Saturday, July 4, 2015

" Avoid ... "

“ ... Sorry about that. 
I’ll never know comfort till the sun sets.
I’ve always known the struggle when the light and my eyes met.
They connect.
Put me back in the earth.
I came from dust and not dirt.
You made me from dust, not dirt ... “

~ The Color Morale ~ Avoid ~ 


I think people are surprised when you tell them you are a yoga instructor but may not practice intense yoga every day.  Yes, I try, I try very hard.  But with the expectation that it should be easier, personally speaking, every time I step onto the mat, I feel like it’s the first time.  And at times when there is a sudden loss of a loved one, or I am spiraling downward cycle of depression, I have no motivation, let alone the desire to step onto my mat ... but I try ... and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t make it.

With over a decade of my own personal practice, I acknowledge that the poses I avoid at all costs are the ones I need the most.  Sounds like life.  Distractions, procrastination and apathy can allow me to avoid my mat and bury me far away from our most unwanted feelings.  By doing this, I avoid giving attention to that which needs it the most ... the darkness.

... turn a setback into a comeback ...

So getting on your mat can be an arduous task ... yeah, that is a great marketing tool ... but honestly, it sort of is.  Because you don’t want to face those uncomfortable emotions sometimes.  You know those ones, just under the surface.  Fear about what may come up, what you may find and what you may have to let go.  

... remembering that yoga goes beyond the movements we perform on our mat, and that through this solo dance, we give attention to the emotions we are avoiding and transform our reality ... 

  • I realize the times when I feel alone in my darkness is the precise time I need to be alone on my island of my yoga mat.  That is when I need it the most .. 20 seconds, 20 minutes or 2 hours ... time is irrelevant.  
  • I realize that in those moments, I can listen to what my heart wants and needs ... and do it, with faith and rather than judgement.
  • I realize that learning to own my body’s movements and self-expression on the mat helps me to own the darkest emotions while they ebb and flow like the ocean. 
  • I realize that as I grieve loss, I can dedicate my practice towards the experience, be grateful, feel connected and a sense of oneness and love.

This practice has been a constant thread in my life ... through loss, turmoil, drama ... and illness.  It is naive for me to think that this practice will erase negative thoughts or strong emotions.  Yet from experience, it saved me from resistance by allowing space to witness what happens inside of me, to accept me, to accept both the darkness and the light.  And appreciate that since our time on Gaia is just a lifetime, we can choose to come home to ourselves, in the present moment, with compassion, kindness and unconditional love.

Friday, July 3, 2015

" Attention ... "

“ ... I'm trying to tell you
I'm trying to know you
I'm dying to show you ... 

I scratch your sweet name
Right into my skin
You left me bleeding
But I couldn't give in ... 

Sick and tired of needing your attention
I chose to be lonely than live without your
I'm standing in the pain
That's smothering me ... “

~ Tokyo Hotel ~ Attention ~


When we are so completely focused that our sense of individuality vanishes, then our heart-mind field of consciousness reflects only the object of focus.  Complete attention also referred to as Samadhi.  Moments when our attention is so riveted that external sensory input is completely tuned out.  We are basically in the zone, having let go of the outer world, and now experience a feeling of unity.

... by focusing so completely on one object, 
my heart-mind perceives no difference between it and me ...

Within the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, Samadhi is considered the eighth and final limb of astanga-yoga.  No perception of a subject is separate from its object.  Both seem to be one entity, uniting in the hearts minds eye even though  in physical reality the practitioner is still different from the object.

And we don’t require meditation, mindfulness and yoga to set time aside for Samadhi.  We can experience it everyday.  Anytime we get lost in something and our consciousness is completely absorbed in it, we are experiencing a type of Samadhi.  Full participation in an activity, when we are so involved in it that nothing else exists except what we are focused on doing, again, Samadhi.

... when the heart mind becomes transparent
it perfectly reflects what it perceives ...

One way of looking at Samadhi is as a sequence of steps towards complete mastery of an object ... 

  • superficial stage
    • our heart mind attempts to understand the object by means of our intellect alone, through reasoning, logic, inference or conjecture
  • second stage 
    • a subtler, deeper attempt of the mind to understand an object, with reflection and discernment
  • third stage 
    • joy and satisfaction of fully understanding something
  • complete mastery 
    • when the knowledge becomes completely internalized, part of our identity, and has merged with us, the subject

Patanjali states one who has enough faith in the divine, who truly sees the divine light inside all beings, can bypass and reach the final stages of Samadhi directly, which is very rare.  Faith provides the determination, enthusiasm and energy leading us towards the deep insight when Samadhi is accessed.  Without faith, we succumb to doubt which consumes everything in its path.

Work in process ... cultivating a clear heart mind requires time, patience and practice.  Yet the frequency of our practice creates momentum that accelerates the progress.  With sincere effort, gradual inner progress happens ... manifesting as more contentment and joy.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

" Surrender ... "

“ ... Surrender every word, every thought every sound.
Surrender every touch, every smile, every frown.
Surrender all the pain we've endured until now.
Surrender all the hope that I lost you have found.
Surrender yourself to me

I think I found a flower in a field of weeds,
I think I found a flower in a field of weeds.
Searching until my hands bleed,
This flower don't belong to me ...

(Surrender) I never had the nerve to ask ... “

~ Billy Talent ~ Surrender ~

It takes a quiet knowing within to understand you were born for something unique, something more.  And answering our personal calling is a walk of raw courage.

I have come to understand that surrendering is allowing and surrendering is receiving.  Because when it comes to accessing the courage to step into this life and who we really are, self-doubt rears its ugly head.  Inner criticism, groundless-ness, confusion ... all part of the journey.  So surrendering is a yielding to the calling within.  Avoidance of it, halts our spiritual growth.

When we surrender to our calling or our path, we feel uncomfortable, hidden and misunderstood; yet, the deepest healing, growth and inner transformation takes place.  Because it is in surrendering to the process of the call that we find our whole.  We are brought back to truth.  

Each one of us has a unique gift to share, some just haven’t taken the time to unravel it yet.  Surrendering is part of the unravelling and easily misunderstood as passivity.  Yet it is change in stance, state of being.  It is a softening, a coming home to.  it is what we receive when we’ve made peace with life.  We feel a softness, not striving in our lives.

Take meaningful action and find your true self.  Wake up to what it’s all about and what all the circumstances are for, LOVE.  Begin to see how life is releasing exquisite gems to you in every moment, like water dripping from the tap.  And realize that connection and tenderness are available for the faces that grace your life.

Friday, June 26, 2015

" Rest ... "

“ ... You'll have to excuse me, I'm not at my best
I've been gone for a month
I need home for a rest ... 

There so-called vacations

By the light of the moon she'd drift through the streets
A rare old perfume so seductive and sweet
She'd tease us and flirt as the pubs all closed down
Then walk us on home and deny us a round ... “

~ Spirit of the West ~ Rest ~

Rest is not what most people think it is.  It isn’t recreation like hiking, watching TV, gardening, reading or getting wasted.  They may provide a restful space, but they are not rest.  

Rest can be defined as a kind of waking sleep, experience while you are alert and aware, like a bridge to sleep.  We achieve rest and sleep the same way, by allowing it to happen.  

When we rest, we allow our bodies to dissolve stress.  The body’s relaxation response can lead to physlogical changes, similar to yoga, meditation or a day on the beach.  

And the spiritual benefits of resting is profound.  When you slow down and get quiet, you can actually begin to hear you own inner knowledge.  When we make space in our lives, it helps us to make sense of life on life’s terms.

Having the ability to take a few conscious breaths, during which you focus on your inhalation and exhalation or the space between breaths ... 
Having the ability to make a statement and do nothing, does something for you.  Having the desire to put boundaries around so you can claim that time ... 

Most of us need to learn how to rest.  The more we integrate periods of rest and silence into our daily lives, the bigger the payoff will be.  And  during crisis, more rest and silence are called for.  It is similar to preventive medicine.  So important to make it intentional and make it a sacred time.  

The yang lifestyle can cause damage to our quality of life.  So this activity of REST, allows us to restore our body, mind and soul.  Concentrated rest confronts stress in both ways.  It reduces the demands of the situation  and it reduces our energy for that demand.  We have an opportunity to reflect, strive for balance, and again hold reserves for life’s emergencies.  

Properly developing a discipline of concentrated rest requires both inward and outward changes. So, stop focusing on what you don’t have and start enjoying the things that you do.  And plan your rest.  It is hard to simply be but test will come only from intentional planning and planning rest will come only if it is truly desired. 

Fortunately, we can decide that we are not a victim of time demands, we are creators and acceptors of them.  We can take responsibility of our life.  And so, we are as busy as we choose to be.  Embrace simplicity of a life that focuses on your values and not your possessions.  That concept in itself, will slow things down.

Remembering that rest is not a sign of weakness, but a vital choice to only further enhance your overall growth.  Living is when we starting enjoying rather than just producing ... resting included.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

" Signs ... "

“ ... Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs
Messin' up the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign

And the sign says "Everybody welcome, come in, 
kneel down and pray"
But then they passed around a plate at the end of it all
And I didn't have a penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own sign
I said, "Thank you Lord for thinking 'bout me, 
I'm alive and doing fine", oh ... “

~ Tesla ~ Signs ~ 

Food addiction was never my problem ... it was only a symptom.  It gave me a way out that I could never find on my own.  I always wanted to be comfortable with me but I didn’t know how to get there.  My deep-seated fears and insecurities seemed to always take over.  

Once I got cancer-ed, I realized I had no real idea of how to deal with life on life’s terms.  Everything got stripped away in all areas of my life.  And today, nothing looks remotely the same as it did 5 years ago.  And looking back, it feels like a past life.  

Currently, still living with a dis-ease, I’ve had to explore new ways, healthier ways.  The more I started to change the way I felt inside, the simpler life is getting.  I realized the problem was never food, it was me.  I only used food so that I could escape my fears and me.  Once I was unable to hide behind food, I was faced with the reality of my situation.  At my core, I feared that I wasn’t good enough, wouldn’t be loved and that something was wrong with me.  

Yet as I started to shift into a peaceful path, a path of least resistance, life started to become easier.  Suffering comes from not accepting what is.  Life is always right, we just don’t have to like it that much.  Shifting into a place of acceptance and understanding that all that I am looking for, is already within me.  No need to prove, no need to show, no need to explain, no need to do.  Just be.  Simply be and accept who I am in this moment ... and discovering the things I don't like, as hard as it is to face, is what my spiritual growth needs.

And so the shift into a more serving, productive and peaceful path gives some meaning to being here.  Sharing what we know and realizing our connection to each other, Gaia, and all it’s sentient beings.  Some may few it as a fluffy view.  Yet with a softer gaze things seem a little less contrast, a little more balanced.  

Slowing things down ... a moment for gratitude because If cancer has given me anything, it's been time to do the things I would never have done otherwise.