Brahmacharya

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In 2012, a few months before I went into my first 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, I made a radical decision. I decided that for a year, I would observe Brahmacharya. Named for the state of searching for the ‘Great One, Supreme Reality, or Self,’ Brahmacharya is one of the five Yamas according to Yogic texts. In Vedic traditions in refers to the state of celibacy one chooses during the life stage of being an unmarried student and fidelity when married. In modern times, it is better known as a state of being sexually responsible. In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Monks practice Brahmacharya their whole lives as it is considered necessary for their spiritual practice.

It wasn’t a decision that required a lot of consideration on my end. I loved the sound of the word, ‘Bharmacharya,’ and something about doing it felt completely right. I chose the more strict sense of the word, not only refraining from the sexual act, but also anything that could lead to it including kissing, extreme alcohol consumption and situations where I am alone with a man I am attracted to in a private setting.

As soon as I had decided on it, it was like I had donned a veil that made me sexually invisible. There was a sense of liberation in being able to let it go and practice my Yoga, learn my texts and most of all, learn more about myself. Once I had taken the whole dynamic out of the picture, I found a lot of freedom. I learned to walk in my own skin without trying to gather the attention or to please a dominant male figure.

A lot came up in that time but once the year was up, and as I was ready to lift the veil, my beloved father passed away. Now that opened up a whole other can of worms and Brahmacharya was extended. The relationship between a daughter and a father is always something pretty amazing. My father, no matter what he did was my hero. Whenever he was in a room, his was the only presence that mattered to me. We had our ups and downs of course. When we disagreed there were so many strong emotions running around that the charge was palpable. It was the love that was also the double-edged sword. When he hurt me, I would lash out as strongly but the love was so deep that when I hurt him, it was akin to taking a knife to my own heart.

My father was a bit of a narcissist in that he never saw how his actions hurt the people who loved him. Growing up I was used to him getting distracted either with a new relationship, a new love interest or a new work venture and he would disappear during those times. Those were the days when he didn’t return my calls, or was simply not available. Then when the thing that had his interest for the moment went to shits or he got bored of it, he would be back and I would welcome him. It hurt like hell but I was young not to see the cruelty and selfishness in it so it became the norm.

When he passed, the patterns that I had carried on from my relationship with him to my relationship with other men came to light. Of course, I never loved anyone quite as strongly. How could you love an employer, friend or lover as much as you love your own father? Not even close. But I did notice that in my relationships with men, I had been willing to accept a degree of cruelty. I’m not saying that the men in my life have been cruel, not all of them anyway, but there have been acts of cruelty that I had previously quickly forgiven and even sometimes apologised for.  In doing so, I had been cruel to myself and reaffirming the belief that I was not worthy and therefore it was my responsibility to hold things together.  That was a pretty big one to see and a bigger one to disprove.  Thanks goodness for the friends who see your light even when you can’t.

There is something to be said for not being in a romantic relationship and seeing these patterns. I haven’t been a monk where emotions are concerned. Of course, I’ve had crushes and emotional interests but the commitment to my practice has held me from getting into going forward with a relationship. I had nothing to lose. I’d spent my entire twenties almost continuously in long-term relationships. The thing is, when you are in one, you’re so caught up in the highs and lows of it that you can’t step back and say, ‘wait a minute, here’s that behaviour that I am repeating.’ I’m not saying the change is immediate but like with everything else, you have to notice the pattern to change how you act to it. That has been my greatest lesson.

I have many lessons to learn, I’m sure, but it has been three years and eight months since I committed to a state of learning these lessons on my own. This has in a way become a crutch to save myself from complications and the possibility of pain, but what is life without some complication. It might be time to opening myself to lessons that involve another dynamic now.

In about two weeks, I enter into my second 200 Yoga Teacher Training. The main teacher, the amazing Shiva Rea is a true Tantrist. This time instead of slow assimilation to practice, it will be a month away in an insulated situation, but once the month is done, I think it is time I consciously lift the veil of Brahmacharya that I’ve been wearing all this time.

To victory in facing fears, taking risks and standing in the discomfort of the fire until change is ready to happen. Jai!

Just Dance – Life is Well Enough as it is

When I went to yoga teacher school, part of the process was self-study. In fact the niyamas, part of the eight limbs of yoga includes the practice of svadhyaya which is a study of your inner realm. Yoga, after all is more than a physical practice. It is the life long practice of looking at yourself, finding your issues and working on them in the quest to becoming an enlightened being. With practice and time, the layers are peeled back to find our atma or higher self.

 

Now, as a teacher, I find myself in constant self-study and to add to it, I am surrounded by healers. It is great in a way, but in another, not so much. You see healers can sometimes see problems everywhere. There is always something that deserves a deeper look at, always something that needs to be fixed. Sometimes, it can go too far, like a person who enrols you in dance classes in a style you hate because you can’t get your steps in time with everyone else. It creates pressure and you end up resenting the dance even more. The thing too is that healers can be broken, and sometimes, in not wanting to be broken alone, there is projection, making their stories the stories of others, but it is not the case. It is never the same.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and one of the things I decided in my 30s was that I would only surround myself with people I actually like, but some days, I grow wary of the digging. Being female, I am good enough at breaking myself down so having an army of people turning every action or non-action into an issue doesn’t really help matters. Sometimes all the digging is a bit like reading those useless ‘how to’ articles in female magazines, you know the ones, ‘how to meet prince charming,’ ‘how to live an awesome life,’ and ‘how to make a man love you,’ etc. If you actually just put the articles down, you might realise that your life is pretty awesome and that you are, in fact a shining star.  All these things that are there to ‘help’ sometimes just creates is this sense of not being enough or not doing enough.

 

The thing is, not everything needs to become an issue and every issue should definitely not be made into an excuse. We all carry scars from our childhoods and our youths. In their own way, they not only shape who we are but have also brought us to this space here and now. My heart carries the scratches and bruises of being my father’s daughter and the unhealthy relationships I have had in my life, with self, with people, with addictions. My heart might always wear these scars and perhaps, although she may never fully heal, it is fine, she can move forward and with time, she will get where she’s going.

 

All this poking and prodding and digging, how much does it really help? The emotional body is not quite like the physical body. My right hip flexor is sore and that can directly be traced back to my torn hamstring and how I compensated for that by doing things differently. The emotional things however, the deeper things, well, perhaps they are fine as they are. Perhaps, although there is a deeper story it is not for us to know yet. I am tired of how my being single becomes a dissection of how I am either not manifesting, setting intentions, putting it our there or the opposite, putting it out there too much. I am tired of how caring for someone means that I am not taking care of myself while they get what they want.

 

Life and yoga to me, is this great amazing dance. You dance on your own, figuring out your own steps, you dance in a group, finding ways of how that works and you dance with a single other at different times, in different ways, friend, sister, lover. You can help someone if they’re dancing with an injured foot, but who are we to say that people are not dancing the right way or to question their steps.

 

You might see two people dancing at opposite ends of the room with this amazing chemistry between them – she with just the right amount of softness to compliment his strength. Occasionally they dance close to each other but they move away again. Sometimes you just want to make them dance together, and when they don’t you start handing them pamphlets of dance schools that can help. I’ve learned that some dances, like the dance I dance when I’m alone, are not made to be shared. They are my steps to my tune. It is the same with a dance between two people. They each come to it with their own breaths, steps, backgrounds, rhythms and sometimes, it takes time to figure out how to dance together. They lose count, step on each other’s toes (sometimes on purpose) and they might even drop each other, but nothing is broken, nothing needs to be fixed. It is their own dance, to dance for themselves, not for you. And if you are the dancer on the floor, this is your dance, not for the world.

 

Life is a process.

 

Yes, we want to get there, wherever there is. We want that perfect handstand, we want to be loved, and we have so much love to give, but some things, the good things, no matter how you dissect or tear apart, you just can’t rush. Perhaps, there is nothing wrong with being fine with how things are not exactly how you want them to be. Perhaps, not liking having my feet of the ground is not some big character flaw that I have to fix and perhaps giving love not knowing if it is returned is not something that means I’ll spend my life pining while the ones loved just take.

 

There are always a million things that can be wrong, that can be fixed, but there comes a time when everything is just fine the way it is. Les Leventhal reminded me that a flower opens when it is time. If you pull the petals open, they break. It is the same with most things – your body in practice, your life in its journey and your heart. When it is time, nothing you can do can stop what is going to happen from happening.

 

So relax.

 

Live, love, cry, break.

 

Listen to the music and dance. This track might be shit but the next track might be fucking awesome.  What you do at that exact time is always the right thing, and if you decide that you want to change your dance, slow it down, take a partner, change the pace – there is always space for that too. Remember that in a dance, there is that strength, but also that ultimate surrender to the music. Most of the time, you don’t really know what music is going to start playing.

 

 

I’d Rather Not be a Goddess

We sometimes talk about being ‘goddesses’ and ‘standing in our feminine,’ in a way that denotes the inferiority of the masculine, but the truth is, in each human whether they are born female or male, both these energies exist.  Not one is superior to the other, and the need for one or the other varies with time.  For instance, when I was going through a tough time, I wanted to surround myself with feminine energy, but at some point when there was too much around me, I found it stifling.  I love a man who is comfortable with the feminine, but I also find a man who stands just a bit too close in my space with red hot masculinity extremely sexy, especially if I know that he doesn’t do it with everything in a skirt.

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I read this piece ages ago about dating a yoga goddess.  It’s really great for the self-esteem, but on the other hand, who’s to say that a Yoga Goddess is any different from a Prada Goddess.  Sure, if you’re a yoga girl, then dating someone who loves his drink and lives on steaks might just leave a lot to be desired when it comes to finding a place you both enjoy.  And if you love being outdoors and he loves his TV, then it might not garner much conversation time.  Incompatible bed times make things difficult if you’re asleep by 9:30pm and he’s not up until 11:00am and if one of you feels somehow that the other is not as enlightened/smart/anything will just cause imbalance in the relationship.

My friend Karen-Anne digs deeper into philosophy with her answer to the article mentioned above, and I agree with her: http://flyingdragonyogis.com.au/2013/12/04/self-awareness-for-goddesses/.  Just because we use different terms (cleanse instead of diet, divine masculine instead of man), doesn’t make us totally different than the average Jane.

Something about calling myself a ‘goddess’ and sending invitations to the ‘divine masculine’ just doesn’t speak to me.  It might work for some. And some people, in relationship want to be adored.  It’s great in small doses, but I would rather be loved than put on a pedestal as some great ideal.  Why would you want to see yourself as superior to the person you’re dating?  Why would you want him to think that he’s not enough?  Sure you might be the better planner while he’s the one with more physical strength, and he might be more analytic while you’re more intuitive, but not one trait is better than the other.  Then there are some things that you love doing together; cooking, going to the beach, watching movies, whatever.  Sometimes you will annoy each other but that’s not because you’re a Goddess while he’s a dud.  It’s just because you don’t agree on everything, and that’s a good thing.

At the end of the day, I want to be with someone who I can talk to, laugh with and play with.  He could work in the creative field or the technical field, be a martial artist, Crossfitter or Yogi.  It is important however, that he finds joy in what he does like I find joy in what I do.  He could come from any background, as long as he has a good relationship with his family.  Occasionally I will challenge him, and he will challenge me, and we will motivate each other.  Our differences will be just as important as the things we have in common.  Sometimes things will get tough, but a lasting relationship is when you choose to stay instead of go. Some people use the principal non-attachment as a reason not to commit, and sure, if you don’t get attached, you won’t get hurt, but that bit of attachment can also feed into the effort put into the relationship.  More than the job, family background or whatever, is who he is as a person, and in anything of this nature, there is that something that nobody can put a finger on, that from the outside might not make sense, but somehow just feels right.

The practice of yoga is a journey in finding your path.  If it feels right for you, then go ahead and be a floating Gypsy but if what sits dear in your heart is finding a place to land and build, then it makes you no less ‘Yoga Goddess,’ or a ‘Divine Masculine’.  Some just want to be free, others want to have another someone, and others want to have children.  Not one is better than the other.

It took more than two whole years of being completely alone but now I know that I want to land.  Casual, fleeting flings might leave a lot of freedom, but it is just not for me.  The only time I want to be a Goddess is when he is right there with me being a God.  Other than that, I want to be able to take off any masks (because it is only human nature that we wear them sometimes) along with my shoes, not be judged for having pizza if I feel like it, and occasionally not have to do anything but sit on the couch together.  I would want that underlying friendship which allows me the freedom to be unabashedly me.

As much as the Goddess energy is within everyone, I would rather not feel like I have to be some semi-fictional ideal.

 

Being Loved

In my past I always felt so alone. Even when I was with family, I never truly felt like I belonged.  Through the years I had constructed layer upon layer of walls that I held up with a vengeance.  I wondered why I dated men who were emotionally unavailable.  You know the kind, the ones who can’t be your Superman when your psycho Lois Lane is falling off a building. In this case, the building of your sanity.  I associated with people who I had to always support, people who always had some form of drama.  Sharing my feelings was a foreign concept to me, and most of the time, I didn’t have the words for them.  I still don’t sometimes, but that’s OK.  Somehow, I had locked my heart up in a kryptonite box, behind a reinforced steel door, threw away the key, built a brick wall, dug a moat around it and placed piranhas in the water for good measure.  Every so often I would lower the drawbridge and let someone in, but they always stood behind the locked door.

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The last couple of years however, things had started to change.  Maybe it was me, or maybe I was just lucky to meet a group of the most supportive people, but I had slowly began to open up, both personally, and in my writing.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a bare all piece on my journey with celibacy: https://azphoenix.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/act-of-celibacy/, right before I went off and taught a class.  It was one of the most confronting things that I have done in a long time.  For one thing, publishing my innermost thoughts online, and for another, standing in front of people who I knew for a fact had read those innermost thoughts.  It was fucking scary, but in a strange way, being this vulnerable has also made me feel very connected to those around me.

Then my father passed away.  Now, he is a story that I will write when I am ready.

It was what has happened since that has surprised me.

Having lived alone for about seven years now, I am used to licking my own wounds and getting on with it.  In fact, I learned to get on with it at a very young age.  There was always someone else to take care of.  The things we get used to.  A lot of times, they can be detrimental to our own health, acting out of habit than need. And in the long run, the stuff we push down just bubbles up like larva and destroys what’s closest.  This time, I was completely ready to handle my business, spend a few days in my pajamas with a few boxes of tissue paper, and then wipe it all clean and get back to life.

Something unexpected happened.  Upon hearing the news, two of my dear friends took immediate action. Mandy brought her 35 day old baby and a pint of gelato over, and gave me a distraction by way of placing the cutest little bundle in my arms to cuddle.  Meriana came around after work, took me to the beach (in my pajama bottoms no less) and then proceeded to get me groceries.  A few days later, my teacher Ingrid just held me while I completely broke down. This is not counting the phone calls, the messages of condolence and the hugs that I have been receiving for the past week.   I swear, I have left a trail of tear stains over many a shoulder and my yoga mat will never be the same again.

In the world around not much has changed.  It keeps turning as it was.  Sydney traffic is still crazy and public transport can be unreliable, and people are still rushing everywhere.  What has changed however, is me.  Somehow, somewhere between the meditation and the asana, I am finding myself, and that is leading me to be able to share myself.  I am a lot more vulnerable than I was, but I am also so much more part of something bigger.  The people I have in my life make me feel blessed, like the heavens were somehow looking out for me, but more than that, even though I am alone in the modern sense of the word (as in single), I am so very loved.

And that’s just it, isn’t it? Being loved is not necessarily about the Instagram photos of your dates or the gifts that you’ve received from your ‘perfect’ partner.  It’s not about how your popularity means that you always have someone to go out with on the weekend. And it sure as hell not about how some dude wants to jump your bones whenever you see them.  Instead, it’s about the ability to just be vulnerable and to know that you are supported in these times.

A big thank you to the people I have in my life now.  To me, having you has made all the difference.

Edited by fellow word warrior – Carolyn Eccles, http://lovewhatitloves.wordpress.com/

The Intimacy of Celibacy

Over a year ago, I made the conscious decision to be celibate.  This meant no physical anything with anyone, so no pashing and definitely nothing beyond that.  When I first tell people this, the responses I get vary greatly.  Some have looked at me incredulously with the question, “why?” Some have lectured me on how I am fighting natural human urges, and therefore not taking care of my needs, while others, mostly close friends, have been very supportive of the decision.  In a world where more is always better, I made the decision to go with less.

Flowers by Opulent Garden: http://opulentgarden.com.au/

Why am I doing it?

Well, in the last 10 years, I had had one four year relationship, followed two weeks after it ended with a one year fling, then a couple of years and flings in between, followed by a three year relationship. Having not had much time alone at all, I felt that in the midst of major life changes, it was right that I take some time alone.  What’s physical intimacy got to do with it you say?  Well, that’s the thing.  Physical intimacy, without actual intimacy, to me, is pointless. In a casual encounter, most of the time, you’d be off your face anyway and would be less likely to remember the thing. It’s just mutual masturbation.  And at least on your own, there’s none of the morning after (or just after) awkwardness.

As I delve deeper into my yoga studies, I have also come to believe that we are as much spiritual, intellectual, emotional and energetic beings as we are physical beings.  And that sex or any sort of intimate physical activity is a sharing of energy.  This act in part was to acknowledge the fact that yes, I had given away my energy to people who had left me in an emotional draught after, and also to show myself some respect. You know that feeling when you meet someone you’re attracted to in your beer goggles, and you make out in a club or wherever, but when you go home, there’s not only a hangover but an inexplicable emptiness as well?  Worse still if it ends up becoming more than a quick pash.  Well, I’d decided that the short term high was not worth it anymore.

Unfortunately, making a big decision like this, and being completely determined to keep it, does require some life changes.  For one thing, drugs are a complete no-go now.  Not even a puff of weed have I taken in at least 18 months.  For another thing, no longer do my weekends consist of two nights in a pub, drinking myself silly, followed by spending the entire weekend in bed with a hangover.  In fact, my whole social life has had a revamp.  Strangely enough, giving up physical intimacy has fostered other types of intimacy.  No longer being able to hide behind alcohol and loud music, my socializing options have evolved into long walks and beach outings, hours of brunch and coffee (well tea in my case), the occasional glass of wine and beautiful dinners, all of which require a substantial amount of conversation.  If I am attracted to a guy now, I can’t go into default ‘get drunk and pash’ mode… I actually have to talk to him.

In a world where feminism and equality means that women can do anything men can do, including having random sex, this act of mine might go against the grain.  However, what are feminism and equality if not giving me the freedom to make my own choices.  I have been lucky to have the support of my very feminist mentor, Dr. Heather Moritz through this.  Her pure shakti essence, humour and often unique outlook on the world has definitely had an impact of my life, and have helped me hold my own in this controversial decision of mine.  Ironic how what I’m doing now is seen as different when as little as thirty years ago, someone who did the opposite was pretty much ostracized.  Goes to prove that you should just do what feels right for you at any given time.

Looking around, I see a lot of sex, but not enough intimacy.  To me, it is not intimacy unless there is vulnerability on a level that is other than physical. And for me personally, I have had long stretches of time where my physical self has been disconnected from my emotional, mental, spiritual and energetic self.  This for me, has been an exercise in starting to align all the different layers of what makes me, me.  It has been a chance to regroup and re-gather. My yoga practice has grown.  And on days when I am so present, lying down in shavasana at complete peace, feeling sweat drip off my skin; the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual satisfaction has been greater than any I have had previously.  In this place, I am complete.

It’s not that I’ve stopped shaving my legs.  In fact, through this period, I have learned to take care of my body even more.  It is this living, breathing being full of sensuous possibility. It comes with expressive spirit, intellect, and most of all, a heart. Now I know that sharing myself with someone who can’t appreciate all that, or is not in touch with all that in themselves would be a cop out on my end.  And no, I’m not missing out on anything because on my own, I am complete anyway.

A year on, I am still on this journey.  Although I had an online dating account for a bit once the year was up, but I rethought the whole thing and found it too contrived and forced. It’s gone now.  Dear Michael (the number of times Michael is mentioned, you’d know I’d be lost without him.  The man really is my Master Yoda) asked me how I would let the universe know that I am open to it, and my answer was, “the universe will know anyway.  It’s only a matter of me being ready for it.”

The Death of Drama (Addiction)

It seems like a lifetime ago, but my first long term relationship was a bit like the song, “Love the way you lie,” by Eminem and Rihanna… something about a volcano meeting a tornado, or something like that.  As a love story, it was like Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights.  Since the day we got together, hardly a fortnight would go without us screaming at each other followed by me crying and some sort of emotional blackmail.  At some point it almost became this match to see who could hurt each other more. And then we would make up, and it would be all, “I love you,” and “we’ll be together forever.”  The fact that we stayed together for four years means that I must have liked it in some way.

It’s not rocket science. I somehow got a rush from the rollercoaster of feelings, going from absolute passion to anger to sadness.  It was crazy.  I thought that if it wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t worth it. I was always ready to spring. There was no peace. I now know that every day of my life back then was lived in my sympathetic nervous system – fight or flight.  I learned to do both reasonably well.  My uncle’s relationship with his ex wife was the same, except in their case there were physical bruises involved.  It’s a cycle and in a way, some people just don’t know how to get out of it.

Was it love? Of course it was love.  Of course, at the time, I was of the mind that love had to be difficult and love had to be this crazy rollercoaster. The thing with love though, is that it’s just an emotion. The forms it can take can sometimes be positive, and at other times detrimental.  Who is anyone to say that people who fight all the time love each other less than people who don’t?

What is it about drama though?

10 years on looking back and I wonder why we thrive on drama so much. It’s not just in relationships, but in all aspects of life.  And sometimes we can’t put it down to youth either. Some of us can’t do anything without an aspect of drama in it. The hypochondriac is an extreme case of this but there are others that are not quite there, but very close. The family member who fakes his own fucking death, the friend who’s always got some beef with someone, the person who’s talking on the phone extremely loudly on the bus.  Everything has to be a big production.  Honestly, I’ve known people to whom even going to sleep is this big production.  It’s like putting on a play; need this, need that, need blah blah blah… and they’re not comfortable anyway. Sometimes I honestly wonder if it’s a cry for help or simply a call for attention.  How you know these people is that when you spend time with them, you leave feeling absolutely exhausted.

Drama can become an addiction. It’s like feeding on the attention, the adrenaline, the production of things, and when there is none of that, you just forget how to function.  It’s like an actor who doesn’t know who they are anymore once a movie ends, and people who are just lost and depressed when nobody is watching. It’s the person who can’t handle silence because there is nobody to perform for.  It’s everywhere if only you look hard enough.  It’s just a fucking story.

Sure there are breakups, and bad days at work, and sometimes, we just need that support form our friends and loved ones.  Sometimes however, it helps to stop and look at our own patterns.  One example is this Carrie Bradshaw syndrome. Somehow it’s romantic when you break up and get back together and then break up again and then get back together again. And while you’re doing this, your friends have to sit there year in year out listening to the same shit.  I love you Carrie. Without this stuff, Sex in the City would have died early, but heck its drama, made for TV, and should be kept for TV.  Bring it out into the world, and it becomes tedious.

We read books. We watch movies, and of course at some point everyone wants to write the story of their lives. Because it’s great isn’t it? We’ve made it so full of drama that it will be a best seller. It’s going to be the next “Eat, Pray, Love,” isn’t it?  Suddenly after the book and movie, everyone was getting divorced and going to Bali hoping they’ll meet a Brazilian man who says, “daarrrrrrling.” Well honey, that book has already been written, so you can just cut the drama and carry on with life. And perhaps we don’t have to sit around every moment like someone’s going to take a fucking picture.  Every day of life doesn’t need to be a big fucking production.

Solar Eclipse

Honestly, as I said to beloved friend and teacher Michael, I’m just tired of fucking drama. Sure there are ups and downs, and those things keep life interesting.  When I get together with friends, I do want to hear their stories. When a friend goes through a breakup or has a hard day at work, I want to be there for them, but I would like to cut the drama.  I’m not Elizabeth Gilbert.  This is my life. Even without drama, there is a story, my story, the one that goes into my journal, not for the big screen or be bound in hardcover. The one that is my life, and not some fucking production of it.  I could live without the 15 minutes of fame.

So the world is going to end today, and every ending is a new beginning. What I’m going to do is let go of the fucking past, move on, have some fish and chips, catch up with some friends and hope that this ending means a new beginning with minimal drama.

Cheers lovers!

Shut Up Your Brain and Start From Where You Are Now

I’m tired. My brain is fried from all the self enquiry that’s been going on for the past three years or so.  You see, I went through a period where I decided when things had become a pattern and so I went back to my childhood and the issues that have contributed to my bad decisions as an adult.  Not only have I been doing this for myself, I have also been doing this with my friends and past boyfriends.  Sometimes however,  it just becomes an exercise in justifying why people are assholes.

Today, I was reading a post by the fabulous Tanya Mah: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/10/ive-got-a-bone-to-pick-with-my-yoga-teacher-tanya-maria-mah/ and as she always does, she’s set me on a whole different path of thinking.  Us women (and some men, but more women), we like to analyse, and dig, and analyse some more.  We find reasons why we’re too giving, too loving, too cold, too warm, too thin, too fat.  We go through our chakras looking for imbalances hoping that they will tell us what’s wrong with us so that we can fix it. And then we try our whole lives to fix the things that are wrong with us, obsessing and stressing, thinking “I can do this once I fix that,” or “he will love me once I deal with my ….. issues.”  We meditate to the point of hyperventilation waiting for what Bryan Kest describes as “Kundalini to come up your asshole.” Why? Perhaps because once we’re there, we’ll be worthy of the good that’s coming our way.

And that’s the good side of it.

It can go a whole other direction for some.

Believe me, I’ve met people who have gone into a period of self enquiry and instead of finding things that they can fix, they find excuses.  They find patterns from parents, siblings, exes, strangers, bosses, just anyone and instead of being something to work on, it becomes something to blame.  The self enquiry becomes the “because” in the sentence, “I’m a dick because…… (my mum, my dad, my ex, my cat, my dog)”  It’s a journey of never being happy, blaming the single state for such and such, then getting into relationships and blaming the relationships for other things.  And the work stops there.  There’s the excuse, followed by a whole lifetime of using it, hoping that some poor sod will love them despite it or fix them because they have a reason (or reasons) why.  Sadly enough, some poor sod (usually from the category above) does.  And in the end, the poor sod is just another source to blame.

As much as I am an advocate of self enquiry, it’s one of those weapons that in the wrong hand can cause destruction.  You know how they say “with great power comes great responsibility?” Well this is one of those cases.  Self enquiry can definitely be a gateway to great power, or rather self empowerment.   However, used without responsibility, it makes way to great excuses that one can use their whole life long.  Without self awareness, you can end up sitting at home in your 60s still blaming your parents for your five failed marriages.  And of course, there can come a point when you end up searching so deep you just confuse yourself and end up frozen in space, incapable of making a decision, stuck in your fear.

Believe me, I’m one to talk.  Upon embarking on this whole self enquiry journey, I found a million things to blame my parents and family members for.  Of course, when you go back to your childhood, who else would you have to blame right?  Well, for a while I was stuck in a cycle of blame, helplessness and excuses.  And then I found reason after reason why I didn’t deserve happiness.  Just like Tanya said in her piece it always seems like there’s one little tiny thing more to do to be happy, one more chia seed or green smoothie you need as part of your diet, yet another detox for another season and in the end you find yourself in a cycle of unhappiness.  Some days I find myself running around like a headless chicken (or as the Aussies say, “headless chook”) until I hit a point of dazed confusion not knowing which end is up.  Sometimes there are so many words going round that I don’t know what they mean anymore.

It gets tiring.  At some point, you have to realise that a bit more needs to come with it, that just sitting there playing black and white movies of your childhood is not enough anymore.  At some point, the real work starts.  So yeah, while self enquiry is great, it needs to come with some self awareness.  Sometimes things are just as they are.  You might not be meditating 12 hours a day and you might not be able to do a handstand.  You might be single or your relationship might not look as perfect as your friend’s does on Facebook. (Because everyone’s relationship looks more perfect than yours on Facebook doesn’t it?) You might no longer be a size 6 and be able to dance all night anymore.  You might not want a relationship at the moment, and you might never want children.

But WHO CARES?

People who judge you can suck it.

At the end of the day, stop with the digging and blaming, and realise that while some things (abuse, torture, etc) are complicated and require a lot of going back to deal with the feelings, your mum tapping you on the arm is not.  Your dad forcing you to go to school, is not.  Sure everyone’s a dick sometimes, but there’s no point going into self-enquiry if at the end of the day, you get lost in your memories and they make you even more of a dick.

Yes, sometimes you need to go back into the past to deal with the things that you left hanging that need to be dealt with, but do so with awareness. It doesn’t have to be that way for every single thing.  Sometimes, there really is no point over-complicating things.  You can’t change the past. It is what it is and, perhaps instead of putting all our energy into going backwards, we need learn to detach from the past move forward from where we are.  And more important, perhaps we should just be who we are (well unless you can be a unicorn, in which case choose to be a unicorn) or you’re a dick, in which case stop blaming the family pet you had when you were four for being cuter than you, and get help.

Peace. Namaste. Ommmmmmmmmmmmm………………………