Sunday, 18 May 2014


You know when you read or hear something, and you know it to be true but can't explain how or why you know? 
The first time I read this paragraph I was sitting in the sun, waiting for my morning bus to take me to work. And I started laughing, a big belly, shoulder-shaking laughter. For three reasons; a) what I just read was beautiful b) I found it to be true c) it's so apparently annoyingly contradictory that it's funny. Big funny business, Zen is. Gong!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

"The way is to climb, the way is to lie still..."

I climb up two short flights of stairs and I'm in the dojo.
My way these days is to lie still, to close my eyes inhaling the slightly musty scent off the tatami mats and to be RAW. 
Setting my music player on shuffle, I try and create a state of "no inner dialogue" by being in a Relaxed body, Alert mind, and Waiting spirit.
Now, the shuffle setting is a hoot because sometimes I listen to favourites like Nina Simone's Sinnerman, Fleet Foxes' Your Protector, or The Pixies' Levitate Me and other times tunes less conducive to RAW will come up such as Aphex Twin's 4 or Pink Floyd's Careful With That Axe, Eugene.

Still, if the suspension of judgement and inner dialogue were easy, there would be no point in the practice. So I practice, and I observe in mild and amused despair how much inner dialogue comes up, how many little stories about likes and dislikes I tell myself, and just how much daydreaming I get lost into.
Nia's practice of RAW is difficult for me, and it also does me good.

I recently read Bruce Lee's take on RAW:
'Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being "wholly" and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come'.

Sounds good to me.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Celebrating what it is

I am excited about things, and people, and tea.
This morning, after the shower, I looked at my body for more than 2 minutes. I have adventures coming up in June, and hopefully July. Maybe I wanted to check if my body would be up to it; I am going to be demanding strength, and stamina, and smoothness and attractiveness. So I looked.

And this is what I found. My hair is definitely showing silver, I found a few sparkling strands, very close to each other, where I had none only a few weeks ago. My skin is also changing and becoming drier and more sensitive. I can't get away with not moisturising everyday. And the stretch marks! They tell my story of gaining weight, and losing it, gaining weight away, and losing it again...
I am getting visibly older. 
As I stood there in front of the mirror I though 'it's good that is so' and then, 'well, even if it isn't good, it's still happening'. I saw my body as it was right then, in that moment, and there was no judgement, and it wasn't good or bad, it just was.

And then, as I brushed my teeth, I sensed the joy of moving my elbow up and down, and my wrist nice and loose. The precision instruments that are my fingers, holding the toothbrush. My mouth sensing the plastic fibres, and tasting the minty toothpaste, and the cleansing friction on my teeth and then it came. The gratefulness.
I'm older, and stronger, and younger, and more fragile, and aware, and alive. My body is good stuff, and it's mine. I'm alive, hot damn!