Seeds Planted; A Manual for Care

Imagine your self as a seed, having been planted into this life. Of what would be the quality of your soil? Are you growing freely and wild, competing for the elements of the wilderness or stretching for sun from your pretty pot, awaiting the next watering? How deep would be your roots and solid your foundation and beliefs? And what about up above, are you wide green leafs to shelter that which is below, or short and spiky for your own endurance and survival? Perhaps you pride yourself on bright beautiful flowers, blooming briefly for the attention of passersby? Or maybe you are a vine, clinging onto whatever is strong and near..

Seeds hardly get to choose their fate, unless of course there has been some deal made with the wind, or their planter. Though most often, they fall when it is time to fight it out; Against the elements and one another. Our situations aren’t so different when you think of it. We are all living creatures, with deep desire to survive and flourish. We want to make the most of our conditions and grow just like we can.

But very different from the seed that falls, we can sometimes choose where to plant our selves and even determine what we will grow into. This requires awareness. Awareness of our own self care and the conditions which surround. Rather than let these conditions dictate our growth and health, maybe we pluck ourselves from the current spot in search of more fertile soil. Or maybe we weed the area around us, ridding anything which suffocates our potential. And if we like where we are and have something genuine to offer this space back, we must spread our roots down deep and hold ground. Some trees last a long, long time…

Now is the time for open minds to respect the intricacy of the whole living world and to see growth everywhere. It really takes all types to make up one ecosystem, one planet. So choose what you will flower into, the role that you will play.

Before You Go To Sleep

We can get used to any thing, any situation or environment. I have seen this and I have experienced it too. It is part of the human nature, to adapt. But what about when this adaptability is not serving our evolution but distracting from it? We watch the same lame shows every night, eat the same crappy food, have the same senseless arguments with loved ones and return to the same unfulfilling job each morning. This might sound extreme, of course some have it much worse but not us, we find real joy and inspiration in many things, or at least a few…right?

So why don’t we often step back to assess our situation? And if we do and are not satisfied by what we see, what stops us from creating change? By now we must have been told that we are the creators of our own lives. That we are the only ones who will truly complete and absolutely love our selves. If not, take a moment to consider this and please, let it sink in. This is the most compelling thing I have yet to learn and continue to work with. So why do we get so stuck in this pursuit of a truly worthwhile life? We can blame the outside world; the bills to pay, people to please, societal norms to live up to…And of course we have created a world so ripe with distraction that we are more than encouraged to carry out this thoughtless, lifeless ‘living’. Or maybe you care less about the world around you but lack the confidence within. There is a lot of fear on earth today. Maybe you are afraid of your own potential and what would happen should you leap towards it. Maybe we are satisfied or haunted by those few brief moments before sleep when we really wonder what it’s all about and where we are headed. And then the alarm goes and there are things to do, so the cycle continues.

This is not meant to be discouraging, but to connect us with a truth so often brushed over. To know that most all of us hunger for more than we are receiving and are simply not ready to ask for it, to go for it full on.

I spent years of my life so complacent. Seeking any and all distraction to keep myself from my self; drugs, drama, food, media, men and sleep worked sometimes too. At the same time, I always took chances and sought big changes, knowing intuitively that this life I had created could not be it. There was something great that I was intended for and that knowing would never leave.

Now, the more I work to understand my real nature, the undying self within, I am so much less afraid. I don’t mind trying things and I don’t expect so much from the material world. I am working to use this life, this place, as a type of playground or school for learning and playing. We’ll all fall and even fail but it doesn’t really matter. Those moments before sleep, no longer filled by hope and longing, can now be used for smiling.

When Learning Feels Like Leaving

Some times things end, it is like we have to say goodbye. Thinking we can keep any thing forever is not right. We cannot and should not want to. The world around us is transient and any effort to hang on to these swirling things abound will only result in a big time dizzy spell.

Know that nothing is lost. Regardless of your ability to see it, the things you have loved and cherished in purity will stick in you for always.

I am getting ready to leave India…to leave my teacher. The past month has been every thing I could not have known to hope for. In this place and company I have been so secure, received inexplicable blessings and assurances and really glimpsed love; the string to hold all truth. Going away from this feels like loss, uncertainty and some things not nice at all. But through this illusion of insecurity lies some thing so much greater. Because it is not like all I have found here, stays here. It is in me, around me, at any moment in which to be tapped into. As sure as the next thought will rise, more than the sun & moon to spin, the love and assurance I have gained here will flow through me. It will simply take a little practice to remain in it’s Grace.

I have been given the tools for such a practice and am leaving more dedicated to them than ever before. Priceless tools that originated from this magical land and were passed to me by some so inspiring I can not even pretend doubt. These tools can look from the outside like stretching and breathing initially. Opening and letting go…this is the premise, the first step to the unending inner journey. Of course we address the body first, our main access point to what is truly sought after. The body work allows the mind to sort itself, slowly sure but none can deny the importance of a mind more steady and clear. Once the mind is pure it can be used as intended, a focused channel in pursuits of the one great truth. No I have not found it yet but I see some who have and they want me there too. So I want us all there and will do my part.

It seems like I am leaving India and my teachers, my friends, but I am taking inspiration, faith, devotion and confidence and will practice it for You.

An Empty Vessel Knows No Bounds; A Beginner’s Journey to Meditation

Emptying the mind may very well be the most fulfilling thing we can accomplish. There is no thing worthwhile to be gained which has been filtered through a mind untamed. Becoming a slave to every desire, every emotion, every fleeting thought and call will leave us with heads spinning and no sense of what is lasting or true.

This modern world is full of sensory stimuli, pulling the mind here and there. We can spend each day of our lives chasing thoughts towards ideas. Ideas that never end or transpire, telling us we will be happy if and when…we take that vacation, make that new purchase, get a new position, a new partner, loose some weight, some debt, some addiction, maybe gain a favor or approval and perhaps we might satisfy everyone and everything outside of ourselves. Only then might we think that all will be right. Thankfully, this is only one option.

Another option is to peer deep within ourselves, finding the courage and hope to glimpse true wealth and attainment. Many hardly know this option and this is why sharing is nice. The mind starts out clean and pure and the external world eventually creeps in, over lives and times. Rather than add to the mess we must use the opportunity presented now and work to clear the mind, patiently getting back towards our natural state. It is so easy to direct focus outside of ourselves. We can always tap into one of a million distractions and not knowing the alternative, why would we not? Why are we distracting ourselves? Who is not addicted to some thing that pacifies? Who is at home inside their self and a smile?

Many have found the real home and peace of self and want us to as well. So of course there are tools, proven methods, to take us slowly deeper within. To withdraw from the noise, pull back from the grasping, silence the questions and find that you are alright and surely enough. More than enough, but everything and so, so complete. Meditation is a real world tool and gift, just as and maybe more valid now than ever before. Among the spinning we sit in silence and slowly sink in to the beautiful world that will never leave our insides. Over time realizing that the emptiness we may be working so hard to fulfill from without, can only ever be satisfied from within. When we can drop all desires and expectations of the material world will we see the abundance we have been holding all along.

Life will take us, shape us and break us, simply working for us to see…That the mind is an empty vessel. A song without words, a page without notes, a heart without desire and a life without fear…What will you create?

An Open Love Letter

I am falling so deeply in love. There is a young woman I have watched for a while. Ever gentle, so loving and there. I have seen her struggle deeply yet would never leave her side. She commits fiercely to what is true and I smile in knowing that is leading her to me. She has been walking the path with such grace and respect, it was only a matter of time until I found her here.
Seeing her in India, with feet planted so surely, heart guided so purely…I have only fallen deeper!

I long simply to let her know my presence, the forever strength of my commitment. I stay patient through her trials and fears. See, it is not me that she doubts but the pull of her own total brilliance. In India, I have led her to many mirrors and her own best teacher. Here we shine together.

Despite my love and understanding, she is human and still finds time to worry. Forgetting I know all, she could think she is not enough, that I might find another. Another more worthy, who works harder, looks brighter, smiles fuller, thinks more clearly…I know the shadows of her mind.

In India, I am showing her things and my excitement in our revelations has got me so excited. Here she is thinking of me more and more, of her worries less and laughs. She stands in a different way, ever more beautiful, you can only imagine and she thinks she is just fine here. Just fine as her self, fine by my side, finding such peace.

Now that we are getting closer she must never forget it. To walk from my love would be a disservice. I chose her especially and can only wait forever.

What I’m After

Does every one know what it feels like to want approval from outside our selves? To feel like we are only as good as others have affirmed to us? Do we all so easily forget any achieved sense of accomplishment when doubted by an other? If you do not resonate with this, please inspire all those you meet to find that same inner strength you have. Surely you must have evolved through such a stage and can empathize with me here.

I have been so guilty of this; Seeker of approval, desperate for validation. It is endless and it is tiresome. Luckily, I have begun to find my way. The teacher and teachings suited so beautifully to set me forth have come upon my path. By working to transform my self through the science of Yoga, I am coming to glimpse that eternal being within. I can now say confidently that I am beautiful and strong and worthy and that all of this comes from within and is unshakable. Except sometimes I do forget this and indulge myself in the drama of the ‘not good enough’s or ‘let’s just give up now’s. Ultimately though, I have come so far in recent years and can only imagine how much further this means I am meant to advance. For now, I am in a place where I teach others. I work to pass along the real tools of Yoga that are meant to liberate us all from our limiting beliefs. These tools are meant for all who are ready to embrace them and oh boy, are they needed!

Having struggled deeply with body image for many years, I have recently offered a class designed to bring together those with similar struggles. The insecure and out of shape seekers who are desperately on the lookout for some semblance of truth.

Last week, I was shocked and humbled when my class filled with these such people. Women who surely struggled to get up the staircase to find the studio, let alone maneuver themselves on their mats. And yet, they were there. My call had brought us all together and I suppose I must have been ready to teach and learn something…though I must admit, I was not prepared to lead students who faced such limitations, mentally and physically, it is all one and the same. There was one woman who’d had a recent hip replacement and along with having shed nearly 100lbs, was the first to say that she still had a long way to go in her pursuits of health. I wanted to do right by her and to help her heal and triumph. Quietly, she did her thing and I did mine. Not long into the class, there was another women, front and center, who would randomly make claims over how hard everything was, with her being so fat. Or wondering aloud, how was she supposed to do that, with all of her fat in the way!? I am quite sensitive and this affected me. My own negative associations with the word (FAT) had me shuttering and seeking a quick retreat from her scorn. But also, what a beautiful opportunity to connect with what was important and what was true and exercise my own ability to stand firm in supporting this. Sure the physical body was real and had to be dealt with, but more so as an extension of the mind and soul, where the truth and importance really lie.

As class ended, the woman who had caused the disturbance sought out a potential companion and outlet in my friend, the one with the healing hip and heart. I heard and felt her desperately wanting to share her negativity, looking for reinforcement in stating, ‘…wasn’t that too hard for us, not what I expected, was comfortable with or felt good about it…’ I was working hard to keep focused on my center and was half disappointed and mostly hugely relieved to overhear her talking to the receptionist to say she would not be joining the rest of the classes.

All week, doubts plagued me. Maybe I couldn’t do this…I couldn’t make them all happy and the thought was dragging me down, down, down. I began to doubt my entire role as a teacher, considering that if I were only teaching Yoga to gain the validation of others, I was a hypocrite and my students would be better off without me.

Tonight, our second class, was approached with caution and honestly, having been stripped down a bit, I came with only myself and experiences to offer. I believe that my sincere gratitude in connecting and conveying the real meaning of Yoga was evident. Class began and I kept my eye and heart out for my friend who was slow but surely moving and adjusting into her body and new hip. Being how I am, I wanted to nurture her…to help her get into the poses, hand her the props and check in that she was alright. I thought she must be feeling the same as the woman who approached her last week and vented about the injustice of it. Maybe I just wanted her approval and acceptance too. I don’t know if I could have handled another person, who I deeply wanted to help, walking away from me in disappointment. But I held back, letting her find her own way…

 

Class ended and my friend was slow to gather her things, hanging around quietly as the others said their goodbyes. I could sense she wanted to talk and automatically feared it would be a repeat episode; These classes weren’t for her, I wasn’t doing a good job in sharing what Yoga really meant. I braced myself and then quickly realized she had a different story to tell…

First off, she wanted to explain and justify her inabilities, as we all so often do. She wanted to tell me how hard it was for her to join the class, to go out into public alone…something she rarely, if ever, will do. She wanted to share that she wasn’t even sure how she managed to convince herself to come out, into a place where people might so easily judge her and she would have to face her limitations head on. She wanted me to know that last week, once class was over, she barely made it back into her car before being overcome with a huge release of tears and pride. She was proud of herself and this was amazing.

I cannot express how deeply moved I am to know that my words, my offerings, reached some people in such a way that without ever having met me or tried Yoga, they felt drawn to join in our classes. Here I spent the last few days worried I was only teaching to please others and scrape around for approval! Tonight I saw in front of me, a woman glowing after having shed a layer of her own complex limitations, trusting and ready to move down into the limitlessness of her own True Being.

This is absolutely why I am teaching Yoga.

Piece of Peace of Mind

This holiday season, things aligned for me to experience my first ever real retreat into silence. Shut up, in my apartment for two days with a plan to focus entirely on my yoga practice and meditation, spiritual literature and recordings, my only hope was to recharge and learn…something new.

See, I am no stranger to myself. Always having possessed a deeply introspective & sensitive mind, I spend quite enough time alone. This time however, would be different in that there would be no distractions to put up between us. No texting or social media, no music to transport or influence me and no fictitious novels to immerse myself in. Purely my Self and the mirror that is the mind. Of course I was a little nervous, as we often become when faced with the unknown, but I am becoming deeply rooted in my faith and was eager to see what would transpire.

Anxiety began the night before beginning, when it came time to turn off my phone, my life line, my right hand man! Knowing that I have become far more attached to this weird little device than I would ever have liked to believe possible, I knew that detaching from it for some time would be very valuable. While I could likely write page upon page in regards to the epidemic that is cellphone/social media dependency, let me simply address what I believe to be the root of this issue; our deep and most true desire for Union. We clutch and stare at these little screens all day long, messaging those we are apart from, stalking the lives of those we envy and ultimately, putting up huge barrier between us and our real natures. We were born to connect and cooperate and the illusions created by modern technology that make us feel connected and included in an instant, are actually growing the divide between what it is  we must work to come more closely towards; Our Selves. On the first morning of my silence, my True Self was elated! So eager to profess her love and thanks to me, to assert our bond, now that I was truly listening. See, this is my best friend- always there, forever encouraging and completely loving. We owe it to one another to cultivate this relationship and I can proudly say to anyone who asks and means to listen, my best friend is the ideal companion and she lives in me. We decided to fully enjoy our days together…

The first day started out smoothly, too smoothly…morning prayers & pranayama & meditation, followed by a most nourishing breakfast with no limit to the hot tea and cacaos I sipped while listening to and taking notes on the recorded teachings of my dear Guru. I went on to experience such a blissful asana practice, realizing that by limiting my distractions I was able to be so thoroughly in the moment. My asanas were taken so much deeper as there was no clinging in the mind to hold them back. Just as I was concluding this sadhana and about to enter the practice of japa, I could hear sirens in the distance. While aware, there was no disturbance created in the mind. I still was not removed from my blissed out state as they grew nearer and ultimately stopped outside of my apartment. It was Christmas in Bowness after all, no big deal. Only when I heard a neighbor outside in the hallway shouting that, ‘we’re all going to blow up’, did my peace of mind quickly fade away. I went right back into that scared little girl who cannot deal with crisis. Thoughts jumped between ideas of running out into the hall for answers, to gathering all of my valuable things, maybe even calling my Mom or my Guru or perhaps simply freezing and letting the panic gather around my heart, taking me down slowly. But come on, I was literally just about to start the repetition of my beautiful affirmation, which is the practice of japa, so this was what I did while listening from inside my doorway and experiencing the unpleasant smell of gasoline. Something had happened in the basement and the smell had alerted someone to call the fire department. I am still not sure what happened outside of my door that afternoon. Yet inside, I was gifted with the opportunity to address my fears and insecurity. Most all of us are deeply insecure and this will manifest in various ways. We cling to whatever is available, hoping for some permanence and stability, struggling to remember that We are permanent and We are stable. Eventually we will all die a physical death and have no need to carry these current bodies around with us, let alone the unopened Christmas gifts I was considering gathering before making my quick dash to freedom! So I sat and connected with my eternal nature, repeating my affirmation, as the open window pulled the fresh air in, and out, the lingering hints of exhaust from the surroundings and fears from the mind.

The rest of the time passed peacefully, beautifully. I mean, it was only two days and yet, they were full and they were valuable. On the second night, the last night, Christmas Eve, I had a beautiful meditation and ceremony. I am so grateful for this life that I am leading. I said prayers for those I love and connected with them so deeply as you see, this is what happens as we deepen our connection to our Selves- we generate increased capacity for connection with those we desire it from. At the end of my mini celebration, I received beautiful instruction and support in carrying forward. I had reached this place of serenity, security and love with self in such a short time, but had I become solid enough in it to reenter the dramas of life so soon? Surely the mind is strong and the mind is fearful and it is protective and I did not want to let it go back to having it’s way so soon. The message I received was to give my mind the task of creativity and creation. I love to write and express, and it is here that the mind is happiest and most align with my heart, my True Self, my BFF, Kimaya.

So I will keep writing for my own sake, for my own liberation…I long for it deeply and each word seems to take me just that much closer. And if I can write and connect with the truth in others, proving to them it’s real and it’s OK, then that is beyond beautiful. After all we are here together, to connect and inspire and I must play my part.