March 5, 2014 § 4 Comments
For all the adversity of being here, I find life is now creative in a way I had only wished about for so many years. My rhythm flows with the seasons and the sun, embracing every day anew. I tend to keep a constant pace where work and life are intertwined moving steadily along, feeding each other with moments of contemplation and inspiration. Which as a friend recently told me, is a luxury.
Yes I suppose so, but it came at a price and I didn’t have to stick my neck out quite this far. But after loosing those I loved I no longer feel the same fear attached to risk. Instead its like I am free-falling, stepping forward in a new way and with much bigger strides. The worst that could happen has happened and so every day feels like a bonus. Here I am, grateful for these luxuries and grateful for this life, to live simply yet with high ideas and dreams a plenty.
And, as if it wasn’t enough to be here doing what I am doing on my own, I have recently stumbled across another piece to the jigsaw puzzle. One that ups the ante to a whole new league. A plot of land, with house and barn that is close by and could become an extension for accommodation, a much bigger yoga studio and a beautiful kitchen garden. It’s fairly wild to be contemplating this at this stage in the journey. They are both in need of restoration work, but the dream I had to be here seems to have taken on a life of its own.
Anyone sensible would probably tell me to put the brakes on, but there don’t seem to be any brakes. And yes, these dreams are scary but I know I can do this. I know I am meant to be here. My gut feeling has continually propelled me forward and helped me to make the decision to up sticks and move country.
So on top of launching myself into my first year here, I am also quietly sitting and working out how I can grow and expand, to add this new piece of the puzzle into the picture……This dream is definitely bigger than anything I was intending, but the opportunity feels like the beginning of a very magical future.
February 21, 2014 § 3 Comments
This week feels as though it has disappeared without trace.
Sucked in by an online vortex, grappling the world of social media and trying to discover how to become a visible entity in the world, putting Little French Retreat on the map.
I find in these moments, that focusing on my Sadhana (spiritual practice) becomes ever more important. Starting my morning on the mat sets the tone and creates the flow for the day. And sometimes, as with this week I don’t make time for my practice first thing and only get to the mat late afternoon. I realise when this shift happens the feel and quality I bring to my work is entirely different, I focus on ‘work’ rather than being in flow.
I could probably spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on marketing, but it defeats the point of being here and it defeats the point of trusting in my practice. After all what is the rush, what is more important than that morning meeting on the mat?…….I could list a load of excuses, but really, nothing is more important.
Yet sometimes this happens. Sometimes the balance goes the wrong way. This is the time I know to stop, check in and recognise what’s going on and remember to look and see what surrounds me. Like noticing the light that falls on my dog as I stretch on the mat. A time to appreciate the stillness and peace of this place.
As Swami Govindanada (whom I served with last winter) once said, “we all have busy lives. Even running an ashram is not without its stresses, it requires managing people, managing finances, and managing accommodation. What is important is maintaining your sadhana for this will guide you, then placing yourself in a peaceful environment with peaceful people. Like a lump of coal we are grey and cool. But when placed into the fire, we take on the qualities of the fire and become red hot.”
Coming back to centre is a constant process of awareness.
Asking myself the questions; ‘How am I spending my time, where am I placing my energies, do I need to do any of the things I am doing?’, provides that moment to realign and put the magic back into the day. Rather than let it run away with itself.
So with that thought I am letting go of this week. Theres a weekend to be had and a flowing week ahead to look forward to!
Om Shanti, Shanti Shanti
February 14, 2014 § 12 Comments
When my mum died in July 2008, the most poignant realisation was the huge void of love from my life. I suppose it wasn’t something I had thought about before, as it was just the norm to be in a loving family, always having support and a shoulder to lean on. A mothers’ love is so strong and part of every inch of your being. Whatever the struggles we went through, love always underpinned everything in our lives and held us together.
This void was also ever more gaping as my father had died 13 years before and so at this time, parental and unconditional love was no longer there. And despite their physical absence, the love I felt for them remained in bucket loads. It was huge and completely welled within me and I remember then feeling so unsure what to do with it, where to place my love, how to share it and feel it as I moved forward in my life into a new and different space.
In the months after my mums’ death many things changed. The first wave of emotion that seeped into every aspect of life was a sudden inability to accommodate bullshit. Initial changes were to end my unsupportive relationship and quit my job, both of which hadn’t resonated with me for sometime. In the shadow of grief I no longer cared about answers and solutions, I just wanted rid of everything that didn’t work. Once this clear out had occurred I was free to move forward and booked a ticket to India to head to the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, fulfilling a ten-year longing to get back to yoga.
I decided it was time to follow my heart and make some new commitments.
I wanted again to feel the peace and joy I remembered when I first started yoga with Sivananda at twenty three. Subsequently disappearing and lost to work commitments, only dipping my toe in occasionally to attend the odd class and retreat. I had no idea how this trip would change my life and how it would later lead me towards love in a different way to one I had imagined.
And its been a process, I haven’t always got the emphasis right. Firstly falling in love with a man thinking he would be the answer to everything and dumping huge expectations upon him, and of course our relationship didn’t last. But out of this love I gained an understanding that helped to realign my thoughts about how to love again and to know that romantic love is not the only love to give support.
The need to be loving and to care for others has always been at the heart of my journey over the past five and half years, along with regaining my health and creative self. But mostly its about love, bringing love into my life and making it part of every moment. And yoga has been, and still is the backbone of support that has led me forward. I don’t mean that in a ‘re-born again’ ecclesiastical way, its more about how yoga has helped me to find and cherish the love I am worth giving myself. Love comes from learning to love and support ourselves first and from that place of understanding its possible to love others. As i discovered, when you love yourself you can open your heart to allow others in.
Through this journey and exploration of self-inquiring, I have made some wonderful friends; through yoga, through travel and by doing things I love. Putting myself first and not compromising my life, not settling for second best, being brave enough to just trust in the unknown, because life it is just too damn short to waste.
And now I find myself, in France setting up home in the house my mum bought as a retirement dream, turning it into a small retreat centre. This is a place where I can share my love and create a huge family, providing a space for others to rest, recharge and be re-inspired. I am still single, I don’t have kids (recent addition of a dog has been wonderful) and I feel fulfilled and happy with the life I have created and grateful for the moments I share with others.
There is so much to look forward in life, and sharing it with others makes all the difference.