This year I am taking a break from my 9-5 job, my steady home life in Cardiff and am doing things a bit differently. It started with a huge leap of faith in myself and my teacher, GD, as we engaged in the process of writing a book together in Rajasthan. That phase is now winding itself down and the next part of this adventure begins with a move to live at Mandala Yoga Ashram in West Wales.
There is an extra potent sense of starting all over again, as I arrive not as Katy … the name I was given at birth and have answered to for 32 years. But as Mukti Mani, a name scarcely more than a few weeks old, still rolling itself around trying to find a comfortable familiar position on my tongue. It may seem superficial and odd to have a spiritual name but for me it adds a different flavour to things. It is a tool to help me see my stuff and maybe give me a helpful shove in the right direction.
As the final items are packed in my car ready to go the thing I notice is my desire to rush into the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. Sometimes it’s difficult to just be here with this time, in this place…. To pause. I started reading Chloe Goodchild’s wonderful Naked Voice book where she reminds readers at the beginning to take your time to read it and to pause regularly appreciating the value of the space and silence.
I see my tenancies to plan all the time. But actually a lot of the memories I really treasure from the last few years are from unplanned spontaneous moments. Of waking early and walking through Borsherston Lilly ponds with my beau last September or the first time I went to Wye valley tagging along with a friend at the last minute for freezing cold swims in the river, yoga in the orchard and wandering in meadows of yellow flowers. So it’s difficult to say exactly why I default to planning mode. Impatience with life and myself? A self soothing mechanism to give me a (false) sense of control? An avoidance of what monsters may arises when things are really silent and still?
New beginnings often come with an equal dose of anxiety /fear and excitement. It’s interesting to sit with that duality – the sense that it can be both wonderful and awful at the same time. Perhaps it gives some sense of how our minds, emotions and behavioural patterns shape our experience. Fear and excitement are not so different … they are energised experiences with heightened awareness. Then we analysis it and add our interpretation – ‘ahh this is fear’. I wonder if it’s possible to just notice the energy and not call it fear or excitement but just be with that energy?
I don’t know what the next few months will bring for me. But then I didn’t really know that even when I had a more conventional predictable format to my life. I don’t think you have to change everything to get a sense of starting all over again. The spiritual director of the ashram, Krishnapremananda reminds me not to worry too much about what I bring with me, just come with an open and present mind. Perhaps that is good advice whatever you wake up to tomorrow. Allowing a new start to emerge, with that new day, irrespective of what is happening.