Today is my conferral day. In Cork. But I am in Mayo. The simple explanation for this is that I cannot afford to go to Cork, to receive the parchment that says I have attained a doctorate. I was upset when I realised I would be unable to attend the conferral ceremony. I’d tried to save money, but I have two teenage kids, and very little in the way of an income, and a couple of weeks ago, I realised that my attempts to keep any funds aside were futile. So I resigned myself to the inevitable sense of defeat and depression that lurks at the edges of my awareness now, and I buoy myself up with the encouraging thought that I did it. I may not receive the applause. I may not get my photo in the paper. No one in the community I live in knows or cares that I went through the process of doctoral research, thesis-writing, submission to deadline, and viva examination. It means nothing to anyone. But in the end, that’s all any achievement is: a phantom. The real impact is in how I live my life, and interact with others, how I find ways to disseminate the results of my research to the many others out there who also care very deeply about how we are living, and the kind of impact we are having.
One thing I’ll be working on, along with looking for work, is organising this blog, and its sister blog, http://www.gamanrad.wordpress.com. I’ll see if I can make it easier to navigate, and I’ll trim some of the longer posts. I will post once a week, but I’ll make sure I archive material that’s older, so there’s room to manoevre, as it were. Please bear with me. I’m working on this without help. I live an isolated, marginalised life, partly because what I deem important isn’t necessarily what the vast majority deem important. But I will keep sending out this tone, this sounding, this cry from the far flung shores of Erris, so that, for those for whom these things matter, the signal will serve as a sign that even here, even alone, even unable to participate, the message is, keep going, the attitude of mindful self-awareness is the key to an enriched and enriching understanding of interrelationship.
So, I rededicate this website to those of you who understand that yoga is more than asana practice, that the light that shines is not separate from the activity that causes it to shine, that your practice is not limited to the mat, but that every relationship, every interaction, matters. Your interrelatedness extends infinitely, and, when you think of it like this, any ‘you’, or ‘I’, simply disappears. This can be quite unnerving, but ultimately, it means that the only thing you control is your attitude, your stance, the angle you take on things.
The site will cover the topics of yoga practice (including practice sheets for those who want them), issues that arise in practicing or teaching yoga, mindfulness and meditative awareness techniques and practices, modifying or dealing with specific issues through yoga, yoga and ecological awareness, compassion, humility and forgiveness, humour and yoga, and anything else that springs to mind while I’m sitting, thinking about what to include here. I will attempt to organise, and to archive material that has been here for a while. I will link to any other blogs I contribute to, and I will make sure that I acknowledge the sources of any material I include in my own blog. I’ll also include details of any classes I happen to be teaching, if I’m teaching, when I post.
I don’t believe in making a profit out of yoga or teaching other mindfulness techniques. I do believe that anyone who is willing to work should be able to do so, and, if they have dedicated themselves to a particular area of study and expertise, that they should be paid for the contribution they make through that work. So if you have work for me, let me know. I have a wide range of skills, from shooting to sailing, from skiing to singing, from painting to pottery, from event management to interior design, and more.
I welcome feedback, although I would deeply appreciate it if you would couch your comments in terms that are mindful, considerate, balanced and show an awareness of the threads of experience and context that have led you to your perspective. I will aim to add a post once a week, on a Friday, so if you’re following this regularly, look out for a post then.
If your interest relates to a deeper understanding of the thinking behind the practice of yoga, meditation or related practices, then please feel free to visit my other site, http://www.gamanrad.wordpress.com, where I have uploaded papers, summaries of parts of my PhD thesis, and postdoctoral work.
With deep bows, as a sadder but (I hope) a wiser woman, I remain,