I have been known to go on adventures poorly attired. Many years back as a much younger version of me, I recall meeting my fellow climbers at 4.30am one morning in Bali where we were to climb Mt Angung to reach the summit in time for sunrise.
I wore my Birkenstocks.
Oblivious to the pointed looks at my feet – I set off at a cracking pace. So in keeping with my habit, recently I decided to go rock climbing in a long ankle length flowing dress with a plunging neckline.
Once again oblivious to the stares from a local fisherman and his son, I tucked my dress into my underwear to climb up a reddish-brown sandstone rockface before sidestepping along a thin crumbly ledge in my flimsy beaded red thongs before hoisting myself over, all flowing fabrics and all, in preparation for further ascension.
All the while clutching my prized fossicked findings of dead things.
The tide was out, leaving precious pools full of treasures. What struck me was the desolation and death. Anything that wasn’t dead was feeding on it. Have you ever noticed that when a crab scurries away to hide its body but its legs are still curled around a rock it looks exactly like a spider? A really big spider.
Two such spiders were feeding on a dead fish left trapped in a pool. A huge hole in its side. I also saw entirely intact crabs in pools that due to their dead condition did not scurry away when I approached.
The ocean roared around me. There was no beach, just sheer rock face rising up from the ocean. I continued on and on – a growing sense of unease as I climbed further into the clutches of desolation. I was worried about the tide of course. I did not want to end up like my lifeless friends. No phone, nothing just me and uncompromising nature, and she ain’t gonna give me any favours.
It was the moment of yin before the tide rolls in the yang again.
I found a rock with my name on it. So there I sat in my flowing finery still tucked in, mostly disintegrated thongs still on feet, and on my perch I contemplated the rolling ocean, rising and falling… reminding me of the purring of my cat, a beating heart, the opening and closing of a flower, before I finally surrendered into myself.
I became the eye in a storm, singularly still in my meditation, surrounded by the roar of collapsing waves perpetually approaching.
In yoga we talk about surrendering to something greater than ourselves. Ishvara Pranidhana means surrender to the Lord. Yet most know that this light is within us. Not found in a man made edifice.
In my practice I surrender to nature. Mother Nature, as they are her commandments that I venerate.
Whatever you worship – know that you are not alone.