Dangerous Love 

Do you know what one the most dangerous things in the world is? I think it’s to love someone who doesn’t love you back. 

You feel so much joy and compassion, especially when you think of your love, and in return you get moments. Some of the moments you can hold to your heart knowing that this is the closest you will get to this person. Other times you wake up with your heart pounding feeling incredibly lonely and foolish. 

You can’t force someone to love you who doesn’t, but you can show them you love them or tell them. It usually won’t change the outcome of the situation which has likely been pre determined before you ever even met the person. 

When I was younger I watched the TV show Clueless. One of the lines in the opening song was ‘she wears her heart on her sleeve and she’d give it to you in a second.’ This probably wasn’t the show I was meant to get my dating advice for the future from, but the line has always stuck with me and as I’ve gotten older, I believe it is important more and more. 

If you hide your feelings and are trying to protect yourself then you will never know how the other person feels. You’ll never get to experience the pure emotion, unhindered by expectations and projections. Even if the other person doesn’t feel the same, shouldn’t you have the pleasure of experiencing the love yourself? I try and make myself an open book and often that scares people, especially my romantic partners, but I would rather have that experience and share those feelings than not. 

In my favorite poem ‘The Lesson of the Moth,’ the moth is having a conversation with a cockroach about why moths are attracted to fire, which will eventually incinerate them. The moth explains, ‘it is better to be happy for a moment and be burned up with beauty than to live a long time and be bored all the while.’

The cockroach then explains why he is a bit more pragmatic, but I don’t disagree with the moth, especially when it comes to love. 

When you approach things from love whether romantic or not, it changes everything. 

I got kinda dumped the other day, and I say kinda cause we only kinda dated for over the past nine months, it’s complicated, but what in life isn’t? Before we had the inevitable conversation some of my friends seemed concerned about what I would say and how I would react and I’m sure that the person I was speaking to was also really scared, but for me it was never going to be an angry conversation. I wanted them to leave it knowing how much I cared about them. I didn’t want there to be drama, I just wanted him to feel good about the time we spent together and not see it end in a dramatic heart breaking way, even if it felt like my heart was breaking. 

I don’t have any regrets about loving him, even though from the start it was pretty clear he wouldn’t be able to show me that love as well. In fact if anything, I wish I had the balls to express it earlier on. It might have ended sooner had I done that, but I could have been more honest about how I feel and had the chance to be in that space of love sooner. 

And that’s really what it comes down to, that when you love someone you create that loving energy and it inspires and uplifts you in all areas of your life. It’s a beautiful creative force that drives you to do amazing things. And we try to harness it and control it, beat it down and drag it back in to the depths of our hearts. We are embarrassed and intimidated by it. It’s cliche and ‘too much’ and all the while not enough.

Love is so powerful and so necessary in the world we currently live in, that if we can’t approach our romantic partners with this love than how will we ever be able to love the people we aren’t close to? How will we show compassion when someone with a mental health problem yells at us on the street? What’s out first thought when we get cut off when we’re driving? How will we react when we learn about the next bombing in Syria? The world needs more love and it needs more people to express it. 

It’s Personal

The preciousness of life should not be underestimated. The beauty of meeting new people should not be undervalued and the lessons they offer us unappreciated. Time is not something we control. In every moment of every day we have the opportunity to decide whether or not we will show up. For ourselves. For others. 

When time ends for others we tend to feel it strongly. Sadness can be overwhelming. We feel lonely and question our purpose and how much time we have. Through our grieving we can also choose to celebrate the life of the person who left us. 

It’s challenging for us to get out of our heads and in to our hearts. To celebrate a life lived rather than a life lost. But if we are able to, then we can have a wonderful experience. We can transcend time. The time lost and the time missed when that life was still with us. 

I started writing this blog when someone I had met recently died suddenly.

When I found it again in my notes I thought it was relevant to other kinds of loss…the end of relationships both romantic and friendships and the big leaps we take in life, which always seem to take hold of us and can cripple us with sadness and a new awareness of time and our lack of control. 

But when things seem like they are spiraling out of control. When the grief of death or perceived ends take over our lives, it’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to be reminded about the fragility of life. The temporariness of everything we place so much importance on is finite. 

None of us will live forever, nothing will be perfect, we can’t control the outcomes of life, but we can enjoy the moments and embrace the transitions. We can love people passionately and tell them even if it makes us vulnerable and we can give the goodness we cultivate in our lives to all those around us and in doing so have that reflected back to us when we need it.

We hold our emotions so closely to our bodies that they can suffocate us. We try to protect ourselves from the pain of life by building walls and hiding vulnerabilities to ‘protect’ ourselves, but really all we are doing is limiting our own experience of life.

How often do we avoid getting to know someone because we can’t see how that relationship will serve us?

Do we avoid expressing our emotions to a romantic partner because we fear rejection? When sometimes just having the opportunity to express our love is a wonderful way to feel that love in ourselves. 

How often do we tell our friends we love them and then actually show them?

How much are we getting out of life if we’re always holding back? 

I know there’s a lot I’ve missed out on because I didn’t want to get too close for fear of getting hurt, but the other side of that hurt is always the opportunity of love and that should always be enough.

Welcome back?

My first week back from India was really eventful. I arrived home on a Saturday and resigned from my job on the Monday.

Coming back from India I felt free and light. After handing in my resignation that feeling was only amplified. It was enhanced even more as every job I applied for called me in for an interview. I was feeling really good. 

Then I had a few things happen over the weekend that threw me a little. Someone started an argument with me, another person cancelled plans with me who I hadn’t seen in ages and then the second interview for the job I wanted got cancelled and hasn’t been rescheduled yet. These things on their own don’t seem life changing, but I felt like the world was attacking the positive vibes I had been cultivating and I wasn’t too thrilled.

The week kinda dragged on. There hasn’t been too much work to get done and I’ve been waiting. Waiting for the argument to pass, plans to be rescheduled, and my second interview to be offered again. 

I’ve been feeling really anxious, more so than I have in a long time. I realized how much I’m missing India and being in a bubble of like minded people all pursuing a higher goal within their yoga practices. I miss the elevated conversations and challenging points of view where the only thing people wanted to change was themselves, no ulterior motives. 

Today when I was walking at 4:45 am to catch my bus to yoga I saw two groups of people coming back from a big night out. I felt strangely sad. I felt like I was missing out on something. I used to be part of that world and now I’m part of this other world, which I love, but seems to have fewer residents in it. I felt like an outsider observing life. I feel that way at work too. Now that I’ve resigned I can see so much more clearly the problems as they arise and the limitations people unknowingly put on themselves and others.

People talk about culture shock when you get back from foreign countries and I thought that was silly, but I can see it now. I feel like I’m constantly on the outside viewing the world I was once part of. I feel very separate. 

As time continues on and my life back home continues to change and the time between my return and my training expands, I’ve been trying to hold on to the teachings I was given. 

Don’t take things too personally. 

Everything is empty from its own side and appears according to how you see it. 

Stop Blaming Complaining and Explaining    

These are just some of the bits of wisdom I’ve tried to reflect on when things have felt too difficult this week, but my mind is still really powerful and easily brings me back to this helpless place I thought I’d left behind in India.

But every time I’m side tracked as in all things in life, I remind myself I can get back. This feeling is just a feeling and it will pass. It only matters if I give it attention. 

I thought after India I had achieved some kind of higher ground. I’d passed a certain point and there was no going back, but now I feel I’ve plummeted back to where I was before, possibly further down. This isn’t true of course, I can pull myself out of this hole and get back to where I was in India so quickly by just changing my perspective. Having great supportive friends is also an amazing part of helping to bring my mind back in to focus.

There’s no reason to live in the lack when the whole universe has your back. 

Lesson from an enthusiastic bird

I’ve been at a yoga teacher training for almost four weeks now and the most dedicated student is a guinea fowl named Turkey.

All the other trainees are wonderful holy beings, but Turkey is one step ahead. She arrives for practice before everyone and announces their arrival. She doesn’t quite understand meditation yet, she much prefers kirtan, she sings the entire time we are meant to be silent.  

Turkey has really found her voice, which is something I’ve been trying to do as well. 

I’ve always been teased about my voice because it can be high pitched, especially when I’m excited. It wasn’t until I had to start speaking hour and a half long yoga classes, that I realized how much these messages had stuck with me. 

Speaking in public is a scary thing for most people and it gets even scarier when you think that the tool you are using to communicate with people is going to be a big turn off. 

It’s important that yoga teachers have a voice that invites relaxation and allows the student to go deeper in to their practice. Having what my father would call a valley girl voice, might not be very relaxing for most people.

When I realized that this was one of the reasons I was scared to talk in public, it immediately became less scary. Understanding the fear took away some of its power (not all, sadly). As the month has progressed and I’ve had to continue to speak in front of people for extended periods of time, I’ve come to realize my voice isn’t so bad. At training we often have evenings where we sing and chant, it’s called kirtan. The emphasis is not on how well you sing but about singing/chanting with as much passion as you can. Kirtan evenings are always the most invigorating. There’s no judgement, no one is listening to who has a bad voice, though sometimes it is easy to pick up who has a really great one! 

Turkey’s pride in her voice is pretty admirable, she’s the only guinea fowl in the village. Because animals are seen here as sentient beings, she is able to strut around, hangout in yoga classes, and sing as loud as she wants. She’s extremely popular amongst the trainees. It’s interesting to see how much personality she has. I think most people wouldn’t expect a guinea fowl to be so exuberant and engaging. 

One of our teachers compared her to the animals in factory farms, where chickens are kept in wire cages, their claws growing around the wire, never seeing natural light as they are raised to be our next meal. 

Animals who are raised for human consumption aren’t given the opportunity to experience life. They aren’t treated as living beings, they have no voice. 

It’s been wonderful to see what happens when animals are allowed to coexist with humans, when they aren’t just another commodity or another meal to satisfy the unending desire of humans to have more. 
So while I’ve been trying to get out of my own way and over my ego when it comes to what I sound like, I’ve been able to notice how around me, that’s not what people are noticing and there are so many examples of what can happen when you let go of how you sound and get deeper in to what you’re actually saying.

I’m feeling better about speaking to future yoga classes, but for most of the animals on factory farms in the world, they won’t ever have the opportunity to join in chanting like Turkey. Maybe this sounds silly, but why should we distinguish between the being we think should be good and those that are our companions animals? 

Animals we choose to eat will remain voiceless in a system of power that sees their lives are being less than ours because we’ve decided they’re food. 

Watch this video of Turkey leading the way to yoga class and remember that she isn’t that far away from being the food you like to call dinner. 

I tried to have sex like a guy ….

And it didn’t end up happening. 

I met a guy out the other week and we hit it off. We hooked up but didn’t sleep together. We exchanged numbers. I didn’t hear from him so I texted him after New Years to say hello.

No response.
I decided to be more direct and asked if he wanted to have sex. 

Immediate response. 

He explained he was recently out of a relationship, which was fine with me as I was interested in someone else. 

We went to drinks and he seemed nervous. He couldn’t tell when I was joking even when I was smiling and he kept crossing his arms in front of his body, which made me think he was uncomfortable.

We talked openly about his lack of interest in wishing me a happy new year, but how quickly he replied to having sex.

We both laughed.

I told him my situation and how I was interested in someone and looking for a distraction.

We both appreciated the honesty.

We went back to my place and had a great conversation. He kept telling me how attracted he was to me. I felt really comfortable knowing nothing would come out of this and we were about to have a fun night. 

We had a few setbacks and I suggested that there were other things we could do. When I showed him two discreet items he said, “all I can think is how many guys you have used these with.”

And that’s when things started to unravel…

I told him they were for me, but the suggestion that I had all these partners using the items in question was a bit offensive. Mostly because he was suggesting that it was not ok for me to have more than one. Had he just not been interested in using them I would have understood, but his statement showed a hint of disgust for a woman who was doing exactly what most men in today’s dating world do.

He decided he had to go and when I questioned why he just brushed it off as I was over-thinking things.

Another sign this guy was stuck in the dark ages. He tried to undermine how I was feeling in that moment by putting down my reaction and making it in to something about me, when this was all about him and his insecurities. 

I texted him after to clarify what had happened and his response was basically that it was all too much.

I felt terrible, but then I woke up and talked about it with a friend. And I felt less sad and just really angry. 

Here was a guy who had told me he didn’t want any commitment, but when I tried to give him that he didn’t want it anymore.

What he wanted was the illusion of a relationship wrapped up in a night of passion. 

He wanted all the possibilities, so that he could act however he wanted. The current dating climate is one where men want to be able to leave at the drop of the hat with no fuss and no drama, but show them the other side of that coin and suddenly it’s not so shiny. 

There is no social pressure to treat women well anymore. There are so many options out there that people feel like they can move on quickly, so if a woman isn’t willing to accept the way things are, she is completely replaceable. I’m not the only blonde, yoga loving American in the world. I am in fact replaceable. And that’s not to put myself down, because all those other blonde yoga lovers are likely awesome people, as you would expect…the problem here is this culture of excess, consumption and upgrading. 

It’s as though we are all living in a suspended reality, where we like to deny the fact that we are adults. We shop around for love like it’s the newest version of the iPhone and refuse to settle until we wake up one day and finally feel old and lonely. 

I feel like the real eye opening part of my experience was that he didn’t like that I was making him feel like he was just being used for sex. Despite this being a completely consensual and previously agreed upon agenda, when faced with the reality of it, he couldn’t handle it.

Even though he told me he didn’t want a date, he still wanted me to act like there was this possibility of dating. He wanted his cake made specially for him, hand delivered and then fed to him on a golden spoon. 

If this isn’t enough to convince you about the type of guy this is, I should mention that we had a really disturbing conversation where he tried to convince me how bad violence against men is compared to violence against women. It’s worse in fact, according to him.

And every other misogynist out there. 

I guess the moral of this story is that dating is crappy. It’s hard and full of people struggling to figure out what they want in a world overflowing with options. It’s even harder when YOU don’t even know what you want or when what you want isn’t available. People are always doing the best they can in each moment and we have to cut each other some slack from time to time.n

I’m sure this guy is wonderful and just having a difficult post breakup experience, but for me he represents a series of men that I would prefer not to find in my bed again. 

Why Trump Won

Over the past couple of months when coworkers came by my desk and asked what I would do if Trump won the election, I rolled my eyes.

It was media hype, he would never win.

And like most people in the world…I say world and not the US, because today the US failed the world… I watched the unbelievable unfold.

A racist, misogynist…terrifying man is now leading what was once a world superpower. And why? Why did we let this happen? How could this happen?

There’s a lot of blame going around. Blaming the Americans who didn’t vote or voted third party and blaming the ignorance of people who chose to vote for Trump. People are scared and angry and really really sad, I know I am.

But there isn’t a lot the world can do as we watch the US unravel. We have to be bystanders. We have to keep the country in our thoughts and hope for the best and hope that the best is a revolution of some kind…but I digress.

I feel deeply saddened by the events that occurred today. And I’m sad not just because I think a lot of people I care about are in danger and there are difficult years ahead, but I’m sad because Trump won because of our fears.

In yoga, when you practice asana, instructors often tease, that students fear headstands because they are afraid of falling over and dying. They often have the strength and ability, but their fear of the unknown and being injured prevents them from achieving it or causes imbalance and the inevitable fall. This election was based on fear…and now we have fallen. 

Fear that jobs and money are leaving the country, fear of immigrants taking all the money, fear of Muslims and terrorists, fear of women with power, and fear of same sex…sex. All these fears are fears of insecurity, fear of there not being enough, fear of the unknown…and most people live their lives in fear. 

A friend of mine gave me a bracelet once with the words “Love>Fear” inscribed in it. I wear it everyday And every time I look at it, it reminds me that when I choose love in a situation instead of fear, I am more powerful…and the more we all do this the more momentum we build for creating the kind of world where people like Trump aren’t given leadership. 

We can’t re-write what has just happened, but we can start to change this story. We can take the fear that caused this election outcome and start to see ourselves in these people who voted for Trump, and know that they weren’t trying to end the world, they were scared. They were bombarded with stories where their livelihoods were jeopardized and instead of thinking rationally, they stayed in that fear.

The worst has happened, we can’t go back, but we can move forward. We have to. Where there is love, fear becomes smaller. And the smaller our fear the less powerful people like Trump, who operate on people’s fears, become. 

I hope we can all start tomorrow with less fear.

There is a lot of unknown ahead for us all, but acting and reacting with fear will only hold us back. 

Now or Never

I did something you’re not supposed to do. I developed feelings for someone who was off limits…and to be honest, it’s not the first time it happened. 

The last time I was seeing someone casually it lasted about three months before I couldn’t take it anymore and eventually admitted to the dreaded feelings I shouldn’t have allowed to creep up. We ended on decent terms…until he started seeing another friend in our group and I found myself leaving behind a large group of friends and not just a lover. 

This time, I probably could not exit as gracefully and I’m not sure I would want to. The thing is, once you’ve caught feelings, it’s hard to hide them. From yourself, from the other person, even from your friends. Like any illness, it creeps in to every corner of your life. 

When I first started down this road I didn’t much care about the outcome. It was the same the last time I found myself here, but slowly it grew and now I can’t avoid it much longer. 

I’ve set a pre determined expiration date to try and put it out of my mind and deal with it later. You can’t change other people and force them to feel what you feel, but it’s frustrating when you meet people you care about and never get an opportunity to experience what it would be like with them. Not just an after thought on a Friday night. 

Some of my friends have been exceptionally supportive and told me to live in the moment. For the most part I’ve been doing this, but more recently I’ve been getting pulled away by the endless chatter in my mind. 

What’s going to happen? 

Can he really be seeing me this long and not have feelings? 

I’ve always thought that the most I could offer in relationships was my sexuality. That chemistry mattered first and the rest would fall in to place, but lately I’ve felt cheated that I never get to share the other parts of myself with the people I am most intimate with. 

I want to bring someone pancakes in bed, show them all the amazing yoga studios I’ve found in Sydney, go for morning runs together, and spend evenings cooking delicious meals while sharing a drink in my fairy lit backyard. And I understand those are all the goods parts and that there are the bad parts as well, but I want those too. I want someone to argue with about my annoying habits, someone to debate over the chores with, and a person to give and receive the silent treatment from when we get lost on road trips.

I don’t want to be the casual cool girl who is fun until she isn’t useful anymore and desirable until she’s caught ‘the feelings’ and isn’t worth being around anymore.

And so as I watch myself unfurl over the pending doom of another failed lover, I can only take the advice of my friends. Focus on the moment and know that with a clear intention I will one day have a relationship where having feelings for the other person is a desirable quality, and not something to be feared.