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A Polished Turd

Today is day something, sometime in the middle of April. At least that’s what I think. Lockdown causes a blur between days and dates for me. I do know that it would have been the day I would probably have been back in clinic if the original 3 week lockdown had remained in place. This is my dominant thought as I’m holding “down dog” this morning. My “teacher” is a lady called Erin somewhere in Costa Rica and as I’m encouraged to get into lotus position (sitting cross legged for me) I see out the corner of my eye that Candice is comfortably holding lotus. We certainly have different doshas (Body types for my non Ayurvedic readers)😁 and karma. Even though we have very different body types, our bodies have served us in the way that they’ve needed to. When I was younger I believed that my body (according to society) should look a particular way but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized it’s more important for my body to be functional according to my own needs. It’s not about how much weight I can lift but rather can I lift the weight of my body. Yoga for me is a pretty humbling experience. My thoughts today are not about yoga or training but rather the fact that I felt my body should look a particular way when I was younger (according to a societal opinion). Have you had a conscious look at your social media feed lately? Every dickhead under the sun (who’s realized that making money online is the way to go) telling you that happiness can be found in their “21 days to more self esteem”, “how to make a million in 30 days” “how to live your best life” or “build a personal brand” course. They have a captive audience during lockdown (scared, unsure people looking for some stability) and have taken full advantage of cost effective social media advertising. These people form part of a society that believes that happiness is algorithmic in nature. If you have more money, self esteem, followers, sex or likes then you’ll be happier. This is the great lie. I’m not saying self improvement doesn’t have benefits but happiness is an inside job. There is a notion on social media right now that “you can use this time to improve aspects of your life” during lockdown. What if during this time we got a little more real with ourselves. Instead of “adding” more to ourselves what if we “stripped away” the illusion of needing something outside of us and got more in touch with what’s important to us personally. What if we realized that society has been dictating our definition of happiness and we’ve spent years living according to others’ standards and varnishing and polishing this great big turd called our lives because we’ve been told that the turd needs to be polished a certain way. The real reason we pursue this notion of happiness is the avoidance of pain but the irony of the situation is that the pursuit of happiness causes pain. They are inextricably different sides of the same coin and in the words of Carl Jung “What you resist, persists.” So as long as you are chasing more self esteem, money or your best life (and their are plenty of people willing to tell you how to for a small fee) you’ll constantly be feeling the discomfort or pain of not having those things. You will feel inadequate because you’ve been led to believe happiness and contentment lies in the accumulation of outside things or being something different to who you are. Yesterday afternoon I sat in the Autumn sun, on my grass, drinking some of my new favourite Chardonnay and my mind ran back to a conversation I had in a bar about 16 years ago after a rugby game. I had just started getting into meditation and a fellow player (who had studied quantum physics at University level) asked me how it was going. I replied that I think it was helping as I felt it had given me a sense of calm. He laughed and said if it has, I’ve missed the point. Meditation doesn’t give you anything, it should strip away the illusion of you needing anything until you come to realize that you are the calm. Pretty deep stuff at 3am, in a pub in Surfers Paradise, Australia. So the point of today is this. We’re in lockdown. Believe it or not we are being psychologically tortured. We don’t need to learn new skills, make the best of a bad situation, be the ultimate parents, workout everyday (and post it online) or have some zen level of patience with those around us. Stop listening to people (social media gurus and experts) that are telling you, you can have it all in this time. You can’t. Be and do whatever you need to, to get you through this time. Don’t wear underwear, skip a day of homeschooling, try my “21 days of drinking wine to see if aim a nicer person challenge”, let your kids watch TV for an afternoon, allow them to see your frustration and your raw emotion or sit in the garden and cry as you realize the great cosmic joke of existence. Everything we do in this life counts for nothing. Strip away that varnish and polish from your turd and begin to realize that life doesn’t need anything added to it to make it better. We don’t need to do, be or have anything more to be happy. In fact its the ironic opposite. We are actually ok just as we are. Chat soon.

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