It’s not often a person remembers moments in their childhood especially one that goes as far back as your first years in schooling. There are two very particular moments I remember as if they were yesterday, the memory of these events, are so clear for a very special reason I believe.
The first being, age 6, Grade 1, impressionable, excited, meeting new friends and ready for a journey of learning ahead. Picture the scene, pigtails, chequered school dress, so big for you it’s below the knees, brand new school shoes and socks so white they stood out glaring from the black of the shoes they were in. It’s break, the bell rings and I bolt from the class. Once the passages are quiet, all have found their spots to tuck into their lunchboxes, I meanwhile, am heading to the tallest of the school blocks, making my way to the top of the building up copious amounts of stairs. At the top I hold the balustrade and make my way backwards down the stairs, as if I were descending a mountain, one step at a time, looking down, never up, one by one and sometimes jumping every second.
Why this story…. Very simple, possibly the idea of being a reincarnate of a person who might have ascended something as major as Mount Everest or possibly just the realisation that, at that very moment, I knew I was going to be very different from others. To the first, very possible, to the second, absolutely and in all honesty it’s the knowing and the embracing of it, that is making this lifetime so amazing.
Now the second, this is a goodie, Grade 2, while everyone is listening so attentively to the teacher in class, being the unique individual, I was already then, I could not stop talking. After numerous attempts to silence me the teacher, becoming rather frustrated with me, to the point where I was called to the front of the class and a piece of rather wide, sticky tape was placed over my mouth. Extremely funny now but at the time, horrified, ashamed and variably upset, naturally for a 7-year-old, I was distraught and in tears.
Why this story…… Another simple explanation, it reminds me every single day, that I have a voice, already then I used it and throughout my schooling career my mother would receive reports that although I had the potential to be a great student, my downfall, I simply, just spoke to much.
Well, I say, look where I am now, over 26 years’ experience in the travel industry, two absolutely amazing teenage boys and a business I have been running successfully for the past 12 years, of which at least 8, have been growing entirely on my own. Even more amazing however, is that I am before you now sharing this experience, knowledge and my voice on this momentous occasion, the celebration Buddha Purnima and share my thoughts on the “Invocation of Eternal Light”.
A lesson I have often tried to instil in my children, that although our current world requires us to conform to the norms, its unconformity that sets us apart from the rest. The truth, it’s what sets us apart ,allowing us to shine with the pure light and intent.
My journey from childhood, right into adulthood always left me with a question, who are we, where are we from, what and where does everyone’s belief system come from. With an absolute fascination with this, I begun reading some books, looking inward to try and find the answer. Pondering this question left me with a fascination for Buddhism, not being that well-read, I struggled to find a book that I could relate to. Stumbling across a book called the Dali Lama’s Cat, by David Michie. A novel about a stray cat, taken in by the Dali Lama, with its simple, fictional approach, it made me understand the teachings of Buddhism, this coupled with the discovery of Yoga a few years ago, it suddenly all became clear.
We are the light, and, the light is within, us all. There is no distinction between, class, race, nationality or even inherited religious belief systems.
Through my conversations with many, I often felt the need to search for information, become more learned, qualify and quantify, my theories and beliefs, in order to come from a place of knowing.
It’s funny again how social norms have lead us to believe, that unless you have studied something, are you allowed to believe and be vocal about these beliefs.
This however could not be further from the truth, it’s possibly through the practice of mindfulness, meditation, yoga or just simply being present in the very moment of each and every day that we get to master the connection with “self”.
According to the Heart Sutra “The Insight that brings Us to the Other Shore.” “Ali Buddhas in the past, present and future, by practicing the insight that Brings us to the Other Shore, all are capable of attaining Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.” We all have the seed within us, with the right conditions we all have the ability to make it grow. There is no time frame, it could take time, or it could come in an instant.
Simply put and one of my favourites is “You know what you know, and, you don’t know what you don’t know.” With the simple knowledge of just knowing, embracing it and allowing the flow, enlightenment can come to those that have the ability to quote teachings, poems, philosophers etc. or perhaps like me, just knowing, embracing it, welcoming it and allowing the connection with “self”, to show me the way.
Through the connectiveness of “self”, trust, faith and love have the ability to come so easily and bring a person so much closer to enlightenment and with this mindfulness, breathing and walking, we learn to become Buddha and Buddha learns to become us.
This seed within us all has the ability to grow into a beautiful flower, or wither if not taken care of properly. With the right positive elements and conditions like, food and water the ability to grow into a beautiful flower or with negative elements, wither away. With balance and the middle path, the perfect conditions, it inevitably will flourish.
Buddha said, nothing survives without food….
In October of 2008, I found myself filing for divorce with two young children and hadn’t really worked for 7 years. After taking up a temporary position, as office clerk in a laundromat that washed linen for government hospitals, I started earning a small living for myself and children. 5 months later I was presented with the opportunity to become a business owner of a small corporate travel agency, with two other partners. Grabbing it I began my journey back into the travel business after being away for a very long time. Everything had changed, with the internet and new technology it was like learning how to ride a bike all over again. Of course, with my voice and the ability to face any challenge given to me, I was able to eventually become the sole owner doubling the size of the business in a few short years. By doing so I realised that with the ability to be good at something (travel) and with the passion for something (yoga), I could combine the two and so We Move Active was created. An online platform that will have the ability to link all in wellness, through the sense of community and travel.
The purpose of this digression is that life is about “Finding Your Hunger”, as we know Buddha said nothing survives without food. Food however can come in many, many forms, Food-Food, that which we eat nourishing us physically (edible food), then Soul-Food that which does not feed us nutritionally, feeding the soul and when we feed the soul, we nourish the love. Soul-Food has three parts, sensory food (smell, hear, taste, feel and touch), volition (that which motivates and fuels us) and consciousness (our individual, collective and environmental consciousness).
In closing, when you have the ability to combine that which you are good at providing the edible food and that which you have the passion for Soul-Food, coming from pure intent and love. From a point of middle ground, with balance, the ability to achieve great things not only for ourselves but all others.
Shine your light, find your hunger, most of all with pure intention full of love and middle ground, connecting with “self”, its manifestation, a culmination of many causes and conditions with awareness, Gone, Gone, Gone all the way over. Buddha has gifted us with the present of being present,