Chop wood, carry water …

It’s April 2019 now – almost a whole year since I last wrote anything for this blog. I’m not exactly proving to be prolific with my musings here! And of course the longer I leave it the harder it seems to be to think of anything that might be of interest or value to write. But Spring is in the air and as well as giving me plenty of beautiful material to photograph, it also has a sort of quickening effect on energy levels too. On sunny days like today, more people have a spring in their step and a smile on their faces. It feels easier to be productive. So I decided to not think too hard about it and simply get some words and pictures cobbled together to get something published.


When I first started this blog I had imagined that it might serve as a way for me to record my journey of recovery from CFS and my return to yoga teaching. I had specifically chosen the title of the blog as Burnout2Bliss because my yoga teaching was done under the banner of Blissful Living and there was some part of me that hadn’t really understood how much CFS would affect me and was unwilling to let go of my identity as a yoga teacher. And of course the longer I remained unable to to return to teaching, the less I felt that I had to share in this blog. And instead of being a helpful therapeutic way for me to write about my experiences it became another stick to beat myself with.

So last year I decided to let go of holding onto the dream so tightly and I began to pay a bit more attention to how I could live more blissfully on a day by day basis. Although I kept up with a gentle yoga practice and daily meditation, I turned, with my husband Karl, to focus on how we could both lead a more nourishing life overall. We chose to take more notice of what we were eating and where it was coming from. We made a real effort to grow more of our own food and my new challenges became how to stop the badger digging up all my potatoes (a dismal failure on this front!); how to keep all the vegetables watered during the hot dry summer (a BIG investment in lots of water butts and collection of almost all our “grey” water for vegetable use); and what to do with my ENOURMOUS courgette glut (courgette soup, courgette cake, courgette bread, courgette fritters … to name but a few of my solutions!)

I started to get a bit more involved learning more about my husband’s venture Bees in Our Community and trying to help him establish a bit of a social media presence by taking photos and sharing on Facebook and Instagram. And it is perhaps a measure of my status as complete novice that I can’t find out how to link to his Instagram account! Never mind – I’ve got some nice pictures to share of some of the work he did last year – as well as that done by the bees.

I did a little bit of clearing and decorating in the home – reclaiming my son’s bedroom as a tranquil space where I could comfortably practice yoga after he moved out into his own house.

And I paid attention to the utter beauty gifted to us by Nature day, after day, season by season. I spent time outside in my garden wrapped up warmly, listening to the last sounds of the birds and watching the sun set and night fall. And I savoured the sight of the sun’s first rays in the mornings, often racing up to the attic window to get the very best view. And of course, I had my phone camera with me as I tried in some way to capture a little of the beauty …

And bit by bit I have found that my life has become more joyful and that my energy levels have begun to rise. As the Zen saying goes “Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” I’m not suggesting that I’ve reached Enlightenment, but I am much more present to each and everything that I am doing, and have been able to find pleasure not just in the extraordinary and peak experiences, but also in the the ordinary aspects of living – though in truth when I look at the beauty that I’ve been able to see simply in my own garden I’m not sure that daily life is so ordinary after all.

So .. in a very different way from how I had expected – I have been slowly moving from Burnout towards Bliss. And now I’m tentatively looking towards a return to teaching yoga. I’m not entirely sure how this will look. In the last three years not only have I changed a lot, but the yoga world has too. There are many more teachers, even just in my home town of Northwich. And there is so much good yoga available. Can I re-enter the marketplace and feel confident that I can find my own niche where I have something useful to teach and can find students who want to learn it from me? Time will tell. In the meantime I’m refreshing my skills with a few bits of extra training, I’m listening in to some of the many and varied online conferences on subjects that particularly interest me. And I’m still metaphorically chopping wood and carrying water ….

8 thoughts on “Chop wood, carry water …

  1. Debbie

    Lovely post Alison. I attended your yoga classes at Rudheath a few years ago and I really enjoyed them. Iā€™d love to be one of your attendees again šŸ˜Š. Take care šŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Roxanne Beauchamp

    Alison ā€“ I came across your blog quite by chance just recently and really enjoyed following you on your journey, captured so beautifully by your lyrical writing and photos. I like the idea of chopping wood and carrying water during these uncertain times.


    1. Alison Colyer

      Roxanne – what a beautiful and unexpected gift to receive this comment today. I am truly grateful and couldn’t agree more that chopping wood and carrying water seems most appropriate for these unsettled and unsettling times. Sending best wishes to you šŸ™


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