Monday, January 27, 2014

Unexpected Change!

I can't do it without you! And you can't do it without me either. Every single one of us has a very important perspective to share with the world. Like human puzzle pieces designed to fit together in a very specific way. Don't you find it amazing how you tend to attract those who are likeminded, as well as the ones who think completely differently than you, that challenge your boundaries and false belief systems, and stretch you beyond where you could go alone? This is how we surprise and help one another.

I have this little story about a family that I know. The parents of three are Christians and come from a very established family; political and Republican. (Progressive rebels, please save your judgements, for I believe that all of this stuff is just a flip side of the same coin. Democrat and Republican need each other, and we may want to think outside of that box at some point…. but I digress, that's another blog post.) The parents raised them well, with good values and with very truthful hearts. At some point the eldest daughter came out. She loved a woman! Well, what I witnessed was an awesome occurrence.

This mother, who works for a pastor, has such a strong faith and has an equally strong love for her daughter. (As you would imagine all good Christians do!) She was able to be stretched by her own love for her daughter, which may have challenged her faith by rubbing right up against her belief system. I watched curiously as this woman opened herself and unfurled before my very eyes. She even involved herself in the proposal of marriage her daughter was planning. The couple ended up having a very traditional East Coast wedding. The only exception: it was two women pledging their love. What I found fascinating is that there was never a mention of the same-sexness. There were no apologies. Only a celebration of coming together to create a life of joy.

To me, this is the best expression of how we all help one another to grow. Beyond our beliefs of right and wrong. When I look inside my own heart, I know that my compassion was stretched by my relationship with my own father. Yes, he was the one who brought yoga, macrobiotics, meditation, and much more into my life, but he was also the one who hurt me with his anger, his harsh words and verbal abuse, and his lack of care for the family. I have always really loved my father and given him the benefit of the doubt. People make mistakes. Even the harshest most harmful words come from a human being. My father was not careful with me, but his nature challenged my very own. Love? Yes. Always. Forgiveness? Yes. Always. When I am challenged to my core, I am simply challenged to love myself and stand against no others. What comes from this exercise is unexpected change.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Universal Love

Love yourself with all your might. Leave no part of you out. Dark and light. You are perfection. Uniquely you!
There is nobody quite like you. All of your mismatched parts and your nooks and crannies are a part of your personal design. It's your birthright to be you. To accept and love all the little bits of yourself is an effort of integration and the art of self-love. It's important to unify all aspects of YOU. Yoga means union. Union with the self teaches us relationship with the other. When I am present and patient with myself, when I honor myself and pay attention, I find that my skills with others improve. When someone comes to me and asks for my attention, I have taken to listening as if it is a cast-out aspect of my own being that is making this request. If I want my relationships to improve, I must be whole and complete from within. Loving myself is a version of loving the world, for I am a child of God just like you.
I have also experienced that sense of Universal Love when I put myself into a class amongst others. Losing myself in the group is a form of participating in oneness. For a moment, I am part of a collective entity. This can give us an amazing experience of unity and non-separation.
My favorite aspect of teaching is that I get to be in the presence of people at their best: when they are loving themselves. The word yoga means to yoke, or to bring together, and it is a time to commune with the Self and to dwell in the the presence of personal light and power. Being in a room with others with likeminded purpose of self-love is extraordinary. Even when I am feeling most alone, I know that when I am in a group class, I can feel connected. This reminds me that I am never alone, and allows me to open up to love no matter what state my relationships are in.

Try, this month, to immerse yourself in the feeling of universal love by joining a class. It can be any kind, a spinning class, hot yoga or CrossFit. Find your place, and reside in that energy of light and love emanating from each individual to illuminate the state of Universal Love which is available at any time to anyone. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Love Retreat

The outside is a refection of the inside. This is what I have read and experienced in my travels. When you are seeing the way love is coming back to you from "out there", it is a pretty good indication of what is happening internally. "Be the love" is my intention for 2014, for I noticed that I have been looking at love in terms of give/receive, and while completely valid, it occurred to me that this made love seem like a currency.

If indeed love is a currency, then I may be running at a deficit. Or at least a promissory note. What am I depositing into the bank account of self-love? As above so below, and the banking system seems to be a system that may not be entirely upfront… maybe even a little shifty. So what would the new way be?

Be the love. Be the abundance.

How would love view this situation, this feeling, this need, this request, this event, this being, this heart?

This year began for me with an instinct to reexamine love from within. Thus far, I have been holding space for my own feelings, listening more intently to my intuitions, and seeing/hearing the truth rather than an illusion or a dream of something better. Can I see and hear the truth from a place of love? Yes, but in order to do so, I must sit in the seat of love that rests in my heart.

I am officially on a love retreat. Inside my heart, I have been meditating and visualizing healing light pouring into me through a portal, and healing healing healing me. Any past or current hurts or pains are being flushed out with this light that I am breathing into me. Throughout my day, it is not the event or the task that is the goal, but the connection with my feelings as I do so. Paying close and quiet attention to my Self. That small voice from within.

Attention. Patience. Quality time. Sweetness. Listening. Carefully guiding myself back to the moment. The truth of the moment. The facts.

I feed myself a diet of only love. I breathe with love for 20 minutes each day. I sweat love through my pores. I speak love and I think love. As with any retreat, the temptation of external stimulus and old habits are within reach if I choose, but I set that aside and redirect myself to that seat. "Be the love."

Let's retreat and come back empty/full!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Power of One

As we entered the first month of the New Year to begin anew, I started to think about the number one. Since my birthday arrives on 1-11, and my given name, Amanda, has three A's in it (the first letter of the alphabet…), what is the significance of the number one? In numerology, 1 is characterized by the qualities of new beginnings, creativity, leadership, and the Self. The very word "one" is supercharged with meaning. One love. One is the loneliest number. We're number one. Finding "the One." Computers even run on zeros and ones. Identity is a hot topic for the number one.

The "I" can be ego-based on the one hand, and on the other hand, the idea that we are "one" is universal. The difference between "One" and "1" can seem very different, however it is this dual nature that I find so intriguing. The idea that we are made of particles AND waves. The dance of duality can be laid to rest when we release the polarity of either/or to engage in the dance of yes/and.

Unity is the key to helping to resolve the polarization that can leave us feeling alone. In order to participate with the world at large, I must find my voice and share it with all. This is unique to the Self, but at the same time, I become "a part of" the vast ocean of humanity when I identify my Self. My Self is my offering. It must be if I am a spiritual being dressed up as a "Mandy."

In the past, insecurity and loneliness have bound me in isolation. Ironically, it is that very distress which causes me to look beyond, toward the one that binds us all. This power, this force of nature that breathes us all alive, although invisible, is undeniable and indivisible. I feel its very essence coursing through my veins. I feel it in my pulse. I live for it and by it.

One need not be lonely when you understand the significance. There is only one living breathing entity, and I am one of the beings that is a part of this ocean of humanity. Out of the nothing, arises a new idea. A hope to start fresh. A spark, a seedling… a breath.

We are indeed connected. The universe needs your one voice, your essence… for without you, I am incomplete. I must love my Self fully, and take good care of this mind/body/spirit. For I am you and you me. We are one… and when I find this truth I feel a surge of power. 1-11! Happy birthday to me!