So with yesterday being a rest AND moon day (and new moon at that), it seemed only right that I have a lie in, eat two breakfasts, enjoy a coffee, sprawl out on the beach, looking up into the flickering sun-light through the chattering leaves.  And if it wasn’t for the poisonous black sea-urchin prongs that got stuck in my shapely thighs, or “Buenos Jamones”, as Pedro took to calling them (it literally means good hams, but I’m assured it’s a compliment in Espana)…inhale/gasp….it would have been a truly wonderful day.  (I always struggle with these openings.  How many commas, “and’s”  and points aside can you put into one sentence without losing everyone?)

I did a bit of reading, a bit of contemplative meditation, took advantage of my free-wifi and updated my I-tune playlist, courtesy of some wonderful shout-outs on facebook from friends.

It was only when I clicked on “yes” to save and delete my current playlist, that I realised how utterly morose it was.  Dark, Dark Dark; Bon Iver; This Is England score; These Bloody Days….for fuck’s sake!  No wonder I’ve been single for so long and have a spattering of friendship carcasses rotting in my wake, like a mangled slew of roadkill.

I’ve been pretty miserable – for AGES!  And I mean AGES!  Even when I was laughing, and “happy”, I wasn’t really happy, and I know that, and I can say that with complete vindication, because now I’m beginning to feel what happiness is.  Remember that moment in the field I described, from way back in October – my inspiration for booking myself onto the course with Matthew.  When everything was still and quiet and beautiful, and I could just feel everything.  The warmth of the sun, the rustling blades of grass, the comforting embrace of inner peace.  Well, I feel that a lot now.

Maybe feel is the operative word.  It’s not just happiness I feel, it’s not as fluffy and vacuous as that.  There’s a lot more energy – fiery, earthy, and otherwise.  I’m not sure when I began to tap into it, when these emotions began to take shape and colour, but there was a time, when Sofia and I were genuinely concerned by the passion and violence of our laughter.  We could not breathe, or move for laughter…clinging onto each other, almost screaming with laughter.  This rushing of happiness and joy so potent, so overwhelming, that we almost pulled Matthew aside one day to ask whether this was normal, whether this was something we should be tempering.

Sure enough, the episodes of joy, gave way to despair.  Sofia retreated into solitary lunch breaks, me, it was something under the surface.  Pushing itself, up against my chest, constricting my breath.  I wanted it out.  I also withdrew.  Tried to explain my polarity to the group.  Wanting, loving spending time with them, getting to know them, absorbing their amazing energy, and giving myself the space to let go.

I did at last.

Diary Entry – 30th March, 2012

After he [Matthew] finished speaking, I knew that stuff was coming up.  My chest was tight and the tears were heavy behind my eyes.  Sofia came up to speak to me, and I couldn’t concentrate.  I saw Pedro put his arm around Lise.  I gathered my things, paid Matthew his 200 baht for Ashtanga As it Is.

Janni was outside.  Wanting to chat – light banter – couldn’t do it.  Could see Pedro out of the corner of my eye.  Looking straight at me, those ridiculously open black eyes.

“I’m feeling emotional” I whispered.  Voice cracking, muscles in my face contorting.  Pressure in my chest building.  I need to walk, I need to get away.

Janni looked concerned, speaks over me to protect me I think – gives me time to make my escape.

I clambered up the dirt track, blurry eyed and gasping for breath, stumbling into the barbed wire fence.  I paused for a moment, let out a sob, could hear Janni’s voice get louder.  Took a deep breath bundled through to the toilet at Bamboo.  I leaned into the wall, and cried.  Felt my shoulders shake.  The initial release.  Deep breath – get back to my hut.

Walked past everyone settling down.  Sun glasses  covering my eyes.  “Laura – over here.” Denise, calls out, with her charm and kindness – “I’m just on my way home…” unconvincing smile, shaking voice.  Is it just me going through all of this?

I make it back, somehow.  Down the rocks, over the scalding sand.  Key clutched in between my fingertips – is it me, is it me, that isn’t worthy of Ashtanga?  Is it yet, one more thing I can’t do – I’m not right for, not good enough for.

I crawl on top of the itchy blanket on my bed, feel the first wave of air brush over me, and sob.  Brendan’s playing on my i-pod.  Along the Watchtower.  The hollowness of him not being here spirals like a sharp blade from the base of my stomach, up into my chest.  His voice, the way it breaks ever so slightly, his fingers on the guitar.  There’s nothing hollow about his playing – not at all.  The depth of him in every note, the subtle gravitas, brings everything back.  Our childhood, our adolescence, and eventual passage into a fragmented adulthood.  When I first started to grieve for him, I felt ashamed, even embarrassed that I cried so much.  Who was I to grieve with such force?  What about his family, friends from now, all the other girlfriends to share his bed?  And so I held some of it back.

Am I allowed to say that I loved him?  Is the emotion real?  Am I just creating drama?  Did he even think of me at all?

That’s my ego talking.  Matthew is teaching us how to feel.  And that fucking pain spiralling up and down my stomach and chest, the way I caved in, fingers frozen in a broken-boned grip around the bed sheets.  Tears – pouring, pouring out of me.  That feeling is real.  Right at that moment, my grief was real.  My love for him was, and always will be, real.

Despite the pain I felt on that day, it was a really wonderful thing.  Perhaps for the first time in my life I was able to distinguish between ego and self.  The shame and inadequacy I thought I’d felt, suddenly fell away and I could hold onto something, finally realise what Matthew was talking about.  “This is my body, and this is real.”

I want to write more.  But I’m suddenly very tired.

Feeling, is definitely the operative word.  To feel, whatever it is, however ugly and uncomfortable/beautiful and uplifting, it’s connecting with something that we can hold onto, that makes us present.

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