Many Shades of Light



Green, greenish, viridescent, olive green, pea green, emerald green, lime green, bottle green, Lincoln green, sea green, sage green, acid green, eau de Nil, aquamarine, aqua, celadon, chartreuse, jade, kelly green, mint green, myrtle, hunter, citron, Paris green, Brunswick green, shamrock green, harlequin green, Hooker’s green......


As I sail around Yangon in taxis most days, on buses other days, I pass the time counting shades of green. This verdant city, leafy down the streets, grassy in the parks, budding with life, flourishing under the energy of the next generation, growing under international investment, is one of the greenest cities I have ever known.


Each different shade of green, offering the observer a different Yangon. Each variety of tree or tropical plant casting a different shaped shadow on the ground. Each shadow hiding a less examined part of the city if you choose to look close. Some shadows have sharp edges, some are very much blurred and these mixed borders seem to somehow reflect my own current understanding of who I think I am. At times feeling so certain and at other times not at all.


With these fresh green colours renewing me, helping me grow, keeping me safe it amazes me how my shadows still come into play. They still weave themselves into my consciousness' despite my life being 110% different to anything I have ever experienced before. Frustrations show up, impatience is rife and I have to work every morning with intentions to overcome these negative samskara from taking hold of my new life while reinforcing the positive samskara over and over.


We are all born with a karmic inheritance of mental and emotional patterns. We all develop more throughout our lives. Patterns passed down by our parents, patterns imprinted on our beings through our experiences. Samskara, cycles - that happen repeatedly. The word samskara comes from the Sanskrit sam (complete or joined together) and kara (action, cause, or doing). The more these patterns occur, the deeper the grooves become.


I often laugh to myself on a morning, lady grumps (I have discovered I’m not as good in the mornings as I once thought I was!) I don’t leap out of bed as I used to but instead I’m rather like a slug, my body creaks. My mind asks me “What is your purpose again? Today? Here and now?” Then after about two hours, a coffee, a run, some oats and a banana and then seeing my sweet children telling me they love me making heart shapes on their heads I begin to remember. I’m good. Life is good. No two days are the same and I’m deeply trying to understand a collective of people so different from my own.


Watching these negative patterns helps me to name them. For me to be present with them, it enables me to exchange the negative with the positive. It allows me to pick and choose which patterns I am going to indulge in and which I am going to allow to trip me up, a bit like pick and mix, or dim sum or tapas (all of which I love!)... bringing this attention to habit, subsequently enables a more clear choice of sankalpa, intention. Working with intention consciously we can communicate with our emotional and spiritual body aligning us to the energy of change. Intention and action equal magic.


From a distance and with intention one can see the threads of our lives taking shape, forming a stunning tapestry. The colours of our life bright and numerous. The shadows creating a well needed respite, we can’t be perfect all the time. If it were easy life would be boring. The intentions can also act like threads themselves weaving through our yoga practice on our mat and when we take our yoga off our mat. Rather like Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s (threads) form part of the manual of our yoga teaching (the structure to our learning) so our intentions make as signposts for our life.