" I was surrounded by a family who loved me, but I still felt alone. So what I started to do was isolate myself from everyone in an attempt to make sense of the loneliness inside me."
I’ve just done my second card reading for you from my Chakra Cards – Muladhara (red) series and the question was: “How do you feel about being alone?” See the link to the video and my channel here.
For me, this is an easy one. I’m very comfortable in my own company. I love having my time to be autonomous and to relax. But it hasn’t always been this way. When I was 14, I was suffering from depression and adolescent angst and my grandmother had just discovered Louise Hay. She sent me a package of affirmations and from that moment my life changed. I couldn’t see a way out of my aching loneliness, but Louise Hay and my grandmother showed me the way.
The way out of the loneliness was to love myself. As a child I felt so alone in the world. It was like when you are a party, surrounded by people, but feel completely lonely. That’s how I felt. I was surrounded by a family who loved me, but I still felt alone. So what I started to do was isolate myself from everyone in an attempt to make sense of the loneliness inside me. I created physical separation and alone space to figure out who I was as distinct from my family and more importantly, why I was here.
It hasn’t been an easy path. I’ve not really had any loving and functioning relationships with men, I’ve restricted friendships to those who accept me for who I am and quickly passed by any who didn’t. Needless to say high school was a nightmare for me. I felt very alone during school and never really found a group where I felt like I belonged or was accepted. What the common thread throughout this…was me. I was the common feature of the aching aloneness; to be in a room full of people and feel completely alone, that’s nothing to do with anyone else but the self.
After years and years of affirmations and self-reflection, I have now come to a place where I truly love who I am. Rather than being angry or bitter about those early experiences, I have embraced them as showing me the path to me. I am an amazing person. I can say that with sincerity and feeling now, something that at 14, I learned how to start to do. I have the vocabulary that I need to talk about my feelings and emotions and I very much have taught my kids to be able to articulate when they need space or conversations. And they know when I need some space or alone-time to re-centre myself.
My alone-time grounds me. It brings me back to myself. It allows me to look within and celebrate who I am. Often when situations in my life get chaotic, it is when I am alone that I can find that centre, the truth of who I am. And I am extraordinary! There is no-one on Earth who has my name, my story, my life and no-one else who can be me the way that I can!
So, in answer to the question, “How do you feel about being alone?”, I feel great. It’s taken a long time and a lot of work, but I accept me. I belong here, within me, doing what I do. It was never about those kids at school or my family accepting me, but of ME accepting me! Of embracing that time of being alone and accepting it.
Being alone has been a great teacher and I am grateful for it.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2016
One day you will die.
Let that just sink in for a moment.
You will be just a memory; in people’s lives, their photo albums, your social media page that will receive memories for a few years until people move on with their own lives, their time of existence here on Earth.
I am completely dumbfounded that people never question their existence. Yet, they don't.
There are so many theories on death and what happens afterwards, but this is not a blog about that, this is a blog about life.
Are you making the most of be-ing alive?
Are you truly living?
This week has been an interesting one with a number of prominent celebrities dying of cancer-related illnesses. While I can’t say that any of those men were influential in my life by any means, it has been interesting to witness the collective grief, particularly about David Bowie.
When someone who is close to you dies, it brings into sharp relief our own mortality. Even when they are complete strangers, we feel something that is universal. Our mortality becomes a reminder to keep living to our capacity. Death reminds us that our lives are merely a blink in human time and so very brief.
Our personal beliefs about death really do define how we react to the death of others. For me, death is a transition from living to non-living. I don’t know what I’ll encounter when I do die, but I know that we get glimpses of it in our dreams, meditations and esoteric experiences. I’m not one for believing what has been written by others (the irony of this is not lost on me!), but I am one for believing in my own experiences.
But again I digress, this post is not about death, but about life. Life is so incredibly transient and as each year passes I wonder where the last one went and more importantly if I made the most of every moment. The older I get I realise these things:
We can sit here and argue philosophy and what we believe happens to our souls, or who we think we are, after death, or we can engage in the present moment and truly live. We can open up our hearts and let go of the masks that we all carry and embrace the opportunities that life offers to us.
We all die. That’s inevitable.
What matters right now is what you do with this moment. How are you going to live?
©Alyssa Curtayne 2016
In my first video of how to use the Chakra Cards in a weekly video entry that I’ve just started (see it here), the first question that came up was “How would you describe your relationship with your family of birth?”
It’s not very fair of me to ask that question of others, without answering it myself!
This is challenging to write as I don’t want to embarrass or upset any of my family but I also want to be deeply authentic with the truth of the situation from where I was and am. I have done an enormous amount of work over the years with counsellors about these first important relationships, particularly around my parents.
I had a lovely childhood, my parents worked hard and we went camping at Christmas and Easter and they remain my fondest childhood memories. I am the eldest of four children and I believe my parents did the very best that they could. I, unfortunately, had undiagnosed depression for all of my childhood and had social anxiety which persists today to a lesser extent. Today, I probably would have fallen in the autism spectrum somewhere, but in those days, it was rare and unheard of, particularly in girls. As a result, I’ve learned how to manage my emotions and social anxieties in a way that works for me.
So, in answer to the above question, I would have to say ‘distant’ is the answer. I don’t feel any closeness or intimacy with my family of birth. I love them and am certain that they love me, but I don’t feel close to them in the same way I am with my own children, or my best girlfriends. This makes me sad. I would like to be close to them and one of the reasons I live where I do is to develop some closeness with my brother who has been distant to us for about 20 years. Unfortunately, that means I am geographically separated from the rest of my family of birth and cannot build that closeness that I crave with them at the same time.
At the same time that I crave it, I am wary of it. I am wary of being hurt, of being rejected, of being judged and criticised – even though they are probably not doing those things, but what’s that saying: “if you think you’re enlightened, go and live with your family”? They are trigger pushers. They don’t mean to be, it is just who they are, and why would I want them to be anything other than who they are? But family has this way of pushing those parts of yourself that you don’t want to see or deal with.
I have learned to walk away in conflict because I know if I stand my ground with them, I’ll get angry and say something that I’ll regret. I’m also terrible with quick repartee, debating is not my strong point. So I create space to debrief, so I can think, centre myself and say what I really want to. I know not to talk about politics or the environment with my family and even my beliefs and I probably should. What better way to test myself and my ability to stay calm in the midst of a storm than arguing with family!!
The consequence of this walking away, is that they never truly get to see who I am.
And that’s sad.
I only allow them to see the parts of me that I want.
Ironically (or is that perfectly), I see that is how I am in all relationships. I keep people at a distance. I am wary. I find it hard to trust people not to attack me. I am completely myself with my kids and increasingly I’m throwing caution to the wind and dancing as I walk down the street, letting myself just be, well, me because in truth, how others treat me is more a reflection of themselves than me and life’s too short to be less than who you are! I see the patterns in my life and I am grateful for them.
I have learned an enormous amount about myself from my family of birth and I am so very grateful for being born into this family. I don’t think any family is perfect in the tradition of television families!! But I do think that every family is perfect for us. We learn what we need from them and it has taken me a very long time to accept my mother, in particular, for who she is. If she hadn’t been how she was, I would not be who I am today.
So while I would describe my relationship with my family of birth as distant, I would also say that I’m incredibly grateful for what is and I hope that one day I can have that closeness that comes with breaking down my walls, trusting them not to hurt me and letting them in.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2016
I encourage you to share your stories in the comment spaces below!
"I’ve done my home practice naked, in the dark, with my eyes closed, listening to my favourite tunes on Pandora, while dancing, in my ugg boots, while listening to guided meditations and sometimes a combination of all of the above. It’s so freeing to be away from the structures of classes and just to allow the intuitive flow guide my practice."
I wouldn’t say I am failing my 365 day yoga challenge, I would say that I probably just need a reboot. I’m at day 185 of my 365 day challenge and I have missed a few days…well, about 20. In December, I was working a lot and started to lose the balance in my life and instead of returning to the yoga mat to get my balance back I just fell into bed at the end of each day. I started slipping into depression, I felt disconnected from myself, the divine, the Earth and the further disconnected I felt, the further my daily yoga practice went from my life.
I love yoga. It is my dedicated time to my body, myself and the earth. It grounds me. It brings stuff up that I thought I have dealt with and most importantly, it forces me to be in the moment. I have no great ambition to be one of those hyper-flexible impossibly super-humans that you see across Instagram, but I do want it to be a part of my daily existence. More importantly, I see yoga philosophy as how I live my life; the concept of loving kindness to all things. And, it makes me happy.
If I look through the literature on the Eight Limbs of Yoga, both Pratyahara (Control of the Senses) and Dharana (Concentration and cultivation inner perceptual awareness) are skills that require mastery. In no way am I able to spend my whole life in meditation, as much as I’d love to, but then that almost seems somewhat of an escape from the human life experience. We are here to experience the physical reality, but also to find a balance between our esoteric selves and the dense energies of the physical.
We are having a human experience and like all things, yoga is a tool, which through the yoga philosophies creates a lifestyle that works for me. I don’t have to be doing it every day, but I do need to be cultivating a sense of the witness and applying the experience of being at one with the universe and being in the moment to my every day.
I can see how my working so much last year led to my depressive episode in December and it’s only now that I am starting to feel that connection to myself again and as a result, I feel ready to return to my committed practice, even if it’s only five minutes a day. Some days I walk over my mat and I think, “I should do that”, but I don’t! In no way do I want to be forcing myself to do yoga, I want to bring my joy to it. It shouldn’t feel like a chore, it should feel like something that is a part of my life.
Interestingly, it’s been an amazing journey, I’ve done my home practice naked, in the dark, with my eyes closed, listening to my favourite tunes on Pandora, while dancing, in my ugg boots, while listening to guided meditations and sometimes a combination of all of the above. It’s so freeing to be away from the structures of classes and just to allow the intuitive flow guide my practice. In-fact my best days have been when I get completely out of my head and just go where the intuitive nudge guides me, to feel the kundalini rising and just allow my body to fall into ecstatic bliss.
I could sit here and feel like I have failed in my 365 day commitment to a daily yoga practice but instead I am dancing and typing in joy as I realise that no-body is assessing me or checking up on me to make sure I’m sticking to my original plan. Who cares if I miss 20 days? It doesn’t make me less worthy or less committed to the yogic path, or even my spiritual path. So what if I don’t do it in a particular style or framework? I am finding enormous satisfaction with the flow. Having said that, I do need to start re-attending classes with a teacher to ensure that I’m keeping my technique correct and not falling into bad habits. Plus, I probably need to engage with other beings who are also connecting with themselves.
Like anything in life, the things/people/ideas we make a commitment to, some days, you just don’t feel like committing and that’s okay! All you need to do is ask yourself if it is a commitment that you are willing to continue with and find a way to adjust to your needs. Dieting and exercise programmes come to mind here!!
Yoga means union, or to join. In yoga I find union within myself. If I have learned anything about my home practice during the past 185 days, that yoga is not about the clothes, the style, accessories or even the mat. It’s about what works for me to maintain my physical body, my energetic body and my inner sense of balance. It also helps that lots of amazing people also do yoga. If dancing to music while doing the sun salutations works for me, well, I’m going to do it. I’m sure somebody has already marketed Dancing Yoga and if they haven’t, everyone should try it. Maybe, once I get my formal training in yoga, I’ll create it myself! But again that’s another tool. Let loose, shift up your yoga practice today, you know what’s best for you.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2016