Day 84- shaving my head… yes I will miss my long hair!

Hair, I will miss you. I will miss the way you tickle my back. I will miss the way you provide a pillow when I have none. I will miss your smell when I have washed you with coconut shampoo. Hair, I will miss the way you can make my face look pretty even when I have had no sleep and feel like crap. I will miss the mindless entertainment you provide when my mind is absent and I can curl my fingers around you. I will miss those times when I have come across a bad stench in the air I rely upon my hair to work like a filter and use it to cover my nose. I will miss the way you can shine in the sun and the way you feel after a macadamia oil treatment. But mostly I know that I won’t miss you for long. I know you will grow back faster than I expect and I know before long I will be struggling with baby hairs and frizz and split ends and cursing you for troubling me. I know that, like everything in life, our separation is only a temporary thing. Nothing is certain except the impermanent nature of the universe. You are a perfect example of that, hair.

I wake up and touch the long strands of hair that frame my head. I pour it over my face and breathe in through it. Then I flick it out of my face and sit up. It is a hot day in Candidasa and my hair is a huge mass of frizz already. The perfect day to chop it all off, really. At breakfast, I am talking to Janice, another ashram guest, who loves India and has shaved her head on the banks of the ganges. She suggests I go to the temple across the road for a short prayer before I head to the hairdresser. I cross the road and the Ibu at the gate wraps me in a sarong. The air cools as I ascend the steps. The temple is halfway up the mountain in the cold, dewy rainforest. As I ascend, the sounds from the road start to fade away. In the temple, I can hear only the sounds of the birds. The air is fresh and alone in this sacred moss-covered stone shrine, I open my palms and turn my face to the canopy. From within All I can hear, all I can think is “love”, pure love, unconditional love. Perfect clarity descends upon me: I am not my hair, I am not my clothes, I am not my tattoos. I am only that which is within.

I open my eyes and look around the temple. Churches may not make much sense to me, but here, amongst the moss covered stones and bird songs, I know that if there is god then god would live here.

As the electric shaver is taken to my head, I grow silent and solemn. It is not sadness that has overcome me, but a reverence in the knowledge that I do this to free myself from the bondage of vanity, to let go of the conditioning of society, to let go of the attachment to “pretty”and just to allow myself to be my authentic self. No masks, no strings, nothing to hide behind. This is me and I love me. Pure love. Unconditional love. With inner peace comes world peace. With love for self comes love for others. With detachment comes freedom.

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Day 61- jet lag meditation and yoga sequence

We seem to cruise through the early morning flight to Padang fairly easily. I buy the visa on arrival while Andrew lines up for customs and we speed through the whole process easily, coming out of the airport to see the dark green mountains of Sumatra layered over in mist. I feel like it is the middle of the afternoon and I am looking forward to dinner when I realise it isn’t even 9am. Damn my body clock!

Arriving at the home we share with our friends, Mel and Sooly, we are greeted by Pat the Dog. He is a British Bulldog and living proof that ignorance is bliss. He is trying to squash his thick head underneath the gate and as soon as we get inside drags over his favourite toy: a floor mat. By the time we unpack and shower, we are ready for a Mie Rebus- spicy noodle soup with a poached egg. It is probably full of salt and MSG but it is delicious and I could eat it every day. I am already wondering about dinner again but it is only 11.56am. Not even midday! I go to make a tea but that gargantuan task takes me half an hour. We try to stay awake, talking on the phone, wasting time on Facebook, but by 4pm we are falling asleep in front of the TV. Andrew gives up and goes to bed, but I stay awake. Menstrual cramps are adding insult to injury so I am pretty much just moping around and trying not to feel sorry for myself. It is with more than a little relief that I am not feeling the same as Mel who is pregnant with twins and laying on the opposite lounge feeling sick with a headache.

I am almost asleep, but I get to my computer and look up ‘jet lag meditation’. I find another yoga and meditation blog, Spirit Voyage, which offers a yoga sequence and meditation. I practice the yoga sequence and add a few more poses in, but my tender mind can’t make sense of the meditation instructions so I find a free guided meditation on QuantumPlus, which offers a short 6 minute visualisation that leaves me feeling relaxed and definitely ready for bed. It is around 7pm but I am still holding out for dinner. By the time I have eaten and fallen asleep it is 9pm.

3am. Awake again.

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JET LAG YOGA SEQUENCE

  1. Savasana – lay down and be aware of each are of the body, from legs up to head
  2. Wind relieving pose – laying on back, hug each knee into the armpit (this gently massages the ascending and descending colon, respectively).
  3. Gentle supine twist – both legs bent together, take to one side as you turn the head in the opposite direction.
  4. Janu Sirsasana – sit up and forward on the sit bones, straighten the left leg and bend the right knee so that the sole of the right foot is against the inner left thigh. Inhale to lengthen the spine and exhale to take the forehead down to the knee.
  5. Seated twist – (from previous pose) take the right foot to the outside of the left knee, sole of the foot flat on the floor and the knee bending to the ceiling. Lengthen the spine up with the inhale and with the exhale, twist to the right, looking over the right shoulder. The right hand can be placed on the floor behind you and the left elbow hooked onto the knee.
  6. Baddha konasana – soles of the feet together, knees wide, bend forward on the exhale
  7. Supta virasana – Come to kneel. Toes together, knees apart, lean back onto hands or elbows or all the way down
  8. Child’s pose – Legs stay the same, lean forward to bring the forehead onto the mat
  9. Downward facing dog – press hands into the mat, tuck the toes under and take the hips to the ceiling.
  10. Pascimottonasana – step through to sit forward on the sit bones, legs together and straight. Inhale to lengthen and exhale to come forward.
  11. Vipirita Kirani – legs up the wall, back on the floor