Archive for the 'Counsciousness' Category

Tree stumps and emotional concussion

Here I am doing some sort of crazy balance on a tree stump. Why? Because I can and because I’m damn strong and it’s a whole lot of fun.

That stump – well it feels like it resembles my old life. The one I used to have before the universe decided that I needed some fucking big challenges and some real time growth.

Thanks universe.

It came along, pushed me out of the tree and chopped the whole bloody thing down, right down to the stump. Off went all the branches of my life. Left me with a sorry seeping stump and no place to call home. So, after a bit of confusion, (I like to call it emotional concussion), I found a new tree. Took me a while but I found a new tree and that emotional concussion is wearing off.

But this story is not about a tree or a stump. It’s about this thing that happened right about the time I fell out of the tree.

I had a friend. A best friend. We met in 1999 and for 17 years we were partners in crime. She was my person. I didn’t make a decision without speaking to her. She knew my moods, my thoughts, my troubles and my joys. This friendship saw us through some tough times and we shared all the stories that ran deeply through our intertwined lives. She was the family I didn’t have. The sister I always wanted. She was my home from home and my first port of call. I would always hold space for her no matter what load I might be carrying. If she called I put down my shit and listened. She had a big place in my heart and I would step up in an instant if she needed me.

Then I fell out of my tree. Actually I didn’t fall out of my tree I was pushed but that’s for another day. Where do you go when you are bruised and broken? You go home. Ahh yes, but I had just fallen from there so I went to my second home. To the home of my best friend.

I had a life to rebuild, a new home to find and an urgent need to find a way to support myself. I was drowning in a shit storm so I wept for a while then I started to put myself back together. The logistics of which can not be underestimated. This was a herculean task. Whenever I could catch my breath, and as I had always done, I would knock at her door to connect and hear her stories. To hold space for each other as we had done for seventeen years……but she stopped answering.

She stopped answering my calls.

She stopped replying to my messages.

Then one day I saw that she had unfriended me on Facebook. Good god I did not see that coming.

I never even got to tell her why I fell from the tree.

The wounds from that fall run deep and will take a lifetime of healing, and my person……she doesn’t even know why.

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It’s been a while…

 

I’ve been absent from this space and I have missed it. Not an intentional break. Not a holiday. Not a ‘working on myself’ break. No sabbatical for me.  I have been absent because life seriously got in the way. Seriously fucking in the way and the words had to play second place.  Something had to give.

There has been so much I have wanted to say and I have sorely missed this space. I have missed the pouring of words through me onto this page.  I had so much I wanted to write about.  So much that needed to be curved and moulded into words… but much of it wasn’t my story to tell so I left the pages vacant and wondering.  What is mine to tell simply cannot be told yet. It needs to shift and simmer in me a while yet.  It needs to soften so that my words do not pour out in an angry wounding diatribe.

2018 has been a year that has hit me and those close to me hard.  Really hard.  It didn’t shape up the way I would have liked.  The story, if could have written it, would have been different.  It would be filled with blossoms, sweet summer nights and words from a novel fit for the romance shelves.   I certainly wouldn’t be watching my daughter traverse the time and space of unimaginable grief and immense loss.  As graciously and bravely as she is doing it, it is not how I would have written the story.  I would not have held her, broken and weeping, as she said goodbye to her beloved Matthew moments before they turned off his life support.  No. That is most definetly not how this story was supposed to go. It is not how anyone’s story is supposed to go.

I would not be swimming against the anger and grief of my own story.  The words that bubble up for that may possibly never be written here.  There is a saying ‘the thing you are most afraid to write, write that’.  One day maybe, one day.

Through it all I have taught, run the business and done human things.  The stuff that just is and the stuff that just has to be done.  We do that.  We make our beds and show up the best we can.  We clothe ourselves, conceal our broken parts and go out into the day with the bravest heart we can find.

I did my best to get on my mat every day.  Moving my body so that the energy of trauma and sadness can move through me and not make a home where it is not welcome.

The ability to show up to teach even when it felt impossible has kept me grounded and humble.  The human connection that comes at times of loss and grief never failed to move me and I am grateful to each and every one of you.  My close friends listened (and continue to do so) endlessly to my stories.  They called and they showed up.  They bought me coffee.  They drove me where I needed to be at silly hours of the night.  They let me overstay my welcome and checked up on me when I went quiet.  These are really good humans.

I will be eternally thankful for these good humans.

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t have to be this way…

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In my little world right now I have people close to me who are suffering the unimaginable – stuff we can’t even dream up.  Worlds being turned so upside down that the simple act of breathing becomes impossible.  Heartbreaking, excruciating stuff.  The life is not fair kind of stuff.  The cry for three days and still not catch your breath kind of stuff.

They are not doing this to themselves.  It is forced upon them by the universe for whatever lesson it is they have come to learn in this lifetime.  It is out of their control but it is also out of everyone’s control.  It is just the way it is.  The universe’s plan.  It’s unbearable, but it is the universe’s plan so we catch our breath and move forward as best we can.  It is not in anyones’ control so we breathe and move.  Step by step. Day by day.  Knowing we are doing our best.  All of us doing our best in every moment.

Also in my little world I have other people close to me who are suffering due to the choices of those around them. I have been in that place.  I know how it feels.  I know every single desperate inch of how it feels.  It’s equally heartbreaking….but it’s different.  It’s different because it doesn’t have to be.  It’s the ‘choice’ of the other person.  It can be fixed.  It may take courage but it can be fixed.

Do something once and it is an accident.  Do it again and it’s a choice.  Didn’t have to happen.  Didn’t have to go down that road.  Didn’t have to hurt the people around you.  Didn’t have to do that.

Do it again and it becomes selfish.  It becomes weak.  It lacks integrity and soul.  It becomes pathetic. It becomes deliberate.  The deliberate cause of suffering to others.

Addictions are a disease they say.  Perhaps.

Choice is not a disease.

Addictions are selfish and destructive.  They are harmful and hurtful.  They cause pain wherever they go….and they go everywhere.  They are everywhere.  They are all around me causing immense suffering to people that I love dearly and so many people I don’t even know.  People I have yet to meet.  Addictions are selfish and they are a choice!  I am astonished at the prevalence of them.  I am astonished at the quiet whispering voices as they tell me their stories.  Their stories of breaking hearts and loss of hope.  Stories of broken families and suffering children.  Stories.  So many stories.  I am over whelmed by them.

I do not understand despite a lifetime of being in this place.  I do not understand someone making that choice.  I do not understand the destructive selfishness of it all.

I watched my father destroy his family unit. Destroy his job, his friendships and eventually destroy himself.  Done and dusted and pushing up the daisies by the time he was my age.  He knew what he was doing.  As a child I knew he had chosen his addiction over me.  His selfish destruction of everything around him was more important than I was.

And then I watched it again….

It was a choice.  It was not a disease it was a choice.

It simply didn’t have to be that way.

It never does.

 

 

Don’t be co-dependent on your story.

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We all have our story.  Pages and pages of stuff we travel with.  Baggage we hold on to.   Each of us with our own piteous little pieces of our past.  Your father walked out when you were little or your boyfriend cheated on you once upon a time.  You never got that promotion you always thought you deserved or  your school marks didn’t reflect how hard you worked.  You were not chosen for the A team so gave up sport. That guy never asked you out and then dated your best friend.  He left you.  She left you.  Little traumas.  Notches in the bark of our souls that make us who we are. We are filled to the brim with them.  Overflowing with them.  You can’t get to adulthood without bags of the stuff.  We carry it around and blame our messy lives on it.

I am guilty.  A father who was indifferent to me at best and drunk a lot of the time.  A shabby english comprehensive that, were it not for the daily register, would not have noticed I was there.  My father’s job that made us move every few years resulting in no roots anywhere,  no sense of belonging, no real home.  These are just aspects of my childhood.  I would not dare to tread publicly into my teen years let alone all the diatribe that followed.  I would not dare to go on pulling out the relentless garbage of my life and laying it out and telling you ‘see….that’s why’. That’s why I can’t. That’s why I’m too scared. I couldn’t possibly because….

Here I am in my very adult years trying to lay down that heavy load of history.  The mountainous pile of the former me that I have dragged around year after year. The relentless hurt that the last few years delivered in breathtaking quantities.  I am trying, in tiny daily steps, to release any co-dependency on my past.  To believe that ‘I can’ despite a life of believing that ‘I can’t’.

It’s not easy.  We are comfortable in our co-dependency.  It’s a beautiful excuse.  It’s a beautiful excuse to stay in our sweet co-dependent state. It’s a reason to not.  A reason to not write that book or start that business or take up that sport.  It’s a reason to not be easy in that relationship.  It’s a reason to not open our hearts to all the incredible possibilities.

As safe and comfortable as this co-dependency is you are not all that has been.  It’s done. It happened but now is now. It’s not who you are in this moment.  Place all those bags of stuff gently down and move on. Let your heart gently open to all the promise and wonder of what life can offer.

You are not what happened to you.

There is so much to come.

Life will break you..but..

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In all my work I am incredibly privileged.  I get to meet and spend time with an amazing variety of people.   With my camera in hand I meet newborn babies and happy people.  I get to photograph people doing what they love with the people they love.  There is often laughter,  there is often joy and I get to capture it and give it back to them so that they can look at it forever.  Life however is not just filled with happy smiling moments.

There is laughter in my yoga classes too.  Lots of it.  There is laughter and joy but there are also tears.  There are tears and great moments of fear.  There is anxiety and anger and for some reason yoga brings it all out.  People come to class for all sorts of reasons.  The come in search of something, often not knowing what that thing is.  They come thinking they want to do a few asanas, touch their toes and sit in relaxation.  This happens, oh yes this happens, but shit happens too.  Last week a student touched her toes for the first time in her life and along with that moment came floods of tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of release. Tears of achievement.  In that same class a student who could not find her balance instead found floods of tears in savasana (relaxation).  I held her head as her body shook with the weight of it all.  I watch as people release deep sighs in meditation.  I get to be part of their process of peeling back the layers of themselves.  I get to witness their ahh-aha moments.  I get to be part of their journey and it’s beautiful.

A while back I was asked if I would spend some time doing relaxation and meditation with a lady who was terminally ill.  The sweet, kind, beautiful person was understandably very anxious about the road that lay ahead of her. Once a week I would go to her apartment and for an hour we would talk and then we would sit in quiet meditation with me guiding her to find just a few moments of complete peace.  We would talk of life and death, of fear and trying to really live in the few moments she had left.  I witnessed her sorrow and pain.  I held her hand when she cried and helped her breathe through moments of unease.  I was witness to her most intimate fears.  I heard her stories and sat with her when she needed to find space in those stories and it was a beautiful thing.

Life will break you.  We come into the world devoid of fear or judgement, but life will break you.  Along our journey we bump headfirst into heartache and pain.  We suffer intolerable sickness.  We loose people we love and are brought to our knees by uncertainty.  We fix ourselves with pretend plasters and glue.  We hold it all together with imaginary layers that we think will keep out all the pain….but it won’t.  Life will break you.

I had the incredibly privilege of getting to know a person intimately in the last months of her life.  During our hours together I got to ask about living.  I got to ask her where her breaks had been and where she had built her walls.  I got to see where she had put her plasters and glue and I got to see her layers peel away.

At the end of the day all those layers of ours will come undone.  In the last days of your life each and everyone of those plasters will come unstuck and the glue will melt.  We put them there because we don’t want anyone else to see our pain.  We don’t want to be vulnerable.  We want others to only see the happy pretty parts of ourselves.  What people don’t realise is that underneath all the pretend fixing is where all the real beauty is.

When I see the layers fall and the personal first aid fail I smile.  When I watch in class as the quiet person in the corner finally lets go, I smile.  I smile because the real beauty of a person is in their vulnerability.  The real beauty of the human race is in our connection and when we are vulnerable we connect deeply.  Our beauty is in the layers of who we are.  It’s in our stories and not just the good ones.

It’s hard though.  Taking off the plasters is hard and it hurts.  Something happens though when we do.  When we show another person our pain we free them up to do the same.  When we gut vulnerable we let them get vulnerable too.

Here is the best part of it all.  Like a baby or a person in their last hours where there is a serenity and grace that is breathtaking, a person without all their plasters and glue is the most beautiful thing.

 

 

Traits of conscious living

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I recently saw an article in which were words written by the actor Keanu Reeves. Keanu had written about how he did not like living in a world where people did not seem to value either themselves or each other. I agree.  The fact that millions are obsessed with the inane daily existence of a family that seem to pride themselves on the size of their butts rather than the depth in their hearts breaks my own into a million pieces.   Where is our deep commitment to the human race, our planet and everything that resides in our environment?  Why the desire to hurt and why the ludicrous obsession with things that have no meaning or depth.

His article reminded me of notes I had written in the back of an old journal and so I rummaged around until I located those tired scribbles. There in my tatty moleskin I found the list I had made some time ago on what I believe are the traits of people who live a conscious life.

They are dedicated to personal growth. 

By this I mean that they put effort into being a better person that they were yesterday.  The seek to expand their minds and are open to constant learning.  They understand that there is always room for improvement and are willing to work on the space between who they are and who they want to be.

They understand that they are more than a physical body.

Our physical body is home for our soul.  Perhaps we will never understand just what our soul is but we do get that it is vital to who we are.  Both our body and our soul are energy.  Our body vibrating atoms of energy and soul the deep conscious energy that makes us who we are.  They understand this about themselves and equally of others.  They are prepared to meet others on both levels and are respectful of another’s journey here on our planet.

They take care of themselves

Living a conscious life means taking care of the home their soul resides in. Attending to all the physical needs of the body.  Making time for exercise, drinking lots of water, eating quality food and avoiding the perils of sugar, alcohol and drugs. It means taking care of your own emotional needs and stepping out into the world knowing that if you take good care of yourself you have more to offer others.

Embracing their beauty

This really boils down to being comfortable in their own skin.   Taking the time to love themselves, who they are and what they offer to the world.  This is no mean feat. Even liking ourselves seems impossibly difficult in a world that tells us we are not enough.  Conscious people tune out from the media perception of beauty, physical or otherwise and embrace all that they are.

Care for others

Conscious people understand that we are all connected.  That we are all part of this universe and that we are all made up of the same energy at a deep cellular level. This understanding guides them to treat others as they would treat themselves.

Care for the earth

It is pretty obvious isn’t it that if you have conscience at all you are driven to treat this plant with the utmost care.  Reducing your consumption and lowering your carbon footprint are just the tip of the iceberg.  Care for the earth means caring for our environment and everything in it.

Emotionally mature

This doesn’t come easy to some but it starts out by engaging in personal growth.  All the work done there provides the basis for emotional stability and maturity.  This has nothing to do with physical age.  I know young people who’s emotional maturity knocks the socks of people twice their age.

Lives with integrity and doesn’t settle

A conscious person approaches all that they do with grace.  They are true to their word and uphold their own code ethics and morals.  They know their boundaries and expect others to treat them with the same honour as they themselves treat others.

Opens even when it hurts

It is not easy to stay soft and open in a society that wants to beat you with it’s own brand of harshness but this one is essential.  Staying open means not closing down ones heart.  It means understand that the energy of love really is what gives meaning to our lives. It means being tender even in the moments when it is hardest to do so.

Receives elegantly

I struggle with this.  I find myself very uncomfortable with the process of receiving gifts but to not receive with grace denies the other person all the joy of giving.  Of course it is not always a gift from another person.  Receiving also means accepting and loving your talents and anything else that makes you special.  It is understanding that you are deserving of this and being brave enough to go out into the world with that knowledge.

Is brave and courageous.

In the words of Gandhi ‘Be truthful, gentle and fearless’.  Being brave and courages does not denote being hard.  It means be courageous enough to be gentle and be brave enough to stay open.  Stand sweetly in your own power and respect that others do the same.  Move fearlessly out of your comfort zone when required and help others in their quest for growth.  There is a beautiful sanskrit word ‘Shraddha’.  It means learning to rest in complete uncertainty without moving into fear.  For me that just sums up beautiful the ability to be brave and courageous.

I truly believe that we all have the ability to be highly conscious people.  That every single person on this planet has the depth and character to do the work required, and just imagine if they all did.  What a wonderful world it would be.



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