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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Merry-go-round PLEASE!

Overcoming obstacles that try to throw me off-course every time, is what I’m doing at the moment. Well, not at this very moment, but over the past weeks. I knew writing another book wouldn’t be the easiest thing to do in the world. I’ve learned that from writing the first one. I remember to have had quite some blockages, fears and frustrations. 

Now, with the second one, I’m faced with them again. I know these fears are due to the outcome being unknown. I don’t know what will come of what I’m currently doing. And, oh how my mind loves to feed on these fears! Therefore these fears are alive and overpower me as soon as I face a question mark regarding the direction this story (non-fiction by the way) is heading towards. The direction can change so suddenly—as there aren’t any set rules or guidelines as to HOW this story will be told. Only I determine these things. Oh such freedom! Yes, it’s bliss… when I can keep the mind tamed and free from fearing the unknown journey this story is taking me on. 

A part of me is terrified that if I don’t get this story into the written word, as soon as possible, that it will vanish and be gone forever! So sometimes I force the words out of me, wishing for the end result to already BE NOW. Otherwise, they’ll surely STAY unwritten, unspoken and unheard of?! But this doesn't help matters at all! It just brings a feeling of being unsettled, unfocused, uneasy and out of touch. Conclusion: force doesn’t help create at all (I’ve known this for so long, but that doesn’t mean to say the force will never take over and think that IT (FORCE) will help move things along a little faster, by being applied throughout this process!) So CHEEKY!!!

Why is there a part of me so terrified that, just because I can’t literally grasp the story of this second book that it will disappear? If it’s ‘in there’, it’s ‘in there’ right?! Nothing is going to erase it or release it from ME, only ME. If I’m alive, and it's unwritten, then this story will remain inside. If I'm alive, and it's written, then it's outside. So only the strength and determination I, personally, use will write the words, release it and set it free. Man, I have to get a grip here! This book will never vanish from ME, not until I, myself, have released it… Okay… Fear, be gone! Fanstastic!   

I know the origin of these obstacles though. It’s because of how I remember the writing of the first book to have been. Yes, I remember those obstacles, those fears. And because I’m now ‘doing the same thing’ I’ve already told myself that ‘the same thing’ will happen again, and so OF COURSE they will happen! We enter a situation with a certain mind-set, whether it’s good or bad, and that mind-set determines our experience of that circumstance. So, is it any wonder that I’m having fears, if I’ve welcomed them myself? The mind will always cling to what’s happened in the past, and whenever it gets the chance to experience that same thing, it will! The mind, falsely makes us believe that we can’t change or experience a circumstance in an easy and more effortless way than before. 

These fears are the reason for me to have been up and down lately like a yoyo! It’s been a crazy ride so far. One day I’ll be throwing out words like there’s no tomorrow, not taking into account the direction it’s taking and forgetting the point from where I started. I’ll feel brilliant though, because I know there’s good stuff going on—even if I only use half of it. Then, the next day, I’m stuck. I can’t see, I’m desperate to have the story finished and unable to talk about what’s going on because nobody in my surrounding actually would understand anything of what’s going on--even in those moments I can't! Man, then my emotions feel trapped, I feel lost…blablabla… Such games I play! 

What a delicate process is this writing… It's made me think about other writers and I’m so inspired that they CAN sit peacefully, at ease, without any force and let the story flow! They’ve such discipline, such grace, such effortless focus and have totally accepted what they’re doing. They’re totally emerged in their story, totally in the moment of creation and not fearing how the path towards the complete book will unfold. They know that a ‘block’ is not really a block! They know that a block is an opportunity that will open up doors to reveal another layer of the story. They know that blocks are needed and are not something to fear. They don’t wish away their time and don’t feel they’re hanging on for dear life—if the words cease to flow! I can honestly say I’ve had moments when I’ve felt to be losing grip on life… just because I can’t see the entirety of what I’m doing, just because it’s not happening fast enough, just because I let myself get too distracted by my surroundings... blablabla...

How hard I am on myself in those moments and how little peace and quiet this peace- and silence-seeking person really is… This person who does 2 hours of meditation a day and extensive yoga every morning… Oh such balance I feel, when I’m in the posture, but then… ‘balance’ will play hide and seek and I’m all over the place looking for it! Frantically doing what I can, to experience it! But balance only appears if the mind is at ease, if there’s focus and if there’s trust in the gravitational pulls and universal support to keep a person standing tall, confident and strong in their presence here in the world--without fearing a fall!

What gives me a slap and puts me back on track? The very THING that got me off-track in the first place! Writing and ME. 

I see how I’ve been going round and round and round. Such a rollercoaster ride I've put myself on. But it needs to be a merry-go-round! So merry, so happy, so easy… just flowing without force, no crazy twists and turns that shatter me to my core… Just by simply letting the merry-go-round take over, life happens without fearing and failing but with balance and triumphs—naturally. I, unintentionally, put myself on that roller coaster—but still it was my own choice. And I now, intentionally, put myself on this merry-go-round—again it’s my own choice. Energy is something too precious to waste on a ride that can only ‘satisfy’ so briefly. It becomes exhausting. Being tiresome doesn’t mean we have to get back on the ground, and stop venturing on these rides… it means we should use our energy on a ride that will keep us moving, flowing and won’t expend our energies. That’s guaranteed everlasting satisfaction.

I’ll continue and I’ll learn… I’m already realizing how this book is taking me on my own personal journey. And the perception I choose to use throughout, is exactly how I’ll come to experience it. Let it unfold…without force.    

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Questions arise

The journey continues. As it always does. These past 2 weeks, since getting back from the meditation course, have been huge. Nothing actually visible to the eye, has happened. But in myself I've experienced great changes. After the course, it took me a few days to process what had come to the surface (you can only imagine what can arise from within when you're sitting trying to surpass your thoughts and connect to your deeper self, by observing the breathe for hours and hours on end). It also took me a few days to actually feel comfortable with talking, and being around noise again... For a few days, I was feeling fragile and exposed... Almost scared to be a part of the world. But I was so calm and at ease too. What an amazing state to be in...

I've set the discipline and rhythm now, so I can maintain my practice (one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening). Most will say this is too long, it's unnecessary, over the top and if I want to become a vegetable, then I'm going the right way about it! Well... this is sooooo not what's happening! I'm nowhere near becoming a vegetable, for continuing to practice so disciplined!! I can actually say that I'm more pro-active and full of energy! It's actually blown me away how clear my mind is and how the insights are still emerging, during both the day and night. It's unreal, how this meditation is helping my writing... The amount I'm getting done! It's huge.. Last week for example I was editing the book for the last time. Usually it would take me at least a week... But with the space in my head, it took me only 2 days! Such mental power...Even my daily yoga practice has deepened and evolved...

So, this is what occupies me daily... And it will seem that my current circumstances in life will are pretty basic. But to me, life becoming deeper and more powerful. I've been able to expand into the second book, effortlessly, and I know that by keeping up the practice, the writing will continue to flow. Worlds are opening up and I'm moving in many different directions... And still, to the outside world it will appear... motionless... simply because I'm in Ireland, in Arklow, living temporarily with my mam, at my grand age of 29!!!

That's okay though. I'm here, I accept my place, I'm grateful for what Ireland is bringing to me and I love it more than ever before. Here at home, I'm so free to do and be what I want. I have silence when I need it, I have commotion that brings me into balance. This keeps me grounded, so I can write. I'm establishing greater and stronger connections with those around me, because I'm connecting more strongly with ME. So, things will always be changing, moving, evolving.

Slowly a part of me says I have to start thinking a little further beyond the next 2 months... Because for now, up until the end of August, my days are filled. I'll be getting on with the second book I'm writing and the first book is going to the printers next week, which we hope will be released sometime the beginning of July. There'll be some promotion work coming up for that (not too sure what that involves, but time will tell). And time flies doesn't it... It's so precious to savor every minute of everyday and to do the best and most work we can... Before it slips away...

So maybe I do need to start thinking about whether to start moving again... Should I go soon(ish)? When I ask this question, at this point in my life, it's sooooo important that I realize WHAT part of me is asking this. I have to be so careful to realize, honestly, what part of ME would feel the need to travel any time soon... In finding the truth I also have to realize HOW I wish to sustain myself, whilst I move. Do I want to teach again? Do I want to expand my yoga practice and get training and experience? Do I want to search the world for another story to write? That last suggestion sounds more real than anything! Eventually... it shall come. Step by step... things will become clear. Whatever it is that's meant to sustain me, my growth, my work... It will come to me. I'll remain aware and life will guide me, bringing me what it is I need so I can move deeper into the reality of life. Until next time, I'll continue to tap away on the laptop! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ireland meets India

So much stuff emerges into the light, when you’re sitting in darkness with your eyes closed! It’s amazing what can appear. I’d never be able to express everything I encountered (It would be of little interest…) But what I can say is that I felt there was a merging happening of India and Ireland. I know this was because many of the girls I met beforehand (men and women had separate areas in the compound) had also travelled to India. But it was also because I was bringing one of the most amazing experiences ‘things’ that travel gave me—which was the 10-day course—back home with me… to the Wicklow Mountains!

I can’t describe how strange it was for me to be sitting so near to Arklow, to my mam, my brother and sister… and to be ‘living like a monk’ for 3 days. It’s fine when you’re on the road… it’s almost expected and normal to do something like this when you’re travelling, especially if it’s India. But to emerge into such a deep world and a different way of temporarily living, whilst being so close to the town I grew up in, wouldn’t be considered so normal—not to those around me. But to me, it felt like home!

I remember from the 10-day last year that I felt so distant from my family—not only physically—but also spiritually, because they weren’t a part of those experiences. I remember to have had notions that if any of my family members were to see me living like a monk for 10 days, they wouldn’t recognize me as being the Niamh they know… But even though I felt so distant from my roots, I felt so close to India at the same time. I felt at home in India, simply because I was feeling so close to myself. Also I remember to have been blown-away by the fact that somehow the right people had come onto my path and had introduced me to that course, where I was to undergo a life-changing experience in a place I considered to be paradise on earth. Wouw… what a world! 

Friday though, it was different… When we started going into silence I felt so close to India again as well as to myself, but now I ALSO felt close to my roots. I felt closer to Ireland than I’ve ever felt before. It’s hard to describe just how safe that can feel… After years and years of rejecting Ireland, rejecting the fact that it’s where I’m from, rejecting the way of life and searching for somewhere else that I can call home (just so I could be experiencing something different from what I’m ‘supposed’ to be experiencing) I've now found that I don’t need to travel the world to have life-changing experiences. I realize that I DO have roots in a place that can be considered paradise on earth—if that’s how I choose to perceive it. Just because we’re conditioned to believe that paradise is on the other end of the earth, doesn’t mean we can’t break away from that belief and choose to see paradise everywhere on earth—including the place where we’re born. 

I can’t believe how necessary it actually WAS, and still IS, for me to feel I’m entitled to a sense of home and grounding, here on earth. I’m only realizing that I never felt it was something I needed in life. Nor did I feel it was something I deserved and therefore I’ve always forced myself to be in flying-mode instead of letting myself be in grounding-mode. Man it’s so freeing to actually be able to write this, and to actually MEAN it.

Anyhow, the 3 days of silence were revealing the say the least. There’s nothing more rewarding than embracing stuff that’s limiting our lives and working past those limits. It really was too short in many ways. On the other hand, because it was so short, time was so precious and I worked harder to get more established in the technique. And by Monday afternoon I realized that it was nearly as effective as the 10-day course. Hard work, but so rewarding. Yes!

Coming back home yesterday evening, was the strangest of things. Back at home in Arklow… At first I was terrified that life would disrupt me. The commotion, the talking, the unimportance of the conversations. Even the radio was too much. Man, I was still feeling so exposed, so sensitive, so close to my heart and anything from outside of myself initially felt to be a painful encounter, especially because that ‘anything’ wasn’t on the same wavelength. Thankfully the radio wasn’t on in the kitchen and the loud silence I’d been hearing in my head throughout the 3 days, was still there. And it’s actually still in my ear right now! Everything is so quiet… it’s so nice… I was wrecked though and kind of unbalanced. I was questioning reality and felt I was suddenly being ‘hit’ with life… I remember from the last time that it does take a few days to get back into the feel of communicating with an engaged mind. But because this was only 3 days, it won’t take as long to get into the swing of things. It’s happening already!

A part of me feels I started some business throughout this course and it’s not yet finished… It’s very odd. So I’ve enrolled myself for the next course that’s in August, down in the south west of Ireland (Ennis). And this one will be 10-days! I was delighted to leave yesterday, knowing that it wasn’t the end of my Vipassana experiences in Ireland. Until then, I’ll continue to practise, with more focus… and I reckon I can stretch my 2 daily sittings of 30 min, to an hour… Easy done! 

What a change in appreciation and how deep life becomes. Love it, love it, love it!

Vipassana comes home!

On Friday I went to a 3-day meditation course. And ‘wouw’ probably summarizes what an experience I had. It’s the same form of meditation I’d been introduced to in India: Vipassana. I did my first 10-day course in September last year. An amazing experience like that I only ever imagined to do whilst travelling and venturing far away from ‘normal’ life… I never ever expected to be eventually doing it here in Ireland! At the start of my first course last year, I never even realized that it was such a universal type of meditation and was convinced I could only learn such practices in such countries as India. But throughout that particular course I learned it IS taught EVERYWHERE in the world.  

After that September experience, I maintained my practice. Every morning and evening I’d sit for 30 to 45 min, witnessing the workings of the mind and doing my best to get past the chaos so a sense of reality would come. But it’s such a deep form of meditating that—if you’re serious about developing the practise—a regular refresher course is needed. As well I noticed over the past months that I was starting to struggle. So a few weeks ago I was browsing the Vipassana website wondering where in Europe I could get back into the swing of it! And then I found they were organizing one in Donard; a tiny village up in the Wicklow mountains (only an hour drive from Arklow). What a coincidence! It could have been held anywhere in Ireland, or Europe for that matter, but it just so happened to be up the road! Yay! 

So… 3 days of silence, instead of 10 days… 3 days of making NO eye contact and NO physical gestures… 3 days of waking-up at 4am and sitting still for 10 hours with eyes closed and legs crossed (with a break every hour)… 3 days where our last meal was served at 11am… 3 days without writing, reading, mobiles phones or internet… Could I do it? Well, I’ve done 10 days in the past, so these 3 days were a breeze!

It may sound ‘off the wall’ to many, but I can’t express how amazing it is to sit in silence, watching the mind and the thoughts and the ‘shit’ coming and going whilst trying to dig past it with the intention of becoming unstuck from pain—on every level of being. I totally understand how it will sound somewhat... hummm… odd but I’ll still openly admit how exciting I find it ;)

On Friday afternoon we all gathered at the residence where it would be held: The old Rectory. This place was like a little sanctuary in the Irish hills… I reckon it once was a farm house and has since been restored. It’s on a couple of acres of land, with a stone driveway, sheep in the surrounding fields (being more talkative than we were), humongous trees everywhere and gardens with walkways and scattered little huts of silence. When I arrived on Friday I really couldn’t believe my luck…

The silence didn’t start until 8pm, so up until then we were able to mingle. I got to meet some great people and realized just how many people actually DO meditate here in Ireland! I was delighted to find out this little piece of info, as I’ve often thought this type of meditation was something alien and unheard of. But it just so happens that it’s only unheard of to the people I’m surrounded by. Needless to say, this course totally opened up a different side to Ireland.