I feel that there is so much to appreciate. For starters, I deeply appreciate my implicit trust that what I am about to write will flow effortlessly through me and this appreciation, in turn, leads me to appreciate all the choices that I make daily that enable words to come through me and not from me. Having said that I do also appreciate the fact that I am able to write well and in a way that makes the Ageless Wisdom very accessible to others. The appreciation that I have for my writing opens me up to yet more appreciation for all of those who have supported me with my writing over the years, not just through their encouragement but also through their wise counsel.
Last year my son bought me an orchid for Christmas. It was a fairly tall orchid, with a long slender stem and 5 magnificent flowers. When he gave it to me the flowers were in full bloom and they lasted for absolutely ages before gradually fading one by one and eventually dropping gracefully off. Having never owned an orchid before, I dutifully looked up what to do with my orchid and followed the instructions that I found, which said to cut the stem half way down after the last flower has fallen.
When I was a girl I used to go to friends’ houses for tea (‘tea’ being a word in England that refers to an early dinner. My favourite tea was macaroni cheese and chips). Going to other people’s houses was always a bit odd, because other people’s families never did things quite the same as my family did; for example some Mums used to tell their kids to wash their hands before eating, which is something my family never did. So when issued with the command to wash my hands by someone else’s Mum, I would dutifully file into the bathroom with the other kids and copy the way that they waved their hands in the general direction of the taps. There was one thing however that most Mums seemed to have in common and that was the nagging suspicion that the kids had not actually washed their hands! Funny that!
We are all naturally clairsentient beings, however what we have done as a race of people is to scribble over the top of who we are to such an extent that we no longer bear any resemblance to our original nature. Allow me to explain.
You see we are all able to naturally understand life, we know to the minutest detail what is happening and why it is happening and yet we blunder around as if we’ve been blind folded and the sad thing is, we have, but it is us that have blind folded ourselves.
When I was growing up I didn’t have much exposure to traditional religion. What little experience I did have was made up of a few visits to Sunday school and what amounted to less than a handful of visits to church. To this day I remember the rather musty smell of churches, a smell that I assume was derived from a combination of ancient wooden pews and ancient congregations; I remember the feel of thin pages in well thumbed bibles; the hard cushions that we knelt on to pray, I also remember how our voices swelled in fleeting unison when singing the comforting choruses of hymns and then how we mumbled our way through the rest of the song, grateful that at least the organist knew the words. The other thing that stays with me to this day is that my encounters with traditional religion were boring beyond belief, to me it was a dry, lifeless experience that seemed to captivate very few. As a child my world was full of colour and yet when I stepped into church all the colour seemed to drain from life.
So what is it that we are responsible for? Our kids, sure, each other, sure, being responsible citizens, yes of course, the environment, as much as we can, but what if the quality and level of responsibility that we are able to take for the things outside of us, was dependent on the quality and level of responsibility that we are prepared to take for ourselves?
As a yoga teacher I believed whole heartedly that I was a very healthy person. I exercised most days, consciously pushing myself to my physical limit, I ate what I believed to be healthy foods and I ate them in large quantities, believing that the more of them I ate, the better it was for me. I lived what I believed to be a virtuous way of life, I was kind to others and would help others out even at the expense of my own body.
A bold statement you may think but allow me to elaborate. Last year I signed up for a basic four week computer course with Simon Asquith. Up until that point my relationship with computers had been, what can only be described as ‘rather strained’. My relationship was ok as long as I stuck to basic emailing and didn’t try to do anything new, but as soon as I tried to do anything new, I invariably ended up spending what felt like an inordinate length of time repeating the same dead end moves over and over again, getting increasingly more frustrated, until I eventually had some sort of minor breakdown.
When I was about 20 years old I momentarily pushed my pet hamster under water in anger because it bit me. I had bought myself a hamster because my best friend had a couple and it seemed like a really cool thing to have. I remember feeling disappointed that I got absolutely nothing back from my hamster… it didn’t make me look cool and neither did it love me.
Recently my sister sent me a photo of her and I as kids. I had not seen this photo before and when I looked at it, something about it made me come to an abrupt halt. What struck me so forcibly was seeing how naturally loose and relaxed our bodies were. There is an exquisite lightness and natural ease that seems to flow through both of us. When I look at that photo now, my body remembers exactly what it was feeling at the time. Firstly, I was upside down and my whole body delighted in being upside down; it also loved to spin, jump, run, tumble and roll.
Alexis Stewart is the mum of a beautiful boy and the partner to an amazing man. She works as a yoga teacher and a disability support worker and is a dedicated student of the Way of The Livingness. Alexis has recently discovered a passion for writing.