Musings from Koh Phangan

I found this list of notes I made while in Thailand in February on a two week yoga retreat. I had forgotten I’d written them. Sharing in their pure, unadulterated form, just as I was thinking at that time…it is beautiful to remember. Brings back the light. Thank you from the deepest well of gratitude to all the amazing and beautiful people I had the great honor of encountering there. What an incredible and beautiful gift to be able to share space, energy and time with you.
Namaste…

Yoga retreat Thailand Feb/2013
Mysore style ashtanga …
Kinda like ashtanga bootcamp, but in a good way…
Very hard…but Olivier’s way of teaching is very good. Slowly, but pushing…and at your pace, while still pushing…also stopping me when my ego wants to go further because I’ve “done ashtanga for almost a year now” which is nothing in the big scheme of things. Geesh. That was humbling.
Owners: Kes and Teresa. Australian couple. 12 yr old son. Interesting ppl. Interesting conversationalists. Good reiki session with Teresa
Learned all sorts of things from kes and Olivier about Thai ppl and customs and superstitions
People I have met…
Olivier-fr French descent. Grew up on island. Started ashtanga in 2004.—-Studied with guruji. Lives the yoga life, authentically. Travels. South Africa next. Great skin. Deeply sensually attractive.
Shelly– from Detroit. Lovely energy. Great calm soothing voice. Good advice. Very knowledgable. Likable. Interesting. Loves to dance. Beautiful teacher.
Laura-from Vancouver. Lovely manner and personality. Radiates Good energy. Great with children. Very nurturing. Caring. Loving. Beautiful.
Silke-another soul daughter. 25. From Belgium. Hard upbringing with absent dad and neglectful mom. Sister. Is a traveler and gets a lot of criticism from family and friends for her lifestyle. Met her cowboy in Australia. Love. Free love. Conflicted.
Katje – lovely German lady, mom of three, journalist…lives in Bangkok, hubby is civil engineer. Vegetarian. Tall. Kind. Calm.
Audrey-Quebec. Biologist. Working on masters thesis. Thyroid trouble. Working hard on ashtanga. Doing well. Also acro. Lovely easy going spirit.
Chris– her partner. Australia. West. Works as carpenter at a winery. Tall. Slim. Also working hard on his ashtanga. And acro. And doing well. They like raw food and do it at home too.
Celine-half French, half Thai. Always introduces herself this way. 21. Sweet. Naive. Cute. Scared of many things. Very trusting. Very curious. Very kind.
Ray-funny. Thai. Natural comedian. Always trying to make jokes and make ppl laugh. Am sure there’s some depth there. Always helpful. Generous. Offering rides, use of phone, etc….likes his meat and insists on smoking. Tried detox for 5 days.
Tanya-came here from Nepal on volunteer job. Couldn’t stay. Very cold and got sick. Now traveling through the month. Nice young woman. Talks a lot. A bit of drama. Needing guidance. But well meaning.
Ngin-tattooed beautiful, French speaking guy from turkey. Seems very kind, always smiling…goes out regularly. Getting to know the area well it seems.
Nixon-tattooed, very advanced yogi who lives in New York. Partner is prentiss.
Krista-smart little cookie from Vancouver who lives in china, but is now convinced she must move to Thailand. Told me they really do eat cats and dogs and sometimes pets go missing. Hard little gymnast body. Great conversationalist. I dig her.
Nina-lovely, always smiling, kind eyes, goes on yoga vacations like me…is an anesthesiologist. Husband is a movie director. Did Safehouse most recently. Must watch. I detected a sadness and longing in her. Would like to know her better. Seems such a deep and loving soul.
Wim– caretaker and cook…took great care of us. Sharp wit. Thinks we are all crazy
Mo-his wife. Always smiling, very kind, also cooks, lovely, doesn’t speak much English
Maytie -lovely young girl from Burma. Helps in kitchen and cleans. Laundry. Puts yellow clay type stuff on face to detox? Sweet. Not much English. Always smiling with her eyes. She brightens when you smile at her. 🙂
Flo -beautiful long haired, curly blonde, blue eyed German guy. Moving here with gf in koh Samui. She’s from here. Did detox. Very laid back. Chill guy. Funny. Inquisitive.
Emma-beautiful Aussie lass. Blonde. Tall. Clear blue eyes. Great sense of adventure and enthusiasm. Here with her lovely friend Jaz who didn’t join yoga.
Liz– lovely Aussie, dirty blonde. Very kind, sweet as well. Always smiling. Everyone is always smiling…
Frederica-German. Dark hair. Arrived second week. Boyfriend is flight attendant. Here for a month.
Becca – massage therapist, yoga teacher, fascinated by Ngin…great with massage..lovely…seems to be some drama there brewing? Not sure what. She’s bubbly.
Sophie (karma cat) love.
Sally G. (Meredith) Friend of Olivier, gorgeous inside and out. This young woman literally glows with love and radiance. She oozes genuine kindness.
Utah– Quiet, curious Japanese friend of Sally. Seems a bit lost, but like a nice guy. Joined acro yoga. Wants to take classes. Seems hesitant. Maybe just misunderstood.

Two weeks of:
Ashtanga class
Ashtanga philosophy
Pranayama classes
Meditation classes
Kirtan chanting Friday
Acro Saturday
Trust.
Trust everything, the universe and give gratitude.
For everything. Always. Every day. Repeat.

First Martha Beck class started while here …

Themes for me: letting go. Surrender. Open my heart. Open heart chakras. Balance heart and root.
Open root more
Jade for my heart
Jasmine and rose for the balance
Purple visions during reiki….catacombs…me emerging from purple?
Hike at the waterfall w Silke, Chris, Celine and Ray. Fish pedicures for free.
Homemade vegan coconut ice cream -dear god, that stuff is ridiculous.
Raw food. Raw pad Thai. Hummus salad. Kombucha. Coconuts.
Indian night Fridays.
Thai massages. Cheap and life altering. Got one every day.
Detoxing people glow, literally. Glow as a verb.
Card reading session first night with detox Tonya from UK who doesn’t like food. Odd woman. Seems deeply troubled. Has confusing negative energy. Interesting reading though. Theme was courage for me. For myself. For my vision. For love. Loving myself. Loving for free. Shining my light. Letting go. Playing more. With myself and others. I am rather serious come to think of it. No time. Accept whatever comes. Ask myself what I desire. And go get it. Send joe light from my heart and crown chakras to his. Visualize it. Send love. Then let go. Wish him healing. And courage. And clarity. And more love.

On Tuesday…went to wonderful macrobiotic restaurant owned by Greek man. Had tabbouleh, hummus, pesto pasta made with organic grain of some sort that starts with a T. Rode on bike with Olivier and joined Chris, Audrey, Celine, Ray, Sally, Utah, Flo… Then for coconut ice cream. (Again…). Sigh…

A bit of a fantasy…I realize after a couple of massages, reiki, yoga adjustments, hugs and bike rides that it has been far too long since I touched another human or was touched and I dearly, deeply want to be touched. So not sure how to encourage that to happen. I suppose I will let the universe know that I am ready and watch her deliver again. She always seems to. Trust. Trust. Trust. All is coming. Practice…all is coming. Trust. All will be ok.

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~evolution of a heart…

So. It has been some time since I last wrote anything other than a few lines about finding love.  All true and real and more than heartfelt.  Probably for me more confusing than anything.  You see,  love has always been this idea, this fantasy, this hope, this unattainable state of being for me that I have until now simply dabbled with…imagined…thought a little about….fancied myself in a few times for usually no more reason than bordeom, expectation, hope, or discovery of a new and interesting human who seemed quite interesting to discover at the time.  And in most cases – they were indeed.  Lovely people.  Interesting people. Nice people….even had I put them on paper, perhaps I could have said “just right”…or “worthy”…or “for me”.

The truth is, of course they WERE just right…and of course they WERE worthy….but they were NOT for ME.   And I was not for them.  And the lesson there is that this is perfectly OK. Good, even. They WERE teachers, even when I wasn’t paying attention to the lessons.

In the course of my lifetime, as I have often mentioned, I have been INCREDIBLY lucky.  I’ve known some amazing people…loved some wonderful and not so wonderful people…been loved…hated ..treated indifferently, and have come to know the difference…and to know that love is not always enough or is quite simply not actually love…rather it’s a hope we assign to a relationship that cannot really ever manifest because it does not actually exist to begin with.  Even if we spend years pretending that it does.

My mother/friend/Kate says it all comes down to hormones or chemistry or something like that.  I think there is wisdom in that.  And I think that is true for many relationships. I think it has been true for most of mine.  I also think/believe/know that once in a great while…something remarkable can happen between two people that transcends the superficial and the chemical and is truly remarkable and life changing.  Rare.  Something that moves towards you/we/me/us/ whoever….with gravity and momentum or inertia and what almost seems like purpose…and it either sneaks up on you or smacks you upside the head or both and says, “HEY!!!! What the fuck are you waiting for?? I am right here and I have been all this time. Let’s do this thing baby, because we ARE love.”

And then, you may, (or I may) true to your/my normal fashion, say “who the HELL are you? Go away” or “no thanks! We’re all full up of crazy here”….OR…..ORRRRR, you may simply respond as if responding to your oldest and most trusted friend, say “hey, yeah, whatever you’re talking about sounds great to me.  Not sure why…it just does…suggest away.  I’m down.”

Seem kind of easy and mild mannered for you?  Yeah?  Well, my friends, I have discovered at the tender age of 43 and now 44 that THAT is what love is. 

It sneaks up on you, says “hey sugar…whatcha doin’? wanna go skiing or maybe to a rally or maybe catch the next shuttle to the moon?” and you say,“hey yeah, that sounds amazing”…I don’t know why and I can’t explain it – but yes.  Let’s do it.  Hey, let’s even do something sooner”...

…and next thing you know, this person who has been your “I’ve only met you a few times in person and always wondered about you who lives in a different city/state/country” friend is transformed overnight into your greatest and most amazing love.  Instantly.  Without discussion or negotiation. Just. Love.  The one who makes all the songs make sense.  The one with whom everything is natural and good and effortless and endlessly interesting and attractive and alluring and so many other things. The one who makes having coffee and eggs sound like the erotic adventure of a lifetime.

The one your skeptical little heart now believes it was born for.

You see, friends…love really ISN’T hard.  It isn’t elusive.  It isn’t about work and effort and endless misunderstandings and pain and make-ups and trying to be “more than’s” or reinventing yourself to please someone else.  Or contorting your soul to try to be acceptable. It isn’t sticky (except in a good way), it isn’t mean, it isn’t something you have to prove.  Love. Just. Is.

Before anyone takes issue and wants to tell me it is hard, and you do have to work at it – yes, yes, yes…we do have to work at relationships and there will be misunderstandings and hurts and times to explain, etc…but I’m talking about LOVE itself.  Not the relationship.  And I firmly believe and have always believed that with a love that allows you to be free to be yourself and to grow without judgment or the need to try to make another bend to your will…well that is a love that will last and will turn your life upside down in the best possible way and is the kind of love I want. 

As one of my favorite spiritual leader/philosophers puts it, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free”….Thich Nhat Hanh. 

Yes.  Exactly. 

This particular brand of love doesn’t have room for jealousies or worries and fears.  Infidelity is not a factor. Dishonesty is not an option.  Because first and foremost – there is the recognition that noone is owned by you and you aren’t owned by anyone unless you give them that permission.  And conversely, two people loving each other completely and freely who give each other space to be, and to live and to grow don’t have time to consider going anywhere else for affection or comfort. Or to lie. It ceases to be a consideration. And if it seems I am kidding myself? So be it.  This is the truth and freedom I live in and quite frankly, I dig it on the soul level, ya’ll.

So the lesson in all this is manyfold.  Is manyfold a word? It works in this context I believe.  I’ve learned in a lifetime of teaching myself how to love myself because the wolves didn’t know how to teach me (and I forgive them for that…they did all that they knew how to do.) – that once I returned to myself, and allowed myself to just ride the tide of the universal river of experience and to embrace whatever comes my way and learn from it…to still love myself even when I made mistakes…to forgive myself…to take each experience for what it was and to remain open myself to adventure to experience to life to the world and to love – then love walked right in and said “honey, I’m home” and it was like love had been there all along.  Because, in fact, it had. 

“So, this IS what love feels like.”

Peace. Magic. Belonging.  Giving. Expanding….like the universe.  Love. Welcome home.