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

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!

Rewriting the Future

Sometimes you’re just traipsing through life without a care in the world then something taps you in the head (loudly!) and you realise that this path you’re traveling on is not really where you want to go.

For me, this thing was yoga.

It had been coming in and out of my life since I was in my early twenties.  Occasionally it would step away, but it kept coming back.  Like a very persistent suitor, it just wouldn’t leave me alone.  Even when I ran out crying or was so angry I wanted to bite through the mat, it kept coming back.  When I first realised that there was a relationship forming, I fought it.  I’d show up in my worse form – angry, hungover, drunk, reeking of cigarettes, ready to pick a fight.  Yet it still stayed, standing silently in the corner while I went through my little drama, giving me space and then moving back in.  Somewhere along the line, I stopped fighting it and we became friends.  Then, the realisation came that I was in danger of falling completely and utterly in love.

Now I’ve loved many things in my life, but this was the game changer and I knew it.

And like with all game changers, it was time to rewrite the future.

Why rewrite the future?

Well, if you keep going on as you are, your future will be exactly the same as your past.  You can get into a million different relationships, but until you stop and have a look at what’s going on with yourself, it really won’t be any different.  You can start six thousand new hobbies or go for a gazillion treatments but until you actually look in, the outside will remain the same.

Most people operate on a pattern that they’ve had for ages.  These are the lessons we have learned through life, either from our parents, friends or our own behaviours. In yoga speak, they are known as samskaras.  They are the patterns that have been repeated so many times that they have become grooves in the landscape of our lives.  Some are good.  A healthy eating habit perhaps or a past of being caring, but as we are all works in progress, we often find some bits that we want to chip away at to make room for something new.

You’d think it would be as easy as that.

Not quite.

This is one of the processes that take time.  It requires a lot of looking back into the past, considerable time alone, and meditation.  It is not a process for the faint hearted, that’s for sure.  Great memories will come back to you but along with them there will often be rage and despair, among other things.  There are moments when you are so frustrated you want to hit a wall, or chew through the floorboards.  There are moments you laugh at old jokes and the next thing you know, you are sobbing into your blanket.  It is so easy to get stuck in the past, where it is safe and dark, but time moves forward and at some point, you’ll have to emerge out of it.  There are parts of your life that you might need to cut loose, and sometimes, without you intending it to happen, you lose people who are dear to you.

My big process took about two years, and then I added 40 Days on top of it just to seal the deal.  Some people start with the 40 Days, or 21 Days (because that’s how long it takes to change a habit), but there is always somewhere to make that first step.  It requires a commitment to yourself more than anything else, and a burning desire to make things different, and to be different.

As with all changes, a big part of it is a solo journey.  You need that time on your own to reflect, perhaps to write, and to just sit in silence, taking note of the patterns of your thoughts.  However, no matter what journey you are on, there is always someone else going through something similar, and the universe in all its glory will often bring these people right into your path.  So even when you are traveling alone, you never truly are.

I saw this process with a beautiful group of people who took on a 40 Day Revolution.  It was a commitment to five days of studio practice, a day of home practice and a solid twice a day meditation practice.  Some might have started the journey just to get their asana yoga practice set, but through the 40 Days, things shifted.  They shifted.  I shifted along with them.  It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was a beautiful one.  These people showed up day after day in their courage and in their vulnerability, allowing for change to happen.  It was the courage of people who wanted something to change and making that commitment to change it.

The thing is, change is a never ending process.  You constantly have the chance to rewrite your future.  Sometimes, you’ve got your future written down, and then you meet someone you grow to care for.  You can play it safe and keep your futures separate or you can take a chance and write a future together.  Because you’ve already rewritten your future, you know it won’t be the same as your past, and you know this person is not the same as the persons you’ve tried to write futures with before.

The process of rewriting the future closes some doors; perhaps those ones that have held you in the past, but in place, it opens other doors allowing you to move forward.  It is a chance taken, a change made and a life open to ever more possibilities.  It is unsafe, unknown and oh so exciting.  It is letting go of the life you had for the life you want.

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The Terror of My Own Universe

Live for a few days in the meditation,
“I am immersed in the flame-
The flame of time,
The flame of love,
The flame of life.
The universal fire flows through me.

It took me almost two and a half years of regular practice before I even attempted sitting in meditation on my own. Even with my eyes closed and no mirrors, and although I have been celibate for a while now, I know I look nothing like the picture of the monk meditating on the mountaintop.  And I sure as hell don’t feel like it most of the time.

Sitting Still with a Storm Brewing Inside

Sitting Still with a Storm Brewing Inside

Every meditation is different.  Some days I am on this cloud of euphoria, others I would be in tears, then are the days when conversations go on with the 50 people living in my head, or worse still, conversations with people in my life, played in BluRay on the canvas of my brain. Other days reining myself in is akin to trying to tame a dragon.

There are days when there is this dance going on inside me and it reaches a climatic point of ecstasy, followed by a long exhale and total bliss. An internal orgasm, where the universe inside me is fucked into a state of euphoria.

Sweating.

Hot.

Wild.

Then there are days where the thoughts just pass by like clouds and my attention is centered on the sensations over and under my skin and the steady beating of my heart.

Calm.

Quiet.

And occasionally, I fall asleep.

Because no two times are the same and absolute stillness and focus almost an impossibility, I though that I was meditating wrong.

You can have a million meditation guides but truthfully, nobody has the roadmap to what goes on inside you.

Then last weekend I spent some time with meditation guru, Dr. Lorin Roche http://www.lorinroche.com/.  With Lorin’s playfulness and sense of mischief, we explored the teachings of the Vajnana Bhairava Tantra.  Lorin’s approach to meditation makes you feel like there is no need to become a poster, that meditation, like yoga is something completely personal and that you are free to explore what works for you.  You welcome every part of you into the seat of your meditation, even the ones that you might not be overly fond of.  It is a place where you find love for yourself and perhaps even send love to others.  He made me feel like I had not been failing the meditation exam after all.  There was so much acceptance and security that for a while, I even forgot myself and danced with the words of the texts.

And there’s that word – Bhairava, meaning “terrible.”. It is that place where you want to go forward but you are petrified.  I realised that a lot of times, this is exactly how I feel when I’m in yoga class – being upside down was it for me for a long time, and then meditation.

Not everyone is but I am – Scared.

Petrified.

Terrorised.

The Image of Bhairava

The Image of Bhairava

But it’s perfectly fine to be.

Step into that fire wholeheartedly,
Starting with the big toe,
Then surrendering everywhere.
Only the not-self,
Which doesn’t exist anyway,
Burns away.

And I am not doing it wrong after all.

Meditation is not the celibate monk on the mountaintop.
Shit comes up in meditation because we have a life.  The monk on the mountaintop has renounced all their connections.  We have not and in meditation is where we can deal with the emotional drama, separate the stories from the reality.  Like a massage where the therapist needs to dig in to the tissue to release it, so meditation sometimes allows us space to dig into our emotional tissue in order to release it.

It is a limitless exploration of our universe which includes all of us – our thoughts, bodies, emotions, the parts we like, and the parts we might not. Ever pulsating. Ever changing. A vortex of instances that are occuring. Atoms and particles forever moving. Light and dark, eternally dancing. Sometimes slow and gentle, sometimes wild and free.

It can be utter stillness or an internal pulsation, or even a dance party under our skin.

Just like there is more than one path to life, there is more than one path to meditation.

It is an exploration, looking inside with wonder and finding our own journey to ecstasy.

It is the burning away of the not-self.

For me, meditation is sometimes like stepping on a cloud and sometimes stepping into a flame.  I never know what might come up.  It is a continual exploration. I now go into this state of terror with the question, “what have you got for me today?”

Attend to this continually,

And awaken into tranquillity.

Your essence is renewed in the flame,

For the flame knows itself as flame

Since the first heartbeat of creation. 

Verses from the Radiance Sutras, Verse 29.

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?

The Right Person

You know how post breakup, there is always this period where you wonder what went wrong, and some well-meaning person will say it will be different with the right person.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing to hear.  However, I am starting to wonder if “the right person” assessment only works when it was a very short affair.  After all, once it becomes a long relationship, you have gone past the initial this is what I’m like, this is what you’re like and found a place where you met in the middle.  You’ve already intermingled two lives to a certain extent at this point, and to reach a certain point, this person must have been right in a lot of ways.

What is the right person? Is it someone who shares the same background, or someone who shares the same interests?  Is it someone who snores at exactly the right frequency that you can sleep through it?  Is it someone who is different from you and you complement each other or is it someone who shares the same hobbies, habits and personalities as you?  And when someone says “you’ll know when it’s right.”  How do you know? From what I have seen, a commitment is a leap of faith from both parties.  It’s not limited to commitment though.  Our knowledge of things change as we know more about them, and there is no way to know something is going to be true in 50 years until you are there, 50 years in the future.  Everything else is based on your effort and commitment.

The thing with putting the entire fate of the relationship on this so called right person is that you stop taking ownership of things.  In extremity, the right person would accept you leaving your socks all over the place, eating out of a dirty dish, lying about your age, lying in general, your tendency to become a bully when you’re upset and many other ridiculous habits.  So in waiting for this right person, there is a chance that you go from relationship to relationship thinking that the next one will be the one that fixes you or you just sit around doing nothing because the right person will find you anyway.

In saying all this, I must admit that I still am a romantic and I do believe that the right person does exist.  However, there is this other side of the equation – if your right person is a reflection of you, then maybe instead of concentrating outwards for the right person, perhaps it’s time to focus inwards and become the right you.  From there, this right person might just wander on into your life, at the right time, in the right place, and this time, he will be the right kind of right.  And if that doesn’t happen? Well, then you’ll be alright on your own.