The topsy-turvy world of raising our spirits

So finally the sun has been shining, hoorah!!  It is amazing how much better it makes us all feel, gives us a renewed sense of hope that we finally get to experience a summer this year!

We were fortunate to have a training walk for the Three Peaks challenge on Sunday so we were forced to spend the morning outside, oh what a shame!  We met at Portlet and Richard (the warden of Lihou and our group leader) decided it would be a good idea to walk on the rocks all the way from the beach at Portlet to Fort Peseries out by the fairy ring.  Not the easiest of routes at 8.30am on a Sunday morning to navigate, but novel and refreshing all the same - I have certainly never gained that perspective of Lihou or L'Eree previously and made for an adventurous start to the day.

It was a bit of an orientation exercise as Richard taught us how to use a compass and read gridlines and plan routes from A to B etc etc.  So we trekked around Pleinmont, clambering up the steep hill through prickly brambles (that was E's choice of route), up to the German Observation Tower and then from there a route out towards the Watchhouse and all the way inland to Le Coudre through all these incredible little lanes and wonderfully positioned houses with views of the beach making me wish I could afford to live in one of them, and experience the peace and tranquility of living so far away from the traffic- craziness of the rest of the Island!  Always good to dream I guess!.

It was a great morning, enjoying all that sunshine and being out with a group, experiencing new places and new perspectives of the Island, plus all that walking and grounding in nature again.  It made me think.  Earlier in the week I met with a friend who is experiencing a life challenge.  We went for a walk and there I was getting excited about the swallows and the pretty hedgerows and she admitted that with life being as it is at the moment for her, she feels rather disconnected from nature.  This too made me think because actually at times like this, when we do feel so disconnected and caught in our heads, sometimes the best thing we can do is get out into nature.

Not to say it will connect us immediately necessarily, but it may calm us on a level.  I remember when I was in Australia a few years ago nursing a painful heart and feeling rather depressed and fed up with life.  My cousin in the Uk was concerned about me and sent me an email asking me to email her every day with 5 positive things about that day, simple things she said, like the beauty of a flower or the sunset.  I remember feeling so disconnected that I could find no joy in the beauty of flowers or the sunset, whcih made me feel even worse, so caught up in myself I couldn't come back to earth.

However then one day something quite incredible happened.  I sat on the beach at tea time with the sun dropping in the sky and people walking their dogs along the shoreline.  I was awakened (in more than one way) from my thoughts by a dog coming up to me and literally planting a kiss on my lips before running off again.  I was so shocked that I couldn't;t help laughing (finally) to myself.  I emailed my cousin later that evening and she said the dog was my angel come to show me some love.  She reminded me that just being in nature can produce miracles.  that day was certainly a miracle for me, boosting my faith and making me feel a little connected to the world again.

After that trip I went to stay in a mobile home on my cousin's farm in North Devon for a few months as a stop-gap before returning home.  Here we lived in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields and views of more fields and trees.  I spent my mornings writing and looking out the window at her horses in the fields.  In the afternoon I would tend to the vegetable garden, which began my love of growing vegetables, and in the evening I would collect the horse dung from the fields, watching the swallows swooping through the skies and the sun setting in the distance.  While I arrived with a heavy heart, after a few months of such a simple and back to basics and nature lifestyle, I left with a lighter heart and a much stronger sense of self.  It was not difficult to identify 5 positive things about each day.

Recently I had one of those days when I felt disconnected again.  It doesn't happen so often anymore, but when it does, it reminds me how we can slip into a depressive state where we find no joy in what lies outside our window.  Often the toughest thing to do when you feel like that, is actually to get outside - but I have come to realise that for me, in any event, the best thing I can do is exactly that.  Nature is so wonderful at helping to bring us back to life again.  To slow us down, to energise us, to remind us of the natural beauty and simplicity of everything.  For me, it is a necessity in keeping my spirits high and my energy grounded and clear of negativity (well as much as I can!).  of course Yoga helps hugely too!

Talking of which, I really enjoyed the Saturday "Topsy-turvy World" class.  I mean I enjoy teaching all classes, but I do love inversions, they are my favourite poses and I love to share them with others as they so uplifting for the soul!  At the end of the class I read an extract from Cyndi Lee's book, "Yoga Body, Buddha Mind" and I would like to share it now, as I love what she writes:-

"Yoga asana practice offers us many opportunities  to establish balance in our physical situation - right and left, front and back.  But the deeper effect of letting go of fixed mind, of seeing the world from a different perspective, of calmly abiding in a topsy-turvy upside-down world - that may be the most profound benefit of yoga...

This means that we can learn to relate to things as they are, not as we wish they were, or as they used to be, but how they are right now...and now...and now as they keep changing.  When we are stuck on only one way for things to be, then we are truly stuck.  Then when our world shifts dramatically - which it will, through the death of a loved one, a change of employment, even falling in love - we will find that we are thrown for a loop because we have committed to our world being only one way and that way will have vanished.  Turning upside down is practice for this.  It offers us a fresh perspective.  When one can remain in this environment with calm abiding, it is the beginning of the ability to stay centered when your world turns upside down."

So if ever you are feeling disconnected, then try and get out in nature, try and identify 5 beautiful things in your world that day and perhaps try a headstand or a shoulderstand, or simply hold your head upside down and see things a little differently!

With love xx

Ross DespresComment