Real Life: Beth’s battle with the bottle.

I was about to begin my meditation class at The Yoga Barn, a deep session focused on breathing and cleansing the mind. A couple of minutes before we began an American woman in her early forties placed her mat right next to me. She took out a Nikon camera, praying beads and a Australian bottle of white wine from her colourful Indian bag. I curiously observed as she tried to open it, I wondered if this was some sort of tradition. She asked the man next to her to unscrew the bottle and she placed it at the front of her mat. The class began. It was intense, like nothing I had experienced before. We shook our emotions, lifted any personal grief to the surface and then stayed in Savasana in silence as we cleansed our mind and gave permission to our heart to let go of any anger, sadness or disappointment. During this meditation class, we worked on controlling our mind not to interfere with anything going on around us, our challenge was to gently let our mind rest peacefully. For any of you who might be sceptical and think that a ninety minute meditation session resembles a juicy afternoon siesta you’re completely mistaken — if practiced correctly it’s a workout for your mind which will leave you re-charged and give you absolute clarity.

As soon as our class ended, after our final Namaste, the woman closed the wine bottle, swiftly rolled her mat, bounced up and and smiled at me. She quickly introduced herself. Her name was Beth, she was an American photographer and she came to Bali because she had just separated from her husband and after seeing the world popular ‘Eat Pray Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert she wanted to experience this island for herself. She explained how she was a recovering alcoholic, she had turned to the bottle for comfort and it had mastered her and turned her into its slave.

Beth’s life lesson shared.

During Beth’s journey to regaining her control and as part of her recovery, rather than eliminating any sight of alcohol or staying away from it she kept it close practicing incredible inner strength to remind herself that she had the power to choose. Whoever enjoys the occasional glass, or two, or more knows that having a bottle of your favourite wine glare right at you and not letting yourself have a taste is a killer situation, so I immediately had a deep respect for Beth. Just like a long distance athlete trains for a marathon she was using her meditation class to build her self control. On a more deep spiritual level, Beth was offering her addiction during the class, unleashing her fears and letting go ending her session with a lighter heart and a stronger mindset.

Her words struck me like lightning. She had shared her truth with me right then and there. The life lesson here is incredibly powerful. Don’t hide your weaknesses, don’t sweep them under the carpet and pretend they are not there. Give them light, boldly put them on your centre stage, practice acceptance, love and gratitude and remind yourself that you have the force within to take charge. We are all constantly making choices so it is entirely up to us to make the right ones. Beth was not ashamed or apologetic because she understood that her battle with the bottle was part of her journey which included sharing her story with others.

Beth is a teacher in our huge classroom, the world.

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