Thursday, November 17, 2011

Part Two: An Interview with Narelle Carter-Quinlan

Jan.s:  I invited Narelle to talk about perception and in her inimitable style here is what she wrote.....


Narelle:  Lenses of Perception

My yoga teacher of many years, Alan Goode, used to say, "Yoga cleanses the lenses of perception". And indeed I experience it does; at least on the mat. My relationship with myself, my perception of what is possible, or how I might commune within or "do" an asana, continues to open out over these years of practice. My practice is an act of creation. I move myself toward asana, I enter it, I interact with it and with myself through it, and, as long as I am available to myself and to my direct experience, I Experience myself. Information comes in. If I don't filter this experience, or defend against it, it impacts me. There is space. Change happens. My active engagement with this, is an act of creation. Much of this, of course, I have also learnt from my Spiritual practice of meditation and of Transformation.



For me, "available" is the operative word here. My "perception" may be quite a different activity from my "being available". Available to myself, to my actual experienced experience. And if I am relating with another, available to the direct experience of myself in relationship with my Other, and with the All that Is; that is, myself, the Other in question, and the vibrating communion of What Is that surrounds, and permeates us in that moment. Available to What Is, in all its vibrating aliveness in the moment, becomes my action. 



Hmmmm. Much  like the experience of tasting what something is not, in order to know more of what it is, I have been experiencing (and perceiving!) much of  "Perception" in its guise of an act of separation in my life of late; not with availability to anything at all. I notice that in this space, some things close down; most notable to me at this time, communication and compassion.


Recently, two major life experiences illuminated and continue to illuminate this for me. Piercingly so.

Last September, ten weeks ago, my mother died. It was not unexpected; she had been very ill for a long time. Nor, sadly, had we been very close.  And yet we were, I discover now. In many ways we had much in common; two women, both mothers, who deeply, deeply love/d their children, even as adults. 

I am my mother's only offspring, her only child. In her passing, there is my father. And his grief, the grief of saying farewell to one's partner of 57 years of marriage. 


I was fearful to meet him that first day after Mum died. Would he be enraged with me? Would he be alive when I arrived at his house? 

My lenses of fear. Possibly guilt. Yet he welcomed me, with unrestrained openness of arms and heart. And we wept. And as we talked, as my Dad showed me her things, as I felt my mother's presence over the next days and weeks, as I type this now, I realise/d that I had not really been available or seen my mother. I found her difficult. Demanding in ways I could not meet. But her quiet dignity, the gifts of the person, I did not see. Defence clouded and limited my lenses. 

As I travelled overseas just nine days after her passing, my father discovered he needed surgery. Home I needed to come.   

My own experience was one of being in New York City (a city I love dearly), anchor less. My family in tatters. My grief rose and washed through. 

My friends away, or going away, or busy in the breathlessness that is this city. The small furry animal inside me needed as much to come hometo be in my own bed, in my own room, with my own cat, as much as my father, alone and frightened and grieving, needed his only well relative (he has an ill brother) to support him. His daughter. So home I came. Cancelling teaching commitments. Which felt awful and anxiety provoking. 

What struck me, was this lens thing. Right there and then. As I lay on my bed in Manhattan, it was clear. As I heard responses from those around me of my decision, I became aware that each individual was viewing this reality (my mother's death, my fathers' surgery, my going home), through their own lenses. The response was mixed and polarised. It was curious to behold. The lenses of perception. Not necessarily matching my felt, direct experience of myself. What surgery did my father need? Cataracts. In both eyes. Neglected apparently, for years, as he nursed my mother, putting her care above his own. His lenses. One done, the other to go....Doesnt need his specs anymore!!





What do I Experience when I step myself beside myself, aside from my perception. Ahh, now that opens it up.....I experience Love. Great Love.

...When I was  little girl, and I had been "naughty", or believed myself to have done something "wrong", I would apologise to my father, and ask forgiveness. He would look at me amused. Compassion and expansiveness filling his face and eyes. "Do you forgive me Dad", I'd ask, little, maybe 3-5 years old. "There's nothing to forgive", he'd say. It was a direct experience for me of standing in the Light. His eyes clear and blue. Lens-less.Creation. Thanks Dad!

Several years ago, I reminded him of this incident, this experience. He smiles again, "Oh. Good. I'm glad you got that one." His eyes catch mine and twinkle. I can see right through them.





All Photos: Narelle Carter-Quinlan: (c) Courtesy of and copyright 2011

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