Saturday, 19 January 2013

Marking the halfway point

It's hard to articulate at the halfway point how I am feeling about the experience of spending 6 months in Goa.
Actually I think I am right now at a turning point. The past two weeks were massively challenging, practicing with a teacher who I had a strong aversion to, who the assistant noticed (kindly) that I was "closed off to", who seemed not to assist me too much aside from giving me 2 new postures on day 1 and wanting to give me more (which I turned down), who pushed my buttons (and reminded me of my issues around food) by suggesting that nobody eat dinner, whose pranayama exercise brought me to endless tears of homesickness which seemed to be a kind of incurably upsetting childhood nostalgia, who somehow seemed to facilitate all sorts of dark moods and a close-on hatred of my practice to bubble up out of was tough. But I realise as I sit here in a patch of sunshine in my room, drinking camomile tea and listening to Nina Simone, gearing up for a major full-power day as a group of 50 people arrive to be told that their teacher is delayed by the snow in London and will be a day late, that these turning points don't always appear as happy and comfortable moments. Perhaps the experience of aversion will teach me more than the strong attraction I feel with other teachers ever has done, or more accurately perhaps a combination of the two factors will somehow provide me with more than one of these factors alone ever could. I know for certain that I have been behaving at times in a way that I would not like if I looked on it from the outside, reacting (and overreacting) to things in front of me, not taking challenges calmly and in my stride, wallowing in my physical exhaustion, resenting others at times instead of working on compassion. I have been eating in a way that fuels the dramatic energy spikes and dips, spending my free time hooked up to the computer or indulging in idle chat instead of reading, writing, going out into Goa and seeing more of the area, learning to drive a scooter, sewing, taking time to keep in touch with my loved ones - these are the things on my neglected mental to-do list, while there always seems to be time to watch another episode of Mad Men.
But as we enter the second half of the season, and as my teachers arrive (a little later than planned) I think it is time to finally throw myself into this experience. Instead of criticising myself for how I have behaved, acted and filled my time up until now I will try to look at it objectively and without judgement, and just look forwards - to how things could be from this point onwards. So here's to the second half of the season...