Day 362 – happy hippies

Is is the Tibetan Prayer Flags that give it away? Or the attempted mud hut in the backyard overlooking the jungle? It could be the Alex Grey pictures that IMG_6184make so much sense to spiritually minded people. The Ganesha, Buddha and stone Aztec calendar all contribute to the vibe around the caravan but it is the word, LISTEN, painted on the tree that gets my attention the most. In the same way my excessive jewellery, tattoos and flowing clothing seem to mark me out, it is always a bit fun when someone who has never chanted with Hare Krishnas can turn around and blatantly label you as a hippy. To me, this is just how I am. This is how my friends are. Walking around barefoot makes more sense than high heels. Meditation groups make more sense than group sports. The hippy whose dwelling this was comes with me through the supermarket as we search for lentil burgers, discussing giving up fish as the final step toward becoming a true vegetarian. We both agree that cheese would be the hardest thing to give up. Because vegans are just intense, man. I guess if all this is what makes me a hippy, then I am a hippy. Light up the incense, pull up a djembe and sit on the bare dirt cos we are about to fry up some haloumi.

Day 351 to Day 357 – the new path is carved

Day 351 – Judi

Just when I am ready to throw in the towel, when I don’t want to do this job anymore, when I have had more than enough… I meet Judi. She is in a retirement village; shocked at how quickly age caught up with her, but when she speaks, you can tell that her mind is still sharp as a tack. I stay longer than intended, listening to her stories of life and soaking up her sage advice as she tells me that I am charming and can succeed if I just finish my degree.

She tells me, “At age 18 I went to Paris with my bets friend and a map. I never for a moment thought I wouldn’t go. I had this indelible belief that I would be safe and that nothing bad would happen.”

I know this feeling so well. How many times this year have I made snap decisions and just believed so much in this crazy path that it led me to amazing places? How many times have I just opened my eyes and seen a sign that led me somewhere unknown? There were times I had no clue what I was doing and all I could trust was that the universe was leading me exactly where I was supposed to go. I have learnt to listen in to the whispering winds of change and act on little more than gut instinct. I have learnt to trust myself, to follow my own lead and to flow with the current of life.

When I stand up to leave, this beautiful woman who has loved and lost more than she can count, who never married or had children, but instead travelled the world and protected the young men in her care like her own, who in her 80’s refuses to be called a geriatric, grabs my wrist and stands stock still as she looks at my unicorn. I hold my breath, scared that my charms will be lost for my body art.

“I love it!” She tells me fiercely as she looks into my eyes with a cheeky smile. “Every woman needs a unicorn to chase away the dark thoughts.”

 

Day 352 – blue bottled

Today is my last day of work and how fortunate I am to have had a cancellation. It is hot and the ocean is bright turquoise. I race back for a quick costume change and I am in for a swim across Malabar. This is the greatest feeling in the world, my fingers passing through the cold water as I fall into rhythm. If I were the sun right now, staring down at this tiny moving figure, would I wonder why she does it? Or is it just known? No blue bottles in the whole beach but somehow I find the single figure that is tangled up amongst some seaweed. A piece of tentacle becomes stuck on my right middle finger and it takes a while for me to realise and pull it off. I have had enough of these to know that it is nothing. I get back home and as I change, I see myself turn pale. The pain is going up into my glands and I want to vomit. I have never had a reaction like this before. I just want to lie down. As I lie there, sleepily staring at the clock tick towards my next appointment, I think of the poor blue bottle that stung me. Usually they float around in a little group, washing into the beach, innocently bobbing around in virtual suspended animation. This little guy had been caught in some seaweed, isolated from his clan and taken far enough away that the two of us met and he blessed me with an afternoon off to rest. This may be painful but I am still grateful.

 

Day 353 – the constant gardener

Another tattoo. This has been my most active year under the inking needle. This time, I am getting a full garden piece down the back of my left calf and the outer side of my shin. The lily is already there, so it is getting coloured and connected by some green vines which curl around my ankles. The grapevines represent my work with wine, the sacred drink; the chilli is for my Mexican heritage; the lotus flower is a symbol for yoga; the bird of paradise is my mother’s favourite flower and the LIZard is me. I can’t believe it but I am nearly asleep as the tattooist colours my skin. It’s like as soon as I finished work, my body and mind has just switched off. Time to wind down. Four hours later, we have an outline of my garden and some scattered colour done. It looks amazing. Gardens are all about staying grounded and feeling connected to the earth mother, knowing where your roots come from and staying true to them.

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Day 354 – the work path

The decision has been made. I am now on holidays and I have already had two job interviews. One is for a job teaching yoga. I know that this is my true path. The other is for bar manager of a new bar opening next year. I can’t go back to selling wine. I did meet some amazing and beautiful people in that job, but I know when something isn’t quite right. I miss teaching yoga and I don’t even have the time to study, so I am re-enrolling in Uni, quitting sales, learning how to ride a motorbike (the pollution issue drives me mental, knowing I am driving around for nearly 100km per day), and going back to yoga and bar work. For the first time in months, I feel genuine relief about a decision that I have made. Now that there is no more work for the rest of the year, I can really hear my internal voice and it is once again speaking its truth about work.

 

IMG_6069Day 355 – another drum circle

It was all because of a drum circle that I found my yoga path to begin with. At the work Christmas party, I am struggling to fit in with the group. I feel a little bit sick so I go in to lie down and under the Christmas tree I find three djembes. As my work friends come in, I silently hand them a drum and we start to play. At first the sound is disjointed, but eventually someone grabs a guitar and we fall into an erratic rhythm which eventually flows into music. Singing along with a guitar and a djembe, I can remember where I come from. I know I am making the right decision in leaving this job and going back to yoga. I think I need to get myself a djembe. This beat conjures inspiration.

 

Day 356 – the long and winding road

You know a relationship is serious when you are introduced to the family. I am scared out of my whits. We drive about 9 hours up the coast to Byron Bay to spend Christmas with Matt’s family. When we pull into the driveway, I gasp, “Are we here already?”

It was not so long ago that a friend of mine had to meet her partners family and my advice to her was, ‘Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.’

So right now I am trying to be a unicorn. I can only fall back into my own skin and hope that they see why Matt loves me. Why am I so nervous? For the past four months my job has been to walk into people’s houses with wine and win them over with personality and charm. Why should I be so nervous about this?

It’s always hard to tell but if I know one thing about myself it is that I am good at being me. I don’t really know how to be anything else. And I love me. So hopefully they do too…

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Day 357 – in the open air

Matt has been telling me about this open-air cathedral and when we pull up, I didn’t imagine it would be so beautiful. Overlooking a valley, the sandstone cross rises up in front of a cloudy sky. The pale green logs make pews under the sun and the sandstone altar immediately inspires thoughts of the Sermon on the Mount. This is how it is supposed to be. Outside, with the wind circling me, it is easy to feel the presence of god. Of all the temples, mosques, churches and sacred buildings I have prayed in this year, this has to be my favourite. I look past the cross and into the depth of the green beneath. I start to say the Lord’s prayer, but I leave off after a few lines. It means nothing to me. My most sacred moments have been in open honesty with the divine. So I find a simpler way…IMG_6098

Keep him safe.

Bless our love.

Thanks for making life so awesome.

Ok, not so sacred but sometimes that candid statement says more than the ‘thou who art…’

And I do feel blessed.

Day 337 to Day 342 – anxiety and stress relief

Day 337 – anxious love

At what point did I allow this FEAR (False Expectation Appearing Real) creep in? Where did it come from? I can’t really explain this but it seems like my barriers have come up again. All of a sudden I am anxious and scared. I have crossed the point of no return. The only way out would be painful because I don’t want out. I am happy and I am in love. I know. Terrifying. The human condition dictates that we question anything that seems “too good to be true”. We map out the worry lines and plan out our failures, certain that it will all fall apart. Despite growing up with the fairytales and the happily ever afters, harsh reality quickly teaches us to mistrust. To trust seems naive so we suspect others, become uncertain of our own emotions and question everything, descending into a spiral of confusion and negative projections. Of course, worrying is praying for what you don’t want to happen. Through the power of manifestation you create reality and in believing that something will go wrong, we feel validated when it does, convincing ourselves that we just knew it and we were right to be so suspicious. Well, what if I just let the barriers down? Eventually my pride has to come away and I have to talk about it. The funny thing about communication is how silly our fears seem when we speak them out loud; I am chronically phobic of seeing clay being cut with wire. The thought of it causes my mouth to dry up and I almost start shaking. I couldn’t get through a sculpting class with a gun to my head. And yes, when I speak about this I realise how absurd it is. Well, when I finally tell Matt what is bothering me, I suddenly get red in the face and laugh at my own silliness. Out loud, fears are just false expectations- proof that I am not living in the NOW. Proof that I am allowing my past to influence my future and both of those conditions to ruin my present. Well the past has happened and can’t be changed so why worry? And the future hasn’t happened but can be determined only by the now so why not just EEE- Exist, Enjoy, Experience…

 

Day 338 – city gal

I have been sent to Newcastle for work… Which sounds awful until I arrive at Nelson Bay. This place is beautiful! And then I get the cancellations… Luckily enough I have a bikini in my car so I can take advantage of the gap in my bookings. So here I am, sunbaking on white sand in front of turquoise blue water. I can’t remember the last time I was somewhere like this. Mexico? I remember a year ago it was my everyday life to be around crystal clear water and white sand with no people around. Suddenly I realise how much I have acclimatised to the city. I realise how city-fied I have become when I turn up at a customer’s house and see an animal with antlers. I can’t even name the animal but I realise this is the first time I have seen antlers so close. I grew up on a farm! How can this be so amazing to me? I guess I have been absorbed into the concrete jungle already… Well, at least when I escape to a white sand beach with bright blue water, I can appreciate it because it is so different from grey roads and traffic lights.

 

Day 339 – Oscar is here!

We are three, the reps sent up here for work this week. The other two girls and I go for a walk in the early morning. I am telling them about Oscar, my nephew who is due any day now. When we get back to the hotel, I have a message on my phone that he has arrived. We have been waiting, but not as long as his older sister, Bella. She has known about his arrival for a while now. My sister-in-law was once told by a psychic that Bella knew her little brother from a previous life. When they were away, Bella was telling other children about her brother, Oscar, who was coming soon. As soon as she found out she was having a little sibling, she was excited that Oscar was coming. Now he is here. They are finally together again. I wish I wasn’t away. I am starting to question this job that keeps me away from my family. I am always working. Well, from far away, welcome to the world Oscar. I can’t wait to meet my new little man!

 

Day 340 – yoga with an audience

Of course, I have brought my yoga mat. If it doesn’t fit into my bag, then it isn’t a bag worth taking away. I roll the mat out before dawn and begin some sun salutations. I thought that everyone was asleep until I hear the girls say, “wow.” I guess I have an audience. I am not entirely comfortable with yoga performance, but sometimes people pay attention. The important part is to keep myself centred so that I am not performing. Turn within so that this isn’t about the without. It’s like the philosophical question- if a tree falls in the wood and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If a yogi stands on her head and nobody is there is to see it, is she truly upside down?

 

Day 341 – sole detachment

Get pretty. Wear the face. Walk tall in the shoes. Smile. Be pleasant. Behave. All the orchestrations of a polite lady can be faked but when I am shopping for shoes and immediately go towards skulls or tassels or studs, then decide that this is too hard, I ask if I can just go barefoot. I end up choosing shoes named Black Krystle because that is my best friend’s name and I will need her courage every step of the way. Strapping on mountain climbing shoes in the snow? Easy. Crampons? Yep I got that. Flippers whilst floating? Sure. Barefoot is something I am more than comfortable with. Whilst I can rock high heels when necessary, they represent jail for my toes and the unwelcome feeling that my sole is detaching from my foot. I don’t like feeling sole (soul?) detachment. Sometimes this whole monkey dance of society- look pretty, have the right hair, the right clothes, the makeup… it all just seems so fake. It’s all part of the song and dance that we play to present an image to our peers. If I want people to know who I really am I wouldn’t wear shoes at all.

 

Day 342 – stress

Another speeding fine. The universe and certainly, the roads and traffic authority are telling me that I am going too damn fast. SLOW DOWN. Do not pass GO. Pay $200. Mum reminds me about uni. Time to stop mucking around and re-enroll. Time to choose- is sales really where I want to focus so much time and energy? Certainly not. To write and write well may not be able to be taught, particularly by distance education, but it might help with getting paid for this. And I have about $500 worth of fines to pay so working for money would be ideal. The whole whirlpool of thought is starting to pull me down into a bit of a cave of stress and behind my sunglasses I struggle to hold tears back. Thus is the first time Matt has seen me cry. I pretend not to. If there is one thing meditation can fix it is stress. Another antidote is love. Today we are meeting Oscar and when I hold his tiny body and smell his little head suddenly all those issues are gone. Pure life. Breath. His dreams can’t be more complex than leaving the womb. He can’t even see right now. I keep trying to wake him up but he is milk-drunk. My beautiful niece hovers beside us, looking dotingly down her little brother who she has been waiting for. Fines, uni, work, money, all melt away when pure life reminds you how to live. Just breathe.

Day 316 to Day 321 – 26 revolutions round the sun (this lifetime)

Day 316 – unholy moods

So once every 2-3 weeks I reserve the right to turn all Jekyll/Hyde and bite your head off, especially if you try to tell me coffee isn’t good for cramps. The inside of my most sacred part of my body feels like it is turning inside out and coffee is the only thing I have to look forward to in this long day of pain. So don’t tell me what is good for cramps. Especially when you don’t have a uterus. But my mood is fine. Aside from a little emotional, I don’t seem to experience the same mood swings I did a year ago. It was very early on this year that I realised how much my daily meditation affected my moods. No more spontaneous crying for no reason, or unfounded frustration. So today it is just the physical pain that I have to endure. It isn’t so much that it is actually painful, but uncomfortable. It is the kind of feeling that makes me want to stay in bed with a heat pack, not sit in the office for 10 straight hours. I spend most of the day cringeing and hunched over my desk and customers seem to sense this unholy mood because I am having no luck with them. On top of that, there is pressure coming from behind me, pushing me toward the same customers who are telling me to f*** off. I am between a rock and a hard place. It is a small space here but I know that even coal turns to diamonds under time and pressure. It is in the smallest of spaces and the darkest of hours that light can shine brightest.

 

Day 317 – judgement

I shouldn’t judge a yoga teacher by her age. I shouldn’t judge a yoga teacher at all. I can’t help but feel surprised, though, when such a young teacher can teach such a solid class. It isn’t that I am amazed by her insight – I know that even the youngest of people can have the oldest of souls. I know that the tiniest girl can have the greatest strength. What surprises me, I guess, is her confidence. She could be older than she looks but she is able to project her voice across the room, to hold the energy and never falter. She knows what she knows and she sticks with that. She is another channeller. She is open to receiving the universe and then uses that open channel to guide the room full of yogis. And I have learnt another lesson about preconceived ideas. I am not old, but I should never doubt the ones younger than me. This generation, we are full of light and there is probably more consciousness being born since the 80’s and particular now, with Indigo and Crystal children popping up everywhere. Eventually the children will be wiser than all of us. And I hope so, because they have to carry the light into the new world.

 

Day 318 – Jeff Buckley’s aura

I am about to head to a double yoga class when I get a text message from a friend and one of my favourite yoga students. Her friend is sick and she suddenly has a spare ticket to Ben Harper’s acoustic concert at the Opera House. I didn’t even know he was in Sydney! What a perfect way to channel my excitement. Matt is flying back to Sydney tonight so I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping well anyway. What a random and perfect surprise.

Aside from being a talented and angelic musician, Ben Harper makes a connection to the audience. He looks at people. He reaches out to people. He plays to parts of the audience and when a girl yells out a song she wants to hear, he bows with honour and says “Your wish is my command.” The perfect gentleman. And he tells stories. He is talking about a presence approaching, with the blackest eyes, surrounded by a hazy light and asking him to play slide. It is Jeff Buckley. If I could ever imagine a more perfect story, it still wouldn’t be this good. Two talented musicians, who both radiate immense light and energy, together, out the back of a festival in France, playing slide.

 

Day 319 – Heath Ledger’s ghost

I may have ruined the surprise by going to Ben Harper last night… Matt had organised tickets for tonight but I can’t wait to go again and with someone I get to share love with. And it is a completely different experience. Aside from my energy, which is probably radiating pink with all the love I am feeling right now, Ben Harper plays different songs with different instruments and tells new stories. He is telling us about late night partying with Heath Ledger, who bought him a piano and asked him to write a lullaby for his child. When Ben plays the lullaby, it is one of the saddest and most beautiful things I have ever heard. One of the stage lights, which had been working perfectly yesterday and all of tonight, starts to flicker slowly. Eventually it turns off. This doesn’t happen for any other song. Was that his way of saying he was there? Of saying hi, thanks for the song. Is Heath Ledger’s ghost haunting the opera house? Or just that song? It seemed like a beautiful connection between the two worlds anyway.

And yes I was fine alone, but how glad I am to be back again with someone I have grown to love so much. After being apart for a few weeks, I have lost a lot of the fear and trepidation that was holding me back. I feel more ready and open to this experience. I have no choice. Love is like water and it flows whether you want it to or not.

The most I ever learnt about my true self was in the name of love.

– Ben Harper

See the 365 Days in Bliss YouTube Channel for videos from the Ben Harper concert.

Day 320 – the angels we encounter

I try to have no expectations when I visit customers. I have no idea what they are going to be like, whether they will buy, so I just enter them all with my mind empty. There is no point expecting anything because it could all be nothing. My first client of the day is a beautiful surprise. It is in a Pilates studio and what I find is a connection rather than a sale. I make a friend. When I leave, I can’t help but feel like that was more of a success than a sale would have been. The day is wet and rainy. My next three appointments are not there when I arrive and yet, I can’t shake the conviction that today is a beautiful day. I race home for lunchtime to see my own angel again. I have to confess that I am extremely happy to be back in his presence again.

I do feel surrounded by angels, even every drop of rain is like their blessing.

 

Day 321 – 26 revolutions around the sun

And today I am definitely surrounded by angels. All the beautiful messages, kind words, hugs, kisses and gifts. I am so blessed to have all these beautiful people in my life!

A poem a friend wrote:

today is the day
your soul chose to enter this play
may it be filled with love
as may all your days
and all your plays

– Jim Hilbun

 

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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.

Day 301 to Day 308 – the tethers that keep us togethers

Day 301 – the “I” tells you where to go

There is no way to interrupt the flow, regardless of the best intentions and there is no way to go any faster than the Sunday driver in front of you. It doesn’t matter how badly I want to go to this yoga class, nobody wants to let me get there. Even the traffic lights are lingering through reds and I by the time I get to the studio I have missed class by only three minutes. I go straight back home, via the beach, knowing that I can’t even be bothered to get out of the car. Ultimately, the “I” leads me back home, exactly where I started. Nothing to do but let go and accept that I was not supposed to leave the house today.

Day 302 – cry of help

I get an email from my friend, asking for help. She feels she has fallen away from the path, committed a mistake and now she can’t sleep. I am surprised by my own words, but I know exactly where she is because I have been there too. If I have experience in anything it is straying from the path, beautiful mistakes and most definitely lack of sleep.

Everyone needs to go through a Persephone phase. The Goddess Persephone, while in the company of her friends the sirens, was abducted by Hades and made to be the queen of the underworld, the goddess of shadows. There she remained, deepening her roots in the dark earth until the Spring when she comes out, strong enough to grow in the light. She is a symbol for nature, growth and the harvest.

And some of us has to go through this shadow phase. Everybody that has walked the path of light knows that it is steep and not without its bends and twists or branches that trip us over. But what happens when we fall over? We get to see the path really close up. We get to stop and look at the spot where we fell- the present moment. We then get to draw a line in the dirt and move forward. This life is not about making no mistakes. It is about experiencing every moment as a blessing, even when it seems painful. I can’t claim that I haven’t made mistakes. I have played with my shadow side, I have spent time in darkness, planting my roots deep in the underworld and now that spring is here, I am ready to grow into the light.

 

Day 303 – benchmark

The measure of fitness is in a 400m run, 10 push-ups, 10 grunts and 15 sit-ups, all done 3 times as well as a mile run. I try not to get hung up on results, especially when they don’t seem to be what I expect. The first sequence is a whole 20 seconds slower than what I did 2 months ago, but the mile run is faster. I have no idea what this means, but it affects my internal dialogue to the point that I start to question my self worth for the majority of the day. But that won’t make me faster. They don’t measure fitness and self worth in the same scale and Boot Camp has made me stronger and faster, regardless of whatever the result is from the benchmark test. Just have to run faster next time.

Day 304 – tethers of leather

My soul sister and beautiful reflective friend, Zani, and I always had strips of leather and bracelets tied around our wrists and ankles. We sat on the island at Togat Nusa retreat one day talking about this and came up with the idea that we were trying to tether ourselves down. Being both typically flighty, airy, flower children, it was something grounding that seems to ties us down to the earth and keep us from floating away.

We are in the office all week so I can leave the pencil skirt at home today and wrap my limbs up in random strings and leather pieces. It is like coming home. This is how I usually look. The corporate gear feels like more of a costume than the native american head piece. I feel comfortable in the flowing shirt and thongs and I the little leather bands that remind me of myself. It is like tethering my real self to my projected self.

It’s not like I could ever hide the true self. She is kind of loud. And she likes bright colours.

Nothing keeps her tied down, but it is nice knowing that she is tied to me.

 

Day 305 – salt water cure-all

I can’t explain but I spend over an hour crying today. It is a necessary part of the growth to let go of the past which no longer serves us, but it seems that the ego is not ashamed to mourn its own death. Each layer that is peeled back to expose more truth and light is another layer left behind. There is no need to hide the tears or worry why they come. I just accept them now, as a necessary piece to the evolution. The salt water cure-all. Ocean. Tears. Saline solution (found in every first-aid kit).

 

Day 306 – yoga ideas

It is through a passing comment that I have a lightbulb moment. I am sending emails to Zani about Bali when I say that we should run a yoga retreat in Bali. Suddenly I wonder why the hell not? Everything amazing in this world would have started as an idea at some stage. It is a tiny seed that is planted. I start to look at myself and think, “Man, Liz, if you followed every idea that came into your head… Hang on a second. You usually do.” Actually if I didn’t follow all the whimsical ideas that pop into my mind I would not have had half of the experiences that I have had. I certainly wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t have gone to India, or Mexico, or gone mountain climbing, or run the City 2 Surf. I camped in the f***king snow! A yoga retreat in Bali is not that far fetched! I love the way a good idea snow balls in your head and the only way to contain it is to take a pencil and an enormous piece of paper and use pictures and words to draw it all out… PLAYING IN THE LIGHT

 

Day 307 – moving

At the beginning of this year I was told by a numerologist that 2012 would be very restless for me, that there would be lots of moving about. So I am not surprised that I am moving. Again. Looking at how many times I have packed a suitcase this year from when I first left mum’s house to go to LA, to Mexico, to Sumatra, Bali, India, mum’s house, Coogee, back to mum’s house… I wonder if I should even unpack at the other end. I have grown more accustomed to zippers than to cupboards and Lonely Planet makes more sense than a bus timetable. Well, another shift, another change, another place to call home. But really, as long as I am with me, I am always home.

 

Day 308 – bend but do not break

Someone has locked the bottom door knob at the Coogee apartment; the one we never lock because I had the only key, which I lost. When the new flatmate comes home later than night, she is freaking out that she can’t get in and has to go to a friend’s house. I meet Krystle at the locked door in the morning. Five of us had planned to sleep in that place last night, but five of us have been locked out and forced to sleep in random couches, beds and floors of friends. We stare at the lock and then start to call people. One by one, all the girls get picked up and we return to the apartment. The locksmith would cost $155. My bedroom window is open, though it is mysteriously three stories up, despite Krystle’s room being street level. Coogee is a bit of a warped, hilly, magical place like that. Facebook, if nothing else, is the easiest way, I have found, to obtain a ladder, especially since a passing fire truck would not help. My friend, Pete, comes to the rescue and even climbs in for us. The new flatmate collects her stuff, takes her bond back and leaves. She can’t handle the stress and the chaos of living with us. (I wouldn’t even be living there!) But yes, there will be chaos because LIFE is chaos. You have to bend, not break. If I took off every time I got locked out of a place… I remember one month I locked myself out of my car THREE times! I had to get really tricky with a coat hanger. And another time I locked myself out of mum’s apartment with my dog, Lewis Carrol’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, a bottle of water, and a tub of watermelon. At the time I was kind of stressed because I was four hours late to work, but it was four hours of reading in the park with my dog, staying perfectly hydrated! The point being that locks will forever keep people out of their own homes and is just another piece of chaos to which I bend, but do not break. Plus it gave me a really good chance to catch up with my friend, Pete, who is extremely elusive. And who would have thought- he even got me hooked on a new leather tether supplier… BLACKRAG.

http://blackrag.com.au

Day 295 to Day 300 – the universe wants to be noticed

Day 295 – little white lies

I don’t like to lie. I don’t even like white lies. I have told too many in my lifetime and at some point I realised that it would be better to just remain silent and say nothing than to lie. Today, though, I need some yoga practice. I want to make it to the 8pm class. I know that I could get home at 8.30 and practice in my room, but it is harder when I get home. There is no space for me to practice. It’s not that there is no physical space, but people seem to think it is ok to ask questions, or give vague comments when I am on the yoga mat. When I enter a room full of people practicing yoga it is generally acknowledge that we are there for that sole purpose, so nobody is going to tap me on the shoulder and ask about my day. So, in desperate need of that time and space, I decide to lie. I tell my boss that I need to pick up my mum, that she is having her car serviced and needs a lift. My mother is in Wollongong. Her car is not being serviced. Strangely, though, I don’t feel bad about this. Especially not when I arrive to a quiet evening class and lay my mat out. This is so worth it! And I only missed an hour of work. I never really get much done in the last hour anyway. I usually fluff around in that time. This is definitely a better way to spend my time. I still wish I didn’t have to lie. I wish I could just tell them- I need yoga, I am leaving. But maybe it isn’t work that I need to be honest with. Maybe it is the people around me, or myself. If I roll out my mat and sit/lay/stretch out my body, I should be able to honour the practice enough to tell the people around me that this is my time, consider the mat to be a really big DO NOT DISTURB sign. If I just speak my truth, I wouldn’t have to bother with the little white lies.

 

Day 296 – the ‘g’ word

I know have written the word god countless times, but it comes up in conversation today… The most common thing I hear these days is: “I’m not religious. I believe in something though….” This kind of conversation causes so much turmoil that it is best to just be vague about the whole thing. Nobody really wants to get into a discussion about their beliefs. The word god can be perceived as a personification, a name, an ideal, or a corruption, depending on who is saying the word. Looking at GOD, I don’t see a name. I see a word and in that word I also see Gee Oh Dee, DOG and DOGMA and GOOD and it is little more than a word; a completely inadequate word to describe something that is probably beyond our human capacity to understand anyway. I prefer to say “the divine” but sometimes I feel like that sounds too much like I am talking about grapevines, with a stutter. Maybe that is because in my job I am always talking about grapevines. Anyway, if you read the word god here, know that it is little more than an insufficient label for the universe, the flow, the “source”, the light, the ether, the energetic divine spark of life that sits at the centre of every being, from a rock to a tiger, to a royal. God is just a word for ‘something’, but I don’t know what. If I knew what that something was, I guess I would be enlightened already.

 

Day 297 – traffic

I stayed over my friend’s house in Manly last night and now I have to sit in motionless traffic across the Spit bridge trying to get home. It is 8am and my first client is not for a few hours. I see the turn off to go to a secret beach I know about that I used to come to all the time when I lived on this side of Sydney. I decide to escape the traffic and go to the beach instead. I have swimmers in my car so I get changed in my car and lay down on the beach to read. The early morning is still quite fresh, but the sun is already strong in the sky so my skin slowly warms up as I read. I am so grateful that I am not sitting in my car right now, cursing the traffic. Instead I am alone on a quiet hidden beach, staring out at the flat clear water and gently bobbing sailboats. I will choose this over traffic any day! I get home an hour and a half later. Probably a little bit later than if I had just stayed in the traffic, but my headspace is just right for the rest of the day. Not only did I physically pull away from a road blocked up with traffic, but mentally, I got the chance to escape the stop-start, over congested, frustration of a busy mind.

 

Day 298 – left or right or wrong

In yoga, a common technique to encourage presence is to switch up the regular practice. My friend, Emma, is teaching and instead of going to the right side first in the standing poses, she teaches the left side first. Not only does this cultivate awareness, but it asks the brain to break up the deeply ingrained habits of a well-known practice. I love when teachers do this. It is like turning the whole room around and teaching from the “back” of the room. Or walking backwards with no shoes on wet grass. Tiny changes that break the mould, push us out of the boundaries, gently coax us into the unknown. Shit, I stuffed up and I am in tree pose on my right leg. It doesn’t matter how aware we think we are, the moment we let the mind process and get away with our thoughts, the auto-pilot kicks back in and we find ourselves driving back home on the usual route. It’s like when you get home and open the fridge, just staring into it, even if you aren’t hungry. WAKE UP LIZ! Get present. Be aware. Mindful conscious awareness doesn’t just happen. It takes practice. Yoga is practice in re-learning existence as life.

 

Day 299 – the river

The road to Bundeena, and to my first client of the day, is closed. This is the second time I have failed to see him. I let it go and take my lunch down to the seat by the river. There is no phone signal here. Nobody knows where I am. Solitude has found me again.

The last river I meditated beside was the Ganges in the holy city of Rishikesh, at the foot of the Himalayas. I focus my gaze into the rippling water. Rivers represent life and the flowing nature of our existence. They say you never step in the same river twice. The water is always moving, just as life is always changing. For the first time since Bali, I see a dragonfly, a symbol of change. The ducks dip down, feeding and paddling against the current. Their lesson is to stay afloat, to keep on keeping on. A cockatoo flies past, it’s angelic white plumage and bright yellow crest standing out against the surrounding green.

And the river keeps flowing.

Day 300 – a blessing from the sea

I have only an hour to talk as quickly as I can with Luca. He is Italian so we can manage to catch up on months of our lives in less than an hour fairly easily. If we had a stenographer, there would be a lot of dot points. The cafe we want to go to is really busy so we walk along Coogee beach while we wait for a table. The humpback whales are breaching out at sea. The last time I saw whales was in Mexico, but that was more just a few sprays and the occasional tail in the distance. These giants are showing off, throwing themselves out of the water and back in again. One seems to be waving a fin towards the shore. A perfect strange stops beside us and says, “Isn’t it such a blessing that they come to show us how graceful they are?” A blessing. Grace. Then Luca tells me that he ate whale in Japan. I slap him hard on the arm and yell his name. “I didn’t know what it was until the lady drew a picture of a whale for me! We spat it out straight away!” So maybe that whale wasn’t waving at us, maybe it was giving the finger to Luca for eating its family.

Day 288 to Day 294 – the dharma wheel

Day 288 – knowing self

Rachel, a work colleague, and I go to lunch at a sushi train. It is the first time we have had a real conversation. In a workplace environment, the initial topics which strangers find acceptable are usually work related. Unless you are women, in which case we make friends by complimenting each other’s choice in shoes. Humour is also perfectly acceptable, and in a room full of sales reps, all very experienced in “breaking the ice”, there is plenty of humour to go around. Sitting down to eat with a glass of wine, Rachel tells me her impression of me. I love hearing what people think about me. It is like stepping outside the window and looking back in on yourself. I know what I see in myself, but it is always very interesting to hear what another person sees. She says she sees someone who knows herself. Someone who can’t be shaken, who has not even wondered what other people think of her because she is so comfortable in her own skin. Well, she is right. I don’t often wonder what other people think of me beyond a mild amusement. There is always something nice in hearing someone say that you know who you are. It is definitely better than being told the you seem lost or confused or even worse… fake! Above all, I am just pleased to have moved beyond talking about shoes and wine. I think that is the point where a work colleague becomes a work friend.

 

Day 289 – sleep how I miss you

I can’t remember the last time I slept a full nine hours. My yoga teacher from the ashram in India insisted that one only needs four hours of sleep per night. Two hours for each nostril. But he is a fanatic. I like 9 hours. I am even satisfied with 8 hours. I know that I can manage on 4 hours but today I haven’t had any of that. I think I slept for 3. I kept waking up. Noises, disturbances, nightmares… So coffee is the drug. I love having my morning mocha. I don’t need it to wake up, I need it to keep functioning. I can live without it, it is only one a day, but in a diet of deprivation (no wheat, no dairy, no alcohol, no sugar), it is the one thing in the day I can look forward to. My issue at the moment is the plethora of information about which milk to use. Dairy is evil, but skim has less lactose so it is ok to drink. But then skim is evil, because it is unnatural and goes through a chemical process to remove the fat, so we should probably drink soy. Unfortunately soy is apparently evil too. Not only does the Brazilian rainforest suffer in order to produce soy, it also apparently causes hormone levels to increase and fat cells to accumulate in the visceral region (the area where excess fat is most likely to cause diabetes and heart disease). Not to mention, every naturopath says to stay away from coffee altogether. But caffeine free green tea just doesn’t cut it today. Not when I have missed out on so much sleep. Not when I have to be calling people all day, trying to send lots of energy through the phone. So today, coffee is keeping my head off the desk.

 

Day 290 – Living my dharma

So many questions turn up on the yoga mat. Somewhere in between sun salutations lies an infinite number of question marks. Clearing the mind today is a process of opening the mind to answer these questions. The ‘I’ knows the answer to all of them. The ego just needs to listen. From the silent depths of my heart, or perhaps even deeper, in my gut, there is a gnawing question. It arises as only a whisper, but stronger it grows with each breath until I lay down in Savasana and ask: “Am I living my dharma?”

Dharma is duty. It is loosely translated as one’s purpose in the world. When you are living your dharma, it is said you will be full of vitality and things will seem to always be falling into place. Right now I feel drained. I feel like there are continuously tiny struggles and obstacles. The flow doesn’t seem to be happening like it used to. So what is my dharma? I know I need to go back to India. I know I want to go to Africa. Ideas start forming in my head. I can feel that familiar itch in my feet. I want to book a one way ticket and start applying for visas. Those are the processes I am used to. Filling out paperwork in an office just doesn’t have the same feeling as  filling out a customs slip in an airport. I think it’s time to set the dharma wheel in motion.

 

Day 291 – rituals of writers

I keep saying that I need a day off to just write. I need some time to hover my hands over the keys and allow the words to spill out of me, dancing around the page to find the perfect rhythm of story. Well, somehow I manifest this and all three of my evening clients end up cancelling. This is a perfect evening to write, with balmy wind blowing through the windows I light a candle and face the computer. I set up my perfect writing atmosphere- Jeff Buckley, a cup of mint tea and some organic chocolate. Just creating this space is like a ritual. Tea can definitely be accredited to most of this blog. Most of the things I have written in my life probably came from a hot cup of tea. Just having this time to finally sit alone with only my words is the best meditation I could ask for today. I know it could be said that whilst my brain is working I may not be meditating, but I still feel that same serenity, bliss and calming relaxation that I feel in perfect stillness and silence. Writing. Jeff Buckley. Tea. Chocolate. Meditation.

 

Day 292 – success is measured in carrots

I am thoroughly sick of seeing quotes about success being how many times you get up after you fall, or how high you bounce when you hit the bottom. Success, at the moment, can be measure by how many times I get home so late that I can’t manage to make myself dinner. Success is how many times I have eaten a raw carrot for dinner and gone straight to bed, only to do it all again the next day. I’m not complaining. I love raw carrots. I just feel like success is not always measured by failure. Success is hard bloody work. It is constantly moving onward and upward. It is a slow and steady climb, sometimes in soft sand. Success in measured in carrots. From the carrot that dangles before me, the goal that pushes me forward, to the carrot I eat for dinner because I am too tired to cook.

 

Day 293 – catching negative spirals

For no reason at all I catch myself in a negative spiral. I have no idea what is happening inside my brain, but it is inventing some awful stuff. None of it is even real! I am driving along imagining hypotheticals. When I land on the yoga mat, I pull up my mind, not without a bit of a firm hand… What is going on? Why are you doing this negative spiral thing? It isn’t helping anybody! It serves no purpose. Is it lack of sleep? Is it stress? Is it PMS? Or are you just feeling a bit whingey? The lower mind, of course, has no answer. It kind of kicks a few rocks and looks down at the floor. It is being chastised for doing what it does best. Worries, calculates risk, hypothesises results. And what does all that achieve? Nothing! Lack of awareness. I may as well be walking around unconscious. Well, time to stop. Time to smile for no reason! Buy a tray of mangoes on the side of the road and get sticky eating them because it is a beautiful day and you are alive to enjoy it!

When I get to my brother’s house in the evening, we eat dinner and then I get to put my niece to bed. This means struggling to stay awake while I read to her and she crawls around the bed, unwilling to sleep. I choose one of my own old fairytale books and start reading an old Native American folk legend. I come across a word that my niece doesn’t know. So she asks me, “What is war?”

Ummm… How do I explain this? How do I tell her that all over the world people fight and kill each other? It would be like telling her Santa Claus didn’t exist. I would take away a huge chunk of her innocence. I try to be a little vague, but I don’t believe in lying to children so I tell her it is a big fight between groups of people.

“Why?”

There is nothing I can say to this. Really, even I would like to know why. The only other animal in the natural world that conducts war is the ant. They are the only other creature to actively plan an attack on another group of ants. Why? There is no answer that is adequate. And knowing my niece, she will just ask, ‘why?’ to whatever I say anyway.

 

Day 294 – sleepy smiles

I am wedged in the backseat between the two kiddie seats, trying to manage the children while we drive up through the dairy farms into bowral. It is beautiful down the south coast. The lush green paddocks and black and white cows stretch far on either side of the road and as we ascend the mountains, the dark green trees look like a home for dragons and unicorns. “What about Monster High?” asks my niece. She has a new obsession with zombie dolls, though she still doesn’t know what a zombie is. The whole collection of werewolf, spider, vampire and ghost figurines has come with us for the journey and they are sprawled across my lap while she plays. We spend the day in Bowral eating and looking at antiques and when we finally get back into the car, the kids full of junk food, everyone is sleepy. My brother has worked all night and has brought his pillow in the front seat so he is the first to fall asleep. My niece lays her head across my lap and my nephews hand falls gently on my leg while his mouth drops open, perfectly mimicking my brother’s sleeping pose. I pretend to be asleep but really I am just enjoying the silence, laying here covered in these beautiful children. They are so peaceful when they are sleeping. Here, basking in their love, lies the greatest meditation, a familial and homely perfection.

Day 280 to Day 287 – life changers

Day 280 – crossroads of chaos

Another crossroads presents itself and I find myself at a job interview. When asked how much money I would expect I am not afraid to ask for more than I know I will be offered.

“Do you think you are old enough and experienced enough to ask for that?”

My response…

“I know my value. There is no point in telling you an amount that you will say yes to immediately and then I have sold myself short. The worst you can say is no and then give me a counter offer.”

Ultimately, this new job does not work out. Not only do they want me to cover my tattoos, but they also want me to work a lot more hours than I am working right now.

It does give me the opportunity to look at my work-life, to re-assess this career choice. I am a wine rep. I enjoy what I do, but as to whether this is a lifelong commitment, I know that it is only a temporary means to an end. I know myself. I know that this is not me. But I do know my value and I am proud of myself for having the courage to say so.

 

Day 281 – my mother’s flames

I spend the evening with my mum. I notice that she has three candles lit on the table. She has been lighting these three candles for years. She has never actually told me about it, but I once asked and she told me simply it was her three children. It is her own silent prayer for us, like a little light to keep us safe. I love that she does this. I love that she has a little ritual for us. She isn’t overtly religious or superstitious. She doesn’t meditate or spend much time wondering about god. She comes from Mexico, where old world Catholicism demands only that you have faith. For my mother, she has never questioned whether god was there. She has never wondered about what that means. She prays when she needs to and she believes. She never had to go on grand spiritual journeys to ‘find the divine’ or climb mountains to seek something deeper. Sometimes I envy her simple and unfaltering faith. I have always questioned. I have always wondered. I have always tested and probed and looked deeper. I could never accept what I was told. I had to figure it out on my own. When she saw me pray before a meal she almost cried with excitement that I had finally ‘found god’. I told her just that I was saying thank you for the meal, but that yes I had found myself and through that I guess you could say I found divine, which is within all. She looked kind of confused so I didn’t have the heart to explain that what I was actually saying was entirely in Sanskrit and used the name Brahma instead of Jesus. If there is one thing I have never associated with god, it is religion, and so for that I can be grateful to my mother. She never made me go to church. She never forced me to pray. She only asked that I never again use the term ‘older than god’ when she saw it in something I had written. I say Brahma, she says god. My aunty says Allah. My cousin says Jesus like Hey Soos. Potayto, potaahto. I light incense, she lights candles. Essentially it is all one.

 

Day 282 – the eye hospital

I wake up fine, but in the shower, I feel a sudden pain. I pull out two eyelashes from my left eye, but the pain remains. It feels like there is something in there. I remember this feeling. The last time I had this, I had a nasty eye infection from contact use and ended up in hospital for a week. I drive myself straight to the eye hospital and wait for over an hour to be told it is blepharitis. Apparently this is common and is nothing more than a swelling of the eye, in the oil gland from where the eyelashes extend. The doctor tells me to put hot compresses on my eyes and massage the eyelid. I go home and lie down with a hot towel on my eyes. I lay back with my eyes closed.

Meditation occurs.

The last time I was in hospital, I was completely blind in my left eye. I had no choice but to meditate. I had my eyes closed for nearly a week. When the eye drops went from 10 minute intervals to 2 hour intervals, I started to escape from the hospital and walk, half blind, in the botanical gardens. My favourite part was the herb garden. I would close my eyes as I wondered through, smelling the lemongrass and rosemary, running my fingers across mint and thyme. The universe will tell you when you need to stop. If we don’t listen, it demands. If we still don’t listen, it reaches down and forces our eyes shut.

Meditation is enforced.

I accept.

 

Day 283 – Missing Indonesia

I wake up suddenly missing Indonesia. I eat black rice pudding (bubur injin) in bed, under a feather down doona, listening to the rain and in all its beauty, I want to cry for that simple life of pure existential peace where the hardest part of my day was opening a coconut. I miss bubur kacang hijau for breakfast (the best way to cook mung beans in the world)… So I decide to writ eto the only other human being who understands. Zani. She is a mermaid goddess who also lived out in the islands of the Mentawais. When I read her last email I remember why we left. The pirates. We left because under the thin veneer of paradise lies dark and troubled waters. And that restless darkness can pull you down. I left because my time there was over. I am 10kg heavier in Sydney than I was in Indonesia.

I look in the mirror and I see a girl bigger in every aspect. The girl that lived there was hiding, shrinking. She was so closed in on herself that when she came back here last year, someone thought she couldn’t speak English. That was oppression. That was me hiding behind my long hair and disappearing slowly. Now I am open, I am not afraid to be heard or to be me. I guess I don’t really miss Indonesia. I can make bubur injin in my own kitchen.

 

Day 284 – letting the leopard out

It is time for a new hairstyle. I have the side shaved, it is like a semi Mohawk. Mel (The Leopard Lounge, Newtown) bleaches the side and hand paints the colours back in. I’m not sure that I could have done this a year ago. Or even six months ago. Girls with long hair often tell me I am courageous for having a Mohawk. One girl at the pub asks if I am a lesbian. I just laugh. Ok, I guess that is why it takes courage. You have to put up with some strange comments when you have a weird hairstyle. If I wanted to blend in and hide, I could have long hair. I could wear the tiny pink dress. Instead I wear a black leather jacket and have leopard fur on the side of my head. Ladies, we shouldn’t be afraid to hide our spots. Deep down, we can let the animal out. A hairstyle shouldn’t take courage. A hairstyle is just scissors and peroxide. It is transient change. It grows. Real courage is in what you do, not how you look.

 

Day 285 – ummm om?

It has been a while since I last laid my yoga mat down in a studio class. I can’t say it has the same profound epiphany-like effect that it once did a few years ago. I don’t get a jolt of mystical inspiration. It is a great technical alignment class and something that my physical space has missed, however, I feel like there is something missing from this pure asana practice. The “om” sounds more like “um?” and the word exercise finds its way into the room. Is that why I am here? To exercise? I think I go to boot camp three times a week for that. Well, why am I here? I knew what this class would be about, so I can’t act surprised about this. If I wanted a spiritual, meditative experience, I could have stayed at home and done a private practice. I know I am here because my body needs me to be. So, is it sometimes necessary to let go of the spiritual experience in order to allow the life experience? Does yoga always have to be deeply moving and life-changing, or is it just another baby step?

 

Day 286 – the life-changing fairy

As per usual, at a fourth birthday party, I can be found sorting through the costumes. When my niece ends up entirely soaked from the bubble machine I take the opportunity to dress her in the Christmas fairy outfit. She is a tiny, magical little being, prancing around searching for one of the five varieties of cake on offer. Another fairy princess has been playing with the black Play-Doh and brings a mysterious lump over, “Look! I made a sea rock!”

Creative.

Watching my sister and her daughter play in the grass, I can actually feel the bond between them. My sister was born to be a mum and though I don’t know if it is a bond I will ever get to feel, at least now I get it. It’s funny that a yoga class can’t make the same profound life-changing realisation occur, but a little green and red fairy rolling around on the grass, can.

Day 266 to Day 272 – your wondrous works

Poetry and literature about meditation have been written extensively, so I decided to spend a week trying to write one. In vain, I tried, for in meditation there is only stillness and silence and writing poetry is the symptomatic release of a troubled mind. So I sought inspiration in the works of others about meditation or yoga or the divine…

 

Day 266 – I will trust my inner guide

 

I love to watch how birds soar on the win.

There appears to be such little effort, yet such joy.

I want to become like a bird and let my spirit soar on the winds that are blowing through my life.

I will not be crushed against the rocks!

I will sense the rhythm,

The flow

And react accordingly.

I will trust my inner guide.

–       J. Garrett Garrison & S Sheperd

 

 

Day 267 – the luxury to meditate

 

The luxury to apprehend

The luxury ‘t would be

To look at thee a single time,

An Epicure of me,

In whatsoever Presence, makes,

Till, for a further food

I scarcely recollect to starve,

So first am I supplied.

The luxury to meditate

The luxury it was

To banquet on thy Countenance,

A sumptuousness bestows

On plainer days,

Whose table, far as

Certainty can see,

Is laden with a single crumb-

The consciousness of Thee.

–       Emily Dickinson

 

 

Day 268 – OM! Reverence to Ganesha!

 

“The sky is clouded;

And the wood resembles the sky,

Thick-arched with black Tamala boughs;

O Radha, Radha! Take this Soul,

That trembles in life’s deep midnight,

To thy golden house.”

So Nana spoke, and, led by Radha’s spirit,

The feet of Krishna found the road aright;

Wherefore, in bliss which all high hearts inherit,

Together taste thy Love’s divine delight.

–       from the Sasnskrit of the Gita Govinda of Jayadeva

 

 

 

Day 269 – Else Not Say I

 

True pleasure breathes not city air,

Nor in Art’s temples dwells,

In palaces and towers where

The voice of Grandeur dwells.

 

No! Seek it where high Nature holds

Her court ‘mid stately groves,

Where she her majesty unfolds,

And in fresh beauty moves;

 

Where thousand birds of sweetest song,

The wildly rushing storm

And hungred streams which glide along,

Her mighty concert form!

 

Go where the woods in beauty sleep

Bathed in pale Luna’s light,

Or where amog their branches sweep

The hollow sounds of night.

 

Go where the warbling nightingale

In gushes rich doth sing,

Till all the lonely, quiet vale

With melody doth ring.

 

Go, sit upon a mountain steep,

And view the prospect round;

The hills and vales, the valley’s sweep,

The far horizon bound.

 

Then view the wide sky overhead,

The still, deep vault of blue,

The sun which golden light doth shed,

The clouds of pearly hue.

 

And as you gaze on this vast scene

Your thoughts will journey far,

Though hundred years should roll between

On Time’s swift-passing car.

 

To ages when the eart was yound,

When patriarchs, grey and old,

The praises of their god oft sung,

And oft his mercies told.

 

You see them with their bears of snow,

Their robes of ample form,

Their lives whose peaceful, gentle flow,

Felt seldom passion’s storm.

 

Them a calm, solemn pleasure steals

Into your inmost mind;

A quiet aura your spirit feels,

A softened stillness kind.

–       Charlotte Bronte

 

Day 270 – Eternal Life

 

There’s no time for hatred, only questions

What is love? Where is happiness?

What is life? Where is peace?

When will I find the strength to bring me relief?

 

Tell me where is the love in what your prophet has said?

Man it sounds to me just like a prison for the walking dead.

Well I’ve got a message for you and your twisted hope.

You’d better turn around and blow your kiss goodbye to life eternal, angel.

–       Jeff Buckley

 

 

Day 271 – The Opening of the Trunk

 

Moment of inner freedom

When the mind is opened

And the infinite universe is revealed

And the soul is left to wander

Dazed and confus’d,

Searching here and there

For teachers and friends.

 

Moment of freedom

As the prisoner

Blinks in the sun

Like a mole

From his hole

 

A child’s first trip

Away from home

 

That moment of freedom.

–       Jim Morrison

 

Day 272 – Pay attention to the signs

Last week after swimming across Malabar, I noticed a sign that someone had stuck in the bushes just above the south boat ramp. It said,

What manner of man is this that even the wind and sea obey him.

After consulting the oracle, I discovered It is a verse from the bible (Matthew 8:27) and refers to Jesus’ power over the weather. The south boat ramp of Malabar seems the most unlikely place to find such a quote and yet some of the wisest words I have read were on the back of toilet doors.

Today, we are driving up the coast. I haven’t been told where or why. Apparently this is how surprises are supposed to work though I don’t have much experience with this kind of thing. As we drive further away from the city, I can feel my whole body relax. We stop at a lookout and in the stone, I find another sign:

  

Ok, universe, I am listening now! The tradition of meditating on the back of one’s eyelids is beautiful and serves its purpose of pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses, however the beauty of this world seems to be demanding that I open my eyes…

I see ocean. I see treas. I sea bright sunlight. I see love. I see energy. I see the world, as a wondrous work, as a constant point of focus; an eternal meditation. Basking in sun, connecting, existing, living within the world, as part of it. At the ashram in India we were told that the cycle of reincarnation began because the divine being wanted to experience life, to know what it felt like to breathe, to feel, to emote… but when the divine entered the living, the eternal ‘I’ forgot itself and now we are constantly struggling to find ourselves. What if we stop struggling and just do what we came here to do? (Enjoy life) The divine may just find us.

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