I’m laid out on the kingsize bed of my quaint bamboo-lined bungalow on the tropical Thai island of Koh Phangan. It’s mid-afternoon, and the fierce morning sun has been replaced with an epic downpour accompanied by the odd crack of thunder. After a month here, this is weather I have now grown accustomed to, quite unlike the mosquitos, which continue to be the bane of my existence. The threat of getting wet is really quite immaterial compared to the threat of being eaten alive once the rain stops. What’s more, since arriving I’ve witnessed two people come down with Dengue, and it does not look pretty.
I laid down on the bed and cracked open the laptop with the intention of doing my tax return (reminder for the Aussies reading – the deadline is the end of this month). However, as I started watching ‘Stranger Things’ (the tax return can wait) I realised I wasn’t really watching it. There was too much going on ‘upstairs’, I had a urge to write instead, so here it is. I should warn you, it’s a bit of a weird one this one. It’s shorter than some of the recent epics though, 6 minutes tops, you can do this.
In my last post (link here) I talked quite openly about how I learnt as a kid to keep my needs and desires to myself. Since writing that post I’ve examined this pattern of mine, this behaviour, in some more detail. The yoga course I’m attending at the moment is not so much how to perfect a headstand, but more on how to perfect the knowledge of yourself. However, it turns out that perfecting the knowledge of yourself, and learning how to resolve some of the not-so-helpful character traits is a confronting, painful and surprisingly difficult task. It has not been all fun and games by any stretch of the imagination.
This inability of mine to speak up, to vocalise my truth, to say what I’m thinking, or feeling has been ever present throughout my adult years, and oh so damaging to both my contentment with life and my confidence. As a ten year old boy I decided that by doing things to please others, or to entertain them, to make them laugh, help them out, etc, it would mean I wasn’t a burden, and would ensure that they would like me enough to keep me around, and then I’d be happy because I’m loved. How fucked up is that! I laughed out loud just reading it back. I realise now that this model was severely dysfunctional, with this model I was locked into a forever cycle of looking outwardly for happiness. Rarely did my thought process work along the lines of “If I get what I want I’ll be happy/content, and therefore in a place where I’m capable of giving out the love to others”. This is, it turns out, is the correct way. Most of you probably already knew that, I think even I knew it, I just couldn’t ‘be it’. Instead I was locked into a complex system of make believe contracts whereby if I did something I was expecting something (usually love and acceptance) back. It’s so fucked up, I’m really sorry everyone.
I had major breakthrough this week. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have heard me babbling on about meditation. I’ve done a lot of it this past month and shit has started to get real. Last weekend I sat on a manic, heaving dancefloor and managed to find mental stillness whilst bare-chested and barefooted ravers banged against the wooden floorboods around me. Two days ago during an aerial yoga class I laid down on the tiled floor, went to a breathing exercise and completely zoned out into bliss, whilst my fellow students swayed around in hammocks. But it goes further than this, I’m no longer meditating just to relax, I’ve started to focus my thoughts on what it is I want from my life, with the aim of manifesting them into existence. And now for the really crazy shit, following a deeply moving spiritual experience on something called a soundbed (it needs its own post, I’ll come back to it) I have started to feel the presence of a number of animals who are part of who I am. They represent my strengths, and who I am within my subconscious once you strip away the conditioning I put in place over two decades ago.
WTF are you talking about, Chris? I hear ya, this shit is so far out of my comfort zone, so far into the realm of the hippy, alternative world that I can’t quite work out how I’m able to be sat on this bed writing about it, but well, if you throw yourself into a two month-long spiritual retreat I figure it’s inevitable that some weird stuff is going to happen. And weird stuff is definitely happening, and it’s fucking cool.
So back to the animals, I was sat in meditation last night before I headed out to a reggae bar, and the panther, my feminine spirit animal came to me again. Her message was simple:
“Express yourself, Chris. Embrace the openness. Do not be scared.”
This big black cat is magic. She is sleek and sultry, her muscular body sways with confidence as she moves, and she has these dark yellow eyes that could pierce your soul. When she looked at me yesterday and told me her message, the eyes were so powerful that I could not deny her. I haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that this predatory feline now lives (or has always lived) deep in my subconscious, and I am learning how to bring her out in to the world. When she departed I was left with the image of a face and I knew what I had to do.
I had something in the back of my mind that I’ve been wanting to say to someone for a quite a while, it’s been gnawing away at me, but for the past six months or so I’ve found myself repressing the urge to say it, for the reasons explained at the start of this post. After the panther left and I came back to the real world I knew what I needed to do. I needed to send a message to this person, but here I was back in the realm of consciousness and all the old patterns were screaming at me to shut up and not cause a fuss. I took my phone out half a dozen times but kept putting it back in my pocket. I steeled myself, closed my eyes, the panther image was strong in my mind, and I just did it.
And then something amazing happened, something else that had been bothering me came into my focus, so I whipped out my phone and addressed that issue too.
The outcome of either action was not exactly as I had hoped, but something even bigger happened as a result.
1) I realised that I needed to say what I wanted to say six months ago, so it was bloody good, albeit painful lesson that I needed to learn. When you want something, or someone, go for it, don’t hesitate.
But even more powerfully:
2) Despite the disappointing outcomes I felt good, and strong. I had expected my ego to be a little bit broken by the failure, but instead I felt empowered and healed. By embracing my feminine I found myself feeling more masculine. Strange huh.. I had finally spoken up for what I believed, and what I wanted, and despite not getting it, I came at it from a place of strength and love, and rather than feeling knocked back by the outcomes I feel more confident that the next time I will succeed.
Put yourself out there. Dare to Dream.
I know some of you may be thinking it, but no, I am not losing the plot. I am feeling, and thinking the best I have ever felt or thought.
This post is a tad left field. I get it. If I myself was reading this five weeks ago I will have also likely been saying “huh?”. Talking to spirit animals, manifestation, soundbeds, it all sounds very ‘woo woo’. It is woo woo, but speaking from newfound experience there’s definitely something to all of this. Try to see past the ‘woo woo-ness’ and understand that the subconscious is an extremely powerful tool, but if your subconscious has been incorrectly programmed it needs some magic to put it right. Turns out that for me, closing my eyes, quietening my mind and then having conversations with imaginary animals seems to work. Find what works for you. Tony Robbins is a good start if you can’t swan off into the jungle for two months.