Hello Stranger….

Yes, I am talking to myself. As I continue to recognize we never have it figured out…really…on some level we are constantly reintroducing ourselves to a part of ourself that at one time was nothing more than a stranger. (That and I haven’t posted anything in months).

I was listening to advice being given to my sister about having a new born baby. (Yes, if you know any of her story, she has a healthy little 7 week boy!!!) But the advice was in reference to parenting in these first few weeks. “As soon as you have it figured out, just know it will all change”. I’ve thought on this for a few days, as I think, in my late 30’s, this is still true. No I am not a parent, but in reference to my own life…there is always something changing.

The other day the class I taught just barely touched on the topic of the 3 malas, or what I like to call “that which hides your deepest truth”. Afterwards a participant in class confessed to his practice being one of those practices where he was being bullied by his mind the whole time and he apologized. This caught me by surprise as he later went on to say, if my mind is my enemy, how can I make friends. Right?!?! But the surprise was, for me, I don’t see the mind as an enemy, nor do I see a reason to feel bad for having a practice where you are working through the shit storm of your life. The practice of yoga is BODY, MIND, & SPIRIT. So, please don’t ask your mind to shut up, instead give it the acknowledgement it deserves. Yes, sometimes the mind dresses up in tough guy gear and bosses you around, and sometimes it starts to cry when you hear of an amazing triumph, but it’s not an enemy, not for me at least. It’s just asking for attention, acknowledgement, acceptance and then there is a chance for transformation.

Though I don’t always have time, I love listening to people after class. For one, since I was the one leading, hearing people’s contemplation then leads me to be a better guide in the future. Maybe I am just curious, but I find an individual’s thoughts during their practice to be just as significant as their body’s movement. So I had the time to listen to the insight of the participant that shifted from wanting to find friendship with the enemy and train the mind to hold only peaceful and loving thoughts. Yes, this is what we are told a yoga practitioner is supposed to do. But then the conversation went onto how no one is immune to hardship, sadness, or even being bullied by their own self not to mention each other. Recognizing that we can greet these ‘strange’ or unwanted feelings and thoughts and allow them to be noticed rather than silencing them, there is a way to celebrate the many expressions. Sure, witness the emotional roller coaster, but each emotion is the one great love dressed up in different clothing. It’s part of our nature to see the darkness and well, it becomes a more simple yet sophisticated practice when you realize you can choose the light.

 

One of my teachers shared with me the practice of meditation is the practice of making friends with your consciousness. Rather than the mind being a stranger or an enemy that your trying to control, it’s a beautiful expression of the divine that helps and assists in the recognition of the beauty and love life holds.

Yes we will battle our own thoughts. Our own thoughts will frighten us and even make us feel heavy and insignificant. Alright then…come on we are human. For me the practice of yoga, seated or moving, isn’t about emptying out or leaving your troubles at the door, nor is it a practice of perfection. Rather it’s a practice of listening to the full gamete and learning how to connect, hear, and trust the many expressions of love. This process/practice allows one to choose in the highest way available at that moment. Because it’s all going to change. Yep, as soon as you think you have it all figured out…

 

Advertisements

less than stellar

We all feel it from time to time…not at the top of our game. Anyone feel like they are always riding cloud 9? Alright, I’ll give it to you, most of the time you feel you’ve got your stuff together, all worked out and every thing is hunky dory. Are you going to tell me then that you never hit a rut, that you never feel you’re sitting at the bottom of the sea in total darkness. Can you allowing yourself to go there, sit at the bottom of the sea, in the space where it feels light can barely make it too you? Then once you sit there, give yourself the time and space to just feel the blues, then get it together? Personally, I  think we have to let ourselves plummet, breakdown, fall apart, this way we re-callibrate to our heart. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves a time limit…15 minutes I’m going to play the blues, but after the time passes you have to have your next step. Go for a walk, read inspirational quotes, cook a healthy meal, donate a pile of things you no longer need. All the while remembering that you are stellar and if you’re hanging out with anyone that doesn’t encourage the radiance of your blazing heart, then consider saying goodbye to the relationship, person or habit. Anytime I have felt a breakdown, the only thing that has worked is to feel less than stellar for a short bit, then do something about it. If I pretend like I am not feeling this way, or worse, convince myself that I shouldn’t be feeling this way, the blues keep playing in the background. If there is a layer of acceptance, the ability to  bounce back greatly increases and you’ll get back to your brilliant self in no time!

Sense of belonging

People have a fundamental need for positive and lasting relationships – DeWall, Deckman, Pond & Bonser

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do – Brown

The self is a consistent pattern, an organized whole – Schultz & Schultz

What does this have to do with anything…it’s everything. Yes I am in graduate school and have been teaching yoga for 10 years, there is a collision of an ancient practice meeting academic standards in my own life currently.  If you were to step onto your yoga mat right now – and if I see you in the next 48 hours this is where I will be teaching from – can you, assuming you have all limbs in tack and if not then there is probably a cellular remembrance of what has gone missing, separate your heart from the whole? Can you separate your mind from the whole? Can you separate your physical, arms legs, hands, head from the whole? You could probably be on your mat mindlessly, but I wonder if it will offer a positive relationship with yourself or others later in the day. You could probable separate your heart, but I doubt you would be very successful loving yourself or others later in the day. And really, could you separate your body, the physical from the mental?

Often the concept of our heart and our mind get left out of the bigger picture. In cases of physical abuse or eating disorder, the body or positive regard of the body gets left. Yoga, as I have said before is a practice of uniting, connecting, allowing all parts of oneself to belong, to make a connection to the whole. Interestingly enough, the lack of satisfaction in our lives is seeing everyone else as separate. Isolating cultures, race, religion, sexual preference, politics, yet we all share the same breath, live on this planet together and everyone, as Paul Tournier puts it, “holds a sense of being lovable without having to qualify for that acceptance”. The success of our human race depends on having connections with others…yet we are still at war, and the biggest battle is probably within yourself. I am most definitely the hardest person on myself and tend to be the first one to get in my own way and tend to be the last one to put myself first…but I am working on it and refining little patterns that pull me from the collective love of myself. Working on creating a sense of belonging within in order to reflect it back out in to the wild world in which we participate.

We’ve heard it many times before and I wonder if he was ever hard on himself …

Be the change that you want to see – Gandhi

Yesterday’s post, just as you are, refers to the idea that you contain an unimaginable magnificence as Paul Muller-Ortega has taught me. Yes there are the layers that grip us into the non-loving expressions of our humanness, but we also contain the ability to belong, connect and the potential as well as the encouragement to bring forward your best self. What more is there?