The last half of the year kicked off with our yoga teacher training retreat, which I briefly touched on in my last post. The next time I write, I'll most likely have graduated and the next chapter of my yoga journey will begin. I feel like I've packed a lot into this year—everything has been go, go, go and I'm tumbling through every week with the momentum of the last. At times it seems out of control, but that's why I make conscious efforts to introduce little pauses, little breaths in my day, week and month. Even if it's just an hour to myself at lunch, 15 minutes to stare at the clouds, spending the hour I drive to work in complete silence, and even writing this blog—there's always little opportunities to step on the brakes before hurtling into the rest of life, carrying us away day by day.
What I'm grateful for:
The upswings, and the downswings.
I think one of the single biggest traps we make for ourselves is this idea that when we find happiness, if we just work hard enough, or do enough, it will last. When we find our dream job, we have an expectation that we'll be reasonably happy there without periods of doubt or burnout; when we find our lovers, our partners, we want the excitement that we had at the beginning to remain throughout. We get really good at something, and expect to be good at it all the time—but everything falls, everything evolves, and everything experiences a downshift. It has to be that way, because that's how growth happens; it's even the way our universe works. The sun rises, and it sets; winter becomes summer; what was once alive, eventually dies; birds migrate and the wind changes direction and all of nature instinctively follows this rhythm.
This single concept of vinyasa, the concept of flow in yoga, has been one of the key things that has allowed me to break old patterns and helped me adjust how I react to anxiety and depression (this is of course, and will forever be, a lifelong process). When I'm having a hard time for weeks or months on end, to know that eventually this will pass means that I don't get involved in the story of how I'm feeling. Less frequently do I get upset about being upset. Now, rather than lashing out or bottling it in for too long, I can properly articulate my feelings to someone else without creating more mental pain around what it is that's bothering me. It's incredibly liberating, and that has been the power of yoga for me.
What I've been thinking of:
One of my goals for this year was to run a photography workshop, but yoga teacher training has been my highest priority so I haven't been able to dedicate a lot of time to planning anything. Admittedly another reason I've put it off is because I'm not sure how much interest I'd get, or because I wonder if I'd do a terrible job—but I think a bigger part of me knows I can do it. All the “scary” things are usually worth doing. If you would be interested in coming along to a photography workshop, please mention it in the comments and let me know what you'd hope to get out of it! I'd really like to start planning something solid for next year.
Slowing right down.
I know that I can't keep my foot on the accelerator forever, and very soon I'll have to back off the intensity of the pace at which I've been living life for the last 6 years. When the time comes, I'm sure I'll know what parts of my life I want to let go and what parts I want to keep, but for now I'm going to enjoy what I can, as best I can. I don't like the feeling of barely keeping my head above water some weeks and it's certainly not sustainable in the long-term, so slowing down is something I'm really going to take seriously in the next 2 years. It's great that I've been able to enjoy some success in my early career that's been keeping me fairly busy, but life is too short to only ever care about that.
What I'm excited for:
New opportunities & new destinations.
Fitting in nicely with what I mentioned above about ups & downs, those of you who follow my Head/Heart posts will know that I've touched on the iceberg of difficult days for Martin & I over the last 6 months-1 year. Perhaps even longer than that, as in late 2013 & early 2014 Martin went through 2 rather major operations on his leg. We both knew that this tough time would not last forever, and our faith proved true, because things are on the up! Plus, I can say with complete sincerity that I love him more deeply now than I ever would have had we not been through what we have.
I can't reveal too much as yet, but we each got some exciting opportunities in terms of our careers in the last fortnight. It's nice to see the new light at the end of what's been a rather long tunnel.
In addition to travelling to Tasmania, we will also be going to Canada at the end of the year! My little brother has applied to study abroad there and we'll be helping him settle in. My parents would have gone, but they've already made plans to visit in May. The catch is that we don't know for sure if he'll be accepted until November but ticket prices are astronomical for December flights by that time, so we booked our tickets now. There's usually a pretty high chance of acceptance, but even if he doesn't get in, travelling will be a nice consolation prize.
P.S. It seems that since travelling to Borneo last year, I'm about to travel more in a 15 month period than I ever have in my whole life. Hopefully the trend continues!
What I've been doing:
Ticking off to-do lists.
Martin and I have lived in the same apartment for 3 years now—it's pretty small and for ages, our original layout was driving us nuts. We finally rearranged the whole living room (moving furniture around in a small space = bleh, totally off-putting) and it's so much more open now. It took us 8 hours to clean things up, throw things out and move things around, but now it feels like the space actually breathes. Unfortunately I didn't take a “before” photo, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Celebrating and truly riding this crescendo into the last half of the year.
July was so full of gatherings as I made an effort to catch up with people before my schedule ran rampant once more. As an introvert 3 days in a row of seeing other people can be pretty energy-consuming, but when it's seeing close friends you haven't seen in months, it can be really quite restoring and heart-warming. Not sure I'd be able to live through this hectic schedule of mine without the support of friends and family, which is why it's so important for me to see them! If you're my friend, both in person and on the Internet, just know your support truly, truly gets me through.
July was also full of celebration, and rightly so, because it seems the theme for my life for the next few months will be ups and good times. My sister had her graduation ceremony (a formality as she technically graduated in December) and birthday in the same weekend so there was some good quality family time in there, which seems harder for us all now that my sister and I have our own lives!
What I've been reading:
Kinfolk: The Essentials Issue.
The latest issue of Kinfolk is themed around essentials: deciding what you can't live without, so that you can get rid of what you can live without. To simplify our cluttered lives and homes, to say yes only to the things worth saying yes to, and saying no to what doesn't align with who you are, who you want to be, and what you believe in. If you're trying to introduce more space, more stillness, and more silence in your life, I think you'd really enjoy it.
Below: the peaks, the stillness, and the troughs, July 2015.