"Or because I see the infinite potential of choices that I as a white, Australian woman have in my life? Of life slipping by in this rapid passing of time that we call life? I think it's simply because I don't want to waste my life. "
Cleaning, washing, routines. Blah.
Mundane. Dull. Uninspired.
Life can be so boring. Can't it?
I get bored easily. I don't often last at jobs or in houses or places for more than three years and by the time the three years roll around I'm as restless as a tiger pacing the confines of a zoo. I wish I had the staying power; the ability to just be happy with the routines of life. After all, life is made up of the mundane - shopping, cleaning, looking after children, working...but I want my life to be meaningful. I don't want to get to the end of my life and look back and go, "Wow, I could have done that instead I had to wait until the circumstances were right"...are the circumstances ever right? Teenagers are often easily bored, but when they allow themselves to be in that deep state of boredom they hit this moment where they find their creativity, their muse, their passion. But what about when you are bored with life?
One of my favourite sayings is "Chop wood, carry water, Englightenment, chop wood, carry water." It implies that even when we are enlightened or in an ecstatic state, we still need to carry on with the mundane. But oh, I find it so hard! The Merriam-Webster definition of boredom is: "the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest", so what is it that a job or a place can't hold my interest? Is it because I have no patience? I know that being patient is a virtue, but at what cost? Or because I see the infinite potential of choices that I as a white, Australian woman have in my life? Of life slipping by in this rapid passing of time that we call life? I think it's simply because I don't want to waste my life.
Yet, I hear my intuition telling me its time to move on and I keep pushing that feeling aside and dismissing it like my intuition means nothing. Our intuition can be such an incredible tool to travel through life. I once had a mentor say that my desire to keep moving is about my ego's need for variety and that I need to calm that base need. Maybe it is my ego, but isn't a healthy ego a good thing? Maybe I crave variety in my life, not as something to be ashamed of, but because variety means that I can have an interesting and spectacularly wonderful life, so that I can lie on my deathbed and say that I had no regrets.
In her book, Five Regrets of the Dying, former palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware spoke of the things that people wish they had done.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“The peace each of these dear people found before their passing is available now, without having to wait until your final hours. You have the choice to change your life, to be courageous, to live a life true to your heart, one that will see you pass without regret. ”
Already I can see how see how I am having regrets about my life and I'm not even half way through. I'm not living true to myself, I'm not following my intuition and I certainly don't let myself be happy. Thus, we return to boredom. The mundane. There has to be more to life than housework and routines. So perhaps in reality, my boredom is my way of searching for meaning in my life and when I start listening to my intuition again, maybe I'll create space to be happy. So, just for today, I will follow the signs given to me from the Universe and see where it leads.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2019
"Are we fighting against a darkness that doesn't exist? Is this concept of duality an illusion of our current state of consciousness? ....What if it is learned consciousness?"
I've been contemplating the idea of duality lately and feeling it in both my internal and external worlds. When I look at the world around us, it seems that politics has become polarised into two different camps - the left and the right - and neither can see the other's point of view. In-fact we have lost the ability to have rational discussions on social media about the issues that affect us all. All mature dialogue has disintegrated into name-calling and physical fighting (even in our leaders) - where has our intellectual and sophisticated society gone?
The world feels polarised and our behaviours are becoming more and more irrational. There's a saying that talks about the left and right hand that don't know what each other is doing, but what's more important is acknowledging that we are more than just hands; we are whole and complete sentient beings capable of both great evil and enormous love and compassion with these hands. Both of those extremes exist within all of us at any given time.
But so do I, I feel polarised within myself. And if I'm feeling it, I imagine that many other people are feeling the same.
The idea of duality is a fairly recent one in human history. The first known written story/poem/epic ever written was the story of Gilgamesh from about 3000BCE. It was the very first written narrative to record combat between good and evil. From there our ideas in stories evolved to always include this dualism - light/dark, Isis/Osiris, God/The Devil. By the 5th Century CE the theology of the Devil was firmly established in our psyche. In more recent times, I too have been caught up in the Shiva/Shakti, masculine/feminine dualities of our beings.
The word duality comes from late-middle English meaning having a twofold character also shows contrast. But what existed prior to this? If this was the first concept of evil what existed before?
Are we fighting against a darkness that doesn't exist? Is this concept of duality an illusion of our current state of consciousness? What if we are in this internal battle with ourselves and others that simply is an illusion? What if duality doesn't exist as a part of the human condition? What if it is learned consciousness?
I feel this frustration that arises within me and I feel torn by this polarising force that just doesn't feel right for me. Maybe I'm living in this utopian world where I only want to see peace in and around me. But I do sense this duality within ourselves and the world coming to an end - we are coming to a point of conflict where the duality will cease to exist in its current form. Donald Trump, for all his flaws, has unconsciously highlighted this incredible duality that exists both within us and in our world and that's probably his purpose for being.
And yet, the solution is simple: to surrender the duality and bring the polarisation of each hand and into the place of the heart, the centre of all beings. The place that is love. It begins with us centering into love.
© Alyssa Curtayne 2018
"In the movie Chocolat, Vianne travels from place to place until she decides that the village is worth staying in, a place where she felt welcomed, but more-so a place where she can meaningfully contribute to the community."
I've been reflecting lately on what "Home" is and I guess it's been a theme throughout my life. When I was in my teens, Australian rock band, Noiseworks had a song called "Home" and their lyrics spoke of not being able to find a place and a constant longing to find this ethereal place.
It resonated with me so much. It still does. It remains one of my favourite songs of all time. So I've spent much of my life seeking out this elusive "home". On the journey, I've been to some spectacularly beautiful places.
In 2011, I packed up my three children and with a four-wheel drive and camper trailer went on an adventure around Australia. I suppose in some way I was looking for this place to call home. I found it in Broome on Australia's remote North-West, the crystal blue water was my sanctuary every afternoon as I walked the Cable Beach and watched the sun go down. But the other thing that made Broome home was this intangible connection that I felt with the land and the people there.
Soon, I left Broome for a variety of reasons and moved to Perth where we have now moved three times in the five years we have lived here. I can't settle in this place. It just doesn't feel like home. I recently returned from five days away from Perth and I felt sick knowing that we weren't going home, but back to a house. So I question whether home is about the place or is it something deeper.
I am a seventh-generation Tasmanian and apart from Broome, my birthplace is the only other location that has truly resonated. But it's more than that. A home is just a place you live unless you have a community to belong to. With all our fancy houses and expensive possessions, what we are lacking is community and I feel that here, I don't feel a sense of community in the place that I live. Broome had a wonderful community and I feel right at home in my own birth-state around family and friends and the familiarity of community. Which made me wonder if home a place or is it something within us? In the movie Chocolat, Vianne travels from place to place until she decides that the village is worth staying in, a place where she felt welcomed, but more-so a place where she can meaningfully contribute to the community.
"Home" is greater than a place. It's a concept that is within us; a feeling of things being just right and that things are as they should be. I guess we can apply this same concept of belonging to relationships, jobs and other aspects of our lives. I think ultimately it's about trusting those inner nudges that we get that something is not quite right and being able to follow that and feeling at home within ourselves. Moving location, changing jobs, leaving relationships are just a way of trying to right this internal feeling of unease, when what we need to do in the first place is to trust that intuitive nudge that says "this is not right, this doesn't feel like home" and act on that.
May you find your home within you.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2018
"If we just sit at home and aspiring for some self-serving nirvana state but allow the world to fall around us, is that spiritual? No, it's irresponsible."
It's all very well and good for the "Love and Light" brigade to spread love and light, after all the world needs more of it, but where's the line between spirituality and activism? Can the two co-exist or do they have to be separate entities?
By definition spirituality is often the surrender of some "greater force" than us driving our destiny and activism is a "means of achieving political or other goals."
Our world is dying; climate change, animal extinctions, plant disappearance, the death of ecosystems such as Queensland's Great Barrier Reef. The science is in, our ecosystem cannot continue this human-driven march towards its and our extinction. What greater goal could we have than the protection of our planet? But is sitting in meditation in the privacy of our privileged, Western lives going to change anything apart from ourselves?
I see great value in self-work, don't get me wrong, I've even created a line of products designed to help people see how they can be better humans but at some point we need to get off our butts and take action. Agreed, it makes us feel good about ourselves when we devote our time to yoga, meditation or other forms of spirituality - whatever that is for you - but what is the POINT of spirituality if our planet is dying?
The Zen quote: "chop wood, carry water, enlightenment, chop wood, carry water" is so pertinent here. No matter how "spiritual" you think you are, there are human needs that still need to be undertaken. We are still human beings on this planet and our bodies require a healthy ecosystem to survive.
I see the work of Abraham-Hicks often in my newsfeed with trite comments like: "Just remember that you want your influence to always be what you ask for and never be about what you are against because as long as your influence is what you're for then you have the backing of Universal forces." I deeply desire a peaceful, sustainable, loving planet and I can sit in my comfortable home for as long as I want desiring this thing but if I don't take daily actions alongside these thoughts, nothing will change.
Life isn't about the self! It's about the collective. We need to start seeing us as US and not ME.
We are part of an ecosystem and events do not exist in isolation and one of the reasons I moved away from the yoga community was this self-isolation built in ego. We do not exist in isolation on a yoga mat on the floor of a studio as we do not exist in isolation as a human being on this planet. Sean Corne's Off the Mat project is one example of taking yoga spirituality out of the yoga studio, and I'd love to hear about more if there is any you know about.
What is the point of loving compassion if it's not shared with the world? How can we both protect and nurture the Earth and the mechanisms that sustain life; air, water, food, diversity and yet keep our spirituality intact?
The answer is simple: action and service.
There comes a time when we have to take action.
If we just sit at home and aspiring for some self-serving nirvana state but allow the world to fall around us, is that spiritual? No, it's irresponsible. We have to put all of our love and compassion into the wider world. What better way than making a stand to protect our precious water from fracking. Water is life. No amount of chanting or green kale smoothies will prevent this toxic sickness from leeching into our ecosystem.
It's time for us to be the spiritual activists we were born to be.
In love and action,
©Alyssa Curtayne 2018