November 2018 – The Yoga of Contemplation

Dear Yoginis and Yogis,
in my 46th year, after literally 30 years of non-stop studying all sorts of subjects, working in offices, teaching yoga, loving, grieving, bonding, travelling – in a nutshell, the “trial and error” process we call LIFE – I feel that the time has come to slow down for a few weeks (or maybe months). This echoes the slowing down of Nature’s activities as we move towards winter solstice. Reviewing what my colourful and abundant life has brought me so far and just letting myself BE without having to constantly DO, is something I have not been able to experience before, at least not for longer than a few days on holiday. It is also a luxury most of my peers cannot afford, I am well aware of this.

The wonderful permaculture course I was lucky to take in September, which I wrote about in my last blogpost, really helped me to see that, in the natural world, nothing can be forced. You prepare the soil, you plant a seed, you nourish it, and you wait. If all goes well, a plant may grow. This reminds me of a quote attributed to the medieval monk Meister Eckhart, “What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action”.

This attitude requires an inner shift for me, having grown up in the Western culture. I will give myself time to step back, look around, and be still, trusting that the next step will emerge when the moment is right. It takes courage to say “I am taking some time out” when people ask me what my next project is, and why I have rejected some perfectly good job opportunities. Waiting for my intuition to speak instead of creating a table with Pros and Cons for various options and taking a rational decision is not what I have learnt to do in school or in the office workplace.  Stepping back from yoga teaching, which gives me so much joy and sense of purpose, is also something I could not have imagined doing even a year ago. The demon of fear is whispering in my ear that there may not be more opportunities, “especially at my age”.
All I can do is hope and trust that there will be new – better? – chances down the road, and that my experience and skills will always open new doors.

This choice to seek time to contemplate life was not even conscious to begin with, I have simply noticed myself doing it and wanting more of it. Several people I know are currently battling with various (sometimes life-threatening) illnesses that force them to slow down. Thanks to a combination of luck and hard work, I am in a situation where I don’t have to wait until I get signed off work by a doctor before I hit the pause button.
I haven’t won the lottery, so this is just a break and not early retirement. I will be visiting family and trusted friends (and their cute pets). Parts of the trip will be spent immersed in nature, other parts in cities I have a special connection with.

At a time when the world seems to be going crazy, just as Europe is commemorating the end of the First World War and should be celebrating Peace, rest assured that I am not leaving the Yoga of Action (Karma Yoga) for long.
Whatever path emerges from this period of rest, I will be writing about it to let you know. We are always connected.


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