It was kinda buried in my previous post BUT two things…
- I’m currently in INDIA! Remember when I said I wanted to go to India?!
Well, it hasn’t happened *quite* like I was thinking it might. But I’m currently on week 4 and I’ve another month to go after that. Linda and I finally got to meet – of course we love each other, as expected after 3-4 years of online friendship.
- I’m writing about my travels in India, just not on THIS blog.
So if you’d like the download on my adventures, leave a comment below and I’ll ping you.
Hope life is treating you all well. India has so far… been utterly transforming.
I know that sounds like a cliche but its true on some incredibly profound levels.
Much love from me.
As previously mentioned, 2012 was a ker-racker of a year for me. In part, this is thanks to the wonderful Two Words Project.
I’m not entirely sure how it works, but mindfully choosing two words for your year’s intentions is a VERY powerful activity. It seemingly sets a very clear agenda of possibility… the kind of possibility that makes your toes tingle (and not because you’re wearing too-tight shoes).
Those Two Words, once liberated from your subconscious mind (or wherever they reside), become alive. They resonate in your body and mind, working on your behalf even when you don’t think you’re paying attention.
Which is quite handy really.
Most of my Two Words-related changes have been subtle and were probably invisible to others. Slow changes, the way Sarah Wilson describes them with her Titanic Theory.
The changes are primarily in the way my thoughts have presented themselves to me, in light of my two words for 2012: Healing and Acceptance.
Well… [pun unintended!].
I’m not exaggerating when I say that in 2012 I spent an all-mighty small fortune on my health. I definitely exceeded the minimum spend on health-related stuff that gets you a tax break (hooray?). I know, coz it’s all typed up neatly in an Excel spreadsheet.
Coz here’s what I did: I made healing myself my #1 priority and did whatever it took in order to make it happen.
Mostly this meant favouring doctor and naturopath appointments, supplements, acupuncture and massage treatments over almost anything else in my budget. I did a heck load of research and made it my business to be firmly in the driver’s seat when it came to my health.
Then, in early January? I got my latest round of blood tests back from the doctor. I’m still finding it hard to believe, but check it out…
That’s right, biatches!
Almost all my results are now in the normal range.
Admittedly, my thyroid hormones (T3, T4, TSH) stabilised in mid-2012, as you can see from the August results (which are almost exactly the same as the January results!).
There’s still a little work to do with my TSH levels, but not much! The big change however, is my antibody levels…
THEY ARE ALMOST COMPLETELY NORMAL!
Remembering of course, that antibodies are the horned devils that destroy one’s thyroid gland over time, if left unchecked. So its super-important to have them under control!!
You would not believe the happy dances I’ve been doing since I got these results!
Of course, this doesn’t mean I can entirely relax. An autoimmune disorder is a life-long thing, and I’ll always need to monitor my health to make sure I don’t slip backwards.
But I’m now much stronger, have more energy and feel more like myself again than I did for most of last year.
AND MY BLOOD TESTS ARE ALMOST COMPLETELY NORMAL AS IF I WAS NEVER SICK.
What helped me get to this point, you ask?
- Last November I quit sugar, and since then I’ve lost over 12kg (26 pounds) where for the last few years I haven’t been able to lose any weight at all (a wonderful Hashimoto’s symptom!). AND this was achieved without starving myself or exercising excessively, either. These days, I rarely crave anything sweet and when I do, I can satisfy that urge with non-sugary foods.
- I quit gluten too. This one was harder, but it was only recently that I realised even having a little bit (like say… eating a croissant!) REALLY affects the quality of my mind (e.g. brain fog vs no brain fog).
- I completed a couple of medical-grade Metagenics detox programs and every day I take a number of high quality supplements (mostly Metagenics). These have made a huge difference. The next phase is to look at how I can derive what I’m getting from the supplements from my natural food intake.
Even though this article is about healing from MS, it’s still relevant to what I’m doing. Basically? We can and should be getting all the nutrients we need from our food.
- Also? I’ve done epic amounts of research on food, the digestive and immune systems and so on. All to learn more about how Hashimoto’s isn’t really a thyroid condition (the thyroid is affected by other system dysfunctions in the body) and that to heal it, you actually have to heal the rest of you first.
- Especially the digestive system/gut health (aka leaky gut syndrome). Most people in fact, could do with paying more attention to their gut health BEFORE they get sick. My key learning is that most chronic health problems are rooted in digestive health issues!
- I’ve learned more about what it is to be a Highly Sensitive Person (I’ve read the book, too). Good health, you see, is more than feeling well on a physical level. It’s all about getting to know yourself and discovering your own particular needs in relation to the world. And? HSP’s actually have different biochemistry to non-HSP’s.
The changes wrought by having Acceptance as one of my Two Words are more challenging to quantify.
I’ve written a lot about it, of course. You could say this entire blog is all about the process of self-acceptance!
There’s been a lot of inner work going on, especially during my kinesiology appointments, which I’ve been having every 6-8 weeks all year. The beauty of kinesiology is that the changes it brings, persist. Grow, even. Unfold ever-after.
But what’ve I done this year around acceptance? Especially the self-acceptance kind of acceptance? For me, this is how it’s looked on a daily basis…
It is all about generating self-love, which means stuff like this:
- Examining my patterns around what kind of love I’m willing to accept.
- Being real with the idea that I might not get to have kids.
- I’ve learned that my destiny is to become a healer: knowing who you are and where you’re going is incredibly empowering!
- Listening closely to what I really need on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
- Checking in with myself. If I’ve changed my mind about something, paying attention so I can do what I should be doing instead! Too often, I’ll let things be as they are instead of changing direction to where I should be going.
- Getting to bed early enough. I’m still a little patchy on this one but hey… I’ll be working on it more this year. More sleep is always required.
- Eating foods that are nourishing and full of goodness (e.g. organic meat/veg and LOTS of green foods!!). Cooking – more than one friend in recent times has complimented me on my cooking, which consists of very simple but tasty ingredients.
- Respecting my need for self-expression and being creative, and partaking in creative pursuits as often as I can. Writing. Teaching. Yoga. Singing. Dancing. Yup.
- Developing healthy personal boundaries. I’m often way too agreeable for my own good, and in the past I’ve let people get away with things that I really shouldn’t. In terms of how they act around and towards me. Not any more, though. This can come across as being disagreeable or unfriendly. But it’s absolutely necessary in order to take care of myself.
- Developing stronger energetic boundaries, too. I’m yet to work out the day-to-day benefits of being highly empathic (not the same word as empathetic!), which means that without realising it I take on other people’s emotional states/feelings and even physical pain. But I’m getting much better at noticing this now, and I’m working on patching up my energy field.
My teacher likes to say that you can’t save anyone else until you can save yourself. Since I’m fond of metaphors, this is like saying there’s no point in saving people from a sinking ship if you’ve got leaks in your own hull.
I think like most people, my self-acceptance work is ongoing. But the key is to have self-acceptance as part of your make up in the first place. As long as you keep paying attention to it (sub-consciously or not), you’re gonna be doing yourself and other people a good turn.
So…hi! And Happy 2013. I hope y’all had a FABULOUS seeing in of the new year, even if that fabulous thing was having a very mellow time. Or doing nothing. Just so long as you found enjoyment, any which way.
I did! I really did! For the first time in ages, I had a truly excellent time on new year’s eve. Hooray! Friends of mine had a private party at their place, with a fab view of the fireworks over the city. But importantly, with plenty of space between our little gathering and the drunken hoardes in the city. I talked with old friends and new ones, too. Drank a little champers, literally laughed til I was flat on the floor, ate, danced, and watched fireworks.
Over the Christmas break I had a few days off and some visitors from the US – some of my world-wide family of yogis. Their stay was all too brief, and I was heartbroken when they left but also glad that they came.
So here I am, three days in to 2013 and finally I’m getting around to an update for you all on where I’m at!
Looking back – where’ve I been?
You just *might’ve* noticed that most of 2012 I was pretty quiet here on the blog, on account of a whole bunch of reasons.
First up, I’ve gotta say, 2012 was one of the best years I’ve had in well…years.
Year of the Dragon worked very well for me – all of that expansive energy saw me taking up a bunch of challenges. So, its been lots of hard work but lots of excellent results, too.
Like… the Two Words Project.
Also (and related): tackling my health with the enthusiasm of a WWF wrestler. This has wrought changes on the physical, emotional and ummm metaphysical planes. Big. Stuff.
And finally being out of trauma. I cannot express how differently I feel today to the broken person who first started this blog. 2012 has been a year of resurfacing as a stronger-than-ever and happier person than I ever was. Ever.
Not to mention: hitting my 12 month anniversary of giving up sugar! I can tell you that I don’t miss it in the least.
And I know – I owe you guys more details on all the above!
Those are all normal-busy kind of things though, right? Then, there was the rest.
Mid-year my last living grandparent passed away, and that seemed to cause a subtle but significant gear-shift. Something about, I dunno… stepping in to the next generation of “elders” in my family. More Big Stuff.
Around the same time, my dad had his own health scares and diagnoses of chronic illnesses. Things are evening out for him a bit more now, but it hasn’t been much fun. And there’s more work to do.
On top of that, my 9-5 job has grown increasingly unpleasant. It’s not so much my team (who are great) as it is the next level up management. My usual pattern of finding myself being given more responsibilities and more and more work has arisen yet again, and this (so it seems) rather specifically, has been the main factor in dampening my creative juices.
I noticed the difference immediately when I went on my writing retreat – given a release from the day-to-day stresses, and enough space and time, all the words erupted like wildfire.
Then when I came back home…once again the words dried up. Damnit.
Which was an excellent indicator: it seems I’m approaching that point Nadine’s written about of being unemployable.
See, my future life is starting to converge with the here and now, which is a little disconcerting when you don’t think you’re quite ready for the future just yet!
On that note, I’ve also finished my second full year of teaching yoga. Which has kind of flown by and it’s taken me by surprise at how much I’ve learned in such a tiny amount of time.
Looking right in front of me
Here we are, at the tail end of the Dragon Year before the Snake emerges on February 4th. Already there’s a LOT going on.
Right now, I’m working my way through Leonie Dawson’s colourful and charming Create Your Incredible Year workbook and planner. I highly recommend it for a positive start to the year!!
Between Leonie’s planner and Nadine’s e-course I’m thinking my year is gonna be super-charged!
Which is waaaayyy different to how I was feeling at the beginning of 2012 (hint: I was terrified!).
And just when you think I couldn’t possibly fit more in to the start of 2013, I’ve got two HUGE things happening:
- Nine days of yoga teacher training in mid-January.
- Then, end-February I’ll FINALLY be meeting my long-term friend and Kali sister, Linda-Sama!! We’re meeting in India for her study group. But I’ll be there for six weeks in total: two before and two after the study group. I KNOW, RIGHT?
Looking forward – wassup 2013?
Well, a lot of that is still in the works, but there’s a few things I know already. Like…
- I’ve quit my job and will finish up just before I go to India (I’ll find work of some kind when I get back!).
- One very specific mission while in India (there are several) is to buy a harmonium, so I can learn to play kirtans myself!
- I gave up the class I’ve been teaching for the past two years! The end of the year seemed like a natural pause and my plan is to teach a lot more classes per week when I’m back from India, in my own ever-unfolding style.
- Mid-year, there’s the possibility of a heck-load more change (of the positive kind). But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself yet…
And: a new blog!
No. I’m not killing off this blog, or stopping writing here. But for a while now, I’ve wanted a place to write that’s a little less anonymous than this one. Yet… I’m not ready for everyone in my life to read the archives here.
So, I’ve started a separate blog under my own (first) name.
Many of you will be getting an email about it shortly. But feel free to let me know if you’d like to be in the loop – as it’s where I’ll be blogging about my adventures in India!
More soon. Very soon. I promise!
~ Svasti xxx
One of the truest things I know is this:
Wisdom comes at a price
It isn’t cheap or easy, and the whole getting of wisdom process itself? It sucks. Until it stops sucking, and by then the wisdom is deeply ingrained.
So much so that it doesn’t really feel like one has learned anything at all.
This was true for me. Until of course, I found myself observing the experiences of others.
It doesn’t matter how similar/dissimilar their experiences are to mine. It’s all around us, all the time: the world is in deep, deep pain. Sometimes, that pain gets tipped over into terror and agony. This is what I’m talking about.
Lately I’ve seen friends and acquaintances alike going through some heart-rendingly painful experiences. Seems to be a lot of this going around at the moment (blame the supposed end of the world perhaps – which is really just a massive energetic shift of consciousness).
These days, I find that suddenly I know what to say or do. How to help. Well, sort of.
I still have that horrible sense of helplessness, even though I know how it feels from the inside out. There’s only so much someone can do.
I really hate that.
I wish I could rip open my own soul so I can put my battle scars on display. So you really can know that I really, really do get it.
Regardless of my ability to express this, I do understand. Intimately so. And I see and feel the sorrow, trauma or grief of others and I silently weep in sadness because I not only know roughly where they’re at; I also know what’s coming.
Holy Shiva, how well I remember those first steps on the path of incomprehensible loss…
I remember trying to make sense of it all and that NOTHING made sense, no matter what.
I remember how long it took before I realised that actually, nothing WAS making sense!
It took even longer than that to realise there was truly a way out. That feeling good again was even feasible or desirable or something that could happen to me.
As awful as it is while you’re still in the bleeding-and-wounded phase of those experiences, at some stage there’s a fork in the road.
A very clearly marked demarcation point
1. Continue down the path of total and complete utter-fucked-up-ed-ness.
2. Get really sick of the path of total and complete utter-fucked-up-ed-ness and decide that enough is enough.
Of course, the first path eventually leads to the second. However, the time frame on that is different for everyone. For some people, it can take their entire life. Others pass from this world before they get there.
THAT’S how hard this shit is to get through.
The second path? Choosing that one… is just the beginning of the process of healing. Which, it should be said is an absolute bastard of a thing to do.
Because real healing requires in-depth levels of honestly – with yourself, about yourself, about how you relate to everyone else in your life. It requires real change.
Eventually, this second path leads to bone-deep wisdom. Life lessons you’ll find are applicable across all kinds of situations, times and places.
The other thing? This becomes an ongoing path for the rest of your life. Once you step onto that fork in the road, you’re wisdom-bound. Yes, you’ve paid a ridiculously high price. Yes you have.
But in choosing healing, or even in choosing being utterly fed up by feeling like crap… you’re on the path to a deep understanding of yourself, of life, of what makes being alive worthwhile. Despite all the horrors life has thrown your way.
I guess what I’m saying is that when ready, you WILL get there in the end.
But the road is long and so it really isn’t worth looking too far ahead. Way better to focus on where you’re at right now.
And keep an eye out for that fork.
~ Svasti xxx
This year has been pretty massive in terms of facing up to myself and finally expelling trauma from my life.
It’s also been huge in terms of new pathways opening up to me. Options I never expected to have, suddenly being mine for the taking.
Options that involve a massive step-change and leap of faith (that everything will work out just fine).
In other words: things that are both exciting and scary. But also? Things that are aligned with my heart and soul, and what I want to be doing with my life.
Interestingly, even though those changes are still at least half a year away, having a commitment to heading in that direction seems to already be causing a ripple in my own personal space-time continuum. One that suggests YES, I am doing the right things.
I find myself… turning into someone who can help others. Not however, with some sort of do-gooder-this-is-good-for-my-soul agenda.
It’s kind of hard to describe.
In one instance recently, I found myself reaching out to a friend on the other side of the world. I didn’t know if she’d tell me to eff-off or not! Just that I wanted to share some ideas with her. It turns out that the timing was right and she was open to what I had to say. I don’t feel comfortable sharing her story, but suffice to say things have turned around significantly with her physical and mental health. These are her victories however, not mine. But somehow, I managed to set the ball in motion for her at the right time.
Then, just last night I found myself listening to a yoga student who’s also become a friend. After class, she explained the existential crisis she’s going through right now. Fortunately, many of my own experiences have been similar enough that I could offer the right kind of support.
Later, this friend then wrote an incredibly moving comment on Facebook about our conversation:
…you are so much more than my yoga teacher, you are helping me to find a level of peace and connectedness that I didn’t think was possible.
WOW, was she really talking about me? Her words brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know how I’ve done what she’s claiming and… it seems like a big claim!
That said, finding ways to connect with people is starting to feel a bit like teaching yoga.
By which I mean the best teachings seem to flow through me. As if I’m channelling a much wiser person. The words I say aren’t mine exactly. But somehow they’re what’s needed.
I daren’t lay claim to any of this stuff, however.
It feels like a lesson from my teacher:
Don’t be distracted or get excited when such things happen. Keep going and don’t allow your ego to get involved.
Yet none of this would be possible if I hadn’t lived through the things I’ve survived.
Last weekend I spent fifteen hours in a yoga intensive, and the following insight came to me Sunday afternoon:
Not that I wish injuries (physical/mental/emotional) on myself or anyone else BUT all of the best things I’ve learned in life were learned while healing from those injuries.
I wouldn’t take any of it back now. I wouldn’t want to unlearn the things I’ve learned in order to develop strength, balance, health and happiness.
like LOVE those learnings.
And now? It seems as though my life lessons are becoming useful for other people in a tangible way.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about that, because it seems that the answer to “Who am I becoming?” is this:
I’m becoming a healer.
Whenever I read what people have to say about healing – or even if I’m the one doing the writing – I always think it never really comes out right.
For those who’ve never experienced life changing events from which serious healing is required, I suspect the sheer scale of what’s been achieved by those who’ve bravely faced their personal wounds… is highly misunderstood and/or under-rated.
Even just a few years later, the worst of those wounded or healing years can take on a dreamy quality. It can be difficult to recall properly because honestly, don’t we all want to forget?
Then, for those who ARE wounded at that deep soul level and are pre or mid-healing?
Reading accounts of people who’ve made a full recovery can sound implausible.
Like…are they just making this shit up?
We wonder: can people really overcome PTSD, sexual abuse, depression etc…and not *just* cope, but come out the other side, thriving? Happy? Fulfilled? Living a better life in spite of it all?
I reckon there’s this underlying idea that if you can truly recover from a terrible situation, it can’t ever have been THAT bad in the first place. And if it really is that bad, well then you can NEVER truly recover.
As if serious tragedy is permanent and unrelenting and that once you’re broken, you’re always broken.
Sound familiar? For sure, it can feel that way. For years, even. It’s how I felt, too.
We judge ourselves like this and others as well. Quite unintentionally for the most part, I think. Even now, the worst of my healing process feels like it happened to someone else, or as though it couldn’t have been “that bad”.
But then I read through some of the archives on this here blog and realise that HECK YES, it was exactly that awful, and ugly, dark, scary, hard, and difficult.
For most of my healing journey I was alone. Desperately, sadly alone. And going through it all quite blindly. What I wouldn’t have given for a guide!
Unfortunately there was very little in the way of support groups or appropriate assistance for someone like me who didn’t fall into any particular pigeonhole.
But guess what?
A guide to help your through the darkness now exists!
My friend – and fellow yoga teacher and survivor – Nadine Fawell, has written a book, which turned into an ecourse: “Light Up Your Life” (starting January 14th 2013).
Nadine’s taken her hard-won wisdom – earned via healing a traumatic past that includes sexual abuse as a child – to become a kick-ass woman that I’m proud to know. She’s strong, funny, and running an inspirational yoga business. Doing the work she loves and making a living from it.
Recently Nadine gave me a sneak peak at the Light Up Your Life course, and I think its something that’s very much needed in our world.
There’s nothing like a helping hand from someone who’s been through the worst that life has to offer, as opposed to a well-meaning therapist who might never have faced adversity of any kind.
It’s a bit like imagining what its like to visit a certain country, versus getting advice from someone who knows that country well. Even better? Is advice from someone whose lived there, right?
Horrible life experiences are horrible
As I’ve written before, there should be no judgement on the size or relative importance of the event(s) that have brought you to your knees.
If you’re suffering or life is getting increasingly difficult to manage…then you have a choice to make: do something about it or keep going the way you are.
And if you choose to do something about it?
You’re already waking up to the beginnings of your future strength. For, taking actions to heal your life will make you stronger, even if you feel weak while you’re going through it.
I wish I knew why it works that way, incidentally!
So, do you need a hand with your healing process? From a local?
Both Nadine and I are super-duper locals in the realm known as Dealing With Your Shit.
Whereas my ebook will be support for people who are still going through the worst parts, Nadine’s book and ecourse are for people who’ve started to pull themselves out of the mire and are ready to work on making their lives awesome.
Nadine uses the metaphor of dusk-night-dawn-daylight to help step you through various phases of self reflection and of course, yoga and lots of powerful insights on supporting your life through the changes you’ll be taking on.
As Nadine says herself, Light Up Your Life is:
a more sophisticated version of the Two Words Project, helping you get clear on the life you want to create by finding your intrinsic motivation.
I’ve been using the Two Words Project this year and let me tell you, it’s been powerful! My posts to date on Two Words are here, and I’ll be writing a couple more before the year is through.
Essentially, if you’re ready to step up and make some possibly challenging, but very positive change in your life…then Nadine’s Light Up Your Life course is an excellent place to start.
In terms of timing, the course starts January 14th 2013, just in time to set yourself up for an excellent year!
Early bird offer!
Like many lovely yogis I know, Nadine is a super-generous person. So of course, there’s an early bird rate:
$99 for four weeks of super-reflective and nourishing course materials
That’s about $25 a week! Total bargain, right?
The full price for the course is $129.
Still pretty affordable but you might as well get the early bird rate.
Sound good? Awesome!
I’ll be a part of the course, too.
Let me know if you’re joining us!
~ Svasti xxx
So here I am, second week back from my lovely writing retreat and I’ve come down with the flu.
Bah! Change of season and all of that, but honestly, what I’ve noticed more than anything since my return to the “normal” world is that this world? It really ain’t so normal.
In the middle of the bush, with all of my basic needs met – sleep, food, yoga, meditation, writing and hiking – I can’t express how INCREDIBLY well I felt. Just… brimming with health and vitality.
Everything I did for myself was appropriate to the day and how I felt. If I needed more sleep, I took it. If I wanted a longer/shorter meditation, so be it. Time wasn’t a feature in most of my activities other than remembering to go down the hill for dinner just before it got dark.
I returned to Melbourne. A biggish city. Well, big enough anyway. The response in my body was immediate. Sluggishness, exhaustion, headaches and generally feeling disinclined to leave the house unless I have to.
That was last week. Now, I’m sick again. Which isn’t so great in some ways but on the other hand, its served to ring the reality bell around how completely unhealthy our western world lifestyle is. And I’m not just talking about people who eat junk food 24/7.
Word is that one of the biggest triggers for autoimmune disorders is our environment. Yep. Exposure toxic chemicals and heavy metals. In our cities and suburbs, we’re saturated in them.
Coming down from the mountain, it’s all the little things I noticed, that seem to add up: traffic and street lights; cars, buses, trucks and planes; too much concrete; pollution; loud noises; unaware people smacking their bag into your arm on the train; working hard and long hours; not resting when we need to; staying up late. Etcetera.
We get stressed, over-tired and over-stimulated. We run on adrenaline (another autoimmune trigger!) and then when we fall over, we wonder why.
Really though, is it such a surprise that so many of us feel sick all the time? That we drag ourselves through our week days and then to make up for having to do a job we don’t love, overdo the fun and exhaust ourselves even further?
That whole routine? It’s nuts.
We need to overhaul our entire way of living. But how?
Well… from my perspective and experience, the answer is the same for everyone.
No matter the current status of your health, we all need to:
SLOW THE HECK DOWN!
Recently, the lovely Rachel wrote about Slow Yoga – something a few of us yoga teacher types have been talking about on Twitter for a while now – which is our way of describing a philosophy towards both yoga and life.
We’ve ripped the term from the “slow food” movement of course, but the principals are the same. Well sorta. From a yoga perspective, we’re saying no to Bikram and don’t believe you get any more benefit from a fast-paced vinyasa “power flow” than you do from working more slowly and calmly.
We “slow yogis” all teach what we like to call “nanna yoga” – each of us in our own style. Of course, in slow yoga you can still work your ass off if you want. But instead of feeling exhausted afterwards, you’ll ideally feel more energized and awake.
And… Sarah Wilson wrote about the need for silence. Holy Shiva, we need more of this. Each and every one of us. Less headphones plugged in to the iPhone with music blaring (and disturbing others around you), more observing the world. Taking time to see (and perhaps photograph) things that move you.
Things that make you feel connected to the world. Without having to blah blah blah all the time, yeah?
Personally I crave silence, and fortunately for me I have my yoga practice which serves as both alone AND silent time. I also try to get as much silence into my day as possible. No radio or TV in the morning while I get ready for work. No TV at all really, unless I’m watching something specific.
So yeah… we can all basically do with slowing down, calming down and doing less. It doesn’t make us weak, lazy or pathetic. Instead, it can be an opportunity to listen to your body. Find out what you really need in order to be well.
And when you’re not well? Pay attention. Not just to getting over your cold, but to what you might be able to change in your life to reduce the levels of stress you face on a daily basis.
I intend to write this book under my own name. But, I don’t want the readers of this blog to not know, or have to guess who I am.
So it seems that my nom de plume has almost outlived its usefulness.
I needed it very much when I began writing this blog, for everything I had to say was so raw. And the courage to write what I wanted to write required a shield, which I gave myself with this cloak of anonymity.
I’ve been writing this blog for over four years now, and actually, these days my identity is a bit of an open secret. Mostly because I’ve made so many wonderful friends via blogging: reading other blogs, and having others read mine.
Already, I’ve met several of my blog friends in real life, and there are more such real-life meetings to come!
Some of these friendships have lasted, while others have not. There are other people who still read this blog that I’d like to to be better friends with, but to be honest, it’s those friendships that haven’t worked that cause me to hesitate.
But really, only because I don’t wish to be outed before I’m ready, and even though the pool of people who know me already is probably more than I’d like, I’ll still try to contain things a little longer.
In recent times, I’ve held on to my semi-anonymous state because it didn’t feel right to change it, and also because I didn’t want people from my 9-5 job to know such intimate details about me.
But that was then. When I was fearful of my own vulnerability.
Before I realised that in fact, my vulnerability is my power base.
That having lived through what I have, I am stronger when I reveal the truth of my experiences.
For there is no weakness in dealing with adversity. Only strength.
For whatever reason, it doesn’t feel that way when you’re going through it. Which is very annoying. But to make it through to the other side? Requires such strength, courage and willpower.
Then, it takes time for your own power to be revealed to yourself.
You don’t have to be a super-hero, only really, really determined.
Because I’m just like everyone else. Not imbued with extra abilities. What I’ve done in my journey of recovery? Is available to anyone who wants it.
So. I’m preparing for my own self-outing. I’m not clear on the timing yet, but it’ll be soon-ish. Because I want to be able to link my journey with the book I’m writing.
In order for people to know that actually, you can rise up from the worst experiences of your life.
And when you do? You’ll be:
More real, more awake and more human than ever before.
The resonant sound we make when we chant “Aum/Om” is exactly the same frequency, vibration and sound as the white noise generated by a waterfall.
How do I know this?
Because I may or may not have spent an inordinate amount of time singing to the water, the rocks, the earth, the air and the sun. At the top of those falls.
It really, really, IS the same sound.
Other posts inspired by my retreat
- Writing retreat report: I’m back!
- An ode to Snake Gully
- Writing a book is a topsy-turvy thing
- Life lessons from managing a fireplace
While I was away this last week, I was responsible for my own heating in a way city dwellers like me rarely need to worry about: the lighting and maintenance of a hearth fire.
No electric or gas or central heating is to be found up here; since this place is not on the grid. Electricity is generated by solar and wind power and stored in batteries, so needs to be managed carefully. If you want to keep warm, you’ve gotta move your body or light a fire. A wood fire.
Yes, yes I know… blah blah environment, burning wood, pollution etc. But that’s how it’s done in the country.
Certainly, this far from the first fire I’ve ever had to light. But it sure is the first time I’ve had to do it every day, all day and night. To keep away the brrrr factor.
Starting a fire has an aspect of beginners luck – it’s real easy as long as you follow the basics.
But keeping a fire going, and knowing when to throw on the next biggest piece, and how to bank them overnight? Not so easy after the beginner’s luck wears off. Especially when you’re new to the role of Fire Sentinel.
So here are some lessons I learnt this week from lighting and maintaining the heat:
- Always follow the basics: start with wispy kindling, then smaller pieces, then mid-size ones, and then finally you can throw that darn log on the fire.
- Fire starters are handy: a little ultra-flammable stuff that can give you a kick-start.
- The brightest fires are the ones that have enough air to breathe. If you try to add too much fuel, too early, you’ll smother it.
- There’s an axe outside near the woodpile. Use it. It’ll help build core strength and you’ll get a little warmer just by cutting up wood, too.
- Sometimes you’ll run out of the right sized pieces of wood. Don’t try to cheat and just go up a size: you’ll end up with a fire that goes out on you and you’ll have to start again. Which is a pain in the ass.
- Never turn your back on the fire for too long. You can’t rely on just the way the fire sounds or feels. It’s really important to do visual spot checks, for all kinds of reasons.
- Don’t get stuck in the Small Pieces of Wood Game. It’s possible to get into a loop of:
Kindling > Sticks > Small pieces of wood
Then not get the timing right for throwing on a larger piece, and so your fire goes out again. And again.
- When you’re trying to build your fire, the timing is never 100% clear. Sometimes you’ve just gotta wing it. Throw on a log, not another same-size piece. See what happens.
- You don’t wanna burn too bright or fast, coz that can make you uncomfortable. Mix your fuel types – some of the logs that burn longer vs the ones that burn hotter.
And… perhaps this is somewhat of a twee analogy but…
Fires are a bit like people: our passions, goals and ambitions.
Timing is important, and air and space and the right sized piece of fuel at the right time.
But most of all – vigilance; stamina; repetitive actions; appropriate levels of manual labour; and ongoing observation of where your fire is at.
These are how we keep our own internal fires burning.
Yeah I know. Too much time alone in the bush with only birds and ‘roos for company, eh?