Friday, 23 May 2014

Tribute to Norwich

As I prepare to leave my life in Norwich in exchange for a new life in Surrey, I have had so much to reflect on, over the last 12 years. I came to Norwich having just turned 30, arrogant, selfish, a little messed up, with not a care in the world except for myself. 

I see now how necessary that was. Had i not been that person, i think I would not have had the courage to make that move. 

My time in Norwich has been my biggest life teacher (so far)

First, my ego received a great beating. 
"Nobody wants you! Whatever you thought was so great means nothing here. Who are you?...."
After a year.. (or so.. time also passed quickly),  I let go of my ambition and started looking for new ground to stand on. I volunteered at a animal shelter cleaning out shit every day- literally! And started waitressing in the evening. Later, I would stop cleaning shit as I needed to make some money and got a job at Next. 
Then came a big test of my determination, when my dad would become ill and pass away. 
"Why am i here?"

During all this time, my own practice had intensified in a very different way. This was a time when I started to see the lessons the practice was teaching me about myself. One of the tendencies that surfaced continuously is my lack of commitment. If something was no longer fun, i would just move on. I seldom bothered to explore any deeper.

So I would say... thanks to the practice, I managed to stay the first 7 years despite being unsettled. Of course, I stayed for love also. I thought many times to give it up as it was all too hard, like i normally would do, but the practice kept reminding me of this very feeble character i kept. 

So i stayed..
And I am glad I did

I can say that I am leaving a better person, or at least someone I like a lot more. I am pretty sure that had I not made that decision to come here, I would not be this person. I am so grateful to have met some people here who have taught me so much, especially about love, about sharing, about forgiveness... Although i have also lost some confidence when I lost that arrogance, I feel this in a positive way. It is good for me to be a little afraid of losing something as I find i am paying more attention and it reminds me to be grateful all the time. I hope you know who you are, my dear friends, my extended mothers, brothers and uncles and aunts, all of whom i have fallen madly in love with. I know from my experience of leaving home twice before, that things will never be the same between us, for most of us. At one time, this used to upset me deeply. But i realise now that this pattern, like everything, is the circle of life- it has a beginning, a middle and an end. What remains is this strong connection that can never be severed because we are held together by an experience shared and by love.

Yoga has been my saviour here. Before I found the community here, life was pretty empty. Through yoga, i have made some lifelong friends and have had some of the most memorable experiences whether it was at retreats, workshops, classes, coffee. I am truly grateful for all the support I have seen over the years and all the kind, beautiful and humbling feedback. 

Through all this, and through the many commentaries I have shared during class, I hope that I have never given anyone the impression that I am a wholesome yogi. I have always tried to be clear about this so I hope you never think me any other way, than one of you. I try to live as best as I can but i continue to have my weaknesses. Whilst yoga has changed me and helped me become a better person, I have some way to go. Some lessons have to be so painful so you never forget them. This too I am grateful for. 

I end with this:

Forgive me if I have every hurt you with my words or actions and trust that I will know this and feel this in my own heart, if not already

Thank you from every cell of my being for being my teachers, my friends, my mothers, my sisters, my brothers. This gratitude is held in my heart and is boundless.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Joy of Togetherness

It is hard to believe that this is now the second week since I left the studio and the work that I had become so familiar with. I am slowly getting into this new rhythm of not really having to be anywhere at any time (ie: not working!) To be honest, I find myself quite much busier than when I was working, but it is different, not having to run after time! My final class at the studio was perfect. It was in sync with the theme for the week, which was about the joy of togetherness- the beauty of the kula. Here it is for those who missed it...

What is the kula?
Kula in sanskrit directly translates as community. It is also derived from another sanskrit word 'kula siddhi' and is the idea that all creation in the universe is connected and is in a relationship with each other, no matter how diverse. These connections are why the universe continues to expand. 
Simply, a kula is us- a group of people with similar interest, similar passions, beliefs, values, who come together to share in this love and to grow together.

Every time you come to your shala, your sangha, your club, you meet your kula. In our yoga class, a few things happens....
You roll out your mat and you greet your little universe, the manifestation of your life..
You meet each other, a connection happens
You start your practice and you start to meet your challenges, your tendencies, sometimes, your demons. Some days there is laughter, other days frustration, some days are flat, some days are illuminating. Whatever it is, you share an experience. Some days you are laughing together, some days laughing at each other and sometimes, you exchange a look that needs no words, because it is understood. And sometimes, the person besides you stops and watches you and starts to root for you and cheers your awesomeness! And other times, they your frustration and it feels better already!
This is the kula
The more diverse the group, the stronger the community.
It is there to support you and remind you of your awesomeness, of your beauty. There may be someone in the kula who believes in you more than you believe in yourself or vice versa. It is a place that makes you feel good. A place that you can go to when you have had a rubbish day, to soak in the spirit of the kula, that leaves you feeling better most of the time, even if just in a small way.
This is the joy of togetherness.
And if you have happiness, share it. Share it in the kula and beyond; 
your wealth, your possessions, your time, music, art, knowledge; 
share it because it is not possible to be happy alone

thank you for 7 amazing (yoga) years