Saturday, 2 December 2017

Keep your Eyes Open - Day 3

Day 3 (Sunday 3rd December 2017)

Three spirits visit Scrooge in Charles Dickens's Christmas Carol - Past, Present and Yet to Come.
Charles Dickens did not invent the tradition of telling ghost stories during the dark
winter nights, and almost all cultures have a tradition of telling deep and frightening stories 

on dark evenings. In pagan times and indeed in certain parts of the world even today
there is a belief in the power and importance of the appearance of spirits, with a number
described on only being seen at certain times of the year, such as Christmas Eve.
I hope you are enjoying the first weekend of Advent. 

Today's post is written by Jo Wainwright, who has been a previous contributor to the Advent Blogs series, as you will see when you click on the link in the below post. (You might recognise her as Jo Stephenson, her former name). She is active on social media, her Twitter handle is @Jo_coaches and is a supportive and charming contact. She is an advocate of being kind. Born and raised in Derbyshire, she enjoys the outside spaces (and walks with her dog).

You can see from both pieces that Jo's personal sanctuary is yoga, but much of the time she is connecting with and helping others to rebalance and help themselves; she works as a coach and L&D Manager at the charity Addaction and for nearly a decade she has been devising and delivering initiatives to help young people with personal addiction issues, and those who care for them, to build a better future. Jo is mindful and sensitive, I greatly enjoy her blog, Growing in the Komorebi, although, like me, she is a sporadic rather than regular writer. She describes herself as a Humanist Psychologist and her coaching is focused on building resilience, emotional intelligence and behavioural change.


My last contribution to the advent blog was 2 years ago in Dec 2015, when shared my fear of the dark (read it here). This time last year was very dark with zero capacity to blog. This year I got contact lenses. And my eyes are so sharp, that I no longer hallucinate in the dark. My fear has faded.

Enhanced vision - human vs. cat vision of the same scene

If you read that bit again, there isn’t much more to say. My blog can end there.

This morning I woke up before birds – delighted to say that I still live surrounded by trees – and walked in the dark to make a 6am train. Maybe it’s the knowing that it’s getting lighter. That no matter how dark is feels, the dawn will arrive. That change, that cycle, I can be sure of.

A Figure Walking along a Waterway in Winter, Louis Apol

Last year I thought I would never run. Having never been a runner I didn’t sense a loss. However, not running to catch the train, with my dog... No running AT ALL. This year I ran 10k.

I’ve recently found a new yoga teacher. A remarkable and wonderful new yoga teacher. After years of practice she has re-taught me discipline and personal practice via Mysore: she teaches individually so each person in class is doing personal practice. The group matters because it doesn’t matter. The space and conditions we generate collectively, matter.

I learnt that when I’m practicing yoga and it get’s hard, I close my eyes and go somewhere else. This is ok in Hatha. It’s not ok in Ashtanga Vinyasa. She observes my practice and adjusts my postures and pushes me the right amount, constantly listening: “Keep your eyes open, Jo”.

At the end, when eyes closed for Shavasana and the release was – incredible. I need(ed) that. I need(ed) a teacher like her.

That’s my one thing to share with you this advent: keep your eyes open

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