January – New Year, New Look, New Bliss Project

This year the 365 Days in Bliss has changed slightly. Each month I will be doing something new for the whole month, blogging about the journey and updating my experience. Last year, the necessity to blog everyday was a huge commitment and when work made it difficult, I started to stress a bit. This was completely counter-productive to the purpose of the blog so this year, doing a monthly project gives me a bit more freedom to write as I go and still offer up a bit of Bliss Exploration as the journey continues. For the month of January, I have decided to take a picture everyday. I have already found a couple of days where this has become difficult; I either almost forgot or just took a random picture out of necessity. There are also some days where I find more than one thing I want to take a picture of, so I have included multiple pictures where I found it necessary. The idea is to find the aesthetic beauty of each day. In the meantime, here are the first 9 days of photos. Tomorrow we leave for Vietnam so I can imagine the next ten days of photos will be FULL of amazing shots!

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Day 84- shaving my head… yes I will miss my long hair!

Hair, I will miss you. I will miss the way you tickle my back. I will miss the way you provide a pillow when I have none. I will miss your smell when I have washed you with coconut shampoo. Hair, I will miss the way you can make my face look pretty even when I have had no sleep and feel like crap. I will miss the mindless entertainment you provide when my mind is absent and I can curl my fingers around you. I will miss those times when I have come across a bad stench in the air I rely upon my hair to work like a filter and use it to cover my nose. I will miss the way you can shine in the sun and the way you feel after a macadamia oil treatment. But mostly I know that I won’t miss you for long. I know you will grow back faster than I expect and I know before long I will be struggling with baby hairs and frizz and split ends and cursing you for troubling me. I know that, like everything in life, our separation is only a temporary thing. Nothing is certain except the impermanent nature of the universe. You are a perfect example of that, hair.

I wake up and touch the long strands of hair that frame my head. I pour it over my face and breathe in through it. Then I flick it out of my face and sit up. It is a hot day in Candidasa and my hair is a huge mass of frizz already. The perfect day to chop it all off, really. At breakfast, I am talking to Janice, another ashram guest, who loves India and has shaved her head on the banks of the ganges. She suggests I go to the temple across the road for a short prayer before I head to the hairdresser. I cross the road and the Ibu at the gate wraps me in a sarong. The air cools as I ascend the steps. The temple is halfway up the mountain in the cold, dewy rainforest. As I ascend, the sounds from the road start to fade away. In the temple, I can hear only the sounds of the birds. The air is fresh and alone in this sacred moss-covered stone shrine, I open my palms and turn my face to the canopy. From within All I can hear, all I can think is “love”, pure love, unconditional love. Perfect clarity descends upon me: I am not my hair, I am not my clothes, I am not my tattoos. I am only that which is within.

I open my eyes and look around the temple. Churches may not make much sense to me, but here, amongst the moss covered stones and bird songs, I know that if there is god then god would live here.

As the electric shaver is taken to my head, I grow silent and solemn. It is not sadness that has overcome me, but a reverence in the knowledge that I do this to free myself from the bondage of vanity, to let go of the conditioning of society, to let go of the attachment to “pretty”and just to allow myself to be my authentic self. No masks, no strings, nothing to hide behind. This is me and I love me. Pure love. Unconditional love. With inner peace comes world peace. With love for self comes love for others. With detachment comes freedom.