Saturday, 19 January 2013

Marking the halfway point

It's hard to articulate at the halfway point how I am feeling about the experience of spending 6 months in Goa.
Actually I think I am right now at a turning point. The past two weeks were massively challenging, practicing with a teacher who I had a strong aversion to, who the assistant noticed (kindly) that I was "closed off to", who seemed not to assist me too much aside from giving me 2 new postures on day 1 and wanting to give me more (which I turned down), who pushed my buttons (and reminded me of my issues around food) by suggesting that nobody eat dinner, whose pranayama exercise brought me to endless tears of homesickness which seemed to be a kind of incurably upsetting childhood nostalgia, who somehow seemed to facilitate all sorts of dark moods and a close-on hatred of my practice to bubble up out of was tough. But I realise as I sit here in a patch of sunshine in my room, drinking camomile tea and listening to Nina Simone, gearing up for a major full-power day as a group of 50 people arrive to be told that their teacher is delayed by the snow in London and will be a day late, that these turning points don't always appear as happy and comfortable moments. Perhaps the experience of aversion will teach me more than the strong attraction I feel with other teachers ever has done, or more accurately perhaps a combination of the two factors will somehow provide me with more than one of these factors alone ever could. I know for certain that I have been behaving at times in a way that I would not like if I looked on it from the outside, reacting (and overreacting) to things in front of me, not taking challenges calmly and in my stride, wallowing in my physical exhaustion, resenting others at times instead of working on compassion. I have been eating in a way that fuels the dramatic energy spikes and dips, spending my free time hooked up to the computer or indulging in idle chat instead of reading, writing, going out into Goa and seeing more of the area, learning to drive a scooter, sewing, taking time to keep in touch with my loved ones - these are the things on my neglected mental to-do list, while there always seems to be time to watch another episode of Mad Men.
But as we enter the second half of the season, and as my teachers arrive (a little later than planned) I think it is time to finally throw myself into this experience. Instead of criticising myself for how I have behaved, acted and filled my time up until now I will try to look at it objectively and without judgement, and just look forwards - to how things could be from this point onwards. So here's to the second half of the season...


  1. Absolutely, no judgement. It sounds like it's been intense, and intensely difficult for that matter.

    The not eating dinner is crazy - maybe some people would benefit, but how can it be announced as something to be desirable to everyone? Only a few days ago I was chatting with someone (not a million miles from here) about the fact that I really need to eat a decent meal the night before a full practice, and also don't benefit from eating too early.

    I hope you find the balance you're looking for in your time - don't go crazy and try to cram too much in now!

  2. Wow, yes, there's no doubt that doing all the pranayama and asana practice will shake up all that stuff inside. I have definitely been in that place before of looking outside myself and blaming others, it could never have been my own stuff, no. haha. Anyway good luck with the second half, you'll feel amazing by the end and the amount of energy you'll have for the rest of the year will be incredible. Go for it.

  3. Hi Mel,
    So nice to hear how you are getting on. Even if it's not all rosy and easy, you certainly seem to be going through some wonderful transformations. I look forward to catching up with you on your return. Your post reminds me a little of my time living in Thailand, there were definitely chapters and stages of letting go, it's funny because each year I would think, right I have finally surrendered to this, I imagine if I was still there I would still be going through that. There are so many levels on which we can let go.

    As for the eating, I think we have to be really careful about making rules. So many people have issues around food. Do what works for you, but then you know that, that's why they touched your buttons. Ragdoll I wonder who you were talking too, sounds like an interesting conversation ;-)

    Enjoy every moment of your time Mel and be here for the even the challenging one's. Be kind to you. Love Helen

  4. so nice to hear from you all, hello! :) And Helen, wise words indeed, different levels of letting go is about right, things feel so very different this week (as I knew they would). I'm working more on watching and observing my actions and reactions without so much judgement, and it's coming, slowly slowly...
    I was actually surprised by how much I freaked out about the food thing, I agree that one has to be very careful in imposing these ideas on others when you don't know about their past patterns of behaviour but even I was surprised by my reaction to it (all emotional, none physical..).
    But for now I'm all full of gratitude for this time with my teachers and learning learning learning....and that's my priority for the next few weeks! xo