So here I am, 2 1/2 months into this journey, and posting my first blog since leaving the UK!
Why has it taken me so long? I wonder if you are all thinking that, or perhaps I am asking myself! Well, for those of you who know me (and perhaps those of you who don’t have also gathered this!) – at the best of times, I find it challenging to sit at a computer. And these are no ordinary times.
I have found myself in a flavoursome soup of experiences since arriving in the US. One experience has rolled in to the next and I have been delighting in this whirlwind of serendipity that has, only now, offered me a moment, an evening to myself, to sit down, contemplate and share the ride with you!
I began this journey based on a dream I had in December 2012. I won’t go into details suffice to say that I awoke with the distinct feeling that a change in circumstances was about to dawn upon me. And, as the new year transitioned into 2013, a definitive felt sense landed in my body and it became clear to me that I was to come to California. I had no idea why or what for – only the most settled inner sense that it was the right thing for me to do… and those are the feelings of inner guidance that I trust the most!
I felt at ease about this decision and had no doubt surrounding it so I began to make the shift internally – moving away from and winding down the work I love to share with the people I feel so blessed to share it with in Edinburgh over the last four years. Honestly, I have been so touched by being a part of your journeys over this time, witnessing your innate wisdom arise through your own experiences has been continuously humbling and inspiring for me. When I knew I had to go, my heart filled with a painful sweetness at the prospect of moving on, yet something in me told me that it was right.
Not to mention leaving behind my family – again! I so respect and am grateful for their continued support and patience with me. Having stood by me through 7 years of living abroad in the past, it seemed I had finally settled down in Scotland. It has been a rich and healing time for me in which I have moved through and healed from a tropical illness, a traumatic break up and developed stronger, more intimate bonds with friends, family and students. I feel eternally grateful for this – what a journey! What medicine!
So why leave? Why move on…again? This journey is slowly unfolding and the lessons are gradually beginning to reveal themselves as all is played out…literally – very playfully!!
As much as I love to teach yoga, it has been refreshing for me to take a break from it. There are obvious aspects that I miss about it, mainly dropping into presence with people in that environment. And, yet I am contented for now to be in such a fertile learning ground with space for personal development.
It has been, so far, enriching for me to step out of the ‘teacher identity’ for a while and allow other facets of my being to grow, integrate, and shine. I am ever fascinated by what it means to be human, embodied and integrated into this experience of life. To me, this is the embodiment of yoga beyond solidified form. An open and dynamic, constantly adaptive relationship with and response to life. To remain safe within an identity when life is demanding something other of me, would defeat the purpose of this experience.
I love this quote from Ram Das:
‘All methods are traps. You just have to choose your trap wisely and hope that it self destructs when it no longer serves you.’
So, through this, it is important for me to give full permission to myself to step into the unknown, to meet life fully and, in doing so, meet myself with the greatest intimacy. I feel that, in doing this, my capacity to hold space and presence for and with others also widens. When I allow life to be fluid and follow that deep inner guidance, life opens up to me in such great and unexpected ways.
I am, in truth, a somewhat reluctant traveler. I dream of finding a space where I can plant some roots, create a nest and delve deeply into the inner journey through relationship and life’s unfolding. However, often, in order to come to that space, a period of ‘chaos,’ of movement and rootlessness ensues. I feel I am in that space
between here and there, what was and what is to become. It seems that this is part of life and I am in this transition, this in between no-mad’s land, and I am riding this wave, drinking in the medicine from it’s golden cup, listening deeply and responding to life as it lives itself through my body.
And as I respond to life, it seems to respond to me (and maybe it’s the other way round too!!). I am eternally grateful for the hospitality of the people I meet along the way who have given me keys to their homes and a bed to sleep in. I am yet to spend a night in a hostel in the whole time I have been here and I rarely have a plan of where I will stay. Listening into what feels right, allowing myself to fall into the wind, life is catching me. Relationships are unfolding and unlocking old patterns and my heart feels soft and open, ready to meet whatever comes my way.
A kind soul who graciously housed a friend of mine and I at his beautiful land in the mountains spoke of about the attitude of ‘going with the flow.’ I loved the analogy he used and would like to share it. He said something like this:
‘Going with the flow doesn’t mean becoming like a dead fish! A dead fish goes with the flow and it gets thrashed around, crashes into rocks and is dead to its experience. A fish that is fully alive still goes with the flow but it also navigates the waters within which it swims. It swims around the rocks and is alive to its experience. Both fish ‘go with the flow’ but one is alive and the other is dead… which would you rather be?’
I love this! It’s such a playful analogy and it made me giggle! I would rather be a fishy fully alive! One who navigates the ‘obstacles’ as I meet them and fully embraces life with my eyes wide open! So, at the same time as surrendering to life’s flow, I am also responding to it. It’s like a dance with creation in which the duality of the dancers is not at all separate from the dance itself, or creation! I feel as though there is opportunity in every moment, even the challenging ones, to pause, soften and respond with kind attention. I am enjoying the space and time to cultivate these skills and allow them to land in the cells of my body and become natural.
The major medicine so far has been developing clear and compassionate communication in relationship with others while being true to and stating my own needs and in learning to receive love in its many forms. I am learning to ask for help when I need it and soften any shell of Armour that I have around my heart that prevents love penetrating inwards, while remaining aware that, at the same time, ‘a conscious no to something is a conscious yes to something else’ as Julia Butterfly Hill puts it.
It is so humbling and I am in such awe of those I meet and connect with who are inspiring me. I feel so grateful to be alive and experiencing this joyful, painful sweetness of life’s many flavours!
Here are links to the places I have been so far that have inspired me
And on Wednesday I am off to a 10 day silent vipassana retreat at Spirit Rock meditation Centre with Jack Kornfiled.
Life is rich and I will be returning to California after spending 3 months in the Jungle in Costa Rica at Pachamama community there. I will return to Esalen to study more and am hoping to take a course here in Sound, Voice and Music healing beginning in September next year!
May life unfold with joy and the intimate meeting of each moment for you all!