Archive for the ‘Identity’ Category

10 Days of Silence and Nothing



Yet another move is ahead of me, and this one I’m doing solo.  This move is free of trucks, boxes, tape, food, work, books and music.  Thank goodness.  It’s free of all of the stuff that clutters my life and distracts me from living life itself.  It’s free of complex thought and free of the senses.   That’s probably a dramatic enough introduction so I’ll now tell you that I am beginning a 10 day Vipassana Meditation course tomorrow at the Ontario Vipassana Centre.  Me and 49 others will spend 10 days in complete (noble) silence with the following schedule:

4:00 a.m Morning wake-up bell
4:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. Meditate in the hall or your own room
6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast break
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
9:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m. Meditate in the hall or your own room
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon Lunch break
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Meditate in the hall or your own room
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Meditate in the hall or your own room
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tea break
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
7:00 p.m – 8:15 p.m. Teacher’s Discourse in the hall
8:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Question time in the hall
9:30 p.m. Retire to your own room. Lights out


I have chosen to complete this course because I have some internal work that needs to be done.  It involves healing, letting go, feeling safe, becoming more mindful and focussed, detachment from things that I attach my identity to, and I’m sure more that I’ll discover over the next 10 days.  However, I am also aware that I may just spend the next 10 days sitting, waiting for the next meal and secretly singing in the shower. hah.  Who knows.

Here’s some more information if you’re curious:



Our 10th Home of the Year!

One year since The Local Gypsies Spot was born, we are moving into our 10th place of residence for the year.  Similar to this time last year, we are renting a cottage for a longer-term stay which always gets me both excited and apprehensive.  It will feel nice to unpack our bags (that we otherwise just leave open on the floor and live out of)

The cat loves our out-of-the-box way of life

and in this place we even have some space to set up our own paintings, decor etc.  What makes me a little nervous is that we’re committed to live here for a year, maybe more!  The commitment gets even deeper in that we’ve built a chicken coop for a family of chickens that we are expecting on the property!  Luckily, the coop is movable (like us), however we must confess that it will never fit into our gypsy-mobile/Range Rover.

We are expecting!....Chickens and a rooster!

I have also committed to working for an organization that runs out of this house (you may know it – Free Spirit Tours) and the owner/entrepreneur/my friend has got me nicely wrapped up in several projects that will keep me busy for a few years by the sounds of it.  Could this be the end of our nomadic life?  Not likely.  I don’t think Dylan will completely settle until we’ve purchased land or a house, and even then, we will move on.  It just may not be 10 homes in one year, perhaps one home every ten years. wow. that seems just crazy.  Ten years in one place?! Are we getting old?

How to Save $9000/yr ….. and the world.

Did you know that it costs an average of $9000 per year just to own a small car? That is not including the cost of purchasing the car itself, but just the gas, maintenance, insurance, license, etc. each year.  I don’t know how much a truck or large vehicle could run you, but I can imagine.  What this tells me is that when considering a salary that I need to live comfortably and sustainably, I can pretty much take $9000 less than anyone owning a car and survive quite well!  This is awesome news.  So, if I thought a $50,000/yr salary would make life easier, I can take a $41,000/yr salary and still afford those $3 local organic carrots!  What this also means is that if you can find a job close enough to home to walk/bike/transit, then you can save $9000/yr by selling your car (make sure to get rid of it, the $9000 still applies if it’s sitting in your driveway even).  This may be easier for households with 2 cars (Dylan has his beloved Land Rover, so tasks like buying watermelon aren’t so exhausting!), because you would still have one vehicle to get around in, especially if you live in either a suburb (designed for cars) or the country.  I love knowing that I’m saving $9000/year! Amazing.

Me vs. My Ego

As I was biking home from town this morning, a car pulled up a few meters ahead of me and the driver flagged me down.  I get strangely excited when this happens – I love it when people ask me for directions.  This is either due to an intuitive love for sharing knowledge and teaching, or my childhood best friend was right and I am a “know-it-all”.  Nonetheless, I am a compulsive sign reader, I don’t know why, I just read any word that comes into my visual range and thus tend to be of some help.  Well, he wasn’t asking for directions.  He was stopping to pay me a compliment and ask if I’m single. He had actually been traveling in the other direction and had turned around. Upon learning that I am not single he stressed that I must tell my boyfriend how lucky he is and that he must earn it.  I warmed up to him when he asked if I was happy and I smiled and replied “very”. I said thank you with as much humility as I could and he smiled and drove off.

Once my ego was done patting itself on the back for wearing the blue shirt, tights and wellies, I was able to objectively ponder on this encounter.  I used to place a lot of importance on events like these.  Not consciously of course, but male attention could be said to be 90% of the reason I would put on a nice outfit and mascara in the morning. It’s not a mystery that men may be a bit like children and Christmas gifts – if it’s wrapped well they choose it.  For 30 seconds, this man made me feel like the most special person on the planet, but the “me” that was feeling that was on the inside, in my head, and the object he was speaking to was just the outer shell.  And thus the outer shell that I inhabit should receive the compliment, however the skin, hair, bones, eyes do not have the ability to emotionally receive such an abstract concept. The mind and thought center just try to steal it up, grasping onto anything that feeds the ego, relevant or not. The mind may be responsible for how I dressed this morning, the shape of my body, the cleanliness of my hair etc., which could have led to the compliment, however the mind does this all in vain, in hopes of attention, thus using and abusing the body.  Anyhow, what I’m getting at is since the object that this man was speaking to (the body) is not capable of receiving dialogue, it is like he’s speaking into a phone and there’s no one on the other line.  His words are lost to the universe, and the mind can not rightfully eat them up – even though it does, faster than I can stop it.

Week #4 in the Ashram: Escapes and Exams

Shortly after writing the week 3 post of my Ashram experiences, Dylan arrived at the Ashram and we escaped early Saturday morning to attend a dear friend’s wedding in Haliburton, Ontario.  Lots of driving, little sleep, a sip of wine, black tea and sugar (all things I had not been exposed to for 3 weeks) made for an interesting 24 hours out of the ashram.

Upon returning to the Ashram, everyone wanted to know “what it was like” (returning to what some call ‘reality’).  To be honest, it felt normal.  I didn’t feel like 3 weeks was long enough to get so used to Ashram life that outside life would feel strange.  It was the sugar, poor quality sleep, tea and driving that made me feel terribly hungover on Sunday….and every day since I have left the Ashram.

Our final week of our Yoga Teacher Training Course was pretty much our standard schedule of meditations, chanting, yoga and lectures, with some practice teaching and a few ceremonies.  I was initiated into a mantra so that I now have a designated mantra that I can repeat while meditating and also while walking, driving, cleaning etc.  On Saturday morning we wrote a 3 hour exam and then a bunch of us went to help prepare the evening Indian feast in the kitchen for 200 people.  Dylan and I were given the task of preparing the Sambar.  Well, we chopped the vegetables and stirred the pot as the chef tossed in the ingredients. 

Finally, on Saturday evening we all graduated.  There are now 26,000 Sivananda certified Yoga teachers in the world, I am number 25, 998.