104: Out of the Cave and into the World

happy monkI spend most of my days fantasizing about yoga retreats. If you have never been on one it kind of goes like this. Get up early, do yoga, meditate, breakfast, contemplate, free time or lecture, lunch, more yoga, meditate, dinner. All the food is vegetarian, all the people love yoga and love you. Anything is possible on a retreat. You leave a retreat feeling really chipper.

And then you arrive home.

Someone left the dishes in the sink. You have a hundred emails from work, all of them urgent, and strangely enough your family is trying, but not quite succeeding in enjoying your tales of spiritual light and love. Welcome home. Welcome home from your holiday in the islands, welcome home from your meditation retreat, welcome home from your fab mini break or massage. Welcome home from your cave in the Himalayas. You quietly wonder if you have wasted your $5000 on the holiday as it seems that nothing has actually changed at all. Not only has nothing changed you also wonder how you are going to keep up your mediation, yoga, vegetarian food regime when you can’t even keep up your rapidly deflating spiritual high.

The fact is we don’t live in caves anymore and our lives are really busy. We have quietly and successfully built an empire of humanness around the busy. We like busy, we want busy. We sleep with our blackberries on our chest and enjoy short pithy spiritual quotes. We have ten minute recipe books  and slow cookers gathering dust. Our busyness is a race to get better and bigger and richer. Our busyness is a clever plan we dreamt up to keep our heads away from the important stuff in life.

We ignore family, friends and contemplation. We laugh when someone asks us to a yoga class ‘Ha! I don’t have time for that!’ We take great pride in forgetting what life is all about. We squeeze so much into our ever demanding roster that we forget to eat lunch, ask our child how they are doing, someone’s birthday or anniversary. If you are lucky, really lucky you will have a break-down. You only have one of those, or a heart attack, this will shake you and wake you and you will remember that you can make time for the cave, the contemplation, the retreat, the yoga class.

It is possible though to find some lightness in your day without changing your environment. You don’t need to go to the cave or the retreat. You can find what you so desperately need right here, in a new york minute. Here are some ideas for getting your spiritual on without leaving town.

Walk outside especially in the morning, preferably in nature. The morning light resets your pineal gland ( that sounds good) and helps regulate your wake sleep patterns. It makes you feel alive. Watching the sun rise will also help.

Examine your addictions to the new god, the technology. Can you just this morning not turn on your stuff quite so early. Try point one instead.

Spend one minute or two today to contemplate what it is you are doing and why you are doing it. Does it all serve you and those around you well? What are your values and goals?

Have one meal that wasn’t snatched, bought through the hands of slave/child labour, and looks more colourful than white.

Before you turn on your computer, feel your feet into the ground close your eyes, take a few rounds of breath and set your intention for the day.

Before you go to bed, read or listen to something inspiring and tell those around you how much you honour and love them.

Practice for today: You don’t need to leave town to get what you need. It is all right here. Make it your practice to find the space you need in the space you have.





8 Comments on “104: Out of the Cave and into the World

  1. Many thanks for sharing such important insights…. I have been only following your blog a short time but I have found it truly inspirational….you are a gift to our world! On a side note….journalistic music link is amazing too! PS hello from Canada!

    • ohhh Canada our sister country I’m sure. thank you for your kind works they really help me with the inspiration to keep going, it’s lovely to get your feedback. I’m in my own little cave here in New Zealand. What is journalistic music link? I’m curious now. Love Gabrielle

      • Greetings once again Gabrielle…. ok…my typing is really bad, and my proofreading is even worse,I was referring to your music link on your website that I have been enjoying… not sure where “journalistic” came from. LOL I should also mention… when Imy friend referred me to your website… I could totally relate to your experiences as a young person… it was like I was writing those words. I was never much of an athlete… in fact I was never an athlete… but through yoga I have developed a strength never thought possible….I can keep up with my active boys (age 12,14) on the bike trails and on the ski hills. Best wishes! DH

      • ahhhh Now I get it. Great glad you enjoyed the music section, check back again later I update it every couple of months x

        With kind wishes Gabrielle Harris Global Tesol New Zealand- Director Follow my yoga blog at http://www.halfmoonyoga.org

  2. Well, I know that feeling. In and out of retreat and back to the race. Did anything change…. I had thought that way….

    Retreat I understood as a test. Not for what seem to be. But how serious is this search for you. Who has time and money for all this? But id you do, it must be important for you. Once seriousness is there, no aim is too high. I am heading for a short retreat by this month end, few thousand miles from home, away from comfort of home and internet and connectivity so that I can connect within.

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