Tattooing as Divine ConversationĀ 

I could not access the words through the thoughts yesterday to write this. Those of you that follow me know how transforming my recent trip to India has been for me. I consolidated and signposted this with a tattoo yesterday. 

But, the journey for this tattoo started in January. So I think it is fitting that I close the year with it. 

In January, I received an email from Alana Fairchild promoting a Lakshmi retreat in India for late October. I felt the calling to go, trusted it, and replied that I would be going. It felt right. I knew I was meant to go. I didn’t realise how right it was at the time, just that I had to trust the calling and step outside of my comfort zone. 

In early March, I was informed that I was under investigation at work for failing to report the misconduct of other staff members. This investigation, ironically, lasted two days shy of forty two weeks (an overdue bub- yep). Whilst I suffered/endured/survived extreme bouts of anxiety and disconnection, the upcoming trip to India sustained me. I knew it would set me on the right path. 

In April, for my birthday, I was going to host a picnic but made the decision to postpone it until the investigation was resolved. After all, how long could it take? šŸ˜³

I also wanted to mark my birthday with a tattoo. I was thinking a mandala. I like them. I googled mandala experts. 

I came across a Sydney artist, Mark of Nara. His tattooing is distinct and his website suggests that he works with tattoos in a spiritual and healing mode. This piqued my interest and I contacted his studio to make an appointment. 

No more bookings for 2016. A wait list for 2017. 

Initially miffed, I trusted that what would be, would be. I didn’t look further for an artist. I’ve never been tattooed by an artist with a wait list. It was a bit novel. 

And then, India. A retreat and trip that would completely transform me. I integrated aspects of myself, and began to see myself as beautiful, inside and out. I saw myself as the Divine sees me, sees us all. A child full of light, love, compassion, power. A child who deserves to live her best life, create her best life, away from bureaucracy and limiting, ridiculous precepts. 

Alone in Dharamshala, at the Tibetan Cultural Centre, I was guided towards a statue depicting Green Tara; compassion in action – hand shown and foot ready to jump, sitting on a lotus. She called to me. Really called to me. Something inside was cemented when I saw her, transformed me. If I jump, was ready for action, coming from compassion, I could live my best life and become the best version of myself. 

She is my symbol for India. 

I came home, high, ready to embrace everything that could be, and fell into the drudgery of work. Returning emphasized how unhappy I was in the monotony of work, with no life balance or time/energy to do other things, to be all that I can be. 

Investigation over. 

One funeral after the other: reminders that life is too short to writhe in misery and I decide to take leave for next year. I plan travel, book writing, growing and transforming my business, casual teaching to sustain me. 

And then I receive an email to inform me that Mark of Nara is taking appointments for 2017. I had to send my idea to him. If it appealed, I would get an appointment. 

Green Tara. A brief explanation why. 

He rang a few days later. I booked in for yesterday. 

I was so nervous when I met him. Did not doubt the tattoo or his ability, but so nervous. In retrospect, my body was preparing for the journey ahead. 

We talked about the tattoo, what it meant to me and why. Just in conversation. A moment to mark transition, and a commitment to myself of my worth and my value. A reminder in moments of doubt to trust the Divine and the energy. 

Like India, I am now struggling to put into words the experience. There were periods of animated talk and periods of quiet reflection, for both of us. As we talked more, it became apparent that 2017 represents for both of us, a need to travel and move away from the normal confines of our working lives. 

Green Tara was representing both of our journeys forward; a reclaiming of our own selves. Synchronous. 

My talk of India inspired him, and when his partner came in, she mentioned that she had woken up with India on her lips. They will go, trusting that they are being called too. 

We have the power to create a better world with our intentions. Community is the way forward. I am realizing I am a part of a tribe. Together, through our intermittent interactions, we will transform our lives and our communities. This is the way. 

Mark finishes his tattoos with drumming and singing to seal the intention of the tattoo. 

I was in a meditative state for most of the tattooing process, the pain was intense. Shedding past and outdated beliefs about myself, and the expectations of what I thought my life would look like. With each line, each period of shading, they were ripped from my body and my soul, leaving me happy and returned to my peaceful, calm post India self. 

I am back. I am in control. I am in full trust. I have made the right decision. I am on the right path. This is where I am meant to be. 

The universe does work in mysterious ways. We have to trust that everything that happens, is meant to. We need to act on opportunity and trust the intuitions we receive. They guide us to happiness and health. They empower us to be our best selves, living our best lives. Tragedies, ultimately, become opportunities to shed the old and embrace the new. 

Namaste šŸ™šŸ» 

Showering by Candlelight

On Sunday my anxiety was a twenty on a scal that goes up to ten. Monday it was probably at a thirteen/fourteen. This morning it started at an eight. Dropped to a five/six after moving my office back to English. A zero after yoga. 

Calm again, feeling a little India bliss (my yogi has just arrived home after her own Indian retreat), drove home, decided to shower in candle light. 

Amazing serenity. The light was bouncing off the walls and reflecting in the mirror. No noise apart from the boys playing. Just calm. Peace. Quiet. Happy play. Water washing away a forty plus degree day. 

Reflection on the relaxation. An image of me leading my first workshop for next year. Now needing to write the program, advertise it, find a space to run it in, find a date, and done. 

This world truly can be your oyster. Courage. Patience. And more courage. And it will be. 

Namaste. 

Cleaning Therapy

It was a very warm day yesterday. The perfect day to get out of the confines of the house and organise the back yard. I have a vision for my back yard; a sanctuary for healing. 

The process is cultivating mindfulness and patience. Usually I decide something and want it done straight away. I am at peace with the evolution of this project. 

Buying my own lawn mower has been liberating and empowering. I love being responsible for my lawn’s maintenance. And, as a control freak, I like controlling what it looks like. 

Yesterday, I built two planter boxes I purchased before India, and an outdoor setting I have had since April. Today I head to Bunnings for potting mix, and a few other bits and pieces. 

I find that when I am otherwise occupied, my brain still functions in the background, sorting out other bits and pieces, and processing all of my random thoughts. I generally regard myself as a positive person. Yesterday’s background processing threw up something for me to consider. During the past week I have responded with negativity to a lot of conversations that didn’t require the negativity. 

Why was I negative? 

I’m in transition. Life as I knew it is done. Life as I want it, isn’t quite manifested yet. I’m in transition. The uncertainty, impatience, being sick, being frustrated, resulted in a negative tone. 

Life is short. I live a blessed life. Negative has to stop. I need to be more conscious and more present. Hello to this week’s resolution. 

Off to clean the interior of my home, significantly messier after the external clean yesterday. I used the blower near my pot plants and, with the back door open, soil came dancing in. 

šŸ˜œ my brain was otherwise engaged hehe. 

The Issue of DeservingĀ 

What a journey. 

India is amazing. There is a magic and authenticity in the chaos. Divinity and ritual surrounds you, embracing you, supporting you. 

And I am here. 

Today some of my issues have come to the fore around deserving

When I am given a compliment, no matter how big or small, I usually qualify or diminish it. Yesterday one of my soul tribe told me to stop doing it. So, I did. 

Last night and today I have been overwhelmed by compliments or affirmations. People have continually told me how blessed they feel to have been given the privilege of meeting me, how beautiful I am, how beautiful and authentic my energy is, and how I have impacted so many people in the group. I am humbled. Truly. 

And scared. 

It is only just now I realise why; the responsibility that leaves me with. And then the deserving questions. And the what if I am a fraud persona jumped in. Old, old baggage, stemming from childhood when I wasn’t enough as I am. Ooh, try that again! Stemming from childhood when I was told I wasn’t enough as I am. 

Our group session then focused on connecting the masculine and feminine energies in marriage. Everyone was so elated and joyous. I was crying. 

The union, the piecing together of the fragments, the symbolism of the butterflies, rich diverse and unique that appeared in my meditation, the genuine love and respect from so many others – oh my. 

Tina from Campbelltown struggles. 

I channelled healing to a friend’s knee last night. It popped several times and Mother Mary came. I cried – her energy was magnificent, blinding – I never would have thought. 

The potential of each of us is awe-inspiring. Miraculous. Palpable. 

If only we each knew it, and believed it. 

I’m getting closer. 

Moving Meditation

Each day we participate in a group workshop. Whilst they follow a structure, the theme of each is different and builds upon the day before’s work. 

They are intense. Incredibly emotional and confronting. Too private to post or process here at this time. However, yesterday’s yielded an interesting meditation for me. And I have decided to share it here. 

A substantial part of the workshop is a moving meditation. For those that have never participated in these, they can be confronting, requiring a leap of faith and trust. Basically, music is played and you let your body do what it needs to do. My first of these was in Berry two years ago and I struggled but did it. I dance at home alone a lot, but in front of other people, not liking your body or self much, even with eyes closed, is difficult. Here though, I have embraced the moving meditations until yesterday. 

Our theme was masculine energy. Ultimately with a focus on how we define or redefine it in our lives. During the discussion I realised that in my work I am masculine energy personified. And I don’t like it. I can be too hard and too aggressive. I found this confronting. 

It’s not to say that the masculine energy is bad. It isn’t. And, as a side note, masculine energy is not the same as masculine gender; it refers to the qualities of the energy. Masculine energy has saved my life. It has given rise to the warrior woman that I have become. But it has also compromised my more vulnerable and free flowing side. Something that Mel and I have become conscious of in my Body Talk sessions. 

Anyway, I sat to start the moving meditation and didn’t get up. As soon as I closed my eyes and became conscious of my breath, a movie reel started. 

In Berry earlier this year, I encountered my Amazonian warrior woman in a guided meditation. My movie reel opened with her brother or son in the same field, spear raised about to kill a fish. He stopped. The reel then moved to a montage of scenes where masculine energy has destroyed people, civilisations and cultures. All of the expected devastation was invoked and the leaders responsible floated before me. 

This continued for a while and I cried. The aggression was heartbreaking. An Aboriginal man appeared, a close up on his face. Sadness etched the lines of his face and pleaded from his eyes. An ancestral sadness, that drew me into his eyes and to more indigenous cultures. I cried freely as I continued to watch the destruction caused by masculine energy, and saw and felt the extreme hurt that caused the manifestation of the energy in this devastation. 

And then, the Dalai Lama appeared. Hands held in prayer and that smile. This is the divine masculine energy. Warrior when necessary but always with deep compassion, not the aggression that generally typifies masculine energy. 

Free m this point, my Amazonian warrior man reappeared doing pirouettes and leaps across the field. I laughed. He danced his way to a stage, where my Amazonian warrior woman joined him, clapping whilst he sang modern pop songs. She fulfilled a role of support without compromising her own status. 

They eventually morphed into one energy. I understood my message. Compassion and support were the way of the modern warrior. 

But how could I integrate that into my daily practice, I asked. Was it even possible?

And the Dalai Lama answered, “Compassion. Understanding. Communication.”

I came back, giggling. 

Powerful stuff shifting here. 

First World Problems šŸ˜‰

Too much of my life at home involves work and television. It is hard to switch off and just be, here in India. It will no doubt get easier, but I am conscious it is difficult for me to enjoy not having to do anything and just focus on myself. 

Like I said, first world problem. 

Interesting things to note about Tina from yesterday include:

* I push myself to push beyond my shyness more readily now than I used to. Maybe I’m not so shy anymore. Maybe I’m just better at pushing beyond my natural comfort zone. Maybe I’ve just realized that nothing has killed me yet. This is why I like aging. 

* I was reluctant to introduce myself as a writer and as a small business owner. The writing in particular impacted me. Why have I not embraced my writerly identity? Especially when it is something I have always been/done/loved. One of the girls and I discussed this. She is an artist, a sculptor, and she owned it. I may have been (read, definitely was) intimidated by her ownership of her creativity. 

* I am definitely no good at judgements of others. I think this is because I live in a moment of fear/panic/terror when I meet people. We are, most of us, intimidated by the new. I definitely deem myself unworthy and unlovable. This is the narrative that leads and guides me in new situations. 

It is a naughty narrative because it is so untrue. It is the narrative that I think I was called here to challenge and rewrite. 

One of the girls yesterday said that when she saw me in the airport her desire was to run after me, but she didn’t. We sat at dinner last night. Just connected. I didn’t think we would. That’s because the narrative told me I wasn’t good enough. 

Stupid narrative. I am good enough. I am worthy. I am lovable. I am strong. I am compassionate. I am loving. I am me. 

And, that is enough. 

During the first meditation yesterday I was bombarded with images. Some were reminiscent of the Indian gods and I think a young Buddha appeared to me; I can still see his face. And then the words, self-loathing. 

If I am to be honest, this would be the title of my narrative. I would not ever have thought I loathed myself but there is definitely an unresolved childhood theme at play there. The lack of worthiness and lovability stems from it. 

The logical adult within me knows that it is irrational and entirely untrue. The wounded child does not. Time to heal her. 

šŸ˜‰

FlyingĀ 

I hate it. I can never sleep. For the first leg of my journey – Sydney to Hong Kong – we were flying during the day so it was sort of okay. But now, with a five hour time difference and a one hour delay on my next flight, I will be arriving in Delhi at like 1am. 

That’s twenty hours no sleep. 

For the first evening of the meditation retreat I will probably badly be a cranky cow lol. 

The reference to cows and India was unintentional but I think now, very clever. 

There are fifteen people sitting around the seats in front of me at Gate 28. They are all talking animatedly whilst they eat (I’m assuming noodles) from tubs that are as big as buckets. Insanity. 

It’s been a while since I travelled alone. It’s a bit interesting. You become more aware/conscious of the small nuances in human behaviour. You notice people more. And you are more obvious to others, or I’m just noticing other people notice me more. Chicken – egg, I guess. 

I asked for a window seat. I hate always being asked to get up so others can go to the toilet. Mistake. Didn’t think it through. I was stuck for over nine hours – no toilet. I’ll try to change that on my way home. 

Ohhhh guess who’s tired already lol. Whinger alert. 

Airports are funny things. This one reminds me of Korea – cultural centers. All closed at the moment; hopefully open on the return leg. 

I weighed my bag last night. Freaked out. Took books out. Realized I had read the pounds not the kilograms. Way under. Lol. 

Did you know that most flights will not let you bring a Samsung Galaxy 7 on board at all. Technology moving faster in telecommunications than other areas. That’s a helpful hint if you’re a Samsung person. 

The people all have red shopping bags for their buckets of noodles. A happy bunch. I wonder if they are family …

I’m knackered. I’m going to check that I’m at the right gate. 

Health and Weight Loss

I decided to shift my perspective from losing weight to getting healthy. I bought a treadmill and I started yoga. I’m mostly watching what I eat but eating normally so that any success can be maintained. 

I occasionally have been receiving comments like it looks like I’m losing weight. Talk about emotional obstacles. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the results of very little real effort; shift in focus/attitude mostly. But I end up eating crap every time. My brain wants me fat. What is that about!

Moving on, hoping that internationally stating it will fix it (fingers crossed). I am starting to like my physical self though. And that’s the yoga and the wonderful instructor who sets such a tone of acceptance and inclusion. I wore something I once wouldn’t be caught dead in and I didn’t hate myself. I dug deep and found courage and then acceptance of my body as it is. I was still a little self-conscious but only temporarily. 

Bizarre times.

I’m sure it’s the yoga. I get home and love my face – clear, open, fresh, beautiful. 

Huge growth happening here folks. 

Might even find some worth in myself soon hehehehe. 

That feeling of total calmĀ 

For years I have wanted to find the courage within me to attend a yoga class. Thanks to a recommendation from a great and long time friend (almost thirty years – holy fuck), tonight I did. 

And I will never look back. 

I am so blissfully at peace, and deliriously happy. I loved feeling my body stretch. I loved breathing deeply as it did. I loved trying something new. So much easier with an instructor than from a DVD. 

Small group in an ideal location. The instructor has a workshop, beautifully decorated, at the back of her house, amidst a beautiful, luscious, green yard. I felt at home. Prayer flags and solar lanterns in the yard. Rocks and namaste hangings. 

Something I envision for my own business one day. 

A vision of inspired potential. 

Blissfully happy. Deliriously calm. Focused. Centred. Well. 

Living Our Best Life

What’s Your Biggest Regret
I came across this on Facebook this morning. I shed a couple of tears. 

Asking what you regret cuts to the core. What are the things we would change if we could? And revealing that, even to the self, is so confronting, if we are really being honest, that it puts us in a very vulnerable position. 

Too vulnerable for me to reveal so publicly this morning. However, the things I regret fit into two categories:

1. things I haven’t done enough of because of fear (of judgement predominantly), and 

2. I am not proud of how I have behaved towards others (a couple of situations that if I could do over I would that resulted in losing friends that I loved). 

As a result though, especially with regards to number two, I now live my life more authentically with other people I think. I am more conscious of the impact of my actions and my words on other people, and I try to keep it positive. I own my behaviour if I mess up, even if it’s a process to get to the apology. But if I do mess up, I will apologise. I try not to live in unresolved innuendo and gossip, and I try to resolve conflict (even if it takes some time to develop the courage). And I have learned that people are more important than rules. 

And with regards to number one, I now do act on things that I aspire to achieve. I have started doing things on a whim. New York City last year. Meditation Retreat in India this year. And the retreat, on my own. Without fear, because I trust that I have been steered towards that opportunity for a reason. 

Saying not ready yet to the fostering process terrified me. What if I am just a quitter or a failure or selfish. But I pushed through my fears of the perceptions of others and listened to my soul. And learned something important about myself. 

I have always felt like I was weird, different, a bit of a freak, and have craved belonging. I have often wanted to walk the path most often travelled, and haven’t. I have yearned to belong and to be normal. As I edge towards forty five though, I have started to question if that’s really that important to me. 

As a result of walking a path less travelled, I have discovered the world, people, happiness, forgiveness, and a rich tapestry of diverse experience. 

And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.