If Bali was about letting go, then Thailand is about embracing life and existing in the now.   Its Saturday afternoon, almost a week since the induction day, and this is the first time I’ve had to really reflect.   I’ve opted out of an Ashtangi day trip to Haad Rin, because I was beginning to feel a bit of an ache.  Not only deep in my hips and sides, rest day is when the body feels the week’s practice, but in my fingertips and head – I need to write.  With all the focus on the present moment, and disengagement of the voices in my head, I was beginning to wonder whether writing and yoga can really go hand in hand.  In meditation Matthew tells us not to tell a story.  We can see something, feel something, watch it go by.  Observe.  Isn’t that interesting.  Let it go.  Back to the focal point…the spot that draws you into silence, making contact with the self.

I’m forever creating stories.  Finding words and phrases that capture that exact moment, what it could mean, where it could go, how it relates to my skin, to the person across the room.  I think of that as creativity, and now I wonder whether I have that all wrong.  Whether it’s just my ego behind yet another convincing mask.  Before I write anything, I ponder and daydream.  Suspend myself in a space where the past collides with the present, future on the fringe.  You have to want to know what the end will look like.  It’s everything that enlightenment isn’t.

Does that mean that I’m juxtaposing this adventure, by documenting it all?  Am I simultaneously getting closer, and tearing myself apart?

I guess it probably is.  Just like everything else in life appears to be a constant battle of tug of war, just to keep the semblance of balance.  I could spend months, years, the rest of my life trying to make sense of all of this, or I could just stop thinking about it completely and listen to what my body needs.

The past week has brought me closer to the “now” than any other experience in my life.  As much as I want to share the details, create those stories I’m so prone to do, right now, it will have to be enough just to say that’s how I feel.

For every thought, there’s a pause.  For all the wonderful energy I’ve drawn from this group on the course, there’s time (this afternoon) that I need to withdraw.  Clothes are hanging up to dry on a clothes horse in the corner of my room, a ginger cat is incessantly chatting mid-stretch outside my door.  The fan is seamlessly swaying from side to side, a band of sunlight burning a hole in the sheets on my bed.  The past and future that have been parked to one side need to come out for a bit.  In shedding light on that dense shadow it breaks apart.  It doesn’t need to be such hard work.

I’m starting to see that now.  That those things you hate about yourself, the incidents that have left their scars, aren’t so terribly important afterall.  None of that is you.  Other people and their actions, paranoia, misunderstandings, embarrassments, moral questions, hate, love, all those vivid emotions…what are they, unless they are right here, right now, in this exact moment?

It doesn’t need to be so hard.

If Bali was about letting go, then Thailand is about embracing life, and existing in the now… I could summon my voice, and let it chatter away about the people I’ve met, the colour of the sea, take you on a journey from the moment the gecko sits on my shoulder and wakes me up, to the trek across the rocks, up to the shala, through my yoga class, the teaching methods of Matthew Sweeney, the poses I’m learning, the meditations I fidget through, the conversations over Pad Thai, coconut shakes melting on the table tops.  I could tell you about jump-throughs, and the moon sequence, the drama over my intestines, and lack of movement therein.  I could share the bombastic laughter that had me rolling off the mat, the harmonising of many cultures by candlelight.  I could moan about the mosquito bites and sea lice, exaggerate the elf-like creatures that have caught my eye.  I could describe what it felt like in that moment on the first day, when I sat cross-legged and knew without a doubt that this experience was going to be one of the best times of my life.  I want to share, I really do, but when I close my eyes, all I see is a blank space.

I hope you don’t mind that I take this time, well all the time I need, to pause for a bit.  I will want to write again soon – it’s in my nature.  I need to  –  to observe, to feel and to walk on by.  But right now, I’m going to sink a little deeper into this space, listen to the passage of my breath and enjoy this sensation of warmth right here, right now, in my centre.

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