Planting seeds of perfection

IMG_1612 copyThe other day I was talking to a student of mine who told me she was looking to improve her practice. She wanted to be better at yoga and a better version of herself. She wanted a stronger core and to lose weight. Sincere and sweet, I didn't want to risk offending her by my reaction to what she was saying. My response (in my head) came from a place of love- but to her ears it may have sounded a little like judgement. I made a vow to myself some time ago to be a Truthspeaker but I still struggle at times with the delicate balance of ahimsa (non-harming).

So I went home and spoke it aloud to the trees in my yard. Weird I know. But I really wanted them to pass it onto her somehow. Like some sort of arboreal osmosis, take these words and plant them in her lovely mind. While you're hands are dirty, put these seeds in my daughter's mind too.

What if today you were perfect?
With no air-brushing, no modification, no transformation at all. What if everybody, in every room, exploded into applause when you entered and smiled when you left?
What if you stopped searching and found everything?
What if when you looked in the mirror today, you saw what your mum sees?
Or your child, or your best friend?
What if you could see yourself with a heart full of love? What if you saw the truth? What if your yoga was enough? What if you were enough?
Imagine if you decided to stop worrying about everything and just walked in the light and accepted grace.
Imagine if, just for today, you nourished your body with food from the earth. Filled up with art and music and soulful gifts. Made a new friend. Did stuff that made you whole and happy.
What if you gave thanks to your body and mind for it's brilliance?
What if you found gratitude?
What if I told you that all that hurt you've been carrying is a choice you made? Would you put it down? Would you choose a different way?
If everything could be forgiven could you let it all go?
What if, in a moment of quiet, the universe spoke only to you?
What if she whispered of your divine magnificence?
Would you listen to the truth?

Namaste

Mxx

Bitchy, sexy, bad-Breaking the Beast

  IMG_0161I'm in a storytelling mood folks, gather a blanket and a mug of hot tea and lean in.

I'm writing this because I'm confused and a little sad and I'm trying to understand. Sometimes, when I'm struggling with something, I tell myself a story in order to try and make sense of it all.

This story is about us all being good. Despite all the horror and hardship, I would like to think of goodness being the basis of our humanity.  In a hippy dippy shared-consiousness kind of way I think were all just a lump of peace and love borrowing a meat suit for the hundred or so years that we keep on kickin'.

The problem seems to lie in the fact that we all seemed to have hooked up with an interloper. We're all tied for life to a big ol' lummox called Ego. He's bossy and bad and shits where he eats. He's not interested in our perfection or our happiness or anybody else's.

He's into self gratification, envy, money and his own importance. He would rather look good than be good. He's nasty and judgemental and righteous - basically he's a massive d**k.

But he's tied to every single one of us. We exist in antibiosis- an antagonistic relationship between two organisms, in which one is adversely affected. The more he consumes, the less fodder for our good selves. He gets bigger and badder and we shrivel under the weight of selfies and stinking media manure.

The yoga world is sadly not immune. In fact, two minutes on Face(less)book will bombard you with perfect yoga bodies screaming "Look at me!" from some glamorous locale. Probably trying to sell something thats sadly not yoga- clothes, props, retreats, books, packaged green juices and plastic wrapped 'perfect.

Big ol' egos dressed up as idols.

It made me think about that antibiosis. The bigger he gets, the smaller we get. The more we allow him to strut around, beating his chest and bringing the poocake to the party, the more we aren't able to share the love. He thrives on drama, gossip, bitchy, sexy, badness. He likes fast food, shiny shit and look at me flattery.

When we indulge him we starve ourselves. This made me think about how I feed my beast and at what cost?

We grow when we feed our souls with connection and kindness, good food and true beauty. When our work becomes service, our financial freedom is aligned with authenticity.

I'm so glad I became a yoga teacher after I'd cut my ego down to a manageable beast. Thank god I didn't find this in my ego driven twenties. I have no aspirations of grandeur as a teacher. All I really want is to be of small service. I hope if my ego ever chucks on a bikini and splatters bendy bullshit on social media someone tells me I'm a twat. I'll thank you in advance.

What I really want is a small and simple life. Connection. I want to learn and love and laugh. I know I'm going to have to drag around this whiny egoist but I'm going to try very hard to keep him firmly in check. I'm still trying to break the beast.

I've spent way too much time caring what other people think of me. Thats a whole lot of energy that I should have been devoting to being a better person. That's Ego's sly trick to keep us meek and needy. It sounds trite but realising our perfection renders him redundant.

But what is perfection?

Connection. With ourselves. With each other. With the moon and the stars and the universe. And even with him in a strange sort of twist. Best to understand who he is and the great threat that he poses to our humanity and our happiness.

Namaste.

 

 

Mama's Unplugged...

IMG_0006I know it's been quite a while since I've posted anything. I'm not sure what started it. I think I began with a modest spring clean that just gathered momentum, spurred on by the desire to live differently. Somehow quieter.

I got rid of a lot of my stuff. Culled the embarrassing number of a 'certain kind' of black dress and gave my  high heels to charity so that others might suffer the way I have. I ditched the bloody wicker baskets all over my house and even thinned out my bookshelves. I tossed toys and tearfully gave away my children's tiny clothes.

Then, when the house finally felt spacious, I turned on the 'time wasters' in my life. I wanted my days to feel spacious too. I closed my Facebook account. Instead of writing here, I wrote poetry and recipes and plans for the garden.

I spent time in the vegetable patch. Desperately trying to tame the tomatoes that threaten to take over the entire garden. The vines hang heavy with fruit, we pick kilos, trying to save them from the mouth of my lovely girl. She wraps them in fresh mint leaves and devours handfuls.

The zucchinis have taken up the call and given up a bounty of fruit. What to do with ten thousand of these babies? Fritters, salads, muffins, cakes and slices. With lemon, mint, feta, and chocolate. They've forced my creative hand and yet they're still producing new growth everyday!

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With my days expanding I baked bread and made fresh pasta. I make meatballs with the kids and made sauce from the tomatoes grown outside the kitchen. No basil yet? That's ok, we'll add chilli and fennel seeds to the meat and pick some oregano from underneath the stairs. We find one with a love heart mark, my son squeezes me tight and he smells like fresh herbs. It's all about slow pleasure and anticipation as it bubbles away for the afternoon. By dinner the boys will defy their biology and consume mountains of fresh spaghetti slathered in the rich sauce. We talk about girls and ebola.

How strange it is to be a kid these days....

 

IMG_1475I read mountains of yoga books and meditate everyday. Suddenly there seems to be so much time for nothing. I feel still inside, like this moment is all that requires my attention. I walk around my house. The aquaponics is bubbling away, ready for new seed. By summer we will pick greens and golden beetroot for salads. I've planted heirloom tomatoes and cucumber.

I sit with the chooks. We have beautiful new hens but they're still learning the ways of our bossy Squirrel (weird name I know! She's the boss). She pecks and pushes them all around. The eggs are warm and chalky and fit beautifully into my palm. Nothing makes me happier than pushing through the rosemary and finding a half dozen for breakfast. I no longer watch the news so the only soldiers I see are smothered in butter, awaiting their delicious fate.

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I'm amazed at how this land I own can still surprise me. I take my shoes off and walk barefoot at dusk. I am aware of every step, the softness of the lawn compared to the rocky earth as I get closer to the bush behind our property. I check for snakes, none to keen on that kind of surprise! I find a bumper crop of tomatoes hiding down the hill. I threw old clippings here last summer and they've fought their way to fruition. I tuck handfuls of the little gems into my pockets and then fill my hat. This would cost a packet at the farmers market!

Sometimes I think about that young girl I used to be. All long hair and heels, heading off to this or that, champagne in hand. The latest clothes and seventy pairs of shoes in her wardrobe. I marvel at how I ended up in this quiet life. More amazing is how happy I am, elbow deep in dough or cleaning out the chooks. Curling up with three gorgeous children that I (somehow) haven't damaged.

I realise that it's all for them. That somehow they gave life to this new me along the way. I couldn't boil an egg at twenty! Their love has transformed me into this mama I've become. Not fodder for social media or gossip, but a full person, living a full creative life. Many thanks to my small people.

I am thoroughly saturated in simple joy.

(and I've no desire to post it on Facebook)

 

Raising Warriors

IMG_1954 He is simply magical.

Perceptible and kind, he is wise beyond his years. Although lately I sense a change in this child. He retreats to his cave, gets angry and righteous, he feels the pain of others keenly. He is emotional and sometimes withdrawn, a rocking-roller-coaster boy.

The term 'indigo child' was thrown around when he was younger. He saw the world differently and tethered himself to his mama, lest he lost his way. He was an old soul in a rapidly changing world. Now, he is becoming more of himself each day, no longer so tied to me. I pray he makes choices that honour his spirit.

I believe that humans are evolving. Our children are changing and having to find their own way in a world that is different to the one we entered. This doesn't mean however that we are raising a gentle generation of little buddhas. Quite the contrary. These children are warriors, agitators, tornadoes. It is our job to guide them on a peaceful path.

Children are not supposed to be easy. Certainly not the children born with vision and a fire in their belly. Many times I have sat with a heart-hurt mama while she wonders why her child is difficult or so determined. I've been that woman! I get it. I often ask if she was an easy  little girl? Were you not born with a head full of stars and a lit fuse??

.....uh? Oh yeah, I remember.

Raising warriors is a call to centre. It's a request for calm and steady and a will towards finding the mountain within. The Mama Mountain. Which is really just a big 'ol rock for those little ones to cling to in the storm of adolescence (or terrible twos, or threes, eights). For us, it's a whole lot of deep breathing and light loving and patience.

The kids will be ok. We'll be so much wiser when they're through with us. So much better for having been whipped into shape by the wind at their back. We will grow, while they are busy coming home to consciousness in order to change the whole world.

I will honour my children as my greatest teachers and be thankful for the learning.

 

We are free....

IMG_1187 You and I are just a whole bunch of stories.

We might think we're skin and bones and hungry bellies, but thats just another yarn we hold close. And so we should. There's some precious truth in that tale after all, us being of the flesh and full of life.(Look after the vessel.)

But today we told ourselves a story.

And yesterday.

I am guilty of telling myself all about what I should have done and didn't. Moments all tangled in a past tense that keeps perpetuating. It's gone my friend. That story has no future if you'll pardon me stating the obvious. I suggest you thin it out, take only what you need and leave the rest for dust (and it's all just waste on the wind).

We're free you and I. Much more so than our busy lives would have us believe.

We are free to speak gentle words full of praise and pretending. Funny make believe fancies. Stories worth reading over tea and toast, with a blanket and a beloved. Or tell a tale of whimsy for your pint sized pirate or  sleepy eyed princess.

Tell yourself a nice story at 3am, when you worry the sun from the inky night sky, as the house creaks and shadows fall down the hall. Ask that fearful, cynical you to take a long nap while you write yourself anew.

Clean down the page and start again.

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You get to choose your character, make her good and strong and kind. And big. Please make her big and bold and let her fill the page with purpose. Make her laugh often and long. Fill the moments in between with words of friendship and gratitude. Make her a generous cook and a great listener and give her a strong back for all she holds aloft. Put a babe at her feet and fill her arms with family. Give her soulful eyes and a warm smile (and shiny locks).

Give her the strength to move past the wrongs in her wake. It's just dust out the door. Forgive all the villains, they didn't know they could be someone else, brave and strong and good. Be gentle with the scared ones and patient with the silly.

Life will be a glorious adventure my friend.

If you speak it so.

 

Why Yoga???

35fba-img_1202 I love yoga. Like most people my experience with yoga began in a local hall on a few feet of recycled rubber. In recent times however, the practice of yoga has carried me off the mat and through to becoming...

Healthy.

Happy.

Whole.

There are of course benefits that are really obvious. I sleep better, I eat more intuitively, I  live more intuitively. I'm stronger, both mentally and physically, wonderful perks that come from regular asana practice.

All of which I was talking to a non yogi  friend of mine about the other day. Her response was to probe a little deeper. "Yeah that's great, but why yoga??"

Umm.....

It took me a little while to gather my thoughts on this very broad question, but here goes my top five reasons.

Yoga has taught me that I am not my labels...

I am not the daughter, sister, mother, artist, writer, partner, funny girl, emotional one, hormonal female, foodie, friend or hot chick. Ok, I may have made that last one up but you get the idea. For most of my life I have walked around believing I was all of this and more. Yoga has taught me that I am none of these things. I am in fact infinite and expansive, a divine manifestation of love in a transient body.

Yoga has taught me to honour my body....

Like many women, my relationship with this bag of bones has been fraught with negativity. I have never in my life treated any other human being as poorly as I have treated my own body. I've endured eating disorders, horrible harming behaviours, ridiculous diets and loathsome dialogue. Yoga has made me appreciate the extraordinary functionality of my greatest claim to humanity...the skin I am in. It's a miraculous, supportive and creative experience of being me. I no longer hate my sturdy thighs because I know they will carry me through warrior poses. I am less concerned with how my body looks and far more focused on how it works.

Yoga has taught me not to impose on others....

Not my children, or my partner. Not my beliefs or my bullshit. I'm so busy with the business of my own 5ft of evolution that I don't have the time to live other people's life for them. That doesn't mean that I'm self-absorbed and unavailable to be a parent, but I don't assume that I know how anyone else should live. Including my immediate family. I actually think my children have been sent to me to teach me a thing or two.

Yoga has taught me to breathe first and ______ later.

Fill in the blank any way you wish.

Yoga has taught me about love.

It has taught me the art of being present with another human being. About the destructive force of small thoughts in a powerful mind. It's taught me to pause when I face conflict and pause when I am at peace. Or laughing. Or doing my five year olds homework. Every day I make a decision to enter a state of loving, in this way I become a manifestation of Love and Light in the world.

Nameste

Michelle xx

 

 

lets talk love

Ask most people what they need to be happy and I think you will find love near the top of their list. Many people will say that they "love too much" or they "need to be loved" or "are unloveable".
It seems that it has become a currency of sorts, a commodity to be traded. Sadly, many of us see a deficit, we have issues with family or romantic love, old baggage that we drag around. Love looms in the equation of our happiness, our self worth and our identity. We look for it in others and we measure it in ourselves.
Many people believe that it is our purpose in this life, to give and receive love. There may be some valuable truth in this idea but I wonder if we really understand what it is?
Is this idea of owning love a shimmering mirage to a thirsty soul? Is it life's lottery that we somehow win by our birthright or our beauty? I've given this some thought and I'd like to believe that the universe provides a purer pathway to it's pinnacle of benevolence and compassion.
Imagine for a moment that Love is like an ocean. It's vast and calm and when you enter the water it's warmth surrounds you. Imagine that the water fills up the minuscule spaces between the atoms that makeup your entire being. That it fills every void, every hurt, every longing.
We cannot own the sea. With an open heart we accept that it just is. We are changed by it's current, it's buoyancy lifts us, it embraces us without judgement. We make the decision to enter a state of Love, we decideand in doing so we are forever transformed.
Every day we can make this choice. We enter Love by participating in loving acts and kindness towards all beings, including ourselves. In this way we nourish our soul and care for others. Love isn't traded. It isn't given or taken away or even hard to get. It is available to all of us, at all times. Every loving act is a step towards Love, so we must be mindful in our choices. Be aware of negativity and know that very angry thought moves us further from the embrace of our elation.