Why does it seem like numbers are always so synchronistic in our lives? Numbers that turn into what we call time. This strange, beautiful and warped concept of moments and breaths that pass. They all add up to either feel like they flew by, dragged out, or created some bizarre combination of both.
Last night was the full moon. The eve of my 25th day on the boat I am now calling home. Remember I mentioned in a previous post about a dream job interview? Well, I GOT THE JOB!
Yacht Stewardess, amongst a powerful and inspiring group of Goddesses… and onboard Yoga Teacher. Woah… grateful. Manifestation at its finest.
A 95 meter (thats 312 feet for us Westerners) motor yacht that is truly a moving work of art. As I sit here, curled up and listening to my friend Brendan James’ newest release “The Howl” (shameless plug here… go listen to it, friends), amazed and more than slightly fearful at the very powerful ocean splashing up against my bunk windows as we cruise at more than 14 knots, I feel reflective, awestruck and proud to think that every moment in my life has led to this one. (Don’t they all?) A journey that started almost 2 years ago to this date, I began a training that would change my life forever. Diving into my 200-hour Living Flow Yoga teacher training… has led me to now, literally, living the flow. It has been a lifetime of learning how to let go… a learning that will never end. This year in particular has been one lesson after the next. Emotionally letting go of people and processes that were heavy in my life. Physically letting go of anything and everything material unless it was able to fit into a suitcase. Spiritually letting go of preconceived stories that I have written about life and what I thought I knew about it. A cleanse of every kind. All leading up to me living on the water. In the flow. Amongst the tides and the moon. With the stars and the sun. Adrift a masterpiece of a boat… home.
We have spent 25 days docked in Jacksonville, Florida; I have spent the last 25 days learning. Learning everything there is to know in order to live, and succeed, on a very large boat. The first week was a wild transition, mostly for my mind. Imagine, at almost 30 years old, a divorced yoga teacher living free as a bird, deciding to join the military. Of course this military (similar to more formal versions) is full of wonderful, like-minded people who only want to see you and your vessel succeed, yet with a touch more glitz, glam and vacuuming. Yet, after three decades on this earth, I have learned that I have never had any discipline in my life. I was never “grounded” (hm, dual meaning here?) or spanked as a child. Moving into my adult life I really was never in a circumstance that required or called for regular and necessary discipline. Moving onto this boat as brought forth a necessary and constant practice of self-study, svadyaya. Through this self study, I have realized that I truly have been craving discipline in my life. Reflecting on my yoga practice, it is so clear. Since 2004, my yoga has only been when I wanted it; when it was comfortable. I only practiced when I was in the “right mood” for it. I have never had the discipline of a solid daily practice. Regimented and clear. I made excuses as to why I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to maintain a home practice. Now, I am thrown into a world of discipline, and the daily practice is coming forth. Like a seed that was waiting to be watered. Like a child that needed that one spanking of guidance in order to fulfill her destiny. Her Kismet.
Learning how to be disciplined as an adult is a very strange thing. I am so thankful for my yoga practice in this situation, as I am doing my best to learn it with humility and grace. I have always prided myself on my ability to take constructive criticism… or so I thought. Yet, I have also always been free to act and do as I wish. I am now living in a world in which I act under guidelines. I am learning how to own up to my mistakes and how to apologize without following it up with an excuse as to why the mistake happened in the first place. At the end of the day, the reason for the mishap doesn’t matter. The true blue honest apology and ownership of it is what matters.
Routine. Thank God for it. Why has it been so difficult in my life thus far? I remember when I was in high school, I was assigned to write a term paper. The topic could literally be anything. I remember having a moment of excitement around the opportunity to write about whatever it was that my heart desired. This moment was short lived. What I realized was that with no regimen, there was nothing to go off of. I was lost. I needed guidance, guidelines, a framework, a routine. On this boat, we survive off of routine. Thank God.
We clean. We clean a lot. My first two days I was constantly coming back to a quote that I heard from someone, somewhere along the way. It may or may not have been from the book “Three Cups of Tea” (which I have yet to read) and it goes something along the lines of: “When washing the teacup, simply was the cup. Do nothing else.” I like to add, “and enjoy it.” Stirum sukum asanum. The pose should be steady and joyful. “But HOW can it be joyful when I am cleaning the tea cup, over and over again, all day everyday, Sensei?!” It was an internal battle. One that I wrote a whole blog about (which spontaneously disappeared when I tried to post it… note prior post from the beginning of October. Lessons in letting go. Thanks, Universe. Heard, loud and clear!) By day three my resistances were so strong that I had thoughts that went something like, “WHAT have I gotten myself into? Am I wasting a college degree? Wait, didn’t I want to be of service? Is this being of service? Is all service the same?” And on and on and on….
I returned to the only thing that I know to turn to when my monkey mind runs wild. Mantra. Songs to Ganesh. The sweet and trustworthy remover of obstacles. Over and over and over. Until, magically (the way mantra seems to always work for me) the battle was over. My mind was calm. I went on cleaning the teacup (in this case scrubbing the floors) and enjoyed it. I began to open my eyes. I began to see clearly again. It was then when I truly began to absorb my surroundings. This boat. This work of art. It is truly awe inspiring.
I could spend days, no, weeks describing the minute details of this boat. It is a tribute to Mother Nature’s magnificence, as well as the excellence of the human mind and craft. I am dazed by the gigantic hand blown glass chandelier, mesmerized by the delicate crystals hanging from the ceiling. I am hypnotized by the gently laid leather carved flowers which line the walls. I “oh” and “ah” at the gold flakes that inlay the sinks and I could snuggle up on the warmed marble floors and silk carpets. I think of the hours that the glass blower, the leather worker, the wood carver and the master weaver put into his craft. I wish I could speak to the talented stone carver so he could share with me the name of each precious gem that make up the bars, tables, bathroom countertops and sinks. I think of the engineer who thoroughly thought out every detail to ensure that the hidden television dropped down ever so perfectly, that the walls that turn into digital art look seamless, that the port and starboard walls open just right in order for them to transform into swim platforms.
I don’t just clean. It has never been about that. I am of service. I am of service to these artists. It is my job to keep their art alive. Their heART beating strong. It is an honor to preserve this floating piece of art.
This boat is alive. Alive with breath. With art. With heart.
This boat, and life… are yoga.
25 days and so much has been learned, lost, transformed and gained. 25 days and is it only the beginning. Today, we set sail to Panama.
Onward and downward we go!
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