Echo of a Soul

I saw an echo of a soul today. Sweet features shadowed by protruding facial bones, skeleton jutting forward as if in protection of skin. I’d rather think of her as an echo of a soul than a walking skeleton, but either way that’s what she was. She smiled and the skin creased and folded, nervously, as were her eyes. “Please pack them light,” I saw her mouth to the bagger, “I’m so sorry…” she smiled broadly and her skin curtsied into folds. She looked ten years younger a few months ago. I knew from five yards away why she needed the bags light; not so the handles wouldn’t break but so that they wouldn’t break her.

I knew she couldn’t see me but that I should mask my expression incase she somehow did. So I let the horror etch the inside of me instead of across my facial features. Tears threatened the thresholds of my eyes and I said no, no you can’t come out, not here. Not where she can see you. Not where you could cause her any more pain than she’s already in.
Her sweater hung loose on her frame, successfully masking the emaciation beneath it. But the frailty that was exposed gave her away, it screamed of sorrow and control and a deep, pitch black pit of hell that had shackled her to the bottom. I know this because it’s the very same pit of hell whose shackles I escaped years ago. Six years ago. Six years feel like sixty seconds when you see a face like hers. I never got that bad, I didn’t get even close to that bad and I’m so grateful for the human buoys that tugged with all their might to break me from the fetters that bound me.

My stare was guarded. I didn’t gawk, but I didn’t take my eyes from her either. I searched her for a clue, I wanted so badly to leave my register, leave my customer and their groceries because they were healthy and whole and they didn’t need me. I wanted so badly to close the distance of those five yards and take her feeble hands in mine and say, “Are you okay? You’re not okay. Come with me. I will help you. I love you. You’re not alone.”
I know one cannot say that to someone with this disease. I know one cannot tell an anorexic they’re not okay. She’s not told me she’s anorexic, in fact she’s never told me anything at all, I don’t believe she’s ever come through my line. But I know. It’s like a cutter seeing scars on a strangers wrist; they just know. One just knows. I just know.

I feel so sick not being able to help her. I feel so scared that she won’t wake up tomorrow. She is a walking structure of bones, the anatomy of her face literally visible from beneath her skin, her fingers crumpling beneath the weight of skin, legs like forearms in a denim veil.

What does she do with the food she buys? Is she shopping for others? I used to. Is she eating only some of it, in itsy bitsy portions each day, the same food day after day after day? I used to. Is she unaware how terrifyingly thin she looks? I was. Is she blinded to the fact that she’s fifteen pounds past the need for hospitalization?

I saw her fifteen pounds ago and felt overwhelmingly frightened for her. Today I went into a trance watching her. I heard nothing that was said to me and saw nothing that was in front of me, except that echo of a soul in line at register four. My spirit called out to her please look at me, please read my mind, please know that you can make it if you stop now. PLEASE.

I felt responsible. I don’t know why. I felt this way about another girl, but she’s clearly being treated. I see the torture on her face every time she comes into the store, which is rarely, now that she’s been made to put on weight. She wears sunglasses inside and avoids talking. Her mother comes in, pearls in her ears and bows in her hair, and buys the two crowns of broccoli, the one cucumber slice, the splash of vinegarette, the raw oat cake, and the one oyster mushroom that can’t go in the back with everything else or her “daughter won’t eat it.”

This lady is different. She’s older. Probably in her thirties, which scares me most. I feel fortunate to have been treated as a teenager, I’m blessed that I was still a minor at the worst stage of it. I didn’t have a choice but to stop or be hospitalized. So I chose the ensure. The ensure and the Costco muffins (to think of it still makes me shudder). The girl in the sunglasses is young enough to be swayed, too. I hope she will keep fighting. I hope the torment that I know thrashes on the other side of those black lenses will subside, in time. I hope she keeps the sun on her face.

And I hope for the woman in line at register four that she gets help. I hope she wakes up tomorrow. I hope the Universe sends her my thoughts in some kind of tangible vessel. I hope she realizes she’s worth more. I hope she looks in the mirror and finally sees what she’s become, what she’s losing, what’s beneath it all. I hope she comes through my line, and that I can communicate to her that she hasn’t any time to waste.

She hasn’t any time to waste.

None of us have any time to waste.

How do I help her? Please tell me. I need to help her. I need to help them all…all of the suffering souls who are starving their beautiful bodies into submission. Oh God how do we help them? How do we stop it? I see my face crumpling into tears in the mirror and I remember the folds of her face, the skin that once embraced the full cheeks of a girl now cowering beneath the heavy weight of a disease that is taking her down. She’s not winning. No one wins unless there’s an army.

I’m so Goddamn thankful for my army. Mom. Dad. Claudia. Dr. Hensley. You four saved me. You reached into that pit of black scalding hell and pulled me out, gingerly, careful to ease my fragile frame out from under the chains. You gave me the tools that kept me from falling back in again. How do I pass these tools on to a perfect stranger? Is it my place to cross that line? That line placed between human beings by society? I’d cross them in a heartbeat if I knew it could save her life. I would go out on a limb and assume. Perhaps it’s another disease, it obviously could be, but would that matter? Wouldn’t she be grateful for the extension of pure human love? Maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe she’d be offended. Maybe I’d even get in trouble for offending a customer. I don’t care. I wish I’d followed her out today. I wish I’d told her that she doesn’t have to share with me, but that I lived a scary hell of my own and if there’s anything anything anything she could possibly need…I want to help. I am here. I know her, even though I don’t. I want her to know that I know her. I hurt for her. I cry for her, right now, in my home, hours after having seen her. I hear the haunting echo of her soul, and mine answers her cry.

We cannot fight one another’s battles, but we can do everything in our power to serve others; to let others know they are not alone; to reach out to those whose shoes in which we’ve stood. If that’s all we’re here for, it that’s our only purpose, to help the souls whose burdens we too have carried, then we are a beautiful gift to this world. We are a beautiful gift to one another.

Who can you help? I know my answer. I know what I will do. I know I must be fearless in doing so and I know I may never see the woman from register four ever again. I know I may never see the girl in the sunglasses ever again. But I know that I will always assume, with love and kindness, and I will always extend the fiercest love I can convey to a perfect stranger. Because we see the reflection of our own suffering in the soul of another. We can smell the thick stench of the hell in which we’ve been before. It’s our duty to help one another. Not everyone has an army to pull them out. Be their army. Be one another’s army.

I am only one person, but I put up one helluva fight. And I will fight for that echo of a soul everyday. I will fight for them all. Every single day that I’m breathing.

Image

Unfreakingbelievable. I love this woman.

The Manifest-Station

I used to play this game in my twenties with men. I don’t like you but I want you to want me it was called. I was insecure and wanted all the attention I could get from men but I didn’t want to have to give anything up for it: sex, intimacy, love. I wanted to feel pretty and desired without having to look into anyone’s eyes or have them claim me as theirs. I felt ugly and short and I overcompensated by wearing high platform shoes and low cut shirts which showed my cleavage. And a lot of makeup. I was a master at flirting. I could make men want me.

Then I would panic. I would avoid. I would not return phone calls or emails. I would hide. I would be distant. I was a fraud. I couldn’t hold my own.

I didn’t want to hold my own.

View original post 1,494 more words

“I quiet this mind, I nourish this body.”

Today I went for a hike around the local reservoir. Actually, I drove one town away to take this hike. Despite the fact that I hiked a trail practically in my backyard (several streets away) yesterday at sunset, and that there are plenty more easily accessible trails, I felt compelled to hike in this particular place. Something about trekking around the reservoir is comforting to me, as that’s what my family and I do in my hometown. I grew up clambering around a brimming (and sometimes frightfully low) reservoir and it brings me peace, the long, bent circle of trail rimming sparkling water.

So I walked today, along with seemingly everyone in the SF bay area and their brother; yet another comfort, being surrounded by innumerable strangers, immersed in the ups and downs of their own worlds, the stories and dialogues of their own lives. I didn’t put in my headphones, which I think I had been planning to do…I had also toyed with the idea of calling my good friend Ryan back, which I’d been meaning to do for days. But something urged me to listen to something else, something rather pressing, I was urged to tune into the rhythmic melody of the Universe…of life.

So I did.

I walked, in my beloved hiking boots, around that 3 mile loop. I caught countless snippets of conversation…learned intimate bits and pieces about the lives of people I will likely never see again.

Did she go to Alabama with him? … The only way we could afford it is to have Dad come out here … Pam was like, STOP THAT RIGHT NOW, you don’t DO that! … We’re halfway … Wouldn’t you rather hear it from me than him? … I just have so much on my plate it’s just the last straw … I was like bro, you don’t even fucking know! … I know how to say that in English, she has short hair, now you grow your hair long, ha ha! … But do you hear what I’m saying? I’d have to take two more days off if I came back Monday. …

These are just a few of the snippets I recall from today. Some more were murmured in foreign languages, some were spoken low while others were laughed aloud and echoed off the water. Many people walked in groups, and a good number walked alone. Some ran, a few jogged, many walked briskly, most ambled. There were strollers, mom’s with babies strapped to their backs, dads trailing roller blading kids. An old man jogged in corduroy pants whose color reminded me of the Crayola burnt sienna crayon. It was a form of people watching with heightened awareness, passing by these lives that were busily going. I know I’m like that when I walk with my mom, chatting away, sharing my deepest secrets with the trees, momentarily with the people strolling past, eternally embedding my worries and joys into the thick moss that covers the forest.

While my solo hike to the soundtrack of life was immensely soothing, one lesson stands out amongst the rest, one reason why it was so very soothing.

I was reminded that I’m not alone.

I knew this already, yes, but I was reminded more firmly, more solidly today. As I whirred past the woes, fears, triumphs and doubts of so many human beings, human beings of all different shapes and sizes, in all different garb, speaking different languages, living starkly different realities…I was reminded we are all the same. No one of us is more important than the other, no one face prettier, no one conversation better, or worse. We are all human. We are all in this together. While one couple walks by laughing and talking, the next blathers nervously, asking their partner, Why? What do I do?

I felt alone today, and I was okay with it; I was comforted in my aloneness. I could have been with others easily, I could have driven a couple of hours and been with family, but I knew my presence would not really be enjoyed, not in this state. I knew that giving away this one precious day would not be beneficial to anyone, I’d have been nervous, angsty, recoiled.

So instead I walked. I walked for two hours in the sunshine. I wandered off the path midway and into a meadow. Some trees blocked me, mostly, from view and I stood in a warm pool of sun. I practiced a few half Surya Namaskara, sun salutes, and then sat. I sat and meditated, eyes closed, in the grass, sunlight spilling across my face. Midway through my meditation my face began to crumple, some tears leaked out of my eyes. By the end my face was serene again. Throughout meditation I was breathing full, deep, nourishing breaths. I was trying with all my might to calm my racing mind. My jaw is tired, sore and aching today; I must be clenching my teeth in the night. The anxiety of my days sneaking into my nighttime rest, my sacred space of rejuvenation, causing me to wake with this throbbing discomfort: stress as a physical manifestation. To quiet my mind I latched onto my usual meditation mantra of “Om” on the inhale and “Om” on the exhale. But I felt compelled to address my racing mind, and upon the crumpling of my face and the shedding of my tears my mind had insisted, “I am not this racing mind, I am not this body.” I said it over and over and the tears fell. To stop the tears my subconscious led me gently towards a profoundly more positive mantra,

“I quiet this mind, I nourish this body.”

I won’t soon forget that mantra. It carried my spirit through the rest of my meadow meditation, and loosened my grip on reality. I rose from my spot there in the sun and explored the nearby valley before returning to the path. I finished my hike calmer, the chatter of my mind quieted, my breath a little more smooth. I saw a family of deer and stopped. One locked eyes with me and my soul felt so calm. Mother Nature bathed me in love and warmth and calmed my chaotic energy.

We are coming up on a full moon and I believe fully in harnessing its energy. I reread one of my favorite MindBodyGreen articles this evening after dinner (shared at the end of this essay) and felt bad because it recommends not engaging in arguments during the full moon. I had come home from my hike to a nasty email from my landlord (who is just genuinely not a decent human being, I will leave it at that). I responded and, as expected, the interaction filled my body with toxic energy. I felt angst and upset, the calm I had worked so hard to cultivate was churning, thrashing waves lapping up on the smooth sandy shore.

It does no good to “feel bad.” Guilt and self-deprication are, as far as I’m concerned, figments of one’s imagination. They might as well be. We have all of the control around these emotions. It is up to ME to feel that way, or to refuse to feel that way. So, I refuse to feel bad.

I will meditate on positive, beneficial energy tonight before sleep. I will harness the energy of this full moon to its utmost soothing, healing capacity. I will count my innumerable blessings and see through the film of worry into the sunshine. I have so much to be grateful for. I am so grateful. I am so grateful. I am so grateful.

Discomfort is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve spent a great deal of my life believing that if I just had the perfect circumstances, if I could just think a certain way, if I just looked a certain way, if I could just change a certain few things…that I’d be perfectly happy. But you know what? I am happiess. You are happiness. Those circumstances will never be perfect because we are perfectly imperfect.  We are neither our bodies nor our minds, but the subtle thread of Awareness that has always been. So be grateful. Be grateful, Sara. Be grateful, loving and kind to your beautiful body in all its transience, be gentle and patient with your sweet mind, it’s trying so hard to rally for you. Dedicate the energy that so easily funnels into unhealthy obsessions instead into fortifying your thread of Awareness, to calming your stream of consciousness. And when that wind begins to blow and your balance is threatened, remember the meadow…remember the sunshine…and remember these words…

“I quiet this mind, I nourish this body.” 

Because no one else can do it for you.

Image

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7531/full-moon-harness-the-energy-make-it-work-for-you.html

Sunday Note

Desperately wanting to be in the studio practicing today but am instead taking my practice out into nature. I am learning to listen to my body, to trust my body. By feeding the non-asana components of my practice, I am preparing my body to come back stronger and fully healed. I am fortifying my knowledge that I am neither my mind nor my body. I am heightening my awareness to my utmost capacity – spending time in nature, practicing pranayama, deeply connecting with my precious thread of awareness. 
I’ve had more anxiety than usual lately, what with having learned that I must move and uproot myself during such a poignant time of my life (200 RYTT), and found myself overstretched and sore and hurting from my asana practices last week. That led to nothing but guilt, self-depricacy and more anxiety. 
Yoga is my coping mechanism. It is what keeps me breathing, keeps me sane, keeps me brimming with life. I say, “One cannot help but become a bit addicted to one’s asana practice” fully knowing what a novice statement that is to make. And I trust that these lessons are delivered to those of us still struggling with that “addiction,” that EGO, that need to be as good as we were yesterday. It permeates the asana practice, makes us lazy in listening to our bodies, leads to over-stretching, overdoing, over-analyzing. These lessons are delivered, gently, so we may learn that our practice is only partly asana. The practice is so much more than what we do on our mats. We are BLESSED to be physically able to practice asana! Many are not so blessed, and yet still practice deep and all-encompassing yoga. I am JUST beginning to understand…I am just beginning to understand.
So I take my practice into nature today. To walk, to hike, to nurture my soul and cultivate deep breath. To set an intention for this new chapter in my life and to promote healing in my body so as to return to the studio this week with a more sophisticated sense of what it means to be alive in this body, to be aware in this body. 
I am so grateful for yoga. The practice is, little by little, saving my soul. 
I wish nothing but utmost love, light and wellness to you all on this bright, beautiful Sunday. May you also listen to your bodies and hearts equally, nourish your souls holistically, and bathe in the gratitude that comes from doing so.
Wishing you ABUNDANCE ♥ 
Namaste

Image

Truth: I’m Afraid

As a holistic wellness advocate, yogi, and general bliss seeker, stress management and prevention are quite high on my priority list. Why is it, then, that I have found myself utterly plagued by stress this past week? The question I pose to myself is more rhetorical, because the answers are quite obvious…I’ve been given short notice to move out of the house in which I’ve been living for three years; I’m in a yoga teacher training program that specifically advises against uprooting oneself during this 6-month span of time, namely moving, changing jobs and ending relationships; I’m swamped between work, homework and my time training at the studio; I don’t want to relocate temporarily, I want to find something semi-permanent that I could call home for the next year or two; I have been frustrated with my knee pain and have now developed hamstring pain, as of yesterday; I’m worried about money; I want to be able to practice and not hurt myself; I want to rid my life of obsessive behavior; I could go on and on…so the question is rhetorical in that I have the answer. What I’m really asking is why have I found myself plagued by stress when I know the antidote to stress? I’m asking myself why I’m continuing to perpetuate my anxiety by refusing to engage in stress relieving activities, instead choosing to keep pushing myself mentally and physically, which only results in further pain, stress and injury? I’m asking why I chose to hammer out nine reasons why I’m stressed rather than ten reasons I’m grateful? I’m asking why I choose to succumb to stress, negativity and anxiety rather than implementing the tried and true practices I spend everyday artfully cultivating for times of uncertainty exactly like these?

I’m asking why it’s so easy for me to be this damn hard on myself?

Truth: I have spent the past week ridden with anxiety. Save for moments of clarity, moments when I breathe deep and have faith and believe with my every fibre that this is all happening as it’s meant to, I’ve been knee-deep in the muck of worry. I’ve been sighing at the clicking of my knees, I’ve been wishing on stars that they will heal and I’ll never again suffer an RSI at my own hands. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning with my mind darting immediately to what I have to do that day, to what I “should” do that day, to what I obsessively am going to try and push myself to do. 
Truth: My obsessive nature is putting a damper on my yoga practice. During this stressful time I’ve begun to abuse my practice, rather than use it to my aide. I’ve begun obsessing over pushing myself to attend the harder classes, obsessing all day long over whether I’ll make it, or feel up to it, and obsessing over it if I don’t go. I’ve been struggling to take the rest days that, before teacher training, were coming so easy to me.

Truth: I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if I don’t practice for a few days or even a week that I won’t be a true yogi (even typing those words makes me feel ridiculous). I’m afraid that if I back off and let my body heal I’ll get out of shape, I’ll suddenly get fat (even more ridiculous). I’m judgmental of the fact that other people seem to practice in advanced classes every week and don’t injure themselves. I’m afraid that I won’t find the right place to live in time. I’m afraid that I’ll pick a place too quickly and I’ll miss out on the right opportunity (hopefully the law of attraction is skipping me on this round). I’m afraid that I sound obsessive and superficial and needy and stupid. I’m afraid that the wonderful people I spent this evening with were irritated by my stress ball presence. I’m afraid that I’m not making the right decisions. I’m afraid because I don’t know whether I want to pursue my 300-hour yoga training or my holistic nutrition consultant certification next. I’m afraid. So afraid. 

Fear is a plague. It shackles itself around the ankles and it turns bliss to dust. Fear is loud and sickening and it settles on hope, smothering it like thick, dark ash. 

It sucks making all these confessions, because it makes me feel like I’m a fraud. I’m all about the manifestation of what we want to see happen in our lives. I am a firm believer in the law of attraction, in thinking positively rather than negatively. I believe that what we think, what we focus on, what we dedicate energy to, we become. I believe that to my core. While it’s satisfying to get that all off my chest, now that I’ve done so, I really need to let it go. Let it go. That’s always easier said than done but, in nearly every case, it’s what needs to be done.

By being afraid that my physical aches and weaknesses will never go away I am only manifesting their presence. By being afraid I won’t find the perfect place to live, I am steering myself no closer to the serendipitous discovery of that perfect, just-for-me home. By being afraid of how annoying I might be to my friends I am stressing myself further and then verbalizing the stress, making myself less enjoyable to be around.

I’ll tell you what, I’m sick and tired of being afraid.

I’m sick and tired of abusing my mind and my body due to fear and stress. I’m tired of knowing what it is I ought to be thinking, doing and feeling, but choosing to think, do and feel something else. I know how to practice yoga so as to suit my body for its particular needs that day, and I know that taking more rest than usual is necessary while in this teacher training. I know that doing so will only result in a more dedicated practice, happier adrenals and a more relaxed mind body connection. I know that by holding an image of the perfect home in my mind’s eye I will draw that to me. I will find the right place by believing the right place is out there, just waiting for me. I know that comparing myself to others will do absolutely nothing to benefit my personal journey as a human being.

I know that by being flexible, more easygoing and trusting of my mind and body I will be manifesting a healthier version of myself than I thought possible.

So why is it so hard to do all that? Why is it so difficult to put all of that into practice? I can see the person i want to be, and yet I’m still struggling. It’s like my fear is a fence, a high picket fence with sharp points, and I’m trying to climb over. I know it’ll only hurt for a moment, if the pointy top pricks me, and it’s likely I’ll hoist myself over unscathed. But I’m afraid…I’m afraid it’ll hurt, or I’ll get stuck, or I’ll fall off…I’m afraid the sharp fence will break my skin, draw my blood, will leave a scab, and then a scar. I’m so afraid of all the “what if’s” that I end up too exhausted to even attempt the climb.

I don’t want to be too exhausted to attempt the climb. I want to climb over the fence of fear and onto the soft grass of trust, the forgiving soil of abundance, the warm sunny pool of peace.

These past seven days have been overflowing with fear, and today has been oozing self-deprication. I won’t stand for it. I simply won’t. I’ve felt dizzy with distrust in my own decisions, my own intuition and my own body signals. I haven’t been able to see the reason for it, until now. I’ve been blinded by stress. I’ve been comparing myself to others (a huge no no). I’ve forgotten that my yoga practice is my life, the harder practice is what occurs off the mat, the asana is the easy part (a much needed reminder I was given tonight). 

Stress breeds illness. It exhausts our adrenals. It manifests nothing but more worry, more stress, more doubt. 

Hope breeds joy. Peace and harmony grow from focused positive energy. Kindness, deep breaths and a heavy dose of lightheartedness are healing.

Truth: I have the power to heal myself. I have the gift of a dedicated yoga practice that I take with me everywhere I go, it is in everything I do. I trust that the Universe will deliver me healing, unveil to me the perfect home, and the next step I am meant to take, all in due time. Like seeds planted in that moist, fertile soil of abundance, they must be watered. I will water them with patience, with breath, with trust…I will water them, and then I will watch them grow. 

Image

 

Harnessing the Power of Dreams

I had the urge to write an essay tonight and, for once, I didn’t have a theme in mind. So I grabbed my iPhone and went to my “Notes” app, where I store important information for easy access. Everything from my grocery list to little tidbits of writing inspiration that I gather along the way are stored there. So I was looking through my notes and found myself just adding to my “to read” list, adding details to writing prompts, deleting blurbs I no longer felt drawn to…when I came to a section of old dreams. I’d documented a few details of one I’d had many months, just enough to be able to recall the dream, and had wanted to delete it several times. I kept thinking, What could I possibly write about this?

Well today it struck a chord with me. The note said this, “1 bdr turned into 4 hidden rooms…No care about shared bath…Only cared about having yoga space.” Apart from some hideously improper use of the English language exhibited there (mind you I typed these details in with one eye halfway open at probably 3am), I am able to recall the dream from those few details. In the dream I had been house hunting. I’m a stickler for wanting my own room and my own bathroom and, in the dream, this house had a shared bathroom. I remember bounding from one room to the next trying to decide which one I wanted when I realized there was a sort of trap door in one. I peeled away the door and crept into a whole other room! From there three more rooms emerged, in different parts of the house, as though I’d found a “secret garden” of sorts, within the four walls. The room that was to become mine was almost like a family room, rectangular in shape, a few steps led down into it, and it was well lit with big, expansive windows. Outside was lush greenery, a street view. I remember thinking, Man I’ll have to get a lot of curtains if I’m ever going to change in here. And jeez, everyone’s going to see me practice yoga!”

In this dream bedroom I had so much yoga space. In real life I consider this as important, if not more important than having my own bathroom. The dream brought it to my attention that it was actually a bigger priority, to have a sacred space in which to practice.

I could take many things from this dream…that I need a space for my yoga practice in my bedroom, since I don’t yet have my own home where I can dedicate an open space in the common area to my practice, ensuring no interruptions. It could mean that one situation, if delved into more deeply, could have the capacity to open up into many opportunities. It could be sending the message that things are not always what they seem. It could also be communicating that we manifest what it is that is truly important to us.

I don’t know for sure, I’m not a dream analyst. I have a few dream books, but I haven’t looked up any of the key components of this dream. I had forgotten all about this dream until tonight. I’d been focusing more on other dreams, like the one I wrote about last night, and some other intuitive dreams I’ve had in the past week or two.

I’ve dreamt about birth and death, and more about birth. I’ve dreamt I was pregnant, actually giving birth, holding my baby, pregnant again. Dream after dream of pregnancy (and I’m certain without a shred of doubt that I’m not pregnant in real life), signifying the birth of a new chapter in my young adult life, if I could go out on a limb and guess. I also dreamt that my dog was dying, and that I was holding her. I dreamt that I told her I loved her, and asked her if she heard me, and she said yes. My dog is 12, lives at my parents, and is not dying. I miss her everyday and I’m certain my dream had nothing to do with actually losing her one day, and everything to do with the closing of a chapter in my life. Perhaps it had to do with loss in general.

I’m fascinated by dream analysis and, quite obviously given the mumbo jumbo of my nonsense you just finished reading, I know very little about it. What I do know for certain is that intuitive dreaming exists. Events happen in dreams, certain words, colors, experiences, animals, what-have-you stand out and are memorable enough to trigger a recollection of the the dream the following day.

What does this have to do with anything, you ask? What does it have to do with your life?

It has to do with the power of the mind. We spend all day thinking, many of us spend all day with racing thoughts. We’re constantly planning, learning, teaching, communicating, recalling, memorizing, questioning, answering…the brain is on go, go, go mode constantly…this is one reason a yoga practice is so deeply beneficial, as well as a meditation practice. Learning to train the mind, to manipulate thoughts into undulating waves of calm energy, leaning to slow down and quiet everything…these all heighten our intuition. I believe that by quieting the chatter, we heighten our ability to hear, more clearly, what is really going on in our hearts, in our heads. It is when we have a less chaotic mind that we remember more of our dreams. It is when we are in sync with our own rhythms that our dreams can be accessed as intuitive tools to living a more aware life.

Even if you know nothing about dreams, the process can still be beneficial. Say you have a dream about a cat. The next morning a cat crosses your path on your walk to work and you think, Wow! I dreamt about a cat! I intuitively manifested this experience via my dream! Did you really? It’s not likely. But does the idea make you feel good, powerful, in touch with your own psyche? Yes, it probably does. So is it beneficial? Totally.

Anything that we can do to enhance our experience as human beings, our enjoyment of the day to day, our fulfillment in these transient bodies, the development of our active minds, is spectacular. It’s a gift. If something as simple as remembering a dream allows you to tap into your inner consciousness, your divine intuition, then you are enriching your experience as a human being. Our minds are energy and we create our own reality, so why shouldn’t we interpret our own dreams? Why shouldn’t we fall passionately and madly in love with the idea of having some special connection to the unmapped territory that our brains cover each night as we recharge? It’s a pretty invigorating thought, to be able to channel our dream energy, the energy that we spend nearly eight hours every night cultivating, towards our own higher good. Towards our own intuition, our own waking purpose.

That being said, I don’t know factually for certain what any of my recent dreams have to do with my current state of affairs, but I have a pretty clear idea, intuitively. And that makes me feel good. I feel empowered, as though my consciousness is playing a role in what’s happening outside of my control. Some people don’t even remember their dreams. I’ll tell you one thing, the dreams that I remember most clearly are those I’ve written down. I like to keep a pad of paper and a pen in my bedside drawer so that I can scribble some details down in the middle of the night if I wake from a particularly affecting dream.

vividly remember dreams that I had seven years ago, even a dream that I had sixteen years ago, because I wrote them down. They are forever etched in my mind as though they are true memories, as though they were true, physical experiences. THAT’S the power of the mind! So whether or not you take anything from your dreams, maybe try writing down the details of the next one you remember. Chew on it for a few days, see if anything in your day to day life triggers the memory, or resonates with the dream in any outstanding way. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Experiment with the capacity of the mind. As they say in The Secret, “thoughts become things.” Imagine if you could harness the power of your own dreams? If you could use that to infuse your intuition in your life when you’re awake! Anything is possible. Harness that power. Remember, “thoughts become things.” Give it a go, see where it takes you.

Sweet Dreams 🙂

I Have a Glass, There’s Something in it, and I’m Okay.

Last night I dreamt I was trekking along an unfamiliar path, through the rain, alone, in the dark, wearing flip-flops. At first I was walking on a trail, the sun had been out. Then I came to walk along a road, one with very little shoulder. I was unsure of where I was, I just knew I was out hiking. I was vaguely aware that I was going to have to turn around and follow the same path back, but I wasn’t sure which trail I’d turned off of, and now it was dark. In the dream I thought to myself, Gee I wish I had worn my hiking boots…next time I’ll wear my hiking boots, this is exactly what they’re for. It wouldn’t even matter that I’m trudging along in the rain if I were wearing my hiking boots, and huh, maybe next time I will not wait till dark and walk along a curving road where I can’t be seen, maybe next time I won’t go alone. Huh. How odd that I didn’t think of these things. How odd that I didn’t wear my hiking boots and map out where I was going and bring someone with me. How strange.

I was uneasy in the dream, I felt unnerved and uncomfortable, but I was okay. Despite the rain, the dark, the lost-ness, the alone-ness, the flip flops (the gosh darn flip flops! I mean, who hikes in flip flops?) and the danger, I was okay. One by one, thing by thing, I kept cataloguing oddness in my dream. One thing after another came to my attention that was off, that was simply not right, was I wearing flip flops all along? Did I mean to turn off the trail and onto an actual road? I didn’t have answers to these questions, in fact I wasn’t even asking them in the dream, I was simply noticing them. Observing them.

In yoga teacher training tonight my teacher said, “Observation is different from judgment.” Profound, right?

I wasn’t judging myself in the dream. I wasn’t saying, you’re hiking in flip flops, you fool! I wasn’t harping on the fact that I was alone, I wasn’t angry that I was drenched. I was uncomfortable and a bit afraid, but I never once said to myself in a negative tone, what were you thinking?! Despite the icky, crazy circumstances, I knew I was okay. I scribbled that dream on a post-it in the dark, in the middle of the night when I’d woken up to pee. I don’t know why but immediately, even in my half-awake state, it felt profound.

Today I found out I must move by April 1st. I must vacate the house I’ve lived in for three years and find a new place in a month’s time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been aching to move simply for the “turn a new leaf” aspect of moving. I love my space, and I was procrastinating the move. I’ve been delaying it for quite some time, actually. The landlord is a complete ars, the house needs work, and it is attached to a lot of memories from which I’m ready to disengage. But the price has been right, the space I occupy is very special and well-suited for me, and the location is convenient. Voila, the perfect ingredients for a procrastination party.

So, the truth is, I was relieved when I read the email stating that our tenancy would be ending as of April 1st so that the entire house could be renovated and made over. My relief was instantly followed with the hammering realization that, I’m not supposed to disrupt my life during teacher training!!!!!!!!!! 

It literally says that in the teacher training literature. Granted, the assumed subtext is “if you can help it,” and I can’t help this. This is completely beyond my control. It’s happening for a reason, and I feel like the timing is so off, but when is the timing ever truly “right” anyway? The Universe is giving me a nudge. I’m up against the ledge, toes dangling over…it’s time to choose: either fall aimlessly off the edge, or dive off, with purpose, with trust…and soar.

I went for a walk shortly after getting this news. I was a bit of a wreck. No matter that I’d ridden my bike to and from a yoga practice that left my knees feeling less than stellar, and was planning on a bath and a nap before work (two practices I relish in the thought of but rarely treat myself to), but I couldn’t even sit still much less relax or sleep. So I strapped on my nikes, shoved a hat on my head, put some good music on my iPhone and strode out the front door. I didn’t know which direction I was headed, much like my dream, and I was of agitated energy, also much like my dream. I walked a little ways towards town before abruptly turning around and heading back in the other direction. I wanted to walk beneath the tall redwoods that lined some of the nearby apartment complexes. Every time I walk through them I think how nice it would be to live in one of those complexes. So protected and personal, so not my huge, old house with a bat shit crazy landlord.

As I headed in that direction I crossed the road. I saw a young guy on a bike stop and turn around to read a sign outside one of the apartment complexes. I quickened my pace. The sign boasted one and two bedroom apartments, “Ready Now!” He pulled out his phone and called the number on the sign. I stopped a short distance away and dialed the number into my own phone and then waited, watched him, listened. He asked to see a one bedroom and inquired about the prices. Shortly thereafter he hung up. He looked to me sheepishly and shrugged.

“How much for a one bedroom?” I asked him.

“$1250, too steep for me,” he replied, swinging one leg back over his bike.

“Ah…how about two bedrooms, did they say?”

“No…and good roommates are hard to find…” we locked eyes and I wanted to be like, YOU’RE LOOKIN’ AT ONE!!!

“Yeah, they are,” I said instead.

“Well, good luck,” he said, straightening his backpack and settling onto the bike seat.

“You too…” I murmured.

I watched him pedal away and wondered if I should have suggested something further, if I should have asked him if he’s a good roommate, what his situation is. I watched him grown smaller and then looked up at the sky. Was I supposed to do something with that, Universe? Or was it just to show me that there are other people, good people, in this same situation? 

I didn’t hear an answer, so I called the number on the sign. The woman on the other end was sweet, and told she had no available two bedrooms, but that a complex nearby had some, and they were really affordable. I plugged some numbers into my phone and thanked her, genuinely, before putting the music back on and continuing on my aimless walk.

I felt dazed in the warm February sun. I walked without any idea where I was going. I zigzagged from one side of the street to the other. A couple of times my face crumpled as if to cry but only a measly tear or two squirted out and I felt emotionally drained and just so lost. Emotionally and mentally. I started to run a little, at different points on my walk, which happened to feel truly awful on my ankles and my knees. I just felt like I needed to go faster. I walked at a comfortably furious pace, totally unsure of where I was heading and turning corners haphazardly. I walked around some neighborhoods, realizing as I passed complexes that I recognized a few. I passed the apartments of two different coworkers, as well as the complex the woman on the phone had told me about. I smiled at them all crookedly, as though they were people, as though they were all acknowledging me too. I walked beneath those redwoods and felt calmed. I tried to decide which way I’d turn when I emerged from the complex I was cutting through and I couldn’t decide, so I just walked faster. When I came out I went left, and then went to cross the street.

There was a jeep sitting at the stop sign and I locked eyes with the driver. He gestured to let me go ahead and cross and I smiled and waved my thanks. It was the cute guy I’d chatted with in yoga before, and a frequent customer at my work. Random. Or was it? I felt bombarded by signs and omens. I glanced back as he drove away, he had a “Keep Tahoe Blue” bumper sticker on his back window.

I headed up a steep street, one I knew connected with my neighborhood. I’d discovered that on an aimless, furiously paced walk sometime last year. It had been a profound discovery, laden with all sorts of meanings at the time. The whole idea of taking a steep, winding, unknown road with very little shoulder is such a metaphor for life. So today I took that road again, this time climbing upwards. I teetered on the edge of the road, it literally had no shoulder, and was reminded of my dream. Some cars zoomed past me as I trekked up the road, but I wasn’t afraid. I noticed things about the road I hadn’t noticed walking it before, and before long I emerged. I crossed up into my neighborhood and climbed my hill at an impressive pace. When I got to my house I stood in the sunshine. I spun in slow circles in my driveway, bathed in solar warmth, completely unsure what to do next. Do I just…go inside now? Am I calmer? What do I do now? This isn’t going to be my house anymore. I stopped spinning and climbed the stairs up onto my back deck. I looked out at the view, leaned on the railing. I let the music keep playing in my ears. I walked over to the top of the stairs and looked out at the tall buildings, at the faraway freeway, the great distance I could see from my little deck.

That was always one of my favorite parts about this house, how far I could see. It made me feel like I really had made it out into the world, look how far I can see from here, I live here, I would think with pride. I come from a stunning, small town and, as a kid, climbing up onto the roof with my dad to hang the Christmas lights every year was one of my greatest pleasures. It was also one of my greatest fears, as the height spooked me and the idea of my dad hanging over the edge of the roof terrified me. I’d hang onto the ends of his shirt so tight my knuckles would turn white and I’d hold my breath the whole time he hung the lights on the chimney, the part of the hanging process I’d deemed most dangerous. But I loved nestling into the shingles and seeing the whole neighborhood. I could see every house and even the park, from my little spot. Perhaps the feeling I had on my top deck when I first moved here is the grown up version of that. I can see a freeway from my deck, I’m a big girl now… 

I spun a few circles on my deck, taking in the panoramic view. With one hand on my belly and one on my heart I thanked the view, the house, the space. I thanked it for the experience, for the good feelings, and I asked that I leave behind nothing but beneficial energy and take nothing but beneficial energy with me. Then I said goodbye.

I felt good about it. It felt peaceful, it felt like it was time. What a blessing, to feel like it’s time for a parting. Most often we are not so fortunate as to part ways with something, or someone, and feel like it’s really time. 

I still didn’t know what to do next, but at least I felt more at peace. So I went back into my house. I drew that bath. Then I took that nap.

I was disoriented when I awoke, as I always am after naps, hence my rarely taking them. I had agitated energy, but I’d taken the steps towards soothing myself. I’d resisted the urge to while away the afternoon pacing, anxiously getting nothing done. I’d actually had my definition of a pretty perfect day. Yoga, bike ride, long talk with mom, sunny walk, bath, nap…apart from the grumpy knees, the needing to move news and an allergy hangover I’d say it was a fairly stellar day. I read a quote shortly after having this realization that said,

“It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full…be grateful that you have a glass, and there is something in it.”

Pretty spot on, right?

I’m really big on trusting the process. “The Universe knows what it’s doing,” my good friend told me today after hearing my news. “It does,” my mom agreed, “and to who.” So the Universe is making some decisions for me; that is something I choose to be grateful for. It doesn’t make it any easier, and I still have to turn the gears, but the life-altering stuff is being nudged for me.

Much like my dream last night, today’s circumstances left me walking aimlessly along the road of life, unsure of where I’m headed, and even how to get back to where I began. I felt uneasy, uncomfortable, and afraid…but okay. I am metaphorically hiking into unfamiliar territory in the dark, the rain, wearing flip flops, and all by myself. But I’m okay.

I have a glass, there’s something in it, and I’m okay.

428995_251096695021536_166806980_n