Soooo, I went back for my two-week appointment, having ALMOST followed her guidelines meticulously.  There were a couple of days here and there where I deviated from the food plan and my dedication to crushing three teaspoons of coriander seeds into a glass of water every night waned, but all-in-all I was feeling like a good…I want to say student instead of patient.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Whether it would be a simple – check up and go – here’s your diet plan for the rest of your life, or a thorough reevaluation.

Having monitored my toilet breaks, written about my emotional ups and downs here on the blog, I’d felt prepared for both, but still, when our conversation got going and some of the more probing questions were introduced I was caught off-guard.

My understanding of the remedies and what they do, and how they make me feel wasn’t particularly acute.  In fact, it was all a bit of a blur.  I knew that one made me hiccup, some had more bitter tastes than others, but how had they changed me?  What were they doing to me?

I’ve decided that over the next two weeks (until my next appointment) this will be my primary focus.

Night Remedy.  1 tsp of dark brown powder mixed into small cup of hot water – “are you sleeping deeply?” she asked me.  I had to think for a bit.

“Yes.  Mostly I am.”  In fact, I’d been sleeping better than I had for a long-time, but every now and again I’d wake up in the night, or feel really groggy the next day.

“Have you been having dreams?”  She continued…and it was then that I drew a blank.  Dreams?  I usually pay really close attention to my dreams.  They’re often incredibly vivid and action-packed, so the fact that I drew a blank, made me assume, “no.  I’m not having dreams.”

It was then that she told me the night-remedy is about encouraging deep sleep, and its in deep sleep that we heal, that we recover.  I am aware of all of this from the yoga and meditation, but realised that now, with the changes in my diet and additional herbal concoctions, this point was particularly prevalent.

My ayurvedic treatment is, much like my meditation, about purging and letting go.  Letting go!  It’s difficult to believe how much stuff I’ve been holding onto.  The weight!  The unbearable weight of it all…and it just keeps falling.

The last two nights I’ve kept a notepad by the side of my bed.  Pen at the ready.  As soon as I wake I make a quick note of the main things I’ve dreamt of.

Friday night – it was traveling and train journeys, amends with estranged friends, and facing up to a far-too-obvious truth regarding an ex-of sorts.

Last night –

36 Henley Street.  Landlords.  Housemates.  Being back there.  New kitchen.  Eating the pizza – lying, making up excuses, feeling guilty.  Don’t lie in the first place.  Don’t eat the pizza!!

A bit random, perhaps, but it relates back to a similar break-through from when I was in meditation.  A traumatizing experience with the blue bucket.

Day 2 – soooo restless and bored (now that I wasn’t allowed to sleep in my rest breaks and private meditation).  Decided to give myself a make-shift pedicure.  Hmmmm….blue bucket.  Right, fill up the blue bucket with hot water and soap.  Place bucket on floor by bed, soak right foot, sit back and relax.  Ahhhh, this meditation malarkey isn’t so bad.  A few minutes have passed.  Time to empty the bucket…but my foot’s going to drip across the floor.  So, I cleverly decide to hop, and slide my feet towards the shower drain.  A LITTLE bit of pressure on the floor of the bucket, but ah well.  Sure it’ll be fine.   Now its time for the left foot.  Hot water and soap in the bucket, left foot placed into the bucket, lean back and relax….hot water everywhere!  Seeping, from a thin crack in the sky-blue plastic.  Fuck!

Now, any normal person would have mopped up the water, gone to management, told them about the bucket and requested a new one.

I, on the other hand, went through 4 distinct stages.

1) Denial.  Rest of day 2 – day 4.  It must have been there before.  I can’t believe they gave me a broken bucket!

2) Partial Acceptance  – day 4.  Ok.  It was me.  I broke the bucket… what the hell do I do about it?  Panic, fear, will they charge me for it, can I swap it with somebody else?

3) Make-shift Resolution – day 5 – shower-cap on the bottom of bucket = no more spillage!  Hoorah (short-lived).

4) Taking responsibility for my actions.  Day 7 – particularly intense day of meditation, in which I identified this whole bucket scenario as being symptomatic of a much much greater issue.  Recognition – Acceptance – Dissolution.  If I was going to start to combat this destructive pattern, then I’d have to face up to the bucket once and for all.

Day 9 – I marched up to management – bucket in tow, and in my noble-silence sign language admitted my mistake, made my apologies and held my breath waiting for the consequences.  She looked at me, confused as fuck…

That bucket, much like this pizza I ate in my dream, haunted and taunted me, creating so much guilt, and stress, that could have been avoided if I’d just throw my hands up into the air and say straight off the bat, “I’m sorry, I’ve been a dick and done something stupid”

Where has this crippling fear of making mistakes arisen from?  All I can do, and what I’ve learnt, is that it doesn’t really matter what the root cause is as such.  If you can break the habit in the now, then all the past stresses and weight unravels.  It gets stripped out of you, along with the root cause, and you are set free.

Since my return from Thailand I’ve been making a conscious effort to stop lying.  It’s usually about things like agreeing to things that I don’t really want to do, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, or saying I like something when I don’t, covering up a spillage on the carpet, or hiding empty wrappers of chocolate bars…in breaking the habit its manifesting as the panic-striken yell of, “SUE!  I’VE MADE A MISTAKE!”  Bobbles from the window blinds sucked up into the hoover; declining an invitation to a party because I just can’t afford it;  no more elaborate excuses and just admitting to my Ayurveda dr I’d double-booked, any chance of rescheduling?!

It’s surprisingly hard, and I find myself going down the path of creativity and pulling myself back in again.  NO!  TRUTH Laura – TRUTH!  Plain and simple.  Perhaps it will get easier in time, and these dreams will leave me.  Perhaps even just admitting it, and being open about this particular struggle of mine will help me to let go of whatever it is.

Perhaps that’s why I’m struggling so much with this whole job-seeking thing…because as recruitment processes stand its going against this new-found determination.  I came across a job I felt excited about the other day.  The salary’s lower than what I was on before I went away, but it was the first company that invited people to apply – and be creative, be them!  How refreshing it was, and how fearless I felt in getting in touch and saying this is me…if I’m a fit – GREAT let’s chat, if not, it doesn’t matter.

It reminded me that its worth holding out to find the right job…the one that encourages balance in an individual – celebrates it.

Whenever I feel that fear creeping up, like when I’m standing at the till in the Oxfam shop, and have to press the buttons just right, I take a step back…look around me…if I make a mistake so what?  The manager behind me is smiling away, ready to help if I need her, the customer is smiling away too, probably thinking, “Ah, bless.  Volunteer on her first day!”  I think back to that wonderful TED lecture that Tamsin posted on my blog ages ago…Ken Robinson’s “schools kill creativity”.

If you’re not prepared to be wrong you’ll never come up with anything original….[in business] we stigmatize mistakes….[in education] mistakes are the worst things we can make…as a result we are educating people out of their creative capacities

(if the link’s broken – try this:

In Ayurvedic terms my constitution is predominantly Vata.  When in balance this is movement, creativity, generating of ideas and thinking quickly.  Then I am Kapha – which is grounded and caring.   Wanting to look after people.  But when we go through a competitive “Pitta” education system which gears us up for an even more competitive working environment, then where does that leave the Vata/Kapha types?  On a back foot…out of balance.

If I take an even bigger step back, I can see why this stage in my life, this point of transition is so fundamentally important.  Look around us.  The education system Ken Robinson pulls into question in such an inspiring manner, the  distrust we have in business, in the banks, in our politicians.  Our POLITICIANS!  I went to boarding school for two years, and watching them heckle and bully in the house of commons is about as inspiring as getting caught in the cross-fire of the absurd abuse of the Wargrave and Gonville boys in the Common Room when I was 17.  It’s a disgrace.

Where do we go from here?  What are our alternatives?

I guess we have to start from inside.  Each one of us.  My Ayurvedic dr says its important to stay true to yourself, echoing the advice of Matthew, of Goenka, of all these inspiring people who are helping so many others to find balance and happiness.

I can see my path, where I’m headed.  It’s the now, it’s the short-term that I’m struggling with.   And perhaps that’s because right now, I’m still out of balance.  I still have a lot of purging to do, and habits to break.  In being patient and holding out for a job that encourages creativity and individuality then perhaps I will break one of my most crippling lifetime habits of all.  In breaking with the system, I lose that fear.  I find truth and balance.