UNEARTHING THE PHANTOMS WITHIN

Kawai Purapura retreat centre

Albany, New Zealand
7 Feb – 19 July 2017

20228632_10101619473565722_5812810187282329486_nThe rustling winds of Kawai Purapura have finally come to an end after nearly six months of dedicated practice at life in this little community.

The whole experience was a gift I will always be grateful for, regardless of any experience, feeling, judgement or opinion that may have arisen. The point WAS that they arose into my consciousness, showed me my own internal knots and gave me the opportunity to smooth them out with the delicate brush of awareness.

20121414_10101619473376102_3591066617687767194_oWe all have a bizarre idea of the spiritual life. Often, we think it looks peaceful, serene, connected to all things nature, Om, bliss and the big dazzling enlightenment one must achieve as a prize at the end of our spiritual efforts. Chasing spiritual bliss is the new craze that will leave many bewildered because they didn’t read the small print before buying into it….

…one must be prepared to die before they die, deal with the pain of dying and receive nothing at the end of the journey, for the journey itself is an illusion….

20139883_10101619473655542_504756429500415204_nThe truth is that every breath we take in devoted spiritual practice is a breath we take away from the ego in order to blow away the smoke that hides our true heart in perpetual darkness. When the smoke lifts, there we always have been, ever present, still, unbound, undefined. When a part of our ego (that who we think we are) dies….it really hurts. But it is a growing pain that we must learn to love with the deepest patience and compassion if we are to all meet at the heart.

We must be sure, without a shiver of a doubt, that freedom from suffering is what we want, in order to take the most direct path to this heart; the place of true love, of God. Any want or desire for any perceivable gain,in any way, shape or form is a dangerous motive that can lead you down a steep and icy trail that you will later have to return from.

20248287_10101619473765322_7078763648356364254_oSix months have passed in a flicker of an eye. I arrived, I taught yoga, I unexpectedly became the yoga teacher training coordinator and administrator and I taught anatomy and physiology on the yoga teacher training at Kawai Purapura. Although unplanned and somewhat resisted in the beginning, I’m hardly surprised that I managed to land myself thick in responsibility just a few days after my arrival. Working hard I guess is imprinted in my DNA.

20229338_10101619473505842_1958808599460501590_nIn my first few weeks, a murky grey cloud erupted from me and everything I saw was tainted in judgement and negativity. I frustrated, I criticised, I tackled, grappled and fought internally with myself and others on many occasions and in witnessing my own resistance, slowly let go of the things that no longer served myself or those around me.

It has been unquestionably challenging and undoubtably rewarding. It was amazing in my last days there to see how much Kawai Purapura had changed and transformed for the better. Then I realised….the real change had actually happened inside of me.

20158025_10101619473430992_1099738647669566700_oIt’s amazing how life’s challenges have the capacity to rustle up and release our dormant phantoms. We would never really have the opportunity to let them go if we didn’t go knocking directly on their door. Hence why it is important not to simply retreat away from life’s challenges but to embrace them when we are ripe and ready to release those phantoms. I’m always in awe at the dance of my inner world when I am able to look deeply and see it for what it truly is; a part of the magnificent unfolding of the universe.

20121310_10101619473685482_1531233491257296143_oNow that my time in New Zealand has come to an end, I feel as if I’ve awoken from a dream. Did it really happen? The sweeping winds of change have left me feeling delicate, raw and vulnerable. There is always a deep sorrow at leaving a steady life behind, no matter how small or short lived. Loved ones will be missed, good times will be remembered, a part of my heart will always be there.

20232693_10101619473251352_1543103085074498628_oNow it’s time to recover, gather strength, reflect upon what has happened and prepare for the next step, whatever that may be.I’m truly deeply grateful to everyone, especially: to Pragyadhara, the wonderful lead trainer who took me under her wing, supported me and had a lot of faith and belief in me; to Savitri, the founder and director at Kawai Purapura for her vision and creation – her relentless hard work is inspirational; to all of my students, for allowing me to share the gift of Yoga;

20155726_10101619474927992_4311385062890532466_n

to Dave, my wonderful partner of just over 6 months now….what a blessing it is to simply look at him and feel a deep smile and peace within.

I find myself now, back in Australia, just out of Sydney at Govinda valley retreat centre, mopping floors and washing dishes, who knows where things will go from here; how humbled I am to be a part of this life.

Stay open to everything.
Hold on to nothing.
Love. Simply love.

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