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 157 – the art of tea

It is cold and windy, so the perfect day to sit by my brother’s fire and drink endless cups of tea. There is an art to tea. The different leaves, bags, tisanes, blends are like colours. Each delicate dried flower shades the flavour, adding subtle notes and characteristics. I have an entire cupboard filled with boxes, tins and jars of different teas. Early Grey, chai, green, rooibos, peppermint, lavender, rose, jasmine, Ayurvedic Vata tea, ginger, lemongrass, lemon… Tea pots in various sizes clutter the cupboard and there is always a thermos sitting in my car. Tea is a meditation in itself. To hold the steaming cup, warming the hands, take in the aroma, sip gently at the cup of perfection… and the world melts away. Nothing else matters, it is like the whole of consciousness is within the rim of the ceramic cup. The world always seems like a better place once I have a cuppa in hand. The warmth spills down, radiating through my body. I sit on the floor beside the fire, the cats curled up beside me. Still in my pyjamas, it is past noon as I sip and read. This is bliss. For once, I have nowhere to rush to, nothing to do and I can simply exist with this cup of Chilli Kiss (black tea with dried chilli flakes and cinnamon from T2). There are many truly great quotes about the Tao of Tea, so, here are some of my favourites…

I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea. -Lao T’ung


Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.  -Catherine Douzel

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.  -Anonymous

Tea should be taken in solitude.  -C.S. Lewis

Tea is liquid wisdom.   -Anonymous

Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.  -Honoré de Balzac

Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.  -Henry Fielding, “Love in Several Masques”

Tea…is a religion of the art of life.  -Okakura

Day 66- fasting, meditation app and detox tea

I wake up to the sound of cats. I am surprised it is morning, since I fell asleep at 4pm yesterday. I think I can hear a cat screeching, but it sounds strange, almost like a child. Then I hear Pat barking and I hope he doesn’t get it. I slept all the way through dinner last night but I am surprised to find that I am not hungry. There is always a part of any detox that encourages a fast, for digestive and spiritual reasons. Many religions practice regular fasting as it is believed to bring greater mental clarity and help one feel closer to the divine presence. I am happy that most of it happened while I was sleeping anyway since I have never actually gone a whole day without food because I find it so difficult. Watching Top Gear, Mark Hammond said something about “a heart of stone and a soul made of custard…” and all I could think was how much I wanted my soul to be made of custard. When I get up, I find Sooly awake. He says that dinner was loaded with MSG so I am glad I missed out on that. He asks if I heard the commotion- apparently the cat I heard was actually a Palm Civet, known for its expensive pre-digested Luwak coffee. Sooly managed to get Pat away from it while it escaped, but unfortunately it didn’t leave any droppings behind. If there is one thing I miss about Sydney it is a good soy mocha!

I start the day with Oil Pulling and then brush my teeth. Once again I am tricking my iPhone into thinking that I care about it by using it for meditation. I have downloaded a free meditation app called Silva Meditations. The morning meditation is only thirteen minutes, but I am not worried about the time anymore, especially since watching this video by Swami Rama. As long as I sit down and close my eyes for some time, I know it makes a difference. The guided meditation is quite motivational and sounds like it would be really good for someone going to work with a lot on their plate, as it encourages visualisation of the accomplishment of goals. After the meditation, I move straight into asana. I am still sore, so I go easy on myself and build energy slowly. I can’t seem to get my mind to be still. I am thinking about India, wondering about transport methods, ashrams, money, do I have enough long sleeved tops and pants? Finally I just shut off the music and lay down in Savasana. Could it be that the meditation on ‘getting things done’ has made me believe that I actually have a lot to do? I don’t know, but I feel like I am itching to get started on some study, which is always a good thing.

I add a little coconut oil to my smoothie, since it provides good fat and has so many health benefits including improved digestion, which is great during a detox. Although it is a saturated fat, the type of triglyceride makes it healthy for the heart and has been shown to help with weight loss. After breakfast I sit down for some peanuts and a nice detox tea. I have two types of detox tea. One that I have in the morning is from Mighty Leaf, the Detox Tea Infusion, which has peppermint, burdock root, dandelion root, spearmint, liquorice root, red clover flowers and basil. It tastes quite minty which makes it a refreshing morning tea. The other tea is Clipper Organic Detox Infusion, which is bright fuchsia when you steep it and is it made of hibiscus, nettle, liquorice root and aloe vera extract. It tastes delicious and makes for a good 3pm tea. Both teas are very delicious and gentle (don’t worry, the liquorice root doesn’t have you running to the bathroom!) Although I might miss coffee, tea has a soothing and comforting nature. Many have philosophised and meditated over the culture of tea and it is easy to see why. In Australia, there is a lot of importance placed on a good ‘cuppa’ and there are some days when it is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. There is a special kind of serenity that comes from wrapping both hands around a hot cuppa, closing your eyes and gently breathing in its delicate aroma. The ritual of tea can provide a stillness, a pause in the day, and even though my mind was swimming after the morning meditation, these gentle herbs bring me right back to my centre.