Beautiful people, Happy New Year!
I hope you had the perfect start to the new year, filled with love, joy and celebration, with the letting go of things no longer needed, the inviting in of things desired, and the setting of clear intentions for the year ahead.
They say start how you intend to continue. For me, this means that one of my favourite things to do from time to time is to begin a new year on retreat – as a sign of my commitment to continued and dedicated transformation. And that is where I was this year: a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat, on a beautiful property just out of Melbourne, doing the gruelling but unbelievably rewarding work of sitting in meditation for 11 hours a day, diving deep into the inner world, and emerging with new insights, clarity, a renewed appreciated for discipline, and of course, a whole lot more questions… inspiration for more practice!
The last couple of years have been a time of huge change for me: 2012 brought tumultuous inner upheaval, dissolution and letting go, and 2013 saw the results of mindfully working through that upheaval and trusting the process through the paving of new paths, opportunities more rewarding than I could have imagined, immense joy and satisfaction. I understand this and celebrate this as the constant and not always easy cycle of dissolution and creation that is the path of life, of growth, and of transformation. This is what brings us into new awareness, new understandings, greater joy, and of course, more love.
And it was again at this juncture that I arrived towards the end of 2013 (I remember an old uni friend of mine said once, “Every body goes through changes, but somehow it’s like you do everything in fast forward!”). After a year of new clarity and insights, these dissolved into a place of a sweet ‘not-knowing’. Everything that I understood as ‘the path’, as ‘practice’, as ‘yoga’, presented itself as a blank – but rather than feeling as if the rug had been brutally pulled out from under me, it was instead a gentle melting away, an understanding that I was at the point of some new and deeper truth, some new insights, new understandings… and with that, I knew that the only thing to do was to practice, intensely, fervently and with great discipline. Vipassana offered me that opportunity, and I was very excited and grateful to become re-acquainted with this simple but incredibly powerful practice of meditation after many years, and the very pure and love-filled teaching of S.N. Goenka, who brought Vipassana to the world, and who passed away last year at the age of 90. And more excited to know that that is only the beginning of the continued practice to come over the course of this year…
The details of my insights, discoveries and experiences of the last 10 days are stories that I am sure will unfold through my continued practice, in my classes, through my continued teaching and studentship. They are seeds that will grow over the coming weeks and months, and I am looking forward to sharing them as they ripen. But for now, what seems most relevant to me as a way forward, is to see each and every moment as an opportunity for a new beginning, the opportunity to start afresh, for new possibilities – trusting in the flow of life as we do the work of walking the path and deepening our awareness.
So all the potency that we pour into the ‘new year’ – pour that into every moment. Work hard, with dedication. Stay open to possibility. And make the most of it – celebrate every moment of life, however it presents itself. This is the journey and the mystery and the reward.