Just the Beginning

I’m a romantic but I’ve gone through long spells of having no romance in my own life.  I’m not big on reading relationship do’s and don’ts.  I’m not big on dating rules.  I’m definitely not big on early morning conversations.  The only valid question I can think of for early mornings is, “do you want coffee/tea?” In all my years, I’ve loved a lot, but only fallen in love twice.  Fallen in love in the way that I let my existence be altered and was brave enough to allow for changes in my life plans.  Both times brought me to a different place and there are no regrets.

The familiar to me is living life on my own, learning new things, making plans and having just enough room for family and friends. It allows me to keep my own space, a separate being responsible for just me.  It allows me to play it safe.

So when people speak to me of romance and relationships, I often don’t know what to say.

Having someone else in your space is unfamiliar and scary.  I must have known what having someone was like before, but it’s been so long that the memories feel like they’ve been wiped away from my DNA, and besides, you can’t use the same map when you’re exploring a new country.

And that’s what it is.

A new person coming into your life – unchartered territory ready to be explored, no maps, no GPS systems, just your intuition guiding you.  Suddenly, you want to say things even when there is nothing to say.  You want to share your day even if the most exciting thing is a new soap commercial.  Things that were once without meaning now remind you of them and of bits of conversation that you shared.  And you want to hear about their day even though you know what they did was no different from what they did the day before.  It is just to speak to them, to hear their voice, to have them close.

Suddenly there’s a person who reminds you of nobody else that you know, but so much else reminds you of them.  When they’re there sometimes you don’t know what to say, but when they’re not, you just want to speak of them, just for the sake of saying their name.

It’s an inexplicable alchemy but no matter how you question it, it just feels right.

You find common ground and places where you are different.  Life hasn’t really been altered, but their presence in yours just makes it that tiny bit more. You didn’t even feel like anything was missing from your life before, yet if they were to walk out now, there would be this irreplaceable gap there.  Something you would feel more than you would see.

It doesn’t matter if they are across the room and you don’t speak to them.  All that matters is that they’re there, and if you look up, your eyes would meet even if for just an instant.  You look at them when you think they’re not looking and perhaps it goes both ways.  The two of you getting to know each other from a distance, even as you grow closer, like looking at the earth from far above, but also walking along the vast planes.  To see, really see, but to also know the sense, the taste, the smell, the feel, letting them touch you in deliciously scary ways.

There are times when you second guess yourself – are you being too obvious? Or not obvious enough? Did you say too much? Or too little? Are you showing too much of yourself? Or not enough?  Did you touch them too intimately?  Or were you too cold? Did you scare them away?  And then, you let it go because it’s been said, and it’s been done, and too much or too little, when you come back together again and smile at each other, all is right in the world.

Sometimes you wonder why they had to show up when your life was just right as it was.  You were contented, minding your own business, then along they come and suddenly they are there with you even when they are not with you.  You found a million reasons why you shouldn’t be thinking of them, but the minute you see them it all becomes invalid, as there standing before you are the two million reasons why you do think of them – their unbelievable kindness and amazing gentleness, the sound of their voice, the way their eyes crinkle when they smile, a laugh that just makes you laugh with them, the way that it just feels so right when they are there.  It really leaves no space for the arguments you’ve been having in your head because something beyond that is winning out.

You’ve put so much effort into leading a simple straightforward life, but this could be the thing that alters it.  Things will change.  You know they will.  Your plans will be modified and so will theirs, but perhaps it’s time for the unfamiliar. Not so much changing the route you’ve mapped out as allowing for another way to get to this destination.

It’s thrilling and it’s exciting.

It is the end of the life you know.
And you also know that it is just the beginning of something else.



Come to the Edge

I have a confession to make.  It is very rare that I do something without being either pushed or goaded into it.  It might not really something that a yoga teacher wannabe should admit to (and really you won’t hear a lot of teacher type people admitting to things like this), but it is the truth. Almost everything that I have ever done in life has been the result of something or someone either pushing or blackmailing me into it.  Left to my own devices, I would sit comfortably where I was, not really moving, just going safely on my mediocre way.  Recently however, someone called me a commitment phobe, and that is exactly what I am.  If I could have my way, I would write everything down in pencil so that I could erase it in the future. I do however, make a semi-commitment in that I do write something down.  Somewhat like a long term relationship, but then jumping ship just when it’s time to put it in black and white.

Some people think I’m driven, that I would move to a different country, not be satisfied with a Bachelor’s Degree, leave an engagement and now go on to a yoga teacher training. I say, only about 10% of it was out of my own choice.  Life made the other 90% of the decision and decided that I wouldn’t be able to just slug my way around, comfortable in one mindset, one lover, one house, one country even. Life decided to make a mark on me, in pen, nonetheless!

This year, Michael Ross, my beloved friend and teacher sent me a card with the words;

Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.

Come to the edge, he said.

They came,

             He pushed them…

                          And they flew.


Story of my existence. That has been the dialogue that I have had with life for as long as I can remember. Honestly, I would stay far away from the edge, safe and comfortable, but a breeze, a word, curiosity even, always gets the better of me and I take one step.  Then that one step turns into another, then another, and before I know it, I have stepped off the edge without really knowing how to fly, but having to anyway, just so that I don’t fall flat.

My yoga practice is the exact same story.  I went to one class, but signed up for a fortnight, so my name was signed, in pen. That was my first step of walking towards the edge.  After a fortnight, it was a month, then another month, getting closer and closer to the edge, then a permanent monthly membership, and before I knew what was going on, I had not only signed my name in pen, but also in blood, sweat and tears as I embark on a Teacher Training.  Over the weekend, while in a handstand (against a wall of course), pushing my body further than I’d pushed it in about 10 years, I came to the realization that I had, in fact, stepped over the edge. Handstands are a bit like that.  They force you to gain a different perspective, and make you see that you really are strong enough to carry your own weight.  And here I am again, flailing (instead of flying), between one place and another.

Life is just like that.  You think you can play it safe and just stay there, then these voices, guides, teachers, whatever you wish to call them, move you.  They just do. They grab you, and throw you out of your comfortable space.  In my case, when it was someone who ruthlessly pushed me towards the edge (papa, mum, exes), it was the push off the edge that gave me no choice but to fly.  But on the way, life has handed me from one loving pair of hands to another.  At this juncture, I went in looking for an instructor, but life gave me teachers instead.  The choice life gives us is to either go with it, or to resist it.

So yeah, some days it does feel like you’re being flung off the edge of the cliff, often with a broken heart to go with it. But you know what? A happy story is not really worth writing about, and a life without a broken heart is like plain porridge.  And I’ve found, the best teachers are the ones who have suffered themselves, be it a broken heart (or five), an addiction (or five), a broken bone, or a broken life.  The great stories give them an added dimension both as human beings, and as teachers.  Even though they don’t share their stories, they are the ones whose arms you want to be flung into when you’re thrown off the edge of the cliff.  As for your story, you could travel the world and it would mean nothing if you don’t step off the edge of your own heart.  And at the end of the day do you want your tombstone to say, “she had porridge, every day,” or do you want it to say, “her life was a mixture of different colours and flavours. She had the sweet, the bitter, occasionally burned her tongue on the hot, and cried when things got too spicy, but she did take a big bite out of life?”

The Birthday Card I Received from Michael