It used to be that Australians initiated themselves into adulthood the old fashioned way: drinking their way around Europe on a Contiki tour. Now that Insta-wellness is all the rage, we’re just as likely to book into an ashram as enjoy a misadventure with an inebriated tour guide. But just as horror movie Hostel was every Euro traveller’s worst nightmare, ‘spiritual travel’ has its own predators. I met one.
(I first published this one in Australian Women’s Health. Loved you in Dead Calm, Our Nic)
On the outside, I am calm and ordered. I’m a massive fan of lists. I keep three jobs on track – uni tutor, writer, yoga instructor. I rapidly switch between tasks without missing any major deadlines. But on the inside … inside my brain there is a pack of wild brumbies, careening out of control.
I started my yoga teacher training six months before I began teaching at university, and thank God for that! By incorporating simple yoga philosophies and practices into my teaching, I saved myself a whole lot of extracurricular stress. Now, I enjoy teaching so much more. While classes can still be energetically taxing, they’re also extremely enjoyable. I know. I’m one of those people.
While Sex and The City claimed to reveal the truth about women’s sex lives – that despite a few awkward encounters, we were all having amazing, free for all sex.
Yet secretly, so many women weren’t. Aren’t. And think there’s something wrong with them.
Most yoga teachers sigh a bit when they hear the word ‘yoga’ being used interchangeably with ‘asana’ (the psychical postures). I did too, then over the past year I slowly dropped the meditation (no time) and the breathing (gotta get in there, do my stretch and get out).
The well-meaning naysayer is here to help. They are here to ensure you don’t put off having a baby (‘If you leave it too late they’ll come out deformed or not at all!’), or a wedding (‘I know he’s not perfect, but you don’t want to be left on the shelf, do you?’), and don’t even think about upgrading or switching careers (‘be realistic, competition will be tough, there’s no security!’). “I’m just saying it because I care,” is their motto and heaping fear is their method.
As a writer (and human) I’ve always been fascinated by the private thoughts of those I make myself vulnerable to.
(And have even confessed my own now not-so-private thoughts as a yoga teacher.) What’s really going on in my doctor’s mind when I peel down my pants? How do they really feel about people with addiction, obesity, things up their butts and other so called “self-made” health issues?
My favourite interviews always yield something surprising. After speaking with ER doctor Peter (not his real name) I was struck by how very real he was, struggling with workplace bullying (as many of us do) and trying to find the balance between professional detachment and the very human response many of us would have when confronted with certain cases. Who knew doctors—the demi-Gods of our society—were just as fallible, vulnerable, and struggling to do their best within their limitations, as the rest of us?
Here it is, in Peter’s words:
As a writer, you don’t always finish a piece and think ‘Jeez, I’m glad I did that one’. But was fascinating and humbling to talk to these three lovely people about their experience, and I hope some readers get something out of it:
WHAT comes to mind when you think of sex addicts in recovery?
Sleazy men in trench coats trying to have sex with nymphomaniac Girls Gone Wild? Platoons of strippers who love their jobs more than is healthy? Or perhaps it’s the image of yet another celebrity caught in a cheating scandal, vowing to “get help”?
Eddie: Patsy hasn’t eaten anything since 1974.
Patsy: A crisp, darling. A crisp.
– Absolutely Fabulous
Every nation has something they do exceptionally well. The Swiss have their chocolate, the Dutch their legalised marijuana, and Germany their amazing cars and wonderful sense of humour (ok maybe not the last). And Zen-loving Japan? Stress free simplicity.
When you consider that Japan squeezes five times our population into a country one twentieth of our size, there is not an extra inch of space for junk. No surprise that their hottest export right now is de-cluttering expert Marie Kondo, who can fold a t-shirt like nobody’s business.