Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Meaning of Food

The day I left Mangrove Yoga Ashram in November 2015, a number of residents were interviewed by one of the volunteers, Dr. Francesca Zampollo, on their understanding of food. Francesca was a Professor of Food Design at an Italian university and left her position to travel the world to find out what makes food meaningful.

The video really showcases the ashram and she was particularly interested in food from an Ayurveda perspective so I do seem to be doing a lot of talking… many of you will probably recognise some of the analogies.

The video is 30 mins so take a PAUSE and give yourself some SPACE to watch it thru. It will give you lots to REFLECT on and help you RECONNECT with what it means to eat good food well.

Enjoy and please share your thoughts in the comments section.

More on the conference & panchakarma later…

Some people have been asking about the conference and my panchakarma experience. Both were amazing and it is my intention to share more about them soon.

The conference went to the heart of what Ayurveda really is and its future direction…and not everyone agrees on what that should be. In India Ayurveda education is looking more and more like a western medical degree, when in essence Ayurveda isn’t actually a medicine, it is the science of living. The deep conscious awareness that underpins Ayurveda is being replacing with double blind controlled experiments. An interesting time.

Even though I tried not to have expectations the panchakarma was different to what I expected. A lot of people have commented on how well I looked afterwards. Like everything you get out what you put in so I took the opportunity seriously and spent 4 weeks doing what would drive most people crazy…nothing.

I spent 4 weeks in a room with myself, the curtains were drawn and I didn’t even go out on the balcony. I saw my doctor and therapists each day and only left my room for a daily treatment. I didn’t use my glasses for 2 weeks so I didn’t even read. Food was very simple – rice porridge and steamed vegetables every meal.

What did I do you ask? Well a lot of stuff comes up and I had quite a few interesting conversations with my mind about its behaviour. It is now working under the supervision of the heart because it can’t be trusted to go out by itself.

More next time.

A lesson in trust and equanimity

Getting here …a lesson in trust & equanimity. I think?

My eldest daughter, Sarah, was wondering whether she needed to book me into some place safe when I arrived at her home in Perth on my way to India. As embarrassing as it is, here is the whole story…

Sunday afternoon between Chatswood and Central stations I discovered I didn’t have my passport…deep breath…I’ll just go home and get it and reschedule my flight to Perth. I was flying first to Perth to visit Sarah and then going on to India on Wednesday. I rang Sarah and she said come to Perth as planned and get Kyla (youngest daughter) to express post it across the next day. That sounded good so I hopped on the plane to Perth.

The plan to fly to Singapore on Wednesday morning was still on track at this stage. Kyla sent my passport by express post on Monday morning. I rang Australia Post on Tuesday…expected date of delivery Friday. Hmmmm…another big breath. Rang Singapore airlines to cancel flight to Singapore to be told that I had actually booked the flight for the 9/11 instead of 9/12. So the flight left without me a month ago. Getting close to tears at this stage and gave myself the typical hard time. How could I be so stupid, 15 years of travelling around by myself and hardly even had a late flight. What is the universe up to I am wondering?

Pulled myself together and rang Silkair to cancel flight from Singapore to India. Still Tuesday at this stage.

Passport arrived Wednesday. Rang to rebook flights – Singapore airlines fully booked till Xmas – now have a credit till Nov 2017 that I am unlikely to use. Jetstar saved the day. The Silkair flight to India had to be upgraded. So, with considerably more on the credit card I flew out on Thursday morning, only 1 day later than planned.

The lesson? What is, is. An authentic life is not a perfect life. Nor are things going ‘wrong’ a reflection of who I am. What does define me is how I respond. This was a great chance to practice trust and maintaining equilibrium! Sarah was a great teacher in this regard. When I was having my mini meltdown she basically said “no point getting upset, it won’t help”! Pure yogic wisdom from my beautiful daughter.

Oh and I met 2 wonderful people at the airport and on flights that I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Who knows where that might lead. I look forward to finding out.

Setting up a ‘trust’ account

I love watching how perfect the squiggly line of life is if I can remember to simply follow one sign post after another, allowing myself to be guided and redirected to exactly the right outcome…which often may not be what I had envisaged.

Less and less am I trying to force my own plans or worry when there are gaps or detours. If things don’t come easily I am trying to stay peaceful, watch and wait. Without exception things always work out and often in ways better than I anticipated.

  • I booked my return flight from India to arrive in Singapore on the 31/1/2016 simply because that was the date that came to mind at the time. I didn’t have any particular timetable or plans. I rang my mum a few days ago to say hi and find out she and my sister, niece & brother-in-law are going to be in Singapore the same day. I have a 12 hr over lay over in the airport and now get to have a shower and catch-up in their motel. One of the hardest things about going away was not seeing my 90 year old Mum for 4 months so this is really special.
  • The day I tried to book a flight from Singapore to Bangkok the on-line system just wouldn’t let me process the payment. With only a week to go I could feel a bit of anxiety start but took a deep breath and waited. The next day I get a business class seat on sale for the same price!
  • The same day I also tried to book accommodation for 10 weeks in Nong Khai (a little village on the north-east border of Thailand & Laos). The place I had been recommended didn’t get back to me and so I started contacting other places ‘just in case’…and they were all booked out. ‘What if’ thoughts started to circle but I didn’t let them take hold. The next day the first place e-mailed back and said they have one room that comes available 2 days before I arrive and I can have it for the full 10 weeks…perfect location and price.
  • I plan to travel by train overnight from Bangkok to Nong Khai and want a sleeper seat, however you can’t buy tickets on line and I fly in 2 hours before the train leaves. Uncertain I would get the seat I wanted I had the thought to contact Beatrix (the teacher I am going to see in Nong Khai). She replied saying she will be travelling on that same train and is buying her ticket the next day and will buy one for me. Not only do I get the ticket – I get to sit with her the whole trip – how magical is that.

One of the things I often suggest to clients is to really notice each one of these little magical events and then deposit them in a ‘trust account’. This account becomes somewhere to go to when you need some reassurance that the universe has everything in hand and really is on your side.

When I take the time to reflect and see how perfectly things work out I can’t help but feel loved, guided and supported…even if it doesn’t always feel like it in the moment. Slowly, slowly learning to trust in the bigger plan…one day at a time.

Please comment if you would like to.