In the Flow

This morning I walked through my City of Sydney, drinking in the sights with these eyes for the last time before heading off for a month long adventure. In nine years, this will be the longest I have left this city and I am sitting here somewhere between being nervous and excited. It is a bit like going on a first date with someone who you’ve had your eye on for a while and you know it’s going to be a game changer. I am leaving my home, my cat, my students and my community but this is the next chapter of a story that started a long time ago. Finally, after three years of dreaming of it, I am hopping on a plane to undertake a 200 Hour Prana Flow Teacher Training with Shiva Rea in Greece.

It feels like I am standing here on the edge of change – ready to let go of what was, honouring what is and completely open to what will happen.

My first 200 Hour Teacher Training was done locally, with BodyMindLife in 2012. It was no doubt a life altering experience. So much changed for me during this time including a shedding of a long-term relationship and a huge change in career. I’m glad I had opted to do it part time to allow me the chance for slow integration into all aspects of my life. This time however, I am taking the plunge. I am immersing myself completely in the experience, limiting my contact to the outer world to a minimum.

Every time I go deeper into this path something of what I was, is stripped away so that I can become more of what I was meant to be both as a person and as a teacher. These events are magical even though they might not always be easy. They have a way of releasing an old way of being, a way of thinking that no longer serves us and sometimes even old relationships. Leading into this, I have been very careful not to make big commitments as I know that these are very personal journeys and it would not be fair to make a promise that I am not sure I will be able to keep.

There is so much to experience and so much to learn within yoga and we are lucky to be in Australia at this time as the tribe is continuously growing. We have had an influx of great international teachers including Ana Forrest, Maty Ezraty and Bryan Kest, each bringing with them a wealth of knowledge that has fed my own practice and my teaching.

Prana Flow however, has always been close to my heart.

This was a style that was introduced to me more than two years ago by Chanel Luck and Simon Park. Being an ex traditional dancer, something about the ritual and ceremony in combination with discipline, intelligent sequencing and the freedom of flow spoke to me. It was like the practice was telling a story and my body opened to participating in this tale that was being spun.

I am in love with how elements including the weather, the cycle of the moon and the energy of the students in the class are all welcomed into the space to create a complete experience. I am fascinated by how the more Tantric philosophies that honour the feminine are involved.   The way the flow is taught has given my body and soul a freedom that can only be found when my mind can get out of the way. There is an intuitive intelligence to it that can only be felt. There is a fullness and wholeness to it that feeds the soul.

And so we unfold.

When I decided to become a yoga teacher, it also meant that I had committed to a lifetime of learning. It meant a dedication to self-enquiry. Yoga is a lifelong process, a loop that keeps looping. We learn and we practice so that we can keep teaching. Sometimes we have to go back to our own lessons in life and in practice to be able to give. If the day ever comes when I don’t want to practice and feel that I have nothing more to learn, then it is probably a sign that I should stop teaching.

For now, the path is taking me deeper into knowledge of myself as a person. This is the knowledge that informs me as a teacher to be able to offer more to my students on their own paths and I am so grateful to the teachers and life lessons, hard as they may have been, that have brought me here.

So here I head into the next leg of this journey. It’s hard to be away from loved ones and the support that I’ve come to cherish from my community but we are in continuous flow and sometimes, the river has to take us in a solitary direction before we can come back to the sea. I look forward to returning to my city and my community with a new way of seeing things, more to share and so much more compassion.

greece-santorini-tours

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One in Four – A Walk through Shadow and Flame

According to statistics, one in four children in the US have been sexually molested. I don’t know what the statistics are in other parts of the country, but that is a big number. It means that every fourth person you meet has been in some way or other, sexually taken advantage of. I don’t know what the statistics are in Malaysia or in the UK where it happened to me but it could be similar. And yes, it did happen to me.

This was 29 years ago, when parents thought that the world was a safe place and that you could allow children to play securely and innocently. He was an acquaintance of my mother’s, someone she was taking a course with in Manchester, UK. It was already a rough time, as my father had sent me to my mother along with a letter that he was leaving her for a younger woman. She was devastated and I was confused.

How does a six year old even begin to describe the situation? It was a public place, and there was no pain involved but something about the situation didn’t feel right. I couldn’t even find the words to say what had happened and my mother was already upset, so I kept it quiet. Keeping it quiet however, did not mean that nothing manifested of it.

I’ve lived my life panicking every time a man stands too close behind me, and when a man assists me in child’s pose, my initial reaction is to stop breathing and freeze up until the message gets to my brain that I know the person and that it is OK to relax. It took me years to get used to the assist in downward facing dog where someone grabs you from the hips and pulls you back. Even now, there are only a few men I can relax into the assist with and I am extremely sensitive to the intention behind the touch.

It was never spoken of, but it has always been somewhere in the shadows.

And it wasn’t until two years ago that I had a vivid memory of the experience. My abuser had come from behind and he wasn’t rough, but he did touch me in an inappropriate way. A child might not know it in their mind, but children are sensitive receptors of touch. It was a lucky thing that there were other people around on the other side of the room or it could have been worse. I wanted to look out the window and he carried me until I could see. It was subtle but I did feel violated.

The event has been playing in the back of my mind for all this time.

‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears,’ old Buddhist proverb.

And so I must have been ready as the right teacher appeared. She had been through a worse experience than I had, relived the memory and come out the other side. I remember being in her class over a year ago, and the feelings surrounding the situation for me came up. Even from the first class, she noticed that I had trouble connecting to my sacrum and was coaxing me to bring breath into the area. It has been a slow process and part of the thing that made is so was my fear to face the assault.

It takes a lot to face these things but last Wednesday, something clicked. Ana Forrest, my beautiful teacher coaxed us to go on a quest towards identifying the blockages that keep us from being whole. In case of a traumatic event, a part of you remains in that time until you go back and free them. Ana said the magic words, telling us that the worst was over. We had survived and we were alive.

That, I think was what did it for me. I decided at the beginning of class that I would chase this fucker down so he could have less power over me. That intention must have been potent because even from the beginning as I was bringing breath down to my sacrum and pelvic area, the tremors began. They continued through core work and most of the class. Finally, when we got into Shavasana, they took over, wrecking my entire body and causing me to panic to the point of not being able to breathe. Luckily Claire, Ana’s assistant, lovingly stayed with me, gently touching my head and cueing me to keep breathing. As soon as we were out of Shavasana, I was a sobbing wreck.

It did not finish there.

Through the day, when I got home, I would sit down, start breathing into my sacrum and the shaking would start followed by sobs. Emotionally, I had to revisit that time of being confused, scared and betrayed. That feeling of being left alone overtook me, and most of all were the very strong feelings that as this was happening to me, my father, the one who was meant to flex his muscles (he was an ex footie player) and protect me was busy starting a new romance. He had let me down, and that’s where my belief that men leave you when you’re weak started.

There were some positives to it though. I was finally able to speak to my mother about it and gave the six year old a voice. She has been a rock through these times. She continues to be amazing, caring, calling me and supportive in my determination to get through this. She’s stuck through me in my crazy quest and called every day since.

We women are so much stronger in our compassion than we give ourselves credit for.

On Thursday I went back. The tremors started early, and towards the end, we were in a compromising Frog pose with a big roll under our bellies. That’s when they fully took over my body. A big part of me wanted to leave the pose and run out of the room. Another part of me was absolutely adamant to chase this fucker out of my body. Ana stayed with me through almost all five minutes of the tormenting ordeal where there were moments when I truly believed that I might die.

But I didn’t and here I am.

I’ve been a gaping wound all week. The memories, and the feelings surrounding them rise and fall like waves. They take over me and I am a shaking mess all over again. Sleep has been sometimes easy but most of the time not. I’ve had nightmares and gone to some really dark places in my mind, but as much as it scares me, I don’t want to put a temporary salve on this.

This will be a tough ride but I want to live my life fully so I am choosing to go through this. The other option is to live my life behind a safe wall where ‘fine’ and ‘comfortable’ are good enough. They are really not so I am living the days occasionally getting thrown into my past knowing that only by facing the nightmares will I be able to shine light on them.

The first 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training I did, I was recovering from a breakup. This time, I will be so much more vulnerable as I head into another time of big change. Sometimes though, it is in times of darkness like these that you learn to find your own light. I could bury it and stick a positive affirmation on it, but that’s not where the work is done. There is greatness and magic in the world however, as what you need always gets provided to you. In my case, I have a strong and loving bond with my family even though they are far away, a generous and solid community that holds me in their arms, wonderful friends and a nuturing yoga practice.

I am also taking steps to protect myself now. Where I would spread my love without fear of backlash before, right now, I am a bit more cautious. Where I see threat of unnecessary hurt, I step back. Some friends will taper away. This is when you know the ones who are leeching on your life force, the ones who only want you when you are light and easy. If you have a partner, this is when you know a weak person from a strong one.

It is a process of riding the waves day by day, and a transformation through fire. At the other side awaits a stronger person with more compassion and so much more love for self and others.0c136b5c56fd13046766ee65c4826572-d6ha2cv

Brahmacharya

sacred-sexuality-with-dr-ray

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!

Peddling Happiness

Every other day, someone in the wellness industry will put something up about being happy.  It’s usually one of those cute little word poster design things, like the one below.

If you want to be happyHappiness Habit

This is the world that I am a part of and I do love the people in this community but today, I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate to the ‘be happy,’ mantra.  I suppose since this is an ‘industry,’ one would need something to sell, but I do wonder if selling happiness could be dangerous to the public.  The way it is portrayed, it looks like being happy is the be all and end all of your purpose to life.  You eat well, you exercise, you smile, you pick happy friends and that’s what life is supposed to be.

What about the other emotions that we, as humans have the capacity for? It seems to me that as we push the ‘be happy,’ mantra, we alienate the rest.  Sure, the rest is not as pretty as being happy, but pushing things under the rug is just not healthy.  At some point these emotions will bubble up in an eruption, and like larva flowing out of a volcano, it will burn everything in its path.  Also, with the rich array of emotions that humans are capable of, happy seems to be a bit trite, and dare I say it, ‘fluffy.’

And what about the people who are going through a tough period? What if this whole idea that we are made to be happy just makes them feel like there’s something wrong with them? I have met so many people who go through a tough time and the first thing they do is think themselves ill, seeking psychological help, and medication.  As the world reaches for this concept of ‘happiness,’ it is like being unhappy every once in a while is just not normal.  (Note, I’m not talking about prolonged periods of depression here, but the times when one could be a bit down on energy due to any number of things including work, relationship or even physical health issues) Or worse still is the person who just doesn’t feel like going out, but with all the YOLO and ‘be happy,’ going around turns to party drugs. Why? Well, because according to the hippy trippy stuff, not being happy is somehow wrong.  Because we are meant to be happy all the time. And when we are not, we are somehow lacking or unwell.

Unhappy people

On the other side of the spectrum, there is this issue with surrounding ourselves with happy people.  Sure it’s great. Happy people make other people happy, but what about that person who stuck with you while you were down in the dumps and is perhaps going through a prolonged period of misery. What if they just got divorced or if they just lost a parent? They have every right to be miserable and even angry for a while, but does that mean that you walk away because being with them makes you miserable? Does that mean that they are mentally unwell?  Time is relative.  Some people get over things in a month, others take a year, and it might cramp your happiness vibe but time is what a lot of people need.

I know most people mean well when they tell other people to be happy, but perhaps the message needs a bit of a revamp.  Happiness is not a permanent state.  It is balanced off with periods of disappointment, sadness, grief, anger, exhaustion and a myriad of other feelings.  Life is like the ocean while we are this little sand castle on the beach.  Sometimes you just don’t know what the waves will bring in.  It can just tickle you or completely destroy you. These experiences and feelings, even though they might not be pleasant, do enrich our lives in their way.

Pushing happiness the way we do, is not honouring this fact that there are things greater than us.  Actually, sometimes I feel like it’s the opposite extreme of drumming the Seven Deadly Sins in someone’s head. Difference is, the mantra, “you must not blah blah blah,” is replaced with, “you must be happy.” This idea of, “must,” “should be,” or “shouldn’t be” anything is always a dangerous one to have.  It is too black and white, and if anything, as teachers, we want people to accept the greys in between.

Perhaps in this world where people come searching for something more, our message should be a kinder one, like acceptance, compassion and most of all, peace.  To be happy all the time is to deny or even fight other emotions but to be at peace is to calmly accept any feelings that come with a lot of compassion and allow them to stay as long as they need to.  It has an element of surrender and softness, but also a lot of strength. It is not denying or burying things in order to ‘be happy,’ but entering the space that is not happiness with a sense of acceptance.   Because being human is feeling a range of emotions and we need to accept this in a way that is healthy and compassionate.

What screws you most in the head

Smart man, Rumi was

Smart man, Rumi was

Reintroduction to Grief

Grief.

Sometimes without warning it cuts through you, breaking you to pieces.  Like a hot blade going through your heart, only you don’t get to die.  You live.  Everything inside you wants to dim it down.  Suddenly you crave every addiction you think you have let go of – a drink, a cigarette, a pill, a warm unknown stranger.  Something. Just something to give you some relief from feeling this raw.

Grief

Yes raw.

You’re reduced to a big gaping wound and nothing else. You read things that spew crap like, “the wound is where the light enters,” and all you can think of is with a wound this big, it had better be the fucking sun entering.  When people ask you if you feel better or say things like they hope you feel better soon, all you want to do is punch them. It’s not a fucking cold. Better won’t come for a while. But maybe they forgot what grief feels like. Maybe they never knew.

It sits with you. Sometimes it sleeps and you’re fooled into thinking that it’s left you, but then, when you’re sitting there smiling it rears its head again. You can’t see it, but you feel it so strongly that sometimes your body doubles over and there you are, on your knees at the mercy of the universe.

All your life, you’ve been told that this is bad.  Somewhere in there, your mind is saying, “well, you’re not the first person this has happened to, so get over yourself.”  But this is beyond what your brain understands. It’s not something to fight or get rid of, it just is. It is not a disease. The tears that fall are just your emotions bubbling over into the physical world.

At some point, you ignore the thoughts that tell you this is wrong.  Ignore the people that say you should feel better.  This is grief.  It is not good, but it is not bad either.  It is a feeling that tells you that you loved.  It reminds you of the loss you suffered, and in its strange dark way, it fills you up, reminding you that you have a heart after all.

I used to fight my grief.  I used to think that because I was lying in a heap of tears on the floor, or falling apart in someone’s arms, it meant that I was not strong.  Then I was taught different. I was taught to see emotions in a different way, that strong might not mean fighting.  That strong meant feeling – sitting in the grief and letting it wash over you. Easier said than done.  But when I look at my past, at all the people who got hurt in the explosion of my endless fight against my own grief, my addictions, my anger and of all the hurt that I carried with me through the years because I couldn’t grow a pair and face them, perhaps, it’s time to surrender.

As I sit in meditation and the tears fall again, I realise that there is no right or wrong, only the knowing, the understanding, that instead of happiness, the goal might be to just be at peace.  And I am still learning – learning to be a peace with grief.  Learning to surrender to the fact that it is here, and it might be my travelling companion for a while.  Learning to accept of the fact that the tears will fall sometimes when I don’t expect them to, and learning to give myself permission to just grieve.

Everyday Rituals

A couple of weeks ago, I was having breakfast with the lovely Cristina A., and we spoke about rituals, and how important these rituals are in nurturing ourselves.  Cristina is a massage therapist and therefore spends most of the day nurturing other people.  (Side note – if you’re in Sydney, go see her.  The woman is amazing). For her, having a ritual where she spends time nurturing herself is vital so that she can continue giving to other people, so every night she gives herself a massage.

Personally, I too have my own self-nurturing rituals.  In the mornings I treat myself to complete silence while I have my lemon water and boil my chai.  As I slowly sip my chai, I make sure that I am sitting down on the couch with no phone or laptop near me so that I can really savour that bit of my morning. Soon enough, I know my day will be filled with things to do, phone conversations, emails and all my senses will be assaulted in full force.  My rituals don’t stop there.  At night, I often make myself a cup of chamomile tea, light incense, massage myself with lavender oil and spend silent time writing in my journal.  Before the lights go off, I often spend at least an hour without the TV or music on.  In a world where we are over stimulated, this is my way of giving my senses a rest.

 
Last week, I was away at a conference. What this means for me is that I pretty much get up at crazy o’clock and work 12 hour days.   A few years ago, I would have added some alcohol and half a pack of cigarettes to my exhaustion along with the socialising.  This time I could add a bout of food poisoning. The fact that I am living out of a suitcase in a hotel room also means that I don’t have the stuff I need to put me into a lavender infused stupor, and I go to sleep thinking about the conference and wake up to check my email for last minute messages.  My mother goes, “oh how nice, you get to stay in a hotel.”  Sure, hotels are great, and I love being able to go for 6:00am swims in places where it’s warm enough to do so, but my rituals pretty much go out the window.

It was only when I didn’t have these rituals that I realised how much they ground me.  The simple act of feeding the cat, giving her a cuddle and smelling the tea as it boils brings me to the present.  The silence I enjoy in the mornings and evenings just gives me space to just let go and relax.  Watering the plants in the mornings and while they’re in bloom, stopping to smell the jasmine gives me a moment to appreciate things.

We don’t realise this, but we do a lot of shit every day.  Making sure we have the keys, phone, wallet, and yoga/gym/cycling gear packed up as we check the email on the phone and lock up the house to chase the train to get to work on time is a lot of work.  And most of us do it within two hours of getting up.  Our brain processes everything that we see, hear, touch, taste, smell and feel, and in our world where things are going all the time, our brains process a lot.  So for me, taking the time to do these things sometimes allows my brain to slowly warm its engine instead of going from zero to sprint.  Do that to a car every day and see what happens to it.  Allow a car to slowly warm up and see how much longer it takes before wear and tear sets in.

My alarm generally goes off at 5:30, and a lot of people wonder why I wake up so early.  The thing is waking up early gives my senses the time to slowly come alive.  I am not jumping out of bed, into the shower, having breakfast on my feet and rushing to get dressed before running out the door in a frenzy and getting to work 2 minutes late. For me it’s not the length of sleep that matters but the quality of how I fall asleep and how I wake up.  If I wake up rushed, then my whole day will pretty much be screwed, not in any other sense, but just because I wake up right into fight or flight mode. These rituals are what work for me.  They keep me mentally sane and give me the time to keep physically healthy as well.

I used to think that rituals had to be elaborate productions, but they really don’t.  Any act, however small or big that you perform religiously becomes a ritual.  It is the thing that you do every day to keep you grounded and sane, and most of all, it has to be right for you.  I used to say that I didn’t have the time to do things for me as other people needed my attention so much more. I had grown up believing that other people were more fucked up and needed me more than I did.  As it was, the fact that taking care of me made me feel guilty was pretty fucked up in itself.  While others knew that I had their backs when they needed, when push came to shove, they didn’t really have mine.  At one point, the shit hit the fan and I pretty much had a melt down.  Lucky some people actually really do love me so they stuck around, the energy vampires fucked off, and some people still think they have a right to my space, but that’s a different story which we will revisit when I can put it down in a nicer way.

Maybe these rituals already exist but you haven’t been paying attention to them.  This might sound a bit weird, but sometimes taking the time for you is a start in making time.   Just pay attention to yourself and the things you do, because you know what, nobody is worth your own attention more than you are.   As we put prayers in place to celebrate our God, or whatever else we worship, so too should we have these rituals to celebrate ourselves.

So, here are my rituals, what are yours?

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………………………