Synergy is the interaction of multiple elements in a system to produce an effect different from or greater than the sum of their individual effects. The term synergy comes from the Greek word synergia συνέργια from synergos, συνεργός, meaning "working together".
It’s so sweetly summed up in the words to the song ‘Kindness’, written and performed by the band Quiet Company:
Open up the cloud, let the flood come down and wash the earth.
Carry all the dust and the dirt and the ash of what we were. And the wolves only come at night, but darlin’, you and I, we were made for the light. Open up the clouds, let the flood come down on me.
And I’ll say with all the confidence I have, if your feet are getting tired I can take you on my back, and we will carry one another as we march into the sun, saying darlin’ I will never get enough of your kindness, of your laughter, of your love.
I can hear the trees as they bend in the breeze and they call our names. Calling us forth, we were born from the earth in a golden age. And I walked all across this land looking for a love I could understand, looking for a price that a soul could pay and a blessed plot of land where our bodies lay with a stone put above our heads, it’ll mark our place.
Say that we will always be this way: always moving, always shaking, always building, always breaking. I’m gonna love you ‘til the grave: I’ll make songs of all the things we said, build a monument in the place we met, teach the cynics what it means to be in love.
I don’t care if we are soul mates, twin flames, karmic twins… None. Of. That. I don’t care if we are Lexus, Bentley, Maserati… Magnum, Le Tigre, or Blue Steel.
I care about the little things. Coffee together in the morning if we can. Yoga together any time we can. Moments of connection and kindness. Gratitude. Let’s do the little things well.
I also care about the big things. When we catch ourselves telling some old story, let’s write a new chapter where we do something wonderful and new. Let’s be interdependent, supporting one another in their highest good, no matter what. Let’s be open to helping others, and of being a catalyst for progress and change in our world. Let’s do the big things well, too.
And let’s go on adventures, and create memorable experiences by living in our unique moments.
Let’s defy the norms, the statuses, and the false idols… let’s follow our collective heart.
We get to write this story.
Let’s not be limited by trendy terms, whatever the fad name is for the best relationship ever. We can and are as transcendent and as enduring as any. Here’s to you, Susan, for being all of it.
“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?
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?
In 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.
I 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?
I 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.
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.
I 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 , 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 nation 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.
George 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 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.“
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.
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.
In 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.
Those 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.
I 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 listening 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.
I 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…
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 discernment. 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?
The 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.
At 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.
“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 as 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.
I 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.
I 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.
I’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…