Birth of the End

Lessons have been climbing their way up and out of the woodwork these past few weeks. Some in a matter of days, like a bundle of letters lost in the mail that arrived all at once. A few lessons have, simultaneously, completed their gestation in the womb of my psyche. A few lessons have been born, slippery and raw, pulsing in my palms and begging to be released.

I have, for my entire life, wrestled with the notion that there will be people who do not like me. There will be. No ifs, ands or buts. There need to be! It’s cosmic law. But does that make it any easier to stomach? Nope. I’ve tried slipping into the guise of someone who (bless their hearts) just doesn’t care. I imagined flipping my ponytail at those who disliked me, respectfully not giving any shits what they think and rocking on with my bad self. But alas, it didn’t work. The ponytail flip whipped me in the eye as I flung back around flashing feral (now watering) eyes, desperately seeking a means by which to connect. A way to win over my hater. A way by which to, still, end up being liked.

Last week, in asana, my teacher offered up an intention so chillingly in line with what my own practice has reflected of late (but she and I have a way, like that, so it wasn’t really a surprise but an ah yes, of course). She provided some ideas of what we, her students, could “put down” as our offering for practice. For this space, right now, in our lives. A sacrificial intention, of sorts, focusing on laying something down mindfully rather than tossing it away or forcefully releasing it – there is such a difference. My choice came quickly, organically. Her own words followed, echoing my own lightning thoughts. My intuitive offering was twofold. The need to be liked and the need for attention. 

Ouch.

Not easy to admit. Not easy to release. Not easy to face!

But that’s part of the evolution of one of my recent lessons. Something hit me the other day. Like a bug on the windshield it hit me. People WILL disapprove of us for various reasons. People WILL judge us. All we can do is stand in the Grace that we are and know only WE can project OURSELVES. We have the power to cultivate the subtle space between personalizing and condemning criticism. When others criticize us, it is merely a projection of their own minds, their own thoughts, their own karma. May we be neutral enough to hear without owning. May we be humble enough to take what’s constructive and leave the rest. Some offer a concealed gift. Others are looking at us through a cloudy lens. May we be centered enough to trust our own vision, ever endeavoring towards greater clarity, knowing in our heart of hearts that only we can represent our truest Selves.

The mind is a beautiful servant, but a dangerous master (can’t take credit for that wisdom, it’s all Osho). So true, though, right? When harnessed properly, our own psyche can be a place of exquisite imagination, extraordinary discovery, mind-blowing contemplation. When let to run the show, things can get ugly…fast. But that’s a whole other essay…

More and more each day I find my practice gravitating towards the cultivation of the subtle thread that is the balance between caring for others’ opinions and allowing them to serve as a reflection of me. I believe that not caring what others think of us is liberating. I believe in holding space for the visions and perspectives of others, I believe in finding a way to value what others think, always, even if I don’t agree. I understand I will be judged, I understand I will be misunderstood. I understand I will judge and misunderstand. Releasing attachment to what others think of us is not egoistic, but an act of self-preservation. It’s a call to independence. A free pass to LIVE. Everything we think is a projection of our own mind. Everything anyone else thinks is a projection of theirs. Allow them that. It has nothing to do with you. Don’t weigh down your ship with someone else’s anchor.

There has been lot of despair in the world lately. A lot of angst in our society. Injustice, wrongdoing, heartbreak. It is now that we must really go inward. Because if we can’t cultivate a steady sense of Self, how can we strongly band together as one and unite? It’s the whole “put you air mask on first” concept. If we’ve not secured our own oxygen, if we’re not operating at full capacity, we simply cannot serve others from a place of our highest Selves. It’s science. We must be standing on a solid foundation before we can pull others aboard our raft.

I don’t know that I’d call this next one a “lesson” so much as an intuitive sensation. A call to action. I’ve felt, amidst said worldly suffering, a call for unity unlike any before. A call for us earth angels to unite. There will always be pain, there will always be suffering, there will always be unrest. But we can promote healing, renewal, restoration from right here where we sit. We have the power to transmit beneficial energy…from our hearts, our minds, our spirits, our palms, every cell of our physical being and every fiber of our true being. Don’t underestimate your power. Sadness and grief are not destinations, they are catalysts; vessels through which to channel hope, conviction, faith, trust, LOVE. Earth angels unite. We have work to do.

But it’s not all light sending. We mustn’t forget the receiving. Artfully manipulating the ebb and flow of this sacred energy pulse. The symphony of healing for which we all serve as conductors. The ability to see that we are constantly dying and constantly being reborn. That is why we end asana practice with savasana (corpse pose). It’s a metaphorical death. A death of the intentions we laid out at the start. A death of the Self we once were, even at the start of our practice. The death of the physical cells that are constantly obliterating and being made new. The death of old thought patterns, habits, addictions and beliefs. The death of the attachment to permanence. The birth of everything.

We are living in mortal bodies. We don’t have forever in this particular life. So just say how you feel. Speak up. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. No possible external effect could ever eclipse the great travesty of repressing your own truth. We are perishable items. We must (I repeat must) live accordingly. We must embrace this cyclical journey that we call life. We have work to do.

Let us celebrate the birth of the end. Let us make a ceremony out of this ending. Let us give it as much weight as we give to beginnings. May the end be an event in and of itself. It has worth, it has value. Only when we give birth to the end, and hold space for it entirely, may we step with empty, open palms and clear eyes into the raw newness of the beginning that awaits.

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Honey in the Heart ~ Gemini Full Moon

Full moon in Gemini tomorrow morning at 4:27am (for us in California…7:27am Eastern, 11:27am for my Aussies and 1:27pm in Europe). The sun is still in Sagittarius, which interestingly, the moon also was when we set intentions at the start of this cycle. This celestial positioning is really supportive of seeing visions to fruition. Finishing what we started (perfect timing for the end of a lap around the sun, yeah?). As the year closes, let’s harness this full moon potential more than any of the 11 before it. There’s mercurial energy abounding, beckoning clarity and truth, full disclosure with Self and other. I’ve been sensing a strong urge in the cosmos to incite the SEEKER within. Do you feel it? We are all seekers, by nature, but our external attachments and identifications can distract us and potentially even knock us off this path. It’s mean to be that way. That’s part of the seeking. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. It is VERY easy to leak all of our energy into the abyss, focusing on “action” and losing sight of VISION. The Gemini full moon begs both logic and intuition, a sultry yoking of yin and yang. Making sh*t happen whilst staying rooted in Grace and Divine Femininity. The energy building is like the trembling felt before a quake. You know? Pebbles rattling forth and back, cracks in the pavement bracing themselves to split wide open and let the mirth of Divinity erupt. This is a precipice. Not one of destruction; yes this quake will do some demolishing, it will leave a gaping hole, but it is just the surgically reconstructive measure you’ve been calling forth into your life this entire year. Think about it…this little calm before the storm, fully illuminated by Chandra Herself, is a sacred space in which to have a little dance, take a good look at what’s about to unfurl, and invite some lighthearted play into your realm. Make space for all that is to burst forth organically. There’s no work to be done but to be present and to foster the needle-fine thread of balance between inward devotion and outward expression. Don’t bottle up a thing; express everything you’re feeling, COMMUNICATE, whether it’s to the pages of your journal, your partner, your own spirit or the Goddess Herself. Remember how POTENT the full moon energy is. It amplifies everything. So be wise and meticulous about said communication. Be playful and easy but also rooted in vision. Let the magnified energy of abundance assist you in weaving a sturdy equilibrium between action and vision. Let the high energy FEEL GOOD. Let Chandra illuminate within you what is already organically there. Let the seeds you’ve planted be fertilized. Sit in the moonlight, lick the raindrops from your chin, set out your crystals to charge and your moonfusion elixir to steep. It’s time to let go. It’s time to release. Fortify yourself for the coming solstice and the return of the sun by gently laying fear down, a sweet and grateful release, as it’s led us to where we are right now. Lay fear down gently, my loves, and plunge honey heart first into the sweet, warm, pulsing energy of all you’ve manifested…into the sacred nectar of life that awaits. Happy full moon, earth angels. <3

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The Art of Loving

Loving is an art – not act, but art – of Grace. The art of loving. It cultivates, improves, grows, shifts, expands and illuminates. It requires practice. The art of loving is one without stop or start. Bleeding from one sitting to the next, one embrace to the next, one lock of eyes to the next, it is every element. Permeating solid structures, infusing liquid, clinging to air.

The more I love, and I mean in every way, shape and form love, the more natural it becomes. As an act, without intention or thought, it flows from my very being. Home with my mom, the human counterpoint to my own soul, I am quite phenomenally cocooned in a metaphysical envelope of love from arrival to departure. I feel my energy field expanding, my capacity to love getting stretch marks and threatening to burst at the seems. Beneath a star-speckled canopy of inky night sky, held in the gurgling warmth of the backyard spa tub, quite conversations of depth, merit, spirituality, consciousness ensue in the rising steam. Side by side, pedaling bikes up and down wine country backroads, single filing at the sound of a car approaching, we continue these soul-to-soul discussions. Winding the soft, well-trodden avenues of the vineyards we call home, the dog’s tongue trailing behind her, her ears flapping in her eyes, feet thromping without abandon, we add brushstrokes to the ongoing dialogue that is the love between us. I marvel at the exquisiteness that it is to share this life with someone who knows me so completely, who made me, whose unconditional adoration and support float me above the earth like an angel.

I leave home, and I fill in the aching physical emptiness with the warmth of that love, cover it with the threads of our cocoon. I carry on. I plug into my phone and listen, as I drive, to a video message from my soul mate sister across the ocean in Australia. My eyes burn with tears as the love pours from every orifice of my astral body. I marvel at the mind-blowing gift it is to have someone in my life, another someone, who understands my every fiber with such clarity. I marvel at the insignificance of the ocean between us. My soul balloons and shrinks, just before bursting, in time to the pulse of my beating heart, the expansion of my breathing lungs. My spirit rests on the brink of rupturing from sheer love.

I take a hike with my dear friend. Some divine intervention gently slips the idea into the crown of my being that perhaps she is free. I send her a message. We meet at our favorite trail. Mist clings to the trees. A reprieve before the ensuing thunderstorm. The lake sits placid, the birds rejoice. We fill our lungs to the brim with mountain air. We spill our souls into the atmosphere and let our words drip down the parallel lines of energy connecting us, nestling in the soil and sprouting upon contact.

The more that I love, the more love is me. The more that I act, the more I cultivate the art that it is to love as me, the more I embody love. The more love becomes me. The more love exchange becomes as vital and as unconscious as breathing.

There is no separation. The love that I have for the woman who lent me her womb, who has wiped my tears and held my hand and fought battles seen and unseen for the wellbeing of my innocent spirit…the love that I have for the powerful force of divine femininity who I have spent so many lifetimes with, and somehow discovered in this life despite living a complete world apart…the love that I have for the beautiful and gentle spirit with whom I ascended mountains today, and am blessed to celebrate milestones with in the suspended perfection of Mother Nature…Mother Nature herself, and the symphony of bliss she weaves by simply being, the gift to live in a place where I am constantly astounded by her Grace and glory…there is no separation. These loves are one. They are living me as I am living them, and they further become part of my sacred web, my cellular network, my spiritual matrix the more that I shine my light upon them.

As the brilliant Danielle LaPorte says, putting words to a vibration I have powerfully felt in my being for as long as I’ve been sentient,

“Things are sacred because we say they are, it’s that simple, that clear, that dear. There is an eternal standing offer from the universe for you to exercise your divinity. Giving blessings is an elegant solution to apathy and disconnectedness. Blessing heats that flame in your heart and helps us all rise up the evolutionary scale. SANCTION THINGS WITH YOUR LOVE. Give the great offering of wishing the best outcome for someone. Take their problems to your God. Petition for karmic clemency.”

Things are sacred because we say they are. It’s that simple.

Love is our existence because we say it is. 

If you wake up one day and decide to stop drinking coffee, or to start blessing every doorway you pass through, or deciding to say a prayer of gratitude at every red light you hit during your commute…it will take an adjustment period. You will forget. It will challenge you. But, in time, the act will become an art. The wonky, new habit awkwardness will steady into skillful execution. There will be a grace and fluidity about it, because you will have become it. No longer will the act of not drinking coffee be a big event because you simply won’t be drinking it. No longer will you have to think before blessing each doorway, no longer will there be an “oh yeah,” before giving thanks at a stoplight. The power of the mind is profound. The power of the heart blows that out of the water. The power of Spirit, when we tap into it, is other-worldly.

The best part? We have the opportunity to exercise this magic every, single, day. Right now. A minute ago. Half an hour from now. It is ongoing. We are in a grand classroom, a never-ending practice space! We are in it, right now. There’s nothing to wait for, nothing that needs creating. The opportunity to love, to be love, to cultivate the art of loving is in your every tissue as you sit there existing, right this moment. Pause…listen. Notice that silence when you stop, for just a millisecond, the steady throne of quite between breaths. The acute fullness of what it is to be alive, to be you…right now, in this body, in this moment. The overwhelming privilege that it is to hold in your palms, your cells, your consciousness the key to such sacred practice.

Light us up with your art. Light us up with your love. Recognize and step into the power that you are…a walking exhibit, the art of loving in motion.

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Awaken

I believe that what happens to us in this life is preordained. We are held and guided by a higher force. Call it what you will; Divine Mother, God, cosmic consciousness, Goddess, Self, the universe…we are held.

But just because things are “happening as they’re meant to” does not mean we should walk blindly through this life. It does not mean everything will fall into place and we have no work to do. We do have work to do. There is work to be done.

Preordained grace does not give us a free pass to fall asleep at the wheel. We cannot expect destiny to neatly lay gifts in our laps, just because we’re trucking along. We must be aware, we must activate, we must awaken.

What is it that sustains our own unique little universe? What is it that tugs and pulls at the sinews and fibers of our own unique little matrix? What is it that keeps us up at night, when the stars vibrate so silently that it’s deafening? What is it that strips away our layers till we’re raw and crying at the sheer heartbreaking beauty and terrifying mystery of the unknown?

Wafting from cracks in the pavement, showering down from the stars, emanating from the shivering branches of trees is our “meant to be.” It’s everywhere. It’s everyone. It’s all around us. But we must fearlessly turn our gaze upwards. We must look it straight in the eyes, we must peer into the darkness and trust the light will appear. Because the Divine Mother can lay everything out perfectly, but if we’re blind and sleeping, how can we see Her signs? How can we hear Her whispers?

Just because our destiny beckons us does not mean it is inherently ours. We must – we must - activate our power. Too often we give our power away. Too often we mistake fearful compliance for divine trust.

Trusting the process, allowing the sacred to hold us safe, is very different from throwing up our hands and giving in. Offering ourselves to the Divine and allowing Her to take the wheel is irresponsible. We are not empty vessels. Our ships can crash if we do not make an effort to steer them. We can ask Her grace to fill us and guide us, but we then must step up to the plate. We must do our part. We can be led Divinely down the most sacred, perfect path – the path where all our deepest desires will manifest – but if we don’t see them, we will pass them by. Do you understand what I’m saying? Am I speaking to you? We can walk right past our soulmate, pass by the building where we would have been offered our dream career, completely miss the courtyard filled with the guiding light that was to inspire our greatest artistic masterpiece…if we don’t pay attention. You can lead a horse to water…we must recognize our thirst and willing to drain the water.

I pulled an angel card from my oracle deck just before sitting down to this piece. It was “Blessing in Disguise.” It read, “What appears to be a problem is actually part of your answered prayer. You’ll understand the reasons behind your present situation as everything resolves. Trust in heaven’s protection and infinite wisdom to answer your prayer in the best way.” The angels sent you this card to help you recognize the blessing in the midst of an apparent challenge. What you’ve appear to have lost needed to fall away, and will be replaced with something better. Have no fear for your future, but continue praying and following the guidance that comes to you through repetitive feelings, thoughts, visions and words. Additional meanings for this card: One door closes another one opens • The “how” is up to God with respect to the best way to answer prayers • Release the need to control and predict the outcome of this situation • Trust.

My guru gave me a mantra some time ago. Om Parasaktyai Namaha. It means offer every disturbance to the supreme Shakti, treat every ripple as sacred teacher, release the intense need to craft your life so Grace can guide you and hold you safe. I recite it every day. Before asana, after asana; during, before, after meditation; in the car; in my bed; before a meal. Sometimes at the strangest moments. Sometimes in moments that simply beg for the fullness of those words. The mantra is dropped into my consciousness from above whenever needed, and I don’t question it. I marvel, yes. But I don’t question it. I take the life raft, I swallow the spiritual pill, I infuse my cells with the medicinal potion of their weight and trust trust trust.

We can get so caught up in definitions, concepts, the illusion of permanence. We can become so  afraid of ideas, of words. God, prayer, holiness, Spirit. These words have caused wars. These arrangements of letters elicit images, palpable reluctance, visceral emotions. But what is any word, really, but a feeling? Why do we allow ourselves to be locked up in definitions? Why do we even attempt to define ourselves, or anything at all? Man laid meaning to letters, after all.

Love. Truth. Trust. Wisdom. Remembrance. Oneness. Peace.

These words are just as sacred as God, prayer, holiness, Spirit, temple, worship, scripture. Because what are they but feeling, emotion, vibration?

One of my most favorite, cherished poems is this one…

My heart holds within it every form,
it contains a pasture for gazelles,
a monastary for Christian monks.
There is a temple for idol-worshippers,
A holy shrine for pilgrims;
There is the table of the Torah,
and the book of the Koran.
I follow the religion of Love
and go whichever way His camel leads me.
This is the true faith;
This is the true religion.
~Ibn Arabi

We are one. Love is our common blood. Truth is our uniting force. Angelic Divinity is our shared source. We are born from the same pure spring. We drip the same magic, we contain within us the same vast, black, starless canvas of moonlit, wondrous potential. So why do we insist on keeping up this act, why do we continue to cover for the ignorant villain that is separation? There is no separation. All is one. We are one. We are everything. We are everyone.

Our paths are littered with gifts. But just because we consist of stardust and bliss, just because we are children of the God and Goddess, does not mean we will be without suffering. Learning to remember the sweetness of our own inherent worth, learning to read the symbols and hear the poetry of our own deserving nature, learning to recognize the depth of the unconditional love that holds us safe…is not always easy. But it is essential to our transformation. Without awakening and activating, we cannot transform. Our souls will remain suspended in a false safety. And it is just that…false.

The people, places, experiences, objects and feelings that puncture our hearts, stretch our spirits, spill into our crown chakra and trickle through our cellular matrix are meant. to. be. there. They are sent to us from grace Herself. May we swallow our fear and learn to trust the burning in our center that leads us forward, that beckons us towards these people, places, experiences, objects and feelings. They are our teachers, our temple, our idols and our religion. They are the very reflections of ourselves, the counterpoints of our own souls. They are no accident. 

I believe that what happens to us in this life is preordained. We are held and guided by a higher force. But we must come to terms with our responsibility in this journey. Often our greatest blessings are disguised by a thin veil of conflict, confusion, fear, doubt. Don’t be fooled by the disguise. See through the veils. Burn away the doubt with truth. Anoint the questionable with faith.

It is overwhelming what an extreme privilege it is to be able to hold space for such a sacred practice, to be able to commandeer such an exquisite venture. Acknowledging how very blessed we are, what a sincere honor it is to be able to pursue liberation, is the most grounding, humbling, gratifying practice. It is the precipice for the deep work that will, inevitably, lead us to our own freedom. Our own recognition of truth, love, healing. Our own clarification of God and holiness, Spirit and prayer. We are being led and invited to awaken. To active. We are being called forth. It is time for our own discovery. It is time for us to open our eyes and expose the sacred, preordained life we have so profoundly chosen. Wake up. It’s starting.

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Transparency and Authenticity

Sometimes when I lay back in savasana or sit down in meditation, it goes like this: thoughts racing a million miles a minute, planning, thinking, contemplating, wondering, suddenly everything in need of processing spills out…it can sometimes go on and on. Then it’s followed by some squirming, or even just the urge to squirm…sometimes it doesn’t feel like “meditation” or deep relaxation at all but rather a big challenge. Then suddenly, as if struck from behind with a tranquilizer, I sink deep. DEEP. Ahhhh…still, peaceful warmth. How did I get here? What if I had given up during the thinking and squirming? I’d’ve missed the sinking. I’d’ve missed the depth. This practice is a journey. It was never meant to be perfect and pretty, absolute serenity and silence. Sometimes we get glimpses of that. But the practice itself is messy, revealing, and yet the most deeply rewarding one we could have. Each time we sit, we inch forward in our journey, we chip away at the nonsense that we so often mistake as “ourselves.” We discover our true Selves. We go deep. I believe in transparency and authenticity…and I’ll be the first to say going deep is not as swift and simple as we’d like to think. We must crawl back into ourselves. We must earn the depth with patience and practice. But we can…and we will. We can withstand the racing thoughts, the squirming fidgets. We can sit with ourselves and let the depth come to us.

Play, Always.

There is something magically exquisite in breaking the rules, refusing labels, sinking deeply into the art of intuitive living. The notion has been swirling around my imagination for a few days now, and took flight this morning as I broke my weekly social media fast and dreamily caught up on the musings of the Facebook, instagram and email world.

I was faced with how beautifully different we all are, as human beings. The myriad of different lives, choices, expressions and illustrations we embody. In this last month I’ve been doing a lot of spiritual work. Rather, a lot of spiritual work has been doing me. I’ve been challenged and questioned, I’ve been offered glimpses of my true nature and invitations to stay awhile in the serene space of inner solitude. I’ve begun to challenge and question ideals and beliefs that, I now realize, I have held as gospel for years. Karmic patterns that I have blindly marched along with for all of my 26 years are now suddenly burning with my sage.

I used to really be bothered by opposition. Even as a child; a friend with long hair like mine would cut her hair short, and I’d feel destabilized. I’d feel the urge to either copy her or defend my own long hair. There was a curse of comparison, one I trust I’ve carried into this life from burdens of another incarnation. I experienced but never outright noticed my tendencies to flinch in the face of opposition. When I came up against differences in other people, I would cringe. That may sound bizarre to you, I know it does to me. Admitting it is oddly uncomfortable and liberating all at once.

As an adult, living a practice of ever-digging for my truth, my tendencies continued to manifest but in a more “in my face” manner. The more I delve into self-inquiry and observation, the more apparent certain veils become. For instance, when I meet a fellow yogi(ni) who happens to be a runner (this one always gets me), or vegan/non-vegan, health-conscious/not health-conscous, spiritual/non-spiritual, my response is not one of dispassion. I’d, in fact, find myself feeling very reactive. I’d feel disappointed or validated, depending on whether “their way” was the same as “my way.” I don’t run or I don’t eat meat or I’m super health conscious and they’re not or they wear loads of makeup and I don’t or they’re gorgeously curvy and I’m not, so I can’t identify with them. It sounds so childish, so limited. But it happened. It happens for many of us.

For a long time that was a familiar refrain in my thought patterns. It would stem from uninvestigated, reactive, instinctual judgements. I’d feel inferior, threatened (strange but true), unintentionally discriminating and competitive. Such a weird little symphony of reactions to have in response to something that had, frankly, nothing at all to do with me. Just another human being living their gloriously unique life. It’s totally embarrassing to confess, but I’ve confessed weirder things, and I’ve found that sharing this type of honest self-inquiry has heightened my accountability immensely.

Cringing in the face of opposition is not a problem, it’s partially just human nature. But continuing to allow ourselves to be emotionally taxed by an unrealistic desire for opposition to vanish…now, that’s a problem.

Truth-telling and truth-seeking; these are the bricks on which the path to the discovery of authentic Truth are built, after all. We’re human. We have these odd little idiosyncrasies. Why not dissect them? Why not embrace them? Why not come to understand them so that we can see them for their worth, and then release them?

I have realized, especially in the past year, how natural it has always been for me to internalize things. Experiences, observations, belief systems, practices, emotions. If something triggers us – and let’s face it, a lot triggers the vast majority of us – it’s incredibly challenging to separate from it. It’s hard to listen to someone’s story of how they handled something or offer solicited advice when the matter at hand tugs at your own emotions, your own heart strings.

There is no one right way. There is no permanence. Permanence is an illusion. Change is the only constant, they say, so why do we crave permanence so furiously? Why do we build castles on granite that’s bound to shift?

A very key part that I unearthed in this mind-fuck of a self-observational exercise is that the restrictive judgements I felt move through me didn’t apply just to others. They applied to me as well. I’d find myself feeling very confused if, on a walk one day, I felt the urge to run the hills or sprint down a street. What the heck was my problem, right? It was that I had identified so thoroughly with “not being a runner anymore,” that I’d lost sight of the simplicity of existence. I’d lost my element of play.

This may seem trivial, it may be a sentence some of you glaze over nonchalantly. But to me, it was like a smack on the forehead. Oh. My. God. DUH. Play. Hello! It makes perfect sense now. I, Miss Type-A Perfectionist Label-Maker, want to title and file ev-er-y-thing in sight. Neat and orderly. Check, check, check. Tick off the boxes, make a new list, rinse and repeat.

But that’s not life. Life is messy. Life is shifting, changing, constantly growing and morphing and renewing. By labeling anything, we inherently limit it.

Since pulling this little nugget of wisdom from the stars, this lesson of worry less play more, I’ve found myself discovering more play in all sorts of places. I’ve invited more play into my asana practice. More experimentation. Before, I could be quite analytical. I began practicing with complete and utter bodily intuition. Then I was trained as a teacher, and my “teaching” brain infiltrated my every practice. Now I’m navigating back to a balance of intuitive play and proper instruction. There’s an element of experimentation that’s necessary for one to deeply develop one’s practice, I believe (look at how Iyengar developed the method, experimentation!). There’s something liberating and exhilarating in this. And it transcends the mat (as the asana practice is really just a laboratory for life, anyway).

This liberation, this exhilaration, are essential components. This candid self-observation is to the transformation process as preheating the oven is to preparing a feast.

Seeing ourself through a compassionate lens, holding space for brutal honest (like admitting foolish stuff like caring that someone else runs when you don’t, resisting the urge to shudder at this folly and even to label it as such), and then offering ourselves the understanding needed to process and purge these thoughts healthfully…this is the essential process in creating a recipe that’ll stand the test of time.

So, what’s the moral of the story this evening? I don’t have any grand moral. But I have a simple thought. Growth does not occur because we’ve micromanaged our lives. Growth occurs organically. Growth and transformation are not interchangeable. Growth is evolution. Transformation is unveiling. Peeling away the layers. Transformation happens with intention, and recognition of the shadows that inevitably darken portions of the path. Transformation happens when we find a recipe that works for us, and we get serious in the kitchen. I’ve discovered some invaluable tweaks to my cooking strategies in this recent exploration. Some steps that’ll surely keep me from burning a few masterpieces-to-be, and ensure my recipe does stand the test of time…

A handful of compassion, a reasonable dose of diligence, a sprinkle of pepper, and humility. Play, always. Limit labeling. And don’t forget to preheat the oven.

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Soham

The identifications in this life are so tempting, sooo alluring…the urge to identify is rampant, laced into nearly every moment. Girlie, nerdy, athletic, vegetarian, teacher, doctor, outdoorsy, wife, mother, husband, father, artsy, conservative, liberal, ironic, pious…there are more ways we can latch onto false identifications than there are moments in the day. We do it unwittingly. We do it with honest and pure intentions (usually). But this is not who we are. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these parts of our lives, but for liberation to be tasted, we must work towards the recognition that these “identities” are NOT “us.” We were infants once with no knowledge of math or science, unable to read, utterly dependent on our caretakers. Now we’re adults…our bodies have changed, our minds have changed, we dress differently, our careers have likely changed, maybe our partners have changed, we’ve had loss and we’ve had gain…we are quite literally the opposite of what we once were. Therein lies the danger in identifying with any physical or mental characteristic! So much has shifted, and continues to shift, it is the purpose as human beings, on a cellular level. The danger in thinking we “are” any particular identity is fierce. In the deep, silent space of contemplation that is meditation, we begin to sip from the overflowing bowl of sweet nectar that IS our True Nature. The warm, constant pulse of our existence. Divine light. Earth angels. Beings of energy that are beyond any fathomable “identity.” In this space, there is such safety, such security, such warmth. The womb of humanity. So be you, do you, be “girlie, nerdy, athletic, vegetarian, teacher, doctor, outdoorsy, wife, mother, husband, father, artsy, conservative, liberal, ironic, pious…” but KNOW, in your very depths, that you are so much more than any of those titles imply. You are more sacred than any title could ever express. You ARE Divine light. You ARE an Earth angel. You ARE a Being of energy beyond any fathomable “identity.” And you are here with a purpose. So step into the warmth of yourself, find that safe space, and proceed fully anchored by the roots of your untouchable Grace.
Namaste.

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