Day 33- commitment to bliss

On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, Kim comes to the San Pedrito surf hotel to teach yoga. The class is just what I need- strong, slow flow. The whales are hanging around the beach, blowing spurts of water into the air or offering a tail here and there. I find my body just itching to move. It had been about three days of long car and bus rides without much yoga so every subtle stretch feels like an awakening. At the end of class, I tell Kim about 365 Days in Bliss and she is kind enough to offer a couple of her favourite meditation techniques. I am excited to try them out today…

But.

This whole travelling thing is exhausting. The problem with meditation and travel is that I have no routine. The more we move around, the harder it is for me to find time to sit in stillness and silence. Wednesday morning I struggle out of bed, make tea and stare at the ocean. We get in the car and I stare vacantly at the desert as we bump along the road to the San Jose del Cabo airport. Some of the sharp curves are making me anxious so I take a few drops of Bach Rescue Remedy. After the airport turn off, all signs disappear and the lack of planes in the area make us think we must be going the wrong way… Until I spot an air traffic control tower. Phew. Another few drops of rescue remedy. How much of this stuff can I take, I wonder?

Airports. Wow, they are fun aren’t they? There is always the excitement of going somewhere new, the possibility of a little duty free shopping, maybe a sneaky pre-flight drink… Then there is the waiting in line, the extra fees for the surfboards, wondering how my suitcase gained three kilos, the sub-standard food (which explains how I gained three kilos), the air conditioning that is always way too strong and the way they always make me empty my water bottle so I will inevitably be dehydrated before I even get on the flight. In-flight meditation… yes it is worthy for a longer flight but these 1-2 hour journeys promise that as soon as the safety demonstration is over we are already being told about our approaching descent in up to three languages. Then we arrive in our stopover. Two hours in Mexico City airport. Well, actually an hour waiting in line through more security screenings, while doing the ever-charming ‘why-didn’t-I-pee-on-the-plane’ dance as the person in front has to keep coming back to remove the belt, the boots, the scarf… We finally have enough time to get an overpriced soggy sandwich from Starbucks so that we can use their wi-fi when we are being called to board again. We come out in Oaxaca and wait in line for the shuttle bus, play surfboard/luggage Tetris, drive around the whole city to drop people off to hotels and then finally arrive at the bus station to stand in another line to get the final two seats on the bus to Puerto Escondido. The only two seats together are at the back, right in front of the toilet. Awesome. Cross the road, burn my tongue on an Aztec soup (tomato soup with tortilla, avocado and cheese), back to the bus station to wait, burn my hand on a Oaxaquena hot chocolate that I splash out of the cup when the surfboards unexpectedly slide out towards me and finally get on the bus. The brief moment of excitement when we realise our seats tilt way back is ruined when the people in front of us realise the exact same thing.

It is 10.30pm of Day 33. Today is a day of commitment. Today is the day when it almost didn’t happen. I get out my iPod to find some meditation tracks by Medicine Crow. I need something Earthy and grounding. A drum beat. I remember Medicine Crow saying that when you lose track of your centre, there is always an internal drum beat that can connect you to the earth and that beat is the heart. I close my eyes and find my breath. I remember the technique from Kim and start to inhale, turning my inner gaze into my head and then exhale, rolling my eyes back and taking that gaze into my heart. She mentioned that it is the roll of the eyes that feels particularly good, however after a few breaths, I just feel a little dizzy. I am on a moving bus, after all. I continue the meditation, just inhaling looking to the third eye centre, at the centre of the forehead and then exhaling, taking my attention to my heart. After about twenty minutes, I feel myself drifting off to sleep, so I sit up and take a few moments to ground by imagining a silver chord flowing deep into the earth and connecting me to the centre of the planet. I slowly open my eyes and remove my iPod. I reposition myself for sleep but wake up within twenty minutes because I need to go the bathroom and my foot has lost all feeling. Isn’t travelling great?

Note: Medicine Crow lives in Sydney and occasionally does Shaman work at Dance Central. I suggest you go check him out, he is one of the most amazing people I have seen speak and plays a really good drum.

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Day 23 – tadasana meditation

Jet Lag- medical term, desynchronosis, refers to the circadian rhythm sleep disorder in which a person travels across multiple time zones. The estimated time it takes to get over jet lag is one day per time zone crossed… So we should feel better in about twelve days? That can’t be right. Especially since I travel with a range of “potions” to make flying as comfortable as possible, including lavender hand moisturiser (my hands get super dry), Jurlique rose facial spray (refreshes and tones), Badger ‘chai rose’ lip balm (Ayurvedically, I am a Vata, so always dry and cold…), Origins “Peace of Mind” cream (minty, just a dab on the temples, ears and back of the neck is instant calm), Bach Rescue Remedy (in case of anxiety), moisturising preservative-free eye drops (typical Vata dry eyes) and liquid Oxygen drops (refreshes, purifies water, re-hydrates and helps with jet lag, fatigue and hangovers). That’s me- getting out my little plastic zip-lock bag and lining up the assortment of bottles and balms, all under 100mL, on my tray table and giving myself a little mid flight treatment every couple of hours.

No amount of liquid oxygen can replace sleep. At 3pm I am in bed and I can’t move, I can’t keep my eyes open and I know there is a danger I am about to sleep until tomorrow without meditating. I can’t do anything except let go and trust that my higher self knows what is best for me. At 6pm I can’t sleep any longer, so I gratefully get up and roll out my yoga mat. Honestly I believe yoga can fix anything and after sitting up rigidly for the past thirty or so hours, I need to move my body. I light the scented candle in our friend’s bachelor pad, grateful that it is red- the colour of the muladhara chakra. I flow through a gentle practice for about an hour, using certain poses to find moments of meditation. Standing in warrior pose, I inhale and draw my arms back in to prayer and then exhale as my arms extend. Integrating moments of meditation into the asana makes the entire practice more meditative and is a useful way to prepare for stillness. After a relaxing Savasana I feel ready to meditate without sleeping. I decide to stand anyway and use a grounding meditation to come back down to Earth. After an emotional argument mid-flight, I need to stand in my own power and feel my inner strength. After all, I am right.

I find Tadasana, the Mountain Pose. Feet hip width apart, four corners of each foot pressing into the ground, roots running deep into the Earth, my knees soft, hips level, spine long, chin level to the ground and the crown of the head extending up high, feeling like a channel of energy is flowing through from the top of my head to the ground. I am a mountain. Strong. Solid. Constant. Our friend comes home and creeps past me, quietly apologising for catching me “mid-med” and I smile and whisper it is fine, though my focus does not shift. Perhaps when you are so incredibly exhausted and jet lagged it is easier to be without thought. The argument playing on my mind comes back into my attention and I feel a hand grip around my heart in anxiety. I take a deep breath and with the exhale imagine that issue slipping out through my fingertips like drops of dirty water, falling to the ground, getting absorbed back into the Earth.

After 17 minutes, I reach my frozen hands up for a final stretch. All I can think about is a hot cup of tea. It is winter in America at the moment. I am looking forward to hitting some Mexican summer but for now, my hair at least is appreciating the dry cold. Jet lag may be weighing me down but I feel strong and light after this mountain meditation. In particular, the argument that was still causing so much commotion in my mind seems so small now. It doesn’t matter who was right. There is no right or wrong. It is all a matter of perception. It is easy enough to justify your own actions and the more you assert your reasons, the more self-righteous you can become but it doesn’t make it any easier. It won’t convince the other person to see your point of view because they will be doing the same. Sometimes perhaps the answer is to let it go, allow the emotions to settle and then just talk in simple terms. Because going over the problem and who was the cause of it doesn’t help find a solution. At the end of the day it is all about love and respect. If every action comes from selfless love then everything will just flow.