Day 148 – Coogee to Bondi coastal walk

I have never seen a blue quite like the Pacific. It is cold despite the bright sunshine. I am walking slowly and talking quickly with a friend from school who I haven’t seen in years. It is like no time has passed. There is no point catching up on so many years- Facebook has kept us more or less in the loop about how our respective lives have changed. So we just chat and laugh the whole way. The entire coastal walk should only take 45 minutes to an hour each way but we take about 3 or 4 hours as we stop to take photos and have a coffee at Icebergs, Bondi. The walk is beautiful. Sandstone cliffs hanging over the white foaming waves, crystal blue water and ships in the distance. The cold weather means that the beaches are empty so the sand looks clean and bare. The south end of Bondi is really windy as we stop to take a picture. It is only Autumn so the air is only going to get colder and colder as the day goes on. I feel happy, despite the cold. Winter can’t seem to shake me this year. Despite the break-up, despite coming home from four amazing months away, it feels good to just enjoy simple things that make Sydney so special. The beautiful coast, amazing coffee and great friends- all the ingredients of coming home. Even in the cold, we warm up from the exercise. People jog past us on either side and I miss my jogging as I haven’t done it since Friday. It is seriously addictive, this running business! It is the endorphins, the breathing, the fresh air, the sense of achievement when I extend my endurance another few minutes. And then there is the gentle twitch of muscles when I finally stop to rest. After we ascend the small hill and come around to the bottom of the cemetery at Clovelly, I can feel that same twitch in my thigh. That physical reminder from the body that it appreciates so much movement.

When we get back to the car in the afternoon, my eyes go straight to the sign advertising gelato and I have to remind myself that it would defeat the purpose of the walk to go and eat so much sugar right away. I think I have succumbed to my sugar addiction too much lately. I seem to be eating chocolate nearly everyday. After dinner, as I eat the burka cupcake my mum brought home from the Muslim function she attended with my aunty, I make the decision that I can no longer use chocolate as a comforter. For the next week, if I feel like indulging in sugar, I am going to drink water, then have a cup of herbal tea and then a piece of fruit. I have heard the reward system works best for things like this so my reward for each day without sugar is that I get to buy a new song from iTunes. When I finish the week, I can buy a new album. Sounds like a good deal… until I remember that Wednesday is my nephew’s fourth birthday. Oh god, there will probably be cupcakes! Well there is always this beautiful coastal walk to make up for the cupcakes!

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Day 26 – meditation happens

The mind is like the ocean. The salt is all the thoughts. They never go away, but sometimes they are more still than others. I am sitting watching the gentle waves breaking up against the beach of Playa Esmeralda, where we are camping. The white wash is like my mind, a swirling mess of thought cascading over itself in an endless barrage of waves.
Then I stare at the horizon. Past the breakers, the ocean is glassy and blue. Meditation is like trying get out past the breakers. Today they are beating me back to the shore. After about twenty minutes of getting moved around in white wash I stand up and walk away. Sometimes it’s ok to forgive myself and walk away.
Later in the afternoon the persistent jet lag is threatening to throw me back to sleep so I go for a walk on the beach. It’s low tide but the dark wet sand is still cold on my Barr feet. The Santa Ana winds are blowing me down the beach and a swirling mist of dry white sand is dancing around my feet, guiding me forward. I stop and stand in this swirling magic and through the wind I can hear a vulture in a nest above me, warning me away from her young.
Sometimes meditation happens to you, even just a moment, but you will know exactly when it does and somehow you are more grateful for those surprise moments of bliss, like a gift from the universe.