Freedom within our emotions…being OK with not being OK

Would you believe me if I told you there is a ridiculous amount of freedom to be revealed in the acceptance of our emotions?  And a scary amount of suffering in the resistance of them! What would you think if I shared with you it’s really OK to not be OK? And that it’s also OK to be OK…what if I were to tell you that both OK and not OK were perfectly OK? What if wherever we’re at, is OK..exactly where we are. OK..or not OK..what exactly does OK mean anyway? And where and when did we start to become so obsessed with one way being the right way?

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How often do you get asked are you OK? And even if you’re not feeling ‘good’ you feel the pressure to say yeah I’m OK! Well I’ve been having a bit of a ride lately with the labelling of emotions & experiences as positive or negative. It feels like collectively we’re stuck in the polarity of right & wrong, good & bad…and if you’re experiencing emotions that are not joy and happiness – you’re not OK and that’s probably not OK.

I don’t think it’s a big secret that as a race, the human race, we are obsessed with feeling good, the seeking of pleasure and avoidance of pain..but in the seeking for feeling good, collectively we seem to have embraced a belief that anything that doesn’t fit within our idea of what that little bucket of goodness looks or feels like needs to be suppressed or denied.

While the suppression might initially appear to be a success in the avoidance of pain – it is for sure just a temporary avoidance as whatever we suppress will reappear again and again and again until it is given space to be be seen, felt & heard. More than that we’re definitely not helping ourselves on the path to feeling good by blocking energy or denying the innate intelligence of our human constitution. All we’re successfully doing is creating more separation, making boxes to put ourself in, self imposed prison cells of how we must look and feel in order to be a successful, happy, feel good human being….and we become weighted down by these ideas, closing ourself off to the full potential of being an alive, fully feeling human BEING.

“Label me and you negate me” ~ Søren Kierkegaard

When I first began teaching yoga I was told by a student they were shocked to hear me swear, ‘but you’re so spiritual…how can you swear?’ they said, and it was the first time I realised maybe I had just stepped out of one box (my corporate career) into a brand new ‘spiritual box’ where I was still expected to behave a certain way in order to belong? Triggered massively I launched into a stream of swear words to express my individuality…maybe not the most eloquent, but in the moment it was my authentic response. What I was feeling was

‘Don’t label me and box me into your ideas of what spiritual is, I never asked to be ‘spiritual’, all I asked was to be free to FEEL, and live life from the Heart.’

Really this sweet student just showed me my inner idea of what spiritual ‘should’ look like – so I could make a conscious decision to step out of that box…and into my authentic expression & still today I find myself continuously bringing down the walls of that box. But lately it’s the permission to not be OK I’m journeying with. A few months ago I found myself again feeling really boxed in this time by the belief that the experiencing & expression of so called ‘negative’ emotions such as sadness, anger or confusion means I’m not doing my ‘spiritual job’ well enough, that I’m not OK and even worse than that ….it’s NOT OK to not be OK.

IMG_1274When you think about what the word OK means…it means to say something is acceptable…so when we’re feeling something – and we think it’s not acceptable to feel that something – we’re actually not OK…literally speaking…not OK..because we don’t accept the feeling that is arising and we want it to go away. But what would happen if we accepted the feeling as it arose…would we then be turning our not OK, into an OK?…and maybe just maybe would that feeling feel seen, heard, loved…and no longer need to fight for it’s right to exist…and maybe just maybe could we receive the wisdom of that feeling, rest and enjoy life…and heaven forbid feel good?

Who knows…the mind could entertain itself for lifetimes upon lifetimes with the semantics of the english language and infinite possibilities. What I’m more interested in is looking at this toxic belief that we must always be OK..whatever that might mean?! The consequence of this belief is that many people are struggling with what they’re feeling, or more to the point desperately trying to bury the feelings trying to be felt.

Rather than embracing where we’re at, we’re being told by ourselves or others, that we’re not OK, that we’re depressed and so we’re medicating. We’re medicating either to 1) stop feeling the feelings that are arising…numbing out or 2) to try and stimulate ourselves out of the numbness we previously created to avoid feeling our feelings because when we shut our feelings down we disconnected ourselves…and now we want to feel connected again but don’t know how.

We medicate – to numb or to un-numb – with antidepressants, or alcohol, drugs, sex, social media, relationships, shopping, gambling, food, even sports, yoga, meditation & other spiritual practices can be used as a medication…to disconnect further and further from what’s really moving inside of us. If the opposite of addiction is not sobriety but actually connection as one researcher suggested…how crazy is it that we’re actually doing things to further disconnect ourselves from others and from our Self?

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety…it’s connection” ~ Johann Hari

So is it possible instead of medicating we just start to get real with ourselves and each other about what we’re really feeling? I’ve been using the word ‘we’ but I’m not hiding behind the collective on this one.  I’m choosing to share my personal experience because the only commitment I want to make is to authenticity…and that doesn’t always look like the perfect ‘spiritual’ package I once imagined it might.

Returning home to Perth earlier this year life didn’t play out quite the way I had planned. Life gave me everything I needed and a whole lot more, but not what I wanted and I struggled many times to feel joyful as I journeyed with a sadness and anger I’d never met before, never had the courage to stand face to face with before and I was overwhelmed by it’s intensity.

Having passed my whole life with this belief it’s NOT OK TO NOT BE OK, I buried my sadness and anger and held on tightly to the belief they burdened and hurt other people and therefore did not belong. I put on the strong independent woman mask instead and threw myself into serving others…and when that wasn’t possible I removed myself from being with people, deeming myself ‘not fit for human interaction’. Are you surprised to hear that neither were very successful in making me feel good..or avoiding my pain?!

Now let me be super frank, this wasn’t the first time I’d met sadness & anger. But over the years I’d become quite skilled at only touching the tip of the iceberg when it came to emotions. Have you ever tried to hold a ball or a balloon full of air under water?…eventually it explodes back out to the surface, unwilling to be suppressed any longer. As my ‘balls’ of emotion would eventually explode out to the surface, I’d have no choice but to acknowledge the feelings…but still desperate to make them go away again I’d acknowledge the feelings only enough for the ball to be small enough to shove back under the water. Until the ball was so full it wouldn’t go back down, and that’s where I found myself…no longer able to contain the grief and anger but unconsciously still trying to figure out what I needed to do to make it go away.

So life in it’s infinite wisdom & mysterious ways threw me all the experiences I needed to help me see I couldn’t suppress these emotions anymore. Each time I felt this overwhelming sadness and anger I found myself sitting before someone who reflected back to me their discomfort with my discomfort and the spoken or unspoken message…it’s NOT OK to not be OK. These loved ones were simply loving me the best they could and thankfully they loved me enough to help me play out my bullshit drama….until I could ignore it no more, and started to see this wasn’t about other people telling me it wasn’t OK to not be OK…it was about ME, TELLING MYSELF it’s not OK to not be OK..a message I carried deep inside my psyche.

Black PantherI was uncomfortable with my own feelings, afraid of them, terrified if I really felt them and allowed myself to not be OK, they would consume me, and ‘I’ would never come back. Maybe I’d stay in bed and never be able to function in the world again?! Or maybe I’d lash out and the black jaguar inside of me would actually leap out and rip someone to shreds…or worse maybe my emotions (which trigger my behaviour) would stop people from liking me, and I would no longer be welcome in my tribe, in my community.

The truth is the idea of who I thought ‘I’ should be was continuously dying, and this version of the mind made ‘I’ was never coming back. By suppressing the emotions I didn’t make them go away…I just ended up drowning in my own pity party unconsciously pushing away those who I wanted to be closest to. With the emotions unable to be ‘energy-in-motion’, having nowhere to go they just repeated themselves again and again and again and again, begging to be witnessed, begging to be loved.

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The pity party wasn’t going anywhere until I allowed myself to rest in the sadness and anger, to feel the weight of the feelings I had been buried under –  and this was so different from the pity puddle I’d been wading in for weeks. This meant really allowing myself to sit still with what was arising in me. Really truly sit still. And listen to the wisdom within those feelings…all of these emotions were inviting me to enter a conversation with myself – to hear needs that had not been met and allow love to touch my pain, rather than fear.

When your fear touches someone’s pain, it becomes pity, when your love touches someone’s pain, it becomes compassion.” ~ Stephen Levine

The absurd part is yes I had to get really quiet so I could allow the emotions to be felt, but they didn’t consume me, I didn’t need to wallow in my sorrow for weeks. The reality is, the more I practiced honouring the feelings as they arose, hearing and honouring their wisdom, the more naturally they moved through me. It turns out it wasn’t the actual feelings overwhelming me but my resistance to feeling them.

In Chinese medicine, there is a school of thought that emotions are a cause of disease. Not that having emotions causes disease, but more so when emotions are out of balance, and imbalances arise when we don’t allow the expression of energy (and emotions are energy) in the moment they arise. What begins as a pure feeling of life (energy) wanting to be expressed through you, unexpressed becomes a weighted toxic charge, an accumulation of feelings, energy in motion that has not been expressed freely. This energy becomes trapped within the body giving us physical symptoms of something that needs our loving attention.

The step into this loving attention, and the move away from resistance came for me in discerning the difference between honouring and creating a safe space for my feelings to be felt and expressed AND drowning in my own pity puddle. If I stopped needing to be ‘ good’ all the time, if I allowed whatever was arising in the moment to be present, then there was actually no puddle to drown in… the emotions really could become energy in motion – their wisdom & insights could be revealed, no longer suppressed, no longer being judged, no longer being expected to be anything other than what they were in that moment.

I also needed a little help from family and friends – I needed to ask for help and I needed to really let people into my life, so that they could do what they do best..love me. But to do that I needed to allow myself to be vulnerable, to be real, to be open and express what I had been perceiving as a weakness – my emotions. I resisted this step for a long time because I didn’t want anyone’s pity, which is what I felt I received when I expressed my full range of sadness and anger. What I wanted was their love and support, their compassion, I wanted to know that all the pieces of me were loveable and welcome and that they wouldn’t leave me just because I wasn’t overflowing with magic and joy.

The irony was I couldn’t allow myself to feel that love from my loved ones, until I made space for the emotions in my self – until I was able to give myself permission to not feel ‘good’ for a moment and let that be OK. To allow myself to not be OK…and in that allowing, in the acceptance of life exactly as it was in that moment I was OK…

Sometimes we don’t feel ‘good’, sometimes there are feelings we don’t know what to do with, sometimes they overwhelm us and we can’t participate in life the way we normally would, AND THIS IS OK! Like everything in this manifested world this is temporary and it too shall pass…it’s only our resistance to what is arising that causes suffering.

If we can be present with life it has a message for us. It’s calling us back to ourselves, to be all of ourselves, to embrace all the pieces of our Self…including these feelings of sadness, grief, anger. They’re all an invitation to enter a conversation in the present moment, to let go of our previous ideas of who we thought we should be and start to rest in the truth of who we are alive and present right Now.

Practices like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, exercise, nutrition – all of these things become super important tools to help drop the mind down into the heart, to not get lost in the illusion of the pity puddle and monkey mind that believes every thought and feeling is real, but they were never intended to be used as a means of suppressing our feelings, spiritual bypassing only perpetuates the cycle of disconnection.

3c0c40686786125fef6c0e63704c9477I’m sharing this because I know so many people who feel they are struggling with anxiety and depression – and I can tell you that those of us on the ‘spiritual path’ – including me have not been immune. It’s sometimes really tricky to distinguish between depression…and the many dark nights of the soul that we might encounter on the path.

But I like to embrace the idea of depression that Jeff Foster puts forth – as a feeling of life pressing down on me, that I am being de-pressed, by the ideas I had of who I should be or what I should be doing. As I shifted my perception to this I started to see depression as an invitation to come into a space of deep-rest, to rest deeply in whatever is moving in this moment, and a space of deep acceptance of all the pieces of me.

 The truth is, as important as tribe and community are, we will walk much of this path alone, so we need to take the time to really get to know ourselves – to know who we are beyond all of these ideas of good and bad. How can we expect to really connect authentically with our tribe if we can not even be authentic with ourselves?

There is no red pill, to magically pull us out of the illusion…there is only Love…and that love equates to deep rest and acceptance. So next time you’re feeling something see if you can allow yourself to really go into that feeling, feel it all the way down into the very core of your being…and then feel it some more. Feel what happens and listen…really listen to the wisdom of the Heart waiting to be shared with you. And if you still have a little voice (your’s or another’s) telling you it’s not OK to feel what you’re feeling…see if you can offer up some love to the part of yourself that tells you it’s not OK to feel that way…or if that still doesn’t feel do-able.. love that part of you that can’t love the part of you that tells you it’s not OK to feel that way…and remember we are all in this together in this divine dance of life.

 

Meet me Here

~ Meet Me Here ~
by Adyashanti
Meet me here Now

Strong Tree Margaret River
Bussell Highway, Cowaramup, August 2016
Where there are no points of view.
Slip under good and bad
Right and wrong
Worthy and Unworthy
Sinner and saint.
 
Meet me here
Where everything is unframed
Before understanding
and not understanding.
 
Meet me here
Where silence roars
Where stillness is dancing
Where the eternal is living and dying.
 
Meet me here
Where you are not you
Where you are It
And It is unspeakable.
 
Ant hole Red & White Sand
Shark Bay, June 2013
Meet me here
Where all points of view
Merge into a single point
And then disappear.
 
Meet me here
Before there ever was a something
Before there ever was nothing.
 
Meet me here
Where everything speaks of this
Where everything has
Always spoken this
Where nothing is ever lost or found.
 
Meet me here.
~ Photos by Lani

Courage is a heart word…and Heart is the very core of who we are

IMG_4305.jpgSome time ago a friend introduced me to an inspiring California based organisation called the Bioneers, a hub of social and scientific innovators ‘inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honour the web of life, each other and future generations.’ 

I ploughed through their website and followed links, watching videos, listening to podcasts and reading books, these innovators shared their experiences, research and ideas and what struck me in everything I saw and read was the courage and humility these inspiring human beings radiated. The respect they had for each other, and for mother earth..and the understanding that nothing they did was alone, that we’re in fact all working together.

Listening to story after story of inspiring human beings exploring the connection of life I was struck by the courage they showed in sharing their experiences with the world. I wanted to move to California immediately to be with ‘my tribe’ until I took a deep breath and listened again. Their sharing’s had nothing to do with where they lived…it was about the absolute dedication and commitment to Being the change they wished to see they were demonstrating. They were inspiring others simply by having the courage to speak from the Heart and allowing their actions to be aligned with the commitment of the Heart.

They speak of a change of Heart that honours the unity and intrinsic value of all life and they show how great a difference one person can make, and also how community makes the difference. It demonstrated to me a living example of how inextricably connected ‘heart’ and ‘courage’ are.

It got me reflecting on this word courage…and how it is so inherently connected to the heart…it’s no coincidence that the word stems from the Latin ‘cor‘ meaning heart…which in spanish is corazon. So it should be absolutely no surprise that the english word ‘core: to be at the very centre; the part of something that is central to its existence or character‘ is also derived from this same latin root ‘cor’….boom once again all paths lead us back to the heart!

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.” ~ Brene Brown

So if the courage to speak our Heart is inherent within our essential nature…the very core of who we are and what we are here to live..why do we still fail to really honour this inner strength and commitment?

Earlier this year I came face to face with one way in which I was allowing my actions to come from a place of fear rather than love…where I wasn’t being courageous…where I wasn’t speaking the Heart…and as I imagine it is for many other – it was in my intimate relationships with those I thought I was loving the most. Holding onto childhood abandonment experiences I somewhere along the way never quite let go of the fear based (mis)perception that I needed to always keep a piece of myself…my Heart..safe..when diving into love.

When I looked closely I began to see all the little ways I had been playing down the love I felt in my Heart, the way I kept my Heart hidden and my voice silent…in fear of rejection and abandonment. I played small in my relationships and although they were loving, there was always a deep deep longing for more..there was something my heart longed for that wasn’t being satisfied, and that was to speak it’s truth…to BE and to express love completely and to allow the Heart to be seen and heard completely.

Then I was blessed to meet an incredible giant hearted man who from the moment we met showed me what it looked like to speak from the heart, to act from a place of love, to trust in love, to put a voice to the feelings of the heart without fear of future loss or hurt….he wasn’t worried about how long we were going to be together or if by loving me completely now there may be hurt later if we didn’t ‘last’.

It was in seeing this that I finally understood how much I had been suppressing love in order to avoid future hurt…suppressing joy in order to reduce any possible hurt in the future…suppressing my capacity to be alive and in love in the present moment…for fear of losing something in the future. And I started to realise just how much my desire to protect ‘myself’ was creating this crazy illusion of separation and was in fact keeping me from the love that I so deeply longed to feel. And I’m sure that it’s not only with lovers that I do this…when I reflect I can see how even with my best girlfriends…and my family…those I’m closest to I still carry this crazy notion of protection with me. Why?

Do we really believe that we need to not to trust each other, to keep our voices small and hidden, to keep our hearts hidden? Do we really think that exposing our truth, our authenticity makes us vulnerable, and that vulnerability equals weakness?  Maybe this is what we’ve learnt over time, but I truly don’t think this is what we believe. For me personally it’s way past time now to find the voice of my/the Heart, to bring back the essence of this word courage, and to speak from the Heart…to bravely step forward in all that I do in authenticity and to see that this vulnerability is not a weakness it is an incredible strength and is at the very core of my capacity to connect with Life.

How can we ever expect to be truly seen or heard if we aren’t prepared to express the truth of the Heart…the very core of who we are? How are we to truly live this life and to BE Love and live in love with this life if we aren’t courageous enough to allow the voice of our Heart to be seen and heard?? This voice of the Heart is Love, the very essence, or truth of who we are. Because really there is nothing else in this existence that could hurt us more than denying or suppressing the truth of who we are.

The very ironic thing is that the intimate relationship that blessed me with this insight came to an end at the very moment I thought I was opening my heart and letting go of the idea of the need for protection. Once again life had another plan for me! As much as the experience was a painful one it was nothing but a beautiful invitation to keep my Heart open, and to witness all the ways I still want to close it to keep myself safe. From the Heart came the invitation to see the safe container within myself I had been searching for…and to begin to have the courage to express to myself the truth of what I was experiencing. To allow a safe space for everything that needed to arise, to arise…including the rage, the sadness & the grief. And when I began to be honest with myself I also began to find healthy outlets for the safe expression of these feelings…which for me is writing, music and my family…and I began to feel the resonance with strength and courage again.

So somehow all of these experiences helped me see this common thread between us all..how our interconnectedness weaves directly in with the thread of courage…the courage to be outrageously authentic..to express the Heart…to myself and to others…to not shy away from the truth of what I’m feeling, to not back down from life in all of its unknown and uncertainty. To me this is having the courage to make the commitment of living life in the Heart each and every moment and that feels like the most authentic and important commitment I could ever make.

May we all stand naked in the truth of our Hearts and begin to let the beauty of the Heart radiate, touching each other and the world around us <3

“Courage is the willingness to not know.
To speak your truth. To walk your path.
To face ridicule and rejection.
To keep going, despite the voices in your head and the judgements of others.
And there are no guarantees you will make it.

Nobody can walk for you!
You walk in radical aloneness, naked in the face of life,
no protection, no crutches, no external authority.
No ideology to save you.
No promises anymore.

Only the beating of the heart, and the air in the lungs,
and the thrill and terror of being utterly free, and no longer numb.

And knowing from deep within.
And the call of your ancestors.
And the ground holding you.
And the sun nourishing you.

And the fragrance of love everywhere.
And warm tears running down your cheeks.
And this gorgeous vulnerability
Which makes you totally unbreakable.”

~ Jeff Foster

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Shiva the destroyer…Om Namah Shivaya!

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Don’t Fall In Love With A Warrior by Jamie Catto

Don’t fall in love with a warrior
As his love will cast such blazing illumination upon you
That the darkest edges of your resistance will be etched too vividly for you to ever ignore again.
You will be faced with yourself in his reflection, and fixed with his gaze.
His care will trigger weeping for all the unloved places that had ’til now been left unheld
And you will be faced with your grief and your rage
And there will be a melting.
But though he’ll never save you from your pain
He will sit beside you, matching your breath
Supporting you invisibly until dawn rises again
Until your ribs ache with the opening
Revealing new spaces for your heart to reinhabit.
He will call you back to yourself from the caves where you’ve hid
Hid your power from the world, and from your self,
He’ll plant a question in your soul
And demand an answer.
Are you ready to love yourself so deeply and be matched in that love?
He’ll burn all your maps of the past
Dissolving the paths that led us here
To fix upon the only moment where love resides
Will you surrender to his fingertips?
Even when you fear the echoes of your past urging you to escape?
For he’ll touch your cheek so lightly that your memories of violence will rise so they may fade.
Can you feel safe and powerful without being needed?
As he is complete unto himself and knows how to hold himself on his own lonely nights.
Can you be held without being grasped?
Can you be led without domination?
Can you be an equal?
When he points to the horizon can you see what he imagines just beyond sight?
Will you join him on a journey
Deep into your raw and aching hearts
To discover treasure and Union and surrender?
He will penetrate you to your core
Eyes locked
Nodding so slowly as he
Sees you
Held firm.
For he’s discovered your hiding places
And remains undaunted Patient.
He’s seen your crown that you pretended was a veil
He’s seen the wounds around your neck transforming into jewels
And will never let them take you again
To that fire.
He waits at the base of the tower
Open handed
Ready to ride.

With that moon language

full_moon_water_640Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them,
“Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud;
Otherwise,
Someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
To connect.
Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
With that sweet moon
Language,
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to
Hear.
-Hafiz

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.

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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