Are you sure?

Have you ever sought advice and had a million different opinions of what you should do?

For a long time I’ve asked for guidance form my friends in regards to dating and life in general. Everyone always has a different opinion. Even if one group of friends thinks one thing, another will believe something contrary.

I recently took it to the next level and talked to a psychic because I wanted to know if I’d ever end up in love, I wanted a quick fix. I thought if there was any validity to the process that it would help shed light on what was meant to be. I wasn’t very receptive to what she had to say. She told me a happily ever after tale that left me feeling unimpressed – despite ultimately answering my burning question.

I understand that these things could be related to what you manifest. If you really believe you’re going to meet the love of your life in a few months, chances are your attitude will show it and you’ll be more inviting and open to new people.

The thing is that four days before I spoke to her I considered the possibility of moving to Canada for a person I’d known for a week.

To be fair to myself I wasn’t planning to completely abandon ship, just visit to see if it could work.

Crazy? Yes.

Delusional? Maybe.

Impossible? No.

When my mini love affair ended I was told it was for the best because I wouldn’t want to go to Canada anyway. Too cold.

I’ve been told he was damaged and it wouldn’t work.

I’ve been told that it was just an unrealistic possibility and I should be grateful for the experience.

I really honestly appreciate all the advice and love my friends consistently offer as I traverse the dating world, but this time something feels different.

I’m not the kind of person to consider moving internationally for anyone. I’m also not someone, I thought, who would ever live outside Sydney (disclaimer: again), but all that changed in just a few days.

Now, people tell me this is great and I’m open for the next person, but there’s really nothing worse than people telling you they have your situation completely figured out. I don’t think we should all walk around blind to reality, but I’m also not someone who can pave over sadness with happiness without a second thought.

I’ve been feeling lately that something has to give. I feel unsettled in all areas of my existence. I’m unsure about my career choices, my ability as a yoga teacher, my aptitude as a friend and my deepest most crushing one – am I loveable?

My life is pretty privileged. I can live in a studio apartment, I can afford nice food and eating out, I’m even fortunate enough to have disposable income to fly home whenever I need…but when it comes to what’s happening on the inside, it’s a whole other story.

I question people’s reactions…including my own…around my recent experience because how I felt was not a way I felt before and what I was willing to do, was not something I would have considered, ever.

Those things, while uncharacteristic of me, were real. I can’t just let that go, no matter how much I try and sit with the sadness and loneliness left afterwards, I feel as though it has brought something so much bigger to my attention.

Its this feeling of being unsettled and ready for a change, but there is no clear direction of where that change will be / should be.

For the past year since I’ve come back from India, where I did my yoga teacher training, I’ve felt this way, unsure about everything. When I met this person I didn’t feel that anymore, I was sure.

Now I’m left wondering if I am better off and if Canada wasn’t my exit plan from this current state of uncertainty, what is?

Part of me believes that my yoga practice, meditation and self reflection are the best tools to get through, but I also don’t want to deny that anxiety can happen and when we have a tendency towards it, it may come up even stronger during difficult periods.

I want to keep believing that anything is possible, I don’t want to resign myself to a story that fits in with all the other story boards. We really never know what will happen.

No matter how many psychics we speak to or stories we hear, our lives are created day by day by the actions we take and the words we speak. So I’m hoping that even if my life is full of anxiety, my daily actions and words are helping to lead me to a place where I’m able to be sure again.

The end is near

I recently told someone how I felt about them. It was a really positive thing in my mind, I was excited, unlike other times I’ve done this – this seemed different.

At first the person seemed flattered and then because of the complicated circumstances around our knowing one another, he got upset. As he got upset, I got upset and it quickly spiraled downwards.

I talked to one of my best friends about what happened and she told me I wasn’t being empathetic. I had told him what I needed to say but didn’t consider how he would feel receiving that information.

She was right.

My brain was caught up on being authentic and communicating my desires and I completely dropped the ball and didn’t consider this other person I was inflicting myself on.

I really care for this person. He showed me a lot about myself in a seriously short amount of time and gave me something that none of the men I have dated ever achieved.

I felt secure, desired and present.

As soon as I felt those things slipping away with his imminent departure, I started grasping. I was holding on to the experience and not allowing it to change and develop naturally. It’s like I wanted to know what would happen next. I needed a plan or an ending to a story.

When I think of who I was when I first started dating in Sydney five years ago, I feel decades away from that person. When I think of what I was doing this time last year…it feels like a life time.

Two of my New Years intentions were to be more present and to be IN love. Not just romantically, but in the space of love.

Even though my delivery of my desires was not ideal, the last week has been a great experience. Enjoying moments and expressing myself in a more loving way.

It’s one thing to wear your heart on your sleeve, but it’s another to force that heart on someone, and I feel I have done just that.

One of the teachers I follow says we need to accept people where they are. I thought this was a great teaching. I related it a lot to veganism, which is one area that tends to cause some heated debates in my life. But I think more importantly it is about how people feel and express their emotions. We are all at different places in our lives and have had different experiences. This is part of what makes life so interesting and fun, but it also makes it complicated…which is why when we do wear our hearts on our sleeves, it’s best not to shove it in someone’s face, but let them see it where they’re standing.

A Yellow Wall

I was riding with my friend on his motorcycle the other day and I decided to use it as an opportunity to be present. It was an hour and a half drive one way. When you’re on a motorcycle as a passenger there’s not a lot else to do besides watch the world go by. Despite my inability to really do anything, instead of just enjoying the scenery, I found myself telling stories in my head.

Everyone has this from time to time, where they narrate their lives, but when I narrate my life in my head I’m usually talking to my ‘partner.’ This is slightly awkward because I don’t have one.

I was telling this story to my friend the other day, I felt so awkward admitting it. Her response was that it made sense. I’ve been dating so much and telling my story over and over, that I just want to be at the point in a relationship where I’m on the motorcycle and that’s the story I can start with.

It made so much sense, it was something I’d been embarrassed to admit even to myself, but when it comes down to it I want the consistent intimacy of having a long term partner one who knows everything about me, my ‘story,’ and with whom I can sit at a cafe and stare at the yellow wall in front of me and that be the starting point.*

I don’t need to explain why I’m in Sydney. I don’t need to justify why I’ve been single so long. I don’t have to make sense of why I am the way I am. We would have made it past that and we would be able to look forward or better yet, be present.

Getting to know new people can be a joy, in the past five years I’ve met hundreds of new people. People in my masters program, housemates, colleagues at different jobs, many many yogis at my teacher training, students, bartenders and Bumble dates. It’s true that with many new friends you can just start where you are and go from there, but it’s also true that at some stage you will eventually start to tell your story and explain the who and why about yourself.

We all have the labels and stories we tell ourselves, but the thing with stories is the more we tell them – the more they become ingrained in us. It’s good to know the who and why, but at some stage we need to move past these points. The more we tell our story the more real it becomes, and that can be positive or negative.

Are we telling ourselves that we are fat and ugly,

Do we tell ourselves we aren’t that great at our job and we will never get promoted?

Or maybe we just tell ourselves we will never be in love.

It works the other way too though.

Do we live in naivety and think that everything is fine even when it isn’t?

Do we ignore the impact of our lives on other beings and the planet?

Do we act on our own desires without taking in to consideration others?

Neither is right or wrong, but the stories we tell last a lifetime and the sad part is they end when we are no longer on this planet.

So if you’re waiting for something to change, change it yourself.

If you’re story line is something you’re sick of hearing, stop listening.

And if you’re waiting for a happy ending, you’re going to be waiting your whole life, try to enjoy each chapter.

*My friend and I were at a cafe starring at a yellow wall when the concept for this blog was conceived.

The dates of Christmas past

I woke up feeling anxious. It’s a familiar feeling I have. It’s tightness in my chest, racing thoughts, worse case scenarios.

Today I know why though. It’s because I started to like someone. I found a person with a lot of characteristics I value and who I have a lot of fun with. Even though it’s only been a short while, I can see myself building the fear in my body for when he tells me he’s not looking for anything serious or there’s someone else.

I know where those feelings live. They’re also in the tightness in my chest and my racing thoughts.

Yesterday I experienced the dates of Christmas past….

I matched with someone online who I dated a couple of years ago and things ended strangely – but we started to chat again.

Then at the party I was at, another ex-date showed up with his friends for another event.

It really is such a small world and I currently feel like I’ve dated everyone in it.

The interesting part was that I ended things with both these men, which is uncharacteristic of me, usually I hold on to the bitter end, but in these cases I knew I wasn’t getting what I needed or would need.

Because besides this fear that lives inside me, there’s also intuition. A bodily knowledge of what I need.

Lately I’ve been grasping. Grasping at dating other people to distract myself. I see myself falling for someone, and like a child who is about to be thrown in to the deep end, I’m clinging to the side of the pool. Flailing my arms and legs, resisting, stalling, fearful.

The last time I let go of all my panic, I opened myself up to fall in love with the last person I was seeing for awhile. By the time I had come back from India, with my new found knowledge and open heart, he had found someone new.

Of course this was sad, but the feeling of love was so great that even though it was never able to be cultivated in a relationship, I wouldn’t change a thing.

When we are in a place of love, you can’t go wrong. Even when things end, while being sad – they are also liberating. Opening ourselves up to love – in every moment and each fleeting experience – opens us up to the greatest possibilities in life – connection.

Loving our friends and family. Being open to falling in love romantically. Loving our lives. And most importantly, loving ourselves…these are gifts. They’re gifts we can choose to keep on a shelf like clutter, collecting dust, or we can take them off the shelf, stop waiting and let ourselves be open and in love with life.

The thing about grasping, is the tighter you hold, the more likely the object is to slip out of your hands.

Releasing this grasping and being open to love and everything in between is really the greatest gift we have as humans. To love and be loved, and yet we act as though this resource is limited and hoard it.

Love is not like any gift you get under your tree at Christmas, the more you share it, the larger it grows and the more you have to share.

I hope that we all have the opportunity this holiday season to start grasping a little less and let love grow.

In the famous words of one of the most infamous Christmas movies, Love Actually, “you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

“Have fun and change the world”

12 months ago I was unhappy.

I was surrounded by people who drained my energy and made my daily life toxic. I spent January 2017 preparing to go to India and escape my situation for five weeks.
While I was in India, my life did change, in ways I saw right away and in ways I’m sure I’ve yet to fully understand. 

When I came back, I quit my job, accidentally quit a few friendships, and unwillingly lost a lover. 

My anxiety levels were high and the last month at my old job was a fog.

I got a new job three days before I was unemployed at a place that had head hunted me – they didn’t even know I had quit my job and was about to be without a pay check, the timing was perfect. 

I slotted in to my predecessors role and started my Jivamukti Yoga apprenticeship. I became incredibly busy. There was no time to think about the friendships gone and the love lost.

I despise when people use busy as an excuse because I do believe that even when someone is busy they can find time for people they care about. I did this to the best of my ability, but I started to pull back. I needed my time and didn’t have the emotional capacity to be all the things I once was for the people in my life. 

Social obligations started to leave me in tears, I just wanted to slow down and stay home. 

I didn’t.

I went to Bali in September for a yoga retreat and then did a whirlwind of a trip home to the states for four days.

The day I got back I applied for a new job, which I got. I started four weeks later and have been there a month this week. 

And to finish off the year, I submitted my citizenship application. 

2017 has been that loathsome word, ‘busy.’ It’s been a year of big changes in my life and many peoples’ lives. 

It seems as though, in a world where Trump is now president, nothing is certain anymore.

This uncertainty is becoming part of the fiber of our world. And of course it isn’t just Trump, it’s also the situation in North Korea, climate change and all the other ‘uncontrollable’ elements of our society. 

I know that I’ve been grasping on to things I can control, but ultimately the tighter you hold on, the more things start to slip through your fingers. The more we are able to remain open while still moving our lives in a positive direction, the better the outcome will be. 

My friend said to me yesterday, when I relayed my timeline from this year to her, that 2018 could be my year to slow down and appreciate everything I’ve achieved. 

We are all guilty of powering through and moving forward, it’s so rare that we slow down and appreciate. That we savor the moments and enjoy the hard work we have put in. All too often we just keep going, not reflecting or considering. 

I’ve done x and now it’s time to move on to y. 

We get to that point in relationships where we go to the next step because it’s socially the next expected step. We eat meat because someone put it in a triangle when we were younger and said we should eat that much of it a day. We take promotions we don’t want. We buy things we don’t need. We move unconsciously in the world. 

For me, this year needed to happen in the way it did. I’m happy about the decisions I made. I realize I could have reflected more, but know that maybe it wasn’t the right time. Sometimes you do just need to get through things. 

December 2017 I sat in my first all staff meeting at my new new job and the CEO left us with these words. 

“Have fun and change the world.”

It felt like the perfect closing remarks for a year well lived. And so I leave you with these words and hope that whatever 2017 was for you, your 2018 is a year of slowing down and reflecting on all the good things you have. Because when you slow down, it’s so much easier to see those things. 

A Story About Anxiety

I recently found a short description  I wrote a few weeks ago when I woke up in the middle of the night feeling anxious. If you don’t understand anxiety or have never experienced it, this might give some insight in to what it feels like….

I feel suffocated. I feel trapped. I feel the weight of the world closing in around me.
Every word a reminder of my failings. Every conversation a reason to run. 

But my legs are tired, my heart is heavy and my feet are sore. I’ve come so far, but far isn’t enough when it’s all inside you. Going around in circles. Endless. 

I lash out, my body tightens, I understand what they mean when they say every experience lives in our body.

I regret, I try to forget and all I end up doing is remembering. I want them to be positive, but something in me can’t let go of the negative. Of the endlessness, the fear I’d never escape the fear this was it. 

Everyone else seems fine, everyone else seems ok. Now I’m blaming myself again, now I’m feeling guilty again. It’s all too much. It’s all so much harder than it should be. 

I know I’ll fall asleep again soon. When I wake up, it will hurt less and tomorrow a little less and the day after even less. In a few weeks it will be a distant memory and eventually the tension in my body will fade. 

Next time will be different next time will be better. I’m terrified there won’t be a next time and terrified there will be. 

It’s probably best just to sleep again. 

Zombie Apocalypse is Happening Now

You know how people joke about the end of the world and the zombies coming to take over. Zombies are extremely popular in our current culture (there are even fun runs where you have to avoid/defeat them) but I find a lot of irony in this because it’s already started … and we, in fact, are the zombies. 
When was the last time you were on a train platform, bus or waiting room and you looked around and 90% of the people weren’t on devices? Completely engrossed and unaware of their surroundings. 

I wonder how many trains and buses I’ve missed because people are literally doing the zombie walk. You know the walk… slow and considered as they stare down at their phone, holding the precious device close to them for fear it might break when they inevitably walk in to someone. 

I wrote a little about smart watches recently, but they still blow my mind. People use it as another socially ‘acceptable’ tool of distraction. My pet peeve is when I’m talking to someone and they look down at their watch and do that silly one or two finger tap. 

The conversation stops.

They look up, ‘oh sorry it’s just letting me know I’ve been sitting too long.’ 

It takes all my will power not to say ‘couldn’t you have figured that out yourself?!’

We are really the zombies. We can’t take responsibility for our own health and well being, it’s too much effort, but we can buy an overpriced mini computer and have it remind us and interrupt our lives so we can ‘get our steps.’ 

We fool ourselves every day. We scroll through, we digest snippets of information, we stop reading, we stop watching, we’ve actually stopped living.

And honestly I believe that because we have stopped living our lives to their fullest potential, we are losing our capacity to love. Because dating is just another screen to hide behind and we shop for dates like we do our throw away fashion – there’s no room for love.

My friends and I talk about why I ‘can’t’ meet someone. Am I setting the right intention, what are my expectations, am I looking in the right spots, have I done xyz, maybe I’m sleeping with them too soon, maybe I should take a few months off …. 

(Disclaimer, all the advice is given with love and it’s all greatly appreciated.) 

The thing is I meet people all the time. In the past six months I have dated a number of people I genuinely liked and could see myself in a relationship with, but ultimately what it came down to was that they didn’t want one. Everything is so easy to have now. We can all have whatever we want really, as long as we have have decent paying jobs, though if we don’t, there are always credit cards…

And because of this accessibility we have stopped having to long for things, we have stopped having to try and things that ARE hard scare us.

It’s not that I’m not meeting people and I’m not dateable … and it isn’t that I’m not loveable … it’s actually that people have forgotten what love is or they don’t want it because it’s not something you an buy off a shelf. (Though they do try and fool themselves in to thinking they can…) 

Of course I’m sure a lot of my dates just weren’t that in to me, but I think fundamentally in our culture, especially our dating culture, Love is lost. 
I remember a little while ago, I’d been seeing someone for awhile. I liked him more and more each time we were together. I have a distinct memory of laying in bed with him and looking in to his eyes and both of us just staring. 

My whole body tingled, I felt warm, everything was alive and there was this immense calmness around it. I loved him. And while I don’t know if he would have called it that, I know he felt something. Shortly after that we stopped speaking. 

As we move in to this era of the zombie apocalypse, where we are in fact the living dead – dead inside to real emotions, real experiences and real life – I invite you to try and remember that last time something really moved you. 

When was the last time you observed nature? When was the last time something was so beautiful, it brought you to tears? Have you listened to music that makes the hairs on your arms stand up? 

Have you looked in to someone’s eyes and had time stand still?

I’ll probably be very single a very long time because I’m holding out for something extraordinary. I want to be moved and inspired and most importantly I want him to not be part of the apocalypse, which will be hard to find since the zombies are really closing in.

*This blog was un-ironically written on a smart phone. 

It may be smart, but I question it’s ability to love…