and the moment I walk into the shop, I feel myself expand. It is like the crystals are like magnets, realigning all the tiny filings in my body. I have a connection to each of the beautiful women that work there, and I get to see almost all of them today. I spend time with Ange, having a coffee and ‘gas bagging’. She is one of the easiest people in the world to fall in love with. She radiates beauty from both in and out. She is a tiny little blonde bombshell with a heart of pure gold and it completely breaks mine to see her so anxious today. She tells me about the net of her life, and even her language has this energy of stagnation, of feeling trapped and stuck. I laugh when she looks so worried and try to put the positive spin on it. When she hears my stories and expresses a negative response, I think she is confused by my lack of concern. The thing is, even our mistakes are beautiful. Even our losses are gains. Even our guilt can be love. We are like two opposites here, the blonde and the brunette, with similar fashion sense and lives that seem to follow the same path, yet the biggest gap is our response. I want to share my light, my bounce, my glow. I want her to see the beauty of every step and stop worrying so much. I used to see my friends stress and want to hug them and take away all their pain. Now when I see them stressed, I want to show them something. I want to show them that they have the power to manifest and create and change and morph whatever life throws at us into whatever we want and I choose to make it all an amazing experience!

I’m learning to be brave in my beautiful mistakes.
Oh I’ve felt that fire and I’ve been burned
But I wouldn’t trade the pain for what I’ve learned
I wouldn’t trade the pain for what I’ve learned.

– Pink

Day 192 – the teaching challenge

I have never before felt dread before a yoga class. Until now. It is my ego as a yoga teacher that has taken a beating lately. There seems to be a gap between my experiences in India and how I am expected to teach here in the West. I tried to fuse my knowledge together but the feedback has returned that my classes are not strong enough anymore. I try to amp it up, speed it up and meet these expectations but as days go by with no comments, I know I am dwelling on this and wondering if I can even call myself a yoga teacher anymore. The way I practice now is completely different to the way I teach. There is a divide between what I now understand to be my yoga practice and what we call yoga here in Sydney. I am trying to bridge the gap but it kind of feels like I have to hop back and forth. The two practices are both yoga, but the difference in styles makes it seem like I can’t even call it the same thing! I can’t believe it but I feel my heart sink as I drive to the yoga studio. I don’t like this feeling. I should be excited! I pick up Krystle and bring her to class. I want her honest feedback but she is going to love it no matter what because she is naturally positive and has no expectations. Once we start to flow, I find myself talking and moving without thinking. The worries I had before the class never actually made it into the room and by the end I am left looking around, wondering what the hell just happened. I was open and ready for the class that needed to be. I didn’t ‘do’ the asana, I allowed them to happen. As long as I always remember that I am just a channel for the universe and allow the energy to flow through me, then I will always teach exactly as I am supposed to teach. I place my trust in the universe. This may be a challenge but every uphill struggle in my life has led me to something amazing so I can now turn this experience around and look forward to something really positive just over the rise.

Day 187 to Day 191 – bouncing back

Day 187 – bounce back

Finally I feel ready to run again but my first attempt is thwarted by rain. I run some errands and when I get back the rain has finally stopped and the sun is calling me out. I get going and for the first kilometre feel like maybe the wind is too cold. I want to turn back again but I push on and soon I am warm enough and it is feeling great. At exactly the halfway point I sniffle and a torrent of blood comes out of my right nostril. I’m wiping blood on the grass as ┬áhave no tissues. This is gross. I am too far away now, the walk back would take forever so I just keep running. When I get home I feel that vibrant life force pumping through my veins again. I stop and sit with this feeling, meditating on it and enjoying the pulsation of pure energy. The radiant luminosity that had escaped me is now back and I feel ready to jump back into that manic scramble for time that I am used to. When I finish work, I have to sit down again. Ok, maybe I’m still recovering. I end up falling asleep on Krystle’s couch as she continues to chatter away for another hour. Then, in an act of pure love and selfless service, she carried me to her bed and puts me to sleep. No words can describe the bond of this friendship. When I’ve lost my bounce, she shares some of hers.

Day 188 – the long table

I am getting a treatment today with my friend Doc. With a light touch against my collarbone, I instantly feel my whole body relax. There are energy blockages all over my body and as he moves around to my knees, my neck, my back, my sensitivity gets ramped up and I become entirely conscious and aware of them. He asks if I can see anything. Behind my closed eyes, I have a vision of a long table. There is someone sitting at the other end. He asks who it is and when I look closer it is me, but older and wiser. I look more calm, more settled and yet, younger and more relaxed. He asks why there is such a long separation between me and my Self. We shorten the table until it finally disappears altogether and I am standing face to face with myself. Then I change places and become the Self looking back at me. It takes a long time to be able to do this, to enter the eyes of my spiritual Self and look back at me. The me I finally see is shy, young, like a child. She is looking up at me through her eyelashes. She is timid and afraid. I hug her to me, feeling protective. Eventually I let the child-like version sit on my lap and play. We are so close we start to melt together, fusing into the same person. When the treatment is over, I feel… luscious. I feel like I am vibrating at a higher level. I feel like I am pulsating in life force, like I am the divine Self, feeling out this body and enjoying every sensation. Doc smiles. He says if I can get the lusciousness then that is the whole point.

Day 189 – Sydney Harbour 10km

After only four hours sleep, I wake up excited and with a sore throat. I probably shouldn’t run. I get back into bed for a second and then that part of my brain that is constantly trying to prove it is tough enough, gets me back up and puts on my compression tights. It is time to run. I have been too excited about this! When I get into the city, it is freezing and still dark. There are fires set up where the runners are crowding around. I join the small huddle, looking around for someone I might know. No, everyone I know is still sleeping. Even mum hasn’t offered to be a cheering squad; she is going back home to bed. The race begins in the Rocks and wraps around past the Harbour Bridge and into Darling Harbour. It is only about a third of the way through the race when we see the fastest runners coming back around, on their way to the finish line. I feel like people keep passing me. I turn back to see if I am the last person but realise there is a whole trail of people behind me too. I realise I am also passing people. The sun is rising and the morning is bright as we pass the halfway point. I feel a stitch coming on right as I approach the second water station. At the 8km mark, I realise how far I have come. I have done this and nobody else. Nobody can take it away from me. Knowing my usual running pace is 8km/hr I check the time and realise it has only been 50 minutes. Excitedly, I round the bend to see the sun shining behind the Harbour Bridge. It is beautiful. As I approach the finish line, people are sprinting for the final dash but I just keep my pace. When I get my race results later that day I find out I completed the 10km in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 57 seconds. I have completely surprised myself! It may not be the fastest, but after recovering from the flu and having only 4 hours of sleep, I have beaten my own running pace and exceeded my expectations. I may have come in 35 minutes after the winner, but in my own heart I feel victorious.

After the race, I eat a quick breakfast and go to a Yoga for Runners workshop. It is basic, with lots of long holds and stretches. It is beautiful to just be led through a practice and not have to think about anything. It is the perfect thing for my tired, stiff muscles. I fall into a blissful sleep in Savasana and finally allow myself to realise how exhausted I am. I spend the rest of the afternoon in bed, sleeping. When I wake up, I am still holding the small medal. Sydney Harbour 10km. I did this for me. Nobody else can take those 63 minutes away from me. They are all mine.

Day 190 – the journey of hands on skin

One of my yoga teachers, Twee Merrigan, wakes up every morning and kisses the palms of her hands and then slides them all over her skin. It is her way of waking herself up with love, with appreciation for her body and to awaken the senses. When I tried this a few years ago, I remember pausing at my stomach and grabbing roughly at the “extra bits”. I remember poking meanly at what I felt were love handles over my hips and pulling back the extra deposits of fat between my thighs. At the time, my perception of my own body was distorted and I did not offer it any self love. I remember this lack of compassion and I feel sorry about it, but then I am so grateful for how far I have come. I can now run my hands across my stomach, loving every piece of it. I like the feeling of my hips and thighs and their curves and shapes. And I can allow someone else to run their hands across me without feeling shame or recoiling in embarrassment. It is a beautiful thing to finally accept and love oneself unconditionally. I hold my stomach in my hands gently and give it a loving pat. No grabbing, no judgement. Just. Pure. Love.

Day 191 – standing at the back of the class

I have just taught yoga and the small class of three students are in Savasana, resting. I close my eyes to the sound of Krishna Das’ beautiful, deep, voice. There is something magical about this still space at the end of class. I am standing at the back, feeling the chant wash over me. I have had one of those typical run around like a mad woman days. From the moment I got up, I just started rushing, even when I didn’t need to. Sometimes I think if I didn’t rush, I would always be on time? Now I finally slow down and accept this moment in its entirety. There is no other moment. There is no ‘ago’ or ‘yet’. Now is the only space we have. It may not always be still or quiet but even our silence roars and even if our bodies are still, the energy is forever expanding, like the universe. Someone told me today that I look taller. It is not possible that I have actually become taller since turning 25 but it is possible that my confidence makes me stand straighter, that my energetic body has expanding higher and that I take up more space with radiance. It is a beautiful day to be standing in meditation with three resting yogi’s. I feel like our energies are still dancing together, even after we stop moving. That is the lingering space that we all hang onto after class. That is the resonance we don’t want to lose when we walk away. So we take it in, swallow it down into our hearts and our bellies and we carry this light with us, sharing it with the world. That is what makes us grow taller.

Day 186 – Yogatime

I finally have the time and the energy to get back onto a yoga mat. After teaching the 6.30am class, I go back to bed for a couple of hours and then return to the studio in Bondi for Emma’s Open level class at 10am. I haven’t been to someone else’s yoga class in ages. I can’t remember the last time. I roll out a yoga mat and place my forehead on the floor in child’s pose but my knees are screaming at me. Has it really been that long since I last did this pose? I have to get up and shift them three times before they start to settle. Maybe my joints are still frozen. It is really cold today. As we start to flow, I realise how weak my body is. It has been completely ravaged by this flu. My balance is the worst. I can’t even stand on one leg for tree pose without a wobble. What the hell? I’m sure I taught this only a few hours ago and it was not this difficult. I have no choice but to let go of these expectations and send love and forgiveness to my body. I abused it by pushing it too far, training it too hard and working it too long and now it is weak and tired from a serious virus and I’m still trying to stand on my hands. I welcome pigeon’s pose and my slow brain melts right into the space here. I close my eyes. This is one of my samadhi poses. I could reach enlightenment right here. Don’t ever ask me to move again. I am happy here. We sit up and move into King Pigeon and I reach for the back leg. It has been ages since I did this too but at least my flexibility has not suffered. My heart sinks into the welcome opening and I have a feeling that this illness is starting to shift and move.

When I get to work at 4pm, I am exhausted. The toxins shifted in the practice have entered my system and I just want to sleep it off again. I don’t know how it is possible to feel so weak again after that morning. I feel boring and lifeless. I’m told I look down, flat and that the sparkle is not yet back in my eye. I could cry when I hear that. Where is my life force? Where is that radiance, the internal luminosity? Has the flu taken away my very essence? How do I get it back? I want to run and climb and balance on my arms and stand on my head and dance and expand into the universe and touch the light of the furthest star. Instead I hover vaguely over my keys, feeling like even my writing is suffering from this emotional flatline. Forgiveness and love. If I get angry and frustrated with myself, it won’t get me anywhere. It is time to just forgive and love myself.

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