What a way to start the New Year, all those winds and in the midst of the chaos becoming an auntie! A massive congratulations to my brother, Ross, and his partner, Star, who have brought my beautiful niece, Willow Ash, into the world on 5th January in the utopia that is Byron Bay, Australia.
It is funny how life works. I first visited Byron in my mid twenties on my first trip to Australia, a trip that I had dreamt about since I was 10 years old. I didn't know it at that time, when I was 10 that is, but Australia has played such a pivotal role in my life...I guess on some level the calling was there.
So my friend Hayley and I went out to Australia for 2.5 weeks and for some reason or another noticed Byron in the Lonely Planet and made a trip from Sydney. I was a finance girl back then but was blown away by the alternative and hippy side to life in Byron. We indulged in tarot card readings and made the most of the sunshine. Back then I was not really aware of Yoga.
I became aware a few years later when I was working in Auckland and came across a Yoga studio and got as far as the front door before I got scared away thinking I wasn't flexible enough to attend the class. A year later and I found myself in Freemantle near Perth, Australia, with my brother, and I came across an alternative shop and brought my first meditation book.
Roll on a year later and after running the London Marathon, I knew I needed to do something to release my aching body and someone mentioned Yoga and so with my brother making sure I went in the door this time, the two of us began our Yoga journey together in St Martins hall here in Guernsey with the wonderful Ness. I was hooked immediately and started enticing friends along with me so that Vicki started attending (and has since gone on to train as a yoga teacher) and Claire and a plethora of other friends.
A year later, when I was 29 and frustrated by my finance life, I decided all I wanted to do was take time out to travel, practice Yoga and write about it. This timing coincided with Ross deciding he too wanted to take a break from his pressured IT job on Guernsey so we sold our house and while he went off to Australia with his girlfriend at that time, I decided to go out to Australia on my own. And strangely while I didn't really appreciate that Byron was a bit of a Yoga utopia at that time, I knew I needed to go there and the Yoga presented itself.
Ross joined me and while I immersed myself in the Yoga scene (strangely with John Ogilvie who was married to a Guernsey lady (and more strangely I now live next to her brother here in Guernsey!) at a studio right next to the hostel I was staying) while Ross immersed himself in the wonderful surf that Byron offers. We both started surfing when I was 14 and he was 12, our Dad has been a keen surfer in his earlier years and for his 40th Mum had bought him a longboard and as he got back into surfing both Ross and I got into it too.
A year later and I found myself back in Byron, for 5 months this time, undertaking my Yoga teacher training with the wonderfully inspiring Lance Schuler and doing a brief apprenticeship with John. By this time Ross was living with one of our mutual friends (whose Mum was my Mum's best friend at University and who is one of my best friends as life happens) and working in London completely at a loose end having broken up with his girlfriend and not really knowing what to do next.
I will never forget the conversation I had with him one day, telling him to just come out and join me in Byron. Of course he was resistant at the time, couldn't see the wood through the trees but I was in that world where everything is possible. As it happened our surrogate little sister, Claire, (also a surfer who grew up with us in the same clos here in Guernsey) was coming out to join me for 6 weeks over Christmas in between jobs and I suspect this swung it for Ross.
So the three of us lived together in a room in the hostel at Belongil on the beach in Byron enjoying the Yoga, the surfing and the alternative life generally. My best friend, Lou, and her husband Dave were travelling around the world at that time and joined us in Byron for a few weeks. What utter bliss, my most favourite people in the world (bar my folks) all together in Byron enjoying its energy.
However all good things must come to an end. By this time I was cleaning in the hostel to cover my accommodation costs and while a part of me wanted to stay in Byron another part was homesick for Guernsey. A combination of the wake-up call of Lance telling me to go home and start teaching and my Dad also saying the same thing made me realise it was time to move on.
So I followed Claire back to Guernsey and while she married her South African husband I started Be inspired and began my Yoga teaching journey. Ross stayed in Byron and got back into Yoga. In fact so much so that he signed up for a Yoga teacher training course with John, which Star had also signed up to!
I went to visit him for 6 weeks after his course and stayed with him in the hostel where he was still living and now working himself. I met Star that trip too. Little did I know that they would end up getting together and while he did come home for a few months and worked with Dad and I setting up Spearpoint Limited, an investment and wealth management company where I am currently working again (plus my friend and fellow Yoga teacher Vicki, too, many coincidences!), he returned to Byron and spent a few years teaching Yoga and working in a cafe.
I actually went out again two and a half years ago to visit Ross and meet my friend Hayley, with whom I had initially visited Byron before we travelled onto Hawaii and from there San Francisco with Hannah, my best friend with whom Ross had lived in London. Far too many connections and coincidences!) In any event Ross and Star were very settled by then, both teaching Yoga at John's centre and enjoying their life in Byron together. Very much together and how lovely for me to have a connection with an Australian kindred spirit, wiccan, yogic, female and my brother...
A year later they both came to Guernsey with Star's daughter, Adena, after travelling through Asia and visiting all the friends I have made in Nepal (where I have spent many months, my parents visiting too) and now here they are back in Byron, Ross now working back in IT in Brisbane and Star teaching pregnancy Yoga and trained as a doula, and creating the wonderful Willow.
I am not sure the reason I feel to write all this, other than to put in words how life is full of such incredible connections. Plus of course how Yoga has shaped my life and that of Star and Ross both on and indeed off the mat in many places around the world. I believe the incredible healing energy of Byron plays a role in all of this - I was once told that Byron (the most easterly point in mainland Australia) was the place that many women went to give birth...it has that energy of healing and creation, which perhaps is the reason so many people feel drawn to visit. It is a bubble, but I just wish it wasn't so far away!
Still one adjusts to life lived beyond time and space. My best friends are currently spread all over the world. Hayley is now living in Perth, Australia, Hannah in New York, Lou in Edinburgh and my other lovely friend, Sam, is in Canada. So it means I have many opportunities to travel the world to see those I love.
So while I am going to New York to visit Hannah later in the month and indulge in some wonderful New York yoga (second time in a year, how lucky am I?!) I have to wait until March to cuddle Willow when my parents get to visit Byron for the first time and I take Ewan with me, his second visit as it strangely happens!
So you see Yoga offers so much potential beyond one's daily asana practise on the mat. It shapes our lives. It provides us with the ability to cope with so much change. I am forever indebted for the divine guidance that has shaped, and continues to shape, my life and the lives of those around me. We have all been touched by its magic and that of Reiki too of course.
And onto Reiki. Over the last few days with the winds blowing madly outside I have channelled Reiki to a few clients and whether it is complete coincidence or not (not that I believe in coincidences, they are perhaps nudges from the Universe)every client has bee totally ungrounded. It feels to me like the wind has uprooted all of us, a little like so many trees, so that we are all hanging in the air. And now it is calming we are all coming back to land with all the cobwebs blown away - I see it in the events of people's lives around me, mine included, it has been so unsettling and yet so cleansing...in the long run, believe me. This is the year of reckoning, the year of change...we have been told this for a few years now, now we have to accept the changes...
But I have to say I find this whole weather thing fascinating. A French student was telling me how the French Mistral sends people mad so that suicide rates increase and another told me how you have dog days in New York where it gets so hot and the beer can't quite quench the thirst and the wife is waffling on in your ear and the domestic violence rates increase...Little do we realise how the elements are affecting our behaviour...
So it is the first full moon of the year on Monday. I am praying for clear weather to embrace her energy and be mesmerised by her glory and cleanse my crystals! It is also an ormer tide here on Guernsey too, but I can't bring myself to get involved in that, love the concept of being in the elements but I get bored of the cold easily and can't kill the poor things in any event. Still I am looking forward to celebrating the full moon with Chris and Hayley after Yoga that evening.
So sit tight everyone, enjoy the moment, be kind to yourself and the world, pray, live presently and enjoy what you have without worrying about what you don't have.
As Snowpatrol sing, "we are the light, we are the light, we are the light, we are the light...".
I love you Ross. And I am so incredibly honoured to be Willow's Godmother, I shall do all I can to support her spiritual development. Love to you too Star, for making my brother so happy and spreading the light a little further. xx
So let's all keep practicing and dreaming and letting the Yogic and Reiki energy flow.