These past three weeks have been just what I needed.  Lazy and quiet with family close by.  It feels very strange not having a place of work, a home of my own, or someone to say “i love you” to.   But I’m starting to realise that the reason for that is not because it’s what we need to make us happy, it’s because its what’s expected of us, by our peers, by society, the media, the literature we read as children under the duvet with a flashlight, by ourselves.  It seems that we are defined by what we do, who we’re with, what wrung of the property ladder we’re clinging to.  I haven’t so much as thrown all of that away, as had it pulled out of reach, and in response have had a slow burning revelation – I don’t have the energy to fight for it anymore.  Not right now at least.

Somewhere between my job applications, Master’s deadlines, London Marathon, failed relationships, and lost friends, a part of me disappeared.  It’s like it got buried beneath this drive to get on, to do stuff, to make something of myself.  Achieving is great.  Crossing the finishing line in front of thousands of people, handing in a dissertation at the end of weeks of sleepless nights, gives you a sense of pride, validation that if you put your mind to something you can do it.  But who is it really for?

I asked myself a few months ago if I was happy.  Signed off work with bereavement, letter of redundancy discreetly tucked under my laptop on the desk, it’s hardly surprising that my answer was “No.  Right now I’m not.”  The funny thing is, I didn’t truly appreciate what that meant, until I sat outside in a field somewhere, under that unseasonably hot October sun.  It was a weekday, everything was silent, except for the gentle brush of air across the grass and leaves.  I’d packed a book, crosswords, I-pod, everything that one takes in order to distract themselves from themselves.  But I never took them out.  I sprawled out on my back, and felt the firmness of the ground beneath me, the warmth, and just closed my eyes.

I was happy.  It wasn’t just the silence around me, it was the absence of noise and images in my head.  Should such a moment be so rare?  The last time I’d felt that happy was in June, around my birthday.  My writing was going well, I’d had some time off work and I’d just done a three-day yoga intensive course with Matthew Sweeney.  The physical strain of difficult poses and bends had given way to meditation and peace.

Our final sequence was Shavasana – the dead man’s pose.  Matthew was taking us through a guided meditation, focusing on a ball of colour as we moved up the chakras.  Meditation takes practice.  Shutting out the voices, focusing on the breath, as simple as it sounds, is a great personal challenge.  When we got to yellow, the solar plexus, I experienced something I will never forget.  Up until that point I was so fixated on imagining the rotating colours, manifesting energy, that I didn’t feel anything.  When we hit yellow, I didn’t have to think at all.  This rush of light washed straight through me and in that instant any reservations or doubts I had about the benefits of yoga and meditation fell away.

Lying there, in that field, I knew that if I could find that clarity and release for each part of me – basic instinct, sex, introversion, love, voice, intuition, consciousness – then I’d be a very happy lady indeed.