~ A Reminder to find Balance between Structure and Fluidity
Our flights were booked for Tuesday July 10th to fly to Pitt Island. However, the plane was unable to get out to New Zealand, from the Chathams, due to bad weather. I made the most of being at home and finished laying newspaper and straw in the garden. This is part 1 of an 8-part mission cutting out blackberry, pruning bushes back to waist height, and replanting in my attempts to tame the wilderness along the hill face directly below our house. Tuesday night I was feeling excited about returning home to my roots. However, I also noticed a part of me that was wanting to stay and use this time, whilst I’m not teaching, to continue working through my ‘to-do’ list. We live on a 15-acre property that needs loads of tender loving care and my extensive and ever-changing to-do list reflects this.
We arrived on the Chatham Islands one hour and forty minutes after leaving Christchurch Airport on the Wednesday. It was a real treat the next morning to practice Yoga and be able to hear the sea lapping on the shore just outside our bedroom window. I enjoyed a late shower, followed by a windy walk along the beach. Plenty of time to rest… the body and mind slowly unwinding… my extensive to-do list moving to the back of my mind.
We spent four nights on the Chathams and then finally the weather cleared. We had a very early start to the day, to catch a boat at 5.30am from Owenga to Pitt Island. We finally arrived on Sunday morning to a glorious calm and sunny day. We spent the day with Mum and Dad foraging for food and enjoying the beautiful sights. This included fresh pauas from the ocean and delicious watercress from Waipaua creek. We paused and had a BBQ lunch of wild mutton and fresh homemade bread.
The next day we rode 4-wheel motorbikes, whilst the children were on horses and we went for a mission to check out Tupuangi on the East side of the island. I couldn’t resist the temptation and hopped on one of the horses for a canter along the beach. It was so much fun! Feelings of child-like freedom bubbled up… it still makes me smile now! The joy of returning to my roots, to my ancestral home ground… this deep-felt sense of totally belonging, on a cellular level, being a part of, and connected to this beautiful land.
As I write this I am feeling rested, I have no idea what day it is and it really doesn’t matter. Even time does not have the same emphasis as it does back at home in New Zealand, which it does for most of us when we stop, take a break and have a restful holiday. As I continue to relax and unwind the days unfold with a natural rhythm of their own. As I ponder this change in how I feel and operate, questions arise…
I know my ‘to-do’ lists are useful for keeping me focused, helping me to get things done so that I can move forward and achieve. However, can we become a slave to these endless lists? Do these lists encourage us to become rigid and fixed? How do we remain fluid in a life that for many has become so routine, with every minute spoken for?
The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali include 196 sutras or threads on the theory and practice of Yoga. The Yoga Sutras were put together, prior to 400 CE, by Sage Patanjali. The Sutras that apply directly to the asanas or physical postures in Yoga include:
- Asanas are about finding the balance between effort and surrender
- Asana must have qualities of assertiveness/attention and relaxation
We can apply this guidance from the Yoga Sutras to our ‘to-do’ lists and our everyday life by finding the balance between effort and surrender throughout our day and week. This could be done by scheduling time on your ‘to-do’ list for yoga or meditation, time to sit quietly outside in nature, time to read a book or have a bath by candle light. Making sure that there is some ‘me-time’ scheduled in your day, along with the tasks that need to be done.
We are taught from a young age the importance of doing but not the importance of being or resting, so don’t be surprised if feelings of guilt or being selfish arise. Even socially we tend to talk about what we have been doing, as opposed to the quieter practices we may include in our day. In our society today, it appears that the more we are doing, not just as adults but children too, the better or more successful we are. Can we change this societal influence and encourage our children and ourselves to allow more time for resting and being?
As Ram Das says “the quieter we become the more we can hear.”
Resting, times of quiet and being, allow us to process the myriad of things that happen during our day, any emotions that have been stuffed down and not accepted at the time can surface to be integrated. Overall by slowing down we can get to know ourselves better, see more clearly what is happening in our day-to-day life and receive guidance from our inner teacher (atman) and higher Self.
This time at home, connecting with my roots and slowing down, has allowed me to see more clearly some of my patterns, and in particular how structured my life has become. When I return to my home in New Zealand I will be making more effort to nourish myself and find a healthier balance between structure and fluidity.