Saturday, December 29, 2012

Light a Candle ... or Curse the Darkness?

Maybe it's this time of year, but for whatever reason, when New Years is near, I always think back on the last 12 months, perhaps even years past. Before, I would dwell on memories, but lately, they seem to brush over me like a cool mist and then swell with warmth from my present heart.

I'm reading a book about the power of emotions, what they tell us, how they can guide us. It also talks about the Laws of Attraction. When I had once felt a lot of pain, I seemed to attract more of it. As my heart has healed and my energy has changed, I've noticed the same pattern, but the opposite. It's not that I'm just attracting "good" things or positive things (though that's part of it), but more like negative things either seem to bounce off more easily or negate me altogether.

If they do penetrate, they don't linger as long as they used to. It's made me view my life and the world in the same way, as energy — positive and negative. And as energetic beings, we have the power to create both and the choice to produce more of one than the other.

As I'd mentioned in my earlier posts, this time of year, and winter in general, has always been a rough ride for me. The holidays aside, it's a mixture of lack of sun, the constant cold, the feeling of solidarity on those cold walks to the car from work ... on those dark drives home, the seasonal depression. But I've also learned of the many things that bring me comfort and am venturing to focus more on them, because what I focus on is where my energy goes. And where my energy goes and how it manifests itself reflects right back.

I feel so much sometimes, it's hard to breathe. It's as though I experience every single emotion at once. And what's more, I always desire to share all of it the moment it happens, but oftentimes it passes right by like an intense whisper against my ear, shooting through my heart.

I hope to learn more as I read more about emotions and what they tell us, so that I can share it. But what I do is know, when people say "think positive" ... well, it's not just some cliche phrase of wisdom. I'm noticing its power more and more. It fights the hardships ... the heartache in life, the voids, the sadness. It breaks through it like sun rays through dark, swollen clouds.

It feels something like this ...

She stands beneath the harrowing clouds, murky wisps across the sky
Veiling brush strokes against the potent silver moon
She pulls her scarf tighter, watching the heat mist from her lips
A porcelain blanket upon the earth as each cascading flake grazes her skin

The crisp air bites at her cheekbones, chattering against her eardrums
She tugs her wool hat down over her ears, feeling the heat beneath it
The hibernating world quiet and still, but for her steady breath, the bare, rustling branches
The grinding crunch beneath her boots ... her beating heart

A pulsing fire, within a glacial mass
A candle flame, amidst the chill

~ C ~

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Amidst Tragedy, Hope For Change Ignites. But Where Will it Truly Come From?

Too immensely raw to touch ... what we have all felt the ripple effects of this week. The heaviness inside is beyond what I could imagine. It is as though I feel the gaping wound of all humanity at this very moment.

I don't want to immerse this post in sadness. There is plenty of that in all our hearts I believe. So what I do want to express here ... is hope ... and love. I have found it hard to breathe through a lot of the news this weekend. As I'm sure many others have ... especially parents and teachers. So I decided to pick up my Yoga Journal magazine and see what my eyes fell onto.

They fell onto an article titled "Lead With Your Heart." The article is about heartbreak and how important it is for us to continue loving, even through the most immense remorse. How it's vital for our existence as a species.

There will always be questions of why in life. Why do things happen? What can we do to prevent them? And the answers are rarely, if ever, found on the surface ... on the outside. And they're rarely, if ever, found in one thing, one "solution."

If you really think about life in general, it is often a cultivation of many things, many facets — not just one — that creates us and everything around us ... whether it is the food we eat, our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being, our overall lives, our days, our jobs, careers, our families, our homes, our accomplishments, all the tools, machines, inventions we use every single day, nature, trees, gardens, farms, animals, storms, the elements.

Everything around us, our own individual make ups, are an intricate web of working parts. So why wouldn't the way we incite change in the world not include that same intricate web of working parts?

We are all of this earth, and are separate beings, yet tied to the same energetic source. Somehow, we forget that.  From the moment that umbilical cord is cut, we begin that slow separation in existence. And the majority of us, driven by the mind, are so focused on "standing out" somehow, on being unique, on being better than or more significant than others, on compartamentalizing everything and everyone we see, judging, critiquing, categorizing people, situations, emotions ... or some of us are just hell bent on wanting to feel special apart from the rest, we forget the great connection between us all. We forget the amazing compassion and relation we have to everyone and everything around us. That we are not so separate ... that it doesn't have to be me against him or her ... or us against them.

We forget the root of our entire species, our entire existence. Whether you believe in a higher power or not ... atoms, energy is an undeniable part of all things. Some of us explore our universe, speculate what's beyond our own galaxy, while others focus our attention inward, get caught up in our daily grinds, in our own problems or gripes or the oblivion of materialism, technology, the media, reality TV. We fail to see that everything we could possible need is right here inside us all. We've lost that connection ... in so many ways. Yet that connection is vital for our existence.

As Christmas approaches, many families, not just those who lost children in Connecticut, but those who have lost children and friends, relatives all over the country and world through tragedy, will be filled with unconscionable sorrow. And many of us will feel helpless in their midst. But the truth is, we're not helpless. We're never helpless. We all have the power to tap into that infinite source, to send light and love to not just those who have lost loved ones, but every single person in our path.

As we, as a species, change, so will everything outside of us. We are life ... and in life there is power.

Whatever outward action follows to help in the healing, in the transformation or ignition of change, it will fail to cultivate the desired result if it comes from anywhere but inside.

After all, that's where it all starts. It doesn't start with politics, with laws, with services. All of those things will undoubtedly help weave that web of working parts. But the nucleus doesn't stem from them.

The nucleus ... stems from us.


P.S. I will leave you all with a song my best friend Katie sent me awhile ago that was a salve for my heart these past few days:

Philip Phillips "Home"


Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Present of Being Present

This is that time of year where it feels like anything could happen. There's that hint of magic that seems to quietly waft through the air. There are also those moments when the burning flames inside us feel nearly snuffed out by cold breezes.

It's a time of warmth and reflection. It's also a time of nostalgia and melancholy. This year, I'm making a point to stay in the present as much as I can. This is one of the most tested times for me in that regard. My mind has already begun playing and replaying its myriad of thoughts, memories, emotions. Some of them are kindling, other are anchoring.

I've been reading more about the past/future patterns of the mind lately. I notice them still at play in my own when I'm "not paying attention" to it. But it's lessening and lessening the more conscious I'm becoming. However, I also notice it in others a lot more acutely now.

People I talk to, they reminisce about the past ... they feel anxious about the future. They stress about gifts, about bills, about their love lives, their unhappy relationships, friendships, jobs. Especially at this time of year. It's like everything that's already stressful is that more potent — the fumes nearly suffocating us. Or we get lost in the superficial aspects of life or think upon how rough the year has been. It's only natural to look back on the year as it nears its close and try to categorize everything that's happened. It's easy to reflect on past holiday seasons, to remember things, people, moments, emotions, family, experiences.

Why do you think we do this so much? Sometimes I think our minds are on total automatic, we don't even realize how often we're a million miles away. How rare we are actually "living in the moment." Yet, the present moment is literally all we've got. Everything else is a figment.

Even the timeless classic, "A Christmas Carol" deals with the past, present and future. But when you think about it, it isn't until Scrooge finds his spirit again and embraces his present life that "life" actually begins for him. Yes, the notion of a sad future motivates him even further, but his transformation takes place in the present.

That's how I feel lately. However, I believe reflection has its place, as it did in this story. It offers us a glimpse of where we once were, how we've become what we've become. But notice I say "what" and not "who." Because, I'm realizing, who I am is who I've always been, deep inside. Sometimes, however, it's easy to lose the "who" in all of the "what." Most of us are doing it right now. Like this quote I came across tonight:

Who we are never changes. Who we think we are does. ~ Punit Ghadge

But if we all embraced our inner spirit more, not identified with everything on the exterior or in our minds, we will truly be our real selves. And what better gift to give the world and those around us, than being our truest selves.

Instead of stressing about buying the perfect tangible gift for your loved ones, focus more on giving the most beautiful thing you can give. Yourself. You'll be amazed at how once you tap into that stream of realness, that hint of magic in the air becomes the very essence surrounding you. And the love that is reciprocated back ... is quite possibly the most precious gift we could ever receive.

Happy Holidays my friends <3


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What is Your Calling?

Imagine your body standing. Imagine your feet growing roots into the ground and your heart and crown of your head glowing, streaming energy upward into an invisible, yet powerful energy field.

That's essentially what Bhumi — the director at the Yoga center I will be taking my training at — said we are. She said we are beings who walk the earth, but if we push our minds and egos aside, tap into our higher Selves, we are all connected to one single source. As soon as we create that shift in consciousness, the universe opens before us.

Pretty powerful stuff.

On Sunday, I attended a Restorative Yoga/Yoga Nidra workshop. It was three hours long, but it felt like I'd gotten a whole day's worth of Yoga in.

Before I start actual teacher training in January, I wanted to get a feel for some of the things I'd be learning. I definitely got a taste of it Sunday ... and my spirit is thirsty for more.

I learned a few easy, relaxation poses people can do for 5 to 7 minutes a day that essentially restores the energy in the body at a rate equal to a 30-40 minute power nap. I learned how our mind, our thoughts, stress, anxiety, etc. all burns energy constantly, sends it off into the world, oftentimes with negative entrails.  Restorative Yoga is about helping rejuvenate our bodies and hopefully burn less energy the more we gain control of our minds.

But the second part of the morning, Bhumi covered Yoga Nidra and the ways this ancient form of meditation takes you to the deepest levels of relaxation while still remaining fully aware.

Bhumi talked about how Yoga Nidra, which means "Yogic Sleep," addresses the root of all problems physical, mental and energetic ... and alleviates the cause of stress while awakening our inner healer. It can essentially help the body heal itself, help free us from old patterns, reconnect to the source of our own power, help with that conscious shift toward enlightenment and help us discover our life's purpose.

Imagine that.

She was talking about how when we're born, our egos slowly grow and eventually take over. Our minds, constantly fueled by emotion and identity, categorize everything we perceive, putting it in the "good" or "bad" categories, judging everything, every situation, every person, creating a false identity or identities within us. We forget our purpose and veer off the tracks. When we're lost, everything feels like a struggle or harder than it "should" be. There is always a feeling of agitation under the surface of things ... of discontent, of wanting more. The mind always wants more, the grass is always greener.

I'm sure we all know what I mean here, at least on some level.

But when we shift our consciousness away from the mind and ego and reengage with our higher selves, which is essentially our spirits, our souls, we tap back into that unified Presence.

Hopefully I haven't lost you yet ;-)

Imagine a plant that has grown roots, but is no longer connected to the Sun. It slowly begins to wilt, grow weak, lose nourishment, vitality, energy, life. 

Here's the best way for me to explain this in my own experience. When I've been off track, lost, essentially ... I didn't know what my identity was. I was constantly searching for it in others, in men in particular. I was constantly looking for acceptance, affirmation I mattered, looking for praise, approval. I would hate to be the center of attention in a room, always seeking out the corner, yet, always secretly yearning to be noticed. Everything seemed to be a struggle, seemed to be so hard. The moments I thought I felt I was in Utopia or experiencing life at its fullest never lasted long. And when I was on the opposite end of that spectrum, I was a complete shell, with no fight left in me. I was never comfortable in my own skin, never content or secure or not terrified.

But once I felt that shift, once I felt myself realign with my "highest truth," as Bhumi calls it, I felt this deep peace inside, almost like a connectedness to everything and everyone. Almost like the plant that reconnects with the Sun, with that unified source everyone and everything else is connected to. Nourishment, life, energy, guidance and vitality emerge. I don't feel separate from those I love — even if we are physically apart — or from animals or nature anymore. I just feel the connectedness of it all.

One thing Eckhart Tolle talked about in his book is how once the "reawakening" process begins, it won't stop. Sometimes, the ego gets in the way for a bit, but never forever. I felt I was reawakening when I was a teenager ... practicing meditation and yoga, going to intuition seminars. But then my mind and ego took pretty much complete control of me most of my early to mid 20s.  Depression and anxiety came back full force ... fueling more bad experiences and lower self esteem.

However, now, the calling I felt as a child in bed, I feel it stronger than ever. If you've ever felt called to something and the moment you just go with it, you feel as though the world opened up for you, you'll notice opportunities begin to present themselves all around, situations, people, new connections, guides.

I get it now ... once you're tapped back in, the universe really does open up.

What do you feel, not thing, but feel, your life's purpose is?

My best advice to you all is ... if you have ever felt a deep stirring inside, something calling you ... perhaps someone mentions something and it causes a notable shift inside or you come across something that moves you deeply, but your mind tries to talk you out of it. Watch your mind and gently push it aside.

Once you're able to do that ... just go with it.

I dare to imagine where it will take you. I can't wait to see where it takes me.