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My heart tore a little as we departed Broome. Not a full-fledged breaking, but a cracking open, a space to let in the light and a chance to rebuild.
The last time I felt this pull and connection to a place was Krabi, Thailand in 1999. Days spent rock climbing, never knowing a thing about it, but soon learning about the strength of my own body and what it was capable of doing. It was a moment where I discovered who I really wanted to be.
My life spun in a new direction.
I lamented leaving, not the beautiful friends I made who transformed my soul, nor the dramatic scenery of limestone cliffs and emerald green water, but the departure from my body.
I returned to my body in Broome.
I wonder why we spend all those formative years on earth going through school, which from now on I’ll call brain school. Why don’t we go to soul school, spirit school, earth school and body school?
Why, at six years of age are we told to leave our body to attend brain school and never really be given a reason to return? We turn our backs on our body and soul pretending, or being told, they are not important. But, these are the things that guide us to a healthy and purposeful life.
I remember when I first starting going out with Craig and going to watch him play a game of Oz tag – a safer touch-only version of rugby league.
He caught the ball and side stepped the opponents and sprinted for the try line. It was the witnessing of a spirit in total tune with the body and an absence of a mind fretting over the past and desperately trying to control the future. It was deliberate, without the planning. It was powerful, yet filled with grace. (His legs looked pretty damn fine too ladies)
Even though I saw the purposeful power of it, I still did not understand it until the last week of our five week stay in Broome.
It was 6am and I arrived for another yoga class. Every morning from Monday to Friday my soul dragged me down to the Buddha Sanctuary.
At first, it was because I was so annoyed with how I let my body go and I just wanted it back.
But the return each day soon came to satisfy a craving of my mind body and soul to be reunited. To finally co-exist together and live in that moment of no thought just a complete perfect movement forward with grace, like I saw Craig do all those years ago.
I had to go. Yoga was changing me.
The weight was slipping off, strength and power were returning, my posture was improving, my body stretching, and a settlement of my soul in the present moment, my senses heightened and more in tune with grace.
Each new pose was almost orgasmic and I’d lie there with that feeling of how much my body needed that inch more of twisting and lengthening, and the intense muscle shaking of a pose that I thought would break me.
In my last week the new teacher, Pia, arrived. Not really new, she was always there in the background lighting incense, turning on the fans, arranging the cushions in front of the Buddha statue in the garden.
Helen was on holiday break. I loved how Helen worked my body hard and I knew I was losing weight with her class. I was wary of Pia. She looked meek and unsure, like the trainee nervously stepping in. After the first pose I realised she was in fact the boss taking control.
She was a ball of fire and pushed us with each pose to get into it the right way.
I wanted to scream. Can’t we just move onto the next pose. You’re wasting too much time trying to get us to be perfect at this. Let’s move onto the next one so I can lose more weight.
“Put your armpit chest out” She kept instructing.
What the hell is an armpit chest?
After her third time of trying to get us to put the armpit chest out during upward dog, she gave us a couple of blocks to use as leverage so we could understand the difference.
“Now up and move through and put out that arm pit chest.”
And I felt it.
The total alignment between body, soul and mind. The slipstream. The place it was meant to be. My body moved up and out to a place it had never been before, it was stretching to a place of freedom.
You mean my body can do this?
I’ve never really had great posture, but here I was strong, erect, straight and powerful. I’d spent my entire life devoting all my time and energy to my mind and spirit and completely disregarded my body.
You grow up listening to the magazines and TV’s and randy young men telling you your body is not good enough. You learn to hide it, doubt it, hate it and wish it was anything but yours.
The body becomes the enemy.
Something that makes you look bad and fills you with self-loathing. And you tell it so every day. Yet here is this miraculous thing that keeps us alive, allows our mind to expand and our spirit to soar. It’s the vessel that connects everything.
And I hated mine so. Ignoring it and preferring to fill it with poison in various forms.
Yet it kept loving me, beating for me, standing for me, embracing me, moving me forward, making me stand up, allowing me to rest by forcibly shutting my eyes each night, and giving me an armpit chest to expand further into space.
It was time to leave mind school and let body school become my focus. I wanted that effortless grace that Craig had as his body took control and guided him to the goal.
Now I don’t have to wonder how did he do that? I don’t have to think that it as just because he was talented in body, I know it was because he allowed the joining of the mind body spirit without even thinking. He allowed the expression of the total being to just be without fear of judgment
From that day on we moved from handstands to headstand and shoulder stands and while I am not yet a yogi I did all the supported versions and felt powerful.
I felt a connection.
I felt a divine love for my body. Not in a vain way, but in a grateful, honoring way.
A total devotion for the way it keeps working no matter the shit I fling at it. How my legs keep walking, my heart keeps beating and my spine holds me up, despite me completely ignoring it since I entered brain school.
I was only just starting to get to know it and so my sadness at leaving Broome came flooding in.
What do I do now that I’m leaving my teachers, my practice, my body?
How can I keep this going on my own?
Just like when I first decided to go for it in Railey’s Bay and strap on the harness and climb the rock. I had no idea what I was doing, but soon my mind body spirit connected and began to work together to grip the crevice and move me steadily up. There was nothing else but the present moment of stretching beyond what I thought my body could do and discovering a new deliciousness and a new power.
I love how travel presents us with experiences that push us out of our comfort zone to try new things and discover powerful parts of ourselves that have been waiting to be embraced.