Day 322 to Day 326 – good thoughts bad thoughts

Day 322 – the simplicity of open land

We are driving down to Canberra for a wine tasting cruise. I sit in the back of the car staring at the passing country and watching the groups of cows chewing sedately, always huddled in groups. I can see a wind farm in the distance. For some reason wind farms make me nervous. Silent and white in the distance, they seem alien in the landscape; a stark reminder of how much we have hurt the planet. The beauty of open land is its simplicity. Spread open ground of grass, rows of identical trees forming wind breaks on the tops of hills and wooden fencing that seems to have grown there. As soon as we are out of the city, I can feel my mind relax. It is like my brain takes a big sigh and has space to stretch out. I haven’t left the city in ages so I am relieved to finally be out of the concrete jungle. Even the windmills just dissolve among the clouds in the distance.

 

Day 323 – unicorn chasers

I wake up with an alarm in the morning but I fall asleep again for a few minutes. I have no idea what happens in this short space but suddenly I am in a vivid nightmare where my thumb is being torn off and blood is going everywhere. Something wakes me up again and I am scared to fall asleep again, knowing that nightmare is just there, waiting for me beyond the veil of sleep. I try to force my eyes open. I am so tired. I look at the unicorn tattoo on my arm. When I was little I used to get nightmares a lot and my mum would always get me to visualise a unicorn. She described it to me down to the smallest detail until I stopped crying and calmed down. When I grew up I found out that this is called a nightmare chaser. In the same way people have a chaser after doing a nasty shot, the unicorn is supposed to cleanse the mind of bad thoughts or nightmares. Mum didn’t know about this, she just intuited it. The unicorn on my arm is from a picture we found growing up. Incidentally, it was one of the first images that came up when I first found the “unicorn chaser” app on facebook. Well my unicorn sits on my arm now, where I can look at it. She is poised to chase the bad dreams away. I force my eyes open and looking at my arm, eventually calm down and the nightmare dissolves. Still works.

 

Day 324 – sisterhood

I have dinner with one of my best friends after work. We met at a yoga retreat a few years ago. We were roommates and we bonded immediately. Tonight we are giggling and talking quickly (she is Italian) and she suddenly tells me how grateful she is to have such amazing friends. I am too, I realise. I look through some photos of my friends and realise how much love I have for these women that surround me. I have never had such a strong network of sisterhood but now that I do, I couldn’t live without any of them.

 

Day 325 – double shot mocha

I can’t stop yawning! I am so tired. As soon as we get a break I race down to the coffee shop for a double shot coffee. I rarely have more than one coffee a day and it is always a small with a single shot. Twenty minutes later I am in the office doing handstands. Caffeine really is amazing! I went from nearly asleep to hanging out upside down. But I know how short lived this is. In yoga, we say deep breathing and backbends are like the yoga coffee that invigorate and energise us. But sometimes a little coffee helps too.

 

Day 326 – cleansing in and out

An over-indulgent birthday weekend full of wine, coffee, chocolate, cake (even though it was raw and organic), dairy and wheat, has left me feeling bloated and sluggish. I have most of the morning free so I have booked in for a detox at The Last Resort. By detox, I mean a colon cleanse. It isn’t the most pleasant or comfortable way to spend an hour, but afterwards I feel amazing! The naturopath at The Last Resort is young, friendly and gentle. The music is soft and relaxing and the faint smell of incense makes the whole spa feel like a beautiful retreat within the heart of North Bondi. When I get back to my car I realise it is full of sand, crumbs, nuts and dried fruit. All the telltale signs of a woman who works and lives out of her vehicle. I decide to pay someone else to clean it when I wipe my finger on the dashboard and it comes away black. While I am in the shopping centre, I make the final step of my cleansing process and get my legs waxed. It feels like I have taken a long swim under a waterfall after all these cleansing practices! Even the rain washes away some of the residual misery in the streets. Refreshing and light, I feel like I have danced naked in the rain.

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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 148 – Coogee to Bondi coastal walk

I have never seen a blue quite like the Pacific. It is cold despite the bright sunshine. I am walking slowly and talking quickly with a friend from school who I haven’t seen in years. It is like no time has passed. There is no point catching up on so many years- Facebook has kept us more or less in the loop about how our respective lives have changed. So we just chat and laugh the whole way. The entire coastal walk should only take 45 minutes to an hour each way but we take about 3 or 4 hours as we stop to take photos and have a coffee at Icebergs, Bondi. The walk is beautiful. Sandstone cliffs hanging over the white foaming waves, crystal blue water and ships in the distance. The cold weather means that the beaches are empty so the sand looks clean and bare. The south end of Bondi is really windy as we stop to take a picture. It is only Autumn so the air is only going to get colder and colder as the day goes on. I feel happy, despite the cold. Winter can’t seem to shake me this year. Despite the break-up, despite coming home from four amazing months away, it feels good to just enjoy simple things that make Sydney so special. The beautiful coast, amazing coffee and great friends- all the ingredients of coming home. Even in the cold, we warm up from the exercise. People jog past us on either side and I miss my jogging as I haven’t done it since Friday. It is seriously addictive, this running business! It is the endorphins, the breathing, the fresh air, the sense of achievement when I extend my endurance another few minutes. And then there is the gentle twitch of muscles when I finally stop to rest. After we ascend the small hill and come around to the bottom of the cemetery at Clovelly, I can feel that same twitch in my thigh. That physical reminder from the body that it appreciates so much movement.

When we get back to the car in the afternoon, my eyes go straight to the sign advertising gelato and I have to remind myself that it would defeat the purpose of the walk to go and eat so much sugar right away. I think I have succumbed to my sugar addiction too much lately. I seem to be eating chocolate nearly everyday. After dinner, as I eat the burka cupcake my mum brought home from the Muslim function she attended with my aunty, I make the decision that I can no longer use chocolate as a comforter. For the next week, if I feel like indulging in sugar, I am going to drink water, then have a cup of herbal tea and then a piece of fruit. I have heard the reward system works best for things like this so my reward for each day without sugar is that I get to buy a new song from iTunes. When I finish the week, I can buy a new album. Sounds like a good deal… until I remember that Wednesday is my nephew’s fourth birthday. Oh god, there will probably be cupcakes! Well there is always this beautiful coastal walk to make up for the cupcakes!

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