Saturday, January 14, 2012

Close your eyes!

Have you heard of/ read the book/ seen the movie called The Secret?  If you boil it down to the main gist--- it's that we attract whatever we need into our lives, good or bad, when we think about it a lot.  We send thoughts out to the universe, and thereby attract it back to us.  For example, you think about how lonely you are, you attract more loneliness, or you think about how much you are blessed and you get more blessings :)   I think for me I've been thinking a lot about needing peace of mind... and I think a big key to that has just been placed on a big fat buffet platter for me:)                                                     

By chance, I've ended up at an Ashram in the Hinderlands (the countryside) of Byron Bay.  I had sent an email to a place called the Bush Sanctuary on (where you trade work for room and board, what I also did in Melbourne).  Based on the ad, I though I was just going out to some farm (with a cute name) to work, and I liked the idea of being out in nature.  The advertisement casually mentioned that they did some meditation that you could participate in if you wished.   A week or so later I got an invitation email from them.  I thought it was a reply to mine, but as it turns out, they had never gotten one from me, had just seen my profile on workaway and liked my smile! :). SOOOO from the git-go, it was kismet :) 

My little cabin
The simple life :)

Working on the Bush Sanctuary! Where we eat, meditate and be merry :)

What is an ashram anyways?? No internet, so I still don't know!.... seems like its just a place to meditate and find yourself.  I've asked around a bit and there seems to be many different types of Ashrams... this one is like a peace and kindness one:). Its almost like a hostel in a strange way, but for alternative lifestyle type people :)   There's probably 15 people (10 permanents) up at the top (it's on a beautiful 100 acre property) and 5 down where I'm staying at the Bush Sanctuary.  They are all between ages 20-35 (besides the two owners), and almost all of them hold college degrees...  Being here has been a choice to let go of the commonly accepted lifestyle, for a simpler, more natural, less drama-filled life :). We do some form of meditation in the mornings (I've tried vipassana, kundalini, dynamic, Osho discourses, set-sang, dances, walking, laying, sunset meditation.. the works!), then we have breakfast and start working together on some property improvement project from 8-1. So far I've helped clear/build a trail in the forest to the creek, painted the main building, and as of late they've discovered I have building skills so I've been replacing rotten beams, installing gutters, new siding, and I get to paint a mural on the main doors next week! Mixed in is a nice tea break and then a wonderfully prepared vegetarian lunch! The rest of the afternoon and evening is free, with delish dinner provided, and some meditations/ yoga offered throughout the day.  We've got tons of trails, a creek (perfect for rock hopping), a treehouse with swing, a firepit,  a labyrinth, a few gardens, kangaroos, and plenty of time to read/ write/ create/ relax... anything really, except the internet (hoorah for disconnecting!).  We have no electricity (at least in the bush where i live- up top you can charge things), the toilets are outdoors w/ no doors (yes I check for spiders everrry time), cold showers (sometimes lukewarm if it was a hot day and it heated up in the tank), everything is a hoj-poj or a jimmied solution.... ohh, and who could forget-- a zillllllion huge spiders. (seriously a zillion!!) Sooo... how does it sound to you?  Simple? Yes.  Old fashioned? Yes.  Hands on? Yes.  Free and relaxing? Yes. An incredible place surrounded by true people with no expectations and no judgement and freedom to be yourself and discover things about yourself you never knew? YEEEESS!!!  It's been just amazing and I love it!  Even the spiders! (which are strangely also bringing me calmness, especially the ones that love to hang out on my bed!! I talk to them... we have a truce ;)  I was originally supposed to come here for 5 days... already it's been 9 and I've decided to not make any plans for departure.  Im just going day by day and as long as Im feeling this good I think I'll stay. I want to really plant this "seed" so it can keep growing, so when I do go back to the "real world" I'll have a solid trunk to think back to. I really feel like this is a piece of what I've been looking for, not knowing what I was looking for, just what I've "sent out to the universe." :)

Painting day!

Morning Tea happiness :)
Thats a 6" beam... and a 5" spider! WHOA!

Can I even touch on what I'm experiencing/learning/becoming in these last few weeks? You know I'd certainly like to try (*big cheeky grin*)!!!!  This blog is probably already reaching its max attention span from you though, so just one main concept that has really impacted me: meditation! 

I've discovered that sitting with your eyes closed and trying to think of nothing (always trying, never really mind is an ant on crack), is a wonderful thing! It doesn't have just one clear precise definition... I'm thinking it can be a bit different for everyone?  I've found a few sentences in the readings around here that I'm partial to:

"Meditation helps you grow your own intuitive faculty.  It becomes very clear what is going to fulfill you, and what is going to help you flower. And whatsoever it is, it is going to be different for each individual.  That is the meaning of the "individual" everybody is unique and to seek and search for your uniqueness is a great thrill. A great adventure."

It is the art of being aware, of what's going on inside you and around you.  It is not something that can be added to you. It can only come to you thru a basic transformation. It is a flowering, a growth.  Just like love. It cannot be added to you, it grows out of you ;)

Meditation is nothing but a device to make you aware of your real self- which is not created by you, which you already are. You are born with it. You are it! It needs to be discovered.

Rather than fighting ourselves, trying to improve ourselves, trying to live up to others ideas of who or what we should be, we can start by simply accepting ourselves as we are NOW.  We were born, so we are welcome in this world ;)

Everyday I'm learning more and more (and I'm lightyears from an expert, so don't quote me) but so far, it seems like a two-piece kit:  the meditation teaches you to just become aware. You just "watch" and develop this awareness:  of your real desires, your body, your thoughts, your intentions... and then as you get the knack of it, in the rest of the day (and life) it stays with you in a more relaxed sense.  You do all things w/ purpose and awareness, not just mindlessly moving thru life.  The point being that instead of struggling/ fighting/ stressing through each day, you find out how to be always at your best. How to feel joyous inside for no reason at all... not because you got a new car or a promotion or a hot date, just because!  Meditation is really nothing more than learning to be aware... you have an emotion, you acknowledge it, and choose when and how to respond to it. Im thinking for my spastic mind it'll take 23 years to actually become aware enough to recall where I put my keys... but dang-it one day I will pay attention!! hahha. A snail pace is better than none :)

Most normally we associate meditating with Eastern religions, praying to Buddha, chanting, monks, hippies, tree- huggers, etc... but waiiiiit, it's awesome for everyone!!!!   In the West, we're taught to "do stuff" and then feel good, whereas in the East it's more about just being- and feeling good about it.  There's a validity in both I think-  always a balance needed. There's certainly always room for improvement and growth and learning, BUT, the big but here.. that doesn't mean we can't except who we are, where we are, what we feel, how we react, what we like to do, what we say,  what we think!  Imagine if there was no falsity in our world? No one ever acted or "put on a hat" in order to impress, gain something, seem more intelligent, seem more cultured, seem happier, seem wealthier, seem confident, seem anything--other than what they actually are!!  For instance, I've given myself grief for a long time about the fact that I seek out attention. Well- seriously.. is that a problem? I like to be the center of attention- fine, so what? Is it hurting anyone? Nope (at least I don't think... please do tell me if so!!!)  hmmm, okay then, I admit it...  I love attention!!  Wheewww I feel better already :)   I talked w/ my mom today and she just doesn't like fashion, never has. She's fought herself for years about trying to get herself to dress cuter, more stylish... but nope, she's just a green sweater and jeans type gal... and will always be, and that's just fine.  .. and she just looks so darn cute in it so that works out ;)   

Your first thought is probably okay, that'd be nice, but we don't need to sit and be quiet and be uncomfortable with our eyes closed to try and get there. {Side note:  Ever noticed that many people are uncomfortable with their eyes closed?  Are you?  because someone might be watching you??  Judging you? I notice many people also have trouble looking you in the eyes as well.  Can't close em, can't open em!?. End side note!}  Well no, but it's certainly a great tool.  It really does help you get to this place where the real true you is..underneath all the society/ peer pressure/ trying to fit in stuff. Annndd...meditation comes in a zillion forms and you can do it while basically doing anything. Or, I say, just be open-minded (best thing eveeeeer) and try the original sit/silence/just be way :)   Meditation is no action, no thought, no emotion.  There is nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one to be :)  

So, if you get what I get from all that, it's about just accepting yourself and loving yourself and being yourself that you were born as.  Our western society places lots of criteria on what is considered to be normal and correct:  Wear fashionable clothes, eat to be thin, exercise to be sexy, impress people with your # of degrees and size of your wallet. I don't know about you but it just doesn't seem like that can be the path for a few billion people, so why are people that do it differently, uniquely their own way, looked upon as strange?  Why not:  wear comfy clothes, eat and exercise to be healthy and feel good, follow your heart to happiness, impress people with your courage and generosity? I touched on this before in my weirdo blog, how I quite enjoy non-conformists. Funny how it applies so much here, not knowing this Ashram was in store for me.  It's more than just outwardly appearances and actions though. It's accepting your brainwaves too. I'm certainly a very happy person, but a pretty self-critical one.  Isn't that contradictory??  I've followed the prescribed path to a happy life, nearly to a T, and to anyone looking in, it was a dang near perfect life I had in Miami.  But I'm fighting with my emotions a lot.  One morning last week I had the flood gates open right as everyone was gathering, and I ballllled my eyes out, hyperventilation style!  It was a happy-ish cry, so I kept saying, no no, im fine, trying even to convince myself... but who was I kidding? haha. Everyone here understood.  It happens a lot they say :)  One of the residents, Yatri, came and bear-hugged me, sat and talked to me about just having my emotions. Don't fight them, they are part of me and it's good, my heart is sensitive.  Well shit... I like looking at it that way :)

Anywayssss. Okay I ramble, I know. Got to cut off somewhere :).   I think the peace I'm looking for is to discover what internally really bothers me and needs to change, versus what is just part of me and should be accepted -- so I can be at peace and not always having that internal fight over what just comes so very natural.  I've spent most of my life doing, and now, this past week, I'm certainly just being, enjoying having a thought and acting on it. Enjoying feeling like doing something and doing it.  Or not wanting to do something and saying no... I'd rather read :).  This is the seed I mentioned earlier.  I want to keep this going even when I return to normal society.  It's easy here, the test is out there ;)  

Lastly, obviously Im here living a dream that may not be possible for you at this moment.   I feel like there is ssooooo much I can gain from this place, and I looooove to share and feel this is something reallly valid.  I knows it's very "Eat, Love, Pray"ish... but seriously,  I highly recommend trying it out! Get a tape, read a book, take a class... or better yet, take a vacation like this if you've got some time.   In fact, come to this Ashram!   I'd say at least half the people here intended to come for a week or two... and are now going on 6 months, a year, two years.. It's life changing!!! ;)

If not, that's okay, hope you liked the story and got the moral anyways :)  Be nice, be joyful, be yourself!  Authenticity is the new cool!!! If you get angry or frustrated or someone insults you- feel it and watch it, and choose how to respond rather than a knee-jerk reaction. Dance around in public or wear two different shoes or close your eyes, feel the sun on your face and smile today -and don't mind what anyone else thinks :) 



  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!! :)

  2. How exciting that you are already having such amazing experiences and your trip has only just begun!! That place definitely sounds life changing. Thanks so much for keeping us all posted-- I love your blog!! I love YOU!!!!!!

  3. Hey Becky; glad to read your inspirations, your feelings,and life's discoveries. May you gain more self awareness but realize that it is never ending. Life always changes and we change with it. Awesome stuff and hope to see you soon or race against you soon.

    regards and hugs
    John your fellow DB competitor

    1. Thanks John! Yes one of the things that is most inspiring me is that absolutely nothing is permanent and once you accept that you can be much more free! DEF hope to race soon.. preferably with you! xoxo

  4. Becky Jo . . . I love that you are right where you are suppose to be at this moment. This is a great reminder that simplicity has real benefits. Thanks for sharing your emotional education with us as well as the physical adventure. Love you, Mom with a heart

  5. I came across your blog, and I am honestly not trying to be harsh but I am curious to know if you are in any way lonely? And perhaps that is the reason for the outbreak of tears? Or maybe, the reason you continue to travel and travel in search of happiness?
    Life is wonderful and has so much to offer and is even sweeter when you have someone wonderful to share it with.
    I truly admire you, your will and desire to leave it all and see the world (experience things and practices that some of us will never get the opportunity to experience) I just wonder..if you are running away from something?
    How much better would your experiences be if you had someone to experience them with? Someone you love, physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Don't want to rain on the parade... im simply curious! Thanks

    1. Ohhhh I just figured out I can reply! Im hoping that's a new addition to Blogger and not that I've not seen it this whole time ;) ha!
      Anyways, thanks for your concern!
      As far as the tears... they were mostly happy tears... the topic of this just wasn't necessarily public post worthy! hahah
      Of course it's nice to experience things with someone.... but this journey is more about me and if you haven't already please reead my next blog about Aloneness!!

  6. BJ, I think you are a wonderful person and you look for goodness and you find goodness. Your journey has just begun and I am glad that it has started off so well. Wonderful to have found this place to love in and love out. The Secret is not put to any real tests in your world yet. Test it out in a children's cancer ward. Test it out while watching a child (or a village) die of hunger. Test it out in a nation ravaged by war. Then please let me know if there is an obvious connection between those that don't die, aren't raped,or mutilated, and The Secret. Personally, I think the energy idea that The Secret folks are marketing is rather simplistic and potentially as harmful as it is helpful. We should be very careful expressing our belief that individuals are directly (or even indirectly) responsible for the horrible things that can occur to them. Life on this planet and all the pain and suffering and love and success that goes with it is likely caused by a very complex matrix of energy. But I have confidence in you to keep striving for your truth. Just don't lean too hard on anything at this point. I have a feeling that you will see, hear, and feel so much during your time around the globe that you will be able to express a far more profound life theory than those authors of The Secret managed to get rich promoting.

    1. Hi Tracy. I definitely realize there are so many awful things that happen to people like you mentioned and many many more. I'm preparing to start seeing such things in India very soon. I have this tendency to look at things and take the positive from them and completely ignore the bad/non- relating parts. The Secret certainly has it's limit and I completely agree with that. I definitely don't live by it, but thanks for checking! Love your following and insights... please continue! xoxo

  7. Inspiring - thanks for sharing as always!!!
    James in Big D

  8. I love that you post this now. Dan bought me a book on meditation and beekeeping for christmas and I have been focusing a lot on peace of mind lately, cool stuff.

    May your journey bring great tidings!

  9. Hey Becky Jo!! Sounds Amazing! I want to see your mural! Love you!!! Mandy

  10. a very thoughtful and detailed account, a great read to bring me back to my understanding of the world fromm some 6 months ago.

    i am certainly no longer as zenlike as i was, but the lessons i learnt are still a profound part of me.

    so thank you, for everything

  11. Sounds like a great experience! Checking out some Workaway options for our year in Australia coming up, and this place sounds great! :) Thanks for sharing!

  12. Just a curious question I have heard rumors about the osho religion/lifestyle and I was wondering if everyone at this ashram make love to each other?