Here's to the seekers. If you have liked this page, chances are you have begun to awaken, to see there is another way, that we don't have to follow the main stream. I call it consciousness, some call it spirituality, you can call it what you like but it doesn't need a name. Every smoothie is a gateway. Every hug a spark. When we start taking control of what we put into our body we soon start to take control of what we put into our mind. It's all interrelated to how we perceive & interact with the world. All that matters is here & now. We are all on a journey, here is mine so far.
My yoga journey began with a deep yearning to understand the world. I was always an inquisitive young rascal. Since I can remember I was always obsessed with football, hellbent on playing professionally. These two traits led me to Orlando, Florida on a soccer scholarship studying philosophy and entrepreneurship, constantly trying to improve myself. For my senior year of College I transferred to University of New Mexico, one of the top soccer schools in the country. Feeling one step closer to my dream I purchased a beat up old Acura and drove 48 hours across the country, stopping mid way in Dallas to attend my first 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. 6 months later all was going according to plan as I was drafted to MLS club Toronto FC. Right before the season, on my birthday I was released from the club. Feeling rejected and depressed I dove inward, 10 more days of silence. I emerged more determined with an elaborate plan to achieve my dream.
I pushed myself to the limit, training harder than ever before. Something had to give. My foot broke, a stress fracture requiring surgery left me in a moon boot for 6 months. During my recovery things became dark, again I turned inward. As I began to recover from surgery I found yoga. First Bikram, then Yin & Vinyasa. Around the same time the Organic Mechanic was formed by my childhood friends Jason, Nick & Graedon. I questioned everything I previously knew about nutrition & health. As the Organic Mechanic rapidly grew it became more than a business. For those involved it became a lifestyle, an identity, a vision which we shared with every smoothie & hug. Through yoga & diet I began to purify & with that the fog began to lift. I continued to play football & practice yoga. Gradually football moved from figure to ground & yoga from ground to figure.
I rediscovered my stride on the football pitch but my passion was fading. My yoga practice deepened. I began to see my yoga as sadhana. The inner work I began in meditation transferred onto the mat. Following my intuition I abruptly left to Bali to study with Noah Maze. Returning to New Zealand a qualified yoga teacher I knew I was ready to let go of football. Without knowing exactly how, I knew 3 things would happen. I would teach yin yoga & share the insights gained during my time in silent retreat. I would immerse myself in teaching & practicing yoga to find my place in the Auckland yoga scene. When the time was right I would leave New Zealand to teach yoga at an overseas retreat. I launched into it with no delay, teaching anyone & everyone, never turning down a job. Within a few months I was teaching at my home studio, Eastwest & soon after Raw Yoga, Yoga Tech & Health 101.
Finding myself at another crossroads, I sat at the Auckland Vipassana center unable to come back to my breath, my body or my sensations. I felt compelled to create but I yearned to be free from the constant train of thoughts. Desires, cravings, attachments, fears & aversions. I heard the words of Ram Dass & Bhagavan Das. ''Prolong not the past, invite not the future, just be here now... Be. Here. Now.''
During that course I created Here & Now in my mind. I stamped it on T-shirts and gave them out to my friends. I made a facebook page, instagram, designed a yantra & printed business cards. Now everywhere I look I see the words Here & Now. A constant reminder to let go of past & future. It's a work in progress and with each class I teach I share this message.
Recently things have started to speed up. My focus had been very inward, cultivating yin qualities but slowly I felt it turning outward. Vinyasa, Martial arts, yang energy captivated me. Everything I wished to manifest started coming to fruition. It was time to set new intentions. At Wanderlust I met Cameron Shayne, Duncan Peak & Eoin Finn, deciding they would become my teachers. I saw myself teaching at Wanderlust 2016. I scribbled in my diary, ''Here & Now can go by so quick or last an eternity. Being free has no form. But don't hold back. You must go through form to be free of it. Get away. Take some money & go. To where I know no one. Forget who I was & find out who I am. Get some money & go. Sort out everything here. GO.''
Within two weeks I had my flights booked to Sri Lanka to teach at a yoga & surf retreat for 6 months, the date was my birthday marking exactly two years from when I was cut from Toronto FC. The universe provided without delay, all I had to do was open myself up to the possibilities & make a choice. My time in Sri Lanka will be dedicated to trying to see the perfection in every moment, not getting so caught up in manifesting all of my desires. I don't want more anymore, I just want to want less. Past Sri Lanka, I hear India calling.
Graedon Parker is an Internationally award winning Artist, Activist, Entrepreneur & Plant-based Lifestyle and Hemp Advocate - based in Auckland, NZ.
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