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Archive for November, 2008
I am freshly back from my Speed Awareness Workshop and drove slowly.
Gosh, I learned a lot and despite all preconceptions there was not a drop of blood show during the entire thing.
I learned a lot, too. Unlike being a yogi, where one has to legally keep the esoteric knowledge levels well topped up, as a driver of a 1.5 tonne vehicle I am under no such pressure. I passed my test in 1779. Health and safety did not exist and I suppose a lot of road markings have just passed me by. So I learned a lot and now feel confident to drive the hazardous route along Clapham Common with a certain level of impunity. Well at least I know how to tell if I am about to go over 30mph without looking at the speedometer. I am not sure if it is general knowledge, but if you stay in 3rd gear in a 30mph zone you will not go over the speed limit without really needing to move up to 4th.
So it was good. Interesting. An amusing man who held the crowd of miscreants very well. I did the maths on such a large group and it is a lucrative business, training us to slow down, but the statistics are somewhat alarming when it comes to road safety and accidents. I am wiser and more circumspect. Hurrah! A happy, over charged customer who will hopefully now refrain from doing 34mph in a 30mph zone.
Otherwise I am making the most of the sunshine before the blizzards kick in this weekend. Keeping my stress levels balanced and reading the Power of Now which means I know there is snow and cold due but I am doing nothing about it.
I have gone back to the delights of Eckhart Tolle. I read it in the bathroom, in the bath. Interesting reading right now. Slowly, slowly, after so many years, I seem to be getting it. Funny how long it takes. Tragic, probably, rather than funny. It is a wry smile.
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It’s like being a rat
I know rats are horrid, and I honestly would be first in line to say I don’t like them, but right now the way forward is to endlessly find the way forward.
Old habits do not work. The established visual and behavioural patterns need to be constantly updated to adapt to how things are changing, and they are changing fast. The news is an endless bloodbath keeping those who listen in a state of high alert. The financial drama needs attention and it is here that the most ducking and diving is needed. No reactions, but careful planning, forethought and strategy. This is my awareness now. I have just been talking with the café owner on the street corner about how to go forward and it is this principle: find a way around the rocks, the holes and the blocks. Be like a rat in the sewers, always making the best of it all and the whole thing is an adventure.
(Remember, I remind myself, that one always teaches what one needs to know.)
I suppose the next question would be “do rats have a sense of humour?” If yes, all of them, then I need to keep hold of mine. It is a slippery thing and very dependent on those around me. Why is that? Why can it not be a stand alone item…. Always ready, endlessly willing and bright? This will have to be my next sphere of effort.
Otherwise there is a definite sparkle in the air. The lure of Christmas and the financial **** it that goes hand in hand with sparkle and biting cold. A mother at the school told me she is off to Lapland to see Santa. Wow. I am jealous. I know not why. I thi9nk it may be the ought of being pulled through the snow by a team of panting dogs. What on earth that is about I have no idea, but there is a lure there somewhere.
I read a wonderful book earlier this year, part of the Lymond Chronicles, set in Russia. Ah, the descriptions of the cold and the snow were so compelling. And then I have always dreamed of living in Scotland. There is some strange pull towards the cold, dark and windy as well as the Northern Lights. I saw them once, in the freezing snow whilst getting the coal aged 15. It was an awesome and unforgettable experience. But I am in Balham and need to remind myself that Hell is my resistance.
I have to say that I woke up in the night and felt as though we were all waiting for some Divine body to appoint a new Noah. Gee whiz, how much rain do we all need? Oh, God, it has been relentlessly awful.
But someone up there heard me and the sun came out. I ate my lunch in the garden and smiled for a while. After that brief crack in the clouds I went back to being stressed again, like a good citizen and drove back to work wondering how I can finally accept my life exactly as it is. No resistance, no stress, no fear. Ah, me, that would be such bliss.
Truthfully I have been working towards that all my life. Well, all my sober life. It just gets slightly re-worded with a little more experience and time passing. 48 years of stress, I would have imagined that I might have got used to it and just shrugged it off. But no. I react and suffer the consequences.
It is so boring, but I suppose me and Pavlov’s dog must be related. It is the only excuse I have. That and trauma bonds. Bored of those, really I am.
Christmas is carefully laced through my beautiful emporium as of today. The divinely creative Philip waved some magical part of himself around the place and did things that I had run out of steam with. It looks gorgeous. Totally wonderful, and I am thrilled. Thrilled enough to let the stress go for now. Funny what it takes: a little bling and some incense and I am relaxed and happy again.
It goes right over my head, but my husband buys the Financial Times on a Sunday. We also get The Week which I love, when I can find it. I digress, but the point is that both of them have glossies: How To Spend It and The Quarterly. These are extraordinary odes to appalling wealth and the new way for boys, men, fully grown adults, to flaunt their wealth is a watch. A shiny, bright, heavy, gaudy watch costing incredible amounts of money all of which must go to pay for the advertising space in these periodicals.
I am not out of my pram, yet, but could be heading that way. I suppose I will have to see how this text unfurls.
It used to be the Handbag that took all the space, literally and figuratively, in the pages of these magazines and the wardrobes of fashionistas everywhere, and there was a push to get Statement jackets to be the next thing but it didn’t work. So attention has been diverted to watches. I had a boy friend many years ago whose father had given him a very lovely Rolex for his birthday. He was walking down Pont Street, (sadly Not heading for the 6pm recovery slot on a Monday), when a young man stopped him and asked for the time. The owner of the watch made the timeless gesture that would pull his cuff back to give him this prices information and the Timeless One asked: “Is that a Rolex?”
“Yes”, replied the soon to be ex at the time, and got a punch on the nose and his watch stolen.
I think I find the switch from feminine decoration to the male preening rather interesting, especially as those that I would assume could spend that kind of money are those that have contributed to our current learning curves. Questions have been asked as to when the FT will stop printing How to Spend It. I am not privy to the answer. But I remember living in Italy in 1982 when the Red Brigade took against those with any money and all ostentation would lead to unpleasant experiences. Everyone took to the tiniest cars they could find and all money was hidden from view. I suppose I wonder what is going to happen here?
I ran yesterday morning in the snow. It was a novel experience. It was cold and early as I set out and there was a real chill in the air. As I reached the park the snow started and it was quite wonderful, the soundscape; crows cawing in the empty trees, the cold grey sky and the sound of the snow landing on the dry leaves making a constant fizzing sound. It was very lovely. There is something that emerges from withme in at certain times when there is an image that touches my heart. A snow filled landscape is one of those times. As I ran I tried to figure out what I was feeling and I think it was an awareness of the total acceptance that comes with the vision of snow. The landscape and everything in it, particularly when it is remotely pastoral, all seems to stop and wait in stillness. Driving past pastoral scenes in India brings the same feeling for me and I know it is a longing or an old karmic thing from long ago, but I felt it yesterday as I ran and it brings a sense of peace and continuity which is deeply relaxing on a subconscious level. So I ignored the stinging of the snow in my eyes and ran as fast as I could in the freezing stillness. Delightfully cathartic.
I run. I also do and teach yoga. The two have melded in an interesting way after a very stressful year and I now have reached a point where my personal practice has become very fulfilling. I have been looking for peace since 1989. A long time. I have tripped and stopped at many paths along the way. Some good, all interesting, some unable to hold me for long and the path of Kundalini yoga taking a major chunk of the experience.
Nut earlier this year my practice, which had become very intense over the years, was no longer holding me. I lay on the floor one early morning and realised that I had to go further than this. I got up, and ran. I did not run away, I ran forward, shedding history with every step. It was a faltering start. I had not run for 12 years, I had had two kids, my back was bad and I had to work with a chiro all the way through the first few months to get it worked through, but now I can run for an hour. I am impressed with myself.
The one thing that got me through all the torture of learning to street run at 5am was the Mool Mantra. I love mantra. More than the postures, the mantra and chanting has always transfixed me and I have learned to use it as a tool to still my mind and bring peace to ahead that I should never be left alone with. From the very moment I step out of the gate in the morning I start turning the Mool mantra and hold my attention to it until I put the key in the lock to get back into the house. I do not use an MP3 player, I just turn the sound of the words in my head and refuse to think at all.
I had a fascinating lesson the other day. I ran later than usual, at 8am. It was awful. I hated it. I was cold, tired, unenthused and kept thinking of turning back and giving up. It was not until I was two thirds of the way around the park that I realised I had left without the mantra turning. My mind had been let loose and was trashing my time completely. I started to mentally chant and hey presto! I loved my run and returned home at the end of it feeling peaceful and calm.
So I offer the Mool Mantra as a tool for this profoundly challenging time. Write it out and then learn it by heart. There are lots of versions of it around. I sell several. Guru Singh at Gurusing.com does a great one as does Sada Sat kaur. It is said to contain all of creation with in it. Obviously the Gurmukhi version is the one to repeat. The translation of the words is in English, below.
Ek Ong Kar
Sat Nam Kartaa Purk
Hai Bhee Sach
Naanak Hosee Bhee Sach
There is One Creator
Truth is the Name
Doer of Everything
In the beginning: Truth
Throughout the ages: Truth
Even now: Truth
Nanak says Truth shall exist forever.
I remember a few months ago, when all this financial chaos got started, my stress levels were outrageous. It was a very difficult time and there was so much fear in my thinking that I felt totally overwhelmed by my mind.
Months later, I find that I take it all in my stride and have now made certain tools mandatory for daily use: Long deep breathing, mantra, running and prayer. These four things have allowed me to accept, to a great degree, all that is going on at the moment in my life and the energy that the current crisis generates in the consciousness at large.
Looking back I can see how I have absorbed and learned to manage such states of being that usually come very rarely into my experiences. I am sure it is becoming the same for all of us now. We are learning to cope with new realities.
I have just spent three days at the Yoga Show which was fabulous, a great show where I taught several workshops and in one of them talked about this as a time where we have to adjust to being enough as we are. We have to cope without the accessories that would previously have defined us as individuals; the shiny new computer, new ipod, new car etc. Our attachment to being defined by our possessions is being weaned off us as the world adjusts to being enough as we are. No more massive credit runs, huge mortgages and hire purchase deals to bring a glint of bling and self esteem to the self.
After an initial resistance I find I like this new state of affairs. I do. I am puzzled as to why it has not affected the youth market, but it is easy to see a need to pull in the feathers elsewhere.
In the broader scheme of things we are now entering the state that so many teachers have spoken about: the emergence of a new consciousness that is linked to the Age of Aquarius. That real power lies in the individual consciousness, not in hierarchical authority where it has been held until now.
It has been said that 150 years ago each of us would have absorbed, in our lifetime, as much information as is in a daily edition of the New York Times. We now do that as standard on a daily basis. We are each expanding hugely and on the way, the pain of being stretched can be profoundly unpleasant. This is what we are feeling now.
The best way that I have found to be in it all is to treat it as an adventure in open mindedness and abstract thinking. Then it becomes fun and challenging and my resistance melts.