Shelves are empty, floor scattered with clothes I can’t decide whether to pack, or put into storage.  Reluctant to put away my photos, afraid of looking under the bed, and…urgh…I still have the kitchen to contend with.   I know I’m only going away for 3 months – that’s nothing really – but as I fold everything away and say goodbye, over and over again, I realise I’m cutting myself loose from the things I’d relied on to protect me.  The 9-5 job that ensured the bills were paid, a room in a house that contained my little world of belongings, and gave me that space to sleep peacefully.  It is scary to say goodbye to those things, even when deep down you know it’s what you have to do.

I know I have to open up my life to the possibility of an alternative livelihood just to see if it can flourish.  To experience first hand, whether the things that feel so right….are.  I’m not afraid of failure, nearly as much as I’m afraid of regret.  And when I think back to everything I’ve learnt and gained from stepping foot on this path – must be 5 years ago now – there is, most certainly no regret.  I feel gratitude, happiness, love, compassion, patience….vulnerability, openness, and peace.  I guess that’s all worth a spot of uncertainty and momentary panics about whether I’ll have a bed to sleep in or enough income to keep myself afloat.

It’s worth it, because I can’t imagine doing anything else.  It’s worth it because I find that all of those fears and anxieties that do stir and rear up on occasion, are always appeased by my morning practice, or the moment when a client walks into the room and I ask them how they are.  I’m beginning to feel like I’m stepping into myself.  There is something harmonious happening, not just within, but all around me.  The relationships that have deepened, wonderful friendships that have sprung up with such vibrancy, a practice that was once compartmentalised into classes – now a way of being.

I don’t know what I’m going to come back to.  I don’t know what I’m risking by going away at such a pinnacle moment in starting out on a new career.  I don’t know what will fade, and what will thrive in my absence.  Of course I have certain hopes and desires….ideals that skip through my imagination with rainbow roads underfoot…but I don’t hold onto those images for too long.  It seems that whatever happens, whether it be incredible or terrible, there is always an opportunity for great things.

I hope to write while I’m away.  Capture the essence of what it is to go into retreat for so long.  But, I’ll play it by ear, as I always have done.  Sometimes I want to recoil and shut myself off from the world.  Other times, the art of articulation is as much a part of the process as the yoga itself.   I’m looking forward to getting back into my practice.  To living in leggings and vest tops, and sweating all over my mat.  I’m looking forward to feeling my body each morning, making my way to the shala and working out whether it will be a primary, or a moon day….experiencing the fluctuating dynamics of a group of students who are opening up to each other in a place of trust and compassion.  I’m looking forward to asking questions, and seeing what resonates and what challenges.  I’m looking forward to the moments of hysterical laughter, and putting our arms around each other for comfort.  I’m looking forward to the stillness, the silence.  The space to allow whatever I’ve been buttoning down to surface.

And something else, that means a great deal to me, and shows me how far I’ve come…I’m looking forward to returning home at the end of it all – to see how well the planted seeds are coming along.

Oxford 2014 027

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