It’s been 3 months of Sundays since I skipped aboard Air India’s finest brimming with love for Mother India and all mankind and I haven’t been quite so nimble to update my blog and keep my yogi friends now scattered all around the world up-to-date with the trials and tribulations of yogi life in a very un-yogi land.
Acclimatising to life back in the UK where cows don’t wander the streets and kindness or even just plain simple manners are thrown out the window as you’re pushed and shoved out of the way as the person beside you rush, rush, rushes their way around, trying to shave a second off here, and 3 seconds there, has been challenging and I still don’t think I’ve cracked it.
When I look back to that moment when I walked into Heathrow airport’s arrivals I feel maybe I’ve taken as much of a journey these past three months as I did in the ten in India and learnt almost as much, but clearly never enough!
It’s been a whirlwind of gargantuan proportions as I’ve tiptoed my way through harsh realities like remortgaging during an impending credit crunch; knocked on the door of gainful and office bound employment; had the opportunity to fall in love with my beautiful city again as observed through another’s eyes; spent several hours surrounded by fragrantly poetic roses and beautiful friends and said a very quick and unsentimental goodbye to my 20’s.
Forgive me if I’ve been slow to reply, been brief in my replies or unforgiveably been completely absent in my communication, I’ve found it’s not easy to balance yourself when one foot is submerged in the real world and the other flexed in the yogic world. My head’s been swirling with thoughts and questions, solutions and problems, answers and ideas; opposing forces clashing in my tiny little head and my tiny little heart but I think the storm is clearing a little…. Unless it’s just a lull!
So what have I been up to these past few months since being back on British Soil?
I walked off the plane from India to be met by my mum with a big smile and a hug before being whisked back to the tree lined streets of Surrey, heavy with cherry blossom from the early summer heat wave in May. I got to spend a couple of hours with them before my eyes grew heavy and I started slurring like a drunk. The next morning they left to send my regards to Fidel Castro and his comrades leaving me with a set of car keys in my hand and a back pack full of washing.
I got to spend time with my awesome grandma and the great pleasure of being able to help out a beautiful yogi friend with a stopover in London on her way back to Denmark, before heading down to Brighton and basking on the beach with my lovely little brother. Feeling warmth in my bones and my heart I headed to a friend’s house in South London where good fortune saw her with an empty bedroom and an attention seeking cat always in need of some extra petting.
She’s also a vegetarian who makes a dal Su-Kumar would be proud of and is just about the cleanest person I know. It was so unbelievably great to unpack my bag finally, in my own room, with my own bed and my own door. A wonderful place and person to unwind and relax with.
With the sun still beating down on London my constant friend throughout almost my entire trip in India came to stay for a week. As I started touring Melanie around London, my beautiful city used the sunshine to cast her spell on me again with Mel and I taking in some of London’s finest offerings. From Westminster to St Paul’s, Brick Lane to the Southbank, Oxford Circus to Borough Market, Kings College London Student Union to Sadler’s Wells, The Mall to the V&A, from Chai in Islington to English Tea at Maison Betraux, we ‘did’ London.
A few early investigations into remortgaging revealed that I would have to get a job in order to do so and I was so incredibly blessed to be able to be given the opportunity to go back and work at my old client’s; surrounded by friendly, familiar faces and getting paid to watch movies!! (I still can’t get over that!)
More good fortune came my way when my lovely yoga teacher went back to Ireland for a wedding and allowed yours truly to take care of his students for the week and a few Saturday classes since. I also have Rory to thank/blame for introducing me to Bikram Yoga… I still can’t work out whether I actually like it, but that’s supposedly because it’s helping stuff bubble up I’m none to keen to deal with, but I’m still not sure no headstand and no savasana is my kind of yoga! 😉
So when I wasn’t spending my Friday days off with my yogi buddies at Bikram I was sitting in fragrantly bewitching rose gardens with my beautiful ashram friend, Prema, contemplating the Maya at her most beguiling and trying out my sugar-free/alternative baking.
And when I wasn’t with them doing as much yoga as possible, I was hanging out with the coolest Granny in the world, taking her for a spin around monkeyworld and in Brighton for my brother’s birthday. Or I was trying to catch up with the friend’s who’s lives I’d been absent from for 5 months or almost a year. It’s not so easy doing that when you don’t drink and don’t get invited to things so much, but I’m getting there and my friendships seem to be putting themselves in appropriate boxes.
But whilst I’ve been trying to find the middle ground between the hard living, fun loving, sense filling party gal of former years and the calmer, more content, alcohol, meat and smoke free yogini post India I’ve watered and then eaten my brother’s allotment grown potatoes; watched Tess eat the candles of her birthday cake; tried to make Prema dance with the Hare Krishna’s and finally got her to cut my hair; played happy families with Lindsey and had George her cat stand on my head in the middle of the night; helped Lady Palmer celebrate her pregnant birthday and tried out pregnant yoga teaching on her; watched Nick twiddle with his moustache; giggled at Litz’s drunken antisocial tube reading; pottered around with Clare like old times; felt fleet footed with Shelly; continued to be in awe of Jo and her pure pure heart; got hot and sweaty with Caty and Rory at Bikram and chewed the philosophical fat over hippy teas; helped cast Shelley off into married life; celebrated Cerys officially becoming a teacher; signed up for Cat sitting for Sam in her lovely north London flat; cheered at Fred actually being able to live in her own flat and created many other lovely memories of my friends I’ll carry around in my heart, wherever I travel.
I had the good luck to have gotten a whole year wiser and to share that experience with my friends. It was a little traumatic for me, not being the best at birthdays. I didn’t seem to mind turning 30, it feels I’ve always been the age, but it did make me stop for one moment and think back to that young girl with the brightness of future aspirations reflected in her eyes. Obeying the rules of media brain washing and thinking that 30 was such a grand old age, she thought that she’d have a high powered job, a nice car, a nice house, be married at least, maybe not quite with children, and be living the dream.
For a moment I felt a moment of panic at the thought of not having achieved all that, and then I remembered that I didn’t have to want that as my future just because society conditions you to think so. If I peel off the surface of my life right now and take a look at it, like the fingerprint left behind when you accidentally stick yourself to cellotape, it’s not far off those idyllic dreams of that niave and on paper would probably tick most 21 year old’s ideas of a good future.
Each day is a waking dream, being torn between potential memories of a simple yogic life and the Maya dangling her sparkling trinkets of temptation in front of my eyes. Right now, living in the now, I’m happy. Maybe that’s because I know this isn’t forever and that India is waiting in the wings, patiently for me to do whatever needs to be done her so I can get back to her.
So my beautiful friends I hope each day you’re learning more and more about yourselves and understanding that our journey in India was only a fraction of the adventure. I hope with all my heart, despite supposed detachment and non-expectation, to be back at the ashram from November and to see some of you at the next intertwining of our karmas.
OM my friends, OM
Wishing you all peace, love and light