I lived 6 years in New York City, on Manhattan Island, right in the thick of it – live music shows, concerts, Turkish delights, rollerblades. I became an experience collector. I collected experiences like they were badges of honor. I saw live shows, plays, people and things. I chewed gum. I walked because the bus was too slow. I listened to my walkman too loud. It was grand.
Until one day I realized I was angry, depleted, and lost. I felt that my existence had become senseless…ironic in a place that stimulates all your senses!
I left Manhattan via a number of experiences internationally – collecting more – they validated me you know. The more cool experiences I could speak of, the better I was as a person right? I got back to a new unfamiliar Johannesburg South Africa. Nothing. No people. No music. No arts and culture. No friends. It was an extreme to test any junkie’s ability to cold turkey. I started to suffer withdrawal symptoms, but mostly I chased the next high, the next hit. I found this easiest through emotional rage…anger at any chance, irritability, short tempered interactions with anyone who came across my path. I listened to my music too loud alone in my car. I drove too fast. I ate food that was too hot, too spicy, and drank my tea scalding!
On my way home to South Africa, resisting the stillness there, I took my self around the world, with 1,5 months in India studying a yoga teacher training course.
2 years it took me to come down, to detox from being stimulated through every single sense on a second by second basis. I was teaching yoga in these two years but was still seeking pleasure through experience so, I went to India again for 2,5 months. I practiced yoga in between bouts of diahorrea and vomiting, which lasted an entire month of alternating yoga with the long drop…I was purging, it was a very much needed final detox to cleanse cellular memory of stimulant and craving for it.! It wasn’t the food in India! I sat a 10 day silent meditation course which was hell. For someone who couldn’t sit a second in silence, this was ten days of eleven hours a day with myself. Whew, I thought I had died or ceased to exist and only when I saw myself in a mirror did I sigh the relief of recognition, I am still here. I slowly started to learn to breathe restfully, I finally felt I could be with myself, just me and all of me all at once!
I came home again. I started a business. I started to grow. I started to explore what yoga philosophy was all about and practiced at it for 3 years. I was miserable or ecstatic. The inner journey has no words to describe, but I missed the world. There was very little balance. The cleaner my physical body and aura got, the more intolerable the world around me seemed. I would then brush up hard against the world, binging on stimulants of any kind to find a semblance of balance. What a rollercoaster.
Until I decided, yoga philosophy and lifestyle didn’t work for me. I had to remember living in the world, and I went on the biggest binge yet. It was like an alcoholic returning to the bottle. I was absolutely enamoured with life and all it had to offer – martini’s with olives, tequila, loud music – rock, lots of people, new friends and conversation, gorgeous flirtations, and sex, garlic, chillies, coffee, and sugar and rubbing up people the wrong way. My behaviour flew in the face of everyone who knew me and thought I was on a yogic path. I stood in their judgement and cringed, and squirmed, and smiled. I knew I had to do this, and I wanted to. It was awesome. I felt in such a familiar place and the more stimulation I got the more I craved. I started chasing the next hit, planning my day around a cappuccino. Plotting the next live act event between friends.
But, I used words like over-stimulated to describe myself as I searched to find a balance, but there is none in an addiction.
Stimulation through the senses is an addiction; it is an attachment to something that is outside of yourself – designed and believed to make you happy. It is projecting your happiness on something that you can see, touch, taste, smell, hear or experience on any of those sense levels, but the bar keeps moving higher and higher. Stimulation through the senses speaks to the emotional self, stimulating emotions to a bubbling energetic euphoria. When you seek external stimulation to be happy, you are admitting there is no internal happiness outside of interacting with the world. The world is your source of joy, the world is what you are hooked into, the senses are your umbilical chord to the world’s happiness, but denies your own potential to exist in happiness independently.
Yoga is the journey of dependence to INDEPENDENCE.
I realized I was no longer connected with my inner quiet. I had lost me. In the chaos of acting outward, I lost the center of being inward. I could no longer practice yoga unless it was also entertaining me, and the breath was too quiet, even the snoring sound ujjayi ashtanga yoga breath! An ashtanga yoga primary series sequence too long to bear in its stillness and focus. My mind was agitating for joy.
I know the journey that begins now, again, is the challenging part. Going against the perception of friends and community around me to act out an experience that in my heart I knew was my next step to a profound lesson, was one of the most difficult things I have done consciously – struggling against how people looked at me, and realizing that it doesn’t matter what they think of me, it matters that I live my Truth even when it doesn’t look like my Truth.
You see, on the yogic path, we all have an idea of what that means and how that should look, and judge anything that doesn’t quite look the same as lost, confused, not knowing him/herself, hypocrite. Yet these experiences are the most profound teachers offering exquisite lessons.
Now, I practice coming back to myself. Now, I struggle against an addiction that is blissful in its own way. Now, every time I want to reach for that garlic infusion, the coffee, for the sugar high, or ego-boost through interacting with the world as a mass of all my past collected experiences, I have to choose to change my habit, to overcome my addiction. I have to choose to be enough in this moment as ME. I have to choose to live in the present and not in my past. I have to make the choice moment to moment until my body and my mind are settled in themselves again. I want to be bliss in my Self.
I am fortunate to have had the experience of the joy of inner-connection, to know what it feels like to simply breathe for an hour and half as the body moves to that rhythm and the silence is expansive and the wellspring of over-joy bubbles within. There are experiences to collect from within.
From this place of being centered in myself, I am sure I can interact with the world without it becoming the source of my next high. Eventually the alcoholic can sit in a bar with a group of friends all drinking wine, and stay beautifully content with water, and even be the life of the gathering, ironically probably is the only one living...
My name is Kerry Weavind. I am a stimulation-junkie. This is my story toward health.