On being slow and empathic in a fast world

Sometimes I look around this world and a great and ancient sadness moves through me.
Everything is so damn fast here.
I feel like an alien, often.
A slow, mindful, present alien.
I watch people rushing from experience to experience, barely stopping to contemplate the fucking miracle of their existence. Hardly ever taking time to let the wonder in.
Going for days and days without ever telling the truth or feeling their feelings.
Running from themselves. Running towards imaginary futures. So mesmerised by the ‘there’ that they forget the miracle of here. So identified with the ‘doing’ that the most precious thing is lost. Being. Life itself.
Comfortable. Popular. Fabulous and successful, perhaps. On the path towards a better and exciting tomorrow. Yet so afraid to slow down. Afraid to rest deeply. Afraid to stop and invite in whatever lurks in the deep. The repressed terrors. The anxieties.
Unmetabolised childhood yearnings. Unlived lives, unfulfilled potentials, unspoken truths.
Loving the light yet afraid to touch the darkness.
Abandoning the cosmic love that was pushed down in order to survive.
Forgetting the natural joy that was squashed so we could become ‘grown ups’.
Neglecting the playful aliveness that had to be numbed in order to ‘fit in’.
And now, content with surface pleasures. Success. Popularity. Looks. Achievements. The things that matter but don’t truly matter in the end.
Satisfied with a limited, conditional version of happiness. The kind you can post on Instagram. The kind that you can buy and sell. The kind that has an opposite.
The kind that looks good.
It’s sad to see our great potential forgotten.
Nothing ‘wrong’ with any of this unconscious activity, of course. I do not sit in judgement. I love our vulnerable humanity, and understand the mechanism of running, and we are all only doing our best, given our conditioning.
I used to run. But I had to break down. For the love I sought could never be found in the future. It was always here, buried in my own Heart, closer than breathing.
I only wish that everyone could truly find the courage to stop. Rest. Break, if they need to. Cry, if they need to. And finally feel the abandonment, the grief, the shame that was unconsciously running the show. Finally stop pretending. Finally sacrifice the addictive surfaces for the living truth – the scary, disorienting, thrilling truth.
There is no shame in the breaking and in breathing through the mess.
To be slow and empathic in a fast world, it is a challenge for sure. To be sensitive in a world that has gone mad with ‘things’. To be a lover in a world that has reduced love to a commodity and a passing feeling. To be awake in a world that tries to numb you.
Yet you cannot be numbed.
For you know your path now.
And your sensitivity
is a great gift
to this fast world.
– Jeff Foster

PASSION… P A S S I O N … P A S S I O N!!

“So run, my friends, run fast and furious from all false solutions.
Let divine passion triumph, and rebirth you in yourself.

For the past week I’ve discovered such a joy in simply saying the word passion outloud – to myself and to others….⠀

P A S S I O N… P A S S I O N … P A S S I O N!⠀

What does this word evoke in you? For me it’s like a fire has been lit in my belly and my heart. And it brings a big fat smile to my face! ⠀

‘With passion pray. With passion make love. With passion eat and drink and dance and play. Why look like a dead fish in this ocean of God?’ ~ Rumi⠀

To me this doesn’t mean I ‘should’ always be smiling but it does mean that when life delivers it’s challenges, when loss and grief knock on my door passion helps me to remember a deeper knowing of who I am. To see every part of life as a gift. To move towards the fire and be grateful for the gifts in every experience. Like a moth to a flame, give me the burning of the heart any day.

P A S S I O N ❤

“So run, my friends, run fast and furious from all false solutions.
Let divine passion triumph, and rebirth you in yourself.

Passion burns down every branch of exhaustion.
Passion is the supreme alchemical elixir, and renews all things.
No-one can grow exhausted when passion is born,
so don’t sigh heavily, your brows bleak with boredom and cynicism and despair—
look for passion! passion! passion! passion!

Futile solutions deceive the force of passion.
They are banded to extort money through lies.
Marshy and stagnant water is no cure for thirst.
No matter how limpid and delicious it might look,
it will only stop and prevent you from looking for fresh rivers
that could feed and make flourish a hundred gardens,
just as each piece of false gold prevents you
from recognizing real gold and where to find it.

False gold will only cut your feet and bind your wings,
saying “I will remove your difficulties”
when in fact it is only dregs and defeat in the robes of victory.
So run, my friends, run fast and furious from all false solutions.
Let divine passion triumph, and rebirth you in yourself.

– Rumi

Photography by: Lani Noble, Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach, Koh Phanang Thailand, 2015

It’s a new dawn…it’s a new day…it’s a new year…

IMG_1291
Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia 1 January 2016

Watching the first sun rise of 2016 over Perth city this morning it occurred to me what a gift it is to be human and to experience this thing called life. Not just to be sitting there with my eyes watching the sun come up, but to really be experiencing it. Feeling it from the inside out…appreciating the magic of life unfolding.

The reality is I’ve been incredibly blessed the past 3 new years to have been on the stunning Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, where I would spend the first few hours of the new year completely alone and in awe of mother nature, blissing out & reflecting on the reflections of the sun on the lake….contemplating the sheer wonder of life. But this year I was back in my hometown, Perth…and instead of crawling out of my treehouse to watch the sunrise I had to get in the car…

And as I did this I noticed a little hesitation…was it really worth getting out of bed in the dark to watch the sunrise… in Perth?? Don’t get me wrong as far as cities goes I think Perth is incredibly beautiful…it’s just that I’ve had a bit of a resistance to city living these past years so I wondered if it might suck just a little bit to have to incorporate people and buildings into ‘my’ new year ritual….but thankfully I did it anyway.

IMG_1296

Because guess what…different does not = bad. Watching the sunrise over the city I grew up in did not suck at all, not even the tiniest bit!

I wondered why I hadn’t done this a million times before…but mostly I realised what an incredible gift it was to be right here, right now,  watching this with fresh eyes.

 

As I sat on the edge of an incredible park with more trees than I could even begin to count, surrounded by dozens of others sitting in quiet appreciation of these first rays of sun for 2016 I began to feel a familiar sensation inside of me, the one of the sun rising – not outside of me but from within me…and I was confronted with the very very real realisation that this was a particularly extraordinary moment that was also really very ordinary…as in it happens every single day and I wasn’t alone in my experiencing it!

IMG_1293And just to help make sure the message really came home for me…I looked up and saw these words in the wall
May you find serenity in this sacred place”

A huge smile spread across my face…for me the sign didn’t mean…this place as in Kings Park…to me it signified THIS place inside of the heart…that is where I am, where you are…these places, WHEREVER they are. ALL of these places are sacred, it’s just our ideas that like to make one more sacred than another.

The truth is we don’t need to travel the world to search for extraordinary moments, all we need do is open our hearts to life as it is, right here and right now…and allow ourselves to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Really what does sacred mean anyway…to make holy…and holy in its simplest form is to be whole..complete.

So to all of you extraordinarily ordinary..or is that ordinarily extraordinary…human beings out there…may we open our hearts in 2016 more and more and more because it is HERE and only here that we will find the serenity in ALL places. And if not now when? And if not you…who?

Happy new day  ❤

Following the trees home…pictures worth a thousand words

Plans changed suddenly, life delivered to me the message “You are not in control…LET GO of this idea, let me guide you, trust me.”

IMG_0206Following the unexpected but thankfully complication free removal of my appendix..I celebrated my 36th birthday in an Indian hospital with a Namaste and a glass of coconut water! As I finally began to hear my body’s cry for rest and familiar surroundings I returned ‘home’ to Australia. For two months I did nothing but sit in the garden and honour the body’s need to rest and recuperate. I was feeling all sorts of wonderful to be back with my family after 5 years of travelling and living overseas, but a few questions arose like… now I’m back in a country I never really planned to return to – with no plan in sight…who the hell am I …and …what does this word ‘home’ really mean?

I guess the truth is I’d been resisting going back to Australia for a few years because I thought the next time I went ‘home’ I would have things kind of figured out and would be able to answer peoples questions…you know maybe I would know who I was and have a bit of a plan (haha this is possibly one of the most delusional ideas I’ve ever had…and I’ve had a few!). Yet there I was sitting in my Grandma’s home with no car, no house, no job, no winter clothing, no partner, a bank account that was fast running out and not even the whisper of a plan. All I had was my cheap Indian suitcase stuffed full of books and slightly holey clothing….and my notebooks full of poetry and quotes about love and freedom, a family that was so happy to see me..and I them! and a heart that kept whispering it’s OK…trust me, just rest, rest in not knowing…trust…..it is OK not to know.

Not quite the homecoming I’d imagined..but it was in so many ways far more beautiful than anything I could ever have imagined. I have to tell you that coming home as nobody with nothing is possibly the best thing that could ever have happened to me! With no expectations of what life should look like and the desire to make a plan not beating me around the head every few seconds I found a lot of solace in the simple things…like making green smoothies for breakfast and weeding the garden. I began to see every weed I pulled as one of the old ideas of who I’d thought I should be, what I’d thought I should be doing and what ‘home’ should look like…being let go…one after another. It is by far one of the most liberating and humbling lessons I’ve received from mother nature…life.

And the truth is she just kept on passing the lessons my way. For most of this year I’d been wishing for a tree that I could take my afternoon siesta under (yes people really do, do this, in hot countries!). I longed for somewhere I could feel my feet on the grass and my belly against the earth…(after studying a little bit of Chinese Medicine recently I now know this was also my body’s way of telling me it needed something) but I never quite got around to honouring this longing. That is until I took a blind leap of faith and responded to an ad for a room on a property in rural Western Australia…and before I knew it I found myself living 2.5 hours away from Perth in a sanctuary of trees, on 42 acres of heaven…fruit trees, nut trees, gum trees, bamboo and not to mention all of the incredible stone fruit trees laying dormant waiting for their season to come!! Mother nature wooed me and wowed me, tantalising and terrifying me with her rawness, her simplicity, all the shades of light and dark, and all in all her pure freaking awesomeness.

She gave me everything I had been dreaming of, the afternoon siestas on the grass under a tree were blissful…but she also gave me so much I had not anticipated. She showed me that living in the country isn’t quite as romantic as I had imagined…but that real life in all its ordinary moments can be far more satisfying than any romantic dream I’d ever had. Life on what I lovingly have named my tree sanctuary gave me, myself and I the opportunity to spend a lot of time alone with mother nature listening to her wisdom.

IMG_0459

She showed me through the mulberry tree that abundance is simply a question of perspective…from one angle it might look like there is only one berry but look from a different angle and discover dozens of ripe deliciousness just waiting for you. Change the angle again and bingo there were dozens more! The macadamia nuts threw themselves on the ground around the tree showing me that it is much easier (for everyone!), if you can allow the sun to gently crack open your protective shell so the fruits of existence can fall from you..instead of requiring your outer shell to be violently ripped from you as you fight against the nature flow of life.

She showed me the sheer power of our thoughts as I watched the snake slither past my bedroom door just minutes after I’d felt the fear in my belly of seeing snakes, and the smoke of a distant bushfire settling in around the property just minutes after speaking of the bushfire season and the evacuation plan. The spider showed me the beauty & impermanence of life, spinning its beautiful web even though the weather would tear it apart day after day. The tall wise gum trees showed me the beauty of nakedness – allowing their bark to fall away as the shedding of old skin and revealing what lay beneath… and the trusty kelpie on the property showed me that really what all beings long for is to love and be loved…to play in the simplicity of this magnificent existence.

So then…did Mother Nature in all her wisdom help me make a plan? And figure out who I am? Nope not at all…did I figure out that actually I really do have something to show after all these years of travel..nope..well not in the realm of material belongings anyway…that is nothing except a few pretty skirts and some crystals 🙂

Instead what she helped me with was the letting go of all the ideas of who I thought I should be and to venture into the unknown with an open heart. She helped me day after day to remember to breathe into discomfort and fear…to not fight against it but to just feel it and let it move through me. But most of all she helped me to again connect with the place in the heart that is ‘home’, to live from this place of curiosity for life, this curiosity that allows the eyes to see from the heart…to see the freshness and wonderment in life in the most simple of moments. Really, what could be more precious than this? This is the real magic isn’t it?

When we open our hearts, and let go of the stories of who we think we are or should be or what the future should look like, and instead take the time to let our eyes really see what is standing before us as it really is, wonderment is revealed. It’s always been there, just waiting to be seen…waiting to be felt. During meditation my teacher Sahajananda invites us to allow our awareness to rest in the heart centre, and to feel the joy of meditation.. of ‘coming home into the heart. What does that feel like you ask? Words fail me now my friends…so I share with you photos of this journey through the trees… home into the heart.

Photography by: Lani Noble

Crooked Brook Forrest, Bunbury, Western Australia

October 2015

Journey of the sun rising

Journey of the Sun Rising

So how many lifetimes ago did this journey begin? That I can’t tell you…but it is one that a few years ago I never imagined was possible and now I know is called LIFE! Today I choose a life of love, sunrises, travel, nature, meditation, yoga and sacred relationships. How did I get here? Grace…following my bliss and walking through doors I never knew existed 🙂

“If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you. And the life that you ought to be living, is the one you ARE living.” Joseph Campbell

Four years ago I found myself wondering why, with a life that seemed to tick all the right boxes – husband, house, corporate career and plans for a family….was I still restless & looking for ‘something more’?? Intuition and longing saw me walk away from an 11 year relationship to start what began as a 2 month vacation and quickly became the Journey that continues today.

I’ve traded my house for a backpack and my corporate career to teach mediation and yoga. When border guards ask me in which country I am a resident…I have a little trouble answering and when people ask me how long have you been travelling for…I giggle and answer…well it depends on your definition of travel.

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 8.44.28 PM
Just a few of the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets I’ve been blessed with experiencing

Today I know home is where the heart is and no matter where I am the sun will be rising. I’ve been blessed with so many incredible sunrises and sunsets but beyond these breathtaking moments this journey has become about feeling the sun rise within me…and recognising this light as the light that shines within us all, connecting us. Some call it God, others the Self, I like to call it LOVE 🙂 This is what gets me out of bed each morning, the knowledge that our TRUE NATURE IS LOVE, radiant and shining like a million suns.

Perth, Western Australia“Love can transform the hardest heart into the heart of a saint. It is love that brings meaning to our lives. The path of love goes right through the middle of every heart. No one is locked out. No one is turned away. No one is unworthy. The love that lives within each and every being is Bhagavan, it is Ram, Buddha, Nature, the Atman, the Great Goddess, the Self, the One. It is who we are – our own True Nature, radiant and shining like a million suns.”~ Krishna Das

This doesn’t mean life is always easy, the reality is we’re all faced with challenges – especially when it comes to maintaining relationships with friends and lovers. But as you begin to look at life as it really is, and people as they really are – not just the stories that we tell or the thoughts that we lose ourselves in…you realise this life is exactly what we create. Our relationships are simply mirrors of aspects of ourselves often reflecting those parts of us that we can not see or are not yet willing to embrace.

When we begin to see things as they really are we can develop gratitude for the challenges and see them for the great opportunities they are – to learn, love, grow and let go.

Epic sunrise in a bay of Cadaques, Catalunya, Spain...2011
Epic sunrise in a bay of Cadaques, Catalunya, Spain…2011

Embracing this journey of the unknown I start this blog in the hope that I can share with you some of the inspiration, beauty, challenges and lessons shared with me along the way. And I hope it inspires you to take a deep breath, feel this moment exactly as it is and to see all that you have, and all that you are. Beauty, light and love…PURE LOVE.

“Today, just for the day, be honest about the light that you are, the beauty of YOU, shines like a million suns”

Mostly I just want to share with you the message that life is to be lived and loved and we have the choice in each and every moment to live with an open heart and to experience all of this crazy beautiful life exactly as it is.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing..I wish you a day full of beauty and openness and eternal sunrising.

From my heart to yours ♥ ♥ ♥