Transitions

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I’ve struggled with my Taurean nature most of my life. My natural energy is languid and slow and that doesn’t really mesh well in a world that insists on speeding around. Rushing through life just doesn’t suit me. Yet I find that I chastise myself at times for being that student that takes time to settle in before class, and how at the end I love to linger before I dash off to the rest of my day. It’s weird how we set standards for ourselves to be like other people. We want to fit in. We want to do what is acceptable and appropriate. We want to make sure others are comfortable being around us. But acceptable and appropriate are deadly to our authentic expressions of ourselves. This I’m sure of.

It’s a daily battle to navigate the balance between being true to ourselves and not overstepping the boundaries of others in the process. It’s tough. It’s something I haven’t quite mastered yet. Today I’ve come into greater awareness of my need for slowness in transitioning from one thing to another. I am working on allowing myself to be exactly how I am without judgment. It isn’t easy. It is a constant practice, but at least it shows up on the mat as well. I can be more conscious of the way I transition between poses and use what comes up there as a mirror to work through the way I transition between all aspects of my life.

I think just like in yoga, the transitions in my life will get smoother and more gentle as I get stronger and more willing to flow. Surrendering to flow has always been a challenge for me. I’m constantly afraid of losing awareness in it and disturbing the flow of others in the process. The sensitivity of my empathic nature makes it really hard to not acknowledge the impact I have on others. It’s difficult to always know where my responsibility lies in being a more considerate human and where it is another’s responsibility alone to deal with who I am. I haven’t quite gotten a handle on how to manage all of that, but I’m learning. As always, I am ever grateful for this practice to allow me to work through whatever life brings up for me. Until next time…

 

~Namaste

 

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The Dance of Oneness

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Been dealing very closely lately with being more and more human. Coming to terms with my imperfections and embracing my faults with as little judgement as possible. It hasn’t been easy. Part of that is being gentle with myself when I don’t make the time to sit down and write after class. Realistically, that is going to happen more often than I would like. Sometimes the day just isn’t anything remarkable enough and I’m not so compelled to get my thoughts down. There was a really nice moment in class yesterday when for a few moments, the entire room became completely still as we were holding a seated twist pose. That was pretty magical. There were other things I could write about, but perhaps I will another time.

Today’s class was energetic and fun. I couldn’t get a solid grip on a clear intention and my thoughts were all over the place, but I felt like I got an excellent workout and sometimes that’s just what I need. Nothing too interesting happened throughout class, but during savasana I noticed that the left side of my body completely let go, but the right side was holding pretty tight. I began to meditate on the feeling of surrender and how the left side of the body represents the feminine part of us and the right side represents our masculine. I asked the masculine part of me why it wasn’t letting go and it’s response was that it wanted to keep me safe. That it needed to remain alert and vigilant at all times to protect me if necessary.

Now that is indeed a noble enough reason to maintain tension, but frankly, I’m exhausted from living a life where I feel like I can never truly let go and soften. That part of me has indeed protected me from many things that could harm me, but by being on 100% of the time, it has also kept me from things I’ve really wanted. I tried to negotiate with it, but it was very reluctant to give up its sworn duty. Finally I explained to it that my higher self had a much better vantage point with which to identify dangers well ahead of them happening and asked if it would be willing to work together with my higher self. Ultimately, it agreed that if my higher self promised to alert it to anything that was impending, and allow it time to ready its defenses, that it would remain still until needed or called upon. My higher self committed sincerely to this task and my masculine agreed to modify it’s order of operations.  Suddenly, the right side of my body melted into the floor.

In that moment I was acutely aware of the distinct definition between the masculine and feminine pieces of me. I was split down the center of my body with both occupying their own separate spaces. As the music swelled in the background a beautiful thing happened. My masculine asked my feminine to dance with it. The two parts of my energy began to twirl lovingly inside of me. Each spun around and around, flowing in and out of each side of my body. Together they both touched places in me they never had before. Each one introducing the other to these unknown space. As they continued to dance, their edges disappeared and merged into one homogenous, luminous being. They were now one complete essence, but never lost anything that either was before.

It is said that in each human man, there is also a woman part inside of him. In each woman, there is also a man inside. Watching these pieces of me dance and glide around together, I realized that the masculine parts of us must also have a feminine part inside. The feminine part of us too must also have a masculine part. That masculine part must also have a feminine part, and vice versa. On and on these divisions must continue infinitely. With this realization I was for those brief moments able to completely unify the dichotomy of the masculine/feminine “opposition”. Realizing that it is so difficult to merge the masculine and feminine within because they are not actually separate in the first place. Realizing that maybe we don’t have to do anything to bring them together at all. That the more we try, the less we are able to do it because when we see them as separate entities, we believe falsely in the extreme expressions of what is actually one thing. That maybe we only have to realize that they are not separate after all, and never have been.

Today’s savasana was significantly shorter than I would have hoped so I was unable to delve deeper into this new found insight. I will most definitely be sitting in contemplation and awareness with this much more in the very near future. I will certainly report back when I have a more clear handle on it. For now, I am grateful to have this thread to follow and to feel like I’m yet another step closer to experiencing the liberation and unity I’ve been long seeking.

~Namaste

 

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Rage Rising

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I have already mentioned the situation with that ex lover of mine in a previous blog. The full moon also brought up one other rather intense situation I have yet to tell about. While the first one happened over a number of years, the second one contained all the lack of honesty, turmoil, and frustrations as the first. But instead of a slow burning destruction, this one was catastrophically quick. I had never gone to such phenomenal depths with anyone ever before. I had never allowed myself to be so incredibly naked. I had never let anyone see me so completely. The experience was deeply intimate and rather intense. When it abruptly ended I was truly devastated.

To protect myself from the intensity of the anger, I suppressed it. I made excuses for her. I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I took the responsibility upon myself for attracting it all. But yesterday she did something that was irrefutable. I was forced to acknowledge the truth of who she is. I had no idea I was still minimizing and resisting feeling the totality of its effect on me, until I stepped onto the mat today.

I found that my body was tense and hard. At first I thought it was from skipping a day of practice, but as class went on, it was revealed that it was something else. As my breath deepened, as my body relaxed, a deep rage rose to the surface. It was fierce and uncomfortable. It was difficult for me to contain it. I quietly roared and hot tears spilled onto my face. At first I resisted it. I didn’t want to feel such negative emotions in a space that is supposed to be a sanctuary of peace and calm. I didn’t want disrupt anyone else’s flow either. Once I was aware of it though, I knew I had to allow it. As I did, it climaxed. It consumed me. It became so overwhelming at one point I thought I was going to have to leave the room.

I knew I couldn’t waste the opportunity to finally face this. So I gathered some courage and grounded myself deeper into it. Just as suddenly as it had weighed me down, my essence lightened. The storm disappeared and I felt a gentle light spread throughout my body. I felt clear again. I had braved the hot red hell of my own hatred and came out the other side to a place of forgiveness. I wondered why I have ever resisted feeling the honesty of my own emotions before. I wondered what I had ever been so afraid of. I guess I’d like to think I’m better than being able to be hurt by others, because I do understand that I have my own responsibility for what happens to me.

While it is true that I must have called in that experience in every detail, it is also true that there were natural emotions that came along with it. The forgiveness was not just for what she had done, but for myself as well for co-creating it. There will never be gratitude enough for the lessons I am learning through this practice, or for the space my teachers hold that allows these transformations to take place. Facing what I faced today, I no longer fear the darkness of my less than perfect emotions. I will allow them to rise and be known in the future without apprehension. Because I know now that the only way to get over them is to go through them.

~ Namaste

 

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Unplug and Reset

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The power was out at the studio today. I can’t tell you how lovely it was to practice without the hum and drone of electricity and wifi waves. The room was warm and still. There were no lights to disrupt the beautiful color of the overcast light streaming through the windows. We were inside, but without power, the barrier to the outside somehow melted away.  I’ve been craving the quiet of nature something fierce lately, but haven’t been able to escape city life. I’m currently reveling in how when we let go, the universe can provide what we’re asking for, right when we need it, right where we are.

The dance of movement and breath seemed to fall gently into harmony today. I set an intention to be emptied and soft and fell into a sweet and easy flow. No crazy physical struggles, no intense internal battles, no forcing, no resisting. Nothing much to write home about actually. It was exactly what I needed. I’m more than sure the tide will rise again, but for now I will enjoy the stillness of today’s perfect reset.

 

~Namaste

 

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The Gift of Laziness

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I took a few days off of practice this week. To be honest I had gotten a little too regimented, a little too intense about it. Frankly, that is exactly the opposite of what I want my practice to be about. The perfectionist in me, the active masculine energy hated the break. It wants to perfect poses. It wants to break through all of my inner walls. It wants to tear me down and rebuild me from the ground up. It wants a toned physique. It wants to look good and be the best…etc. If I don’t feel up to perfection, I hesitate to even go to class.  A lot of people do their practice like this. Too many unfortunately. Yes, yoga is about those things, but it can’t only be about those things.  A complete practice is about so much more. It’s about finding balance with the masculine and feminine within, finding unity with the passive and active parts within us. In this way, yoga is a way to wholeness that few other practices can provide.

I’m currently off my normal sleep schedule and I’m really tired. The first half of class this morning I struggled to get into a groove. The masculine wanted perfect execution, but I didn’t have the energy. I felt guilty for being lazy in my postures, but that’s where I was at, so I surrendered to it. Then it hit me. Doing a lazy practice is better than no practice. More than that, being lazy is exactly what I need right now. The beautiful thing is, allowing myself to go to an extreme of lackadaisicalness without resisting it actually brought me around to a more natural balance of passive and active. I was able to hold strong where it was needed and remain soft where that was needed.

I don’t think anyone has really lost the essence of their masculine and feminine parts, but I do think as a society we have misplaced where they belong. We’ve assigned them to the wrong jobs. We are hard where we should be soft, and we are soft where we should be strong. We don’t need to be strong in our masculine, we need to be soft in our masculine. We don’t need to be soft in our feminine, we need to be active and strong in our feminine. That is the balance. Everything in everything. We need to be serious and focused about the softness of our breath, and gentle and sweet about the strength of our postures. That is true perfection in yoga. Lending gentleness to our masculine parts and fierceness to our feminine is perfection in life.

This flip of perspective is such a revelation for me. I look forward to deepening my understanding of this new concept as the days come…

 

~Namaste

 

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Dream Yoga

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Sometimes our yoga practice makes it into our dream states, and sometimes our teachers come to us in this form. I found myself needing a ride to my car after class in this dream. One of my teachers was there and offered to take me. The drive was longer than expected and we fell into deep conversation. We talked about perfection and how it was more important to illicit feelings in others with the work that we do than to be perfect in our delivery. That if our goal is perfection we will always fail. But if our goal is to help others feel, then even if they are upset by our imperfections we will still have succeeded.

We talked about love and relationships. We talked about the reasons our past relationships failed. I was able to see that holding onto anger and resentments from the past only keeps us from joy in the present. That we are afraid to keep our hearts open to loving our exes because we feel that when we love it means that we must still belong to that person. It is clear to me now that loving someone doesn’t mean they belong to you. It doesn’t mean that you want to be with them. It only means that you are not rejecting the parts they represent in yourself. People who belong to you belong to you regardless. No matter who you love, and no matter who they love, no matter who you are with and no matter who they are with. Sometimes you come to be with them, sometimes you don’t. Love and belonging are not mutually exclusive, but sometimes they are.

We talked about allowing all the parts of ourselves to be as they are, even when they seem to contradict what we believe or like about ourselves. I explained that some of those clues can be found in our astrological charts. That I am a Taurus, but have more air and fire than anything else. That the Aries in me makes me fickle and uncommitted, but once something catches my true passion, the Taurus takes over and I am steadfast in it. That what may seem like an unwanted characteristic is actually leading us to more authentic versions of ourselves. If we let it be what it is and find where it can color or merge with our other parts those unwanted parts transform us.

We embraced and lingered in each other’s arms. My heart was open and I allowed myself to really feel her and let her feel me too. It’s something I regrettably don’t do often in waking life. She began to cry softly and I knew it was the first time she felt nurtured in a long time. I said something about her always taking care of others, she agreed. I allowed her her weakness. I held her and caressed her. In that moment I felt the depth of true sisterhood, of the power of the feminine, and the nurturing quality of allowed intimacy. We said our goodbyes and parted ways. I woke up with a deep sense of sweetness that lingered the rest of the day…

As the full moon eclipse in Pieces approaches, I am grateful for its energies. I am grateful for the way light is being shined upon my deepest wounds. I am grateful for the power of its gentleness. I am grateful for my teacher’s energy in this dream. I am grateful to have communed with her to such depths, and for the soft opening I am now feeling because of that encounter. What a beautiful, strange, and mysterious life we live. I look forward to more dreams, and I look forward to new opportunities to feel what I felt in this dream while awake. I now have a strong hold on it. I hope it never fades…

 

~Namaste

 

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Losing Control

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Control, presence, awareness, letting go…these are the things on my mind. My intention in class today was to let go of control. As it happens, that intention instead created a field of escapism. I lost a grip on presence. I moved through poses as if in a dream, and though I was quite aware this was happening, I didn’t know how to stop it. It was as if the very desire to surrender made me hold on tighter, to what I still don’t know.

In the yoga of life, I have come up against the challenge of an ex-lover and all the emotions I still have regarding that situation. When faced with negative feelings about someone, it is easy to blame them for being a certain way that upsets us. In reality, they upset us because that certain way about them is also in us. I’ve struggled for many years with this particular relationship. Marinating with it most recently I have the awareness that her inability to let go of control, to be real and authentic, is what upsets me the most. As it happens, it is also what I dislike about myself the most. The fact that to lose control is the one thing I want the most, and also the one thing I fear the most has me locked into a kind of purgatory with it all. It’s maddening to say the least.

I know that no matter how deep I go into my practice, no matter what demons and subconscious fears I clear, relinquishing control is the only thing that will ultimately bring me the bliss I am seeking. But there is great fear there. Fear of what, I am not sure of yet. At least I have her to draw upon the hurt and frustrations that she has caused me to use as a mirror of where to start. Ultimately, those hurts and frustrations are of my own doing and I have the power to transform them. Her reflection will lead me closer to my own darkness if I let it, and I will let it. I have to.

I still don’t know what needs to be done to lose this control, though on the mat today I was given a clue. Trying to let go of control creates more control, that won’t work. Towards the end of class I realized that awareness might be the key. That perhaps we have a desire to control ourselves and our expressions out of fear of doing life wrong. We want to belong, we want to be loved for who we are, but there are so many ways of being that sometimes seem more acceptable than others. We cling to those ways, even if they are against ourselves. This is what hurts us the most I think. The dishonesty we carry about who we are in order to be accepted and loved by others, keeps us shackled and bound. I yearn to be free of that. I think we all do. If we only knew how.

I will continue to meditate on the idea of control. I also think I will take a small step back from the intensity of my internal practice for a couple of days. Even meditative activities can become just another way we control ourselves. Another way to force our own awakening and growth. Though my yoga practice is in no way focused on just the physical aspect of the poses, I do think sometimes it’s okay to switch focus when we feel we are gripping too hard to one piece or another. I think for the next few days it would be good for me to forget about the internal journey and just flow. Whether I flow through a dream state and lose presence or not.

Life is so dynamic and ever changing. It is so simple yet so complex. We have to experiment with ways of doing and being until we find the “sweet spot” as they say. I will continue to teeter back and forth until I find that perfect place of stillness and balance. Once I find that place, I’m sure the process will begin again and I will once more have to find the balance point. This is the beauty of a practice like yoga. It mirrors life. Every day is new. Every day your body is different. Every day your mind is different. This practice is eternal, just like life is. I am so grateful it exists.

 

~Namaste

 

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Thoughts on Thoughts

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As we were asked to observe what we were thinking today, the question arose…what thoughts are thoughts? As we seek to quiet the mind, the observer watches. But when the observer watches and ultimately has thoughts about what it is observing, are those also thoughts that need to be quieted? What constitutes a thought and what constitutes mere observation of a thought? This is something I will be seeking an answer for. I will write more about that as it comes to me. Blessings for your day, your night, and your new morning…

 

~Namaste

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Hidden Gifts

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It’s inevitable that one will have a favorite teacher and also a favorite time of day we like to take classes. Today for reasons I won’t go into detail about (they mostly involve tequila) I missed both. I went to the late class with a teacher I’ve never had before. For the first half I hated it. It wasn’t the style I was expecting, my muscles were fatigued, I struggled. Then that miraculous moment happened where I surrendered into what was being offered. I let go of what I was wanting to experience and I fell into the experience as it was.

I ended up feeling quite grounded and whole. I appreciated her for being the teacher that she was, instead of resenting her for not being the teacher she wasn’t. It was then I  realized there are no bad teachers, no bad experiences. There is only that which we want and that which we don’t want. When we are wanting one thing and we encounter something else, we feel that it is bad. It isn’t. It’s just different. If we allow ourselves to embrace what is, there is always a beautiful gift in it. We just have to allow ourselves to see it, to honor it, to feel it…

 

~Namaste

 

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A New Beginning

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There was a fatedness, a gentle sense of remembering when I stepped into my first class. It was not my first class ever, but it catalyzed a new beginning for me. I have always considered myself spiritual, religious even in the non-organized religious sense, but in the air were hints of layers even I had yet to delve into. My quest to ultimately merge the masculine and feminine parts of myself had lead me here, this I was certain of. It was immediately apparent that there in that room were pieces I had long been searching for.

As class began, those hidden parts of me were suddenly brought into the light. It was liberating, exciting, and equally excruciating. The sound of the instructors voice reminded us to come back to our breath. Her energy softly moved over me, soothing me, gently guiding my re-emergence back to a place I had almost forgotten. I call her Red Riding Hood, because she wore red that day, and her long messy braid fell elegantly down her back as she floated about the room like an earth goddess in a fairytale… But I digress.

I fell in love with yoga that day. I suppose one might think I fell in love with her too. Maybe I did. Deep appreciation is the same as love is it not? The experience of the two will be forever intermingled, so it’s hard to separate the teacher from the teaching. I do know for sure I fell in love with the world she awakened in me. I fell in love with her attention to what lies underneath the surface of this practice. An attention that quietly pointed towards a depth I’ve been craving for a very long time. A depth I wasn’t sure I was ever going to find again. She reminded me of myself. She reminded me of home. She reminded me of the beauty I hold within and the beauty mirrored in this practice.

Teachers like this are precious and rare. This I know. Her love and dedication to this practice is palpable, and it infuses the room with a softness that is pure magic. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to this world or a better guide for this part of my stay in it. I am undoubtedly in the right place and for the right exact time. However long that may be.

I regret not starting this blog that day, because the first few weeks brought so much clarity, confusion, and transformation. Those thoughts are now lost. But now is as good a time as any, and late is always better than never. There will be more to realize and more to write about, this I am sure of. Until next time…

~Namaste

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