Nataraj Express

Journey to the Self

7 Months, 8 Lessons

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Plaza Blanca Spiral by Sam Brown: https://www.facebook.com/sambrownart

Plaza Blanca Spiral by Sam Brown: https://www.facebook.com/sambrownart

 

I have been working and living on an island in the middle of nowhere for the past seven months. As the space to reach out is limited, the only place to really go to is within. I think that’s why I love islands, they make you learn and grow at a very fast rate. Each island is different, and each circumstance is different. But what is undeniable is the power of your own mind and will to overcome all situations.

Here are some of the lessons that I’ve learnt this time, in this island, in this circumstance.

1. Love

I was very lucky to be able to share this experience with my soulmate, the love of my life, my eternal partner in adventure. Having someone by your side that supports and uplifts you is a gift. It can also be seen sometimes as an escape from your own frustrations. And that is a dangerous line to cross. I have to admit I wasn’t the best at overcoming my own emotions on my own, and many days I paid off my negativity with the person who less deserved it. The key is to be aware of these weak moments and apologize, and learn from them. I want to tell him how sorry I am for sometimes letting him swim without a life jacket or boat in the chaos of my moods. The meditative state of mind isn’t easy to achieve, and we all have moments of joy, and moments of anger, fear and frustration. I’ve learnt, or tried to learn, how to leave perceptions of reality alone, and not take them too seriuosly. But sometimes I failed and I only caused suffering to the person I loved the most. We can let these moments bury us underneath layers of shame and regret, or we can let them teach us a life lesson; and that is my choice. I love you, and I will be eternally grateful for your presence in my life.

2. Family

Being far away from your loved ones teaches you to appreciate them even more. From a distance it is possible to see a bigger picture of what is really important. My family, my friends, have been with me in my heart and soul for all these months, but I have learnt that the time we spend with the people we love is a present, and as such we should always be thankful for them. Connecting often, and letting them know how much you care, comes naturally, because in the distance, and sometimes in your own loneliness, you will find that some relationships are eternal. Love is always present.

3. Time

Time isn’t real; it is just our perception of how change is impermanent; the passing of moments for eternity. Time can slow down, even stop, on an island. It can also be hectic at times when work overloads you. The secret is to steady the breath, and with it, steady the mind. I’ve learnt to appreciate the little moments I had to just sit down and be; to do Yoga and reunite my body, mind and spirit to the source of everything that is; to play my Ukulele, to draw or write and read; to do what I love (apart from diving!). It is so important to keep time aside for yourself, to connect to yourself. That’s the secret of knowing that everything and everyone is in constant union; and that union starts with yourself.

4. Stages of Grief

The stages of grief are real, and we all go through them at some point in our lives. It starts off with Denial; denying the situation or circumstance you perceive yourself to be in. Then, Anger hits you, and it’s like a chaotic hurricane of frustration, fear, and negativity, that makes you lose sight of the greater picture. After that stage comes Bargain; you try to talk yourself into some kind of change that you think will make you happier; but real happiness can only come from within. Nothing exterior, will ever give you eternal joy. Depression might strike you in the beginning when you realize this. Nothing that you are doing, or trying to change externally is helping you feel better, or happier. At the end of it there is only one last thing to do, Accept. With acceptance comes surrender to what is, and with acceptance of what is, which is always perfect no matter what you think at that moment, comes true Freedom. And with it comes eternal joy, knowing that everything happens in the correct time and space, everything happens for a reason, you start to believe again in the greater picture.

5. Nature

An island is a perfect place to be in contact with nature, what else can there be! Green, and blue surrounds you. Mother Gaia in all her splendour. The Sun, trees, fruits, flowers, birds…. And the majestic Ocean that opens up to you and shows you its hidden treasures and eternal secrets (to me a lot, being a diver!). The stars and the Moon at night, showing us how life moves in constant cycles. Birth, Life, Death and Rebirth. Sunrises and Sunsets. We are part of Nature, our job is to protect her and be thankful for all that she gives us, day after day, without asking anything in exchange. Being underwater, being able to swim in the sacred waters of this world is a gift, and I am eternally thankful to be able to do it all around this beautiful Earth.

6. People

People will never stop surprising me. It is incredible to be able to connect with someone in such deep levels, and not do it with others. Our energy can’t be fooled. If you are truly attuned to your intuition, she will always guide you to find the connections that are really necessary for you to grow and learn. People we meet, we meet for a reason. They are mirrors that reflect back at us parts of ourselves that we love, or parts of ourselves that we detest. Everyone we encounter is an opportunity for our own growth and maturity; emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Never ignore these signs, they are a powerful portal to knowing your own true self.

7. Balance

Achieving balance in life is an art, and it takes practice and hard work. Balancing our emotions, and trying to keep under control our past conditioning takes time. I have learnt that whenever the focus would shift from eternal to materialistic forms of looking at life, I would lose balance. The key was to concentrate on my own breath; inhaling and exhaling. Giving and letting go. Life will always be full of ups and downs, good and bad, right or wrong…. But in reality that is only a perception, it isn’t real. The only thing that is real is equilibrium, and the only thing we will ever be able to control is our own perceptions of external circumstances. Learning how to do this is a lifelong path, one that I chose to follow every day.

8. Dreams

Probably the most important lesson for me. Since I was a small girl I have always followed my mother’s wise advice: “always follow your heart, no matter what”. When you follow your true passion, all the doors of the Universe will open for you. But, as I have lived many times, if you sacrifice your values and dreams, doors will start to close, and depression, grief, saddness will slowly settle in your soul. Only by knowing how to read the signs and following your own intuition and heart, you can find your life purpose. You are here for a reason, and deep inside, you know it. Unlock the misteries of your own heart, and go for it!!!

So… here I go!

Author: Danah Blanco (Nataraj Express)

Yoga Teacher~Dive Master~Art Historian

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