The way I see it…

I have been asked a lot lately, “What is going on at Mangrove (Ashram)?” , “How can you be living there given all that has happened?”, “What are your plans?” and the most frequent – “What is a guru?  Who is Satyananda? and What type of Yoga do you teach?”  /…

Phew – so many questions and until recently I haven’t wanted to answer any of them for fear of upsetting those who were still undergoing their ‘process’ of grief and not feeling a need to assert my position or defend my beloved Guru.  I had been quietly going about my business, sharing my opinions with a select few when I felt it was timely or important to do so and seeking support from even fewer due to the unique and seemingly isolated position I have taken.




I have never been shy about bearing all, disclosing, living transparently and openly regardless of the cost and as I have been a lone wolf – have never needed others to approve or disapprove of my being.  However I surprisingly seem to have ‘sided’ with tradition, institution and loyalty over my previous solo self-interests.

Over the weekend at Mangrove Yoga (formerly known as Mangrove Yoga Ashram and before that Satyananda Yoga Ashram) there was a gathering of ‘visionaries’ who were invited to share their energy, ideas and skill in taking mangrove into the future – post Royal Commission.  The repeated catchphrase was ‘Transparency’ and that this was the only thing that was needed during the weekend and would be upheld to move forward – THIS I CAN DO!   It was demanded of India through a letter that was sent and responded to which was shared with the group and it was requested that all participants during the weekend share their positions with each other – NO PROBLEM!

Not surprising – it was a mixed group.  There were old school Sannyasa (each of whom have spent from 20-40 years in India living the Yogic Lifestyle under direct instruction of a Guru) who uphold the cultural and traditional values of our lineage.  There were those on the equal and opposite end of the spectrum who demanded the removal of tradition and stated that it was ‘impossible to continue’ a relationship with India given what has happened and everything along a sliding scale in between.  It was clear how divergent and passionate people were about their positions and that the work of Yoga or unifying these polarities would take some real skill….if at all possible!

We were segmented into small groups and I found myself in a group where my position was hostilely challenged…that my opinion was said to be flawed, impossible, selfish and ignorant! I was hoping for transparency and respect however the second was sorely lacking in this exchange and many others I saw throughout the day.  The facilitation was ‘led through a coloured lens’ and if a divergent position was offered, it was quickly redirected, diminished or rephrased to suit the agreed narrative by those behind the scenes.  If anyone stated their opinion and if it fell in the minority or at the extreme end of the spectrum, there were rude outbursts of protest at the ‘ignorance, denial and outdated’ views offered.  This was the very accusation laid at the feet of Guru and Tradition yet we were perpetuating the same cultural malaise in the name of change….?



As a lone wolf, I had never been involved or wanted to be involved in institutions or ‘traditions’  as they seemed fraught with egos, politics and the sticky substances of humanity that attract our worst friends to live by our sides!   Swami Niranjanananda mentioned repeatedly about our ‘five friends’ who are our seductive yet greatest obstacles to leading a high quality  life – they were Passion(KAAM), Greed(LOBH), Attachment(MOH), Anger(KRODTH) &  Ego(MAD) which are ever present  – especially  on a spiritual path and within institutions in crisis.

This lone wolf however has finally been drawn into commenting, as when I put all my resistance about ‘organisations’ aside – what I do want to uphold and personally hold dear are the teachings and the amazing life of my Guru.  The need to preserve them, share them and ensure they are accessible for all future generations.  This knowledge was nearly lost to all of us and through my Guru – Satyananda – who (was a Vendantin…not a Yogi) applied his incredible mind to   understanding the science of Yoga.  He was able to offer appropriate practices along with personally demonstrate their transformational potential not just in his own exceptional life but also through the lives of his closest disciples…some of whom were present at this meeting and it showed.



I was a child and adult of sexual abuse and now I have a guru who has been accused of perpetrating sexual abuse of minors – the irony is not lost on me and I have had to do the real and hard work of finding a way to hold space for that gap…I have had to find union within myself – to LIVE YOGA/ UNION – not just talk about it.

I personally have no issue with my or any guru having sex with ‘of age’ women even if they are his students/ disciples.  Let each and every adult make their own choices free from other people or societies judgments.  Though, I did experience firsthand how this opinion is contentious by those that think I should condemn it, deplore it and demand it never happen again as it is illegal (as I was so clearly informed) , but my views are my views – right or wrong and I am happy to let others have theirs !

I never needed my Guru to be celibate and probably wouldn’t have connected with him had he not had a ‘sexual nature’ … though all of this is secondary to my position.   I believe rampant sexual abuse of minors took place repeatedly, violently and horrifically within the ashram during the 1980s and there is no way to dispute that.  However what I am able to do because I have been a victim, because I resolutely love my Guru (regardless of his actions – my love does not depend on him pleasing me or failing me) and because his message was bigger than either of our stories, is to encourage and remind us to LIVE YOGA!



To practice Yoga when we need it most – and we need it now!!!

I believe we need to seek union in polarised situations and believe it possible to find a point of genuine, authentic and transformational Yoga (union) which is a place of love, acceptance and healing for all involved.  For Yoga not to be lip service or a lifestyle or even a connection to a ‘club of like-minded people’ but  individuals stepping up in crisis, working hard (ashram), applying the practices, techniques, attitudes and inclusive belief that we can  stitch together fragments, shards and threads of all our diverse lives into a masterpiece in the modern age… A demonstration on how Yoga can become the culture of tomorrow…and it is our JOB/DUTY as Yogis!



I abhor abuse, I love my Guru, I will practice and share the teachings and story of Satyananda Yoga always while personally living in the tradition of Sannyasa as demonstrated so beautifully by my beloved inspiring

 Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati


This is my choice, This is my work and My goal is Yoga (UNION)


Naming the Nidhis


It has been a while and don’t really have anything insightful to add but thought I would share what I have been thinking, working on and exploring of late…

I am staying with a friend who I have known for decades.  We met when I was young and wild and become lovers for a very brief time.  It ended and we remained friends.  Last night we reminisced about who I was, how I am now and the inspiration that this has provided him (along with sharing all the ways that I adore him and his growing family … )

He asked about my guru which many people have been doing lately as I guess it is an unusual phenomena and there is concern that I am relinquishing my power to another entity though I don’t see it this way.  At a time where people are throwing away their outer guru for an inner powerful one (which I believe is part of the evolutionary process), I feel the need to draw nearer to him, to learn from him and reflect back his stellar qualities – to voice his value, contribution and impact on my life… I am still a young fledgling and happy to be so.

A post in my facebook feed today had this about my guru;

Guru is not a social necessity. He is not a status symbol like a car or a house in the country which can be discarded the moment something better comes along. He is not a dustbin or a wastebasket into which all negativity and neurosis can be thrown. He is the pure effulgent spirit, the dispeller of darkness, the epitome of what each individual should aspire to be. His domain is the spirit, and it is to guide us into this realm that he appears in our lives. Once the link with Guru is established, time cannot change it nor death eradicate it. It is a permanent union. Guru stays with you life after life.

My Guru – Swami Satyananda Saraswati found me after a long and arduous search for someone who could understand, accept and love me as I was, how I will be and help me get there.  He is me and I am him…albeit in individual expressions.  He has said of himself that he was not a very nice person in his youth and lately some of these karmas have been revealed, yet I am the same and so I know that he is the one to guide me from my inner darkness to my light.  He has shown himself to be ever present for me, generous, wise and loving (though not always soft) and demonstrated so clearly in his later life what this practice and knowledge, when applied appropriately, can achieve.  He transformed his rough and ready yet potentially rich nature into a loving light which continues to emit radiance for many daily.

He was not perfect yet perfect for me x  I have never needed perfect …

A friend mentioned that my name as given by his spiritual daughter (Swami Satsangi) is very fitting and perhaps given he is not here physically to guide me, having taken Mahasamadhi, then maybe this is my work in preparation for his return. That perhaps this time, could be used to establish myself within my power using my name to awaken my nidhis and express them clearly.  He advised that the nine treasures which others can see in me, I am blind to within my nature and need to work at cultivating, embodying and owning these inherent qualities;

mahapadma “great lotus flower”

Sahasra..the abode of the divine eternal atman through which the individual has an experience of life

padma “lotus flower”

Lives untouched in muddy waters, a thing of beauty grown from the darkest places.

shankha “conch”

It is said to be the first sound of OM and a symbol of purity, brilliance and auspiciousness which is used by Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destruction).  It is sounded before a battle to wake up/invoke the worlds and call to the subtle forces to wage wars which will preserve or destroy dharma or adharma respectively.

makara “crocodile”

Swadhisthan – the hidden beast within the ocean of desires.  The reptilian survival instinct which is fierce like Kali yet gentle with her weapons towards loved ones.  Crocodiles are deep, ancient and rich with insight yet challenged in a modern world and evoke fear.

kachchhapa “tortoise”

Patanjali used the symbolism of the tortoise to explain Pratyahara or sense withdrawal.  That when the senses retract from external stimulus and one is protected within the shell of the soul the inner exploration can begin.   Additionally they are symbols of good luck, divinity, wisdom and knowledge.

kumud “a particular precious stone”

It is related to Cinnabar (Quartz) which encourages transformation from small self to true self and is associated with magic and manifestation.  Quicksilver (liquid mercury) is extracted from cinnabar and is also part of this nidhi.  It is a highly reflective, fast, ‘alive’, malleable and fluid until it sets at which point it becomes brittle as it doesn’t like to bind itself to itself in a fixed form and resists bonding with others.  Additionally it is highly poisonous if misused.

kunda “jasmine”

Is known as the queen of the night.  She symbolises feminine sweetness and beauty along with deep affection, happiness and elegance. Additionally there are many healing benefit s of these flowers which the Chinese and Indians have used for centuries…usually around ‘women issues’

nila “sapphire”

Ajna chakra, Meditation, clarity and Intuition, Protection from evil during ritual

kharva “dwarf”

Earthy, hardworking, generous and humble, though often also cunning, selfish and desirous.  The basic qualities of human experience and the ignorance of ‘man’.

And so I will begin a Sadhana of working with these in my own way, finding a way to express them within the fabric of my being as I wait for my beloved to return and find me either in this life or the next or next or next x

guru yoni

Hari Om Tat Sat

TAT TVAM ASI – I am that


I want to write…but what to say?

How do I string a sutra from all these loose lines of life?

I can say that I am changed but not always I feel, for the better.  Sometimes I feel more fragile, exposed and unstable than ever before yet conversely stronger, wiser and more determined though in unusual ways.

Within the last month I have explored my divinity with the support of my beloved Guru and his disciples only to be returned to a world of weighted humanity in the throws of ignorance and fear.  I wobbled and stumbled through the darkness clutching at slivers of light cast by my beloved only to be flung to the floor as a rag doll, tossed about by seizures from a master puppeteer – leaving me broken, messy and aware that I am far from home.

This has unravelled me – upset a fine balance and exposed just how flawed and displaced I am.  I am neither here nor there, neither this nor that, not human nor divine and ultimately only lost to the experiences as they descend.  I feel used and self-abused, criticized yet praised for the same quality, full yet empty, pure yet muddied, ruthless yet kind…the polarities are widening and increasing.

The work of Yoga is to bring balance and union, yet this is far from my state.

Someone asked recently – So who is Atmanidhi?’  To which I replied ‘I don’t know!’

‘Doesn’t she matter?’  To which I answered – ‘I don’t think so – Not really.  The experiences matter but not the experiencer’…

Or have I got this all wrong?

The only thing I KNOW is that I have heard the invitation and have secured a date with my beloved on our birthday where we will celebrate Union together, and I pray that he brings me close to him once again.  Enveloping me in his light, love, laughter and grace – where all opposites cease and I am rendered helpless in his loving embrace.

2014-12-23 15.28.55

I don’t know if the path for me is solo and I am to walk alone, trusting my guidance within or are my lessons which are so difficult, learned only in community – from others?  There seems so much noise and surety on the outer world … everyone seems so convinced of their way, yet these often conflict with the inner unique view which arises from within me.

I see the change, I see the same.

I am clearer than ever before, I am more of a mess than I have ever encountered.

I am more subtle yet more reactive

I am tossed about by events, people and me and yet I am also deeply still

I am that

I am that

I am that…

Mine the Gap

mind the gap

There has been so many landscapes that I have encountered recently both internally and externally and the theme of ‘Mind the Gap’ which you hear on the tube in London to ‘be careful’ of the space between objects seems to be echoing in my head.  However only recently, this has changed to ‘Mine the Gap’ as an indicator that the gap between things may not be a place to fear but could actually be where wisdom, treasures and growth lay.

It started with a practice of TarpanVidya (which means ancestral knowledge) and I was contemplating the qualities possessed by my parents, their parents etc and found that indeed this territory is vast, divergent and I am composed of much of these polarities along with my own inherent qualities.  Then a recent discussion about Yoga and how ultimately it is union or bringing together/narrowing between the poles of nature – both the outer and inner qualities – again this replicated and confirmed the first impulse.

Due to my intensity and diversity (OR the 2 poles in which the space between, is what I call my life) I guess this is why Psychologists and Psychiatrists have been wanting to label me with BI (2) Polar.  I scare myself sometimes and particularly worry those loved ones around me who seem to want me to narrow or fall into a shorter bandwidth and so I sought some more mental treatment – but this time from a Dr who is also a Yogi and so he is less inclined to label some of the more unusual experiences I have encountered and challenges I face with being flawed but merely the opportunity to ‘mine the gap’.

Last week someone said to me that they felt that at times I was ‘super human’ and blew their minds with what I know but at other times I seem like a ‘half wit’ who doesn’t seem to get the most basic of things…..I told him we should go with ‘half wit’ as that seems to fit more easily on my nature!!!  I feel that God made me as I am and while I am an unusual creature, I am sure this was his intention and so I should just get to the bottom of how to explore me without harming others….unless!

Recently I have encountered a person who has created a ‘myth or legend’ around themselves which I am really intrigued by and it is so powerful that they are able to harness ambassadors to uphold their iconoclast status.  I am not saying that they are not special, gifted or different – it takes one to know one – but I am just saying the form of assertion they can inspire in others is quite impressive and also very scary particularly when threats are issued.   I am a nobody who is just trying to figure my stuff out – I have been labelled many things over the years some of which are true and some of which I dispute but never have I rallied troops to enforce my position.  So I was left in what to do with the gap?  Between the person I see, the legend/myth they perpetuate and also the feelings of their foot soldiers?  I am convinced that somewhere in there is the truth and a place of wisdom, growth and perhaps even treasures…for us all.

And much like all good things I am shown just how it is done.

Yesterday was the ‘final’ day for submissions at the Royal Commission and as I had a day off and was in town decided to attend the hearing… it was quite something!  I saw many arguments, pleas and attempts to evoke a certain outcome from the Commissioners’ findings but what I was most impressed by were the very things that others found distasteful, as it wasn’t deemed polite.

During these proceedings some parties have been very silent, and at times just provided a few statements or cross examinations but  yesterday a few of them spoke.  I found them to finally be stating the obvious – addressing the white elephant in the room that others had never named or highlighted so clearly.  This was done eloquently, unapologetically, powerfully, a little humorously and ultimately with a great sense of soberness.

And so I was instructed that at times a seemingly toothless tiger must bear its fangs and remind those around them of its inherent, inborn gifts and strengths which should not be wielded without consideration but not denied when appropriate either.

So in mining the gap between one version of truth and another, between myth and reality, between insecurities and inherent strengths, between division and reconciliation, between all polarities within ourselves and in the wider world around us, I have come to see that this is our work, this is our life and perhaps somewhere in there is indeed that single pure undivided true reality where union (Yoga) really exists.

 mine the gap


Opportunity comes Crashing!


 I had just come to the end of a very profound time of my life….and was waiting for a door to open to show me where to go.

Since coming back from India, I had felt the sands of stability, security and external safety shift endlessly from underneath me.  Whenever I had tried to create, confirm or control something, life would serve me up an evasive response.  Whether that was a job to earn a living, the love of a man or teaching my beloved Yoga – all came to naught.  And so I wandered like a nomad with my belongings in the back of my car, driving from place to place trying to find ‘my’ place.

During this time I was undertaking the Tara Bija Mantra, 1 Million times in 100 days– which is a very powerful Sadhana and which I am only coming to feel its immensity now that it has finished, which incidentally coincided with the completion of my next Yogic Studies module which focused on the subtle and powerful practices and philosophies of the diverse and ancient system.

As it all came to a head, there were tears about a chapter coming to an end and a sense of mild anxiety about ‘what next’.  I had no home, vague plans and nothing concrete even given my best efforts at construction!  I knew the big MASTER Plan but the intermediate steps were illusive and confusing.  The course finished and I gave myself a day to rest where I could decompress and decided to get a head start about a future plan.  This meant that I had to drive about 15 minutes to where internet connection is possible and check to see if there were any open doors!  Nada, Zip, Neit, Nein – Not a single shred of opportunity.

As I felt a little deflated about my efforts, I turned to the all-pervading grace which had loved, nurtured, healed and revealed itself to me over the last few weeks  and asked – what do I do?  Where am I to go?  QLD, NSW, VIC – where is there a job and ease of lifestyle so that I can study, invest in me and my projects?  I called out to the heavens – “Please show me where to go and what to do?  I am lost.  Open a door and I will walk through – without preference or question”.  Within minutes I got the answer…

As I was swerving around on the slippery wet road in my car that had lost traction and control, which led to it spiralling unendingly toward a guard rail then coming to halt in a ditch, I was calm.  Everything slowed and I was saying to myself with an intense knowing that ‘It’s OK’….I knew the car may not be but I knew deep down that I would be.  And so as everything came to still and there were little pains waking within my body, I started the car and tried to drive out of the ditch.  I was stuck.  I got out, walked around the car and saw what damage had been done…. Punctured oil tank, smashed in front side and rear side, twisted back wheel and a total write off!

Not surprisingly, the car behind me was going to the ashram and so I jumped out of mine, into theirs and off we go back to the ashram and I start feeling and thinking about what had just happened and then I just started laughing at how truth came crashing into my life.

I now have NOTHING!  No money, no assets, no income and no status and yet I know where I have to be.  My understanding is that cars represent how you move in the world and mine just brought me to a screeching holt.  I was trying to make plans,  to create and yet I physically can’t go anywhere and it seems that I am to stay here within the ashram.  I had these thoughts before but reasoned myself out of them and yet here I am, right where I need to be.  I arrive back to the ashram to find that there is an afternoon meeting about the Royal Commission and how we are going to be dealing with Sexual Abuse within our spiritual culture and found the clarity of purpose sublime.

Om Pond

I am but an instrument and while I didn’t listen to the subtle queues and had to be ‘taken out’ to follow the right road – I am now on it.  I am a little tender physically, empty of external resources, humbled by realising that I was not driving well and unsure of how my ‘master plan’ will go now that I am here, yet I know I am right where I need to be.

For how long?  I don’t know!  But I guess, once another door opens or opportunity comes crashing into my world, I will take that and keep moving, in faith, towards myself x

The Art of Living

Whether it is the infinitely delicate artistry of mother nature creating the world for us to inhabit or architects creating monumental structures to house our everyday lives or graphic designers selling us products we often don’t particularly need or even the ‘artists’ who inspire and evoke a sense of the full cycle of our awareness back to its origins – we are surrounded by art, artists and artistry.

When I look out at the ashram and the last few weeks I consider all the ‘art’ I have encountered.  The sometimes contradictory expressions of beauty that feed into that continuum of awareness to create this complete surreal universe of life.

When I think about Art in its most traditional sense – a creation of intention from an Artist’s consciousness (often as a result of surges from the subconscious or unconscious if the art is any good!), I am aware of its vast diversity of Styles, Forms and Mediums.  Some use clay, rope, paint, bronze, canvas, light, digital, sound, glass, paper, tattoo, bodies, cloth, sand, ice and flowers along with many more.

These are then channelled into complex genres which aim to contain and categorise the expression, be that Avante Garde, Classical, NeoClassicism, Modernist, Surrealist, Impressionist, Cubist, Shamanic, Traditional, Indigenous, Dance, Music, Sculpture, Painting, Body Art, Multi Media, Tapestry and the list goes on & on so that we can access our preferences.

I wonder if by having this human nature which inherently likes, dislikes, craves, rejects and prefers or detests we really limit our capacity to see the value in each and every moment, experience and creation.  We often choose to surround ourselves by ‘art’ we love, like or that inspires us but what about art that challenges, confronts, repulses, is grotesque, or offends our sensibilities.  Can we allow ourselves to be deeply moved regardless of whether it is pleasant or unpleasant in an attempt to embrace the true art of living.

Art is an attempt for humans to express our humanity in all its complexity.

Art is also the gift of life, with all its glorious creations which rise, remain and then decay in an unending expression of divinity.

Some art is pure and simple, some very complex and technically intricate.  Some we will marvel at, be inspired by or will awaken contemplation within us, while some more will repel, distress or confront us but each has a place in the gallery of humanity.    The art doesn’t need to change; we just need to learn how to appreciate it!

I invite you to take a look around your life and see your art – What has been created? What you are creating? And can you embrace deeply, truly and radically the understanding you are indeed an artist creating your life – every moment of every day – regardless of what medium you wield.

Can you look upon all things with a sense of wonder, interest and gratitude for the privilege to walk through the gallery of your sacred, unique and precious life?  Oh what beauty, even in the ugliness x