Disconnection and Reconnection

by Marian Thornley

Marian Thornley

After 4 years of living in France, the last 12 months have been, for me, a time of disconnection.. Thinking about it now in retrospect, the disconnection started in August 2010, perhaps it was something in the stars. Perhaps it was something to do with the end of a honeymoon period of moving to a different country to start a new life. But something deep down tells me it was more than that.

In August we sold all of our animals, our beloved llamas and angora goats. Unfortunately, the chickens had already been despatched, by the fox. In September, I was helping my daughter to move into a new room in north London, when I fell from a ladder and broke several ribs. That put me out of action for many long months. I cancelled my yoga classes, quit practising myself for a while, and stopped writing. The vegetable garden we had been creating by long hours of effort, carting llama poo and wood chippings, I simply couldn’t be bothered with, anymore.

Luckily, things started to change in the new year, and yoga came back into my life stronger than ever. I started giving lessons again, as well as running a group for vedic chanting. I decided we would perform some of our chants at the Fete de la Musique in Maureillas, on mid-summer’s day, June 21st. Although some of the group could not be there due to ill health, three of us mastered our nerves to stand in front of microphones and belt out three chants – it certainly had the effect of making us learn them better!

I had a rethink about the garden. Even if it was a lot of effort, the pleasure a garden can give is enormous, and it enables us to eat fresh, organic produce all through the summer months and into autumn. I decided to try more herbs and unusual plants in the garden this year, and our efforts have paid off, with a beautiful garden full of good things to eat.

I meditated on the course of my life, and realised that I had turned my back on the things dearest to me, and that the time had come to put myself back on track. What matters to me most in the world is practising and teaching yoga, and as a corollary to that, helping others. I am really most interested in yoga as therapy, so I changed my mentor to a very skillful teacher, based in London, who specialises in yoga therapy especially yoga for cancer. When I have a consultation with someone, I refer to him for advice and guidance if I feel it necessary. I have also booked myself on the KHYF post graduate training course, that will lead me, albeit in many years’ time, to becoming a fully trained yoga therapist. I have started giving one-to-one consultations to anyone who is interested, all for free. I contacted Cancer Support France, did their training course to be an Active Listener, and am starting up a new group for cancer support at Mas Pallagourdi in September. A dear friend earlier this year suffered a stroke and I have spent some time over the past months at the Centre de Re-education at Cerbère, I hope to soon be giving yoga sessions to the patients there on Sunday afternoons.

Another good thing to come out of this renewed connection was the donations from yoga classes going to a young man living in the Himalayas, who needs a kidney transplant due to untreated diabetes. If you are interested to read more about the fundraising effort for Uttam this is the link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_134342979974921.

So now I am reconnected. Not just to this place that we love, but to myself, the real, inner me. Yoga calls this samyogam and disconnection viyogam. When we are disconnected from our hearts then we suffer from delusions and the games the mind likes to play. Worries and fears can cloud our judgement and make us take the wrong decisions.

So why did I get disconnected in the first place? Meditation and reflection have revealed that this happened as a result of too frenetic a pace of life. Like most of us who moved to the PO, we came here expecting to live a quieter, slower pace of life but in fact the opposite happened. We were working all hours renovating our house, cutting down brambles to create a garden, I was teaching yoga, and in all of this trying to sort out health, financial and admin matters in a foreign language and trying to understand a different culture. Now, our place is almost ready for the first paying guests later this month. We are still very busy, but I am consciously taking time out to be still, to reflect, to meditate and to chant.

As part of this reconnection I am going to start writing again, but perhaps in a slightly different way to the previous articles. Instead of picking a subject at random, and writing about that, I intend to write in the style of a blog, involving my everyday life and how yoga comes into and nourishes that. It might include information on how yoga can help reduce stress, or it might be about how to grow a plant that nourishes the body. Yoga is, after all, about how we live our lives, not just what we do on the mat.

Marian teaches yoga in Ceret and is particularly interested in the use of yoga as a tool for health and healing. For more information contact Marian on marianthornley@hotmail.co.uk or see her website at www.maspallagourdi.com

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