Where there is FAITH, there is LOVE; Where there is LOVE; there is PEACE; Where there is PEACE; there is GOD; Where there is GOD; there is BLISS.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
I was drawn to Piha as if it were by some magical force. The long and windy roads through the Waitakere ranges made me feel like I was escaping from an oppressive city to a safe place where I could relax and be at peace.
I parked on the grass in between two trees which gave some privacy from the houses on the other side of the road. I was close to public toilets and an outdoor shower and in between North and the busier South Piha car parks. The sun was shining and I felt happy to be there.
Piha made me feel alive. I loved its ruggedness. Its wild black sand surf beach surrounded by mountain ranges teaming with wildlife and native flora and fauna made me feel a world away from the city. There was no public transport or petrol stations and limited amenities apart from a community dairy, a newly opened café, a small library, art gallery, pre-school, campground and a surf-club and RSA which were hubs of the town.
I took Kyra for a much-needed walk while filling my lungs with fresh salty sea air and then prepared a typical dinner of brown rice and vegetables before watching the sunset.
Sunsets at Piha was a special time that I would never get tired of watching. On cloudless evenings the sun would set on the horizon looking out towards the Pacific Ocean and I would sit on the sand dunes marvelling at the rich colours of the changing sky at dusk. Then when the sky would turn black I would lie in bed and watch for shooting stars. These things became my nightly entertainments.
It was my fourth week living in my van and I was beginning to feel really at home. I loved living amongst nature and I enjoyed the freedom of parking anywhere. I was debt-free and I felt a certain freedom which only comes when you’re not tied into paying rent or bills.
I lived simply, I ate basic food and I learnt to make do without. I showered outside in cold public showers, even in the rain. My heels became dry and cracked from walking around barefoot so I found a river nearby and treated myself to a foot spa using small rocks and soap as an exfoliant. I had no fridge so my diet mainly consisted of fresh fruit, vegetables, rice and grains. I spent my days walking along the long stretch of beach, exploring caves, sunbathing, reading, doing yoga and meeting the locals. I had a line that I tied between trees to hang my clothes out to dry. I was entirely self-sufficient and doing even the smallest of daily tasks had their challenges and rewards.
I had pretty much fallen off the familiar path of normality and into my own little world far away from my old life in Auckland City.
I spent my evenings under a starlit sky, pondering over what I really wanted to create in my life and I began to map out a plan. My passion for yoga was too strong to ignore so I decided I wanted to go to India- the birth place of yoga, and train to become a yoga teacher. I also wanted to develop my skills as a Reiki healer so I booked into a workshop in Auckland. I was still unsure where I wanted to make my home but I was drawn to Byron Bay in Australia and I needed to develop my skills in order to set up a home and live there. I didn’t want to arrive and end up working as a cleaner or waitress forever, although I was prepared to short-term if I needed the money, but ultimately I wanted to earn money through my passions.
I had set my sights high and I now had the enormous task of putting it all into action whilst living in my little camper van with no power or computer and with limited internet and phone reception!
I can easily see now why some people thought I was crazy, but perhaps I was!
This was all a test of belief. Did I believe in myself? Did I believe I deserved to live a life that I had previously only dreamed of? Did I have the courage to ignore the haters and follow my own unique path despite what may happen?
I had come too far to turn back now and if I had of listened to my head I would have rented another house in the city and lived a safe but unhappy life. The mind is a master of trickery and the internal battle was a good one however my heart was stronger and I was learning to follow and trust it.
It was gently guiding me along another, less known path. Like the day I was in despair and yelling at the universe (around the time I first broke up with my ex) to give me a sign. It was a miserable day and I had driven out to Piha- my safe place, looking for answers. My heart was heavy with pain and I let it all out into the wide open spaces. Tears were rolling down my face and as I opened my eyes the dense clouds parted to show me a colourful rainbow orb in the sky. I looked twice to make sure it wasn’t just a rainbow but sure enough, it was colours of the rainbow floating in a mass like structure in the sky. My heart acknowledged the sign and I smiled and thanked the universe knowing that everything was going to be okay as long as I had trust and faith.
Up until recently, I had been so busy trying to fill my emptiness with relationships to avoid being alone that the very thing that I feared was what I needed to experience to discover who I was and what I really wanted in my life. At last, I was finding myself and my bliss. A space that was not dependant on any external influences, an everlasting moment of divine presence and I wasn’t going to let anything take it away.
On the last week that I was staying at my sister’s house, I felt a sense of urgency to drive out to Piha. It was a beautiful sunny day and I invited my sister to come, however she was undecided so I left early to make the most of the day.
I drove to the end of the beach and parked in the quieter North Piha car park. As I walked towards my usual sunbathing and yoga spot at the end of the beach near the cliff face, I noticed a silhouette but couldn’t quite make out if it were a man or woman’s. For some reason my eyes were transfixed on this mysterious silhouette and getting closer I realised it was a man doing yoga. How dare he steal my spot!
Without taking much notice, I walked over to the next best spot near the caves and perched myself down in the hot black sand. I tried doing yoga and Kyra kept jumping up on me and making me slip and fall so I decided to walk down to the water where I could practice handstands in the harder sand.
The mysterious and shirtless yoga guy had obviously finished his yoga flow and he began walking towards me. I thought that being both yogis, he may come over and talk to me, but he continued to walk along the beach in the opposite direction. My heart sank a little as I had missed the company and attention of a man and I felt a little disappointed remembering that a few months back I had seen a psychic who had described a potential love interest that I’d meet by the month of September.
It was now October the 1st and I hadn’t yet met him.
Although I wasn’t looking for love or a new relationship the old habit was tempting. Somewhere deep down I still believed in my knight in shining armour coming to rescue me or I wouldn’t have attracted the experience that I was about to embark upon.
After a few unsuccessful handstands I retired back up to my spot near the caves in the soft sand and my sister arrived. She had decided to come after all. It was nice to have her company and I told her about the mysterious yoga guy and she told me she had seen a guy playing the guitar in the sand dunes near the car park where I was parked. I thought that can’t have been the same guy as the mysterious yoga guy had walked away towards South Piha and I dropped the idea of ever seeing him again.
It was getting hot and I needed to walk back to my van to give Kyra some water and as I neared the car park I saw a shirtless guy playing the guitar in the sand dunes, like how my sister had described. I felt his eyes on me and I looked at him with a smile and realised it was the mysterious yoga guy!
His van was parked next to mine and he came over and started talking to me and we instantly hit it off. I invited him back to the beach with me and with the envious eyes of my sister looking on we spent the rest of the day talking and doing yoga together.
When he told me his star sign I realised he matched the description of my new love interest that the psychic had described to me. This sent chills down my spine, although many things did transpire after my psychic readings it gave me goose bumps every-time.
I felt an instant chemistry and we had a lot in common. He was tall, dark, handsome and I had a weak spot for South Americans. It appeared I had been given a rather big test.
My sister left and he decided to stay and watch the sunset with me. I had made plans with my best friend that evening and I felt extremely guilty about having to cancel on her as I couldn’t pull myself away. I was drawn to him like a magnet. We stayed up all night talking by candlelight in my van while I tried to keep my overprotective dog, Kyra away from him!
He had these dark deep-set eyes that drew me in and I had to keep looking away in fear of getting lost in them. He had an aura of peacefulness about him and he appeared to be a very soft and gentle soul.
How could I feel this comfortable with a man who I had just met?
I felt this magical connection like we were destined to meet and we were being pulled together by a higher force. It was hard to say goodbye the next morning.
As soon as he left my mind went into overdrive trying to make sense of what had happened, trying to piece together every detail and remembering every word and facial expression. I wondered if I was going to ever hear from him again.
Sure enough a text message came through from him on my phone and that gave me enough reassurance that I wasn’t just imagining things.
Over the next 4 weeks I enjoyed his company immensely. He would often stay with me in my van at Piha and we would sit up all night talking and getting to know each other. He taught me yoga at sunset and he would bring me a never-ending supply of chocolate, which was another weakness of mine. But I noticed as time went on I became frustrated. I didn’t want to be falling in love right now. I had plans and I had found my bliss which was not dependant on anything or anyone yet my emotions were all over the place and I was being thrown around like a rag doll. I had become off-balance.
We went to the hot-pools and he clung to me like his life depended on it. I felt stifled yet I enjoyed the closeness and my mind and heart were in conflict. What was I going to do?
I didn’t want to let myself go as I didn’t want to fall in love. The timing was off. I was leaving soon. And holding back had become increasingly frustrating.
I had spent my whole life up until now in relationships and living my life for other people and now a man appears in my life, a man who I would have only dreamed of having a relationship with before, a handsome and loving yoga teacher with a similar outlook on life and I couldn’t allow myself to go there. I couldn’t risk making the same mistakes again and falling for the illusion of false happiness that a man would bring me. I was going to tell him the relationship was going no further.
I dropped him off at his van after our day at the hot-pools and we looked at each other knowing it would be the last time we would ever see each other. The internal game of tug of war was tiring and now I could get back to focusing on my plans.
I realised love comes in many different forms and sometimes fleeting romances can leave a bigger impact than a lifetime of marriage but I will always hold a special place in my heart for the mysterious yoga guy that I met on the beach that day.