Feelings

I am so glad I didn’t have to wake up and go to work this morning. In fact, I woke up, did a long wee (even as a doctor I still feel awe at the bladder’s ability to stretch) and went straight back to bed for more restless, jumbled dreams about R-, people from my past with whom I hardly speak and other matters that my subconscious deems necessary for processing life’s changes.

Today is a very important day. I’ve temporarily disabled whatsapp, instagram, rightmove and zoopla so I don’t try to distract myself in fixing my current situation or get caught up in other people’s needs. I’ve told people I’m not available today and I’m vegging out in my room drinking tea out of an Epilim Chrono mug and feeling my feelings.

There’s so much resistance. In fact, I’m even aware that I could try to use blogging today as a way not to have to dig beneath the safe and professional front I’ve been putting on each day for my patients and colleagues. It’s easy to pretend you’ve felt your feelings even when you haven’t.

This past week… every morning I’ve woken up and I’ve felt heavy and hopeless. I’ve felt dense lead-like lumps of energy in my chest that I wish would dissipate, though my wisdom knows I need to make room for them to exist right now.

Every time I think of my home in Birmingham, I want to sink. I feel like my sense of purpose and belonging has vanished and my heart aches for the love I poured into those walls. Owning a home is like no other feeling I’ve ever known. Even though it’s just another realm of Maya, in the moment, it feels like absolute comfort and security. For me, it was a message to the world that said “this is where my life is”. And I was ready for it. I loved everything about my home and all the beautiful things that came with it. To say that I miss it is an understatement, especially in the lead up to Christmas where I would otherwise be making it feel like a winter wonderland that’s a pleasure to come back to amidst long days and even longer nights. That was my entire life ahead of me and mourning the loss of that is a pain that feels so huge that I wonder if it will ever go away. I keep trying to fix this by looking at rentals on rightmove, planning ways by which I can forge my life ahead and by purchasing things I don’t need off amazon. I know it’s futile. I do it anyway. I forgive myself for it. Because sitting with discomfort is a process that sometimes involves trying to wriggle out of it for weeks on end. I know this will end eventually because I’ll hit some semblance of rock bottom and feel a degree of peace that comes with acceptance and surrender. I can’t really rush it even though I wish it would come sooner.

I’m a little numb to R- and the loss of him as a person. It isn’t something I feel so starkly in my life and I can’t tell if that’s because I’m in denial or if I’ve just moved on. I suppose the two can actually co-exist. I’ve been consuming a lot of content about the psychology of relationship and I’m coming to realise some truths about us that I didn’t see before. Like the security he promised wasn’t necessarily ever there. That he never actually valued me as a person but sought comfort in the fact that I could be counted on to be loving, giving, supportive and reliable as a partner. That I made compromise on compromise on compromise for him but there didn’t seem to be a lot of that from his end. That I’m anxiously attached and whilst my psyche was soothed by the sense of ‘he will stay with me forever’ (lol), he would flux between secure and avoidant and it didn’t really help things. Our problems at the beginning of our relationship, whilst not the problems that ended us (because I made every effort to accept him exactly as he was, warts and all) still existed at the end of our relationship and I was always the person coming up with creative solutions to bring me a sense of relief and him a sense of freedom. Maybe the degree of functionality I felt wasn’t actually there at all because deep down, he was questioning himself the entire time and he never really wanted to be that involved in us. This is not to invalidate R-. He was a good partner to me whilst we were together. Even when he’s acting out of his wounds and his entitlement, I still endeavour to respect him as a fellow human being and the person with whom I spent a portion of my life. Just like wriggling out of discomfort… understanding and integrating this is also a process.

I am often surrounded by people who love and want the best for me yet I feel hopelessly lonely. I wish people were taught the art of holding space because it would fast-track everyone’s healing. People tend to dislike uncomfortable emotions so much that even when another person is facing them, they react in ways that make themselves feel better, not in a way that makes you feel better. I don’t want you to tell me what to do or say that work is a good distraction or give me your opinion on all the positives of being single because if I wanted that… I would ask for it. Mostly all I want when I reach out is for a person just to give me the permission to be sad in their presence. It’s easy to lose hope once you’ve reached out to a few people and no one knows how to hold that space for you and the greatest act of self love is continuing to reach out despite it. What a royal pain in the arse.

I can’t wait to just feel better. I wish I just felt better. I do not feel better. I cannot will ‘better’ to come. Subsequently, I am choosing to meet myself in this hopeless, aimless, sad and lost place and allowing myself to exist here for a while.

G x

A-break-ening

I love Saturday mornings where I wake up with a buzz to drink coffee and write.

Saturdays are starkly different to what they once were. My safe space has downsized from a three-bed-semi to a compact room in my uncle’s house where the study desk doubles up as a dressing table and, on rare occasion, a dining table. I’ve had to temporarily part ways with non-essential items… which is just a kooky way of saying I’ve had to move my books back to mum and dad’s. Thank sweet heaven for the Kindle fire ft. a £20 SD card thrust in its orifice with a view to cram more books into its humble processor. Friends that have remained in my life include but are not limited to: the salt lamp, the LED string lights, an obscene number of cushions (vacuum bags= the future), the crystals, the notebooks, the oracle decks, the Rituals candle I bought myself during the acute breakup phase, two bags of toiletries, two homemade bundles of sage, a packet of ceremonial Cacao (a gift, from my dear friend, W-), two months’ worth of sertraline (yep-still my bff), and last but never, ever least… my trusty vibrator.

Saturdays aren’t the only starkly different thing about this limbo I find myself in. Whilst I’ve experienced a breakup, plenty, in my short life, they’ve been on less extreme terms. I’ve never lived with past partners, co-owned property with them or worn a pretty diamond on my finger that somehow symbolises a choice to spend the remainder of my short existence with them. Yet, I find myself in a place that is so much more grounded, calm, centred and peaceful than ever before. This isn’t to say I’m not grieving (side note: I asked my therapist if I could get a discount on the session if I named the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief in perfect order. Current stage=anger. She creased and responded with “I’m the therapist here!” I did not get a discount on the session).

I’m taking stock of the deep inner work I’ve done. This has ranged from somatically experiencing and re-processing my childhood trauma in EMDR therapy for the best part of a year, to meeting my inner child in Rising Woman’s self help course ‘Becoming The One’, to shamanic ceremonies in Glastonbury Goddess Temple purging and screaming into fires, crying at the back of Yoga Classes, meeting myself wherever I am in journal entry after entry after entry after entry and perhaps most valuably… in learning to sit with depression, loneliness and pain on long, dark nights with no one to turn to but the Furies in my head yelling ‘You’re not good enough’.

Having integrated all of these things and constantly engaging in the process of: awaken, learn, integrate time and again, I’ve found myself in a place where I can actually feel the evolution that’s taken place in these very cells I call my own. The young woman who wakes up in this small room each day, who has ‘lost’ her home, her fiancé, her fantasy of a marriage with children, her well paid job and her ego based identity is less energetically dense. She is lighter, brighter and closer to her true, divine nature. She is authentic and oh my, she is beautiful. She is powerful. She is expansive. She is conscious. She is awakening. She is so embodied that she doesn’t even know how not to be herself anymore. And I imagine that can be very scary for some people. The people who want to stay asleep, who are choosing not to confront their demons with the same bravery I continue to display. When you grow, your circle either evolves alongside you or those who aren’t ready to meet themselves there gently fall away so that the people on Your Path may fall together.

In essence, I am wholly responsible for manifesting this breakup. It is a gift and a road to a more aligned future where I get to keep meeting myself wherever I am and receiving validation that that is perfect. I am consciousness experiencing herself in this beautiful human vessel.

In the past, I would yearn for my partners. Relish in the hopes they would reach out, deeply regret their actions and come crawling back, begging for me. My fingers would itch to text them and my body to sex them… just this once so that I may ‘feel’ whole and complete. This time- nothing. As soon as I knew that R- had emotionally checked out, my cells, organs and tissues created an energetic boundary, forged by love that he was no longer permitted to be a part of. I suddenly embodied the highest form of self love and respect without even realising. Trusting, simply, that my higher self knows what I need.

It is a gift to be able to experience anger, pain, loss and confusion from a grounded place, armed with the knowledge that none of those things will break me. Of course, I have many moments where I get caught up in the illusion that I am somehow defined by this malarkey but the gift is that I come back here. To Gowri. To Home. Losing R-, the man I truly believed to be my soulmate was my ego’s greatest fear. I always imagined it in the form of death or tragedy but it has come into fruition in the form of a break-up instead. I have the pleasure of watching myself rise from its angry flames, drinking its medicine, observing my growth and knowing that this is the path I have chosen for myself and I am committed to it. To her. To myself. To consciousness. To integrity. To love.

I know this post may seem a little far fetched. A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to understand these words, let alone write them. Today I see what a testament this is to my spiritual growth and I bask in its joy, revel in its wisdom and celebrate Gowri: The Most Embodied Version Yet.

With Love

G x

P.S. For all those finding out about my breakup on the blog or via other means. I am deeply grateful for your kind words and messages and will respond when I am able.

R- efresh

Home is me, home is me, home is me. Remember this.

Reading the last post as a witness to my own innocence and purity of love hits a nerve that plunges me into deep sadness, if only for a moment. Seeing the Gowri with nothing but love to give, to seal all the cracks, to hold the foundation, to hold a person and kiss away their psychological pain and show them the way of the light is hard. A Gowri from only three weeks ago. So innocent. So fucking innocent.

Irrational; since I of all people know that trauma cannot be be kissed away by the love of another being; rather it requires courage, clarity of mind and a commitment to inner work with a strength that some people display and others don’t. “It is not our abilities that determine who we are, it is our choices”. I am frequently reminded of Dumbledore’s wisdom in trying times.

There is no real easy way to say this so I had better just say it exactly as it is. R- walked out of my life almost as quickly as he walked into it with just under four years betwixt those two snapshots of time. Two nights after I wrote my last post, he revealed to me that the life we’ve built together is not the life his heart can cope with. His reality: he craves to fly solo, his needs are unmet (not that I can meet them, that’s his journey after all) and his wounds fester; unhealed in forced dormancy, cloaked in denial, entitlement, selfishness and streaked with narcissism. I know he has turned the other cheek. It appears he had been lying to himself for almost a year and taken me for a ride with a lie he suppressed through fear of facing the consequences that he’s paradoxically, now facing anyway. Yet, R- spoke his truth; an immensely courageous act for which I am both proud and grateful. Sadly, with a co-owned house, wedding plans paid for and in the pipeline, the intermingling of two lives and two families and the immense pain associated with all these things, a trail of emotional destruction has been left in his wake. For want of better words; a mess. A fat, fucking emotional, raw, shit-show of a mess.

I’ve moved out of my home in Birmingham and in, ever so fortunately with my aunt and uncle who took me in with open arms, ready to hold space for my broken heart. I thank the universe for this blessing. I do not underestimate its grace.

And just like that, equipped with the resilience gained from three years of therapy and a dark night of the goddamn soul, we hit refresh and start all over again.

X

Home

Sunday evening and I find myself nursing a lukewarm decaf latte in a Starbucks about 10 miles away from my home. Before collecting my drink I paid a visit to the loo and wound up with wet culotte pants from floor water which I ended up crouching under the disabled bathroom hand dryer trying to ward off. Grim. Why am I here again? Looking around, I feel like I’m plunged in a time machine, thrust into an alternative headspace around 2015 or ’16. Young, anxious, naive. In a chain café, surrounded by friends gossiping animatedly over hot coffee, eyes glued to laptops as if with invisible adhesive, shared tables strewn with papers and planners, each of these people all living in the illusion of their own personal realities. Somewhere inside me rolls up a pang of wistfulness for October days long gone, amidst a certain angst I didn’t know the name for back then. Do I even know her name now?

It’s like nothing changes but everything does too. Why is this? What is this? The thing about going somewhere, where nobody knows you is that you could be anyone. I wonder what part of me craved that anonymity and chased after it… on a Sunday of all days. Me. In my quiet, simple life, dictated by quiet, simple routine, usually occupied with quiet simple tasks like cooking and cleaning and meal prepping and other Sunday-esque things.

The end of summer no longer clings to the air and has instead been replaced by a mild but determined chill. The trees are a melange of earth and fire, the sun hangs low and the energy broods a kind of sorrow. Is that me? Or is that the world reflecting herself back to my receptors?

I’ve missed this. Finding a feeling and painting it with words. Brushstrokes of brain. Mind and soul clicking into place as the keyboard taps and the muse is channelled. In this space, I can be anyone. I can finally even be me.

We’ve been feeling sad lately. R- and I both. But especially R-. I don’t know why. He doesn’t know why either. It’s all a bit difficult to conceptualise. All I know is that gentle but ever present lust for life I usually see in his dark and beautiful eyes has dulled like unpolished chrome and I desperately want to fill them back up. But you see; I know better than this now. There would have been a time in our ever evolving lives where I would have been desperate to make everything better and clutched at that feeling as if our lives depended on it. I feel that feeling now. That dense heaviness in the space where my heart lies, brimming with fear that is yet to be transmuted, yet to be integrated.

I observe the thoughts that come up and it’s truly fascinating to me that I can revert back to my inner child who makes up stories and grieves losses that haven’t even happened. I become the parentified child who cannot accept that sadness is a part of life’s tapestry. A self help author once wrote that “pain has no purpose” but I beg to differ. Without pain we do not know joy. Without darkness, the light cannot exist. Such is this world of duality and polarity. Such is the human experience.

For months we have been on a level playing field and despite my ups and downs in EMDR therapy, the relationship has stood strong and steadfast in the face of adversity. And now? Well that’s what it is. Nothing changes, yet everything does too. My darkness screams “what if it’s you? what if it’s because you’re not good enough?” My light whispers “You are perfect, just as you are. It is all divine. It is all love”.

And then there’s me. In the middle of Starbucks with wet culotte pants, an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. The worst bit is… they’re all me. I’m supposed to love them all? Really?

I ask at this time for wisdom, guidance, intuition and kindness to navigate this. Whatever this is. I ask for grounding, balance and stillness. I ask that I can be steadfast in my support and hold space with grace, strength and beauty. I ask that I know when and how to surrender to whatever may be.

And I give thanks. For this. For this weird Sunday evening where after many, many months, I’ve finally been given the chance to come home.

Defiant

I have been so scared to open my heart here again since the safe space I created for myself did not exist in my mind for a long while. I know that there is only one way back: to write.

In 2020 I’ve written the most I’ve ever written in my life. Privately. In journals tucked away on busy bookshelves.

Today I ground. Today I have landed in one place: right here.

Let that be the act of defiance that gives space to my spirit to transcend the toxic fear of living.

Joy

Here is a list of things that have been bringing me absolute joy as of late.

  1. Absolutely perfect evenings in England; cloaked in liquid sunshine, like honey trickling through leafy canopies, saturating the air with warmth.
  2. Feeling really stressed and pent up, then going for a run (preferably on one such aforementioned evening) and experiencing the euphoria that slides one’s mood from a 3 to a 9.
  3. Waking up early in the morning and queueing up in the line for a bakery, the smell of fresh bread and just-baked cakes milling in the air in anticipation of the almond croissant that awaits. I’m going to do this tomorrow and I can’t contain my excitement.
  4. Benedict Cumberbatch.
  5. The first coffee of the morning… and on weekends, the absolute indulgence of the second.
  6. Having fresh flowers at home. Flowers that are bright orange and pink against the rich green of their leaves. Flowers planted on lovingly tended borders. Flowers whose fragrance gets you kinda high. Flowers because have no purpose but to be beautiful. The fact that supermarkets still regarded flowers as ‘essential items’ (they are essential to my wellbeing, TYVM).
  7. When amazon delivers a new book in the post and you rip the seal, open it up and flick through the pages and cry in delight.
  8. Doing admin and feeling really self satisfied at the end of it.
  9. @risingwoman- Thankyou for your wisdom, material, courses, insight and for being my therapy.
  10. Spontaneity.
  11. Learning what it is to have boundaries and the feel good-ness of maintaining them.
  12. Declining an invitation to be social when you’re feeling antisocial, simply because you like yourself enough to do that.
  13. Having Whatsapp banter wars with R- even when we’re both at work.
  14. Feeling okay with not feeling okay; reaching out to others, going for walks, stress baking, ranting, writing and validating whatever may rise.
  15. Choosing the colour of uniball fineliner with which I’m going to write my gratitudes each morning.
  16. Giving my internalised trauma a name (I call her Storm) and watching her hold over me ease, integrating her into my life and accepting her in her total imperfection.
  17. Seeing 11:11 on the clock.
  18. Cutting the line in the Sainsbury’s queue by showing my NHS ID (I know it’s wrong but I’m shamelessly milking the perks.)
  19. Barista Edition Oat Milk (Recently discovered Califia Farms and boy does she whip like a dream).
  20. My absolute brown, middle class, privileged existence. Not worrying about being shot for the colour of my skin. Not being at the centre of police brutality. Not having to worry constantly about making ends meet and being able to afford things like therapy and self help courses. Not being treated as a second class citizen for being a woman of colour (most of the time). The privilege of being both heterosexual and cis-gender. Having ticked society’s boxes (homeowner, engaged to be married, job) on my own actual terms and because it’s what I wanted… but the privilege of not being questioned over it because I’ve followed the path they wanted me to, regardless.

Embracing Sobriety

My latest nose-dive into a book has been ‘The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober’, by Catherine Gray (absolutely recommend). I bought it, half on impulse, half because it called to me.

I’ve been alcohol free for about 6 weeks now. I drank my last can of beer with the rest of the quarantine crew in our hostel in Sri Lanka, the night before COVID forced us to cut our 8 week trip short and head home to join the rest of the medical workforce before the peak. There’s no single reason why I decided, imperatively, to give up liquor. It was more of a gut feeling. A quiet, intuitive voice that whispered that it’s time to stop for a while. Listening to said voice has been one of the major changes in my overall spiritual awakening. She’s a little louder, a little clearer and much harder to ignore.

One year ago, the notion of giving up alcohol would have been unthinkable. It’s a social lubricant, after all and almost authoritatively normalised in western culture. Binge drinking to go out clubbing is seen as standard weekend practice. It’s acceptable and normal to stumble face-first into a greasy kebab at 3am on a Sunday morning. It’s okay to black out and forget how you got home and perfectly ordinary to wake up in the bed of someone you don’t know. Blame it on the alcohol.

The sober curiosity started when I realised that I’m not sure my drinking is coming from a conscious place. If a glass of wine is put in front of me, I always seem to pick it up and start drinking, without really asking myself whether I actually, truly want it or not. I’m drinking…. because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing and I want to join in the fun. Now, there’s no denying, with hoardes of scientific evidence to prove that alcohol is addictive. And when you drink one… it’s so much easier to reach for another. Furthermore, on a personal level, as each year has gone by since the age of about 21, my hangovers have gathered more rage and stamina which means they’re fucking debilitating, last longer and make me feel like complete shit. Every time I woke up in that state, I’d be reminded rudely of one thing: our bodies aren’t really designed for the consumption of alcohol. The liver recognises it as a toxin that it chemically excretes and the hangover is the body’s way of making you stop everything, just so it can recover.

It’s also not that I plan on never drinking again either (although if that ends up happening, I’m unashamedly okay with it). Like the majority of us, I have used alcohol to decrease awkwardness, lessen inhibitions and to relieve stress in the past. The fact is, however, that this wasn’t coming from a place of awareness; rather it was born of the fear- of looking like a loser in front of people or from the fact that female-wine-culture is overtly glamorised everywhere I go.

Embracing sobriety has prised my eyes open to a number of things I was previously in the dark about. The things I intend on weaving into the fabric of awareness before I decide to pick up another drink.

The first sip placebo
You know where you take your first sip of drink and you feel a bit woozy even though surely it can’t have it hit you yet? Well, I got the first-sip-placebo when I poured slimline lemonade into a gin glass and adorned it with a few cut up strawberries and a couple of mint leaves. Am I tipsy?! Definitely not. My brain just thinks it knows what’s about to happen after this drink… and the next and the one after that. Well, brain. You were wrong. Three skinny lemonades later, I slipped into bed and fell into a booze-free, headache free, well hydrated, uninhibited slumber and woke up fresh as daisies the following morning. Now I know it’s a placebo because when I take a sip of my non-alcoholic vino, six weeks of sobriety means I don’t expect the mini pleasure wave. And I don’t get it. And I don’t even miss it.

Alcohol is not accountable. You are.
I recently took an online self help course, called ‘Becoming The One’ by a movement called ‘Rising Woman’ a team of two amazing, trauma informed women who provide the most invaluable teaching materials to those looking to have more conscious relationships; with themselves and others. This course was hugely beneficial to helping me identify where many of my core wounds come from and how they play out in my relationship with R-. As part of this, I realised that, when drinking, some of my boundaries were so blurred that I had become a doormat having let a very drunken R- say and do things around a moderately drunk me that I’d otherwise be pissed off at if we were sober. This wasn’t self honouring or fair on either of us. I feel like this is really common in relationships when couples find themselves chucked into an alcohol fuelled state of conflict, mid night out, fighting on the street, mascara streaking mercilessly down faces, our partners perching on the cold, harsh, plastic bus stop stool, head buried deep in their hands. We’ve seen it and I’d take my bets that we’ve also been it. Once the drinking session is over, it’s easier to blame the alcohol and not face the problems that the alcohol was actually exacerbating. But the fact is that the drink didn’t cause the argument. Your psychological wounds did and you held the alcohol accountable instead. It was easier. A target. A scapegoat. But honey, what you did when you were drunk was still you doing it. It wasn’t alcohol’s fault. The harsh truth: it’s yours. Sobriety has opened my eyes to just how much shit we blame on alcohol and made me challenge the delicious allure of drinking culture. Our egos love a scapegoat. Our egos also operate from our fear based wounds and not our love based best-interests. I’ve learnt that consciousness is a gift and we can only evolve spiritually if we begin to own our shadows rather than masking them in tequila and hoping they go away.

OMG am I a closet introvert?!
Like the author of the book I mentioned… I’ve always considered myself an extrovert. I’ve been told I’m the life of the party more than once; having no trouble relaying a funny story with ease and confidence, being able to relate to anyone and adjust my level of conversation to the subject in question and thereby form connections that leave the other person feeling good. However, the more inner work I’ve done and the more I’ve grown up, the more I’ve begun to realise that actually, this is a very unique grey area for me. As a child, I was actually really shy and always felt wired with anxiety in social settings. Extroversion evolved as a social mask that I put on, having perfected the art of low-key working people and being ‘likeable’ as a coping mechanism for not ‘fitting in’. And drinking lubed up my social gears until they moved with impeccable smoothness; such that by the end of the party, everyone loved me. If I strip away the alcohol I actually find the exact same social settings remarkably draining. As if I need a full day of being alone to recover from an evening out. This is called introversion, darling. And it is exciting as fuck. I am so excited to embrace this going forward.

My head just feels clear.
There is a haze. Like a fog in which my brain was permanently suspended whilst I was drinking, even when it was only in small amounts each week, like a glass of wine here or a gin there. The fog has now lifted and I feel remarkable. I understand increasingly why some religious texts deem alcohol a sin because it kind of is one to cloud our consciousness like that. It’s this tempting elixir that keeps us stuck in the matrix, inhibiting the evolution of consciousness and keeping the planet’s vibration low. I would roll my eyes at people who said this and now I see it. I get it. I’ve officially joined the conspiracy club and I’m alarmingly okay with it.

So what next?

I’m at this bizarre point in life where I genuinely don’t know if and when I will drink again. My own internal speculation has suggested that I become one of those really occasional drinkers. Like an elusive rare bird that sips mulled wine on Christmas day or raises a single glass of champagne at a wedding toast. Or I may go back to enjoying one glass of red every Friday night. Or someone who even gets drunk from time to time but just doesn’t blame stuff on alcohol anymore. I really, honestly don’t know.

In any case the only thing that I am promising myself that I will only do so when the time is right and the place is woke. That operates out of consciousness and not ego.

‘Till next time,

Gowri xxx

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Reclaiming my period

My period is my favourite time of the month.

Things have shifted since the early 2000s where the period was that frustrating, confusing time that rendered my back to groan and my soul to fill with dread. Such was the pull of internalised patriarchy of matrilineal lines of several generations past. Such was the tendency of modern society; to feed young women those messages. Telling me my cycle is a painful and slightly disgusting inconvenience from daily living. Showing me advertisements detachedly illustrating blue coloured water dropping mercilessly into pads as if the red colour of blood is something to be ashamed of. Being warned from my first bleed that I shouldn’t set foot in a temple because it’s neither clean nor pure to do so. Periods hurt, they said. It’s just one of those things women have to deal with, they said.

I took a discourse. A deep dive into my ongoing study of the divine feminine. And with it has come a delighted reclamation of my moon-time. And for the first time since that first bleed, my womb whispers “thankyou”.

In a time before the mass wave of organised religion swept the West, humanity worshipped the earth, the sun and the moon. The feminine form was revered for her wisdom, her connection to the divine and the moon-time was seen as sacred. Groups of women, all bleeding at the same time and most often with the new moon would temporarily leave their homes and families and reside in the red tent, a common space where women circled once a month to share stories and wisdom in a safe space, held by the feminine. Here: spirits rested, wombs shed, space was held and new beginnings created.

And now, in 2020, I have willed the beauty of this back into my own life.

Now, my period represents something totally different. It celebrates what it means, for me, to be female. It’s the time where my yang, feminine energy can be unleashed from her usual state of balance with the yin and empower my energetic body for a four day period. It’s a time of spiritual rest. Characterised by the feminine archetype of the wise, wild woman this is the time where I can retreat, to enjoy being intuitive, connected to a wisdom greater than my own. A period, far from being dirty is a monthly cleanse. A monthly purge. A monthly spring clean. Where my body quite literally gets rid of what no longer serves her only to be reborn every twenty eight days.

This cycle, I’ve been lucky enough to be quarantined at home with a slightly sick fiancé from whom I have to social distance, even when passing him a bowl of soup and homemade egg mayo on garlicky potatoes. Although I’m sharing this space with R-, I’m currently spending the rest of my time alone. This isn’t so different to how the two of us usually live: quietly, comfortably tending to ourselves in our own spaces and coming out occasionally for chat and a cuddle. Only this time, cuddles are strictly forbidden. Anyway, this brings me to the melting centre of today’s blog.

I’ve had the best period in so long.

I’ve journalled. I’ve watched feminist movies (Wild, Erin Brochovich, Ocean’s 8, Legally Blonde…). I’ve read feminist literature (Intuitive Living, Women who run with the wolves). I’ve done workouts in the fresh air. I’ve sage smudged my room each night and surrendered to the sleep of the monthly cycle: potent and full of dreams. I’ve cooked all my meals from scratch… from homemade granola and kefir for breakfast, to butter chicken and roti for dinner to the hot cacao-maca-turmeric-cinammon-honey-oat drink that I sip in my garden as I write. I’ve massaged coconut oil into my hair and tended to my roots. I’ve rubbed mud masks into my pores and scrubbed out my insecurities. I’ve engulfed whole flasks of warmed water and flushed out pain and hurt.

This has been a time of the most epic rest I could dream of. With each moment that passes, a little more healing seeps into my cells and anxiety shifts to another realm that exists at a lower vibration than the one I’m in. I live slowly. Intentionally. In the Now.

In this beautiful time of the month, I fill my home and lace my womb with fresh flowers that drip all over my essence and leave behind a cave drowned in pure light.

Love,

Gowri x

Brain Dirt

Rupi Kaur once said in an interview with Emma Watson that she needs to write a lot before the good stuff comes out. I really understand that. It’s like washing out a giant container filled with dirt and water with a high powered hose, vigorously attacking it until the dirt and silt and sand and mud has been washed out onto a journal somewhere you might tuck away in a nightstand or a shelf, otherwise gathering dust. The clear water that’s left is the thing of beauty that pours itself gracefully into blogs and books and poetry.

So today, in my usual fashion, I picked up my morning journal where the accumulated dirt is quickly and haphazardly deposited each day to allow for something better. A better mood, a better piece, a better day. Only this time, basking in the pleasure of two full days off, I took all my paraphernalia into our garden from where the early morning sun and birdsong teased me awake. I stepped out with a small table, pen, journal, coffee with a spoonful of honey in it and my E-reader and started my day with the outpouring of brain dirt. A practice I have adopted since late last year which has contributed huge amounts to my mental health which is seeing better days. My pen. My eternal saviour. My rock. My channel to the universe’s wisdom that resides quietly within.

A frenzy of white flowers drips over our garden fence and fills the small, enclosed Eden with a fragrance so dizzying, it renders me heady and activated. An owl makes his wise presence known and all the other winged inhabitants in our small claim of land chat hurriedly between themselves with such aliveness that I can’t help but lift my head from the pages before me where the pen has already begun its outcry. I want to stop and surrender to this. Make me alive, too.

Right there. There. That’s when I feel the resistance.

I want to give myself to the present moment but something intense holds me back. I try to feel peace and happiness but I can’t because the good stuff isn’t ready to come out yet, stodgily blocked by hoardes of brain dirt. Only this time, dumping it all in the usual morning journal isn’t feeling right. So I nip back inside and bring out my laptop. What you’re about to read is neither sophisticated nor blog-worthy. Welcome to the world of brain dirt.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t go on anymore. Quarantine is having her benefits. I don’t have to go out and be triggered by social situations or certain people in my life, thus keeping my anxiety at bay. Not that avoidance is the way forward- obviously. But I’ve done so much work, you know. Therapy and more therapy and a bit more therapy and praying and therapy and journalling and therapy and pretending to meditate when actually focusing on the breath is the last thing I could ever do. I even went to a shamanic healing ceremony in Glastonbury last full moon where I purged all of this shit and yelled and screamed at a fire in a circle surrounded by women ‘holding space’ and my body shook violently and a European woman who was apparently staring at me intently the whole time came up to me later and said she saw grey smoke leaving my body. Fuck knows what that was. Then I go through phases of feeling spiritually upgraded as a result of it and connected to all sorts of energy and phases immediately afterwards where I dismiss it as new age bullshit. All this quarantining brings about an impeccable simplicity there whom I welcome with open arms but then I actually have times where I feel annoyed that social distancing is going to be over at some point and I’m going to have to venture back out into the world and face the fear again. Can’t I reside here a little longer?

Then, equally, quarantine is frustrating the daylights out of me. I want to see my family. My dad was sick with COVID-19 and it was hell not being able to be there for him. I miss my in-laws. I’m dying to cuddle my neighbours’ kids and play ‘Crack the egg’ with them on their new trampoline but I can’t go near them. Instead, they leave little letters on our doorstep and I leave Easter eggs on theirs. They sit at the window and read to me whilst I sit on my drive and listen. We take off the fence panel and they barbecue chicken and put the plate on a little bench in the middle and move a couple of metres away. Then R- walks over, picks up the plate and we sit, eating it. We wash the plate at 60 degrees and back it goes… on the doorstep. So close, yet so far. The definition of bittersweet.

Work is killing me. We are so short staffed on the COVID positive ward that I’m leaving hours late every day. Three people died in my arms in the space of 48 hours. The deaths are so thick and fast that I can’t process one by the time the next one comes. Last night I lay on my sofa and wept into my pillow for a man named Tom, whose oxygen mask I took off, face shielded by goggles and a mask so he couldn’t even see my humanness. I told his family over the phone that he was dying and I took my mobile to his ear (breaking all the rules of infection control) and I stood by his side as he said goodbye to his daughter over the phone. He cried. I cried. The nurse in charge cried. I put the oxygen mask back on and he took my latex-gloved hand and he held it tight, kissing it through the plastic mask. He thanked me. I fetched him a cup of tea and let him drink it through a straw. I asked him if I made a good brew and he nodded even though I burnt his tongue a little. By then, he was so weak, his already overworked lungs were almost entirely consumed by the coronavirus. I hoped he would live until morning because I wanted to see him one more time before he left the physical world but one hour later, probably just as I’d stepped inside my house exhausted and numb, heaven greeted another angel. Why did you thank me, Tom? It angers me. I can’t accept your thanks. Even in my position., I’m helpless and that one word has triggered such enormous guilt that nothing can shake off. I can’t do enough for you or for anyone else. My willingness alone can’t make you better. I can’t even give you a good death. Your wife, who has dementia might not even understand that you’re gone. I told you that your daughter wanted you to know she’s being taken care of and you said “that’s all that matters”. When I asked you if you’d had enough, your entire body sighed in relief. You were just waiting for someone to ask that question,. weren’t you Tom? And that someone had to be me. I’m angry, Tom. I’m angry that I’m carrying your burden. And sad. Sad that you left me, just as you left your family. The thought of you puts my throat in a chokehold and my eyes fill with small waterfalls. I knew you for a mere eight hours but I feel such love for you. I grieve for you like I’ve never grieved for a patient before. Maybe I’ve taken on the role of your daughter or your granddaughter. What do they call that? Countertransference? Maybe the grief I feel is the grief of your family who weren’t able to be by your side, the way I was. Why did I get that privilege? It’s so unfair. So endlessly unfair Tom. Are you hearing this? My angel? Will you stay with me and give me the strength to do it again and again and again until all this is over, for hundreds of other Toms? Tom… I’ll have you know that I wake up every single day not wanting to go to work but if I didn’t, who would? And so I don my black trousers and my green scrub top with ‘Doctor’ sewn on. And the world claps for me on a Thursday night when I’m at the chippy because I’m far too tired to cook. There are fireworks and cheers for the NHS and for me; a local hero and there I am not feeling heroic at all. Like a stupid little slave to a hand that’s bigger than mine and I’m too angry to make peace with it. Save it, Tom. Save your thanks for someone else- your real family, your beautiful wife and daughter. Not for me. I don’t deserve it and I can’t accept it. I hope one day I can, Tom. The day I make peace with the fact that you left me will be the day I take your ‘Thankyou’ and press it against my heart from which flowers will bloom. I long for that day.

Duality. Polarity. Contrast. Some spiritual teachers say that’s why we come to Earth. Sitting in my garden surrounded by so much life when my day-to-day is surrounded by so much death. Tuesday marks the mayalalam celebration of Vishu- the harvest festival of fertility and springtime and new beginnings. Life. I would go to my puja room and adorn a statue of Krishna with velakkus and bright yellow flowers. The table would groan with simple and delicious vegetarian food served on banana leaves. I would dress myself in a white cotton sari and feel all the feelings of newness and freshness and love, surrounded by my family. I’d secretly rejoice at twenty pound notes being stuffed into my closed fist, knowing I should really be above that considering I earn enough to pay a mortgage but it still feels so good that I’d touch my parents feet and pray. All in another world, free of this shitty quarantine. I’m stuck between the feeling of wanting to do all of this, just for me and R- in our home and an overwhelming sense of… yeah but what’s the point? There’s no point is there? Will it even be appreciated? It’s only the two of us. Is there any point if it’s only the two of us? I don’t have any parents or kids of my own to please with such delights. R-… is R-. Sensible and rational and balanced, the yin to my energetic, passionate yang that comes with its lows as well as its highs.

In a fit of corona fuelled madness, I ordered my wedding dress. I don’t even know what’s going to be happening with my wedding and I have friends in similar positions whose weddings are even sooner than my own. I have been so excited planning and preparing and it’s as if my whole life has ground to a halt. I don’t want to let bits of it go. I built up an image in my mind as to what it was all going to be like and it would sadden me to lose that. Even though really, loss is a total illusion in the first place. It’s complicated.

I’m almost out of energy to write about the next one but for the first time yesterday, a racist comment was made to me at work and it deeply affected me. Another doctor, slightly older with children though technically at the same level as me, spoke to one of my patients’ families advising that the bad news “might be better coming from a middle aged white man than a young, pretty doctor like you”. I felt professionally undermined, mortified and attacked all at once. I took some time to process it but shortly he came back and apologised to me. I was so fucking angry. I looked at him, face flushed with hurt and said “That was incredibly hurtful and upsetting. A person’s ability and confidence comes out of their skills, experience and self awareness. The fact that you said you’d do that better because you’re a white man is so upsetting…”, he interrupts “because it’s something you’ll never be” (?! something I never want to be, thanks). I went on “As a young asian woman, I’ve never felt professionally held back by my sex or the colour of my skin. In fact; I’m actually an excellent communicator but your comment really put me off. I’m not going to report you but I need a bit more time to really sit with this”. This has really been the cherry on top of the corona-cake. My dad will tell me to let it go but I can’t and I won’t. I need to sit with it. Be angry a little longer. I still feel violated. Behind closed doors, I came home and cried a little.

I can’t honestly tell if I feel better or worse. Its warm now and a thin film of sweat is clinging to my skin. My hair has taken on the scent of the white flowers. The sound of birds is accompanied by the happy cries of joyful children fuelled by bellies full of chocolate easter eggs. The sun has almost reached his highest point. The first owl is joined by a second. Mysterious little creatures; always speaking. Never seen. Back I arrive at the present moment.

The rest of the day sits endlessly before me. There’s folded clothes to wash, a dishwasher to empty and, no doubt, more feelings to feel.

I take a deep breath and run my fingers through my hair. I feel a pang of hunger. The water hasn’t cleared entirely. A small layer of sediment has settled to the bottom where it will either stagnate for a while or move as I move the energy around a little. Perhaps a long, government sanctioned walk. Throwing myself into cooking. A half read book waiting to be finished. If I’m lucky, by the end of the day, it might even clear up completely.

Until next time,

Gowri x

Three things to which I have stopped subscribing

Another Saturday morning in isolation. I’m two coffees and a flask of hot water in. It’s kind of lovely. I spent quite some time preparing for these very moments. Yesterday, after I got home from another day in Coronaville (the hospital I’m currently working in, excuse my flair for the dramatic) I threw my blue scrubs in the washing basket, put my leggings on and proceeded to clean the house from top to toe, fuelled by an energy that had been evading me all week. I hoovered, wiped, tidied, scrubbed, dusted and organised. I plumped cushions, put birthday cards in boxes and rearranged my shelves. I moved my tray of candles and journals and oracle cards back into my meditation room, where they had temporarily been evicted in a quest for simplicity. I even fearlessly tidied the shit that had accumulated on R-‘s bedside table. I threw open the windows and welcomed the freshness of seven p.m. with new delights of springtime sauntering in to wash the house with its clean, vibrant energy.

All so that I could sit here, this very Saturday morning, in my tidy living room, hair in a top knot, adorned in Harry Potter pyjamas and a fleeced blanket, two coffees and a flask of hot water in; ready to write this very post.

A long introduction for what is quite a simple blog. A blog about retreating, resting and self care. A blog that is the result of three years of therapy, a great deal of pain and the ultimate pursuit of inner peace, inner revolution and inner balance. As within; so without. As above; so below.

The first thing I had to give up was something I only recently found words for. And that is Hustle culture. Defined, roughly as the societal standard that you can only succeed by exerting yourself at maximum capacity. The culture that justifies years of telling myself I had to work hard to get what I wanted and working hard meant sacrificing everything. The culture that gave rise hustle porn, with ‘inspiring’ quotes like “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs”, “Eat, sleep, slay, repeat”, and “Rise and grind”. Hustle culture consumed me ever since I was a small child searching desperately for something to hold onto that would tell me I was good enough. And that fact is; it reeks of the patriarchy. As a woman, there’s such pressure to “have it all”: the home, the family, the perfect post pregnancy body that show no signs of ever having been pregnant along with the thriving career. It renders this endless quest to keep churning. Workaholism is a lifestyle; it’s sexy on men and “empowering” to women. If I gave that up to devote my life to a home and family ~I wouldn’t be a strong, independent woman anymore~ and said empowerment would cease to exist That’s because ‘hustling’ isn’t really empowering at all. It is born out of the need for a woman to adopt ruthlessness in the workplace in the effort to be equal to her male counterpart. The other thing is that being a woman is different to being a man. Doesn’t true feminism lie in our ability to respect and respond to that? Isn’t empowerment about making choices for ourselves and not for anyone else? Isn’t equality recognising and respecting our differences and working towards balance rather than expecting us to be exactly the same? Women are cyclical beings. Our bodies demand so much from us, physiologically. Our wombs tend to life. They shed and we bleed with the moon. This is sacred. Hustle culture makes us see pregnancy and periods as an inconvenience to our work rather than a beautiful celebration of fertility, womanhood and connection to divinity herself. I’ve walked away and turned my back on this. I love being a woman. I love my cyclical nature. I love my complexity. I love the striving, dedicated conscientiousness that my masculine, yang energy adds to my work and the beauty, empathy and compassion that my stunning, feminine, yin energy yields. I’m not interested in cutting one of these parts of me out to favour another in the name of Hustle culture.

The next thing I’ve had to give up is Toxic positivity. My initial introduction to spirituality, amongst other things involved learning about a concept called the Law of Attraction. In basic terms, this is a new age belief system which advises that your mindset dictates the things that you ‘attract’ into your life. Subscribing to the Law of Attraction without context turned into a dangerous practice for me. Books like ‘The Secret’ and the teachings of Abraham Hicks were black and white, failing in all aspects to account for the complexity of the human experience. When I was clinically depressed for the first time in 2017, I became aware of the fact that my thoughts were creating my reality, as dictated by The Secret. So I pushed down anything that felt vaguely ‘negative’ in attempt to ‘stay positive’ with ‘good vibes only’. This was one of the worse things I could have ever done. I wound up in a cycle of shaming myself for feeling anything negative. The fact is that all experiences are valid. Sometimes it’s not possible to ‘see the positives’ in something and that’s okay. It is possible to feel total and complete sadness, to cry from deep pain and to validate one’s trauma and still attract one’s desires into their existence. With inner work comes healing. With healing comes stillness. With stillness, comes the ability to view our human experience for what it is, feel emotions for what they are and still cultivate an overall positive mindset. Unfortunately, the self help industry does a terrible job at addressing that, leading innocent people to fall into the trap of toxic positivity and spiritual bypassing. I have walked away from toxic positivity because I understood that I was using it as a way to avoid feeling the scary, triggering, complex emotions that lay beneath the surface. Consider this: to feel one’s pain and go through the process of surrender and acceptance is an act of sheer self love. In law of attraction terms, does this not put one on frequency of love, the highest possible vibration, attracting the greatest possible outcome?

The third thing I’ve stopped subscribing to is Social media. I’ve talked about that enough so I’m not going to go into it again but the long and short of it is that it’s been killing my energy and wasting my time. 2015 saw the disappearance of snapchat and twitter. 2018 saw the demise of Instagram. And 2020’s wind brought with her, the deletion of Facebook. And that’s it. Completely social media free. Photos and memories in a dropbox file so nothing precious has been lost. I can explore Pinterest and Blinkist and still follow all my Instagram accounts without caring about likes or filters or subscribing to a fake world of Kardashians and fitness models and friends whose highlight reels I inevitably wind up comparing to my bloopers.

With these three things eradicated, my mental health, above all has improved drastically. I am journeying closer to self love each day. I see my body and respect her. I acknowledge my trauma and respect it. I see the human experience for the complex and beautiful thing that it is and I vow to stop wasting this one precious life with the things that just don’t matter.

Until next time,

Gowri xxx