It’s been 5 days since I moved from east to west; from Arklow to Athenry. Can I call the little cottage 'home' already? Slowly it’s starting to feel that way. The first day or so, I was in total limbo. During the second, I was on the move… or, the furniture was on the move and I was trying to arrange it in a way that would bring the purpose of this whole move to Athenry, into this space (I basically figured I can’t sit and write, if the space isn’t set-up properly). So on day 2 and 3 I was on a mission... moving, rearranging, sitting, standing, checking every set-up from every angle and trying to make best use of the area and the furniture. I was like a whirlwind. At one stage I didn’t think I’d find the right arrangement. Panic panic panic… Help! Somebody… Second opinion?!??! But nope, I had to do this alone. And suddenly I cracked it! Yes! And oh, how the whole house feels to have changed since the furniture has been properly set-up and things have been laid out to mark the place as being (temporarily) my own little sanctuary.
On the 4th day, yoga was coming to mind… ‘Oh god… it’s been a week since my last practise and I’m missing it...’ Huummm… This was a huge barrier to overcome. Because - even though this place is perfect in almost every way - it’s freezing cold… Since the first day it's been a challenge to prevent the cold from seeping through me, but it’s like it’s rooted itself in my bones, paralyzing me almost when it comes to being able to move freely.
Referring to yoga, I realized how much I want and need to keep practising. But, at the same time, I realized how much of a challenge it would be, to practise in a relaxed sense, if I’m constantly feeling tension in my muscles. A part of me thought to accept that it’s not doable – six months without yoga is easy! But then a larger part of me thought this morning: ‘I don’t care… This cold ISN’T gonna kill me and I want to do yoga! (I might shrivel in the process…but that’s probably the worst that could happen). So I rearranged the spare room to make it more spacious, I rolled out the yoga mat and took of my dressing gown and slippers (oh my holy smoke… as I was doing this, I was looking outside… the frost was covering the trees and with that I felt my muscles so tense due to the outside temperature slowly creeping into this space… ouch!). But I happily convinced myself that this is simply a case of ‘mind over matter’. The more I tell myself I’m cold, the colder I’ll be. The more I tell myself I’m warm, the warmer I’ll be. (Isn't it so easy to babble the theory like this...?! But putting it into practise is a whole different ballgame...)
So… there I went… Stretching into the sun salutations… Oh how I love love love this! At the same time I was wishing for the flow of energy to warm me from the inside out. I switched-off to the sight and feeling of my toes slowly turning white with every salutation I did… Every other part of me was warming up nicely and I was feeling a whole lot better about the temperature. I wasn’t as tense, I was open again, tuning in to my body – and it wasn’t because of it being slightly frozen ;) but because of the practise itself. Amazing… It gave me such a boost to realize that I CAN be fine with the cold if I just relax into it and STOP rejecting and fearing it. I’d like to add, that afterwards - with toes that were now turning purple - I jumped into a hot shower (which is probably going AGAINST everything they teach regarding yoga practise… ‘never shower afterwards’… but… again, I thought… I don’t care!).
Reading this, you’d probably think I’ve moved to the Antarctic or somewhere like that. Well, that’s not the case… (not yet anyhow ;) Instead I’m just living in the west of Ireland where it rains a lot (meaning it’s a damp climate and therefore the weather feels to be colder than it actually is). The cottage is also in the middle of a woodland area, meaning there’s little shelter around; no houses, no enclosure. And the walls aren't greatly insulated, so the heat escapes. Wouw… and how this ‘cold’ has brought me to visit many places in my head (which doesn’t help when a person is trying to settle into one particular spot on this planet… Soooooo contradictive!) Anyhow... The first few days I was in India… where feeling warmth is just as natural as breathing air. I’ve been in Spain… where the winters are mild. I’ve been running away to another apartment, just to have a more dependable source of heat… And I wondered… ‘Why did I choose to stay in Ireland for the winter?!?!?!’
The whole ‘heating challenge’ is raised a few notches, given the fact that I’m the worst person when the cold kicks in. My feet become instant blocks of ice even when it’s nowhere near freezing. My hands crumble, my skin turns to sandpaper and my muscles ache. I’ve had a cold nose for days now… (except for when I nearly sat on top of the open fire here last night... suddenly it was burning… much to my delight!).
Heating is something I’ve never appreciated before… Or, something I’ve massively appreciated but have never been responsible for creating myself! Wouw… What a wise lesson this is for me. Yes, because suddenly, for the first time in my life, it’s up to me, and me alone, to keep myself warm this winter. Nobody else is going to light my fires! Nobody else is going to turn the only radiator in the cottage, up to full blast. Nobody else is going to pay the bill. Nobody else is going to buy woolly jumpers, tights, pj’s and (more) blankets. Nobody else is going to regulate or control the heat that fills this space. Only me…
Just as I’m writing this, I feel like an 18 year old girl, stepping out in to the world for the first time. But then again, who cares…?! I accept that this is how I’m feeling and it’s making me feel so strong as I’m slowly seeing that I CAN do this and be totally self-sufficient, in every which way. I also realize now, the more I reject the cold, the harder this is going to be. So I have to steer my focus away from it, otherwise I’ll forget what all of this is in aid of…
And when I look at how I’ve arranged my space, when I focus on what I want to be doing, when I cherish the freedom I have to do and be as I wish, when I feel the excitement that comes when I’m cooking dinner in my own kitchen… and when I DO feel the heat coming from the fire that I, myself, have lit… then wouw… everything makes sense and I'm reminded of the purpose. Throughout the past days I’ve already learned so much and for that, I’m massively grateful. I know I’m still settling, still finding what works best and how to create the comfort I need, so it’s fine…
As well, this morning, doing the yoga, was the ultimate test and a huge break through because I passed with flying colours and I really CAN move freely in this home, without being paralyzed and crippled by the cold. I awakened something of an inner heat and inner power. And now I just need to keep it close, so I can put it into the work I want to be doing, as I continue to settle… The process is unfolding, which will be constantly changing, ONLY for the better. Happy and (warm) days await!