Tag Archives: gratitude

When Are You Coming Back?

4 Jun

“Here is the crux of the matter, the distilled essence, the only thing you need to remember: When considering whether to say yes or no, you must choose the response that feels like freedom. Period.”
– Martha Beck

I bumped into a friend in Bali recently who mentioned she’d hung out with a mutual friend of ours in Australia. I came up in conversation and she laughed as she relayed what he had said about me: “Poor girl. She’s kind of a little lost soul, isn’t she?” 

My friend had attended one of my retreats earlier in the year and remarked she’d never seen me so in my element, so shiny and alive. “I replied that it seemed more like you’d found yourself,” she said. 

journey understand

Right now in my life, everyone is making a point of reminding me I need to “settle down”. What does that even mean? Find a mate, buy a nest, lay eggs? Do I need to stay in one place for that to happen? Most people in my life say Yes. My single status suggests that as well. “You can’t do this forever!” they say. “You’ll never meet someone travelling like you do!”

Just as many people the following week will write and say “I wish I had your life.”

But this is not me following a plan. When I left Australia, all I wanted was to be somewhere else. To be someone else. I was tired of being unable to create a life I was inspired by, of trying to convince people I was the right person for the jobs I wanted. Nearly five years later, still living out of a bag, I’m as surprised as anyone that I haven’t unpacked somewhere. 

Alone Genius idea Lyvia Alexandra

It’s a lonely, lonely life. I’m not going to lie. I spend a lot of time alone, writing emails to people far away. I have insistent, indignant friends write me: “When are you coming back? I miss you! What are you doing?!” They offer tidbits of their lives but have never visited. Melbourne, Perth, Barcelona, London, San Francisco, Bali, Thailand…When are you coming back?

The truth is, I don’t know. I have been looking for a reason to stay still: a partner, an inspiring job, a way to express myself in a particular place, a way to make a difference.

If I take away my desire for a partner, my life is exactly as I want it to be, albeit far away from many people I love. But that too has been a blessing. I have found so many ways to say “I love you” from afar. Said things in print that I could perhaps not have said face to face. Expedient internet time has meant directness, honesty, openness – and choosing my besties carefully. 

Bizarre Travel Plans

Choosing the path that feels like freedom often looks to the people around me like choosing to run away. And I’ve done my fair share of running away. I have been in relationships that felt like I was drowning, been in jobs where I felt like my head was being pushed underwater. I had a sense of being stifled, held down, of being small. 

Somehow, out here on the road, I can breathe bigger. I can be bigger: than a place, than a city, than a job or a relationship. 

I spent a good chunk of last year in my home town, Perth, staying with my parents. I feel like it was the summer that helped me move from a whiny teenage version of myself to an adult. I’ve never loved my parents as much and now, far away from them again, I miss them terribly, in a way I haven’t since I was a child. 

For the first time in my life, being away from Perth feels like a conscious choice. When I hated that city, hated who I was in it, needed to control the distance between myself and my family, there was no way I could live there. Now I crave it’s dry air, sun, beautiful beach visits with my dad, my mum’s hugs and cooking, being close to my family. 

Now it’s yet another place I’m sad to leave, whose tendrils curl around my heart and ankles, asking me to stay. 

Be Yourself

Yet the momentum of the work I do picks up speed. More inquiries about retreats, more people writing to me, months after sessions, telling me about breakthroughs they had. “It started with you,” they say. “You changed my life. I feel truly happy for the first time.” 

I feel like the work I’m doing is truly making a difference in people’s lives, yet I often feel so alone. It’s as if the more I find my power: as a teacher, as a yogi, as a business woman, the more isolated it makes me. 

I recognise how lucky I am to have so much choice. I have portable job skills. Friends and contacts in many cities. An incredibly supporting and loving family. 

Do I look lost to you? When I’m with a group on retreat or coaching someone through an all consuming issue or teaching a class, I’ve never felt so found. 

Finding that quote from Martha Beck today brought me to tears. It was from a piece called “Do I Know How To Say No?”

I can see that for the past year, I have been trying to do what I think is the right thing, even though it doesn’t feel like freedom to me. I’ve been scared to go inextricably down the rabbit hole that I think might make me terribly, terribly alone. I’ve applied for jobs, hoping they would bring me the direction and anchor to tether me. To weigh me down. 

But the truth is, I’m already doing what feels like freedom. 

I think it’s time to acknowledge that I don’t want a conventional life, or a conventional partner or a conventional job. Even though I haven’t been doing any of those things, I have been resisting my life the way it is.

I’ve been spending time and energy worrying that I’m going about this all wrong, when, if I’m honest, if I stop and breathe and feel into it, I think I might just have it right. Shiny Inner Self

Shiny Song #26

21 May

Hello from San Francisco!

I find myself back in this super inspiring city and am looking forward to spending a lot more time here.
Last week, I was lucky enough to see the amazing Spencer Day  here and this song brought me to tears.

Come on turn the lights down low
And sit with me in second row
Tonight they’ll show the movie of your life

The heartache and the tragedy
A light romantic comedy
You oughta see the movie of your life

Did you have a happy ever after?
Underneath the technocolor sky
Did it make you sing with joy and laughter?
Did it ever make you want to cry?
And when the final frame was fading
Did it leave you satisfied?
Or was there too much that it lacked
And did you want your money back
How did you like the movie of your life?

Come on let the camera’s roll
You wrote the lines now run the show
It’s yours to own the movie of your life

Strange and cloudy mysteries
Unravel cinematically
The beauty of the movie of your life

Then the plot begins to twist
Around the poor protagonist
And everyone’s a villain in disguise

When you hurt and if you bleed
Remember that it’s make believe
Cause in the movies no one ever dies
It’s just a

Clicker then it’s over
And they never tell you why
But boy I’m really glad I came
I hoping that you feel the same
I really love the movie of your life

Did you have a happy ever after?
Underneath the technocolor sky
Did it make you sing with joy and laughter?
Did it ever make you want to cry?

And when the final frame was fading
Did it leave you satisfied?
Did you cheer and beg for more
Or angrily walk out the door
And think of all you meant to say
Another chance a second take
You did your best, you gave your all
You made the final casting call
To save a little scene for me
And tell me that I’ll always be
A moment in the movie of your life
A moment in the movie of your life

How to Yoga Festival: Reflections on the Bali Spirit Festival, 2014

20 Apr

I was so lucky to be involved in this year’s Bali Spirit Festival.

Mandala

In the past few days, I’ve been reflecting on what made this festival so enjoyable – aside from the incredible people and program, of course. Like most things, I can see how much my attitude is the key.

1. Let It Go

Bali is one of those places that will give you what you need – and for all you sticklers for time and control freaks, this festival is an exercise in surrendering. Yup, it might rain. You might get muddy. Motorbikes won’t observe the road rules you know from home. Meals might not come out at the same time. Roosters will wake you. Gamelan will play. But the Balinese will smile hugely at you, the hot weather will help your body open and you’ll learn more about who you are in life than you ever thought possible.
And don’t worry, we’re all sweaty. Gimme a hug.

2. Patience

Those crazy paths wending through the festival are the bane of my life when I’m rushing. People stop at any given moment to chat, hug, think about whether they’re in the right place…When I’m in a hurry, I feel my jaw clench, my elbows set and my feet stomp. All it takes to get around that is a little sideways step. Yes, sometimes into mud, but that’s also going to slow you down and make you walk mindfully.

bruce-lee-water
3. Be Adaptable

You can’t be in two places at once. (Unless you’re one of those astral travelling yogis, in which case you should definitely run sessions at next year’s festival. Simultaneously.) Sometimes the class you desperately wanted to join is full. Being able to let that go and try something you would never have tried otherwise could open you up to a new style of yoga or a teacher who could change your life. FOMO doesn’t serve anyone.

4. The More You Give, The More You Get

If you’re working with a partner in a class, give them your everything. Pay careful attention to your teachers. If you see trash on the ground, pick it up! If you see someone frowning, give them a smile. There was a woman in Jamie Catto’s workshop who shared something that touched me deeply. I stopped her and let her know. It made her day. Minutes later, I was being fed delicious Sacred Scoops icecream by a generous friend. I don’t usually think Karma works that quickly, but it certainly seems to here!

Ferris Bueller Life Quote

5. Stop. Appreciate.

Take (at least!) a few minutes each day to stop and drink in the delicious madness that is the Bali Spirit Festival. Look where you are! Drink in the green! Curl your toes into the grass and stretch your hands to the sky. You’re in Bali! You’re surrounded by conscious, amazing humans who are as interested in yoga, dance, music and connection as you are. Drink it all in.

bali-spirit-festival8

 

Shiny Song #22

22 Feb

I can’t stop listening to this!

Australian artist Rai Thistlethwayte covering the Beatles with a piano & a loop pedal.
LOVE.

How To Be Alone…

14 Feb

Oh, Valentine’s Day.

A joyous combination of love, commercialism and expectation.

LOVE

However you feel about it, VDay is definitely enough to give you a pang to see couples holding hands and canoodling around the city.

I’ve had single Valentines Days, celebrated raucously with girlfriends or quietly and softly with a broken heart.

Coupled Valentines Days, marred by disappointments or swept off my feet by flowers, jewellery and romance. It’s just another day, but for a girl with love on her mind, it’s a great time to reflect.

Last year, I met a wise woman who invited me to imagine the man of my dreams. She had me visualise him, the energy I experienced around him and to feel the love I had for him.

Then she had me imagine my world without him, but to maintain those emotions and energies.

“They exist within you, whether or not he’s in the picture,” she said.

It was such a lightbulb moment for me.

Alone Genius idea Lyvia Alexandra
In yoga, we talk about detachment and the ability to cultivate anything we desire within ourselves. We can learn to be content with a situation as it is and as it is not.

I noticed I was carrying around an idea that love was only available if somebody came along and gifted it to me, as though my lovability was somehow contingent on someone else.

By paying attention to the feelings I had about love, I realised it can only exist inside me. As such, nothing anyone could do to take that love away from me.

Learn to Be Alone

I have the ability to cultivate love within myself. For myself.
For anyone or anything I want, really…

Suddenly, love becomes a permanent fixture.
Suddenly, I start to appreciate the things about myself that I was waiting for someone else to notice. I start giving myself the love and attention I have been patiently waiting for.

I adore this poem, written and performed by Tanya Davis  and beautifully filmed and illustrated by Andrea Dorfman.

Take some time to yourself this Valentines and appreciate your unique and wonderful heart.

You really are worth it.

Shiny Song #20

8 Feb

Every year, thousands and thousands of people cast millions of votes in Australian radio network Triple J’s Hottest 100 poll.

The countdown of the results is an Aussie tradition, usually accompanied by barbecues, swimming pools and some very dodgy bets to celebrate Australia Day. I definitely lost money this year.

This tune came in at number one and it has definitely grown on me.

You can hear more of the Hottest 100 on Triple J and this explains how Vance Joy came up with those lyrics…

Image

Happy Australia Day

26 Jan

1st Dog Australia Day

How To Be An Explorer

24 Jan

It has been 79 days since I’ve been on a plane.

Backpacking

This is not unusual in itself: I’ve been longer without travelling, of course. But this summer has been an experiment in staying put: in commitment, in consolidation.

It has been an interesting process. And by “interesting”, I mean, “a massive challenge.”

I’m used to a life that is not planned for more than a couple of weeks ahead. I’ve loved that I could, at any moment, jump on a plane or a train and be somewhere new. I’ve been addicted to that feeling.

I admit it’s much easier to feel that sense of awe when you are travelling. Being overseas, at any given moment, I can see something I’ve never seen before. That I might never see again! Of course it’s interesting: it’s NEW! It’s a surprise! 

The experiment has been in finding that feeling in the “every day” – how can you have a job and go to work and find time to exercise and see family and do laundry and eat well…AND maintain a sense of wonder?

It turns out, you can.

Don't remember days but moments

I started thinking of some of my best moments while travelling.

For me, they’ve often involved being outside: hiking, swimming, diving, exploring a town…
Overwhelmingly, the moments I remember best are ones where I stop, take a moment and breathe in exactly where I am.

(And, according to my photos, throw my arms wide and exclaim “I can’t believe I’m here right now!”)

The challenge of a few months in one place, my hometown no less, was to find that same sense of taking time and applying wonder.

I think when we’re back in our familiar surroundings, especially when we’re working, it’s easy to get into a grind that can make us forget all the beauty around us. The first step for me was making time to stop and notice. Scheduling a walk. Being outside at sunrise or sunset. Taking the dogs out and noticing how they interact with their environment.

Instagram has been an amazing tool for this.
(Check out my summer: @shinyhappyhealthy)

I tried to find one thing – a scene, a bird, a tree, a certain slant of light – that captured my eye. Just that act of stopping, snapping and sharing, helped me reconnect with my surroundings. And it helped me feel connected with my travelling community, when I saw how beautiful they found my hometown.

Then, last week, I came across this list from author/illustrator/creativity guru, Keri Smith. 

Explorer Keri SmithI love this list.

Here’s the thing: people come and visit where I live as tourists and exclaim how beautiful and amazing it is. Exactly as I do for places I visit overseas or interstate. The only difference is perspective.

I love the idea that I could be anywhere, at any given moment and completely surrender to and appreciate the beauty of where I am.

To be an explorer in my own life, throw my arms wide and exclaim: “I can’t believe I’m here right now!”

Shiny Song #18

20 Jan

Sometimes it’s a case of be careful what you wish for..!

“All year long…
We wait for sun…”

We certainly have summer this year in Perth, Western Australia.
My hometown has been scorching hot, dry & suffering from bushfires.

But it’s also incredibly beautiful: endless blue sky, bright sunshine, pristine beaches and the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

#nofilter #seriously

#nofilter #seriously

This song reminds me to enjoy the seasons as they come…
Especially summer.

Gratitude for Today

19 Jan

Bird in Flight

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

– e.e.cummings