Day 5- 3/10: Dovan to ABC (21.75 kms)

Breaking your Comfort Zone.

A lot of the books that I have been reading lately have been talking about doing something outside your comfort zone. And if I am being perfectly honest with you I would have to say that trekking to Annapurna Base Camp (See my travel blog: Dovan to ABC) is about as far out of my comfort zone as me travelling to the moon. With no training we decided that it would be a good idea to engage in a 10-day trek from Nayapul to Poon Hill and then all the way up to Annapurna Base Camp and back down again. It was difficult and tiring and draining… but we made it.

This got me thinking, what was it that we required in order to ‘take the leap of faith’ and just go ahead and try it anyway. Apart from wanting to try something new, we also had trust. Trust in ourselves, trust in our bodies, minds and spirits to get us there and back.

That led me to wonder about what this means for your yoga practice. Do you stay within your comfort zone and never break out? Do you trust and listen to your body?

In order to step outside our comfort zone, you need to have trust. You need to trust yourself and in particular, your body. You must trust your decisions and your ability to know what is right for you.

In that self-trust, you are acknowledging not only your strengths, but also your weaknesses or limitations. I myself have many limitations since my accident that fractured my ankle and partially tore my ACL (See: How did I find yoga? If you are interest in the back story to how I got here today). But despite my limitations I always find a way do to the things I want to do. Maybe some of my poses are not always perfect and I often take longer to do things like walking uphill or mastering a new pose but I get there with perseverance and trust. With trust we realise that we not only have the ability to succeed and thrive, but there is also the possibility that we may fail. But when you think about it, both are ok because when we trust ourselves, we are listening to our bodies and when we listen to our bodies, we can never push ourselves beyond our limits.

If we had been too scared to take the plunge and decide to do the complete trek, we would never have known just what we were made of and would have missed out on so many beautiful experiences.

So, we need to take the plunge, to jump, to try and succeed or fail, and if we do fail, to get back up and try again. We need to get out of our comfort zone and try something new.

So, getting back to the questions I posed earlier, do you stay within your comfort zone and never break out? Do you trust and listen to your body? Do you try new or difficult yoga poses or do you say to yourself that it is too difficult?

One pose that I know a lot of people are freaked out by are handstands so today I wanted to dedicate the rest of this piece to the humble asana- The handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana).

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Sometimes, just like in real life, we need to flip our perspectives and get outside our comfort zone (or in this case get ourselves upside down)- even if it freaks us out.

Katie from Honeystuck- Learning to fall talks a bit about handstands but the most pertinent to this post is:

“Handstand takes a lot–strength, alignment, breath. But most of all it takes trust. Trust in your own strength, yes, but also trust that your weaknesses will not kill you.”

 

So, why not step outside your comfort zone and try something new whether it be attempting a handstand, going skydiving, or trekking for 10 days in Nepal.  🙂

 

Namaste,

Natalie

 

 

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Day 4- 2/10: Siprong to Dovan (27.62 kms)

Disconnection.

Disconnection. Just like a coin, there are two sides to everything.

One can be a positive: disconnecting from work and technology in order to enjoy spending time with the people we love and doing the things we enjoy doing. The negative is the opposite: feeling disconnected from the people around us, because we are in a constant state of ‘busyness’; finding ourselves becoming more insular and separate. Day 4 into our trek (if you would like to follow my travel blog, please click on this hyperlink: Siprong to Dovan) and with no access to the internet, we are feeling disconnected not only from technology but our family and friends back home. Today I am going to talk about the positives of disconnecting.

Sometimes back in Australia I find myself permanently in a state of being ‘switched on’; available night and day to answer emails, chat to online friends, and working way too many hours a week. Worst of all, this is often to the detriment of my real-life relationships.

Just like my yoga practice brings me back to my mat, back to myself, and back to re-connect with the real-life people around me; trekking in Nepal has also had the same effect. Without access to and the distraction of technology, I found myself deep in my own thoughts, enjoying the sounds of nature and absorbed in meaningful conversations.

Trekking has been an imposed ‘switch off’ both mentally and metaphorically, from the digital clutter that fills a lot of my life. I have found that apart from the mind-blowing scenery in Nepal, the thing that I have enjoyed the most about my 10-day trek through Nepal was being with myself; both being alone with my thoughts and the quietness.

If you are reading this and wondering what does this have to do with yoga or thinking “I’m not keen to go on a 10-day trek through Nepal so that, I too, can practise being with myself”, never fear I have got a solution for you!

Why not try Easy Pose? In my opinion, it is the perfect a way to reconnect with that inner self and disconnect from all of life’s stresses (if only for a little while- I can’t imagine anyone sitting in Easy Pose for 10 days).

Easy Pose (Sukhasana):

  1. Come to a seated position, back straight, and your legs gently crossed in front of the body. If you struggle to maintain a straight back, either sit against a wall, or on a raised cushion/ Yoga block.
  2. Your eyes can be open or closed, but closing them often helps us to focus.
  3. Rest your hands either palms up, facing the sky, or down (if you need to feel more grounded), touching the knees.
  4. Begin to concentrate simply on breathing, inhalations and exhalations through the nose. If it helps, breathe in for a mental count of four, hold the breath for one second at the top, then out again through the nose for four. The moment when the breath is held at the top is thought to represent bliss, peace, the ultimate release.
  5. Alternatively, if yo are more experienced at deep breathing you could try inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts.

Try to aim to do this for a few minutes each day, to simply ‘be’ with yourself, allowing thoughts to come and go. And of course, ensure you remove any digital distractions before beginning your practice. 🙂

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Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Disclaimer: While I am a certified yoga teacher, if you have any issues or concerns, please check with your doctor before performing the above pose. As always, listen to your body and modify as necessary.

 

Namaste,

Natalie

Day 3- 1/10: Ghorepani to Poon Hill to Siprong (28.64 kms)

Love & Gratitude.BfevP27CUAEZN0N

So today I watched my husband, Damien fall off the side of a mountain in Nepal (See Ghorepani to Siprong via Poon Hill if you would like to would like to read more about this story) and it got me thinking about how often we show our love and gratitude towards the people who are closest to us.

Today is the perfect day to tell your loved ones how much you care for them; how much you love them and how much they mean to you. Do not wait until it is too late.

 

Below I have included a love and gratitude meditation to help you enhance your feelings of love and gratitude for not only your loved ones, but also for yourself.

Love & Gratitude Meditation

This is an excellent script for experiencing love and gratitude. You may want to record yourself reading the script and then using it as a guided meditation.

To begin, find a quiet, peaceful place where you won’t be disturbed. This is your time, so make the most of it. You may want to turn off your phone, hang a do-not-disturb sign on the door, and really give yourself over to the peace and serenity that is always ready and waiting for you deep within.

Find a comfortable position, either lying down or sitting in a straight back chair, whichever feels best to you today. Take a few nice deep breaths, bringing your awareness fully to the present moment. Let go of any busy thoughts preventing you from tapping into your inner essence.

Now you are ready to scan your body. As you scan your body, if you encounter tension anywhere simply use the power of your mind to melt it away, as easily as warm water melts ice.

Starting at the top of your head, relax your scalp completely. Feel the skin of your forehead and temples relax. Allow your eye muscles to release, your jaw to soften, and let your ears, nose and chin, teeth, tongue and gums relax. Now, just let this peaceful feeling flow down your neck. Feel it soothe your throat and dissolve any tension on contact as it glides down to your shoulders, upper arms, forearms, wrists and hands.

Let this peaceful sensation of relaxation begin to fill your torso. Feel it relax your chest, giving your heart more room to grow and expand; more loving, giving and forgiving. Soften your belly muscles and let this relaxation penetrate even deeper, releasing any tension from your internal organs.

Now let it wrap around you, enveloping you in love and peace as it softens all the back muscles all the way down to the base of your spine. Continue to breathe in deep, fluid breaths. Breathe in health, happiness and harmony, breathe out any tension, toxins, worries or disease, allowing anything that does not serve you to leave your body like a dark cloud.

Send this peaceful feeling into your hips and buttocks. Let it glide down your thighs, relaxing your legs completely as it flows down to your knees, calves, ankles and feet. Allow any remaining tension from anywhere in your body to flow out your toes, leaving your whole body feeling very comfortable, peaceful and relaxed.

Continue to breathe deep relaxing breaths, feeling your belly rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. Notice how the air feels cooler as you breathe in, and warmer as you breathe out. Now, imagine a golden glowing ball of light about 30 cms above the crown of your head. On an inhalation, breathe that light in through the top of your head through the centre line of your body, right down to the tailbone. On the exhalation, breathe that light back up the way it came and out the top of your head. Repeat this 2 more times at your own pace.

Now, place your hands either in prayer position or flat on the centre of your chest bringing your awareness to this area. Visualise a beautiful emerald green or a soft pink glowing ball of light.

This is your heart chakra, the chakra of love for yourself and others. Let it glow, bringing gifts of compassion, self-acceptance, and the ability to love deeply. Breathe in pink or green and let these feelings expand, seeing yourself living in perfect harmony with everyone in your life. Feel your heart swell with compassion and forgiveness for yourself and others.

Visualise your loved ones smiling at you and smile back at them. Picture them happy, healthy and full of love and gratitude. Let this image fill you with gratitude for the opportunity to live in this wonderful world with so many amazing, loving, caring people.

Let this chakra continue to glow and spin for as long as you want. [If you are recording this, you may want to have up to 5 minutes silence on the recording here].

Now it is time to gently reawaken your body and mind.

Keeping your eyes closed, notice the sounds around you. Feel the cushion or floor beneath you. Feel your clothes against your body.

Wiggle your fingers and toes.

Shrug your shoulders.

Open your eyes, and remain lying or sitting for a few moments longer.

Straighten out your legs, and stretch your arms and legs gently.

Sit or lie for a few moments more, enjoying how relaxed you feel, and experiencing your body reawaken and your mind returning to its usual level of alertness.

Slowly return to a standing position, and continue with the rest of your day, feeling re-energized.

 

I hope you enjoy this meditation. Showing love and gratitude is so important. Not only today, but every day. Make it a habit to appreciate the small things and notice the abundance of love in your everyday life. Your future self will thank you for it.

 

Namaste,

Natalie

Day 1- 29/9: Nayapul to Ulleri (12.21 kms)

Wabi-sabi

The Japanese have a marvellous word, wabi-sabi which celebrates the humble, hidden beauty of incomplete and imperfect things.

In nature we see Wabi-Sabi all the time: a jagged cliff’s edge, eroded rocks jutting out of a mountain face or gnarled branches in an untamed forest. As I walked from Nayapul to Ulleri, (See my blog entitled Nayapul to Ulleri for a traveller’s point of view of this leg of our journey), I realised just how many examples of imperfection we find in nature that we deem to be beautiful.

Everywhere nature’s imperfections were being ‘Ohhhed’ and ‘Ahhhed’ over and the best travel pictures always highlight the way the light hits the tangle of the trees or the asymmetry of the mountains.

Nature, as is life, is imperfect. And so are we.

“Wabi-sabi reminds us that we are all transient beings on this planet- that our bodies, as well as the material world around us, are in the process of returning to dust. Nature’s cycles of growth, decay, and erosion are embodied in frayed edges, rust, liver spots. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace both the glory and the melancholy found in these marks of passing time.” (Source: http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/wabi-sabi).

So, my advice to you is stop and enjoy the imperfections in nature, try not to take yourself too seriously, look beyond what’s on the outside and try to see the beauty (or the wabi-sabi-ness) in everyone and everything.

With that been said, today I’d like to introduce you to a fun and a little kooky pose called Alternative Cactus Pose. Despite looking imperfect, asymmetrical and TBH a little strange, this pose is guaranteed to make you smile, and to love that imperfection that your body is creating. It is a good pose to practise after the traditional Tree pose, which is a more graceful, symmetrical standing balance. 

Disclaimer: While I am a certified yoga teacher, if you have any issues or concerns, please check with your doctor before performing the pose below. As always, listen to your body and modify as necessary.

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Alternative Cactus Pose

Alternative Cactus Pose (above):

  1. Come out of Tree Pose [optional].
  2. Stand tall, raising and bending the right leg and taking hold of it just below the knee with the right hand.
  3. Balancing on the strong, left leg, use the right hand to open the right leg out to the right side slightly.
  4. Bend the left arm and raise it slightly, opening out the left palm and fingers.
  5. Breathe into the balance.
  6. Then repeat on the opposite side.
  7. Finish with traditional Cactus Pose (below) [optional].
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Cactus Pose

 

Namaste,

Natalie

 

P.S. If you like my posts, please click on the like button below this post or click on the follow button to get instant notifications to keep up to date with my latest posts. Xo

Being healthy in Ayurveda

flowerspinkAccording to Ayurveda, someone who is healthy has all three Doshas in balance, a wholesome appetite, strong digestion, all body tissues functioning favourably, regular excretion, and their mind is in a state of bliss, in tune with the spirit.

There are many ways in which you can begin to balance your Doshas, one way is obviously through the food we eat but another way is engaging in a regular routine of looking after your health and wellness of your mind, body, and spirit.

 

That daily routine is called Dinacharya. Below I have simply listed the steps in an Ayurvedic daily routine. If you are just starting out I recommend trying to implement just 1 or 2 of these steps and establish a good routine before taking on any more steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed and then giving up altogether.

Dinacharya: Your Daily Yogic Routine

The Ayurveda practice of Dinacharya, or “law of nature,” consists of daily self-care routines, which provide structure for instilling balance and establishing cohesiveness in the physical, mental, and emotional bodies.

  1. Wake up in the morning before sunrise.

 

  1. If easy and natural… eliminate: empty bowel and bladder. Don’t strain. Ayurveda never wants us to resist healthy natural urges, or strain by trying to force them.

 

  1. Wash your face and splash cold water in the eyes. Our eyes work very hard all day and they tend to accumulate a lot of heat. Splashing a bit of cold water into each eye in the morning helps to cool, soothe, and relax the eyes, but also helps us to feel more vibrantly awake.

 

  1. Scrape your tongue (yes, I know it sounds revolting and it is gross but now, 9 months in, I can’t stand not doing it first thing in the morning as my mouth feels so much better for doing it). Please see my Blog “Tongue Scraping & Oil Pulling” for more information on how to do this.

 

  1. Oil pulling (once again it is something that takes some getting used to but once you get used to it, it is addictive). Please see my Blog “Tongue Scraping & Oil Pulling” for more information on how to do this.

 

  1. Rinse mouth thoroughly and brush your teeth.

 

  1. After this is a good time to drink a cup of water.

 

  1. Skin brushing. Please see my Blog “Abhyanga & Skin Brushing” for more information on how to do this.

 

  1. Perform Abhyanga- warm Ayurvedic oil self-massage- which oil to use depends on your Dosha. Please see my Blog “Abhyanga & Skin Brushing” for more information on how to do this.

 

  1. It’s best to wait 10-15 minutes for the oil to soak in between your massage and shower. If you don’t have time, immediately jumping in the shower is OK.

 

  1. Shower using warm rather than hot water.

 

  1. Perform Yoga Asanas (poses/ postures) and Pranayama (breath work).

 

  1. Practice Meditation starting with just a few minutes each day and working up to twenty minutes.

 

  1. Eat a light breakfast.

 

  1. Then… work or school- you are ready to do this!

 

  1. Make your biggest meal your lunch.

 

  1. Go to bed early.

 

The above are only a select few options on the full menu of Dinacharya offerings. Obviously, you will already be doing some of the things listed above and won’t need to add everything to your routine. Try one or try all the offerings. I suggest taking on adopting one or two practices to start with and continue to build your routine. The adoption of two Dinacharya-inspired changes can make a difference when enveloped into your day-to-day routine. For example, since January I have implemented oil pulling and tongue scraping into my daily routine and my mouth is thanking me for doing so! We are all works in progress and I continue to work towards building other practices into my daily routine.

The implementation of a personal Dinacharya ritual can serve as powerful and effective insurance for physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing.

I hope this has been helpful.  🙂

Enjoy!

Monday 10th- Treatment 3

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“Love is a choice. Fear is a default. Choose love and overcome fear.” – Manjot

 

I didn’t write this post immediately after my treatment as I have been pondering this idea for a few days.

 

Do You Love, or Do You Fear?

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” – John Lennon

 

If you remove all your fears- every one of them- how different would your life be? Think about it. If nothing stopped you from following your dreams, your life would probably be very different.

In the English language we have many words to describe the emotions we experience in our lifetimes. But deep down there are only two emotions: love and fear. Or should I say love or fear since the two can’t coexist. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear anger, hate, anxiety and guilt are fostered.

According to Manjot (and the Karmic law: The Law of Focus), we have to make a decision to be in one place or the other. There is no neutrality in this. If you don’t actively choose love, you will find yourself in the ‘default’ of either fear or one of its component feelings. In difficult circumstances when our commitment to love instead of fear is challenged, we must choose love otherwise the choice will always be the alternative; fear.

Even when you choose love, it doesn’t mean you will never fear again but you are one step closer to healing old wounds and chasing your fears away.

Whatever one puts out into the Universe will come back to them. Love tends to breed more love, and fear tends to breed more fear because like attracts like. It’s really up to you.

How about you, do you love, or do you fear? You can share your insights and join the conversation by clicking on the comment link.

 

Namaste,

Natalie

Sunday 9th- Treatment 2

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“Don’t say I don’t like you, say I love you but you must go now. I no longer have any need for you in my life.”- Manjot

 

 

A common theme in my world lately has been the idea and practice of letting go. I have issues letting go of things that no longer serve me. In a previous post “Life Lessons” I briefly wrote about how difficult it is for me to let go of thoughts and feelings that no longer serve me. I identified that this is an area that I struggle with and one that I need to continue to work on.

In life, I find we hold on onto A LOT; mostly unnecessarily so. We hold on to feelings of anger, sadness, happiness, regret. We hold on to things. We hold on to the idea of things. We hold on to dreams. We hold on to certain ideals. We hold on to people. For me I hold onto thoughts and feelings for way too long.

Manjot teaches that there are no negatives, just experiences and that every experience teaches us something. The trick is to know when the lesson has been learnt and when to let go. When you view the world as just a series of experiences, you must be thankful for what it has taught you and move on.

Manjot is teaching me the steps of moving on by peeling away past layers of myself, my thoughts, feelings, my hurts, limiting beliefs that no longer serve me, and anything else that needs to be cleared. In doing so, she is helping me step more fully into the person I’m here to be in this life.

What steps do you think you can take to let go and step forward? How does it make you feel when you let go of these things that you cling to? I’d love to hear about it, let me know!

Om, Shanti.

 

This, too, shall pass

During this journey, I would like to share some of my favourite stories with you.

Once a king called upon all of his wise men and asked them, “Is there a mantra which works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place and in every time – in every joy, every sorrow, every defeat, and every victory- one answer for all questions? Something which can help me when none of you is able to advise me? Tell me, is there any mantra?”

All the wise men were puzzled by the King’s question. After a lengthy discussion, an old man suggested something which appealed to all of them. They went to the King and gave him a ring with words engraved into it, with a condition that the King was not to read it out of curiosity. Only if, in extreme danger, when the King finds himself alone and there seems to be no way out, only then he can read it. The King wore the ring without reading the engraving.

Sometime later, the neighbours attacked the kingdom. The King and his army fought bravely but lost the battle. The King fled on his horse and the enemies followed him. The King found himself standing at the mouth of a deep ditch. If he jumped into it, there would be no way out. The sound of the enemy horses were approaching fast and the King became restless. There was nowhere else to go.

The King remembered his ring and about the engraving.  He decided to read the message.

“This, too, shall pass.”

The King read it again and again until something struck him. Yes! This, too, will pass. Only a few days ago, I was enjoying my kingdom; I was the mightiest of all the Kings. Yet today, the Kingdom and all its pleasures are gone. I am trying to flee from my enemies. But just as those days of luxuries have gone, this time of danger will pass, too. Calm came over the King.  He remained still and silent. The King looked around at the place where he was standing and realized how beautiful it was. He had never known that such a beautiful place existed in his Kingdom.

The revelation of the ring’s message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and forgot about his pursuing enemies. After a while, he realized that the noise of galloping horses had receded and that his enemies had lost him.

The King gathered himself and reorganized his shambled forces and fought again. He defeated the enemy and reclaimed his empire. When he returned to the city after the victory, he was received with much fanfare. The whole capital was rejoicing and everyone was in a festive mood.  Flowers rained down upon the King from every house, from every terrace as he trotted by. People were dancing and singing. In this moment the King thought to himself, “I am one of the bravest and greatest Kings. It is not easy to defeat me.” In all of the celebration an ego emerged in the King.

Then a ray of sunlight caught the King’s ring and sharply flashed into his eye reminding him of its message, “This, too, shall pass.”

He lowered his gaze and his valiant expression changed to one of humility. He realized, again, that if this, too, is going to pass, it is not yours. The defeat was not yours. The victory was not yours. You are just a player. Everything passes by. We are witnesses of all of this. We are the beholders.

Happiness comes and goes. Sorrow comes and goes. And Life?

 This, too, shall pass

–       Author Unknown

I really like the moral of this story. It resonates with me and my life. After reading this story, allow yourself some time for reflection. Does this story resonate with you and your life?

Like the king, we are moved by the smallest things. The silliest event, or person, can make us miserable in a flick of a switch. However, the truth is, the moment we realize that all will pass, we will approach life differently. We won’t be as attached to the results and instead just enjoy the moment.

Looking back in my life, there have been many things that I didn’t like when they happened but they all passed and what was left was a teaching, a lesson and an experience. I learnt something about myself and have shaped who I am today.

What events/ experiences have shaped your life?

Namaste,

Natalie

P.S. This story directly links to my previous post (Thursday 6th- Treatment 1).

Thursday 6th- Treatment 1

OMG! I am in heaven I thought to myself as I lay on the massage table. Manjot lathers on loads of warm oil and then uses a pouch of dried herbs to massage the oil into my back and shoulders. It is absolutely divine!

I lay on the massage table for about an hour and a half as Manjot and I chatted away about life and other issues that had surfaced after my consultation.

The session flowed between pure bliss and deep thought and self-discovery. Manjot questioning opened-up repressed thoughts, feelings, and emotions that bubbled up during the session. There were moments of pain when she pressed and massaged certain areas of my body and then there were times of absolute relaxation.

During the periods of pain and uncomfortable self-discovery I thought of the story that was shared with me at a yoga retreat earlier this year: This too will pass and during both the painful pressing and prodding (both physically and mentally) and the pleasurable relaxation I reminded myself that this too will pass. Nothing is forever. In fact, it was Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, who is quoted as saying “Change is the only constant in life.”

Every thought, feeling, emotion and situation in life is temporary. Life’s ebbs and flows can be viewed in two ways: “I deserve this/ I don’t deserve this” or “This too shall pass”. In essence, this means not to judge the situations that you may find yourself in, whether it is pleasant, unpleasant, joyous, sad or disappointing. By uttering these words to yourself, you will realise that every feeling, emotion, thought or situation in life is temporary. Once you realise that, you will feel acceptance. You will not resist and instead will accept whatever you may be facing in your life with the knowledge and reassurance that this feeling, emotion, thought, person or situation will not be there forever. I honestly wish that I knew this earlier in life as I may not have been carrying these unhelpful thoughts and feelings around for so long.

After the treatment, I felt amazing- happier, warmer and more grounded than I have in a long time.

Namaste,

Natalie

Reaching for the stars

stars-moon-quote-facebook-timeline-cover-2621“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

As you may have noticed I have already used a few quotes from the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I can’t remember how long I had to wait before I actually got my hands on it but it must have been at least 4 or 5 years. Whenever I passed a bookshop, I would pop in to see if they had a copy only to be disappointed when they said ‘Not at the moment’. Whenever I visited the library someone else always had it out.

You see, it would seem that the universe was actually conspiring against me by preventing me from reading this book until I was ready to fully appreciate what it had to offer. Obviously I wasn’t ready until the end 2014.

I had spent years trying to locate a copy of this book and then one day, BAM! there it was… in the hands of a stranger sitting across from me in the lounge area of a cruise ship. From where I was sitting, I could see that he was almost finished it so I plucked up my courage and approached the guy. As he closed the book and rested in on the table in front of him, I politely asked him if he would mind if I borrowed it when he finished reading it. He said yes but on 1 condition: that when I return it to his cabin I was to let him know what I truly thought of the book and he would do the same for me. We agreed, he handed over the book and we parted ways for a few days.

A few days later I knocked on the guy’s door with the book in hand. I handed it back to him and once again thanked him for lending it to me. This was followed by a long awkward silence. Eventually he cocked his head on the side as if trying to read my mind and let out a long slow “Sooooo???” Even though I knew that he was going to ask me what I thought I didn’t know what to say. I mumbled something that was pretty unintelligible, listened to what he had to say and went back to my room where I wondered why I couldn’t articulate what I had gained from reading this book.

For years I have wondered this until recently when I came across the abovementioned quote and I realised what it was about this book that had the greatest effect on its readers- it wasn’t the plot, the characters, or the setting, it was his quotes that have inspired millions of readers. Paulo Coelho’s comments on life are life-changing, thought-provoking and the mark that he has left on my soul is indispensable. Simply put, his words are words to live by.

“When you desire something, the world will conspire to help you realize your dreams. That’s why the best things take time. Require patience. Endure tragedy. Failure. And find their way through impossible.”

I have found that in my life that even when I haven’t got something that I desired something better has come along, the world conspired to help me realise my dreams, even though at times I didn’t even know they were my dreams until I got there. I have experienced failure, endured tragedy and had my patience tested time and time again while finding my way through life’s ups and downs but I am where I want to be and I am happy and grateful.

So my advice for my readers is to learn from your failures, grow through your tragedies, be patient and most importantly, recognise and appreciate what you have.

 

Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars- Les Brown

 

Namaste, Natalie