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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Big difference

Reconnecting with the family. Life pauses when the family from elsewhere arrives. 

On Friday my sisters from Holland came over to visit for my niece’s christening. The commotion that was suddenly LIFE, was quite a craze. But it’s what I needed; I’ve had such little contact with ‘masses of people’ throughout the past 3 months, so a buzzing weekend was definitely refreshing. And today (Wednesday) life is just that little bit lighter than it already was.

Being in the company of my 3 sisters (their partners too), my younger brother and 5 nieces/nephews, has made me see my own life as being so much more… quiet… than I realized it was! In my ‘normal’ circumstances (here in Ireland), I’m not surrounded by stress or chaos or commotion (only if I create it, unintentionally, in my own head). Generally speaking the worries are so minor and I can easily turn away from other people’s stress—as I’m so seldom exposed to it.  

However, this weekend I found that having such little exposure to stress and noise COULD be something to make life more challenging, when I suddenly AM surrounded by stresses and circumstances that are inevitably taking up my ‘head space’. It’s like the peace within could be threatened and I’d be wary of losing myself without willing to. But I needn’t have had any doubts about how other people’s stress levels were to affect me! Because throughout these past few days I felt just how much space I actually DO have, ALWAYS. And that new awareness made me enjoy the fact that I could witness how my entire family approaches their lives and where their energy flows to each day. I’ve come to realize that my inner peace never actually fades away and I can naturally sit in that peace and I keep sanity close! It’s amazing to feel how empowering it is, when silence is there ALWAYS in the midst of other people’s chaos, stress, pressure and commotion. And suddenly the whole purpose of practising to live presently in personal harmony—through meditation, yoga and creativity—makes sense! Suddenly it hits home what inner peace and a calm mind is all in aid of; it’s for the sake of always being at ease in every situation the surrounding world can throw at us. It also shows us that our response to the outer commotion is driven by our own power, and not that of the surrounding world.  

Another thing I realized after spending some quality days together, is the differences in our lives. I’ve been seeing just how much our daily lives vary and how my journey is taking a drastically different route. Spending time with my sisters and seeing what their focus is in life, made me see myself through other eyes. I kept thinking: how crazy is it for me to have started out in the same place, surrounded by the same people and ‘given’ the same chances and opportunities, but to NOW (at the age of 29!) be experiencing things that couldn’t be more different than what they are ‘viewing and doing’ in life?!?! They have their partners, their kids, their extended families, their jobs, their houses. I have… hummm… my writing… I’ve a book waiting to be written ;) and… huge visions of what is still yet to come in life. That’s me. And this weekend I could see how ‘far off the mark’ I am… from what would ‘normally’ be the way to go! But I’m totally fine with this… MORE than fine, actually!

I’m delighted that my situation and responsibilities in life, force me to get into my own world and I feel blessed to have access to MY OWN TIME and SPACE. Usually I’m so wrapped-up with ‘getting the writing done’ that I forget just how precious it is that I’m evolving through the actions I personally choose to take each day in life. I only appreciate NOW how unique it is that nobody is claiming my time, nobody is controlling my days. Nothing from outside takes over and nothing lets me lose focus of what I feel I must be doing with my time. So the purpose of my current quiet and sometimes lonely existence serves so much more: only with my space, peace and time can I write! There you go… 

So it’s great that I can get to do this now… The time will come when my focus shifts to some THING and some PLACE else. And for now, this awareness makes the journey deeper and more meaningful… Yay! As well, of course, I appreciate my sisters and their kids all the more too… for giving me their connection, understanding and support in everything I do. Life is so so  great!  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Explosion of words

Too many words erupted inside of me today and I didn’t know where to start.

Over the past week I’ve had time to be working on the concept for another book. Yes, I’ve been speaking of this since I arrived back in Ireland. But with one thing and another, I wasn’t able to create the right space (in my head). I started and had to stop, twice. Two false starts; third time lucky! So this week I managed to create that space and I’ve restarted what I guess you could call the groundwork. This means of course that I’m a long way from anything concrete. But we all have to start somewhere. And when there’s an urgency to write another book, then it simply has to happen—no matter how hard it can be to create strong foundations.

Since Sunday or Monday the story has been rising to the surface. Or to put it more clearly: I’ve been having strong visions of what it’s to become. It’s changing constantly, of course. Nothing is concrete yet, not until everything I need to share has been put into words and it reaches completion. And today was huge. I could almost feel ALL the words that needed to be written. They all appeared as snippets, ideas and revelations. But that’s tens of thousands! How on earth can I keep track of them all, if I’m only able to write a few thousand a day! This morning, before sitting down to write, I was even nervous. And I found it so strange. But looking back now, I realize why! I anticipated something was going to happen. And that something did happen: those words were rushing through me and made me feel this process to be so delicate but so powerful at the same time. I was terrified they’d all slip away if I didn’t take notes of them all IMMEDIATELY! I needed to hang on to the ideas that were coming at me hard and fast! But man oh man… I couldn’t. I was panicked and nervous and excited and confused…

I had to keep myself contained and accept that I can only do so much at once. I’ve only one pair of hands and my head can only BE in one part of the story at a time! So I just flowed with whatever was coming to me, and haven’t got a clue how all of the snippets, ideas and revelations will eventually be brought together. But that’s the exciting part of it too. I can enjoy this part of the ride and keep the vision clear as it appears in the writing. This is so cool… the story is evolving, it’s moving, it’s flowing…  

I find it brilliant right now. But today I thought, ‘Oh god, now that I’ve started this book, I can’t do anything else in life, other than finish it.’ It’s already starting to live and breathe a life of its own. I’ve been in this position before. I recall the emotions so well, from the time I was writing the first. It’s as if you become possessed by the story that has yet to emerge. How could a person be controlled by something that doesn’t exist already? That’s because the story starts out as being an energy inside, before it’s actually transformed into words. It’s an energy within that can possess and control. I remember the last time to have had episodes where I’d have a block. And because of getting ‘stuck’ in the story and not knowing how to further process, I’d have sleepless nights, I’d feel sick and I feared life would come to a standstill if I’d fail in getting passed that block! It’s as if transforming the energy inside into a story is the only thing that matters in life and therefore life can’t continue until it’s done.

Today I had those flashbacks and I realized that I’ve started something huge again. I had a moment when I thought, ‘Should I really be pursuing this? Should I really have started this?’ Those questions were answered straight away by, ‘Yes’. This is what I have to do now. There’s no going back and I have to see this through to the end.

It’s crazy how we, ourselves, put tasks upon ourselves to complete without actually realizing the extent of what we’re doing. But I don’t need to question, because it was a must that I started it, and now it’s underway. I simply have to let go of the panic that comes when I can’t keep up with myself. Maybe this is the best sign I could be given; it’s telling me the story really IS in there and really DOES need to appear on the computer screen…slowly but surely. I just have to practice patience and as time passes, the story will appear.

As far as the story of Digesting Wisdom goes, things are moving along as they should. The last bits and pieces are being put together at the editors and hopefully June will see it ready for worldly attention! There aren’t any dates as of yet. But I’ll be sure to keep you posted. Until next time, I’ll continue to write, to yoga, to walk and to love love love this journey!     

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yoga calling

Finally I feel I’m making a breakthrough, where yoga is concerned. Yes, gradually, over the past weeks yoga has been getting more and more… hummm…. what should I say… deep and revealing?! It’s actually huge for this breakthrough to be happening so fast and so passionately, seeing as though I’ve been doing yoga on and off for years. So this is really exciting… 

I started doing yoga when I was in Australia, back in 2007. That’s when I first picked up a yoga book and decided to make myself flexible! I knew nothing of the depth, nothing of the power than can be brought to light when the body is harmonized and balanced (regardless of how flexible a person is). My immature ignorance aside, I knew I wanted to become a yoga teacher and wanted to get training. But instead I thought it wouldn’t give me stability. So I practised by myself. Then I stopped for 6 months in 2008, which was probably the longest stretch since first picking up the yoga book in Australia. But the passion to practise never left and I restarted in 2009. From then onwards it’s been a journey of ups and downs; at times I slacked; at times my days would feel incomplete without saluting the sun; at times it was only a once-a-week treat; at times it was a twice-a-day chore (in the ashram in India where I pushed my tiresome body to its limits). So, the longing never left and since leaving China and heading to India in August, my practice has deepened.

In India I wished to be indulging in everything revolving around the yoga lifestyle. I wished to be gaining experience and to be devoting my days to learning the art and EVERYTHING it entails. But I felt I couldn’t. Because I went to India THEN for the purpose of teaching English and NOT for learning more about yoga and becoming a teacher. I felt as though I couldn’t expand my yoga practice and get certified, because my focus and energy had to go into teaching of English that I’d committed myself to doing. At that stage, there was only so much of myself to go round! I didn’t have the energy to do both. And whenever I do anything in life, I want to dive in and put my whole heart in it, so my heart went to the schools. In terms of yoga, I restricted myself to only doing a 10-day stay at the ashram and afterwards I kept my focus on the teaching of ENGLISH and I left the notion of the yoga training for what it was: a dream never to be realized….???!?

I happily continued to practise by myself. This was actually quite an amazing experience. I was teaching English by day but every morning I’d wake at 4.30am. I’d meditate for an hour, then Lekha (the lady I was staying with) would get up and we’d do yoga together on a bamboo mat on the kitchen floor. Amazing memories :) 

Since being back in Ireland the lifestyle is of course so different. I’m not up at 4.30am anymore! This was actually something that really got to me when I first came back; I wanted to be up at the crack of dawn every day! But I just couldn’t… Here in Ireland (and everywhere else in Europe) 4am is the middle of the night! It took me a while to be at peace with the fact that I wasn’t naturally waking at that hour anymore and that 6.30am is more ‘suiting’—especially if it’s rare for me to be in bed before 11pm. When I was getting up at 4.30am, of course I was in bed by 9pm—sometimes earlier. Anyhow, change of lifestyle DRASTICALLY… But one thing has remained: yoga (and meditation).

When I first came back, I really didn’t want to let it slip. I thought it would be inevitable—seeing as though the daily routine is so different. But because I made such a point of NOT leaving my yoga practice behind in India, it’s now a part of my days! And I can’t begin to say just how much I’m benefitting. It’s like it’s opening up a whole world for me, more so than ever before.

After morning meditation I come downstairs, in set up my mat in the living room, I close the door and I start. Some mornings I’ll contemplate NOT doing it (I know it’s also good for the body to have a day of rest.) But I can’t NOT do it! It’s like I’m going against something if I don’t start the day in poses. Sometimes I’ll make excuses to justify why I WOULDN’T give myself that hour of stretching and balancing. And even when I’ve justified it, I still find myself walking downstairs, picking up the mat and going in to the living room! I let go of control and it happens! It’s brilliant to experience this… because once I’ve done only half of the first sun salutation, MAN am I peacefully ecstatic that I chose to NOT give my body a day of rest!

Doing the yoga at this point in time, is teaching me more than it’s ever done. I know this is because I’m indulging in it, wholeheartedly. I’m appreciating the practice and I’m NOT doing it just for the sake of it! Every morning I feel as though I’m preparing myself for something. And it won’t be long before I’ll  need to SHARE what I’m learning with others; as I’m teaching myself I’m also wishing to be teaching others. And this can only lead to getting properly certified and gaining experience so I can pass it on.

In India, on several occasions, I’ve come close to starting a training course, but each time I’d let something else steer me away. Usually it would be something offering me security in this world, but not offering me half as much satisfaction as I’d gain from learning the depth of this art. Because it’s not only poses and stretching; it’s a way of life. I’ve known this for so long, but only now I’m TRULY learning it! I’m truly feeling that it’s a way to balance life and to be focused. It’s a way to access energy, to gain physical strength and to release negativities. It’s a way to respect the physical body and to feel comfort inside it. It enables one to treat it kindly and to feel its limitations as well as its expanding potential. It’s a way of thinking, a way of eating, a way of breathing…  And it offers a personal journey that unites one’s truth with the surrounding world. And those who wish to serve, teach and connect with others can pass on the ways in which to practise this art and to experience this journey. It’s quite amazing.

So, I know the time will come and I’ll get to share. It’s going to be an inevitable flow if I continue to give yoga my energy and devotion on a daily basis. Hummm… It’s quite exciting. A dream I’ve always had, but never felt I was allowed to experience. I never felt I deserved to unite and respect my body to such an extent. But releasing this LIE is a part of my own personal journey. And, as I reflect on how life has progressed over the past years and months even, I see how dreams never remain unrealized when we believe wholeheartedly in what we’re pursuing. And this too will come about—whenever and however it’s intended. I’m just going to continue as I’m going, loving what I’m realizing and I’ll see where it leads. How exciting.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writer's block

The start of a new day, with fresh thoughts and a clear mind - Yesterday I had a writer’s block. I hate to label it as being such. But I felt clogged when it came to writing. I sat behind the laptop, wanting to update. But I sat and I sat… and nothing happened. I waited. I waited.  Nothing. I then asked myself, ‘What do I want to say?’  So much and so little! Because that’s what’s happening in my life. As an insider, there are huge things happening. But to an outsider it would appear that nothing really is going on. Because most days I’m at home, either working on the computer, doing yoga, journaling, writing emails, reading books or being a bit crafty with paint and canvases. To get out of the house and to connect with the surrounding world, I go for walks and always end up in the local coffee shop for hours so I can sit and write in a different environment. This is such a seemingly boring and mundane existence?!?… Nothing to write about… hummmm…..

Viewing myself from the outside makes me believe I’ve nothing to say; I’m not gallivanting the world; I’m not having huge adventures; I’m not meeting hoards of people from all walks of life. And because this once was the case, a part of myself is convinced there couldn’t be anything to share with others. Physical wonders of the world aren’t being experienced, so why would I even write AT ALL? LIES LIES LIES!!!!

So then I view myself from the inside I ask, ‘How far do I want to go, when sharing and writing openly about what goes on in my own little world that can APPEAR so simple, so boring and so mundane to those who witness me every day, yet is actually more amazing, revealing and exciting than it’s ever been? How far should I go in expressing what happens in my own happy little world? Answer: As far as I wish!

I realize that I DO always have something I’m willing to share and write about. And whether or not the reader is interested… that’s none of my business. As long as I’m not hurting anybody then I’m free to express anything I want. Everyone is given the freedom of choice to read what they like, just as everyone is given the freedom to create what they feel inspired to create. People then can form an opinion based on what they class as being good or bad, right or wrong. The one who’s expressed themselves, has to accept that opinions differ and—in that acceptance—NOT be guided by those opinions or filled with fears for whatever judgement should so happen to come their way.

What I’m saying here is actually related to certain things I’ve been dealing with over the past weeks, when it comes to self-expression and creating what I want. On and off, as I’ve been trying to get into the swing of writing another book, I’ve been inclined to hold back on what I want to say (or actually WRITE). I’d be envisioning friends and family members to be judging me for what I’d bring to light. It stops me. It clogs me and confuses me to the max. I know I’m trying to fill in their thoughts, which is impossible to do. I’m presuming they’ll say this or that, or act in this or that way… (Presuming ANYTHING in life, is trying to predict and this will always set us up for a downfall. Knowing this little ‘fact’ doesn’t always stop the mind from playing the games it wishes to play. However, WE have to be on top and step in when the mind overpowers… which is what I’m doing now!)

So… PRESUMING what others will think, say, do and feel towards me, stops me from expressing what I want, as I’m writing. I’m steering clear from certain notions, feelings and insights, for fear of what others will say. It’s a block in my mind, created by my own mind, as a result of giving more importance to what others would think and say about me, rather than giving myself more importance by expressing and living in a manner that feels limitless.

It all comes down to this: We have to be in control of OUR OWN LIVES, regardless of what family and friends may say or how they might reject us for what we’re doing. This doesn’t mean we don’t love them less, it just means we love ourselves and HOW we’re living just as much (if not MORE, as this enables us to give to those we love and care for, without ever leaving ourselves empty...) Standing tall and being real in how we wish to live and what we wish to do, takes courage. Hummmm…..But isn’t courage used so we can move BEYOND things we THINK will hurt us?!?! And if that’s the case, then courage ISN’T needed! Not when the actions a person takes—no matter how different they may be from what most people class as ‘normal’—are with the intention of ONLY doing good for ALL. Nothing bad will ever from doing something good… So nothing should ever be feared and courage shouldn’t really be needed in order to be REAL and TRUE!

I’m getting to the conclusion now: I shouldn’t have any of these barriers in my mind. I shouldn’t limit myself when I’m either blogging or writing another book. Every single barrier is based on a lie and it wishes to withhold what it is I need to bring forward. Yes. That’s exactly it! 

I’ve come so far and have reached a place in this physical world where ALL I’VE EVER DREAMED OF DOING, is ABLE to happen. I was in India dreaming of having my days being filled with expressive writing (but they were THEN filled with teaching and I felt limited). I was dreaming of going as deeply into my own world as I pleased, without limits and ONLY to do good for ALL involved (both the writer and the reader).

It’s the 10th of May and it’s ALL right here, right now… I have to rid myself of these barriers that try to stop me from living freely. I may not be moving physically, but free living is in self-expression—no matter how often we pack our bags and leave a place behind. IF AND WHEN I let myself write without limits, then I’m free. If I’m not doing so, the prison walls will be felt and they’ll convince me I have to leave my physical place in the world, in order to search elsewhere for freedom. I guess I’m truly feeling that I need to be writing ANYWHERE in this world… because then I’m FREE TO BE EVERYWHERE IN THIS WORLD. So I write for the sake of my freedom; without feeling judged by others or myself; without feeling I’m running, hiding, escaping, fearing or limiting myself in any way, shape or form… It’s so easy to put it in writing… now let’s see how it goes putting it into practise…

PS When it’s time to leave Ireland, it’s not going to be for the sake of searching the world for free  living; my spirit can only experience true flight if it’s being expressive – through writing. Only THEN can I truly feel that I’ll be travelling the world IN freedom and not FOR freedom.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Art of Patience continues...

So I’ve happily let go of questioning. I’m at peace with the book and I’m grateful that the questioning has shown me just how much I’m moving with the change and flow of life. And that’s how it’s meant to be. I’m meant to be changing. I’m meant to be growing, and I’m meant to gain understanding for the fact that change is necessary in order to set this story free.

I’ve been carrying this story for so long. Sometimes it feels I’ve carried it my whole life… Which, from a certain perspective, I guess I have. The desire to write and to publish, I’ve been carrying for the past 3 years. And the actual written version I’ve been holding to, for a year-and-a-half. I literally travelled with it when I went to China (I had the printed manuscript weighing 2 kilos in my backpack, throughout that entire time!) I then travelled with it to India… The actual printed script was then too heavy, so I left it behind in Jayanthi’s house in Chennai (back in October). No doubt it’s still there in drawer of the desk in her study, sitting in its folder... I had the digital versions and the back-ups on my laptop, which I figured was enough to carry… and the longing – that was slowly turning into desperation – was enough weight to move along with me.

I was waiting for the ‘perfect’ place, person, time and situation to come along so as I could hand over what I’d been carrying. And handing it to just one person, Lorraine, (by attaching the script to an email, from behind the computer in the staffroom of a south Indian school) was all that was needed for it to eventually be handed over to any unlimited amount of readers. That to me, felt like the perfect time, place and person and it’s now leading to the perfect results, as time passes by. And, as we speak - or as I sit and type - the real life story is being let go of. With letting-go I’m transforming the energy into a force that will empower and enrich and open-up more opportunities for the good of anybody who is willing to receive.

So why would I place such expectations and deadlines on myself JUST for the sake of materializing the publication as quickly as is humanly possible? If it’s going to happen either way, there’s no point in giving the will of my strong mind the power to force things into BEING. But by now releasing that kind of control, I’m sinking into the flow. I know it will happen. Also, I’ve come so far and I’ve worked so hard these past months (I include ridding myself of bugs and the like, as apart of ‘work’ too ;)) that nothing will steer me away. And I can only be grateful to be here in Ireland and to have this time to work on setting this story free in a manner that’s flowing (for as long as my mind doesn’t start freaking me out that I’m doing too little and taking too much time to do such nothingness!).

When I look back on how March and April have unfolded, I’ve learned so much, both throughout those months as well as on reflection. And seeing the way things planned out differently, I’m understanding the power that sits within total PRESENT LIVING. I have to, I wish to and therefore I do. Because truth be known; I don’t know what I’m doing next month or next week even. I don’t know how, when or what it will be that’s going to take place. I don’t know the people I’ll reach. I don’t know if I’ll have time to absorb myself in writing another book. I don’t know if I’ll be leaving… I know nothing! All I know is that everything will revolve around writing. It will firstly ALL revolve around Digesting Wisdom… And from there… who knows. This is actually ALL that I need to be certain of! Because then nothing can go ‘wrong’.

I feel strongly that every week will bring changes into my life. Changes those around me may or may not be aware of, but changes that I most definitely will be undergoing. So I take each day as it comes. And it’s letting me appreciate LIFE so much more. It’s really quite amazing – as well as challenging (when that strong-willed-mind will try to control LIFE instead of letting IT be controlled BY life… which is the only true way to be happy, balanced and at ease in the world).

This is how it’s flowing. But people around me need to hear dates, and need to see that it’s working. And the only thing that will prove to them that it’s working, is to see THE ACTUAL BOOK IN PRINTFORM. And, I can safely tell everyone right now, that it doesn’t happen overnight! People will ask, ‘Niamh, when is the promotion work starting?’ I’ll answer, ‘I don’t know yet… sometime in May.’ Then it’s, ‘Niamh, when is the book going to the printers?’ I’ll answer, ‘I don’t know yet… maybe in the next 2 weeks.’ Or the next will ask, ‘Niamh, when is the date of the BOOK LAUNCH?’ Then I’ll focus on the power of certainty that things will work when and how they’re meant to and I’ll answer, ‘when it’s time…’

So… the whole MATERIALIZATION will take place when it’s meant to. Yes. I live in this very moment. I intend for so much and I envision huge changes to continuously be taking place in my life. But, I stay focused on this moment and I learn as much as I can. That’s the only way I’ll move forward in the direction that’s intended. I believe that when there’s a spirit that needs elevation in every moment, then the circumstances they find themselves to be in will NEVER stay the same.