June was finally my chance to slow down, to take it all in, and to integrate everything I had experienced from the first few months of the year. I didn't spend every single spare day doing nothing, but rather, I used it for all that I needed it for: the warmth of human connections, a lot of yoga, meditation and self-healing.
My yoga family.
I'm slowly returning to the world and to the normal pace of life after spending the first few days of July off the grid at my first yoga retreat. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I feel a deep, deep love for my yoga family—we met our fellow trainees from the Sunshine Coast group for the first time but we all connected together with open arms and open hearts. There were no walls up, there were no bad vibes. Everyone was just so happy to be on this teacher training journey together. We laughed plenty, cried plenty, we shared stories, we meditated, we sang mantras, we played music around a bonfire, we danced ourselves silly, and of course, we did hours upon hours of yoga. I was my truest self amongst these people; there will never be anything quite like it again and I'll cherish this experience for the rest of my life.
My non-yoga friends & family.
I'm grateful to have a partner, friends, colleagues and family members who completely support my teacher training journey, because there are others who definitely don't feel supported in theirs.
What I've been thinking of:
Wherever you are, be all there.
I'm not in any big hurry to return to chaos after retreat, so I haven't really been thinking much the past few days, and such is my peace that I can't even really remember what I thought of for most of June; I mostly used it to stay present. I'm making concerted efforts to slow down, to savour all the spaces in between, to ride with the variable flowing nature of life.
There were a couple of mornings at retreat where we had to spend a few hours in complete silence—both of word and of gesture (no waving, no smiling, no eye contact)—I thoroughly enjoyed it and surrendered to it, because as someone who's over-analysed and over-thought most of their life, I was given the opportunity to be completely at peace with no expectations. I was surprised that I wasn't met with a relentless barrage of thoughts during the hours of time I spent in silence; I simply allowed myself to be, and for that I was much calmer. Even the pace at which I walked and breathed was slower, more conscious.
Perhaps it can be your little mission for the month to introduce such moments into your life—it can be as simple as driving without music, spending a meal without the TV on, or having lunch at work without feeling the need to talk to anybody (in real life, or online). Introduce little moments like that into your day, make it a regular thing, observe how you feel and meet yourself with compassion.
What I'm excited for:
The last half of the year.
September marks the completion of my yoga teacher training course; October marks me and Martin's four year anniversary; November marks my birthday, and then it's December once more. A lot to look forward to and to be thankful for, and hopefully I can use the calmer half of the year to think about what I want to get out of 2016.
Martin and I are also planning a trip to Tasmania and we're so looking forward to it—neither of us have ever been there and we've yet to do any proper travelling together. Even though we're only living on a single income, I calculated that I can afford to pay for everything even if Martin doesn't have a job closer to the end of the year. My philosophy is that there's never going to be a “right time” to do anything, so carpe diem and all that.
What I've been doing:
Catching-up with people once more.
Seeing as I spent most of the year cooped up in my editing cave, working, shooting or at training I used June as an opportunity to see friends and family. We went to Springbrook; I caught up with Leigh and another old friend, Lucy, both of whom I haven't seen in 8 years; I handed wedding photos over to Logan & Lachlan; had dinner and breakfasts with many a friend. It was really lovely to have a month full of that and a perfect lead-up to retreat, where I'd be spending days connecting with 40-odd people.
Deepening my home & meditation practice.
I used the month off teacher training to work on my home yoga practice 3 times weekly, apart from going to class. I also spent the month doing meditation 20 minutes a night before bed so that I'd get used to sitting in meditation for 1 hour at retreat. If you've always wanted to meditate but you have been discouraged by your busy mind, I can offer you this: you don't need a dead-silent mind to meditate, and as with everything, it's a training exercise, so daily practice is key. You simply need to dedicate time to sit in silence (even if it's for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes), and every time a thought comes up simply let it go without getting involved and following the thought elsewhere.
What I've been reading:
All about Tasmania.
I want to make the most out of our Tasmania trip so I've been spending a lot of time researching, seeing as I don't know much about that little island. Thanks to Martin's brother we've got a pretty solid itinerary, but if you've been to Tasmania and you have any recommendations as to what to see and places to eat, feel free to leave it in the comments. We've got most of the major places on our list (Bay of Fires, Cradle Mountain, most national parks) and we probably won't be visiting any of the old prisons or historical sites per se, but we'd love first-hand reviews of places to eat or maybe the roads less travelled.
Below: the little things, June 2015.