Newsletter December 2013
The road less travelled - by Emilea Smith
I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I first rocked up to Anahata. I was touring the south island hopping from tourist destination to tourist destination searching for something that didn’t have words – a sign. An answer. Fulfillment of some piece of me that was missing; something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
I had become conditioned to the immediacy of the bustling Toronto lifestyle where any solution's attainability depended on how long you wanted to spend on the metro. This was the attitude I came to Anahata with …all wise and knowing that a few sets of downward dog and some serious warrior-ing would suddenly send me into raptures with the miraculous answers I needed
Well it certainly wasn’t raptures – but I did find the sign.
Before leaving Canada I met the most wonderfully inspiring man; funny how the universe works.
“I hope you find whatever it is you are searching for” he said, before I headed off to NZ.
The only response I could conjure up was an allusive knowing: “Everything will make sense once I get to the mountains”
There were no words, it was only a feeling; and all I had guiding this feeling was a very specific image of snow-capped mountains that kept flashing to mind. Let me be clear; following a ‘feeling’ was far from my standard norm.
Anahata. My last stop before hot springs, glow worms and volcanoes.
I expected the ashram daily life to be hours upon hours of yoga classes. Instead, I found myself cleaning, weeding....4 days max, I said to myself. This isn’t yoga.
On the wisdom of a senior resident, Annapoorna, I set up several chat sessions with the resident Swami at that time. He sussed me out in 10mins, and midway through our second session he had me in tears with his wise poking into my cupboard of secrets, saying all the things I didn’t want to hear but needed.
Feeling wobbly and rather Eeyore-ish I sat in my secluded little hut pondering, crying, feeling sorry for myself, .. when I realized…“Everything will make sense once I get to the mountains”
“SHIT! I am in the mountains!”
Again, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I came to Anahata with the intention to find a quick solution for cultivating happier healthier relationships.
That was 4 days into my adventure at Anahata. 8 months later I have unintentionally turned my “self-discovery journey” into carefully dusting off forgotten memories and finally working to heal years of suppressed sexual abuse. Apparently to cultivate healthier relationships requires the strength and courage to look at the root cause, and the determination to change.
It was beyond comprehension how much my past permeated every (and I mean every) aspect of my life, regardless of how ‘put together’ I appeared on the outside. One of the many beautiful tools that Anahata has gifted me with is the ability to witness and feel; witness my thoughts, follow them, follow the emotions to the source, and experience the feeling.
Before coming to Anahata I was hardened and numb with bouts of seemingly uncontrollable anxiety and panic attacks. The safe and nurturing (I do not use these words lightly) and secluded environment of Anahata has enabled me to experience and feel the pain and trauma as it comes up in whatever form; without being consumed by it. I have found the ability to just be; to relax, turn off the thinking, just be fully in the present and connect with my true untarnished self.
Little did I realise, this, is what yoga is all about.
I leave you with one final image. One particularly cold morning, I was feeling a bit unsettled (not pack the bags and go unsettled, though that had been thoroughly plotted in my early ashram days). On this morning, cup of tea in hand, I walked out the front gate of Anahata towards Abel Tasman National Park. Fresh snow covered the Kahurangi Coastal Mountains. I paused at the wooden sign differentiating Birds Clearing and Wainui hut; pausing to look at the awe-inspiring mountains. The sun broke through the thick layer of grey clouds casting a beam of light across a green patch of grass and illuminated a particularly rugged mountain peak; Dragon’s Teeth.
I nearly dropped my cup. Tears rolled down my cheeks.
“Everything will make sense once I get to the mountains”
This…this!... was the persistent image that had lingered in my memory and guided me to NZ. I found my sign.