Monday, October 29, 2012

The Power Stance: Sitting

Sometimes I sit. I sit through the storm and I shake and I wonder if the winds will blow me away. I wonder if I can endure the violence, the rage, the anger. I forget what it was like to feel safe and be at peace, to live in contentment and know in my heart that I am okay. I shiver in my boots and the tears stream down my cheeks and I am reminded of my mortality and I feel small. I turn inward and I wait, trying hard to disappear or make this feeling go away. I feel like a child and I don't know how to care for myself.

I need help, but no one is around. No person can do it for me. I stand, stunned at the vastness of this emptiness and I look outside and wonder will I ever feel okay again? This is how I feel at first. When something unexplainable happens. It can be in any form. One time an argument my parents had, one time I didn't get picked for a game, one time my friend was killed, one time I was beaten, one time my pet disappeared, one time I lost my job, one time I had a fight with my best friends, one time my father died, one time a sick baby was born, one time my brother lost his mind, one time I was all alone.

I sit and I take a deep breath. The rise and fall of my belly and chest, the vehicle of prana, my life force energy flooding every cell in my body, infusing me with aliveness, awareness and acceptance. I cannot and would not want to control my circumstances or the outcome. I don't know what lessons it brings, or what strength it builds. I lose the desire to be in charge or change a thing. I surrender and allow the vastness of my human emotion to tumble and unravel and untangle me from these binding thoughts, expectation and fears.

I release myself into the fear and the fear becomes a ride I am on. And I keep breathing and allowing and giving myself to the emptiness and soon, I feel completely enveloped and enfolded, embedded in the safety of this emptiness I feared. I allow the pain, I give in to the feeling of my heart opening: God's hand in my heart.

It hurts. This love I am feeling hurts, but in a good way. In a healing way, it aches within me and the clarity of my true self rises from within. From somewhere deep within me wells up a feeling. It's small. It's very small, I can barely hear the faint, high pitched sound that streams from within my own head. From the center of my mind. I feel somehow that all will be well. I feel that this hurt will somehow be healed and that I will be stronger than I was before. That the hurt and the fear and the free fall into the abyss will be followed by something than can only come from a return. A recapturing, a recovery. Somehow I know that I will recover from all of this. Somehow.

I open my eyes. Only 10 minutes of meditation have gone by. I have visited the inner workings of the mind once again, and have made it out alive. Meditation is for the brave at heart. If I can learn to face my fears, my fears triggered by my past: an angry father, a heartbreak, a baby with a feeding tube, my sick grandfather, or my struggling sibling, the career I lost, my back injury, the dreams I had of true love now vanished. The list rattles off, almost constantly in the back of my mind, but for 10 minutes of sitting in stillness, I may never know the terrorists that live in there. But that is also where I feel my heart. The resilience of that muscle, like no other. In acceptance, I have everything. Nothing to fix or change. Everything as is. That is when I know my heart, and feel the rise of the hope: the salve that I have been blessed with. It ignites within me a luminosity and a purity that remains untouched and untainted by the stories and the play that lingers long past the performance.

My yoga for the day is done. I unburden myself. Rise and open my heart to the possibility of another glorious day.

Hope lives within me.

Monday, October 22, 2012


The Underworld: the place to find your buried treasures. The unknown feels so uncomfortable, especially when the journey is a descent into the underworld. Deep sea diving for the key to transformation sounds glamourous, but my experience of it is murky, dark, cold, silent and isolated. How will I rise from the depths? How will I be reborn and alchemize my former ways? What must I release (everything?) and what can I salvage? It feels I've gone too far to turn back, yet I cannot see where I am headed.

These times are heightened for all and I feel myself up against a wall. Emotions run high when you have nowhere else to go. I look within and make a commitment to plunge the depths of my soul. Nobody on this journey but me. I sense something hidden that needs to rise, to be expressed. It wants a voice. It wants to be named, yet it is mystery. How to embrace this mystery? Without naming it. Without trying to pin it on some external circumstance.

I turn towards my yoga, the tool I use for transformation. When have I faced a similar feeling? What has felt insurmountable, yet has changed me completely once I surrendered to the painful burn of alchemy? My physical body. Yes! I remember that when I have hit my limit and reached my threshold physically, it was a mental flip: "all in!" that allowed me to find the jewel of power that lies in the center of challenge and wanting to give up.

What better way to strengthen my sense of staying power than to challenge myself in a fitness class. When I was teaching Spinning daily, I would say that the point of breakdown comes the moment before you are about to have a  breakthrough. It is actually the key and the indicator that you have the opportunity to transcend. If you are feeling highly pressured in your daily life, it would be a good time to challenge yourself physically. Hot Yoga, postures that are difficult and require sitting in discomfort, deep late-night meditations, and high-intensity aerobic classes like Spinning are my favorite (and most familiar) tools that teach me that before I transcend, I must go under.

Meanwhile, remember you are not alone. Each person you encounter today is working to transcend a seemingly painful life lesson today. Soften up and dive into the underworld. Focus on yourself, laser-like, and let that burn alchemize you. I will do the same.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New Moon Power

Today is a new moon in Libra, which highlights relationships. New Moon is the time to plant the seeds for what we wish to grow. Since we are all now graduates of relationship issues, and are reaping the rewards of our recently completed lessons, we are being given a parting gift.

The energies that flank us now encourage dreaming, visualizing and being an artist. The picture I created below was a beckoning to a future that had not yet come. This image was the creation in the making, and has since come and gone.

My new vision is still under water, and I am conjuring the relationship that is to come. I can't wait to watch it unfold. Let's keep this fairy tale going! Here are some tips for allowing your dream to come true.

Declare what you want. Name it. "I call forth my cosmic dance partner."

Feel the emotion and feeling this evokes in you and live from your heart. "Yes."

Create a symbol of your desired outcome. It need not make sense or be linear.

Know that it is yours.

Be the love you wish to bring.

Sound simple? It is. Get out of your own way.

Meet you back here next week for a check in on how it's going.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Relationship Lessons: Class is Dismissed

If the past two-and-a-half years have challenged you with relationship lessons, you are not alone. The old paradigm of relating has changed, and the lessons have already come by now, for better or worse (for richer or poorer). As we step into the next level of intimacy, which exposes our depth and our darker side, you can go confidently in that direction knowing that whatever you have  learned will be the foundation you can now build upon. The old types of thinking you may leave behind are the fairytale versions of relationships or the 'you complete me' paradigm. However, what also falls by the wayside is non-committal and indecisive ways of relating. Always looking to make sure nothing better is coming along is a good way to miss what's right in front of you. It's time to step up to the plate in all relationships and dive in deeply and fully. Be unafraid to expose and exploit what lies deep beneath the surface, no matter how terrifying it may seem.

Are you ready for this type of relationship? It begins with the Self. Look in the mirror. Be in love with that person. That spirit. That soul. That human being staring right back at you. That's the one. Go wholeheartedly into your secrets and your power. Only the fully committed will survive the underbelly of this ancient aching. There it is. Can you handle it? Can you handle her or him?

The beautiful translation of the word yoga is the UNION. The fusion of the dark and the light. Now that we have learned our relationship-light lessons, we are ready. The symbol that I was raised with in my family was the symbol of yin and yang. The feminine and masculine. It is circular, so in fact the yin becomes the yang and the yang becomes the yin. This is not a linear journey, but a dance. A balancing act that is a dance. When there is too much light, the dark will over take. (Imagine having a delicious piece of cake and when you over eat it becomes a stomach ache!) When there is darkness, light will eventually emerge. I remember visiting Hawaii, and although the lava had covered the Earth, up popped some greenery. Or sometimes through the pavement a clover or blade of grass pushes through.

Commit to your self. Your journey. Your heart-opening. Include the other. It is an expression of the relationship you make to you.