Day 301 to Day 308 – the tethers that keep us togethers

Day 301 – the “I” tells you where to go

There is no way to interrupt the flow, regardless of the best intentions and there is no way to go any faster than the Sunday driver in front of you. It doesn’t matter how badly I want to go to this yoga class, nobody wants to let me get there. Even the traffic lights are lingering through reds and I by the time I get to the studio I have missed class by only three minutes. I go straight back home, via the beach, knowing that I can’t even be bothered to get out of the car. Ultimately, the “I” leads me back home, exactly where I started. Nothing to do but let go and accept that I was not supposed to leave the house today.

Day 302 – cry of help

I get an email from my friend, asking for help. She feels she has fallen away from the path, committed a mistake and now she can’t sleep. I am surprised by my own words, but I know exactly where she is because I have been there too. If I have experience in anything it is straying from the path, beautiful mistakes and most definitely lack of sleep.

Everyone needs to go through a Persephone phase. The Goddess Persephone, while in the company of her friends the sirens, was abducted by Hades and made to be the queen of the underworld, the goddess of shadows. There she remained, deepening her roots in the dark earth until the Spring when she comes out, strong enough to grow in the light. She is a symbol for nature, growth and the harvest.

And some of us has to go through this shadow phase. Everybody that has walked the path of light knows that it is steep and not without its bends and twists or branches that trip us over. But what happens when we fall over? We get to see the path really close up. We get to stop and look at the spot where we fell- the present moment. We then get to draw a line in the dirt and move forward. This life is not about making no mistakes. It is about experiencing every moment as a blessing, even when it seems painful. I can’t claim that I haven’t made mistakes. I have played with my shadow side, I have spent time in darkness, planting my roots deep in the underworld and now that spring is here, I am ready to grow into the light.

 

Day 303 – benchmark

The measure of fitness is in a 400m run, 10 push-ups, 10 grunts and 15 sit-ups, all done 3 times as well as a mile run. I try not to get hung up on results, especially when they don’t seem to be what I expect. The first sequence is a whole 20 seconds slower than what I did 2 months ago, but the mile run is faster. I have no idea what this means, but it affects my internal dialogue to the point that I start to question my self worth for the majority of the day. But that won’t make me faster. They don’t measure fitness and self worth in the same scale and Boot Camp has made me stronger and faster, regardless of whatever the result is from the benchmark test. Just have to run faster next time.

Day 304 – tethers of leather

My soul sister and beautiful reflective friend, Zani, and I always had strips of leather and bracelets tied around our wrists and ankles. We sat on the island at Togat Nusa retreat one day talking about this and came up with the idea that we were trying to tether ourselves down. Being both typically flighty, airy, flower children, it was something grounding that seems to ties us down to the earth and keep us from floating away.

We are in the office all week so I can leave the pencil skirt at home today and wrap my limbs up in random strings and leather pieces. It is like coming home. This is how I usually look. The corporate gear feels like more of a costume than the native american head piece. I feel comfortable in the flowing shirt and thongs and I the little leather bands that remind me of myself. It is like tethering my real self to my projected self.

It’s not like I could ever hide the true self. She is kind of loud. And she likes bright colours.

Nothing keeps her tied down, but it is nice knowing that she is tied to me.

 

Day 305 – salt water cure-all

I can’t explain but I spend over an hour crying today. It is a necessary part of the growth to let go of the past which no longer serves us, but it seems that the ego is not ashamed to mourn its own death. Each layer that is peeled back to expose more truth and light is another layer left behind. There is no need to hide the tears or worry why they come. I just accept them now, as a necessary piece to the evolution. The salt water cure-all. Ocean. Tears. Saline solution (found in every first-aid kit).

 

Day 306 – yoga ideas

It is through a passing comment that I have a lightbulb moment. I am sending emails to Zani about Bali when I say that we should run a yoga retreat in Bali. Suddenly I wonder why the hell not? Everything amazing in this world would have started as an idea at some stage. It is a tiny seed that is planted. I start to look at myself and think, “Man, Liz, if you followed every idea that came into your head… Hang on a second. You usually do.” Actually if I didn’t follow all the whimsical ideas that pop into my mind I would not have had half of the experiences that I have had. I certainly wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t have gone to India, or Mexico, or gone mountain climbing, or run the City 2 Surf. I camped in the f***king snow! A yoga retreat in Bali is not that far fetched! I love the way a good idea snow balls in your head and the only way to contain it is to take a pencil and an enormous piece of paper and use pictures and words to draw it all out… PLAYING IN THE LIGHT

 

Day 307 – moving

At the beginning of this year I was told by a numerologist that 2012 would be very restless for me, that there would be lots of moving about. So I am not surprised that I am moving. Again. Looking at how many times I have packed a suitcase this year from when I first left mum’s house to go to LA, to Mexico, to Sumatra, Bali, India, mum’s house, Coogee, back to mum’s house… I wonder if I should even unpack at the other end. I have grown more accustomed to zippers than to cupboards and Lonely Planet makes more sense than a bus timetable. Well, another shift, another change, another place to call home. But really, as long as I am with me, I am always home.

 

Day 308 – bend but do not break

Someone has locked the bottom door knob at the Coogee apartment; the one we never lock because I had the only key, which I lost. When the new flatmate comes home later than night, she is freaking out that she can’t get in and has to go to a friend’s house. I meet Krystle at the locked door in the morning. Five of us had planned to sleep in that place last night, but five of us have been locked out and forced to sleep in random couches, beds and floors of friends. We stare at the lock and then start to call people. One by one, all the girls get picked up and we return to the apartment. The locksmith would cost $155. My bedroom window is open, though it is mysteriously three stories up, despite Krystle’s room being street level. Coogee is a bit of a warped, hilly, magical place like that. Facebook, if nothing else, is the easiest way, I have found, to obtain a ladder, especially since a passing fire truck would not help. My friend, Pete, comes to the rescue and even climbs in for us. The new flatmate collects her stuff, takes her bond back and leaves. She can’t handle the stress and the chaos of living with us. (I wouldn’t even be living there!) But yes, there will be chaos because LIFE is chaos. You have to bend, not break. If I took off every time I got locked out of a place… I remember one month I locked myself out of my car THREE times! I had to get really tricky with a coat hanger. And another time I locked myself out of mum’s apartment with my dog, Lewis Carrol’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, a bottle of water, and a tub of watermelon. At the time I was kind of stressed because I was four hours late to work, but it was four hours of reading in the park with my dog, staying perfectly hydrated! The point being that locks will forever keep people out of their own homes and is just another piece of chaos to which I bend, but do not break. Plus it gave me a really good chance to catch up with my friend, Pete, who is extremely elusive. And who would have thought- he even got me hooked on a new leather tether supplier… BLACKRAG.

http://blackrag.com.au

Advertisements

Day 203 to Day 211 – moving out and on

Day 203 – knowing when to let go

It is never easy to break up, but it seems that when girls break up with friends, it is never without a few tears. It is almost like courtesy, like an offering. I can’t be your friend anymore but here is some clear liquid from my eyes. It isn’t anybody’s fault- nobody wants to seem bitter or angry. Usually girls fall out in a bitchy fight over something that was said or about a boy. This girl is different. She says we are too stressful for her and she doesn’t need the drama in her life. Krystle and I aren’t really sure what she means. We are both quite highly strung so what stresses out our friend Kelly doesn’t seem like a big deal to us. What makes Kelly cry only gets a shrug and a laugh from us. We understand the cyclical and ever-flowing, ever-changing nature of the universe. Kelly is ex-military so her way of thinking is completely different from ours and we have come to a point where we have to part ways with love. I don’t argue or try to change her mind. The true nature of selfless love is knowing when to let go.

Day 204 – pranayama class

At Yogatime, the teachers are now bringing a focus into certain classes and posting that on the facebook page. Today it is my turn so I have offered a pranayama class. We begin with simple breath regulation:

Extending the exhale for twice as long as the inhale, I invite the students to breathe in for 3 seconds and breathe out for 5-6 seconds. When they are comfortable with that, they extend the inhale to 4 seconds and the exhale to 6-8 seconds. Eventually they will be breathing an inhale for 5 seconds and an exhale for 10 seconds. This means that instead of breathing for the usual 12-18 breaths per minute, they can slow their breath rate to only 4 breaths per minute. The sages say that before each soul begins a lifetime, we are given a certain quota of breaths. This defines how long each person shall live. If you save 14 breaths per minute, the idea is that you can live longer. For example, small birds that breathe extremely rapidly live only a few years, whereas a turtle that breathes slowly, less than once per minute, lives over a century. It is hugely underestimated how much the breath can improve life. Simply noticing the breath, becoming aware, keeps us in the present moment. When we are overthinking or stressed, it is the breath that immediately suffers. It gets short, shallow and moves up into the chest. Although the lungs do actually sit in the chest it is better to use diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing. Most people only use the top third of their lungs and breathing in that space stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight mode, releasing massive doses of the stress hormone cortisol. This causes anxiety, insomnia, stress, skin conditions, over-active appetite and poor concentration. Unfortunately, fast-paced city life has us living in this fight or flight mode constantly. It takes awareness to bring us back to a calm and centred breath rhythm. The best way to do this is to pay attention to where the breath is happening and then use the belly to breathe. Once the belly is expanding on the inhale and contracting on the exhale, the muscle that lies below the lungs, (the one that is actually intended for breath), the diaphragm, is working.

Through the class, we incorporate Lion’s Breath, Wood Chopping Breath and full horizontal stretch to feel the lower ribs expanding into the floor, practicing diaphragmatic breathing. To finish, we do my favourite: Nadi Shodhana, the alternate nostril breathing. This balances Ida and Pingala, the Yin and Yang of the body. Ida and Pingala are flowing rivers of energy that spiral around the central channel, Sushumna, which travels up the spine. The lunar Ida, the left side is feminine, it is the yin, the calm side. When the left nostril is dominant (more open), we may be about to sleep or just woken up, or in a very relaxed state. The Pingala nadi, the right side, is solar, masculine, energy. When we are active, agitated or excited, the right nostril will be more open. The nostril changes dominance every 90 minutes. My yoga teacher in India claims one only needs four hours of sleep; two hours for each nostril.

By the end of the class I realise how much information there is to share about breathing; I have only just touched the surface. There are so many more breaths to be taken…

Day 205 – Just another Tuesday

It would be a lie if I said this day was truly like any other. This week I have taken the time off from work to just focus on teaching yoga. One of the other girls is away so we are covering extra classes and this afternoon I am teaching two classes, back to back. I go for a run in the rain, checking the weather. I believe when it says clearing that I will end my run in the sun. Unfortunately the rain seems to be feeling rebellious and it starts pouring down the hardest as I come back towards home. My spray jacket proves how non-waterproof it really is, but when I get home the success is that I have run 10km in much the same speed as I did in the Sydney Harbour 10k Race! I haven’t been able to get to that speed in ages, but it seems the rain gave me motivation to want to get back home! I keep stressing out, thinking I am still in a hurry and that I still need to rush to get somewhere or do something. I don’t think it has sunk in just yet that I can focus on yoga. Tomorrow I will even get to practice a class! I remember being at classes every chance I got and now I rarely step into a yoga room unless I am teaching. I think the justification is always that since I am a yoga teacher, I can teach myself but I never quite push myself out of the comfort zone on my own… And life begins at the edge of the comfort zone. That’s why I run faster in the rain.

Day 206 – cracking open my heart 

I lower myself back down from the fifth back bend, Wheel. I am hot and tired. I wish I had not done the sprints before class, but here I am in Misha’s Progressive class at Yogatime. Everyone is in the mood for backbends but I need to teach the next class and I know that backbends always lead to massive energy shifts and can seriously affect us emotionally so I am a bit nervous and try to just take a step back. I take a rest from another backbend. I can feel my heart cracking open as I rise up for another one. This time it is like an explosion, like a wall being broken. A wall is broken. That wall that I built around my heart, one brick at a time. Each time I felt disappointment in a relationship, I got out a trowel and put another brick down. Now that has just been bulldozed and as we go to the wall for handstand to realign the spine, I can feel the energy pouring down into my head and out into the ground. The dust of that wall falls away. In Savasana I can’t stop crying. In silence, I wipe away the tears. Finally, I can admit to myself that I am vulnerable. I am not made of stone and steel. I can pretend to be, but inside, there is a softness and a sensitivity and there are still wounds that need to heal. I know that if I saw my ex fiancé, my heart would still skip a beat. I know that when I see my dad, I feel guilt that I don’t spend more time with him. I know that despite my never-ending optimism, my ability to laugh it off and see the light in any situation, that I can also allow myself to feel pain and sadness. Those darker times just make us ready for even brighter times.

As I begin to speak to the next class, I am surprised to hear my voice is shaky. All of that energy that has shifted and exploded from my heart is still bubbling away and I have to take a moment in silence before I speak again. After class I eat with a friend and then take a moment in my car to just be with myself, to hug myself and just allow the dust to fall away. Another pivotal step in the journey.

Day 207 – the universe will provide

By some twist of fate, the money for the bond of our new apartment has not transferred and is still stuck in banking limbo. I am running around like a mad lady, picking up pay, counting out my tips and separating coins. It is just enough to cover the holding deposit. I spent my whole childhood feeling my mother stress about money and always told myself that I wouldn’t be like that. I just feel like if I put faith in the universe, know that abundance will come and just allow the energy to flow, then I will always have enough. I have never felt poor. Even with nothing, I have had an amazing life and feel like I have never had to miss out on an experience because of money. As we sign the lease, I am aware that I have no full time job. I am teaching yoga, working sporadically and yet here I am, signing over every dollar I have to move into a beautiful little art deco apartment in Coogee. I have faith that I will get the perfect job for me. I trust the universe to provide.

Day 208 – get yoga stoned

We have moved! It takes us all day but we move beds, the fridge, the boxes, clothes… The new apartment is beautiful. The morning sun shines in the windows and the floorboards stay warm all day. I can’t even remember the last time I had a room of my own. I have my own space. I have my own bed. I feel settled and ready for this new life. Our unit number is unit one. This means new beginnings, which is quite appropriate for this period of drastic change in my life. New job, new home, new friends… I love change. When everything is changing like this I feel like I am in the flow and things will just all fall into place. I have to leave Krystle setting up her bed while I go to teach yoga. Friday night’s Flow n’ Let Go class is one of my favourites to teach. I get to slow the pace down, play relaxing music and watch the students get nice and loosey goosey. By the end of the class, a short meditation, I love seeing everyone open their eyes lazily and look around from that place of peace and calm. “Yoga stoned?” I ask and they all nod. Ah, the natural high of yoga. I used to do a Yin Yoga class every Sunday afternoon and then go straight to work at a cocktail bar in the middle of Kings Cross. Everyone thought I was getting stoned because I was so relaxed and my eyelids would be a little droopy. That is true yoga, the union, the balance, the stillness, the natural high. If you walk away with only one thing from my yoga class, then I hope it is your sleepy smile.

Day 209 – to each his own

Some people eat meat and some don’t. Some people like AFL and some like League. Some people want to get married and have children. Some do not. The older I get, the more sure I am that I never want to eat meat again, that I will never understand AFL and that I don’t want to get married and have children. And the funny thing is, this seems common among women. It is usually men that still want the traditional lifestyle. I remember watching a documentary about relationships and it said that marriage was initially created as a contract of ownership. As humans evolved, they initially began living together in small groups of ten so women only had one or two options to procreate as they would instinctively go for someone who was not a direct relation. This ensured the survival of the species. As the groups got larger and humans began living together in groups of one or two hundred, then it became possible for a female to procreate with multiple partners within her monthly cycle. On a primal level, males needed to ensure that their own DNA was the one being passed down and so, in order to keep the women under the control of a single male, the contract of marriage was created. I always said I never wanted to get married so it is amazing to me that I was ever actually engaged. As a single woman enjoying her freedom, I find that I often get into this conversation with people, particularly with men. They want to know why it is that I choose to be single? Why is it that I don’t want to get married? Why don’t I want children? Is this all really so unusual? I see the world, an overpopulated, consumer driven society where people die of obesity on one side of the world and people die of starvation on the other side. I see a world of beauty that is slowly becoming extinct, one species at a time, because of the human race. I see my niece and nephew in their parents’ SUV and know that by the time they are my age there will be no more polar bears in the world. How could I want to bring another human being into this planet? It is through selfless love that we care for our children. It is through selfless love that I choose not to have a child. As to marriage, why would I sign my life away? I would never criticise another person’s decision, nor question it. Allow me to be who I am. Let me eat tofu. Let me watch League. Let me be alone.

Day 210 – first supper

I love to cook. I race back to mum’s house and get a few pots and minimalist items for the kitchen. I take all the curry spices. Mum never makes curry anyway. I look up a recipe but I don’t agree with it so I throw everything in my own way. Krystle’s last housemate cooked a lot of Greek food so she jokes that I have a lot to live up to. I am confident as I serve her the quinoa and vegetable curry. We eat on the floor like Morroccans. Someone has offered us a lounge but since the house is so small, we feel like it would be cluttered with furniture so we just sit around on the rug with cushions everywhere. This is common for me. I am a floor dweller. When I come over and get offered a seat, I usually sit on the floor anyway and lean against the carpet. People probably think this is strange but it is probably just the yoga mat. I have grown accustomed to being low to the ground and I feel strange sitting on chairs and sofas, especially if there is nice carpet. We eat our first meal in our new house. I have suitably impressed Krystle with my food making. I had looked up a recipe but dismissed it and decided to just follow my instinct. So here is my curry in a hurry:

CHICKPEA and SWEET POTATO CURRY

Ingredients:

1 chopped onion

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 diced capsicum

1 sweet potato, cut into chunks

half bunch silverbeet

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 can coconut milk

1 tomato, chopped

fresh coriander

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

half tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp curry powder

salt

pepper

dash of hot chilli powder

Heat oil in pot, add onion and ginger and cook for 3 minutes. Add capsicum, cook for a further 2 minutes. Add spices and mix well. Add vegetables and enough water to almost cover all the contents. Mix well and cover. When sweet potato is softening, add chickpeas, coconut milk and spinach and fresh coriander. Cover and allow the spinach to cook in the steam for two minutes with the stove off. The heat of the pot will steam the spinach, keeping it raw enough to still enjoy as much of the nutrients as possible.

Can be served over rice but I prefer to use red quinoa. Boil one cup of quinoa in two cups of water with a pinch of salt.

Delicious.

Day 211 – inspiring the kids

Krystle is an artist. When I wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom I find her in there, her hand is blue and she just looks at me and says sorry. I look up at the mural on our bathroom tiles. I hug her. This is what I love about this woman. Freedom. Love. Truth. Beauty.

A young 15 year old girl is doing work experience with us at Embrace this week. She is timid and quiet. I keep forgetting she is in the shop. I take her for a walk and we have a chat. I know exactly where she is in her life because I have been there: too shy to be herself because she is still figuring out who she is. I talk endlessly and she tells me that my life sounds awesome. I end up giving her this whole spiel about how positive energy attracts more positive energy. Put out the awesomeness and you receive awesomeness. (I guess this is the 15 year old version). “Every person you meet is a reflection of you, honey, so send out good vibes and you will be surrounded by great things. The best thing I ever learnt is that I can do exactly what I want to do. As long as I always do things with good intentions and come from a place of love then there is no reason to feel guilty for following your heart. It has taken me a long time to do that but I feel that I am walking my own path and that it is right for me.”

She asks me if I ever feel bad when I think about other people, like my ex-fiance when I broke up with him. I tell her of course it is hard to hurt someone but if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then you will hurt the person more by staying. “You need to live for yourself, you need to love yourself first before you can love others otherwise you expect them to make you happy and then you make their life miserable when they can’t.”

She grows quiet. I guess it is a lot to take in. I draw some cards from the Angel deck, thinking about my career and how this junction of change I am in will affect me. When I start pulling cards, I am more and more amazed at the result.

Trust – trust your feelings and dreams to guide your career path.

Meditation – Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

Yoga – your life is enhanced by yoga, stretching, and exercising.

You’re on the Right Path – keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s working.

Travel – Your life purpose involves travelling.

I realise the Yoga card has another card stuck to the back of it so I pull it out…

Writing – You heal, inspire, teach and entertain with the words you write.

Ok, universe. Message received. Loud and clear! Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for the opportunity to share what I have learnt and thank you for the beautiful people who remind me where I have come from and where I can potentially go.

New Video of Moving Meditation

Check out the video I uploaded of Day 21 moving meditation, the bhumi namaskar, on YouTube!

Watch Now!