116. How to sweat champagne

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Turning up is everything 

I am sitting on a sofa in an apartment in Hong Kong. Wednesday morning. I was up yesterday morning at 330 to catch a flight here and once here had to immediately inhale a lot of champagne and other associated stimulants.

It would have been rude not to.

Staying in New Zealand time, it was a cool 24 hours later that I finally tipped into slumber.

Five hours after that I was awake and rearing to go, so I googled a hot yoga class and was downward dogging by 715am.

Captain Hindsight would suggest this was a decision that made no sense whatsoever. But of course I only ever invite him to the party after the event.

Truthfully? Probably still three sheets to the wind. Probably. Definitely.

My downward dog was wobbling and trembling, my mind impossible to steer in any direction for long. I even sweated, not something I’m famous for.

Did I leave when I realised I should have been stopped at the door by the yoga bouncer?  Of course not. I’m no quitter.

I pushed through. I pushed through.

Its two hours later now and I feel incredible.

Shall I tell you why? It’s called Healthonism. I’m not even making this up. Turns out that researchers have found out that  both alcohol and exercise trigger reward centers in the brain. Another study found out a positive connection between exercise and drinking habits, especially if the subject had a good workout on a particular day and rewarded themselves with a drink.

I did it the wrong way round, I’ll give you that. But I did it.

 

114. Regret and other useless emotions.

 

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Posing. Not meditating. As usual.

 

It seems to me that regret is the sugar of emotions. You know it’s bad for you, but you just keep going back for more.

I always feel jealous of people who emphatically say they have none. Whether that means they’ve learned, recalibrated and moved on or they’re just really good at discarding what doesn’t help them travel light, who knows. Or maybe they’re just assholes, that could be it too.

I’ve reached the age now where there is more behind me than ahead. So there’s plenty of material to pick over. And yes, I know looking back gives you nothing much more than a crick in the neck but I am a thinker and thinking ahead can prove even more exhausting at times.

Staying in the present is the true task for me – a daily endeavor.

I’ve just come back from a sixty-minute meditation class. This is a lot less impressive than it sounds. Beautiful Italian Angela runs two early classes a week from Desa Seni’s yoga platform. She breaks the class into bite sized pieces, kind of a confectionary counter of meditation tips and tricks. There goes that sugar analogy again.

Every minute of it challenges me, I’m not going to lie. But my mind is always clearer after the event than before.

On resurfacing into my actual life on Sunday, I vow – once again – to fit meditation of some description into my daily routine. I have an app installed already, but the routine I have practiced to date is to discard its daily notifications.

A Buddhist teacher gave me a powerful visualisation a few years ago.  Celebrate the tiny change. Visualise it as a drop. Now put a cup under it, to catch the drop. Pretty soon you will have half a cup of change.

How sweet is that.

112. Stumbling towards enlightenment.

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O is for oblivion?

Desa Seni has been taken over by white people, like 40 of them.

I’m not being casually racist. Each of them is literally and compulsorily dressed head to toe in white.

There’s a 30-day Kundalini Yoga training programme on at Desa Seni. Called by practitioners ‘the yoga of awareness’, it aims ‘to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others’.

To achieve this they’re all up and wafting by 430 every morning. I have no doubt, there will be plenty of remarkable new awarenesses happening in the pavilion this month. And don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for them all.

But so far this is what I’m aware of: put 40 people in a small space together and within 12 hours they lose all awareness that there are people here who are not on the same ride.

I was in early yoga yesterday (put me in a white robe why don’t you) and I could hear primal screaming in the distance. Righto, I though, bit of an over reaction to a stubbed toe.

When I came back to my small poolside community, however, the stories were of the white-robed zealots high on new awareness, oblivious to anyone else. Apparently, there was chanting, howling, screaming, hugging, gong bashing and a full-scale pool side takeover of multi coloured emotion. At 8 am – exactly the time you’re looking for scrambled eggs.

My friends were outraged. I was a bit sorry I missed it.

Although that said, I was not keen on scrambled emotions being on the breakfast menu all week, so I meditated on the problem for 35 seconds and took a little quiet action.

I suggested to the manager the awareness people could possibly be made aware there were others here not on their journey who were being made very aware they were now outnumbered. And perhaps they could practice the compassion and consciousness needed to allow us the continue to have the holiday we came here for. And they could practice it every day.

I skipped out of early yoga this morning for an early walk around the streets pre-scooter takeover, so I missed their breakfast break. Let’s hope a little ‘noble silence’ was on the menu. Or is that mixing movements? Fuck me, this enlightenment business is complicated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

106. Gandhi and me.

IMG_3474.JPGI do travel a lot, there’s no denying it. So why am I still so shit at packing?

I turned up on this yoga holiday with no clothing that was remotely suitable for actually doing yoga.

I did bring a lot of pretty dresses though, that I won’t wear. Did I forget how hot hot can be? Yes. Again.

The only top that comes close is this one I have pictured, which I bought at Target in California for five dollars a couple of years ago. It’s a  conversation starter if nothing else.

So guess what I’m wearing twice a day on the yoga deck? Blending in is clearly not my priority.

Pants? I had to buy them dammit. I went to the shop, only one shop it’s fair to say. I’m not here to shop. I thought it would be bristling with yoga gear, and I guess it was if you think Gandhi’s last twenty items of clothing he was seen in were yoga gear.

The only, I repeat, the only pants that fitted me were a gray drop crotch number that stops at the knees. They’ll be really quite ideal when I’m 90 because no one will be able to tell I’m in adult nappies under all that swaddling.

Ironically they are perfect to practice yoga in, all soft and billowy and cooling in the heat.

So if you come by and you’re looking for me, just keep your eyes out for the basic witch swaddled in Gandhi pants.

105. Just doing a whole lot of flakey zoning out

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I dated a guy for four minutes a while ago and he used to describe yoga as ‘zoning out’. ‘How did you enjoy your zoning out?’ he would say.

Did he think I was off down grading a cell phone plan?

While it’s true the mind is somewhat set free during yoga, should I for a moment ‘zone out’ I would find myself toppling fast towards an inelegant collision with the man or woman to my left. Or my right. The toppling would be random.

While yoga is mainstreaming faster than electric cars, there is still much swirl around What Actually Goes On in those classes.

Another conversation – as recently as last week – revealed a thoroughly modern man’s active decision to ‘stay away from that flakey stuff’.

flakey

adj.,to be unreliable, and/or absent-minded, flightyfickle. Generally unresponsible.

Bob said he’d bring beer and instead he invited his friends who brought no beer.And he used to be into punk and now he likes disco. Dude is totally flakey.

Truth is, I can be absentminded. I can turn up for a flight 24 hours late. I can turn up to a restaurant 24 hours early. I have no idea what’s in my diary on any given day till I look at it in the morning. If you ask me what my car registration number is, I have to go look at the car. Again.

But, when I want to, I can also have a focus so laser pointed, it could scare small animals.

Ramping up the yoga, as I have over the last year, is firming muscles in my mind and my butt in equal parts.

So the laser focus is occurring more often, and the ‘Brinsdon moments’ (as my sons like to call my randomness) are becoming more infrequent.

This can only be a good thing.

104. I can ooom with that.

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I’m off somewhere in the world, to get better at yoga, to get better at me.

The flight airlifted me out of my life at midnight, and I’m still in the sky. Whoever said time flies wasn’t in a long haul plane at the time.

I said no to a cocktail on takeoff, and made one of my own instead – one lorazepam, two melatonin. If I did that every night after work I’d lead an extraordinarily relaxed life, but it possibly wouldn’t have much in it.

My first thought when I came out of my coma was one of great clarity. I didn’t pack any yoga clothes.

You would think this would have been a high priority for me, heading off as I was on a yoga holiday. You’ll be pleased to hear I did pack my own mat, and some underwear and a few assorted other things that are probably completely wrong for where I’m going.

I’m going to have to be chipper about this, and let the locals bum fuck me with Lululemon pride. Or they might talk me into something made from hemp, some wildly patterned tights for my wildly abundant thighs.

On the bright side, I do have a new season Prada dress sitting obediently at my feet. It’s fresh off the runway in Europe, fresh out of Queen Street Prada, fresh out of the Collection Point confessional at the airport, fresh out of my credit card and not yet out of it’s tissue.

The combination of these two events means I won’t have much rupiah to splash about for the next two weeks but as it’s inner wealth I’m seeking, I can ooom with that.

72. And on the eight day.

And just like that, it’s the eight day and in a couple of hours, and we will break our fast.  That feels like the beginning of a sermon at St. Matthews, which is not completely inappropriate as there have been moments where I’ve worshipped things – like food, and the sun and the good health of my body.

Can things be hard and easy at the same time? This was. I can honestly say that while my tummy rumbled a lot, I felt not a single hunger pang. I lost physical energy but could rest. My brain became clearer and more alert every day. It wasn’t druggie as an acquaintance had told me it might be, and I had no harsh detox symptoms. Strange things happened in the toilet which, even more strangely, I found greatly satisfying. My skin is clear, my nails are stronger. I am freer somehow. I am even learning how to breathe again (who’d have thought I could so miserably fail Breathing 101??)

I am thrilled to note that I haven’t missed alcohol. I am thrilled to note that I haven’t missed coffee. It’s the sociability and the rituals that surround them I yearn for. The food visualisations are for fresh salads, haloumi and smoked salmon not champagne and cake. Never saw that coming.

At the beginning, even after three weeks holiday, I was still rushing from activity to activity – still in the grip of a stonking 2012. At last I’ve calmed. My brain has been cleared out too, last year’s intellectual toxins and the sheer stress of being ‘on’ so much has gone as well.

Arvid says his life insurance now is a ten-day juice fast every year. Even with his healthy lifestyle, he says there is a toxic buildup in the bowels to remove annually. Jesus. At the risk of sounding like a retiring porn star, it’s time to think twice about what I put in this pretty mouth of mine…or on it come to think of it; that fabulous red lipstick I adore is a toxic wonderland I’m sure.

Steady on.

The post fast diet is pretty farmyard animal for a few days. Fruit and raw veges. Repeat. Seven days in, seven days out. After that? It’s up to me.

Hello big world. What’s for breakfast?