…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)


Fans of the "Vicar of Dibley", that gentle, wise-cracking character of the BBC played by Dawn French (comedienne par exellence),  will immediately relate to this title.

Why have I used it here?  Well, it's a bit out of context really but I liked it for this - there having been a heap of extra classes put on for orientation to field work and the hours looking ominous to say the very least, YAMs body was yelling at her "no-no-no-no" and so on.  Having just got back into stride from the recent viral infection, (me, not Voovoo), the anticipation of physical strain was already playing havoc with the mind.

Never have been one for putting my hand up in defence of self.  Brought up to believe you keep moving forward until such time as actually incapacitated, or better still, certifiably dead.  Not only was that the inculcation of a dynamo mother's philosophy, but it has to be said, there is a goodly portion of that Taurean stubbornness which says - "just keep pushing, the tree will give up eventually…"

It has carried me far.  Raised my anatomical tolerances well beyond medically sensible really.  Result is a body that is 15-20 years older than the recorded years.  I'm not making that up - I have been told since ever I was first diagnosed (at 18) with the Rheumatoid Arthritis that I had the body of a 70 year-old. 

The rest of me has just been doing its best to catch up.

Back to this weekend and the announcement.  Somewhere in amongst all the other processing that has been going on, the voice of self-preservation has been found.  I approached acarya-ji (and felt like a 10 year-old going to headmaster!).  "Please sir, tell me which of the modules you think I absolutely MUST NOT miss - then please release me from the rest."

He looked at me with all compassion and love as only one can who knows you better than you know yourself.  "Amma, from today I release you from all obligation of attendance - to all classes.  It will be your call daily, according to your health and well-being."  He also ensured that the 'monitor' was advised of this.

To many of you reading this, it may seem like a very small thing.  For all who have studied at Masters/PhD level, you may recall the mental strain of that.  Now add in the ongoing spiritual disciplines as well as the sheer physical presence one must have at everything.  Days starting at 4:30 and ending at Midnight.  Even the healthy young things are worn out.  By granting me this though, Acharya-ji was not simply acknowledging the lessening of my wick, but also that he trusted me.  No way will I abuse such a privilege - he knows the bull-headed, work till she drops, aspect of me.  He understands the discomforts as he has to deal with ankylosing spondylitis himself. What is more, I have the sense he trusts that I've "got it"; that vedanta is sitting well within me and am capable of steering my course alone.

That is huge.  Spiritually, intellectually and emotionally.  Physically, it had an amazing effect.  It is not that I had any spontaneous healing - but that a weight of some sort was immediately lifted.

I now have my 'second wind' which will carry me to the shore that looked so very distant last week.  That is the YES!!

As for the vicar?  A friend in Sydney used to jokingly call me 'the Vic' - partly because of my faith, but also because I too, am short, round and inclined to outbursts of complete insanity.

But only when appropriate.  One does one's best not to infringe on other's  sensibilities.  I manage it most of the time.  The occasional mis-step keeps me honest.

Who me?  No-no-no-no-no………..
Be careful what you're doing with your face
when there's a camera around!


  1. Having someone say "It's okay. I understand." can really lift the weight off the shoulders, and relieve the stubborn, workaholic mind.
    That's why people like thee (and, dare I say it, me) can find the strength to overcome seemingly impossible odds.
    Strangely enough, the opposite can happen, if the opposite is said. "You've got to do it, all of it!" can result in rebellion of the body and the unconscious mind, as well as, to a lesser extent, the conscious mind.
    I'm so happy for you. Now I hope the stubborn Scottish ancestry (I have lots of that, too) doesn't push you to re-up the weights. It's alright to say, "Just for today, I can't handle this task."
    Luv, K

  2. Good for you I wish you every success.

  3. Yes yes yes. And known for outbursts of insanity? You said it.

    You had got Vedanta before you left Sydney two years ago. Proud of you my friend.
    Love and hugs.

  4. By treating you as a mature adult, he has freed you to show just how mature and self-disciplined, but also self-aware you are, Yam. He knows you won't swing any lead, but has given you permission to work with your body's needs when necessary. No wonder you feel better. :-) P xx

  5. Hari OM
    Kay - loving ya right back my friend!

    Merle - thanks for visiting - and staying!

    Mahal - aawww shucks!

    Perpetua - so true. What stuns me a bit is that I had not realised how bogged down I must have been simply with the need to have the attendance box ticked!! In one's 50s, it would not generally be a consideration... Anyway, nearly there!!! YAM xx


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