A week today I will fly out of Bangkok, destination Sydney, with a few days in Perth on route to visit my beautiful daughter, adorable grandson and wonderful son-in-law. When I land in Sydney it will be 4 months almost to the day that I left for India. I have already shared in another post how the first leg of my journey didn’t quite go to plan, however in hindsight it was the perfect beginning for letting go of any expectations. I am glad I did, because I am coming home with something more than I could have imagined.
Many years ago a friend suggested that despite all our efforts to change “we don’t ever really change, we just become a better version of ourselves”. I have thought about that often over the years, even quoted it, however I realise now that on some level it had always felt a bit like a cop out, like I was settling for less than perfect.
The last 4 months however have helped me understand it at a deeper level, particularly the last month spent in a fairly intense yoga course at the Pantrix Alternate Centre, in Thailand. The centre is run by Pancho and Beatrix. Pancho was born in California and is an artist, musician who sort of by accident became a yoga teacher. Beatrix was born in Europe and is an artist, astrologist, Reiki Master and yoga teacher. They have travelled the world together, studying yoga and doing their art for over 30 years. In doing so they have amassed a wealth of experience and knowledge which they love to share, and do so very well.
I need to let you know that I had become quite attached to my post-menopause status these days and very ‘comfortable’ in my yoga practice. That means I wasn’t into pushing any boundaries physically, and I could often be heard referring to my ‘post-menopause’ status as the reason.
This course however pushed all my boundaries.
Pancho frequently referred to the aim of all the practices we were doing as “becoming a better version of ourselves”. He suggested that our approach to life can basically be summed up as two piles. The first pile is all the things that make us feel uncomfortable, the things we like to avoid, be they people, activities, thoughts or feelings. The second pile is all the things that help distract us from the first pile. He suggested that the way to become better versions of ourselves is to step away from pile number 2 for a while and investigate pile number 1. In short the course is about pulling on the strings attached to all the things in pile number 1.
So what have I learnt from rummaging through pile number 1?
Simply, that creating a ‘comfortable’ life limits my potential, and keeps me from becoming a better version of myself. On a physical level I have done practices that I did not think I could, which has in turn freed me up on an emotional and mental level. The whole purpose of yoga.
Also that by allowing myself to go beyond the boundaries of pile number 2 and engage with the discomfort of pile number 1, the size of the pile has reduced. With less things to avoid I feel freer to accept what life offers.
So in short, the outcome of all this string pulling is that I am coming home a better version of myself, and in no way does that feel like I am ‘settling for less than perfect’. A better version of me feels awesome, and it hasn’t come about by taking the easy road. I have had to do a lot of digging and cutting away to reveal this better version, a bit like Michelangelo’s description of revealing the image of David within the block of marble.
It’s been an interesting leg of the journey.