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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Muddy shoes and a grateful heart (for my Dreamsea family)

Sometimes the unexpected situations, the things you didn’t see coming, are the ones that can teach you the most and help you make so many realisations. The last couple of months I’ve been away from this blog and have been making new memories with an amazing group of people in Spain – my Dreamsea family. Each one of them is unique and beautiful in their own way, and I have learnt so much from them all. And I now have a whole new group of people that have helped me grow and will continue to be an influence in my life.

Going to work in Spain was one of those unexpected situations – it all happened suddenly and was a snap decision I made that turned out to be just what I needed. I had highs and lows there, but overall the experience has given me a fresh perspective on who I am, where I want to go, what I want to do and ultimately the kind of person I am and the kind of person I want to be. It has made me realise some of my less than desirable traits (which I would like to change and am going to work towards), it has shown me there are parts of me that I really want to work on and past experiences that I want to deal with, and it has also taught me the things I love about myself and about what I do and the life I have chosen. It has also given me the chance to show my love to a new group of friends – which I am ever grateful for – and reminded me of how incredible the friends I already have are, as they are constantly supportive and always there.

I am sure I would have come to all of this in time, but the catalyst of my camping life gave it to me in just the way I needed. So going away, unplugging from things (and people), and taking time in a different situation was exactly the right thing for me. It has given me a buzz for things again, a new excitement and a world of opportunities – plus a hunger for more. So thank you to everyone who has been part of my life the last few months, and also those who have been around a lot longer (you know who you are). I cannot wait to start out again on a new adventure, to continue growing as a person and also to see my wonderful Dreamsea family again soon.

Taking control

For anyone that has read my blog for a while, or anyone who knows me, you know I always come back to my issue of making decisions. I tend to be unsure at times, and I often ask so many other people what they think before I make the decision (even if I don’t always listen to what other people think). It is a part of me that frustrates me each time I struggle with decisions, as I know at times I can do them alone and other times I can’t.

I like to think that lately I have become a little better at it. And it the last few days I have realised that when the decision is entirely right for me, I don’t ask for opinions of others. Maybe when I’m confused or ask for guidance, it’s because the right path isn’t clear. But very recently I have made a decision about the next step in my life – and I made it entirely alone. In my head I already knew what I wanted and I knew what was right for me, what would make me happy. So when the opportunity came up, even though it was against the plans I’d made for myself for the next few months and it may be against the more logical and sensible options for me, it still felt right and it took me no time at all to make the decision. And as soon as it was made, I felt calm and at peace. I haven’t questioned it once, I’ve just done it.

I felt similar about my decision to quit my job and move to Morocco a year ago. And again I’m reminded that if it feels right to me, it probably is. Sure it might not work out how I think, or it might not be the most sensible option, but that’s ok. It’s not like I’m exactly sensible a lot of the time anyway!

So I’m jumping into this new adventure with an open heart and an open mind. And hopefully with the ability to recognise what decisions are right for me and with the trust that it’s all meant to be just the way it is. Here goes!