This will be my last home in Italy for the summer, and I am here for over a month, strung in limbo between the yoga retreat I’ve just completed teaching on - in Verbier, Switzerland - and the two to come in September - Villa Lena in Tuscany, and at Borgo di Carpiano in Umbria. As I teach on more yoga retreats, more often, I am slowly discovering how my energy levels rise and fall, dip and peak along with the calendar. I find teaching and leading a yoga retreat the most rewarding and wonderful experience, especially because I get to travel with these retreats, feeding my wanderlust and passion for nature. However, it is an emotionally, mentally and physically draining job, with bursts of time (on retreat) when huge amounts of energy is required of me, and bursts of time (off retreat) when things mellow.
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On a flight back to Amsterdam from a recent trip to Kenya, I stumbled upon a short story by JM Coetzee, titled The Dog. The story focuses on an unnamed female who makes a daily journey on foot to work. En route, she passes a private property guarded by a vicious dog. The story has no particular location, although the language spoken between the characters is French. Work and homeward bound, She is harassed by this dog. It is a terrifying and beastly hound, with sharp teeth, a stinking breath (no doubt) and a keen smell for female blood:
A recent special issue of the National Geographic, titled Gender Revolution, makes a fascinating study of how youths around the world are increasingly pushing the boundaries of gender and sexuality to mould a sense of self that is more fluid and non-binary. This shift can only happen in the context of generalised growing social acceptance and awareness of the limits stained male/female, girl/boy binaries. A spin off is a progression towards gender equality. Of course, some societies are better at accepting these changes than others.