I have been busy peeling back layers in my house lately. It feels like a cleanse, like I’m purging the past of my home and bringing it to sit comfortably in the present.
In the present, it looks like I am living in a cardboard box. There is something quite humbling about its simplicity, its plainness and the transformation that I am watching. Sometimes I peel back the paper and underneath it there is writing from the original build. That wonderful sloping, looped writing that my own Pop used to use. He was a builder and I find myself thinking about him sometimes. That dear quiet old chap. He was old when I met him and didn’t seem to change much until he faded out and died. Pop was so solid and unpretentious, yet his writing was beautiful like the script on my wall. William, Bill back then of course. Simple and yet probably more complicated than my child brain could understand. So much knowledge in his great, big, gentle old paws. He used to bang nails into wood out in his old shed and thread string around them to make patterns, back and forth, colours crossing each others paths. Pop kept cockatiels out in his shed that he hand reared. Those gnarly old hands feeding the little creatures and scratching behind their heads so that they became trusting pets. They rode around on his shoulders watching the world. Yet he was tough. He’d seen the war and when I asked him about it he would tell me short recounts of the elephant dung beetles who rolled poo to cover the entranceways of their homes. Then he would go back to whistling and utter a ‘wacky doo’ if I kept up any chatter… although I was pretty quiet back then as well.
I used to struggle with nostalgia – or remembering. It never sat well with me as I would feel a sense of dissatisfaction when I recalled past events. Now I just remember, without attaching much to the experience outside of gratitude. Gratitude to where I have been, who I have crossed paths with, and what I am now.
In yoga we consider much of the practice to be a way of peeling back the sheaths of experience, letting go of past hurts and heartaches, sitting within any discomfort and accepting the present. This practice has been such a lesson for me.
I peeled back the layers of my house and found builders writing that spoke in whispers of a time long past. I also found this giraffe which my children have asked me to keep until the very end of the task. She will be the last piece of paper to come off the wall.
It occurs to me often when I speak to people of progression that it is not holding the most strenuous and challenging physical pose. It is exposing the very core of us. Stilling the chatter of the mind until we come to sit quietly within our centre… our ‘self’. Unearthing the very essence of us and loving all that it is with compassion and kindness.