The Magic of Ashtanga Yoga

A few years ago ‘Girls Can Blog’ wrote a fascinating article ‘Why I broke up with Ashtanga’… It’s honest, emotional and raw. img_5865 The other day I saw it posted again on a social media page for a person I know who apparently has broken up with ashtanga too. This provoked a bout of introspection for me.  (Also worthy of note that anytime any of us has broken up with anyone or anything there’s a period of utter contempt and dissatisfaction that was necessary to create the break.)  It is a rare trait indeed for a person to say simply ‘this no longer serves me, although it once did, and I am moving in a new direction, with love.’   Instead we often rage at the situation, often creating regrettable circumstances, only later becoming peaceful and compassionate with our own evolution.

The referenced article is located here: Why I stopped Practicing Ashtanga

The post begins with a simple introduction related to the author’s dedication to yoga, ashtanga specifically, to having been through a teacher training, marrying a male yogi and to being vegetarian then vegan.  It’s the quintessential checklist for ‘things a yoga student might do’.   And a lot of it, if it being done for reasons other than ‘this is sustainable and healthy for me’ is basically neither.

The author’s first subject heading states that specifically Ashtanga Yoga is a relationship outside of your relationship, designed to be a distraction from, presumably, interpersonal issues one might be avoiding.  However my first heading would be:

Ashtanga Yoga is a Quiet, Internal Practice, which uses a series of foci to help the student become an observer of the inner state… 

A nice illustration of Patthabi Jois method, thanks to Boonchu

The Mysore method is decidedly different than some other methods which I feel are more externally focused.  Those may have trendy playlists, a charismatic teacher giving oratory, a teacher calling poses and cues, but do share the movement to the breath, the sense of shared energy and community.  The Mysore method allows the student to take responsibility for learning the sequence, asana, count and dristi… so that the practice becomes the teacher and the teacher teaches the practice.  Most of us who regularly practice have experienced that the sensations we experience on the mat are very often strong indicators for how we show up in life, especially as it relates to how we show up in increasingly challenging situations.  Part of the magic that occurs is we begin to nurture ‘the observer’ within us.  We start to simply observe the sensations as we learn to not be bullied by them.  Overall there is a calming, and a developing sense of compassion that extends beyond the mat.  I think for me, if it was not this way, I wouldn’t be coming back.  There was a time I loved a variety of lead classes, and where I really connected to the chosen lesson a teacher might be weaving in, but ultimately I find the voice inside to be the one that is most compelling.

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My teacher Marsha, owner of Balance Yoga Atlanta

( I need to add that I find attending my teacher’s weekly lead primary to be critically important in my learning to pace my breathing in a way that helps me bring better tempo to my Mysore practice)

In the next three sections the author discusses how many days a week one exercises, how to handle injuries, and anorexia.

Coming from a sports background I can say first hand that the level of intensity and energy a person expends on exercise are both highly individualized and extremely baffling. A fun day for me in summer in college consisted of riding my bike to play soccer, running 3 miles between games, swimming a mile, then hopefully hooking up with friends for some water skiing.  And it was fairly common for me for many years to run, then do any other activity.  Hours and hours per day.  I enjoyed this level of activity.  My point is that Ashtanga is recommended to be practiced 22 out of 28 days (One rest day per week, and one moon day every other week.  Less for ladies holiday).  However I have heard several qualified teachers advise their students to listen to their own bodies.  I would add ‘check your motives’ as to why you practice less or more.

I have certainly had injuries.  In everything I have ever done.  In fact it was a series of painful running injuries that initiated my  movement into yoga, which I misunderstood to be radical stretching.

Usually injuries are attributable to violating one of the following:  Did I go too far, too fast, too soon?  Or the other — did I go for ‘one more’ after knowing I was already tired?  I have found the same rule applies no matter what.  However, recently I developed a muscle spasm at work.  The type that takes your breath away.  I showed up for practice, and my teacher worked with me closely to help me experience what  felt therapeutic, and what did not.  I also saw a masseuse, and a chiropractor twice.  My practice was very limited, and we discovered I needed some additional stretching in another area, so we incorporated some new poses into my daily practice. Slow, thoughtful, compassionate, deliberate yoga therapy.  I healed up without exacerbating my injury, and learned a new benefit to the daily practice and deeper meaning to the idea of ahimsa and how we practice.

With respect to anorexia, it is a disease, very similar to addiction, and requires outside intervention.  I suppose the author may have been referencing the solar aspect to the practice, and people other than me have lost weight, but I have not.  There are times I sincerely wish this would kick in.  On the other hand, I genuinely feel for all my fellow souls suffering from active addictions — and am here to both assist and hold space as they come to terms with and then are released from the disease. (See ‘outside issues’… below)  Once a person has had adequate treatment, then there are amazing benefits from practice, and truly innovative programs like Taylor Hunt’s Trini Foundation which can boost recovery rates substantially.

Next, the author takes on some of my favorite subjects! Chakra balancing, the rabbit hole of ashtanga, about living in isolation, and my favorite kindness to self.

With respect to chakra balancing — it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a believer in the subtle body, the nadis, the meridian system… If it exists, it will exist without your approval.  Yet, in all my studies, increasingly there is merit for their existence.  And with respect to chakras, I have heard it said, and I utilize this philosophy:  One can bring balance to the chakras simply by bringing one’s attention to them.  Additionally, if one is so inclined, one can use sound, or light, too.  So really, the idea of signing and chanting does have the necessary intention to help restore the subtle energy body to balance.

Not living in isolation.  Part of a community; Sangha

I suppose the rabbit hole of ashtanga is a thing, it’s just not a thing I have ever heard of.  So I will leave that alone.
With respect to living in isolation, I have to say one’s level of isolation is a choice, hopefully based upon their needs.  Personally, I am an introvert, but have training to take care of people, and so have developed skills as an extrovert, yet it is not my nature.  My Meyers – Briggs is INFP, but I can also test as an ENFP.  I prefer a calm comfortable home life.  I prefer anything over the mall.  I don’t like traffic. I do love a festival, however, and live music. In my work life I literally spend ALL DAY connecting with and engaging with people and trying to give them

Get out and have fun.  Carry the message that your practice makes you happier and a better person.  Unless it doesn’t in which case I challenge you to find something which does.

direct hands on care, which is quite draining.  I look forward to finding the pathway to myself each day as I take practice.  And, in contrast from running, where I often looked forward to getting outside my head space, I have found immensely therapeutic value in actually listening and observing the thinking as I move through the series.

If you have an outside issue, seek outside help.

A million times: YES.  Although there are cases I am sure where the practice of yoga leads to epiphany and miraculous transformation, if a person is suffering from a serious problem and expecting a quick cure, I am going to have to say – use your yoga practice as an adjunct, to give you space and time to grow as you navigate issues like addiction, eating disorders, PTSD, and relationship / social disorders.  There are so many useful healing modalities these days.  Make use of them.

 

I recently read an article in which the author proposed NO ONE participate in seated meditation because a) he had been using it to avoid dealing with a relationship issue for 9 years, and the b) his teacher suggested the physical practice was a meditation.  As an independent and intuitive person, I took my red flag and began to ask others about this.  My conclusion was this:  Never in the history of humankind has a person become a worse person by engaging in peaceful seated meditation.  Not only that, even Patanjali states one of the reasons FOR yoga practice is to prepare the student FOR meditation.  So, just because YOU have a relationship issue and used your meditative practice to AVOID doing your inner work, it’s not okay for you to put your trauma on me.  Boundary set.

The next section was about the method of getting a certification.  

If a student becomes proficient at the primary and

That’s Sharath calling a primary in Miami, and my green, sweaty shirt. He is a really nice man.

intermediate series and wants the KPJAYI credentials – the process isn’t terrible.  You need a letter of recommendation from an authorized teacher, and then need to spend a month with Sharath.  It may take a couple trips and a couple of years.

On the other hand, Manju Jois, Pattabhi actual son offers teacher trainings, as does Tim Miller (the FIRST authorized teacher) and so does David Swenson.  You can study with Richard Freeman, David Williams, the list goes on and on.  There are many paths and not all are KPJAYI.  You get to choose.

It’s really not that complicated.  If you want a certificate, go get a teacher training.

In addition to a regular practice with my teacher, Marsha, I am developing the habit of spending 4 weeks a year with Tim Miller.  I recently completed his primary series teacher training.

Practice ashtanga IF it calls to you.  Then go see a life time teacher who offers trainings.  The thing about ashtanga is it takes you years to learn to teach it well — be humble enough to be the student.  Take your time, ‘Why Hurrying?’… Oh I know, it’s America.  We go too far, too fast, too soon, and wanna make bank.  If you want to go to Mysore every year and study with Sharath, then do that.  You have choices.  You’re not a slave to anything.  Be your own damn self.

Regarding the Arbitrary Nature of the evolution of tradition…

It’s now called KPJAYI not the original Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. Notably absent is the term research.  It seems Pattabhi was a bit of a tinkerer.

In fact, Encinitas yogis are the reason that the revolved positions of triangle and extended side angle are in the primary.  How about that lift up after utkatasana?  Yeah that was put in there the day before they filmed the original video.   The joke was that Pattabhi would change things based on what felt right  but then never admit he’d changed anything — he was actually doing research, and making changes based upon what seemed best for the most.  It’s possible with the many people who now go to Mysore that it is necessary to stick to the script of primary, intermediate, third and fourth (which used to be advanced A and B).

Once you have established a relationship with your teacher, then you together can cater a practice that is more specific to you, your body, your needs and your abilities.

As far as teaching yoga being a profession… 

I don’t really know what to say.  I know few artists or musicians who went into it for the money and then made big money.  What even is that?  A career in yoga will be one that’s rich in experiential living, filled with devotion, a loving community, and maybe, just maybe the kind of financial prosperity embodied by Lakshmi, which is one of abundance, but never wretched excess.  If a yoga teacher is not coming from a place of love, perhaps it’s best not to trust them when you’re in a vulnerable place, like a yoga practice.

I say, follow your bliss.  And if you do follow your bliss, you fill find open doorways where previously none existed (paraphrasing Joseph Campbell).

Lastly, it’s okay to break up with anyone, anytime.  Ultimately the reason is ‘because I want to’.  Let’s allow others to evolve to grow, to change and to change their minds based upon increased knowledge and awareness.  Let’s bring relief to the suffering and compassion to all.  And let’s include ourselves in that.

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But do I actually have anything to say that will make a difference?

sri-yantra“The truth can be used to harm, or to heal” ~ my erstwhile mentor, Philip Goodman during one of our many fine talks.

I am of the belief that every one of us, in fact all living beings have at the center of their being a soul.  It’s the part of us that has a direct line to the Infinite.  It is always about good, about light, and ultimately about love, compassion and grace.  I know this in the way so many of us know things that have no empirical truth; we know.  However, are we engaged in a regular and devoted practice that helps us connect to the Source within each of us?  Is it or is it not each of our truest, highest purpose to do this?  Or is it cool to just shoot from the hip, do and say and mimic what our parents, teachers, life trauma and experience, and authorities told us was right?
ahquote1
I’m really not here to judge anyone.  Ultimately, we have to meet each other exactly where we are, and go from there.  And I think we have the ability to do that.  We have a strange world political situation going on at present — and it seems to have had almost everyone digging in their heels and saying I am right, and you are wrong, and I am willing to fight about it.  I was in Miami last summer studying ashtanga yoga with Paramaguru Sharath Jois.  When he was asked about social media, he simply said ‘Everybody has comment.’  And so it is.

In my previous post, I suggested that ‘what if there was a virus that infected all of us, and it’s outward manifestation was to cause us to ‘think’ in a certain combative way?’… Wouldn’t we want to treat our illness first?  And wouldn’t we stop rampantly stating what was on our mind once we had our diagnosis?  And lastly, wouldn’t we follow a prescribed course of care to heal our self of the virus?

ahquote2In my experience, and using the metaphor / mythology of warriors and healers, we begin our early adult life as warriors.  We battle adversity.  We fight corruption.  We rail against the relative inequities in life.  We rage against the machine.  And we learn.  We gain in experience.  We become wiser.  We soften.  We learn compassion.  Grace enters.  We transition into healers.  We see how our experiences and accumulated awareness can help others.  By helping others we see first hand how lives are transformed.  We witness light entering into areas where once only darkness existed.  We are affirmed.

hands-mona-therese-pieceI was given an intuitive piece to the puzzle of my own soul’s purpose years ago.  I found myself in a position to speak publicly, becoming vulnerable in a very public way, telling the truth of me, and it was my hope to bring healing to others so that they could begin to lay down some of their own weaponry.  That piece was this;  if even one soul is reached, your purpose is served.  That soul may even be your own.  And like that all pressure to perform and be ‘somebody’ was lifted.  Simply by tuning into the inner healer, and sharing from that perspective, by being a hollow bone or conduit for that which is Universal, I could serve the highest good.  It was no longer about me.  Or about being right.

In the west, we have evolved into a largely compartmentalized tribe.  We sit in our metal boxes trying to get somewhere by a certain time so we can do a certain thing.  We use the metal box to defend our space.  We sit at our desk, and are unable to make eye contact with the outer world, and are unable to feel the subtle energy of others, and are unable to hear the intonation of a voice.  We suffer from disconnect.  And boy do we have comments.

We comment about who should or shouldn’t drive in the left lane.  We comment about patriotism, sexuality, politics, ad infinitum.  Always a comment.  But have we checked in?  Have we checked our motives?  What is our intention?  Is it on purpose?  Or are we just spreading the disease?

mahatma-gandhi-750x400I am not saying there are not battles to be fought or that our warriors are very active right now.  Many an enlightened soul has had to face immense struggle,
Gandhi comes to mind, as does the Bhagavad-Gita in which Arjuna still has to endure both the inner struggle and the outward struggle with that which he loves and has formed attachment to.  hqdefault

I am saying — what will serve all the one world — is for each of us to be responsible for having a practice devoted to finding, getting acquainted with, and more easily accessing our own soul.  In this way, we all serve the one world.

Until next time ~ peace

 

Finding Balance and Truth in a World gone “Viral”

building-better-worlds-930x350I consider myself an independent individual. I’m not a registered republican or democrat. I sometimes lean liberal, other times conservative. I’ve been on both sides of the libertarian / socialist debate. Mostly, I align with those who take a global view, are humanistic and compassionate and strong on the issue of global ecology. I favor a thriving middle class, and prefer people following their heart and soul; their bliss, over any of the preferred mythologies of our times.  In fact, I’ve dedicated this year to being clear about stating what is I DO WANT, instead of complaining.  I can not say I have been successful, because honestly there are so many things being done I do not think are good for our planet, and they are being done in such a unilateral way — the soil is ripe for complaining.  I have fallen prey to what feels like a virus, a sickness, which turns us all into zombies of a bickering nature.  Everybody is right and nobody is sorry, as the song goes.

Occasionally I get an email that gets my attention, sort of slaps me in the face and makes me say ‘Wow, these people are hurting. They’ve been traumatized. They are afraid. At some level they’re ashamed, in a toxic way, and are lashing out.’ I feel for them, and at the same time, I see great error in their conclusion and decisions.

Here’s the email below and after if you read on, you’ll find what I think is an appropriate and factual response. I wonder though, will we ever progress toward unity? I sometimes have my doubts about the human species and it’s destructive tendencies:

“The 89th showing of the Academy Awards are coming up on February 26th.  It is important that we, the deplorables, show the likes of Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Alec Baldwin, Cher, Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and the other arrogant hypocrites, that we, the backbone and decent people of America
la-trump-group-20160331 
, are more united than the bitter, unhappy, angry, divisive people of the entertainment industry.

These arrogant, pompous, pampered soulless individuals declare that half of Americans are racist, sexist, and bigoted for voicing our political choice through Donald Trump. Yet there can be no doubt that the entertainment industry does more to exploit, degrade, minimize, and stereotype women than Donald Trump or any other industry ever has.  From Madonna and Miley Cyrus parading on stage with little to no clothing while grabbing their crotches and allowing fans to do the same, to movies that depict women as whores, sluts, and gold-diggers dependent on their bodies for survival, to the deplorable speeches of Madonna and Ashley Judd talking about their periods in a vile manner and talking about blowing up the White House, we must send these evil hearted people a strong and distinct message that they do not speak for the women of this country and they are not the role models of our young daughters. The wearing of pink does not negate the black hearts that these people have for our country and our Constitution.  Nor does it negate the disdain and contempt they have for the American people and our political process.

In recent social media threads, the good people of this nationla-1459189029-snap-photo are calling for a full boycott of the entertainment industry for this unwarranted and outrageous display of petulant behavior. Some in the entertainment industry are mocking us saying, “Go ahead, we don’t need you trailer trash racists.”  That may be true, but these people do need our green dollars.  It is important that we send a strong and powerful message to this group telling them to stick to their make believe jobs and to leave the politics of this country to the people, just as our wise and forward thinking forefathers designed.

The good people of this country are not asking you to give up movies.  We are asking you to take two simple steps.  First, refuse to support these groups by refusing to watch the Academy Awards on February 26th.  Simply change the channel or go for a walk with your family members and tell them how much you love them.  Second, forward this request to as many friends as possible and post it on social media to get the word out.  This will only be effective if we show the same unity we exhibited during the election.  Yet how powerful will it be when the ratings for the Academy Awards fall in the toilet.  It is only for a couple of hours and requires very little effort.  When this happens, the arrogant entertainment industry will understand just how insignificant and powerless they are.

I am so proud of my fellow Americans who stood up and said, “Enough is Enough.” Michelle may have only been proud of this country once in her life, but we the patriots have never lost our love and pride in America.  The left is now up to their old tricks trying to bully the rest of us into feeling guilty.  Let them know that their selfish, vulgar, and unpatriotic behavior over this past week will not be tolerated.  Let them know that we will not be silenced and that we are no longer going to be shamed for what we believe.  We must continue the fight!  We must shut them down now!  We must show them that America will be great again no matter how filthy and disgusting they become.

Boycott the Academy Awards on February 26, 2017.

_______________________________________________________________

Response:

lat-clooney-42-la0004064916-20090101George Clooney the actor and human rights campaigner criticised Trump and his supporters for taking aim at Meryl Streep after she gave a speech condemning the president earlier this year.

Trump accused her of being part of the “Hollywood elite,” but Clooney said, Trump himself is part of that “elite.”

“Trump has 22 acting credits and earns $120,000 a year from the Screen Actor’s Guild’s (SAG) pension fund. He is a Hollywood elite and Steve Bannonsteve-bannon is a failed film writer and director,” Clooney told interviewer Laurent Weil.

“That’s the truth, that’s what he’s done. He [Bannon] wrote a Shakespearean rap musical about the LA riots that he couldn’t get made. He made a lot of money off of Seinfeld. He’s elitist Hollywood, I mean, that’s the reality.”

Trump has appeared in various movies, most notably “Home Alone 2,” and is most known for playing himself on the TV show “The Apprentice.” Those various appearances make him eligible to receive a pension from the SAG. Bannon invested in the show “Seinfeld,” and is still getting payments due to syndication of the show.

Clooney was also asked whether he could draw any parallels between his movie “Good Night and Good Luck,” in which he plays a journalist during the McCarthy era, and what is happening in the US now. “We have a demagogue in the White House,” Clooney said, adding that journalists were needed to check his power.

But Clooney was also hopeful, saying that one thing he was proud of as an American was that even if “we do some pretty dumb things … we are pretty good at fixing them too.

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As we look at these 2 items side by side, we get to weigh in.  Do we want to be a part of the fight?  He said, she said, I am right you are wrong, we are good you are bad… or can we find a place that says ‘I hear you, and I understand you are frightened.’  Or what if we took it a quantum leap further and said ‘what if there actually is some sort of virus or infection… something that is effecting everyone’s thinking in a way that leads to exactly this division?’  I know that’s a radical idea, but hear me out.  The first step in this is saying ‘okay, I have become ill.  I have become ill in a way that affects the way I think and react.’  This is a most difficult tenet because if I can not trust our own my own thinking due to this virus, then instead I must focus on healing.

And that’s really what this entire situation is about.  Humankind is being given an opportunity to heal.  To heal it’s thinking, it’s speaking, it’s actions.   To define it’s own existence as either veering off of it’s path of rapid expansion and destruction, or of choosing a whole new way.  A way that says ‘Our past has lead to expansion and destruction, division and growth, irresponsible and reckless, with little respect for others, for the planet, and out of harmony with life – that is the myth we must abandon.’

There are those of us who believe that given the chance to turn inward, we discover the Universe.  We discover that inside us shines 1000 suns, and that there is a wise soul who understands.  We carry inherently the capacity to forgive, to empathize, and ultimately to love.  My recommendation is we all develop a method to establish a well worn path from the logical mind which says we are separate, to the heart, which recognizes we are all connected and part of one amazing, powerful, symbiotic God.

So, count your rosary, say your our Fathers, recite the Shemah, chant, sing, ho’oponopono… re-establish your inner life first.  Heal the spiritual sickness.

Peace.

 

When the Messenger Arrives, Listen.

birds_at_sky

As I drove out of my driveway this morning I was treated to the sight of hundreds of blackbirds in my neighbors yard.  As I approached, they took flight and immediately began to murmurate, I, once again, couldn’t help but take notice and interpret on a spiritual level.  There are those of us who can connect to spirit in a timely and meaningful way when we experience a resonant moment with animal guides.  For those of you not open to or who do not connect with this mythology, you may stop reading now.

Intuitively, I picked up on a) that there was a message from ascended guides and masters contained within, and b) this was a time where I should ‘look up the meaning’ and my answer would quickly be revealed.  And so I pulled over and did that.  Here is what came up immediately:

Blackbirds Animal Totem Symbolism:  As a dark and mysterious creature, blackbirds are associated with lunar symbolism.   Also, the flight of the blackbird is symbolic of the quest for higher knowledge, a valiant journey that always leaves us better off than when we started. 

The reminder here for me is that a) I am a seeker of higher knowledge and b) Higher knowledge leaves us better than before.  Over the past few months I have been experiencing a very strong net negative inner condition by using Facebook.  There has been so much discord and division, largely brought about by the recent US election process, along with the boiling over of so much fear and anger from the millions of people who’ve been feeling disenfranchised.   The daily reading and interactions do not leave me ‘better than I was before’ and now I know, therefore this is not the pathway of higher knowledge.

As I sat with this information came the awareness that I used to blog as a way of refining and expressing my clarity with regard to almost anything, but that I had stopped doing this, because I too had gotten caught up in the Facebook fray.

Upon reflection I am once again aware that this venue is the perfect place for me to organize and express my views on many subjects such as politics, the Earth and ecology, energy production, birth control, race and gender equality, human sexuality, regressive politics, love, yoga, fitness, adventure, and my soul’s purpose.  Here it’s is just my ideas, away from the place where everybody is right and nobody is sorry.  Facebook has become the equivalent of a car.  Everyone ‘hides behind the wheel’ and are able to ‘rage’ without consequences.

Groups have evolved on Facebook which significantly cut down on the social media road rage, and I do participate in those.  I am grateful I have connected with many truly open minded and loving souls in these groups.  Those of us concerned with healing the global disease can connect, share ideas, and grow seeds of change.  In those I participate with my inner most thoughts, and I am met with sharing, compassion and feel grace enter.

If you are reading this, thank you for allowing me to freely express myself.

bk

 

The Sometimes Subtle Effect of ‘Not Letting Go’

imageIn the past 6 months I have allowed myself the opportunity to move through some changes.  It meant letting go of some things I was holding onto.  I was aware of a few, while with some others I was not, but as the clarity came, I truly wanted to make room for the new, the sustainable, for love, service and adventure, and the kind of abundance that goes soul deep.  “And I am fulfilled” is my affirmation.  I see this kind of housecleaning as a vibrational act of allowing.

I noticed that some other things were changing, dropping off, as well… mostly financial in the form of debts accumulated in the past few years while I was going through perhaps the deepest transition I have ever felt.  Not the sudden swift epiphany, but the waiting, trusting, occasionally doubting kind of patience that can be so humbling.

Much is written about letting go, it’s a good thing.

Let it go.

That relationship that hurts? Let it go.

imageThose words that upset you? Let them go.

Let the words go.

Let it all go, even the people if necessary…

I am all for that. Grieve as necessary, do the inner work, evaluate your role, make amends and set boundaries…

Get clear and then take your desire to Spirit.
Let.  That.  Shit.  Go.

It’s highly likely I don’t do nearly enough letting go. In fact I would like to suggest that we only let go when something is really uncomfortable, proven false without a doubt, or in emergencies.  For the greatest part, me included, don’t actually pay much attention to our attachments.  We run in a sort of ‘neutral’, used to the noise and weight of our attachments like so much white noise.  They are part of ‘normal’.  But they’re not.  Attachment, it is said, is the cause of all human suffering.

imageI would now like to tell you a story. It’s a true story and it’s about the subtlety of not letting go.   It all revolves around a matted and framed trio of photos gifted to me by a former friend. The framed pictures appeared somewhere around 1998, I think… And I still have them.

This is the back story. My 2 best friends at the time, Mike and Pete decided a nice long weekend trip to Tsali Recreation Area in North Carolina would be a fun adventure. We loaded our bikes, jumped in my giant SUV and headed up from Jensen Beach. We camped, we rode mountain bikes, we did some trail running, we ate catfish while imagelistening to live bluegrass, and we even took in a local dirt track car race. I was the photographer and documentarian, as always… lugging my big ass 35mm Canon A1 and various lenses in a backpack.

On our 3rd day of riding these 3 photos were taken. it had been a typical day on the trails; lots of fun, beautiful scenery, lung scorching climbs, flowing fast downhills and catching air on some pretty big bumps. Pretty much what a mountain bike road trip should be.

It was so great, that near the end of the ride, I asked Mike to wait at the bottom with my camera, and get some motion shots with me flying through a section of whoop-te-doos… He said yes and I trudged up to the top.

imageI made the turn, clipped in, and took off! As I landed, I knew I was in trouble immediately. I thought I had cased the landing because it felt like I hit hard on the front wheel, and it felt like my arms were being ripped off the bars. Over the bars I went, pitched high and hard, landing with all of my weight on the left side of my head and the back of my left shoulder.  In terms of yoga, the pose ‘fallen angel’ comes to mind.

When I sat up, Mike asked if I was alright. I knew immediately I was not. I couldn’t quite tell what was happening, but I did recognize within my body the need to move, and the onset of shock. I had one singular focus: get back to the campsite before I pass out… My left arm felt like it was dead it was all mushy in the shoulder area.  This was not how I pictured the end of my day and now I just was running on adrenaline.

We rode the 3 miles back to the campsite and then without hesitation I jumped into the truck. Mike drove me to the ER at Bryson City, and after xrays I was given the diagnosis of a stage 3 Acromioclavicular separation. I think because that was so obvious, they never even bothered to xray the ribs or wrist… until later in an MRI it was discovered I had twig fractures in the ribs… I opted out of the ‘bone scan’ for the wrist…the treatment seemed worse that the injury, but I had to heal up some sort of wrist injury as well.

So the next 8 weeks were a real bitch for me, physically. It hurt to laugh, sneeze, cough… My orthopedic doctor suggested I get in the pool and one day at a time begin strengthening the separated shoulder by lifting up out of the pool. Gradually it strengthened, although it has never been the same. Fortunately I had a heated saltwater pool, unfortunately even with rehab this is a permanent injury.

Getting back to the story — Mike, to his credit, had actually taken photos as we had discussed.  He had no idea I was going to become injured, he was just being a great friend.  My intention was to have some shots of me catching some air on my bike, but instead the photos would document the moments leading up to the injury. In fact the cause of the flip is evident too, a perfectly placed rock catching my front wheel on an otherwise smooth trail…

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Mike

Mike, strangely, decided to take the film from the camera, and acted very defensive about getting them developed.  I told him I wanted the film, and I would handle the developing.  But no.

Months later, I received the framed trio of pictures as a gift from Mike. They were nicely framed and matted, and it was a thoughtful gesture even if bizarre in my opinion.

I did not like them. At all. To me they were a gruesome of a serious injury and were definitely not reflective of the overall elan of the trip.  I questioned Mike as to why he would do this, and he never really answered. He isn’t a mean, nasty guy, and I am sure he wasn’t trying to teach me some lesson.  His intention was never revealed to me.

In a subtle act of not letting go, this framed series of 3 pictures which captured a moment I would rather let go of and move on from stayed. I never hung the photos.  They sat in a closet, in a box, stayed with me through several moves, in the garage… finally, the other day I spied the picture and took the question into my journeying practice; ‘Why am I holding onto this”…

Here’s what the answers were that came through that meditation:
1. Although you do not like the pictures, you do like and respect Mike. You were willing to put the idea of his feelings in high regard, above your own.
2. You place a value on framed art — whether it’s of value or not.
3. You have been forgetting to let it go. It’s one of a thousand tiny little rubber bands to your ‘story’ — like a tangible reason why you ‘can’t’ or why ‘you’re afraid’…


And so, there are the pictures of me removing the photos, and letting them go symbolically burning them… and then installing 3 new pictures that remind me of the beautiful adventure that is this life… Now, what remains to be seen, is will I still see those pictures when I see this frame, or will it blossom into something new… Who knows, maybe I will have to let go of the frame too.

I want to look at all things with some imagediscernment. Is this something I want?  Need? Is it pulling me forward, higher? Or am I using it to weigh myself down and to create a story of ‘can’t, won’t or don’t?

bk

10 Amazing Places

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I was recently asked to list 10 Amazing Places… and I love this sort of retrospective / introspective challenge.  So, as I settle in to write this I already see it will be 2 lists: Amazing Places I have Been and Amazing Places I would like to Go (or so I think).

A few years back, I radically changed my point of view about travel.  I shifted from what, to me, felt like an uninspiring log of places ‘other people have gone to which are famous’ to ‘being open to new, amazing experiences’… and let me tell you, the vibe of the 2nd intention in and of itself makes me smile. While still a novice traveler, in my own opinion, I no longer think too much about planning an adventure – I just sense it, and follow that inspiration.

I know the United States pretty well.   And parts of Canada and Central America… but I have not been to Europe, Asia, South America, or Australia. On the other hand, I have had some amazing adventures to beautiful places where I have experienced an array of memorable events.  From Yoga Festivals to Concerts, from the Concours D’Elegance to camping.  From Shamanistic retreats to Yoga retreats, to mountain bike festivals, you name it.  Well, I don’t mean you name it, because there are a lot of things I haven’t done, I just mean, the only common thread is to experience a memorable adventure with some like minded individuals.

So, first, where would I like to go / what would I like to do?

  1. Cinque Terre — with it’s colorful cliff-side dwellings and complete absence of cars…
  2. Dean’s Blue Hole — (or other Blue Holes if you have a better one) for the sun, the sand, the swimming and the yoga.
  3. Bali — to practice yoga and explore the 11th century temples

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  4. New Zealand
  5. Thailand — to immerse myself in the culture — fresh local foods, commuting on scooters, a myriad of yogis
  6. The Greek Isles — including a few days on a boat
  7. Denmark’s Inland Waterways — travelling by day on bikes, and moving through the canals at night on low boats
  8. Tim Miller’s Mt. Shasta California Ashtanga Retreat

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  9. Swimming with the Pigs in Exuma

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  10. Alaska, The Lavender Fields of Washington, The Rise Festival, Envision Fest,

    Rise_Festival_-_Rise_Lantern_Festival_-_2014-08-08_15

Next, what were / are 10 of my favorite places (In no particular order)? Places that took my breath away, captivated me, or where I had life altering experiences.

  1. The Old Churches along The High Road between Santa Fe NM and Taos NM (think Santuario de Chimayo)
  2. Sedona.  Not the town so much, but the places nearby… Slide Rock, Red Rock Crossing, Amitabha Stupa,
  3. Big Sur / Esalen / Julia Pfeiffer Burns / Carmel ~ Sunset Park / Sycamore Canyon Beach
  4. Costa Rica (Anamaya Resort / Montezuma  / The Osa / Uvitta)
  5. Nicaragua (Morgan’s Rock Beach)
  6. Georgia’s Mountain Lakes… (Nottely, Blue Ridge, Burton, for example)
  7. Downtown Chicago – The Miracle Mile
  8. Glen Lake, Michigan
  9. Miami Life Center
  10. Tie! Laguna Beach / Santa Monica and the surrounding areas.

Of course compiling a list like this really is not in alignment with how I manifest adventure, so there’s not really any telling where or when I will go… I just trust that I will.

My advice is let go of the notion that you have to stay put, or that it won’t work out, or a hundred other self created obstacles.  Allow grace to enter, and your heart to soar, a smile to embrace your face as your intuition shows you exactly what adventure would be so on your soul’s purpose.

 

 

Signs You May Be In A Period of Ascension.

I recall discovering this list in 2012, written by Soul Guidance, and suddenly having the “Viola”, “Eureka” moment of epiphany…I have inserted my own observations contained within the context in green.

Ascension Symptoms

1. Abrupt loss of interest in the people and things that held your interest before.

IMG_1571When we speak of self-love, or of being intuitive, or of gaining clarity — this is a key to allowing ourselves to be moved by Spirit into Grace.  Those we have known will react… Either with love, support and compassion or with indignance, anger, or bullying.  I have to add here as well an ABRUPT interest in NEW friends, too.  During this process I have lost old friends, been viewed as a weirdo… and the funny thing is, none of that matters when I am coming from my higher heart.  I am met with a sense of inner purposefulness I wouldn’t trade.  I am also aware of the impact this may have on others, and so I am quick to use the ho’oponopono, as well as the cosmic orbit to bring me into the state of higher consciousness where healing can occur.  

2. You simply cannot do that job any longer, or tolerate that person any more. Done.
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There’s a feeling, you will know it… a pull in a new direction.  You’ll know it because your heart sings, your face smiles, or it could also be the feeling of “I just can’t anymore” or even “it’s not about the money”.  In cases like these, it is EGO, posing as rational thought, logic and intellect that will show up as parental sounding voices which will tell us ‘that’s not logical!  you have a perfectly good career!’ When you close your eyes, and think of things, what makes you smile?  Go there.

3. Strange wanderlust or urge to relocate.  You may just * know * where you need to be.

IMG_1546This one is really quite amazing!  I have an image that comes across my timeline and rings like bell each time, and sets me onto another adventure.  Luckily, for me, this came as a BOOM epiphany when a bunch of friends INSISTED I take a road trip hiking in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park late one May.  Up until then for many years I was unable to do anything other than a few days off, always with family.  This trip re-awakened me to my deeper sense of a need to be looking for places and experiences that sing to my soul, and of being unafraid when that tuning fork goes off.  It is true as well, what they wrote that you may just *know* where you need to be.  I also ‘suffer’ from knowing where I am to be ‘for now’ even though I know something else is in the works, and I have to practice the inner art of allowing.

4. Inner need to simplify life. “Why the heck am I carrying around this much junk? I don’t even remember why I wanted them.” is a common sentiment. Declutter and donate your stuff to Goodwill. You may also get the urge to detox your own body.

IMG_7672There’s little to explain here, but I will try anyway.  If you sense clutter…in my experience… things start to feel like rubber bands.
Heavy rubber bands.  Even artwork.  Paintings I saw, fell in love with and had to have… they begin to look like things.  I have had to develop a somewhat ruthless attitude about disposing of items.  Catharsis. I was shocked when this call came, and as I threw things away I felt free.  And as I tried to give these cherished items away, no one wanted them.  My own sentimentality was another way of dodging spiritual growth.  In fact, I had ostensibly created a sort of comfortable prison.  With them went away my one time desire for a big fancy home, a library, etc…  Then next came a desire to start nourishing myself differently.  While I am not yet a vegetarian or vegan, I ALWAYS feel dead after consuming animal protein.  (I wish that change could’ve been the BOOM type epiphany) I sense the need to shift into this, but my mind is still running me.  

5. Sudden change in food preference.
IMG_9965As I mentioned above, this awareness came after ‘cleaning house’… And has intensified with my practice of Ashtanga Yoga.  In fact, not only have I become aware of how clean food effects prana, clarity and spiritual experience, I have been able to witness it over and over again in others.  I was given direct awareness to assist in the ascension of others by co-creating Adore — interestingly this is still my daily struggle – where old habits meet new desires… where old attachments run into clear cut evidence of a positive outcome from change… but it’s still my struggle.  With Adore, I end up being far more empowered, more often.

6. Sudden change in the taste to dress and decorate.

IMG_0762This is actually quite funny to me.  It sort of just happened.   Living in Florida for many years and being a runner and cyclist and outdoors enthusiast I had a tendency to dress to sweat, and then wore scrubs at work.  Even dress up time was casual in south Florida.  In Atlanta I soon learned that there’s a sort of dress code for men.  If you’re out of shape, you dress really lumpy, frumpy, almost slob-like… if you’re in shape, is all fitted clothes, even the jeans… As I began to move more into ascension, it corresponded with my yoga practice.  And I am here to tell you this — Yoga clothes not only fit well, they are super comfy.  I won’t even get into how my taste in interior design has changed == let’s just say it’s completely changed.  For instance on the far left is my Christmas tree, of sorts, complete with a variety of religious experiences from around the world.  And from #4 above that picture is of my clothing taste and , and what my ‘dining room’ looks like – a yoga room.

7. Some people report having a sudden “spiritual awakening,” accompanied with the feeling of clarity and empowerment.IMG_1450

Yes, I would say I am more aware on a daily basis of the presence of spirit and the voice of the God source.  And listening to this has taken me into some really amazing new places.  Probably the most startling 2 epiphanies led to my teaching at and attendingIntuitive Mastery Certificationin Sedona in November
and the other was getting back in touch with and subsequently choosing to work with a
practice management group I worked with for my practice in Florida.  During Intuitive Mastery, I was given the gift of ‘Being deliberately intuitive’, a concept that came as a real ‘spiritual awakening’.  

8. Feeling spacy and detached from the rest of the world.

a ha ha OMG that’s hilarious.  I even have an expression I use for this.  I call it ‘glazing over’… I prefer the japanese term ‘Boketto’ which is a more physical practice of gazing off and not thinking about anything.  I have always attributed my need to space out and detach to being 2 things: first an HSP (The Highly Sensitive Person) and second an empath.  Connection can feel exhausting and overwhelming.  Plus, when people say they are great, or fine and I already know they’re not, it feels like deceit.  I attribute much of my use of mood altering substances as a youth to misunderstanding this, and my relationship with food is connected to this as well.

 

9. Getting harder and harder to follow conventional thinking.
“What the heck do I care (to keep up with the Jones, to stay in the status, to be organized and considerate, etc.)”

IMG_1413I run into this continuously.  First I lost interest in news on TV.  Then I lost interest in sports on TV.  Then TV.  The I lost interest in Twitter.  I have lost interest in borders, political infighting, and Facebook itself gives me ample opportunity to introspect — what things that I read there feel ‘off’?  Why?  What dogma am I holding onto?  Can I promote health and healing?  How can I mentor my own children to tune into their own life’s purpose, while also not sparing them of life’s experiences?  What about homes, commuting, pollution… Who are my tribe?  How can I help to melt barriers, and bring more peace and brotherhood to this beautiful blue planet?  Who are my teachers, and what are they teaching?  Am I courageous enough to follow my own inner voice?  Am I allowing myself to engage the Hero’s Journey cycle?  Can I follow my bliss?  

10. Absolute need to rest and relax.

The advent of feeling a deep connection to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga has allowed me to give myself the chance to rest and relax.  In my immediate current past life, I once realized I was often alone.  A friend pointed out to me ‘We try to invite you to come hang out with us, but you’re always so busy’.  And she was right.  I had list upon list of things to do, places to go, people to see, miles to run.  Now it’s pretty simple.  Yoga, rest, connect with those I love, work, spend time connecting to source.

IMG_038111. Feeling younger or childlike.  In fact, your friends may notice you look younger.

I recently had someone ask me what I am doing to get younger.  And the only thing I could think was I am young at heart.  I love to jump around and play…try new things… and the sun… there was point in my “career” where I felt 20 years older than my years.  But after a series of epiphanies, within 4 years I felt 20 years younger than my age.  Also: LAUGH and go to concerts.  Wear silly clothes and costumes.

 

IMG_013112. Urge to do what you like to do.  Again, like a small kid. Being in the joy becomes increasingly important to you, replacing other priorities.

One of the more profound epiphanies was handed to me by my friend Frederick who said, and I paraphrase, “Why don’t you just do what you would’ve done had this not happened?”  And so began a wild adventure — travel, retreats, festivals, truly the beginning of a journey into respecting what I love… 

13. Change in sexual drive.

Certainly there’s a great deal more discernment and desire.  As I have felt increasingly on soul’s purpose I have also felt increasing intimacy, and knowing when something is not something I can happily continue with.  I have also gained clarity in that intimate relationships in order to be as sustainable as is possible, must be mutual and organic.  There’s just no other way.  Turns a little  boom~boom into ‘a divine alignment of each chakra and the blessed union of souls’


14. Change in sleep patterns.  
Sometimes you wake up at 3 or 4 am every night, sometimes you sleep 10 hours or take a long nap.IMG_0083

Boy is that true.

15. Physical symptoms such as ringing in the ear, change in vision (sometimes daily), or strange itching and twitching around the body.

We really covered this at great length in the Intuitive Mastery course.  There are many ways spirit gets our attention.  Clairvoyance, clairsentience, clairaudience… and more.  Plus Angel numbers, lyrics, ‘coincidences’… Once we wake up to this the list just gets longer and longer.  One close friend gets ‘chills’ as a confirmation of spiritually on purpose.


16. And some report switching back and forth between the new way and the old way. Well, this can happen if you don’t allow yourself to be in the new way.

IMG_1435_2I want to say yes, you can ‘sort of’ be back and forth… but it’s not the same as before.  It’s go back a little and feel awkward, resistant, off purpose, even a little beat up or sad… then start moving in the intended direction again and lighten and elevate… it’s like waking up stairs that appear via faith under foot, and start disappearing below.  There’s a saying, too, that I feel is appropriate here ‘Some people aspire to a life of spirit, but for others, spirit grabs you’… I have known more than a few who said “hey, I don’t want this awareness”… and try to fight it.  That’s ultimately not going to work.  Surrender is the surest way to victory.  Dogma and attachment are the surest form of suffering.  Ignorance and resistance leads to chaos.  And it’s hard enough because chaos exists without our adding to it.  And by the way,”Pizza, you are NOT my bae.”

Each person’s sensitivity is different. These are not temporary symptoms, with Ascension soul shift, this is going to be your new way, so you are best to embrace the changes. With Ascension soul shift, your existing soul crosses over without the physical death, and you receive a new version of soul, so it’s a way of being born again. What is great is we retain the body and the knowledge we have accumulated. You are the same person, yet you are new. So the best way to go around is to embrace the new you rather than resisting it. So where are we headed to? Becoming a lightbody and achieving immortality is one possibility. Remembering the various psychic / supernatural / extrasensory abilities we possess is another. Together, we are creating the New World, or the new version of heaven on Earth.

The way to ascend, then, is:
To be open to this change, the shift of ages, the Ascension.  ALLOWING
To increase the vibration by aligning more with Divine Love, Light, Truth, Abundance and Power. ENTER THETA
To embrace the changes including Ascension soul shift. KNOW AND BE INTENTIONALLY INTUITIVE
To live in the Now.  LET GO OF THE THEN

Ascension happens in the Now, not in the future. Or more accurately, Ascension is about breaking the illusion of time. Ascension is a natural process, and you will be guided to do what you need to do. In a sense, you don’t have to try to ascend at all.
xxxx

Soul Guidance (Each One & Teach One)”

As we begin to live in this solution, we begin to feel more on purpose when we are on purpose, and we also will face things that look and feel like challenges — this is when we really need others around us to assist us in staying awake, to help us come back to truth, and also to use any tools that might assist us in making the path to the higher heart and higher self easier to access, because it is always there.

As Yoda said,”There is no try, there is only do” or something like that, I am not sure because I sort of lost interest in movies too.

Love
bk

How one dog I knew only from social media taught me about unconditional love and complete devotion

11139478_10206480524276318_1866949678_nThe other day as I was ‘listening’ through my soul’s eye to the words that came to me through instagram, my facebook feed, and my text and email (we can discuss this later) I came across a picture of a wonderful human, let’s call her Nicole, with her beloved (and recently departed ) pup let’s say her name was ‘Maizy’…

And I began to reminisce about how I had seen both photos and videos of this delightful spirit, Maizy, and how she humbly yet enthusiastically lived her life. In particular, this dog had a love affair for empty, but not cleaned, peanut butter jars.  And that’s where this story comes from.

11124577_10206480524316319_1237466483_nAt the time I would look at these images and smile, I mean really happily smile, and lose myself in what the feeling of being so lost in something you love can feel like.

The other day one of her pictures popped up again, and I was immediately transported to the joy of that pup, experiencing the depth of flavor of her beloved jar, while at the same time being present for the rest of her daily life. I reached out to Nicole and asked her if she minded sharing some pictures and a little history of Maizy with me. Nicole was so open to this, and immediately got back to me.

11130708_10206480530796481_260617208_n“I rescued her from Philadelphia Animal Control when she was 9 months old, so she was with me for about 10 years before she died. She was a scrawny 27 lb pound pup when I rescued her and she grew up to be 75lbs. She “worked” as a therapy dog visiting the elderly once a week and going to the library every weekend where children would practice reading to her until a health issue (she broke her tail) caused us to stop going while she recovered (and then we didn’t make it back because of time issues on my end – also, she would sleep for two days after visiting the elderly – it took a lot out of her). She had the best personality. She loved people. She was friends with everyone she ever met.”

Let me give you a little more background into who I am… Obviously I am a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person – read Elaine Aron’s website http://hsperson.com/ ) and since a young age I have had experiences with things that are a tad strange and supernatural.  Honestly life could become uncomfortable enough that I wanted them to go away, and sometimes tried to make them go away. But 11131797_10206480524356320_1704846195_nas an adult, I have learned to welcome intuitive hits, soul connections, all things of a ‘tribal’ nature, of dharma and karma, and of trying to live closer to authentically on my soul’s purpose, not an easy task for a man who spent most of his adult life trying to stifle his intuitive awareness with logic and resistance.

So what is it about this pup that compelled me to write. It’s that I can actually feel the joy she is feeling. It’s expressed in a humorous, ‘dog’ manner. Seeing the pictures ‘change’ my vibration. And I can tune into that joy, and experience it for myself. And that’s what I wanted to share with you. To be right where you are, and then possibly, to tune in, and feel the shift into the complete love and devotion this wonderful spirit exhibits.  I see her and she’s ‘all love’.  I imagine her thought bubble as something like this: “I love this walk.  I love Nicole. And I love this jar.  This is the best moment ever.  No, now is.  Wait, no now!! ”  And so on.

Yes I know it’s a dog and a peanut butter jar, but my world of the spiritual, and in my experience, this is how the ‘message’ is sent to me. An unexpected messenger appears and rings a bell, a tuning fork, that is too true to ignore.

In those moments I have learned to slow down and really listen.

11120579_10206480530716479_205912695_nI am reminded that the answers are inside us. And usually the answer is to let go more, to trust more, to move away from that or those who consistently bring us pain or sorrow.  Even now, just looking at these pictures of Maizy spending her day with jar make me smile, laugh and chuckle.  They also remind me that not only is it okay to show genuine affection, but that open heartedness is a sign of our indomitable spirit… there’s a calm warm enthusiasm and confidence about it.  It’s not cold and detached or aloof.  It’s ALL IN.  Right up until the moment we fall asleep again.

So it’s not really about who said what, whether they looked at their phone, or any of that.  It’s about being a dog.  A dog with a jar.

A Lovely Bout of Introspection

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facebook-logoI like to use Facebook as my own personal newspaper. It’s like that 8th grade class where you’re learning about mass communications, and they teach you ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why and How” as the skeleton for conveying news, send you scurrying to read newspapers, and then have you mock up your own hometown blend. What I post is usually something I have resonated with, and deemed worthy of sharing for a variety of reasons.  I respect the freedom of others to do the same.

The ‘feed’ is another topic altogether. This is the reverse. This is where I am fed what other people place on their facebook page, based on whatever criteria they use to distribute information. My general rule in reading is that I need, yes need, a variety of positive streams to assist me in creating the vibration I choose to live by. I frequently use the unfollow button, when a person consistently distributes some brand of negativism. More often, however, I find hidden gems.

But there’s another side, too. Sometimes somebody posts something which gives me a glimpse inside their heart, or their mind… and I find it riveting, compelling, thought provoking and then begin the process of self-inventory to see what exactly are my beliefs in this area: what inside me has been triggered.

Recently I read one such post. I will keep the writer anonymous. Here is what she wrote:

So this is for me. A little honesty therapy I think would make me feel “cleansed.” These are MY thoughts. They don’t have to be yours. If you find what I say offensive, well it might be time for us to part our separate ways, and that’s ok. 🙂
After several years of practicing yoga, going through a seriously intense yoga teacher training, and teaching for several years, I’ve come to the conclusion that Yoga is 98% bullshit. “Yogis” are in my experience the most deceitful, self-centered, non-authentic and downright nasty people that I’ve ever met despite the fact that they’d rather you think they’re peaceful, grounded, angelic like figures. You just can’t be one with the earth while wearing $120 spandex pants. I publicly acknowledge that my posing photos posted here and on Instagram were ridiculous and pretentious. I no longer wish to associate myself within that group of people. For my penance, I wish to save you $100+/month and several hours of your time… Stretch gently, and in regular ways at home daily in a non-heated, comfortable environment. Using that time, take some deep breaths, relax, and reflect about how lovely your life is. You’ll get all the benefits minus the hipster, trendy crap. You’re welcome and thank you! ”

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was that I have learned to express my feelings from the first person. It’s unlikely that I am ever going to rail at you for being a narcissist or a hipster or something related to ” you “.  I might instead say that after intensive study, after a teacher training, after several years of teaching, that I have discovered that I do not like the yoga scene and I no longer feel that teaching yoga is a good for fit for me personally.  Or I might cite a personal issue that came up, and how I felt about it.  Or I might even just be aware that this no longer serves what I feel is my highest purpose, and I seek a change.

It’s been my own life experience that occasionally things I once thought were so important and so incredible became less so as I experienced growth and change. I have learned that it’s okay to have a change of heart, based upon new findings.

My observations and experiences regarding the world of yoga here in the west have up to this point however been completely and diametrically opposed to what is written above. Just the other day I was talking to a friend about how I had received an anonymous gift in the mail and that I thought perhaps it had been sent by a person I met in California two summers ago who had started a pay it forward gift exchange. He and his friend had offered a shared ride from the Reno airport to Squaw Valley and I was lucky enough to be their passenger. They’re really two of the coolest most open hearted loving talented creative people I’ve met. Are they trendy, good-looking and hip?  Hell yes.

Yogis are not, however, without fault. On the contrary they are humans just like me with flaws and frailties with fears insecurities and also with strength encourage and tenacity.

And it turned out my anonymous gift actually was from another yogi and close friend. Just because. How nice is that?

This morning in a class it became apparent to me that Yoga may look like a purely physical practice but what they say is true – it’s much more. It’s really not about pushing your body to the point of injury. It is however about pushing back on the boundaries of comfort and finding that metaphorical edge.  Like with many physical endeavors we gain lessons in courage. We come away more aware of our weaknesses ~ the things that hold us back ~ and a newfound sense of hope and strength and support.

As a result of showing up regularly I have become aware of myself as having a positive courageous and open heart. I have become aware that I like challenges. And I have also become aware that it times I simply fall apart.

As I continue to dwell on this I think — my view on yoga is not so much who you are and what labels I can apply, but who am I and what do I bring to my mat, to the studio, and off the mat – into life. I like to think I bring sincerity. That is, I will try new things, I will listen and do what the instructor says, even if I’m unable I am mentally envisioning and sending messages to my body to give its best effort. I also like to think I bring an open heart. I am genuinely interested in the subject and in you. Lastly I like to think I have no real agenda except to be present and let this adventure unfold before me.

I am a relative newcomer to yoga at just over 2 years. My yoga adventures have lead me to 4 countries including the US and many states, as well as festivals and workshops. Overwhelmingly I have found the people I meet to be perfectly imperfect, but fascinating in that they too are following a path that is challenging and captivating. They seem for the most part to be studious, dedicated and warm hearted.

instagram-logoI’m well aware that we live in the age of the selfie, of social media, and I’m aware of the controversial gurus who have, like the golf and tennis pros and personal trainers of ill repute, fallen prey to the temptation of misusing their power as teacher with their clientele.

I’m well aware that there are clothing and fashion trends and that companies market heavily to a hungry consumer base. I heard someone say recently “Yoga: love the practice hate the scene” … And here’s what I have to say about that. If I’m uncomfortable with someone or something then I just go somewhere else. Live and let live. But live.

I make a conscious choice to expand my view and experience base rather than narrow it.  With respect to Instagram, asana selfies and yoga challenges, I have found personal growth, a sense of community and improvement in my practice because of this practice.

So it is with gratitude I conclude this rambling essay. I plan to continue my yoga practice and my hippy thoughts and wear the clothes I want and listen to the music I like… And to my anonymous, frustrated friend, I thank you for writing your thought provoking post and I look forward to my next magical yoga adventure…

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Moving Toward Joy

The other day I came upon this image:IMG_3629

I immediately began to revisit some recent conversations, and some observations about what things about other’s life trajectory that really got me feeling happy and enthusiastic, light and motivated.

A friend and I talked about her family moving to Portland, and gradually into what we call a ‘Tiny Home’ (www.tinyhomebliss.com) … I get very sunshiny when I think of relocating to the west and the subject of either artisanal unique small homes or adaptive re-use… about workmanship, and unique designs.

IMG_3614I recently talked to two men with whom I share a career and both of whom made a conscious decision to leave the profession. They talked about the emotional struggle and the years tied up in making a heartfelt shift, but ultimatelyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA their ease and joy for having done so. This too connected me to a powerful sense of well being and hope.

Everyday I see and talk to and read about my loving friends who are tapping into their intuitive, their healing, and their desire to teach others to become more powerful in their choices. I can literally picture myself doing the same.  Some are already in positions where they feel on purpose, while others are in the same process I am — sometimes it seems illogical, yet it is the next right thing.

IMG_2961When I visit organic juice stores I always study everything there with an innate desire for that knowledge. I feel myself lift, elevate and see a purpose.  I can feel myself vibrating at a different level.  I beam.

As I experience adventures – travel, retreats, festivals, concerts… yoga studios here and there, and places where I meet like minded individuals — I feel most alive and at home, among the healthy and open hearted; the open minded.

At other times however there is a much heavier, much darker awareness as I continue to pursue something I originally did with conviction and great sense of divine purpose. In the past several years, it has become a means to an ends only. At a deeper level I do still have a sense of purpose contained within regarding this, but that the way I do it has to change if I am to be on my soul’s purpose.  For instance today I spoke with my CPA who believes that by taking the time away from work to explore our hopes and dreams accepts that there are punishments for this… And while it is logical to think and say that there are consequences for each action or inaction, the very thought of this is such a negative vibration I immediately turn away from it.  I do not believe in the need to be punished for our dharma.

 

What would I do if I knew I could not fail?  I would make an abrupt change to the amount of time I spend in my office, and the thriving office would support my employees and partner, as well as cover expenses and leave me income too.

Second, I would incorporate the business idea I have, and outfit one or two bikes.  I would set up card readers on phones, and we would start delivering our product to local parks and festivals as the weather gets warmer.  I am attracting a team to assist in this healthy adventure.adore van

Third I will get underway with Yoga teacher training, for the purpose of deepening my understanding of the practice and to provide me an opportunity to teach.

Fourth I would continue to travel to new places, really focusing upon whether a place resonates with me as a primary location to reside.  I am open to relocating.

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In the meantime I would continue to practice and add more in-studio time.  I would continue to stay close to and aware of what makes me feel alive.  I am inspired by what I am learning and feeling, and am connected to myself physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Fifth, I am open to all possibilities, not just the ones that occur to me consciously, but also to those that miraculously happen.  Not just business, but in all things.

 

Today I saw this Abraham-Hicks quote,
and will remind myself that everyday will
contain myriad gifts, and I am open
to discovering them.

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Yesterday after writing most of this, I began to feel very anxious.  This happens often when I write.  I write from the heart, and the critical voices do still come up.  I felt naked, and thought perhaps I would delete this article.  However, I regained my purpose:  If my experience and observation can help even one person, then it is worth confronting my own fears.

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