The 365th Day

It has been an amazing journey, to say the least. If I think back to the person I was when I thought up this whole idea there are many ways in which I can say that I have changed. I remember standing in the café I was working at, around this time last year and thinking there has to be more to this life than this work and misery cycle. I thought I was saving my money to go back to Indonesia, but I never made it back to the boat where I had spent the previous two years. What happened instead was that I took the first step towards my true self and from there on was led to some of the most life-changing places, moments and people I have ever known. I remember being the kind of girl who was hiding behind her long hair, a little uncertain of her place in the world, insecure, anxious, with no conception of who she was. I had lost my sense of self in a co-dependent relationship and had stopped listening to my inner voice. I remember when I began meditating, how difficult it was to get through five minutes! I was detached from reality, unconscious of the pulsating rhythm of life. I remember being the kind of person that was surprised by spontaneous happiness. What kind of human condition has set us on course to accept infinite sadness as the norm?

I was supposed to be getting married, settling down and becoming the quiet and sedate house[boat]wife. Instead, a tiny voice inside told me to go to India and as I waited for the plane to Mexico, I booked a one-way ticket to Delhi. It was the greatest feeling, knowing I had finally made the decision to go somewhere alone, knowing that I was finally directing my own life. Even as I travelled through Mexico, I remember feeling like I was being dragged along on someone else’s trip. I wasn’t the leader on my own path until I separated from that situation, that person and from the expectation that people around me had.

That pinnacle turning point of the break-up, where I had stood in front of my fiancé and watched him cry and scream and all I could hear was that tiny voice inside telling me I was doing the right thing. To watch another human being suffer is always hard; to know that you have caused their suffering is even harder. Had I stayed, I would have withered and died. I was lost and unhappy in that situation and although there will always be good memories from that time of my life, I never once doubted my decision.

Celebrating the Hindu new-year in the Gedong Ghandi Ashram in Bali, a day of silence showed me how useless all these words had become. I had been to that ashram once before at the beginning of that relationship and then I returned there at the end, the whole experience framed in time by a sense of peace and a reminder that I could only walk this part of the journey alone, because I was all that I needed. Shaving my hair off was like the final shedding of the old self, the abandonment of ego, vanity and superficiality. It also made travelling really easy when I didn’t have to carry around shampoo and conditioner.

Going straight into the Sadhana Mandir ashram in Rishikesh, India, was a confronting and liberating experience. Our teacher, who I aptly named Rafiki after the wise witch doctor baboon from The Lion King, was full of energy, three letter acronyms and bewildering enlightenment. He tore apart our social conditioning and handed us back, bare and naked to see truth in ourselves. I remember crying in the temple, begging Swami Rama to make sense of it all. What was I doing here? What had I done? I just shaved my head and broke off my engagement to come here and be yelled at for closing my eyes when I meditated. All those questions were never answered; they simply became obsolete. I will never forget the coolness of the holy mother Ganga as I stood in the blistering hot sun, a light veil over my head, feeling the coolness creep up from my feet. Or the colours of pink and purple in the dawn as I let my hair go with the current of that holy river. When the course in the ashram was over, climbing to the source, to the Gaumukh glacier I faced the divine and saw only love and forgiveness. After trekking for 19km up to 4000m in altitude, I felt like I had to offer this place something of myself, so I threw in my engagement ring and let go of my old self, of that old life.

Everyone I met in India became shining beacons of hope. I had gone through an incredibly emotional time by myself, with little contact to the outside world, so each of those friendships were connections to the divine. I started to see the light in every person I spoke to. Suddenly the world was shimmering as though it was on fire; I could see life force in everything.

Coming back to Sydney was hard. I felt displaced. I no longer had a room, had lost friends because of the last relationship and was in a kind of limbo about whether to stay or just go back to India or skip on over to Africa… until I met Krystle. My best friend, the strong independent and slightly crazy woman who loves herself so fiercely she barely needs anyone else. But she has me.

Working in bars again was completely against my yogic lifestyle, but I was now entering the Persephone phase. I had to spend some time in the darkness re-planting the seeds of my life so that I could once again grow into the light. I had to explore my shadow side to understand every side of me. What I found was an incredible resilience and strength. I camped in the snow and hauled a sled full of human waste up a 2km slope, carrying a 10kg pack. I ran the City 2 Surf, a 14km race that I had never even thought about before. I looked at a new job as a wine rep and just went for it, with enough confidence to just take it. Anything I wanted, I could manifest. I made mistakes and I forgave myself. More importantly I learnt how to love myself unconditionally. Even when the rest of the world turned against me and started to criticise my life choices, I couldn’t help but be grateful for every moment.

And then it happened. Just when I was telling someone that I wanted to stay alone and single for ten years… I met him. I resisted and struggled against the most powerful force until finally I realised that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. In that funny little place called love. The universe had not steered me wrong and as long as I listened to my inner voice (which had by now become a lot louder), I wouldn’t get lost again. I sat by the south boat ramp in Malabar, a place I had called home for years, and told Matt that I loved him. And he loves me. He is the kind of person that wakes up with laughter every day, who is so full of light that he can make the world smile just by entering a room. In this person I see reflected all the things I love in the world; goodness, purity, energy. And he is the yin to my yang. He is organised and tidy while I lean towards chaos and erratic disorder. He keeps me grounded when I am in danger of floating away and maybe I add a touch of flight where he is in danger of being too structured… We fit together in every way and I am no longer so terrified of this love. I have managed to let go of fear, of future expectations and past projections. Just being in the now, I can see that there is nothing to be afraid of.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on meditation, or yoga. In fact, I gave up teaching yoga the more I learnt about it, until I felt that I could teach in an authentic manner. I don’t pretend that my spiritual journey is over or complete. All I know is that I had to lose everything in order to gain everything. I had to delve deep inside my lightest and darkest and most honest moments in order to truly learn how to love myself. I had to learn to be happy alone. From the person that was constantly surprised when happiness would creep up, I now wake up and am overcome with joy and gratitude for everything that I have in my life. I am awake, conscious and aware of each breath.

I learnt a lot about myself and about the world this year. I learnt that to find peace, I have to stay in the NOW. The past and future do not matter and there is only ever this moment. I learnt that gratitude and manifestation are valuable tools in the pursuit if happiness. I learnt how to become aware of my breath and use it as a tool to keep me anchored into the present. I learnt that emotional energy is the same below the neck; that the mind has a strong influence over our experience over the world and when we learnt to harness it, we can choose the course of our lives. I learnt that to walk the path toward spiritual learning is not always straight and narrow, but wide and curving, up hill and through dark forest. It may not always be clear but when you allow the inner voice to be the guide, it is easy to find the way. I learnt that the only two certainties in life are death and change and to embrace change is to accept the natural flow of the universe. I learnt how to exist in this flow so that I no longer feel resistance to the universe.

And I learnt that nothing is more powerful than love.

At the end of each year I write down my achievements for the year and some goals for the next year. It is always interesting to see how much I have achieved from the goals of the previous year. I found this list and I can tick the 365 Days in Bliss, I also wrote GO TO INDIA! Big tick there… I also found a page at the back of a diary I wrote in last year:

When I woke up today I lay in bed and witnessed my breath. Drinking in te prana, I found stillness and the highest form of meditation, I felt momentary Samadhi; bliss.

If someone came up to me and said, “Who are you?” my answer would be silence.

To just BE is who I am.

So Hum.

I also make a point to write down my gratefuls. I don’t think I could list them all. I am grateful for everything. From this loving man beside me to the sun shining on my leg, to the air in my lungs. This year may have started off as a search, a struggle for bliss. Now it is easy to recognise bliss all around me, to see the divine in everyone and everything, to make every moment sacred. What began as a meditation separate from life has turned into making life a meditation.

Finally I would like to thank all of the people who helped me this year. From my friends and family who were encouraging and kept avidly reading throughout, to the teachers who came into my life and made an impression. I would also like to thank all of those who donated to the I-India project when I cut my hair and to the beautiful people at I-India for showing me around the projects. Also thank you to Sascha and all the girls form Yogatime for accepting me as a teacher when I got back from my travels, to Rosie and all the girls at Embrace for their friendship and help with meditation tools and finally to my mum for… everything. From the bottom of my heart and soul I express deep gratitude and honour for this journey and to myself for having the courage to turn up every day and make something out of nothing, and to be brave enough to write about it with open honesty.

Peace.

Bliss.

Namaste.

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Day 359 – Christmas Day

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We hug and say Merry Christmas. We hug and say thank you for the gift. We hug and say hello. We hug and say I love you. But Christmas is all about the food, right? Prawns so big they are almost small lobsters. Champagne in coupes, reminiscent of prohibition times and oysters so creamy and delicious, I get sad when I swallow the last one too quickly. Two types of fruit mince pies- puff or short crust pastry. I better try both to see which one I prefer. Presents… I know that people can see exactly who I am when I unwrap a dreamcatcher, a book called 1001 Ways to Tranquility and a lotus notepad. Then we play put-put golf. Turns out I am better at beer pong. I feel like I am part of a new family this year.

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My favourite quote from my new tranquility book:

Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug

-Mark Knopfler

Day 358 – Christmas Eve, the family meditation

Traditionally, my family celebrate Christmas on this evening. We would wait until midnight to open the presents but since my brothers have small children now, we tend to do the present opening during the day. This year I am not with them, but I still call to wish them a merry Christmas. Both my brothers sound busy, though my eldest brother still manages to throw in a bit of a lecture about tattoos and not drinking too much. My mother tries to get upset about my plans to get a motorbike license and for once I am a little bit grateful not to be around them all today- it seems they are in the mood to have a dig. I know it comes from a place of love, but it is interesting to look at my journey and see that the things I have done that have worried them the most have also made me the happiest and ultimately, left them the proudest. Not that they will always agree with tattoos or riding motorbikes, but one thing I will always know is that if they see me following my bliss and finding happiness, then they are happy for me. My mum may worry when I travel to third world countries alone, or when I go camping in the snow, but she has always told me that my only job is to be happy, so I know that she will support me no matter how crazy my adventures get. I do miss them, even when they are shaking their heads and rolling their eyes at me. It is beautiful to spend time with another family, to feel the love they have for each other and be reminded of how much love I have felt from my own brothers and sisters. Meditating on family love, I realise that the first part of this year, I had to escape everything from my life in order to find bliss. I had to find myself. I had to be alone, to totally remove myself from the world, from my relationship, from my family and friends and strip back all the layers that had influenced me and hidden my true self. Now, knowing who I am, being comfortable enough with my true self to let it shine, I am ready to share my bliss. I am ready to find bliss with the people I love; and with one in particular. Now, finding bliss isn’t about escaping but immersing and experiencing.

Day 351 to Day 357 – the new path is carved

Day 351 – Judi

Just when I am ready to throw in the towel, when I don’t want to do this job anymore, when I have had more than enough… I meet Judi. She is in a retirement village; shocked at how quickly age caught up with her, but when she speaks, you can tell that her mind is still sharp as a tack. I stay longer than intended, listening to her stories of life and soaking up her sage advice as she tells me that I am charming and can succeed if I just finish my degree.

She tells me, “At age 18 I went to Paris with my bets friend and a map. I never for a moment thought I wouldn’t go. I had this indelible belief that I would be safe and that nothing bad would happen.”

I know this feeling so well. How many times this year have I made snap decisions and just believed so much in this crazy path that it led me to amazing places? How many times have I just opened my eyes and seen a sign that led me somewhere unknown? There were times I had no clue what I was doing and all I could trust was that the universe was leading me exactly where I was supposed to go. I have learnt to listen in to the whispering winds of change and act on little more than gut instinct. I have learnt to trust myself, to follow my own lead and to flow with the current of life.

When I stand up to leave, this beautiful woman who has loved and lost more than she can count, who never married or had children, but instead travelled the world and protected the young men in her care like her own, who in her 80’s refuses to be called a geriatric, grabs my wrist and stands stock still as she looks at my unicorn. I hold my breath, scared that my charms will be lost for my body art.

“I love it!” She tells me fiercely as she looks into my eyes with a cheeky smile. “Every woman needs a unicorn to chase away the dark thoughts.”

 

Day 352 – blue bottled

Today is my last day of work and how fortunate I am to have had a cancellation. It is hot and the ocean is bright turquoise. I race back for a quick costume change and I am in for a swim across Malabar. This is the greatest feeling in the world, my fingers passing through the cold water as I fall into rhythm. If I were the sun right now, staring down at this tiny moving figure, would I wonder why she does it? Or is it just known? No blue bottles in the whole beach but somehow I find the single figure that is tangled up amongst some seaweed. A piece of tentacle becomes stuck on my right middle finger and it takes a while for me to realise and pull it off. I have had enough of these to know that it is nothing. I get back home and as I change, I see myself turn pale. The pain is going up into my glands and I want to vomit. I have never had a reaction like this before. I just want to lie down. As I lie there, sleepily staring at the clock tick towards my next appointment, I think of the poor blue bottle that stung me. Usually they float around in a little group, washing into the beach, innocently bobbing around in virtual suspended animation. This little guy had been caught in some seaweed, isolated from his clan and taken far enough away that the two of us met and he blessed me with an afternoon off to rest. This may be painful but I am still grateful.

 

Day 353 – the constant gardener

Another tattoo. This has been my most active year under the inking needle. This time, I am getting a full garden piece down the back of my left calf and the outer side of my shin. The lily is already there, so it is getting coloured and connected by some green vines which curl around my ankles. The grapevines represent my work with wine, the sacred drink; the chilli is for my Mexican heritage; the lotus flower is a symbol for yoga; the bird of paradise is my mother’s favourite flower and the LIZard is me. I can’t believe it but I am nearly asleep as the tattooist colours my skin. It’s like as soon as I finished work, my body and mind has just switched off. Time to wind down. Four hours later, we have an outline of my garden and some scattered colour done. It looks amazing. Gardens are all about staying grounded and feeling connected to the earth mother, knowing where your roots come from and staying true to them.

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Day 354 – the work path

The decision has been made. I am now on holidays and I have already had two job interviews. One is for a job teaching yoga. I know that this is my true path. The other is for bar manager of a new bar opening next year. I can’t go back to selling wine. I did meet some amazing and beautiful people in that job, but I know when something isn’t quite right. I miss teaching yoga and I don’t even have the time to study, so I am re-enrolling in Uni, quitting sales, learning how to ride a motorbike (the pollution issue drives me mental, knowing I am driving around for nearly 100km per day), and going back to yoga and bar work. For the first time in months, I feel genuine relief about a decision that I have made. Now that there is no more work for the rest of the year, I can really hear my internal voice and it is once again speaking its truth about work.

 

IMG_6069Day 355 – another drum circle

It was all because of a drum circle that I found my yoga path to begin with. At the work Christmas party, I am struggling to fit in with the group. I feel a little bit sick so I go in to lie down and under the Christmas tree I find three djembes. As my work friends come in, I silently hand them a drum and we start to play. At first the sound is disjointed, but eventually someone grabs a guitar and we fall into an erratic rhythm which eventually flows into music. Singing along with a guitar and a djembe, I can remember where I come from. I know I am making the right decision in leaving this job and going back to yoga. I think I need to get myself a djembe. This beat conjures inspiration.

 

Day 356 – the long and winding road

You know a relationship is serious when you are introduced to the family. I am scared out of my whits. We drive about 9 hours up the coast to Byron Bay to spend Christmas with Matt’s family. When we pull into the driveway, I gasp, “Are we here already?”

It was not so long ago that a friend of mine had to meet her partners family and my advice to her was, ‘Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.’

So right now I am trying to be a unicorn. I can only fall back into my own skin and hope that they see why Matt loves me. Why am I so nervous? For the past four months my job has been to walk into people’s houses with wine and win them over with personality and charm. Why should I be so nervous about this?

It’s always hard to tell but if I know one thing about myself it is that I am good at being me. I don’t really know how to be anything else. And I love me. So hopefully they do too…

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Day 357 – in the open air

Matt has been telling me about this open-air cathedral and when we pull up, I didn’t imagine it would be so beautiful. Overlooking a valley, the sandstone cross rises up in front of a cloudy sky. The pale green logs make pews under the sun and the sandstone altar immediately inspires thoughts of the Sermon on the Mount. This is how it is supposed to be. Outside, with the wind circling me, it is easy to feel the presence of god. Of all the temples, mosques, churches and sacred buildings I have prayed in this year, this has to be my favourite. I look past the cross and into the depth of the green beneath. I start to say the Lord’s prayer, but I leave off after a few lines. It means nothing to me. My most sacred moments have been in open honesty with the divine. So I find a simpler way…IMG_6098

Keep him safe.

Bless our love.

Thanks for making life so awesome.

Ok, not so sacred but sometimes that candid statement says more than the ‘thou who art…’

And I do feel blessed.

Day 337 to Day 342 – anxiety and stress relief

Day 337 – anxious love

At what point did I allow this FEAR (False Expectation Appearing Real) creep in? Where did it come from? I can’t really explain this but it seems like my barriers have come up again. All of a sudden I am anxious and scared. I have crossed the point of no return. The only way out would be painful because I don’t want out. I am happy and I am in love. I know. Terrifying. The human condition dictates that we question anything that seems “too good to be true”. We map out the worry lines and plan out our failures, certain that it will all fall apart. Despite growing up with the fairytales and the happily ever afters, harsh reality quickly teaches us to mistrust. To trust seems naive so we suspect others, become uncertain of our own emotions and question everything, descending into a spiral of confusion and negative projections. Of course, worrying is praying for what you don’t want to happen. Through the power of manifestation you create reality and in believing that something will go wrong, we feel validated when it does, convincing ourselves that we just knew it and we were right to be so suspicious. Well, what if I just let the barriers down? Eventually my pride has to come away and I have to talk about it. The funny thing about communication is how silly our fears seem when we speak them out loud; I am chronically phobic of seeing clay being cut with wire. The thought of it causes my mouth to dry up and I almost start shaking. I couldn’t get through a sculpting class with a gun to my head. And yes, when I speak about this I realise how absurd it is. Well, when I finally tell Matt what is bothering me, I suddenly get red in the face and laugh at my own silliness. Out loud, fears are just false expectations- proof that I am not living in the NOW. Proof that I am allowing my past to influence my future and both of those conditions to ruin my present. Well the past has happened and can’t be changed so why worry? And the future hasn’t happened but can be determined only by the now so why not just EEE- Exist, Enjoy, Experience…

 

Day 338 – city gal

I have been sent to Newcastle for work… Which sounds awful until I arrive at Nelson Bay. This place is beautiful! And then I get the cancellations… Luckily enough I have a bikini in my car so I can take advantage of the gap in my bookings. So here I am, sunbaking on white sand in front of turquoise blue water. I can’t remember the last time I was somewhere like this. Mexico? I remember a year ago it was my everyday life to be around crystal clear water and white sand with no people around. Suddenly I realise how much I have acclimatised to the city. I realise how city-fied I have become when I turn up at a customer’s house and see an animal with antlers. I can’t even name the animal but I realise this is the first time I have seen antlers so close. I grew up on a farm! How can this be so amazing to me? I guess I have been absorbed into the concrete jungle already… Well, at least when I escape to a white sand beach with bright blue water, I can appreciate it because it is so different from grey roads and traffic lights.

 

Day 339 – Oscar is here!

We are three, the reps sent up here for work this week. The other two girls and I go for a walk in the early morning. I am telling them about Oscar, my nephew who is due any day now. When we get back to the hotel, I have a message on my phone that he has arrived. We have been waiting, but not as long as his older sister, Bella. She has known about his arrival for a while now. My sister-in-law was once told by a psychic that Bella knew her little brother from a previous life. When they were away, Bella was telling other children about her brother, Oscar, who was coming soon. As soon as she found out she was having a little sibling, she was excited that Oscar was coming. Now he is here. They are finally together again. I wish I wasn’t away. I am starting to question this job that keeps me away from my family. I am always working. Well, from far away, welcome to the world Oscar. I can’t wait to meet my new little man!

 

Day 340 – yoga with an audience

Of course, I have brought my yoga mat. If it doesn’t fit into my bag, then it isn’t a bag worth taking away. I roll the mat out before dawn and begin some sun salutations. I thought that everyone was asleep until I hear the girls say, “wow.” I guess I have an audience. I am not entirely comfortable with yoga performance, but sometimes people pay attention. The important part is to keep myself centred so that I am not performing. Turn within so that this isn’t about the without. It’s like the philosophical question- if a tree falls in the wood and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If a yogi stands on her head and nobody is there is to see it, is she truly upside down?

 

Day 341 – sole detachment

Get pretty. Wear the face. Walk tall in the shoes. Smile. Be pleasant. Behave. All the orchestrations of a polite lady can be faked but when I am shopping for shoes and immediately go towards skulls or tassels or studs, then decide that this is too hard, I ask if I can just go barefoot. I end up choosing shoes named Black Krystle because that is my best friend’s name and I will need her courage every step of the way. Strapping on mountain climbing shoes in the snow? Easy. Crampons? Yep I got that. Flippers whilst floating? Sure. Barefoot is something I am more than comfortable with. Whilst I can rock high heels when necessary, they represent jail for my toes and the unwelcome feeling that my sole is detaching from my foot. I don’t like feeling sole (soul?) detachment. Sometimes this whole monkey dance of society- look pretty, have the right hair, the right clothes, the makeup… it all just seems so fake. It’s all part of the song and dance that we play to present an image to our peers. If I want people to know who I really am I wouldn’t wear shoes at all.

 

Day 342 – stress

Another speeding fine. The universe and certainly, the roads and traffic authority are telling me that I am going too damn fast. SLOW DOWN. Do not pass GO. Pay $200. Mum reminds me about uni. Time to stop mucking around and re-enroll. Time to choose- is sales really where I want to focus so much time and energy? Certainly not. To write and write well may not be able to be taught, particularly by distance education, but it might help with getting paid for this. And I have about $500 worth of fines to pay so working for money would be ideal. The whole whirlpool of thought is starting to pull me down into a bit of a cave of stress and behind my sunglasses I struggle to hold tears back. Thus is the first time Matt has seen me cry. I pretend not to. If there is one thing meditation can fix it is stress. Another antidote is love. Today we are meeting Oscar and when I hold his tiny body and smell his little head suddenly all those issues are gone. Pure life. Breath. His dreams can’t be more complex than leaving the womb. He can’t even see right now. I keep trying to wake him up but he is milk-drunk. My beautiful niece hovers beside us, looking dotingly down her little brother who she has been waiting for. Fines, uni, work, money, all melt away when pure life reminds you how to live. Just breathe.

Day 316 to Day 321 – 26 revolutions round the sun (this lifetime)

Day 316 – unholy moods

So once every 2-3 weeks I reserve the right to turn all Jekyll/Hyde and bite your head off, especially if you try to tell me coffee isn’t good for cramps. The inside of my most sacred part of my body feels like it is turning inside out and coffee is the only thing I have to look forward to in this long day of pain. So don’t tell me what is good for cramps. Especially when you don’t have a uterus. But my mood is fine. Aside from a little emotional, I don’t seem to experience the same mood swings I did a year ago. It was very early on this year that I realised how much my daily meditation affected my moods. No more spontaneous crying for no reason, or unfounded frustration. So today it is just the physical pain that I have to endure. It isn’t so much that it is actually painful, but uncomfortable. It is the kind of feeling that makes me want to stay in bed with a heat pack, not sit in the office for 10 straight hours. I spend most of the day cringeing and hunched over my desk and customers seem to sense this unholy mood because I am having no luck with them. On top of that, there is pressure coming from behind me, pushing me toward the same customers who are telling me to f*** off. I am between a rock and a hard place. It is a small space here but I know that even coal turns to diamonds under time and pressure. It is in the smallest of spaces and the darkest of hours that light can shine brightest.

 

Day 317 – judgement

I shouldn’t judge a yoga teacher by her age. I shouldn’t judge a yoga teacher at all. I can’t help but feel surprised, though, when such a young teacher can teach such a solid class. It isn’t that I am amazed by her insight – I know that even the youngest of people can have the oldest of souls. I know that the tiniest girl can have the greatest strength. What surprises me, I guess, is her confidence. She could be older than she looks but she is able to project her voice across the room, to hold the energy and never falter. She knows what she knows and she sticks with that. She is another channeller. She is open to receiving the universe and then uses that open channel to guide the room full of yogis. And I have learnt another lesson about preconceived ideas. I am not old, but I should never doubt the ones younger than me. This generation, we are full of light and there is probably more consciousness being born since the 80’s and particular now, with Indigo and Crystal children popping up everywhere. Eventually the children will be wiser than all of us. And I hope so, because they have to carry the light into the new world.

 

Day 318 – Jeff Buckley’s aura

I am about to head to a double yoga class when I get a text message from a friend and one of my favourite yoga students. Her friend is sick and she suddenly has a spare ticket to Ben Harper’s acoustic concert at the Opera House. I didn’t even know he was in Sydney! What a perfect way to channel my excitement. Matt is flying back to Sydney tonight so I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping well anyway. What a random and perfect surprise.

Aside from being a talented and angelic musician, Ben Harper makes a connection to the audience. He looks at people. He reaches out to people. He plays to parts of the audience and when a girl yells out a song she wants to hear, he bows with honour and says “Your wish is my command.” The perfect gentleman. And he tells stories. He is talking about a presence approaching, with the blackest eyes, surrounded by a hazy light and asking him to play slide. It is Jeff Buckley. If I could ever imagine a more perfect story, it still wouldn’t be this good. Two talented musicians, who both radiate immense light and energy, together, out the back of a festival in France, playing slide.

 

Day 319 – Heath Ledger’s ghost

I may have ruined the surprise by going to Ben Harper last night… Matt had organised tickets for tonight but I can’t wait to go again and with someone I get to share love with. And it is a completely different experience. Aside from my energy, which is probably radiating pink with all the love I am feeling right now, Ben Harper plays different songs with different instruments and tells new stories. He is telling us about late night partying with Heath Ledger, who bought him a piano and asked him to write a lullaby for his child. When Ben plays the lullaby, it is one of the saddest and most beautiful things I have ever heard. One of the stage lights, which had been working perfectly yesterday and all of tonight, starts to flicker slowly. Eventually it turns off. This doesn’t happen for any other song. Was that his way of saying he was there? Of saying hi, thanks for the song. Is Heath Ledger’s ghost haunting the opera house? Or just that song? It seemed like a beautiful connection between the two worlds anyway.

And yes I was fine alone, but how glad I am to be back again with someone I have grown to love so much. After being apart for a few weeks, I have lost a lot of the fear and trepidation that was holding me back. I feel more ready and open to this experience. I have no choice. Love is like water and it flows whether you want it to or not.

The most I ever learnt about my true self was in the name of love.

– Ben Harper

See the 365 Days in Bliss YouTube Channel for videos from the Ben Harper concert.

Day 320 – the angels we encounter

I try to have no expectations when I visit customers. I have no idea what they are going to be like, whether they will buy, so I just enter them all with my mind empty. There is no point expecting anything because it could all be nothing. My first client of the day is a beautiful surprise. It is in a Pilates studio and what I find is a connection rather than a sale. I make a friend. When I leave, I can’t help but feel like that was more of a success than a sale would have been. The day is wet and rainy. My next three appointments are not there when I arrive and yet, I can’t shake the conviction that today is a beautiful day. I race home for lunchtime to see my own angel again. I have to confess that I am extremely happy to be back in his presence again.

I do feel surrounded by angels, even every drop of rain is like their blessing.

 

Day 321 – 26 revolutions around the sun

And today I am definitely surrounded by angels. All the beautiful messages, kind words, hugs, kisses and gifts. I am so blessed to have all these beautiful people in my life!

A poem a friend wrote:

today is the day
your soul chose to enter this play
may it be filled with love
as may all your days
and all your plays

– Jim Hilbun

 

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Day 259 to Day 265 – resistance to love

Day 259 – resisting the lines

 You just can’t expect the unexpected. If there is one thing I have learned from this year of bliss, it is that change is the only constant. The path is never straight, especially where I am concerned. All my lines are squiggly, curling and sometimes crossing over. When I found myself on a date for the first time in months, I just took it in stride. When it lasted three days and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, I started to freak out. This was not part of the plan! I ran away from commitment, became chronically afraid of emotions, morally against the disease they call love and firmly protected behind my supposedly impenetrable wall of prickly toughness. Ah, how wrong I was. When I first got back from India, the palm reader at Embrace looked at my hand and said that my next big relationship was coming. I begged him to take it back. I rubbed at the lines on my hands, desperate for some years of solitude, but he just laughed at me. “How much time have I got, Ric?” I may as well have been asking about a terminal illness. He asked how old I was. When I said 25, he said I would meet him before I turned 26. Whatever, Ric, I thought. Palm readers get shit wrong all the time. Though, admittedly, Ric has told me some pretty accurate and specific stuff in the time I have known him.

Well, here I am, sitting in this guy’s kitchen, watching him cook me a wheat free, dairy free, vegetarian Pad Thai and I realise that this is the first time I have let a man who was not a direct relation cook me a meal without having to pay for it. I have always taken charge in the kitchen but for the first time in my life, someone is making me a meal for no other reason than the fact that they want to.

Suddenly I realise why I have had stomach problems the past couple of weeks. It was the resistance manifesting in my body. The more I wanted to stop the flow of energy, the more it all got stuck and caused dis-ease. The universe has made all the decisions for me this year and up until now, I had just accepted. This was the first time that I tried to fight it. Well, the universe thinks Matt is a good idea and I have to agree.

 

Day 260 – the chance to turn it all around

I had intended to detox this week but we had new wines delivered so we have had tasting at 10am both mornings. Ok, detox starts at lunchtime. We are having lunch out, a farewell for one of the consultants. Ok, detox starts after lunchtime. How many times can I bend these rules? When I get home, out of pure habit and exhaustion from a long day, I pour a glass of wine. Dammit I forgot. Ok, detox starts tomorrow. I am still making lentil hotpot when I put the wine down and make the decision to just STOP. It takes consciousness, it takes awareness and it takes strength. My friend, Liz (not myself, another Liz), who is a personal trainer, made the analogy: if you dropped your phone and cracked the screen, would you run over it with your car to finish the job or would you keep using the phone? ‘Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.’ – Penelope Cruz, Vanilla Sky

 

Day 261 – one of those days

First it is needles from the doctor.

Then I break a full bottle of Hungarian muskat in my samples case.

Then my car gets stuck in some gravelly sand where a road has just been excavated.

My last client is a complete no- show.

When I finally flop down onto Matt’s couch, I can’t help but laugh. What else could I possibly do? This would be the perfect moment for a piece of dark chocolate and a glass of Hungarian wine. That one that I broke earlier. Luckily.

Well, not every day flows. Not every day stays unbroken. My car got out of the ditch. I got to finish early and the only wine that was tempting me was not available anyway. So when I turn the day around and see it from another angle, it was actually quite beautiful!

 

Day 262 – fluorite to settle the chaos

 It is going to be a long day of work, with lots of driving around. As soon as I wake up, it is time to put the game face on. I just want to keep sleeping all day. I open all the windows, light some incense and stop to look out into the morning light. The huge piece of fluorite on the windowsill is there, solid and strong. Flourite is supposed to settle chaos. I bought it after our first weekend of chaos in this house, after the neighbours complained about our loud house warming. Krystle’s nickname is chaos. As soon as I brought it in the house it was instantaneous calm. She kept patting the crystal and spent the whole week being more settled than I had seen her in the whole time I had known her. Now it is my turn. I place both hands on the crystal and allow my breath to calm. When it is time to go, I say goodbye to the Chaos Crystal and hug the Krystle Chaos. Busy does not have to be chaotic. Success is not measured by exhaustion. I can do this my way. No rush.

 

Day 263 – the people I meet

My final tasting for the day is with my new friend, Daniel. I met him at Ravesi’s after City 2 Surf and we connected over each other’s awesome hair. That’s how you meet friends. Exchange a compliment, connect on facebook and now we are friends, forever connected by the internet. His other friends are just as beautiful and while they taste the wines and we chat non-stop, I feel immensely grateful for this random encounter. Climbing the branches back, I make the tiny connections that have led me to this point. If I had never shaved my head to go to India, I would never have had short hair for Dan to notice. If I had never started running in India, I would never have done City 2 Surf. If I had never started meditating, I might not have gone to India. If I had never had such a bad break up, I might never have started meditating. If I had never experienced some of the worst moments of my life, I might never have experienced some of the best. Everywhere I end up turns into magic and for this beautiful realisation, I am here amongst people that were strangers at the start of the night and then friends by the end of the night. One of whom, Jess, calls herself Miss Spiritual and has just returned from a meditation journey to Bali. These people are no accident. This is a part of the path, an important and significant moment. I have no way of knowing how this will affect the path further on, but I look forward to the moment in the future when I can look back at this and connect the dots, climb back through the branches and see where this point has lead me to.

 

Day 264 – six degrees

I knew that eventually I would turn up at someone’s house to do a wine tasting and would know someone there. The law of averages dictates that this had to happen, but it is still a pleasant surprise when I see the same painting in someone’s house as one in Krystle’s room. When I am looking at their wedding photos and spot a friend who grew up in the house across the street from me. The current population of Sydney is about 3,641,421. The idea that everyone is only an average of six introductions away means that I should be able to do this every week. And does facebook make it smaller? Does social networking make the degrees even less? Now that I can look up a person and see our “Mutual Friends”, does that not make the degrees even less? Then, the spiritual theory- we are all just recycled matter, all connected by a higher divine presence, a collective consciousness, and all made of stars; original energy from the big bang, reconfigured into everything that has come into existence. Not only do I know the boy down the street who once lived with my clients, I was also once related to Buddha, drank the same water molecules that once washed Jesus’ feet and have also been the same chemical compounds that made up a rock. This is the train of thought that can work its way across my brain in less than a minute as I stare blankly at other people’s wedding photos. My eyes return again and again to the person I know, simply because it is recognition. When someone says, ‘you look familiar’ and they aren’t trying to pick you up, maybe it is true? That past life, when were both cats? We climbed that tree and ate that rat together. Remember? Good times!

 

Day 265 – just say it

There are so many things that I say that I shouldn’t and so many things I probably should say but don’t. I hold back, I hesitate and I keep my mouth shut. Fear? Uncertainty? The barriers fly up again like security shutters on a bank and at 3am I find myself waking up in anxiety, wondering what the hell is this snake of negative thought doing slithering around in my brain? So I just say it. I talk about it. I open up and slowly take down the barriers, softening and being honest. When I can say the worst, I finally feel ready to say the best. Well, I don’t exactly scream it from the rooftops, but I whisper it and as long as he hears it, that is all that matters. Say what you mean and mean what you say. That is why I keep quiet. Tell me anything as long it is always true. And then you will always know that these words mean more than the sum of the letters that they appear to be. When I say that I love you, it isn’t just because you said it first. It isn’t just because I want you to hear it. It is because I love you.

 

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