Day 309 to Day 315 – movement meditations and manifest stations

Day 309 – Malabar mornings

It is one of my favourite places in the world. Somewhere between the jail and the sewerage plant, a little untouched paradise that most people believe is tainted with shit. Thank god, because it means very few people come here. It is beautiful and quiet, full of stillness and reflecting light on the surface of the water, ever flowing in the long bay, towards the shore. The water still takes my breath away when I walk in. I have to stop halfway and prepare myself mentally. As soon as I am moving, it is the best feeling to move through this liquid perfection. Across the narrow bay, to the opposite rock. I stop and sit, staring out to the point where the sky meets the sea. Sparkles of sunshine dance, throwing shimmers and rays into the morning. If anybody asks, tell them this place is full of criminals and shit.

 

Day 310 – run, swim, run

I can’t stop running until I get there. It is hot and it isn’t even 8am. I swim across and back. 4km to the boat ramp and 4km back home. Every step, every stroke, every heartbeat a moving meditation. In water, in sun, in air. I don’t want to ever stop. I could keep going, do it all again a second time. Just keep running and swimming so that you never have to go to work. Or keep breathing so that work is just something that happens outside, while on the inside, I am still radiating sunshine.

 

Day 311 – following instincts

If I get out of the car, I won’t be safe. I don’t even stop the car. I look around. The worst building in the worst neighbourhood in the dodgiest part of town. I am wearing a short skirt. I couldn’t get away fast enough in these heels. I would be encumbered with two cases of wine. It isn’t worth the danger. I drive away. As fast as I can. At the end of the day, we are all animals, and when danger approaches, when a predator is among us, hairs stand on end, ears prick up and you run away, as fast/far as you can. No point waiting around to be attacked. Instinct never lies.

 

Day 312 – manifest stations

There is something angelic and magical about 11.11. When I look at the time and it says 11.11, I always take a moment to imagine my sankalpa, or intention- something I want more than anything else in this world. I don’t ask for it, or even use words. I just imagine it, exactly as it would be if it were happening. I slow down my breathing and feel my way through this mind experience. The power of manifestation is immense. The skeptic says, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” The mystic says, “I’ll see it when I believe it.” There is no point not believing in your own success. After yoga, I can feel that deep yearning, a pulsation from within that moves with each breath. I want to teach again. I can feel the yoga mat screaming at me to teach again. To follow my path, my dharma. When I post this on facebook, Krystle notices I posted at 11.11pm. I had not even looked at the time. It just happens that way sometimes the time manifests the dream manifests the reality.

 

Day 313 – boot camp, swim, yoga

I have an addiction to movement. There, I said it! Boot camp, I just love crawling on the sand. I love the feeling of being immersed in cold ocean water, but I need to have a destination. I need a point to swim to. I need to aim for something. I love to stretch my limbs apart in yoga, ever expanding through breath and movement. Growing with energy and light. I can’t get enough of sun salutations. I don’t ever get sick of pigeon pose. I just want to move forever. Even when I sleep, it is like I am swimming around in my bed. I wake up with my head against the wall and my feet resting on my pillow. I curl up in the other direction and end up with my head hanging off the end of the bed. Ever dancing, ever swimming, ever flowing with the ceaseless waters of life.

 

Day 314 – time for me to write

I don’t like when I don’t have enough time to write. I take a day to myself. I leave my phone in a separate room. It is like detaching a limb. I resist the urge to watch all 12 episodes of True Blood and I lock myself up with endless tea and my laptop. Write write write write write. I can barely catch up. Every day deserves to be honoured with more words but there is only so much that can be said about bliss. The truth is, every day it becomes easier. The bliss is more obvious and the calm is always there. The brightness is always there, beneath any of the surface emotions. The trick is to always return to the breath and find that place of stillness. Like sinking to the bottom of the ocean, where everything is dark and still. Waves crash on the surface, ripples of water, movement, chaos of storms, wind chop, all happen on the surface. On the ocean floor, there is silence and peace. Returning to here, this where I can write from. The surface is too windy and the words get swirled around in tornadoes. So I retreat to the base of my spine, where the breath begins. And the words can flow.

 

Day 315 – no alarm

Two days in a row now, I have turned off my alarm, in the hope that I will sleep in. Apparently I don’t know how to sleep in. I wake up at 6am with the urge to move. Yesterday it was yoga. Today I run. 9km. I don’t have to drag myself out of bed. I sit up and stretch. I want to get up. I want to enjoy the morning. I want to experience the early light. The irony is that if I had woken up to the alarm, my default reaction would be to groan and reluctantly remove the covers, actually giving myself the verbal command; “Get up, Liz.” But without the alarm, I float out of bed. I enter the day with ease and softness.

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Day 223 to Day 228 – City to Surf to Wine to Blood

Day 223 – too excited to sleep

I am still buzzing of the natural high I got from climbing and I can’t seem to sit still. I want to run around and yet I know City 2 Surf is on tomorrow so I need to rest. I roll out the yoga mat and get to downward dog, which is where I stop. I can’t move. It feels too good. Finally I have stillness! Most people probably wouldn’t think that downward dog is much of a rest but I love this pose and with rhythmic breathing I can stay here for ages. So I do. About twenty minutes later I finally move into a forward bend. This is the kind of practice that I need right now just to calm myself down. I can feel the whirlwind of excitement slowing down. I move slowly, with intention and do no more than about 6 poses in total. I feel completely different when I stand up. I barely slept last night so I finally realise how tired I am and decide to have a lie down. It doesn’t last. I feel the energy rise up again and I decide to get ready and go out. I just want to see people. After being isolated all week, I want to be surrounded by a crowd, to have to say hello and goodbye to everyone I know. When we leave the house the road outside is wet from the rain and in two steps I take a tumble and graze my knee. I will later graze the other knee on my way home. I hold the bloody tissue in the taxi, shaking my head at the irony. Seriously, Liz, you can go mountaineering for a week and come away with nothing more than a couple of bruises but the moment you try to put on high heels you fall over and start bleeding?! I know my vata energy should be calmed in some other way but this feels like more than just the erratic winds of vata blowing me about. I feel the fire of pitta burning away inside of me, charging me about. I feel like I have been ignited and I can’t possibly just stay inside in case my energy burns the house down. It is an amazing feeling to be so bright and light. I am in bed by midnight and finally can sleep. When I wake up I will run 14km.

 

Day 224 – City 2 Surf

I wake up early and can’t get back to sleep. I am way too excited for this race! I get out my running gear. It seems cold so I am grateful that I managed to wash my thermal Skins in time. At the start line, groups of people chat to each other. I stand alone, listening to music. I am uncertain about this. I know how tired I should be. I am still running on the fire energy that I have gathered from mountaineering. I can’t believe how little sleep I have been getting. I close my eyes and turn inwards, taking a moment to see that fire. This fire can carry me up a 2km slope carting a sled of human faeces. I have no idea what heartbreak hill is supposed to be like but it can’t be as bad as that slope. The crowd starts to jog and I begin dodging all the walkers and prams that were in front of me. Before long I find my own space in the wide open road of William St. Emerging from the tunnel, the sun is sparkling out over Rose Bay. I love Sydney. I take a moment to be grateful for this chance to see so many people places as we run towards Bondi beach. I know that the hill happens at the halfway point, but when it is over I am unsure. Was that it? I don’t want to sound arrogant but wow, it really was nothing! It was a long uphill run, yes, but I never really found it hard. I guess it’s all relative. After the slopes and hills I have been climbing this week, that paved road was nothing. The last km is the hardest. To be so close and yet so far, it is like my body finally allows itself to admit how tired it really is. It is at the last few hundred metres, coming around the bend toward the finish line that I feel the last surge of energy. I sprint toward the finish 93 minutes after I left the start. I had wanted to finish in under 90 minutes but considering all the factors at play here, I am pleased with my result. I did it and I did it easily. I never felt like I was pushing myself harder than I could handle and I came out the other end alive. Time to go home and lie down again. One of these days I will figure out what rest means.

 

Day 224 – grass blessings

I am walking back to Bondi to pick up my car. The coastal walk is eerily empty of people. A cool wind whips at my face and I look out to the horizon. The ocean is a dark grey colour, but I even love when it looks dark and stormy like this. There is something romantic about it, like she is heartbroken, crying over a lost love. I walk up some stairs towards my car, holding my hand out to run my fingers through the tall grass. The smooth blades slide across my skin and I stop to say thank you to them at the top of the stairs. I feel like rolling around in the wet sand, like smelling damp earth, like just making love to mother nature. I stop at my car, not even sure if I want to get into it. I know I have things to do today, so I need to get in and drive but I have just had the most beautiful walk, feeling entirely part of this universe. I get in and despite the cold, wind down my window and enjoy the air on my face. I guess that is the beauty of wind. It gets in everywhere and even when encased away from nature, a window can always be opened to let in the sunshine and the breath of god.

 

Day 225 – last yoga class

It is not without some emotion that I teach my final yoga class at Yogatime. It is a busy class and as I find the rhythm of my voice moving along with the pace of the students, I start to wonder if I am making the right decision. When the class leaves and someone tells me it is a shame that I will no longer be teaching there, I almost want to cry. What am I doing? To be honest, I am not sure but this isn’t the first time this year that I have wondered about this journey. All I can do is trust that the path I am walking is exactly where I am supposed to be. If I walk away from teaching asana, it does not necessarily mean that I will no longer be a yogi so I place my faith in the path and allow the allowing.

 

Day 226 – first day at Pieroth

There are worse ways to spend a first day of work than tasting premium wine. Learning how to read a German wine label takes a lot longer but once I have grown accustomed to the un-pronouncables, the rest is up to my palate. I close my eyes to breathe the soft varietal bouquet. Passionfruit, pomegranate, violets, citrus, fresh cut grass, earthy wood, spring jasmine at dusk… My brain struggles to keep up with my nose. How is there no meditation in enjoying the flavour of wine? Hand picked grapes, selected with care, the juice extracted through first press from the natural weight of the grapes. Anything made with such elegant delicacy, such love and passion, deserves to be honoured and drunk with the same meditative care.

I prefer the dry wines. The first one we try, a German white, Nussdorfer Herrenberg, steals my heart, though it feels some serious competition from the French Collier D’or. I never drink Rose, but I also never say no to a drop so when I try the Chevalier de Bayard Rose and fall head over heels in love, I can barely believe it. Drinking commercial, cheap wines, it would only take an hour before I would end up with a headache, or a minor hangover, but these premium wines with minimal additives (sulphites only), are mellow and kind. No headache or sleepiness ever appears. I feel satisfied and content as I leave my first day at work and offer gratitude to the universe for this part of the path.

 

Day 227 – help a friend out

Sometimes friends ask for help and without question we want to just blurt out all the advice we can offer. Sometimes that advice is taken on board and other times it is rejected. Sometimes it is appreciated and sometimes it aggravates. Ultimately, every experience is unique and what works for one person may not necessarily be truth for another person. Every person has to decide for them selves and no one situation can accurately reflect all the variables of someone else’s situation. Unfortunately tonight when I offer my friend some advice, I can see it has agitated him and that is the last thing I want. In the end, all I can offer is a hug. I hope it is enough, but be aware, dear friend, that the ego will make mountains out of molehills and drama out of drear. As your friend, I want to shoulder your pain and fix the problem. I want to share the embrace and light up the dark. But in reality, I don’t have all the answers. I won’t always say the right thing. Sometimes all you need is a hug and for me to say nothing but to only listen. If nothing else, I can tell you that I understand, I can validate your feelings, not tell you not to feel them.

 

Day 228 – running and bleeding

New shoes. We all love new shoes. I just wish I could buy old shoes. Wearing in new shoes can be painful and the blisters on the back of my heels are not healing. I go for a run but within the first kilometre, I have to stop and bend over because my nose is dripping with blood and I have no tissues. I stand and watch the red droplets fall to the ground. This has happened twice lately, but just mid-conversation. When the blood finally clots, I continue running and uphill my shoes rub the blisters so badly that I just turn around for home. When I get home the back of my socks are soaked in bright red blood. I can’t even run without hemorraging from my face to my feet! I don’t understand. I guess this is my body telling me to stop, to just rest and take it easy. I can feel the latent impressions coming back. The distorted body image appears in the mirror and I hear a critical and mean voice from my past make a nasty comment. I stop and look at my reflection deep in the eyes. “Liz, you just climbed a mountain last week. You ran 14km after going out all night and you still ran even after you bled from your face, only to find that you were bleeding from your feet as well! If you can’t forgive yourself and allow yourself to rest right now then you will never allow yourself the chance to recover your strength.” I take a long, hot shower and finally the negativity is washed away. I find my reflection again. “You don’t do guilt, Liz!” That is the last time I try to carry myself away on a guilt trip for not exercising as hard/strong/long as I wanted to. I wouldn’t treat a lover like that, so why do I do it to myself? Love. Pure love. Not tough love.

Day 187 to Day 191 – bouncing back

Day 187 – bounce back

Finally I feel ready to run again but my first attempt is thwarted by rain. I run some errands and when I get back the rain has finally stopped and the sun is calling me out. I get going and for the first kilometre feel like maybe the wind is too cold. I want to turn back again but I push on and soon I am warm enough and it is feeling great. At exactly the halfway point I sniffle and a torrent of blood comes out of my right nostril. I’m wiping blood on the grass as  have no tissues. This is gross. I am too far away now, the walk back would take forever so I just keep running. When I get home I feel that vibrant life force pumping through my veins again. I stop and sit with this feeling, meditating on it and enjoying the pulsation of pure energy. The radiant luminosity that had escaped me is now back and I feel ready to jump back into that manic scramble for time that I am used to. When I finish work, I have to sit down again. Ok, maybe I’m still recovering. I end up falling asleep on Krystle’s couch as she continues to chatter away for another hour. Then, in an act of pure love and selfless service, she carried me to her bed and puts me to sleep. No words can describe the bond of this friendship. When I’ve lost my bounce, she shares some of hers.

Day 188 – the long table

I am getting a treatment today with my friend Doc. With a light touch against my collarbone, I instantly feel my whole body relax. There are energy blockages all over my body and as he moves around to my knees, my neck, my back, my sensitivity gets ramped up and I become entirely conscious and aware of them. He asks if I can see anything. Behind my closed eyes, I have a vision of a long table. There is someone sitting at the other end. He asks who it is and when I look closer it is me, but older and wiser. I look more calm, more settled and yet, younger and more relaxed. He asks why there is such a long separation between me and my Self. We shorten the table until it finally disappears altogether and I am standing face to face with myself. Then I change places and become the Self looking back at me. It takes a long time to be able to do this, to enter the eyes of my spiritual Self and look back at me. The me I finally see is shy, young, like a child. She is looking up at me through her eyelashes. She is timid and afraid. I hug her to me, feeling protective. Eventually I let the child-like version sit on my lap and play. We are so close we start to melt together, fusing into the same person. When the treatment is over, I feel… luscious. I feel like I am vibrating at a higher level. I feel like I am pulsating in life force, like I am the divine Self, feeling out this body and enjoying every sensation. Doc smiles. He says if I can get the lusciousness then that is the whole point.

Day 189 – Sydney Harbour 10km

After only four hours sleep, I wake up excited and with a sore throat. I probably shouldn’t run. I get back into bed for a second and then that part of my brain that is constantly trying to prove it is tough enough, gets me back up and puts on my compression tights. It is time to run. I have been too excited about this! When I get into the city, it is freezing and still dark. There are fires set up where the runners are crowding around. I join the small huddle, looking around for someone I might know. No, everyone I know is still sleeping. Even mum hasn’t offered to be a cheering squad; she is going back home to bed. The race begins in the Rocks and wraps around past the Harbour Bridge and into Darling Harbour. It is only about a third of the way through the race when we see the fastest runners coming back around, on their way to the finish line. I feel like people keep passing me. I turn back to see if I am the last person but realise there is a whole trail of people behind me too. I realise I am also passing people. The sun is rising and the morning is bright as we pass the halfway point. I feel a stitch coming on right as I approach the second water station. At the 8km mark, I realise how far I have come. I have done this and nobody else. Nobody can take it away from me. Knowing my usual running pace is 8km/hr I check the time and realise it has only been 50 minutes. Excitedly, I round the bend to see the sun shining behind the Harbour Bridge. It is beautiful. As I approach the finish line, people are sprinting for the final dash but I just keep my pace. When I get my race results later that day I find out I completed the 10km in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 57 seconds. I have completely surprised myself! It may not be the fastest, but after recovering from the flu and having only 4 hours of sleep, I have beaten my own running pace and exceeded my expectations. I may have come in 35 minutes after the winner, but in my own heart I feel victorious.

After the race, I eat a quick breakfast and go to a Yoga for Runners workshop. It is basic, with lots of long holds and stretches. It is beautiful to just be led through a practice and not have to think about anything. It is the perfect thing for my tired, stiff muscles. I fall into a blissful sleep in Savasana and finally allow myself to realise how exhausted I am. I spend the rest of the afternoon in bed, sleeping. When I wake up, I am still holding the small medal. Sydney Harbour 10km. I did this for me. Nobody else can take those 63 minutes away from me. They are all mine.

Day 190 – the journey of hands on skin

One of my yoga teachers, Twee Merrigan, wakes up every morning and kisses the palms of her hands and then slides them all over her skin. It is her way of waking herself up with love, with appreciation for her body and to awaken the senses. When I tried this a few years ago, I remember pausing at my stomach and grabbing roughly at the “extra bits”. I remember poking meanly at what I felt were love handles over my hips and pulling back the extra deposits of fat between my thighs. At the time, my perception of my own body was distorted and I did not offer it any self love. I remember this lack of compassion and I feel sorry about it, but then I am so grateful for how far I have come. I can now run my hands across my stomach, loving every piece of it. I like the feeling of my hips and thighs and their curves and shapes. And I can allow someone else to run their hands across me without feeling shame or recoiling in embarrassment. It is a beautiful thing to finally accept and love oneself unconditionally. I hold my stomach in my hands gently and give it a loving pat. No grabbing, no judgement. Just. Pure. Love.

Day 191 – standing at the back of the class

I have just taught yoga and the small class of three students are in Savasana, resting. I close my eyes to the sound of Krishna Das’ beautiful, deep, voice. There is something magical about this still space at the end of class. I am standing at the back, feeling the chant wash over me. I have had one of those typical run around like a mad woman days. From the moment I got up, I just started rushing, even when I didn’t need to. Sometimes I think if I didn’t rush, I would always be on time? Now I finally slow down and accept this moment in its entirety. There is no other moment. There is no ‘ago’ or ‘yet’. Now is the only space we have. It may not always be still or quiet but even our silence roars and even if our bodies are still, the energy is forever expanding, like the universe. Someone told me today that I look taller. It is not possible that I have actually become taller since turning 25 but it is possible that my confidence makes me stand straighter, that my energetic body has expanding higher and that I take up more space with radiance. It is a beautiful day to be standing in meditation with three resting yogi’s. I feel like our energies are still dancing together, even after we stop moving. That is the lingering space that we all hang onto after class. That is the resonance we don’t want to lose when we walk away. So we take it in, swallow it down into our hearts and our bellies and we carry this light with us, sharing it with the world. That is what makes us grow taller.