Day 245 to Day 251 – rest, remember, reflect and relax

Day 245 – lunchtime resting

It is a beautiful sunny day and we have an hour and a half of lunchtime to enjoy it. I find my usual grassy hill has been occupied by the telesales team. After they eat, they slowly make their way inside and I am left alone to bask in the sun. I lay down and take off my shoes, looking up through the swaying leaves at the sky. Feeling the twigs and grass beneath me, the breeze above me, the sun warm my skin and hearing a kookaburra nearby is enough meditation to keep me completely focused and mellow for the entire day. I end up easily making my target appointments for the day. I don’t know if it is possible but I am guessing the clients can sense this energy through the phone. Who wouldn’t want to meet a person who is happy to just lie on the grass in the sun? Sometimes I wish that I wasn’t me, just so that I could meet me and see myself through the eyes of someone else. And if I wasn’t me, I would lie down in the sunshine next to me. But I am me, so I can do little things like lie in the sunshine and be entirely present. This is life- not the doing, not the speaking, not the trying. It is through not doing that we have the time to feel who we really are, to sense the world and just arrive.

 

Day 246 – my window to the sky

When I wake up in the morning, I don’t even have to get up out of bed to open my blinds. I can lie in bed, warmed by the sunshine, staring out at the bright morning. It is still a bit cool in the mornings but the sun has never been more beautiful. I like the roof next door. It looks like something out of Mary Poppins. I feel like if I left this window open, Peter Pan could very well hop straight in and kidnap me back to Never-Neverland. Actually, this apartment has kind of become Never-Neverland. There are paintings of oceans and birds and unicorns, the Faery Oracle and Angel cards are always out, scented candles or smokey incense curls through the hall and sometimes Krystle and I lay around and watch cartoons, sprawled across the floor in a pile of cushions and blankets. Peter Pan, I dare you to have more fun in the jungle. This place is awesome! I could very easily imagine that my bed is floating through the world, this window showing me the rest of the world. Every place that we landed, I could crawl out of the window in my bare feet and explore sandy beaches on unknown islands, vast cities filled with skyscrapers and suits, fast moving rivers, snowy mountains, thick rainforest loud with the sound of birds. Through this window, I can see my own little piece of sky and when I open it up I can hear magpies telling the same story that they tell every morning.

 

Day 247 – tiger lilies

I have a tattoo on the back of my calf of a tiger lily. Krystle tells me it is a Stargazer Tiger Lily and when she gets home from work she has brought me three of them. They are pink and white, the same colour as the one that my tattoo was originally drawn from, even though there is no colour on my leg… yet. I originally got this tattoo for a dear friend and mother. She passed away so suddenly, breaking the hearts of her husband, her three sons, her step daughter, myself and many, many more people. I remember being in such shock that all I could do was fix up the flowers that people kept bringing over into vases and when we ran out of vases, jugs and empty bottles. Her middle son, who was never exactly the warm and fuzzy type, (more of the tough kid with enough piercings to get stuck to the fridge magnets if he got too close) came over and hugged me and said that looking after the flowers was exactly what his mum would have done. Her name was Florence and she was a living angel. In the short time I knew her, I had never laughed or cried so much. When I see these flowers, I can still hear her uncontrollable laughter when she accidentally drank the wrong wine. I remember the way she placed her hand elegantly on her long neck as she wilted in the heat of Phuket. I imagine she is sitting up in heaven, relaxing in a deck chair, the way she imagined her own parents to be when they passed. In missing her, I am grateful to have known her and for the simple things she taught me. She taught me that you can endure any pain for twelve seconds. Just count to twelve and it will be over. “If it isn’t, count to twelve again.” Or how to drink Bombay Sapphire with tonic and a slice of lemon. Or how to do the Nutbush (please YouTube this dance if you don’t know what I am talking about). I will never be able to smell one of these flowers without remembering the look of grief on her eldest son’s face, or the way her youngest son stared at photos of her, trying to burn them into his mind forever. And every time I hear the Jackson 5’s song, I Want You Back, I will see that small family hugging together in a group, trying to laugh and cry at the same time. Sometimes there is more poetry and beauty in grief than there is in joy. For we would not know how to love if we did not know what it felt like to lose.

 

Day 248 – The tea dragon

As the weather warms up, I realise I haven’t been drinking as much tea. It is also the fact that we still don’t have a kettle in the castle of chaos. I finally have the time and energy to boil some water on the stove top and I take the cup into my room where I get back into bed and stare at the dragon, keeping my tea warm. I am thinking about the symbolism of a dragon as I stare at the picture. What meditation does dragon totem offer? Obviously this is a powerful totem animal. Mythical, majestic and mysterious, they come from ancient Asian and Anglo-Saxon legends and symbolise strength, courage, balance, magic and primordial power. They also represent restorative energy, allowing us to become peaceful warriors. Considered lucky, the dragon ignites our inner fire and builds confidence… Meditating on this dragon totem can build these energies in us.

Lucky my tea cup has a lid on it because by the time I am ready to actually drink from it, the tea is still warm. The steam that explodes out when I take off the lid is like a breath of fire. The dragon kept the tea hot.

 

Day 249 – reflecting light

I am exhausted but I am not ready for bed. I need time to wind down, to relax and unwind before I pass out with my mouth open. It is well beyond midnight and I am still sitting up talking endlessly on our little floor space among the cushions. (Such hippies.) There is a single white candle stuck in the neck of an empty wine bottle. I get completely spellbound by the flickering candlelight reflected in the dark window. It is like the outside is reflecting the light within. That is the entire principle of the universe. Every person you meet is a reflection of something inside you. Every person you meet appears in your life to show you something about yourself. Even if you don’t like that person, or they make you angry, or something about them annoys you, the only way to see them is with compassion for they are there to reflect back a part of you that needs to change. Every person is a mirror. Every situation is reflecting light, illuminating the darkness, bringing us out of ignorance, showing us the path, lighting the way. Every candle shines brighter back at itself.

Day 250 – suffrage and seafood

We have to vote today. It is a local council election and though I have no idea what I am doing, I like to honour the voting process because of how hard women had to fight to get it. It was in 1913 that the passionate suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison, threw herself under the King’s racehorse, just so that women could have the chance to vote. For this reason, in my ignorance, I walk in and vote for the only female elective. It may not be the best method for voting but it is my only method today. It is probably too late for more research. All my wine tasting appointments have cancelled so I have the whole Saturday off and we decide to pick up some seafood and some fruit and vegetables from the organic market in the Entertainment Quarter. I have to ask for “the cheese with the holes… it’s kind of white and soft and may start with an S…” Asiago? Yes that’s it! I also find a more mature cheese, made of goats and cows milk, covered in Barolo grapes. We sit around for the entire afternoon eating oysters and cheese and drinking wine. When I finally get up to make some salmon, I have managed to wear my native american head piece and leave it on for the rest of the afternoon. Yeah it’s a little different for a chef’s hat… When I look back at the day I realise that I can finally relax. There is nowhere I have to be, nothing I have to do. If I want to hang around my house and eat oysters, drink wine and look like a Sioux, what better way to spend a Saturday? I voted, I ate, I drank, I finally relaxed.

 

Day 251 – locked out on the grass

I am teaching yoga this morning and nobody has left me a key for the studio. Everyone is either away or at YogaAid, which is why I am covering this class. As students arrive, I break the news that we are practicing outside. They all seem a little worried but when they start moving, I get them to pull the mats away and feel the grass beneath their toes, to connect with the earth. It is easier to be a tree when your roots are actually connected to the earth. This is a balance focused class so grounding is an important part of standing on one leg. The Rainbow Lorikeets offer beautiful background noise and the sun warms our bare arms. It is a beautiful and fun way to teach and I think I want to start teaching outside all the time! In the end, the students are excited and walk away saying how lovely it was to practice outside for once! Yoga studios are pretty much a Western interpretation of yoga anyway. I remember in teacher training being told about the yogis that would wrap themselves in wet sheets and then climb to the top of a mountain and practice asana until the sheets dried. This is nowhere near so extreme but from this ancient practice, most of the asana poses are imitations of nature and animals. In the end, I offer gratitude for the warmth of the sun, for the music of the birds and for being locked out and giving us the opportunity to practice in this beautiful outside space.

Day 229 to Day 236 – only love kills war

Day 229 – fight energy

Going to watch a fight is not something I would normally do but when the opportunity is presented, I consider it to be a new and exciting experience. Unfortunately, my instincts are right and watching people beat each other up does not prove entertaining. I used to love boxing training but I remember it made me really angry. It seems to fuel a certain kind of energy, a smoky, dark fire energy that ignites the ego into animalistic traits. The gym we are in suddenly feels extremely cold and I am shivering. I can’t wait for this fight to be over so we can leave. This time I am out of my comfort zone and there is no magic happening. I feel the fire around me, as though it is closing in and my own anger reflexes are sparking. I want to get out of this situation! Krystle sees me coughing. That chest infection seems to have returned. She wraps herself around me to warm me up and radiates light and love. She is excited and watches the fight with so much enthusiasm. She seems completely immune to the dark energy that I can feel. I close my eyes and visualise a white light radiating from within and enveloping my entire body. Suddenly time seems to pass faster and before I know it, the fights are over, we are in the car and driving back to my comfort zone. Perhaps if I had done the white light before leaving the house my experience would have been different. Perhaps I was just sick. Either way, the white light protected and healed. Energy is something we radiate, it is something we can change and use in any situation. It is our greatest power and yet we so easily forget about it. When I walk in my door, I feel myself stepping into a cloud of pure white light. This is home. This is sanctuary.

 

Day 230 – sunshine and the clouds

The clouds have lifted and the day is warm. I quickly change into a bikini and sprint down to the beach, but the wind is still cold and the scattered clouds gravitate towards the sun, stealing the warmth. It’s like the only cloud in the sky is working against me. It is too cold to be down at the beach with shorts on. Eventually I give up and go home. I am meditating on this when I start to look around me, feeling sunshine through the window. The light is seeking me out. I stare out the window at the blue sky and there isn’t a cloud in sight. I guess that is the irony of life. Sometimes there are clouds when you don’t want there to be. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it storms. Sometimes you find yourself warm in a blizzard and sometimes a little wind can chill you to the bone. If there is one thing that constantly reminds me of the changing nature of life it is the sky. Life is change and even in the cold, dark and stormy times, there is beauty. Warmth, like energy, like light, can come from within. The sun is always shining on the inside, so that we can reflect it back on the outside. Deep inside my true self, there are no clouds.

 

Day 231 – smile and dial

My first day of telephone calls at work. We call prospects for 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break. I dial the first number. Smile and dial, they say! Apparently a smile can be heard and nobody wants to hear from someone who doesn’t smile. A smile is about so much more than just the mouth, though and if you are speaking with your mouth, the smile changes anyway. I remember watching America’s Next Top Model (I know, it is my one weakness in reality television) and Tyra Banks was showing the girls how to smile with the eyes and not with the mouth. So a smile happens in the whole face. In Qi Gong, I was told to imagine the body filling up with smiling energy. As you move this energy around the body, you feel everything brighten up. So a smile happens somewhere deep in the dantian, below the belly button. It isn’t just necessary to flash your teeth when you make the call, it is also essential to find that smiling energy. People can sense over the phone what kind of person I will be and that will determine whether or not they will take time out of their day, let me into their homes to show them wine. Many of my calls are rejected, people are either not interested or they do not drink or they don’t remember filling out the survey and giving us their phone number. But many are also excited and pleased and I can feel them smiling right back. When I look around the room at the other reps, I see their own smiling energy, like a little aura of yellow around their faces. Smile and dial. “Hello, this is Elizabeth calling from Pieroth wines…”

 

Day 232 – you have what it takes to succeed

I don’t normally listen to motivational podcasts but I have found one about sales that is more of a holistic approach. Jason McClain of Personal Life Media, who records short 5-10 minute talks called Evolutionary Sales, offers a method for self hypnosis. I take out my notebook and write 3 sentences that I really need to hear, addressing myself in the second person:

1)   You have what it takes to succeed

2)   You know exactly who you are and have the courage to be your true self

3)   You are valued and respected

I then take my place in front of the mirror and stare directly into one eye (shifting between the eyes does not have the same intensity, so it is recommended to choose just one eye). I repeat each sentence five times and then notice any emotional reaction. I am supposed to do this twice a day for three days. The first round makes me feel a little bit silly but eventually I start to feel different. It is powerful to talk to oneself so directly, with such firm statements. I find my voice getting a little louder and stronger. I am more certain of the words. I feel empowered. I feel successful. I feel valued, respected, courageous. I feel me.

Day 233 – meditation creek

I wake up early for a run down to Bronte to meet a friend. When I get there, he hasn’t arrived yet so I wonder up the gully and down to a small waterfall. I sit down on the cool rocks and change from the running music to Wah!, listening to the soft chanting of Hare Krishna as I meditate on the flowing water. My eyes notice several pieces of rubbish scattered along the other side of the creek. I try to refocus on the water, knowing I can get the rubbish when I am finished, but I can’t concentrate. I step over the creek and start picking up what looked like a small amount of rubbish, but end up with a pile of plastic, foam and drink bottles that I can’t even carry. A man stops to say thank you, which I find odd for some reason. I guess if Mother Nature can’t say it herself, she sends someone who can… Rather than feeling like my meditation was interrupted, it kind of just morphed into an act of seva. I still feel the same flow of energy that I get from meditation, maybe it is just a little bit brighter.

 

Day 234 – the first swim of summer

It is hot today! Who would have thought we would already be in the ocean in mid-August! The air is soft and balmy and even though the ocean takes my breath away when I first jump in, I move around and soon feel comfortable in it. I realise it has been months since I was last in the ocean. Bali, maybe? In March. I allow the water to embrace me and I remember a poem I once wrote about the ocean being a lover. It is warm and inviting and then without warning can turn cold and uninviting, thrashing me around, rejecting me back to the shore. And obviously we always love the chase, because we keep coming back for more.

 

Day 235 – sisterhood

I have a three-hour break to go and visit my sister in law, Veronica. She is 7 months pregnant and starting to show. My four-year-old niece is playing with her cousins in the other room while we talk. It was only a month ago that they found out they were having a boy, but my niece, Bella, knew all along. She said she knows her little brother and that his name is Oscar. Veronica was once told by a psychic that they have been siblings in a past life. Even before Veronica fell pregnant, Bella would tell other children about her little brother Oscar who just “wasn’t here yet”. As soon as they found out a baby was coming, Bella was adamant that it was Oscar. Nobody could doubt her when she says it with such conviction. As we talk, he starts to stir and I get to feel the little movements this tiny life is making. Even though I can’t see him, I already feel a connection to this little boy. He is my blood, my family, waiting to be held by us, already loved by us. The miracle of life growing inside is still something I find so profound and incredible that I am not sure I will ever have the courage to do it myself. But it is still amazing to watch it happen. Can’t wait to meet you, little man…

 

Day 236 – standing up

Unfortunately, haters gonna hate.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

I know that my chronic optimism and happiness can piss people off, especially when they are stuck in their own cycle of negative thought. I know that people take an expression of kindness the wrong way and sometimes think there is malice behind a compliment. I know that not everyone understands pure love from a stranger. When a girl I barely know snaps at me and starts to say personal and spiteful words, I begin by very calmly telling her not to talk about it. I guess the Christian way to deal with this would be to just accept, know that she is simply misinformed, angry and suffering. Then again, even a spiritually evolved person can only take so much. Eventually I fire up and my anger gets thrown right back at her. Without swearing, without yelling, I tell her more than firmly that she is talking about my life, which is none of her business. In the end, the circle of friends around us has to yell at us both to shut up and I feel like I have failed. In hindsight, had I said nothing, her it might have felt better to walk away but I also feel like sometimes it is more than necessary to stand up for yourself.

Sometimes people judge, however I believe that everyone is a reflection. What is it that this situation is trying to show me about myself? Have I judged myself too harshly? Do I allow myself to criticise my own happiness? There are always two things to ask; how am I responsible and what did I learn? I am responsible for my reaction in this situation, for my anger and emotions. I learnt that I am human, I can still hurt from unkind words, and that if I can forgive the person who said them, then I can also forgive myself for being hurt by them and still send love to the person who said them for she must be hurting deep inside.