Day 295 to Day 300 – the universe wants to be noticed

Day 295 – little white lies

I don’t like to lie. I don’t even like white lies. I have told too many in my lifetime and at some point I realised that it would be better to just remain silent and say nothing than to lie. Today, though, I need some yoga practice. I want to make it to the 8pm class. I know that I could get home at 8.30 and practice in my room, but it is harder when I get home. There is no space for me to practice. It’s not that there is no physical space, but people seem to think it is ok to ask questions, or give vague comments when I am on the yoga mat. When I enter a room full of people practicing yoga it is generally acknowledge that we are there for that sole purpose, so nobody is going to tap me on the shoulder and ask about my day. So, in desperate need of that time and space, I decide to lie. I tell my boss that I need to pick up my mum, that she is having her car serviced and needs a lift. My mother is in Wollongong. Her car is not being serviced. Strangely, though, I don’t feel bad about this. Especially not when I arrive to a quiet evening class and lay my mat out. This is so worth it! And I only missed an hour of work. I never really get much done in the last hour anyway. I usually fluff around in that time. This is definitely a better way to spend my time. I still wish I didn’t have to lie. I wish I could just tell them- I need yoga, I am leaving. But maybe it isn’t work that I need to be honest with. Maybe it is the people around me, or myself. If I roll out my mat and sit/lay/stretch out my body, I should be able to honour the practice enough to tell the people around me that this is my time, consider the mat to be a really big DO NOT DISTURB sign. If I just speak my truth, I wouldn’t have to bother with the little white lies.

 

Day 296 – the ‘g’ word

I know have written the word god countless times, but it comes up in conversation today… The most common thing I hear these days is: “I’m not religious. I believe in something though….” This kind of conversation causes so much turmoil that it is best to just be vague about the whole thing. Nobody really wants to get into a discussion about their beliefs. The word god can be perceived as a personification, a name, an ideal, or a corruption, depending on who is saying the word. Looking at GOD, I don’t see a name. I see a word and in that word I also see Gee Oh Dee, DOG and DOGMA and GOOD and it is little more than a word; a completely inadequate word to describe something that is probably beyond our human capacity to understand anyway. I prefer to say “the divine” but sometimes I feel like that sounds too much like I am talking about grapevines, with a stutter. Maybe that is because in my job I am always talking about grapevines. Anyway, if you read the word god here, know that it is little more than an insufficient label for the universe, the flow, the “source”, the light, the ether, the energetic divine spark of life that sits at the centre of every being, from a rock to a tiger, to a royal. God is just a word for ‘something’, but I don’t know what. If I knew what that something was, I guess I would be enlightened already.

 

Day 297 – traffic

I stayed over my friend’s house in Manly last night and now I have to sit in motionless traffic across the Spit bridge trying to get home. It is 8am and my first client is not for a few hours. I see the turn off to go to a secret beach I know about that I used to come to all the time when I lived on this side of Sydney. I decide to escape the traffic and go to the beach instead. I have swimmers in my car so I get changed in my car and lay down on the beach to read. The early morning is still quite fresh, but the sun is already strong in the sky so my skin slowly warms up as I read. I am so grateful that I am not sitting in my car right now, cursing the traffic. Instead I am alone on a quiet hidden beach, staring out at the flat clear water and gently bobbing sailboats. I will choose this over traffic any day! I get home an hour and a half later. Probably a little bit later than if I had just stayed in the traffic, but my headspace is just right for the rest of the day. Not only did I physically pull away from a road blocked up with traffic, but mentally, I got the chance to escape the stop-start, over congested, frustration of a busy mind.

 

Day 298 – left or right or wrong

In yoga, a common technique to encourage presence is to switch up the regular practice. My friend, Emma, is teaching and instead of going to the right side first in the standing poses, she teaches the left side first. Not only does this cultivate awareness, but it asks the brain to break up the deeply ingrained habits of a well-known practice. I love when teachers do this. It is like turning the whole room around and teaching from the “back” of the room. Or walking backwards with no shoes on wet grass. Tiny changes that break the mould, push us out of the boundaries, gently coax us into the unknown. Shit, I stuffed up and I am in tree pose on my right leg. It doesn’t matter how aware we think we are, the moment we let the mind process and get away with our thoughts, the auto-pilot kicks back in and we find ourselves driving back home on the usual route. It’s like when you get home and open the fridge, just staring into it, even if you aren’t hungry. WAKE UP LIZ! Get present. Be aware. Mindful conscious awareness doesn’t just happen. It takes practice. Yoga is practice in re-learning existence as life.

 

Day 299 – the river

The road to Bundeena, and to my first client of the day, is closed. This is the second time I have failed to see him. I let it go and take my lunch down to the seat by the river. There is no phone signal here. Nobody knows where I am. Solitude has found me again.

The last river I meditated beside was the Ganges in the holy city of Rishikesh, at the foot of the Himalayas. I focus my gaze into the rippling water. Rivers represent life and the flowing nature of our existence. They say you never step in the same river twice. The water is always moving, just as life is always changing. For the first time since Bali, I see a dragonfly, a symbol of change. The ducks dip down, feeding and paddling against the current. Their lesson is to stay afloat, to keep on keeping on. A cockatoo flies past, it’s angelic white plumage and bright yellow crest standing out against the surrounding green.

And the river keeps flowing.

Day 300 – a blessing from the sea

I have only an hour to talk as quickly as I can with Luca. He is Italian so we can manage to catch up on months of our lives in less than an hour fairly easily. If we had a stenographer, there would be a lot of dot points. The cafe we want to go to is really busy so we walk along Coogee beach while we wait for a table. The humpback whales are breaching out at sea. The last time I saw whales was in Mexico, but that was more just a few sprays and the occasional tail in the distance. These giants are showing off, throwing themselves out of the water and back in again. One seems to be waving a fin towards the shore. A perfect strange stops beside us and says, “Isn’t it such a blessing that they come to show us how graceful they are?” A blessing. Grace. Then Luca tells me that he ate whale in Japan. I slap him hard on the arm and yell his name. “I didn’t know what it was until the lady drew a picture of a whale for me! We spat it out straight away!” So maybe that whale wasn’t waving at us, maybe it was giving the finger to Luca for eating its family.

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