A place to call home

I’ve been a bit offline lately…both on here, on my social stuff and on and off with communications with friends. I felt like I needed some time to assess everything and a bit of time out – I could feel a change coming and knew I needed space for it. Actually, I still do need that time and space, so this may be my last post for a while. And with this offline mode, I’ve had a chance to think about where I am, where I’ve been, what I want. BIG thinking, I know!

For the last few months I’ve been moving around a lot with work and living, and it’s left me feeling a little unsettled. I’ve lived abroad and travelled a lot in the last couple of years and I’m missing some roots, some grounding. I’ve had so many amazing experiences and my life has been such a fun whirlwind and I wouldn’t change it for anything. But I’m starting to feel like maybe it’s time to have a base, settle for a little while in one place, put down some roots once more. Maybe it’s time for a little bit of ‘normality’ – whatever that means. Change is constant in life, and I’m so aware of this and have written about it before, but sometimes change can be going back to a familiar lifestyle, it can be changing to something with some stability and structure. And that is what I’m craving. And if I’ve learnt anything, you have to do what feels right to you – no matter what anyone else thinks.

Something I need is a place I can call home for a while. Time and space to get my head and life sorted, time to spend with my amazing friends, time to reassess everything that I’ve done and where I’m going, and time to take care of myself. I’ve been worried that this decision would be the wrong one (although everyone keeps reminding me nothing is permanent!), but I think that was partly because I felt like a failure if I didn’t keep travelling and living the nomadic teacher lifestyle. But actually, it’s only me that thinks that way. So instead of worrying what others things – and instead of believing people see me as a failure (which I’m fairly sure they don’t) – I actually need to change my own perceptions about myself. Instead, I’ve come to realise that it’s important to know when to re-evaluate things and take steps to realign yourself. And this in itself is taking a risk and making a change, it’s just a more subtle but still ever powerful one.

So that concludes my slightly rambling thoughts for now – normally I realise I’m more concise but I think this fairly represents my jumbled brain at this present moment. And now it’s time to settle for a bit, rediscover my groove and get back to what is most important to me. Time for a place to call home…

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Change is inevitable…

I’m back in Morocco for a visit, and I am struck by how things can change so much and also remain the same. Coming back feels like coming home in a way, but also being away for almost a year has meant that there have been subtle shifts here. Some changes or situations are drastic (I’m going to write about this separately soon), but many are just a different feeling or atmosphere, or new people and places that are unfamiliar to me. Even the beaches I used to surf at have changed with the storms and are now rocky and messy. Because things never do stay exactly the same, things are always changing and moving.

Being back does feel kind of wonderful, in a bittersweet way. I’ve been away long enough to be reminded of the good times now I’m back, and I’ve already seen a lot of the people that always made me smile and laugh. It makes me remember all the good parts, all the people I miss, and the charm that a lot of people see when they come to this little area of Morocco. The waves of nostalgia have set in.

It has also shown me that I have changed. Again, in some ways drastically and in other ways subtle. I knew that a lot had shifted for me in the last 6 months or so, but maybe I didn’t realise quite how much. I have grown, altered, reshaped myself, readjusted my outlook on things and my attitude to a lot of stuff is different. I have let go of things, I have grown and developed. In some ways I feel like a different person to the one that arrived here in 2016, and the one that left 10 months later. And it’s made me realise how proud I am of how far I’ve come – the things I’ve achieved and the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the situations I’ve gone through – and happy with who I am right now. Things aren’t perfect, they never are, but this evolution of self has been quietly profound for me. And it makes me want to keep exploring it further.

Change is inevitable, and necessary. And it is up to us as to whether we embrace change and go with it, or whether we resist. The danger with resisting is that we can get left behind. As I’ve noticed, sometimes we don’t even need to actively embrace change but simply just let it happen – then one day you’ll realise just how much you and your surroundings have altered, and that it is actually a wonderful thing.

Feeding your soul

The last few weeks have been hectic – trying to get my life sorted, teaching classes all over London, juggling social and work commitments and trying to find time for myself. I felt like I was struggling to find a balance and was neglecting myself and what my soul needed. I thought this was yoga, as often the physical practice grounds me and makes me feel calm. And to a degree it was the physical asanas I was missing. But over the last couple of days I still have done barely any practice, yet something has shifted. And I’ve realised there is more than one way to feed your soul and give it what it needs – you just need to work out what.

Over the last 2-3 days, I have reconnected with myself and brought more peace to myself partly by making sure I have time alone to ground and do work and not get so distracted. But I think the main thing is that I have surrounded myself with loving people. I have FaceTimed with 3 people who are very dear to me that live in Morocco, and I hadn’t properly spoken to them in a long time – they all understand and support me and make me feel happy and loved. I have also spent time with friends that I haven’t seen for a while, and also with people I see super regularly but who always lift me up. I have also messaged friends I love dearly and have a list in my head of a few others I desperately want to talk to.

And after doing all this, I took myself to my mat this afternoon for a quick practice, and something had shifted. The physical movement still felt amazing and helped me to centre myself even more, but because I have taken time to talk to people and feel loved, I felt at one with my body again (it’s been a while). I felt more connected to myself, I moved easier and freer, I was more open and able to listen to my body and to what it needed.

So that’s what I need to keep doing. I need to keep on my physical and spiritual yoga path, but I also need to remind myself that I have an incredible community of people around me who build me up and help to calm my soul. I shouldn’t shut them out when things get tough or I get frustrated – I should actually make more of an effort to connect with them. And to remind myself that balance does include time alone, but it also includes time with others. To all my friends – I love you and you know who you are.

How decisions shape you

It’s really strange, but in the past month a few of my friends have all asked me similar questions about whether I have any regrets or if I would do anything in my life differently, or if I can identify certain decisions that hugely shaped my life. I found it odd that various people (who don’t know each other) were asking me this. Coincidence, I’m sure! But it did get me thinking…

I try really hard not to have regrets. Nothing should leave you with regret, it is all just a learning experience in some way (even if sometimes you have no idea what you’re learning). So that is a simple enough answer. But then I guess it gets a bit more tricky – are there things I would do differently, or any big decisions that I can identify as life changing that I might go down a different route?

My immediate reaction was ‘sure, there probably are a few’, and I even thought about some of those big moments and the choice I made. And then I started thinking about where I would be if I had done things differently. But the more I thought about this, the more I realised that again I wouldn’t do things differently or make different decisions. Not the big ones, anyway. There are smaller ones I would love to have a do-over for, and a little part of me does consider that I wish I’d done the big things differently. Yet, ultimately, as with the regrets thing, everything I’ve done, every choice I’ve made, has led me to where I am now. And although some things I wish hadn’t happened or had taken an alternate path, they helped shape my life. Good and bad.

If I’d chosen a opposing way in any of these, I might not be who I am now. I mean, things might have ended up the same way. But maybe not. And I really like who and where I am now – I have an amazing community of supportive and loving people across the world, I teach yoga, I get to do some writing and marketing, and I get to feel way less stressed than I used to. Yes some things could be better and they might be if I’d done things differently, but they aren’t enough of an issue for me to change everything.

So I guess what I’d say is, if you are having big regrets or wishing you’d made different choices, just take a second to think about if that’s really the way you’d want to go. Would you want to sacrifice where you are now, who you are now, for that? Can you see why doing things that way made you who you are now? And if you realise that these things have moulded you and your life, maybe reconsider having them as regrets. Instead, have them as lessons, or just things in your life. It’s all an experience, after all.

Why I teach yoga

I often get asked why I teach yoga, why I changed my career and my life. And since being back in London and teaching and living here, in a place where I used to live a very different life, I’ve had even more time to reflect on this.

When I was younger, I never imagined I would be a yoga teacher. I never thought I’d have a physical job (I was overweight, hated any kind of exercise and had no confidence – especially not enough to wear leggings!), and I never thought I’d teach (despite being told I’d make a great teacher – I think they meant in the more tradition school environment). I was so different to who I am now, and that is in part because of yoga. Obviously I don’t attribute all my changes to yoga, as part of them have come with growing up and my amazing friends and family and my life experiences, but still – yoga has made a difference.

I started off slow in yoga, just doing Bikram to balance out the running I was doing. I dabbled in it on and off for a few years and tried a few styles. Then, when I was going through a particularly bad time, I went to a small hot yoga studio to sweat out some stress, and something just clicked. Suddenly, I was going 4 times a week. Over time, I realised how much just practicing had changed me – I was dealing with stress better, my confidence was growing (at that time my confidence was shattered and I was at an all time low), I was aware of my body, I wasn’t getting as sick as I used to, and my outlook was changing on so many things. I was taking yoga out of the studio and out of the physical and into my life.

Yoga changed things for me. It helped and continues to help me through bad times, it boosted my confidence, it makes me happy with who I am and where I am. It is something I can turn to if I’m feeling off physically or mentally, and it helps me identify where the problem is. It grounds and centres me. It joins me to new, wonderful people and expands my community to a new level. It allows me to meet amazing souls. It makes me feel strong and powerful. It makes me challenge myself.

All of this, all of these feelings, are what I love to awaken in others. I teach because there are some people that need yoga in their lives the way that I do. I love knowing that maybe I’ve helped someone or am slowly planting the seed. I like seeing the moment on people’s faces where something clicks or they try something new or learn something about themselves, and I like seeing faces at the end of every class looking so relaxed and peaceful and knowing I’ve helped them at that moment. I hope that through yoga, other people get to experience what I have. And selfishly, I teach yoga because it makes me feel good. But it also reminds me we are not alone, we are part of something much bigger and that there are so many souls out there. So that’s why I’m also running retreats this year (www.hayleystatter.com/retreats), because that way I get to experience this more intensely for a whole week with some amazing people.

 

So now I teach yoga, I practice yoga, I live my life a different way that I love. I still do marketing work, I still travel, I still spend as much time as I can with the people I love. But I am different – I am the me I feel happy with.

The future is calling

It’s all out there right now – new year, new you/change your life in the new year, etc. While I don’t necessarily like all of this as I don’t think you need a new year to make a change, and I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with the old you (it’s more about accepting who you are than needing to change), I do think there are merits to it as it often pushes people – me included – to evaluate what you want and what future goals might be.

So it’s time to look back and review what has been, learn from it and let it go. And it’s also time to look forward, to see what could be coming your way or what you might want in your future. Which is what I’ve been doing the past week. I took a bit of a digital detox until the other day to give myself a break, and during this time I thought a lot and wrote things down and meditated and gave myself the time to evaluate and to dream. Now I am done with looking back and am firmly looking forward. There is a lot I could do with my future and I am excited for that! I am so proud of how far I’ve come and can’t wait for my next adventures. I’ve decided to put myself out there a bit and have launched my first yoga retreat (if you’re interested you can find out the info at http://www.hayleystatter.com/retreats), so we will see what happens! It’s one of the many things I’m doing to look forward and to try to achieve new things and push myself.

I think this time of year is also really good for clearing energies, as a part of starting afresh. So I have spent some time clearing negative energies from my mind and body, assessing patterns and behaviours in myself and beginning to change ones that aren’t good for me. I have also been dealing with old issues so that I can move forward strongly and without being held back by them. I think these kind of actions are important for us all to do so that we can keep striving for our future, as well as being happy and content in the present. It doesn’t happen overnight and I am still working through some of it, but I know that ultimately it will do me so much good when it is done.

So here is to saying goodbye to 2017, and any other things in the past that have altered us, and saying hello to the exciting world that lays before us.

 

 

My brief return to one of my homes…

I have just returned from a short break back to Morocco, where I got to see some old friends and bury some demons, and also take a little bit of time to slow down and enjoy life. And now I’m back, I have realised how much I have changed from who I was before I moved there.

Now I’m back in London, I notice how easy it is to fill up my schedule and rush from place to place. But I also know this isn’t good for me, and there is really no need to live like that. Going back to Morocco has reminded me to slow down, to not rush and not put so much pressure on myself to do everything or see everyone or plan my life a month in advance (I know a month isn’t a lot for some people but for the past 15 months I haven’t planned that much!). It also taught me to take time to see the people I care about, and that those who fall in that category and those that show they care about me are the ones to hold onto. They are the real gems – the ones that will see you through the rough times and have fun with you in the good times. Any maybe you aren’t always in constant contact with them, but they’re still special. I am lucky to still have a support network in Morocco and people I call close friends. From this trip, I have reminded myself how much I appreciate these people (both those in Morocco, as well as all my other amazing friends across the world) – and also how much I love and appreciate nature. In London, you don’t get that much of it, and we are so often rushing around with our heads down. But in Morocco, I had so much time to appreciate the sunsets I love, the beaches, the oceans, everything. And I’m not going to come away from this again.

So now I’m back, I want to make sure I retain who I was in Morocco and Spain and not revert back to the person I can sometimes be when I’m in London. I’m nowhere near as much of a planner or control freak as I was before things changed in my life, but I still don’t want to slip back into old habits. I don’t need to plan everything out, I need to see what happens and go with it as things can change so quickly anyway. I need to remember to relax and take time for me, to do the things I want to do and see who I want to see but not feel pressured to do everything and also make sure I am having real time for myself. I know that especially at this time of year it is hard to do, but it is also important. It’s about staying true to yourself and what is best for you.

I feel lucky I got to go back for a visit and know I will again soon. I am so grateful I got to exorcise some ghosts and connect with amazing people. And I am so happy I got to jump in the ocean and soak up some sun! These are the things I miss the most – the people, the ocean, the sun, the relaxed attitude to life and the calmness you can find there if you know where to look. Now it’s time to try and bring a little bit of that into whatever I do now.

Stop and take a look around

The other day, I got a fairly early train into London from Essex. It was cold, everyone was tired and I myself felt like a zombie (god knows how I used to do that commute very day for so long). But as I looked out the window on the train, I saw a beautiful sunrise of purples and pinks and light blues. I smiled to myself, happy I’d gotten to witness a gorgeous act of nature – it reminded me how much I love sunrises and sunsets. Yet as I looked around and out the window, no one else even noticed it. Out of all those people sitting on the train, they were either sitting on their phones or laptops or with their eyes closed.

This made me so sad. That we have become so disconnected from the natural world, and that people around me are so set in their daily routine that they don’t realise the simple and beautiful things around them. I know it’s early and commuting is rough, I’ve done it and I probably used to be like them. But it isn’t just in the morning commute I notice this – I see it other places and times too. People not noticing what is around them. Groups of friends or families sitting together on transport or in a cafe or restaurant, all on their phones and unaware of each other. People walking through parks without taking notice of what is around them. It is so depressing to see.

I want to go up to people and shake them and urge them to stop and look, or listen, or appreciate what they have or where they are or what they are witnessing. There is so much beauty and love all around us, no matter where we are or what we are doing. But we need to wake up to it, to take notice of it. And when you do, everything becomes a little bit nicer and you find yourself appreciating even more things, and smiling a bit more. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters.

Taking some time.

Recently I’ve been stressing and rushing around and trying to do everything and trying to figure things out for right now and for my future. I’ve had so many thoughts in my head and have been doing so much and thinking about everything all at once. So much so, I lost my way a little. And then I watched something that made me realise I need to just take some time for myself, to be present and just give myself some time and space. And then I went to a yoga class (first time in a studio for a couple of weeks) and it was the first time in so long I felt present in my body and my practice, not thinking about other things or criticising myself or worrying, just being. It felt amazing. And it reminded me that I do need to give myself some time.

I need to not constantly stress, because that doesn’t do me any good. I need to slow my thoughts down sometimes, to give my head space to relax. I need to remember to breathe and stop. I need to realise that I don’t need to be constantly doing things or seeing people, that it’s good to be alone and to remind myself I actually love being alone and doing my own thing (reading, resting, practicing yoga, cooking, anything). Because once I get back to that place where I am happy and relaxed, not rushing around or worrying all the time, I know I’m a better person to be around and then I can truly give things and people around me time and attention.

In learning to be in the present moment, which is something yoga teaches people, I can stop worrying about the future or living in the past. Being present allows you to listen to yourself, to others around you, and to create experiences and memories that make you feel warm and content. When I’m not worrying about the future, I am more relaxed and can fully apply myself to things. When I’m not living in the past, I’m not playing into old emotions or scenarios.

So for a little while, I’m taking time for me. I’ll still see people and do things and will still make future plans (albeit rough and changeable ones), but I will also take enough time to be alone and to not rush or stress, to truly give myself space and relaxation. It’s something we all need. And there’s no reason not to do it.

Is there actually an ‘easy way’?

Over the past 15 months or so, I have moved around. I’ve spent time in a number of countries, working and chilling and figuring things out and meeting amazing people. The reactions I’ve had for the major change of life I decided to embark upon have been mostly positive, but I’ve also encountered some negativity about it. Both these reactions always make me think about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how I am perceived by others, as well as by myself at times.

I’ve met a large number of people living the same lifestyle I now am, but I also have so many wonderful people in my life that are living the lifestyle I used to have. I never say that one way is better than the other, and I never proclaim that if people aren’t doing what I now am, they are having a worse life. I just know which one feels right for me. And most of the reactions of all of the people who have been in my life for a long time have been so positive and loving and amazing, as have the reactions of people I’ve met on my new journey. In doing this, I have met a huge number of wonderful human beings, and I have realised what a strong support network I have back home and all over the world. I have been lucky enough to see this network grow and grow, and I feel so lucky.

Some reactions haven’t been quite so positive. Most of the negative reactions have come from people I still love, and many of them don’t even realise that I perceive their thoughts as negative. Almost all of them love me greatly and want the best for me, and in most ways do support me. But since coming back and wondering where I’m going next in my life, some of the comments have made me ponder things a lot. Like how I have an easy life, how I’ve got no worries anymore, how it must be nice to run all over the world and not have to settle or worry about things or have responsibility, how I’m running away and at some point I’ll have to come and settle and I can’t run forever and I should be sensible sometime. I know that most of these comments come from a place of love, and from people who want the best for me or pretty much just want me to stick around so I’ll be in one place again.

But is it running away? Is it the easy life or the easy option? Or is it actually pretty hard – always living out of a bag, not sure where the next place is or how long a job will last or if you’ll have money in two months time. Constantly meeting new people – both exciting and exhausting depending on your mood, and meaning you end up with friends all over (again an amazing thing, but also means your network isn’t always around or close). I wouldn’t say I have chosen this way of life because it’s easier, and I’m not running away. I still have worries and stresses, just different ones to before. I’ve been told it’s brave, that I have a lot of strength to do it. Sometimes I don’t feel strong, and sometimes I just want to be around the people who know me well and drink tea and hang out and have some ‘normality’. But I also know after a month or two of doing that, I’m itching to get out again.

And when I settle anywhere for a bit, part of me gets comfortable and part of me cries out to keep going. I hope that one day I will find somewhere I want to settle and make my proper home. Until then, I will keep exploring and discovering places and also finding out more about myself – I’ll keep meeting new people and yes it will be hard sometimes and no I’m not running away. And all this will be worth it – I feel like it’s paying off already and I am becoming richer in knowledge and experience and full of love for everyone I have in my life. Genuinely, thank you so much to everyone I have met who supports and loves me.