Parting Prayers

Tibetan prayer flagsOnce a year, I have a psychic reading. As it would happen, Alice Springs has a psychic fair come to town annually –  and it’s here this weekend (the Moscow Circus is also in town – some cosmic synchronicity there!).

I went and was immediately drawn to one lady. She began to read for me then said: I can’t get anything from you, but what I am getting is that you should see Shaki (another reader), who does healing and NLP, over there.

She didn’t charge for the 10 minutes she’d spent with me. I went and sat and waited for Shaki, who was with another client.

The reading with Shaki was life changing.  I don’t believe in angels or guides. Nor do I accept the common cultural definitions of ‘psychic’. What I do KNOW, however, is that some people can read other people via subtle non-verbal cues.  They can reflect these back to you, and you gain insights that you wouldn’t have otherwise. That is what a reading does.

The biggest thing I took away was the need to give myself permission and to believe in myself.

To this end, here is my parting prayer (which needs to be in purple BOLD!):

I’m asking permission from myself to have my thesis 99% ready for submission by the time I leave Canberra.

I will only have the abstract, figures, bibliography to finish when I return home.

I believe that I can do this.

I am willing to let myself do whatever is necessary to do this.

I give myself permission to do whatever is necessary to do this.

It is ok to ask for help to do this.

As I need help to do this, so I am asking Guruji and the universe for the help I need to have my thesis 99% ready for submission by the time I leave Canberra.

Please hear my prayers.

Please help me, Guruji.

Shanti

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I’m no Boddhisattva

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Fear: I’m not good enough, not smart enough, don’t have enough time, haven’t done enough to finish my PhD.

Me: I’ve written it all (bar the conclusion). But it’s still not good enough. It’s never going to be good enough and I don’t even know why I’m doing it. It really doesn’t mean that much to me anymore. I should have admitted defeat years ago and just focussed on something else.

Angry voice in head: Why are you wasting all the winter -the only time you can go camping and bushwalking in the desert- inside attached to your computer? And why aren’t you going to the gym as much as you used to? Why aren’t you going to yoga class? Why does he keep picking on me about my thesis? Can’t he see I’ve nearly finished?

Depressed voice in head: Withdraw. Hide. Hide. Hide. Hide.

Me: My mind is out of control. My emotions are out of control. I feel like I’m going to snap. I’m angry and short tempered all the time.  I feel like I have no time to myself.

Fear: You’ll run out of time. You’ve got the argument all wrong. The thesis is not sophisticated enough.

Me: I’ll never be good enough. Why am I doing this to myself and my family?

…and so it goes, round and round and round in my head, the pack of dogs eating my car.

Don’t put me up on a pedestal, I’m no Boddhisattva.

*This is a REAL headline from the Northern Territory News

Yoga Bitchin’

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I can’t help but comment on what’s been happening over at Linda Sama’s blog.  If you haven’t seen it, check out this post.

That’s Mr Anthroyogini bitchin about custard!

Linda has announced her intention to put her blog to sleep soon. I’m sad about this, as it’s one of a handful of yoga blogs whose posts I subscribe to. However, I could sense the integrity and sincerity in her post announcing her decision to close the blog down, and appreciate that it is time to move on.  Life’s like that.

Linda is the real deal. A true yogini. She volunteers her time in support of others (teaching yoga for free in a women’s refuge). She has invested many years studying with people like Desikachar, Paul Grilley and lately, Mark Whitwell – all highly respected yogis.  She has reflected upon bad experiences that happen to her with insight, looking for the lessons in them.

Which makes me wonder why moronic trolls nasty lurkers feel the need to place ‘good riddance’ type messages on her blog.

If I was more spiritually developed, I would say “ohh… namaste, bless you, fairy floss, thank you for your lesson etc.” But I’m still edgy and raw. Anger still arises, resentment still arises and try to I watch it and not get involved. I’m not always very good at non-attachment, which is why it’s my maha-sankalpa.

To me, the yoga world is identical to the fitness industry: hung up on its own holiness, on perfection, on contortion, on arrogance and on plain old bitchin’.

Reflect on my observations of 20 years employment in the fitness industry and make a comparison with the yoga world:

  • There are the snobby, so-called ‘elite’ master-trainer instructors (ohh-too-holy to talk to you, scumbucket).
  • There are many instructors whose only employment is fitness classes and whose mouth, empty heads and EGOs are at least as large as the space in which they teach.

This was all brought home to me clearly only yesterday, when the CEO of the fitness centre I quit from early this year said: “In ten years of managing (name of chain of fitness centres) I’ve seen it over and over again. The only place we have bitching in the centre … fighting and backstabbing is in group fitness… with the massive egos that go with getting up in front of people and teaching.”

These people are tossers. It’s why I stopped teaching after 20 years and walked away from something I loved.

The yoga biatches who left the comments on Linda’s blog are mega-tossers. I too am starting to turn my back on the image-obsessed world of bitchin’ asana barbie dolls.

As Abdi Assadi says: Project yourself to the moment of your death. Do you think you’ll still be bitchin’ then?

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With all this bitchin’, it must be time for me to bitch.

I’m going to Canberra for a month on Monday. This is to prepare my PhD thesis for submission. And you know what???

I AM GETTING A GOD-FORSAKEN COLD!!  Not fair. So not fair!

Vairagya: Some Lessons

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The point of spiritual development is not to work on YOUR STUFF.  That just happens as a side effect. The real point of spiritual development is to deal things as they arise … Ken McLeod

I wasn’t going to write another post before I left for Canberra (next Monday), but here I am, reflecting on non-attachment…

You see, in the past week two people whom I admired, to whom I had attached the label of bodacious-uber-successful yogi-goddess-Oh-I-wish-I-could-be-half-as-yogic-as-you have detached themselves from my semi-adhesive label.

I will point out that these people are NO ONE who reads or visits my blog (at least that I’m aware of).

I’m big enough to admit that the labelling of these people as bodacious-uber-successful yogi … I can’t be stuffed typing all that again is my fault. My thing.

But it’s just well…

What is the point of doing spiritual work, yoga, meditation, watching your thoughts in the now if you get pissed off majorly everytime your phone rings and react like Charles Manson on testosterone you can’t sweat the small stuff?

This realisation (twice in one week, like I was being slapped around the head with a wet fish to make sure I GOT the message) really made me sit up and think:  OK… So neither of you are enlightened beings. And one of you is a plain old SNOB. But it’s my problem that I’ve put you up on this pedestal, simply because you’re umm… self-labelled teachers. And well-known.

So I’ve dropped it.

And that was the message. My maha-sankalpa like a large wet salmon on my head from on high.

Non-attachment. वैराग्य. My next and last tattoo.

The Mouth of Sauron *grin*

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Looking into the Messenger’s eyes they read his thoughts. He was to be lieutenant, and all that remained of the West under his sway; he would be their tyrant and they his slaves. Tolkein (1999: 194), The Return of the King.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the extended version of Lord of the Rings (on DVD), you’re missing out on the Mouth of Sauron, the coolest baddie ever. For his teeth and grin alone, you should get the DVD.

For my family, he’s a bit of fun to parody, mixing him in with Dramatic Chipmunk.

On the blog, he’s my grin of victory. A means of turning something bad or tyrannical into good.

Yesterday, the blog had its TEN THOUSANDTH visitor!! Hard to believe, when my blog isn’t anywhere near as seriously yoga-focussed as other people’s. I’m just a part-time yogini, and I’ll never, ever be a super-bendy yoga chick whose big toe touches her head in Natarajasana. But then, for the life of me I can’t understand how most people find descending from high plank to Chaturanga hard!

Another reason to for the Mouth of Sauron grin is to celebrate is the impending END of writing my thesis.

You see, the PhD has been like a tyrant sitting on my back for 10 years. Like the Black Tower of Mordor, it’s been there in the background, sitting. Making plans beneath the level of my conscious mind. Plotting my downfall. Trying to become “… something else she started but never finished …” A monument to the futility of academic endeavour.

The PhD was also something I was doing because I wanted to prove to my mother that I was good enough. And to make up for leaving High School at the beginning of Year 11 (also to prove to my parents that I was grown up).  Ironically, I’m still trying to prove to my parents that I’m grown up – when my own daughter is now at university.

Yet the PhD, internally, is also for me. Simply because I like to write and think and use my creativity. I’ve persisted with it through a marriage break up and depression because of fear -I did not want Sauron to win!- and because I like playing in my head and turning thoughts into words.

The moment is almost here.

The culmination of ten years of research. I’ve done roughly 4 years of field work, and it’s taken 2 years to write it up. Now, now, now, I’m pulling all the threads of my background and data chapters together in the discussion chapter.

The feeling I get when I write is like finding my thesis (my argument) as I write, like staring closely at an individual mosaic tile, then moving back to see hundreds of individual tiles forming a breath-taking scene. When I write, it emerges, it forms, coalesces and becomes real.

Over the next six weeks , I won’t be posting very much. On 27 July, I fly to Canberra to spend a month working intensively with my PhD supervisor, pulling the thesis together and preparing it for submission. I don’t return to Alice Springs until 22 August.

When I try to look forward in my mind, picture my life post-August, I cannot. There is a comfortable blank, and within, a firm knowing.

It will be done.

The Towers of Teeth swayed, tottered, and fell down; the mighty rampart crumbled; the Black Gate was hurled in ruin; and from far away now, dim now growing, now mounting to the clouds, there came a drumming rumble, a roar, a long echoing roll of ruinous noise. (Tolkien, ibid: 270).

The Yoga of Place

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I’m at Watarrka, in thesis isolation mode, uploading this post via a very slow satellite internet connection. I know that most people who read this blog (Jammiegirl excepted) won’t comprehend the remoteness of where I am or the reasons why I can’t post easily. In the rest of Australia and certainly in the US, there’s mobile phone reception and ADSL everywhere. Here, where I am, we don’t even have a corner store, let alone mobile phone reception. ADSL is a just a sick joke. Look Watarrka up on Google Earth. I’m in one of the most remote places on Earth.

Nonetheless, when I look out the window where I’m sitting, I can see the scene that’s the blog’s header picture above: King’s Canyon (Watarrka). There are no hoons screaming past my house, there are none of the streetlights that Alice Springs HAS TO HAVE on every bloody power pole in the interests of ‘safety’ (for whom and what, I don’t know). Instead, there are Desert Oaks, Spinifex, Eremophila and Acacia species in winter bloom (it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere) and the ever-changing colours of the sun playing on Watarrka’s walls and angles.

This place is YOGA. It is deeply, deeply spiritual and highly conducive to PhD writing, reflection and thought.

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There is nothing you could give me that would make me swap my remoteness with city life.  No money, no material goods. No offers of eternal happiness. This remoteness, this yoga of place, is something – contentment, union, wholeness- that city life can never ever give. This is where insights happen. Where growth happens.

Where your world is taken apart and reconstructed, one tiny bit at a time…

When I live in a town or a city, I begin to die. It is always the way with me. I do not expect you to understand, nor is this a critique of your life. Cities and towns are where the life is slowly (or quickly) sucked from me. The bush, the mountains, the desert (but ironically, never the seashore where the city folk bring their ‘stuff’) nourish me, make me whole, give me the union and strength and courage to go on.

Along time ago, in my childhood, I knew this. When I am depressed, the bush and desert heal me. I find the small, quiet voice within. The watcher. It speaks to me in silence, compassion, non-judgement – never in the streets or busyness of the city, but ever so effortlessly here, and ever louder, surrounded by nature.

Here, my life is writ large and effortlessly. What must be done comes easily, races from my fingers to the glow of the computer screen, from tiny stirrings within to my conscious thoughts like liquid light. I am filled, flooded, with inspiration, energy, peace.

Stripped bare, I find me. Who I am. What I am.

And most importantly, what I am not.

No white noise. No noise.

This is the yoga of place.

Wednesday Whiteboard #11

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Dotpoint 1: Last weekend was the Beanie Festival in Alice Springs. I can hear you saying: WTF?!? I shall explain.

In winter in Alice Springs it gets COLD compared to coastal Australia. How cold? Well, minus 6 (centigrade) is the coldest I’ve ever experienced, but most of the time the nights are down around 0. And one thing lots of us do over winter is go camping in the amazing landscapes around us.

Thus, we need beanies to keep our heads warm.

And the Beanie Festival was born…

The Beanie Festival is something you should come to Alice Springs for. It is not just about beanies. It’s about music, food, making beanies, socialising and people watching. It’s very, very alternative, but the town –my town which has a significant number of rednecks in it- has embraced the Beanie Festival.

And there are about 5000 beanies for sale.

Not boring old grey beanies that fishermen wear. And they’re not the beanies that your gran used to make, either. We’re talking works of art. Wool sculptures, dreadlocks, emu feathers. Beads. These beanies are yummy works of art.

Look. Just come. Next year, book a plane ticket to Alice Springs last weekend in June and see why the Beanie Festival is so amazing.

Dotpoint 2: Explosions. Happy Territory Day. More Explosions!

July 1 every year, is Territory Day. It’s where we get to buy fireworks and try to kill each other celebrate the Northern Territory’s transition to self-government in 1978. In Alice Springs and Darwin the streets sound like Beirut in 1973 are full of people letting off $1000s of fireworks.

This year I was in Darwin for work, so I saw the cracker craziness on Vestey’s Beach. I could also see the official NT fireworks display set up on a barge anchored just off Mindil Beach. To the amusement of those standing around us, we hummed ‘The Final Countdown’ really loudly as the display went off. (And made a lot of people crack up).

The display was fantastic. So impressive, I’m sure Tennant Creek Hospital probably won’t be able to employ doctors for the next six months.

But that’s the Territory for you. Explosions before doctors. Can’t cramp that famous Territory Lifestyle.

Dotpoint #3: Do NOT Let Your Kids Hook up their Wii Online.

The other day, I thought there was something wrong with the internet because it was slooooow. Next day, same story, so I called Telstra. Seems our account had been ‘shaped’ because we’d exceeded our (apparently) unlimited download limit.

Turns out with Telstra, there’s no such thing as unlimited. Be warned, folks.

Also, I learned that using your Wii to play international Mario Kart sucks megabytes like there’s no tomorrow.

As for my account being ‘shaped’… I really wanted to laugh when I heard this. Why not ‘limited’ or ‘slowed’? This is spin doctoring gone too far.

It’s like the time someone said: “We’re going to migrate the printers…” at work. I immediately thought: Migrate them? Where? Italy? New Zealand? Will I see a whole flock of printers going north for the winter?

Telstra. Pfft!

‘Shaped’ Double pfft!

Mario Kart. 🙂