Resonance

The Northern Lights: Allison Labine

Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.

– Hafiz

Years ago, I had a summer job in a delicatessen in Putney. One sunny afternoon, a man came up to my counter to buy something. I don’t remember what he ordered. I don’t remember what he said, how he spoke, or even what he looked like. The only thing I remember about him is the way he made me feel, so much so that I can still remember it all these years later.

I have him in mind today as I ponder resonance which, after a look around the Internet, can be defined as evoking a strong emotion. Depth. Spaciousness. Timelessness. Love, which is exactly how I felt that day on my deli counter in his presence. I felt waves of love and comfort in a timeless space, the likes of which I’d only felt a few times before, sometimes in dreams, and indeed I’ve only felt a few times since. It was such a special encounter which just happened.

I have blogged about how connection is our life force, how it satisfies our noble need for emotional resonance in order to feel seen and heard, and to receive comfort. But, it takes courage to live with an open heart, because at each stage we risk and we fear rejection.

Resonance, however seems to be something else altogether. It happens almost instinctively, like my interaction with the man. But it is not just people with whom we resonate. YouTube, books, a story or a piece of music, and even blogs stir our emotions, they feel rich and significant, they feel true, and we fall into their depths and enjoy a sense of spaciousness and timelessness as we take to our hearts the messages they have for us. The way we feel about anything is the only measurement of truth we have, even though it is often hard to go with our gut, because society and life trains us how we should behave, rather than encouraging us to follow our feelings.

In physics, resonance is defined as a specific vibrational frequency where energy is efficiently transferred into a mechanical system or indeed from one body to another so that it vibrates in sympathy with its neighbour. In quantum physics, quantum entanglement is when pairs or groups of particles behave in such a way that their states cannot be described independently of the states of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance, famously described by Einstein as spooky action at a distance.

Even though these particles can only be seen under a microscope, the idea that the universe is vibrating and expanding and shifting and changing echoes the ideas which some world wisdom traditions have had for centuries, which is that we are all one.

And, with the discovery of mirror neurons a couple of decades ago, it seems that humans have the same ability to resonate like the particles do, with everything and everyone around them. Apparently, all the regions of the brain involved with thinking and sensory input, appear to have mirror neuron activity. We can resonate with people even at a distance, on the Internet, or TV and radio.

We all know certain people, particularly in social situations, who just lift our hearts, around them we feel better about who we are. We mingle in their energy, we feel love and joy and happiness. We feel better.

I love this. I love that we don’t all have to work so hard to reach that lovely state of resonance. Just by chance it is possible to resonate, as Rumi says, the love within our love because in the centre of us all, in our hearts, indeed, our heart of hearts, or in the centre, of the centre, of all of us, the same consciousness and vibration is occurring. How wonderful is that?

It is just that in our busy world with all of its demands, sometimes we forget. Worse still our mirror neurons can become overwhelmed by interactions with people with whom we don’t empathise or understand, because we have forgotten that we all feel the same way and deep down the person who is getting on our nerves has the same core as us. They are just like us.

But, we don’t always need another person to do this. We can do it for ourselves, apparently. We can resonate with that love within our love anytime we like.

Meditation is the best way to calm our nervous systems and retrain our neurons so that we can form a bridge between our hearts and minds. In this way we can be the deepest, most spacious loving person in the room from which everyone takes their cue. A Course in Miracles (which I’ll be honest with you I struggle to read, it is not exactly a page turner) says something like: Give whatever is lacking in a situation. And, this is so true, if you are not feeling love in a situation, bring it, bring it first and foremost to yourself, and know that you are enough, and then share it with the situation. Because, when we let go of all the tension, thinking and feeling that is where the magic begins.

After four months of daily ecstatic breathwork, I am starting to feel that it may well be possible. In fact, I know it is possible to connect to that inner state of timelessness, spaciousness and love because of the man that day, the man I only met briefly and only once, but who resonated so brightly, so beautifully, with a pure love whilst asking for his quarter of salami or smoked salmon, or whatever it was, so prosaically and yet so magically. His energy was transformative and thankfully, I have never been the same since.

I love me some woo-woo, quantum physics, quantum love conversation. But, in these circles I often hear people talking about negative energies, energy vampires, and protecting ourselves from negativity. I am not such a fan of this advice, this constant need to defend, but will concede that we are not obliged to resonate with anything and everything that has a pulse, but that said, there will be days when we want to but still get it wrong and are left afterwards with that yukky feeling as we have clashed with people who are not on our wavelength.

But, we shouldn’t get disheartened. It is only temporary and even in those horrible moments, clashing can be an amazing creative force too, like dissonant notes in a piece of music which give us space, before leading us to harmony. Or by creating something spectacular and as glorious as the Northern Lights.

When I was choosing the picture at the top of the blog, I was looking for something which looked like resonance, which resounded with resonance, and I fell into browsing pictures of the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Ironically, the magical Aurora Borealis is created when solar wind ions collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen from the Earth’s atmosphere. They collide, they don’t resonate. So, even when crashing something good can come out of it. We need contrast so that we can feel the difference, sometimes we need a moment of dissonance, so that when it changes we appreciate and get ready to go on our way to somewhere else, to something else, to a new magical quantum entanglement which we can enjoy all the more.

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.

– Rumi

Amen.

38.5 hours and 51,426 words hath November

Eat my shorts – Bart Simpson

[Day 1, Day 10Day 20, Day 27, Day 30]

I did it!

On Thursday, Day 30 of my 30 days Bikram challenge #yogaeverydamnday, I put on my Wonder Woman pants and ran down to the studio and did 90 minutes of Bikram yoga.

My Bikram blogs have had so many hits after the Netflix documentary about Bikram Choudhury. I didn’t watch it and have no desire to think about it or him. He didn’t invent yoga or any of the asanas. They have been around for centuries. Passed down orally man to man, as women weren’t allowed into the yoga club.

His gift was to sequence a specific set of asanas and to crank up the heat. It works, it’s great, I love it, end of. My only wish is that the women (and men) he has abused, have their stories heard and validated, justice is done, and that they are held in a healing space so that they can feel better.

That said, I wish to add that even though we perform the same sequence of asanas everyday, everyday is different. My body, my mind, my spirit feels different and therein lies the yoga practice. It is not what happens on the mat which is the true measure of success. It is how we feel off the mat as we move forward through the world and how we respond to life and to everyone in it. That is the key.

Personally speaking, a month in the studio has helped me stop holding on so tight to people, places, labels, and so on. My greatest desire is that I continue to live in this more easy space so that I can hold it for others too. I have lived this realisation for most of November and it feels like magic. And that is exactly what I was hoping would happen during the 30 days.

Choudhury, in his best moments, says:

You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch [sic] once again.

Bikram Choudhury

Knowing that I can start again in any given moment is the greatest gift yoga has always given me since the first time I learnt what yoga was when I was eight years old.

So! After my 30th Bikram in a row, I stayed on for Yin yoga and then came home via Pret for some of their Red Thai Vegetable Soup, delish. I ate it outside so I could watch the trains go by.

I am a total trainspotter and even after doing it a zillion times, I still get a massive rush everytime I am on a train pulling in or out of King’s Cross Station.

Red Thai Vegetable Soup

Then I came back to Stalker HQ and hit the NaNoWriMo sweet spot 50k word target. I was so thrilled with myself that I had to lie down for a little Nana nap. Rock n roll!

On waking up, I spent time on my work project which really has improved in the way I was hoping it would with me being creative elsewhere. And, I am now really looking forward to giving it my full attention next week and making it sizzle and having fun doing it.

After that, it was time to run about to pick up my little footballers and make dinner – mushrooms on toast – then I put on some lippie and went off to Chinatown for cocktails and tarot. I had the best evening. My new favourite cocktail is Opium’s Ching Shih, named after a female Chinese Pirate.

Friday morning I woke up with the intention of going to Bikram and another 1,667 words but I looked at the bright blue sky and felt completely ecstatic at the idea that I didn’t have to, so I skipped Bikram, and wrote 500 words to remind me of bits of my NaNoWriMo plot I haven’t rationalised, which then freed up some time to go out to lunch at Barrafina with that nice husband of mine. After which, we had time for a walk in the winter sun round Covent Garden and a trip down memory lane.

In the evening we put up our Christmas decorations as we are all still super sad and missing our Pooh. But, fairylights, Tigger, and tinsel really helped. This time last year, Tigger was nil by mouth before a root canal and I caught him eating tinsel just before we had to leave, I guess he was hungry. I didn’t think it counted as food so I didn’t mention it.

Tinsel and Tigger

Today is the last day of November. I will write more words later, after the school Christmas Fayre. I’m on the mulled wine stall (one for you, one for me) and then I will call time on November.

I have loved having goals and directing all my energies into achieving them, armed only with industrial strength moisturiser and hair oil so that I didn’t dry out. Though I still feel so thirsty. It’s hard work keeping hydrated during Bikram and cocktails (ahem), though so exciting to experience both.

I love how I feel having achieved what I set out to do. Though now, I am very much looking forward to getting back to ‘normal’ blogging with me lurking in the background.

Thirty days hath November, all gone, like my Pooh, gone but not forgotten, leaving me richer, leaner, fuller, sadder, wiser, and a little bit different than before and for that I am so deeply grateful.

December, I am ready. In the meantime I will quote Iyengar, who spat on and beat his students in the yoga room, another yogi with feet of clay:

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.

B K S Iyengar

Amen.

My Pooh, all love and gratitude. You made my life better.

Pooh: Thirty Days Hath November

[Day 1, Day 10Day 20Day 27Day 30]

Pooh, our cat, got run over, probably on Saturday, as yesterday afternoon the council came round and said that he had been found dead in the next street. I am brokenhearted. My little pal. He used to sit and watch me type, or sit on my computer, or on me, or besides me, or the window sill, or the sofa, or on my desk, and now he’s gone and the flat, my life, today, are all much emptier without him.

This morning I had to do my ecstatic breathwork without him sitting on my chest. I fell asleep last night without him chewing the wires on my earphones even though part of me kept listening for the catflap, as he never just climbed through it, he always ran in at a clatter, you could always tell it was him.

And, today I am lying on the daybed, on my front as I type, and Pooh would often pad up and down my back and legs and give me a little cat massage before falling asleep either on me or near me. I keep looking to all of his favourite spots and he is not there.

I’ve tried to keep it business as usual today. I went to Bikram as it is Day 27 and I cried on my mat all the way through and got a big lovely sweaty hug, much needed and appreciated, off a friend at the end. Now back home, I am part way through my words for today on Day 25 – my running total right now is 45,970 but I only about 400 words in as I am struggling. It’s just no fun without Pooh sitting on me. I used to explain my plot lines to him and he would just look at me bemused, waiting for me to finish so we could have a cat-snack tea-break.

I had always wanted a cat, all my life, and it was the most magical day when Pooh and his brother Tigger (who is hiding under the bed in case another human wants a teary, soggy hug) came home with us five and a half years ago.

Pooh survived one car accident when he was only a year old. He dragged himself home with a dislocated hip and broken leg and I drove him round London to get him operated on, and then we stayed up all night feeding him with a 20ml syringe every hour as I didn’t want him left on a drip by himself at the vets over the weekend. He recovered well and miaowed angrily when we kept him in a cage for five weeks as I made the rookie mistake of leaving the door open that first night he came home and he had legged it straight out the catflap and over the back wall with his recovering hip and leg still in a splint. I lied on the Monday when the vet asked me if he had been outside.

‘No idea where all that mud came from.’

He was such a lovely cat and I can’t bear to talk about him in the past tense. Oh Pooh, I will love you always.

[ Day 30: 38.5 hours and 51,426 words. I did it.]

Lost the plot: Thirty Days hath November

Searching

[Day 1, Day 10Day 20Day 27Day 30]

I am on Day 20 of my bikram 30 day challenge, and Day 18 of NaNoWriMo. So, far I have clocked up 27.5 hours of bikram and 33,799 words which is not too shabby, but I do feel a bit like I am losing the plot.

Bikram

Bikram everyday really is making a difference but I am just a tiny bit fed up of having to go all the time and can’t wait to have a day off, especially because, four times last week I was only able to practice early morning. It felt like I was getting up before the dawn chorus to go to the studio. My resistance is not a physical thing though, it is purely mental, because once in the room I am thrilled to be there, the heat is just fantastic. And, last Wednesday morning the waxing full moon was hanging heavy over the main road as I drove down it. That was a sight definitely worth getting out of bed to see. The best bit about early mornings is driving back feeling job done and yet the day is still fresh and brand new.

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo has been a lovely experience so far with lots of oooh, ahhhh surprises. It has been exciting to type in things and then say: Oooh I never knew that, that’s why she is behaving like that. So, I was disappointed by the last two days as there were no revelations and it felt like I had lost the plot. Yesterday, however, was the real low point, it felt like I was typing random words into my laptop. I am hoping that it’s just a passing phase, and that if I treat it just like yoga, i.e., I just show up and my body seems to remember how much it likes bending over in a hot room, then everything will be okay. Tomorrow, at nano time I will not overthink it and just show up at my keyboard so that my mind can remember how much it enjoys entertaining me and hopefully all the words I type will make sense. Tonight though, I may have to reread my notes so my subconscious has overnight to cook up something extra.

Outside of bikram and nano, I am once more super enthusiastic about my work project and I have decided to not rush it and really polish it up and make it as good as I can, which involves a bit more training before I can perform better. I also now have a long list of blogs which I would like to write, which is exactly what I was hoping would happen with bano-nikram and I really can’t wait to get on with everything.

Not yet, I still have 12 more days to go. I will keep on keeping on and try not to wish the days away. Wish me luck. My next update will be in December.

See you on the other side.

[Day 27: Pooh died]

A Third of Thirty Days

Bonfire night

[Day 1, Day 10Day 20Day 27Day 30]

I am a third of a way (Day 10) through my Bikram challenge as in the end I started on Wednesday 30/10/19. I decided to get on with it because I kept thinking about it and thought that I had to start before I lost my nerve altogether.

This is so me. I hate committing to things in the future and then thinking about it and working myself up into a lather. It makes me feel trapped. Anyway, now I know for certain that I like to see how I go, I intend to start all new adventures off gently with an option to start again. That said, I have told everyone in the studio so that I have to keep going (though now I wish I hadn’t as people keep telling me that I will be totally fed up around Day 15 – but honestly, I’ll be the judge of that!). Also, there’s a lovely chart at the studio and I am enjoying ticking the days off and sticking on the odd gold star and kissing my biceps every time I finish a class.

Physically speaking, Bikram everyday is easier than I thought it would be. I feel tired outside the studio as I wasn’t sleeping so well either with all the thoughts about Bikram waking me up, but each time I step into the heated room my body relaxes and is happy standing on one leg and the rest of it.

I am also doing Ecstatic Breathwork everyday too which takes the Bikram to another level, I find it’s best to do it straight after Bikram when my mind is more relaxed. Honestly, the combination is amazing.

NaNoWriMo

I started this on November 1st but I only had four scenes planned. However, so far so good. I am really enjoying the discovery of it all in a way I haven’t really experienced before or at least can’t remember experiencing for a very long time. Feeling slightly tired all the time, from the Bikram, really helps. I am a bit more relaxed and not listening to my inner critic, I don’t really have the energy to pay attention to negative self-talk, I just keep pressing on and writing to see what happens next. I am hanging on my every word and totally excited. I didn’t know I could do this and I have written 15,209 words.

So far this November is really nice. I feel a bit lighter, less resistant, more in the flow, which is just lovely. Long may it continue.

Part 3 (27.5 hours and 34k words)