December 13, 2014 § 2 Comments
I enjoyed teaching yoga. It was only for a brief time, yet what it gave me I possess to this day; the ability to better read people and understand the body’s role in our spiritual journey.
Reading people isn’t easy. We aren’t like comic strips that can be scanned at a glance. It takes a good deal of knowledge to truly understand another; especially considering we don’t easily show our pages. Standing before a class teaching yoga pose after yoga pose and breath work on top of breath work allowed me to view people from a unique angle. Not all instructors do this. I have to imagine the greater part of me knew I needed this particular schooling, so although I was the instructor, I was also was brought there to learn.
What I learned, in part, was that we never can set aside our body. It travels with us wherever we go. Yet, it’s so often mistreated and overlooked. We take it for granted. However, not only is the body one of the primary filters by which energy moves through us it’s also part of the foundation upon which we stand. If you don’t understand what I mean, consider the times when you’ve tried to work or pray or carry on with friends while ill. Your foundation won’t hardly allow it.
Also, the workings of the human body provides us a beautiful metaphor that mirrors the workings of the soul: softening allows expansion. Rigidity hardens and constricts.
Time and time again I watched as a student dropped their mat quickly and pushed hard and fast into the stretch. My eyes would fall on them and I’d smile while telling the class that the muscle won’t respond well to force or quick movements; one must go slow and breathe into the stretch to get where you’re wanting to go; give it time and dedicated practice. And thus is true with the soul.
It’s my belief we are here, on this planet, for the purpose of expanding our soul, its wisdom, its level of compassion and its grace; none of which comes quickly, but all of which, when allowed, provides us a better foundation upon which to stand and a more open filter through which the energy of life can move through us.
Open. Soften. Breathe. This is the way of a healthy muscle. This is the way of a knowledgable mind, and this is the way of an expanded, wise soul.
You will feel when something causes you to instinctually harden. You know when your body goes tight. Sometimes through fear, sometimes through anger. If this is happening to your body, please know that your soul can not expand if the vessel its using to experience this life is hardened and constricted. This does not mean one has to be a yogi master. But one must have reverence for their body, and treat it well. Although the soul does not live within the confines of the body – it uses the body to move through this life experience. The two must be in alignment. Keep the body open, soft and flexible. The soul moves and expands more easily.
Those things for which we have reverence and treat with kindness tells a good deal about who we are, internally and externally. The ways in which we move through life are like sentences on a page: readable, and almost always revealing who we are on the inside, your personal story line. What we fear and what we hold with value. Where we’ve grown and where we’re currently being schooled.
So take care of your body. Stop ignoring it. It won’t go away. Life won’t go away. How you treat these things often reflects how you treat your inner being.
December 6, 2014 § 2 Comments
I don’t believe we ever compartmentalize our emotions or life experiences. I understand why so many make this attempt, believing in a successful outcome. But each and every life experience, and the subsequent emotions that live within that moment, become a part of who we are – like it or not. So I say, sit with the experience. Work through the emotion. Allow it time to heal, then release it. Even then, those emotions do not dissipate as the words might lead us to believe.
Emotions are energy. Energy never disappears, nor remains stagnant; regardless of how strong our compartmentalizing abilities may be. Instead, over time they permeate every cell in our body. Even when we believe they are completely stuffed away and hidden from view, their impact on us is life changing. They reshape our view of each and every thing that comes before us. And yes, those who are perceptive enough see the very thing we hope is kept from view.
But when we allow the emotion its due, when we refrain from reacting, and instead sit with the emotion, processing it, learning from it, allowing it air – it heals. Then what is left is something that adds to our being instead of takes. The emotion, that when compartmentalized skewed our view, now becomes an emotion that deepens our take of the world.
I must warn you, the mind does not like to sit with an emotion other than those that are pleasant and bright. Our logical mind will approve to us having surgery to heal physical damage. Doing so is logical, it says. It makes sense. Your emotional being requires the same. Painful, negative emotions metastasize if not treated, much in the same way as a cancer cell does within the physical body. We would never dream of ignoring a cancer cell; concluding we’ll be just fine. Yet, we do, when it comes to our emotions.
As you move through your life, take the time to tend to your emotional health. Close your eyes, then look within. How many boxes of unfinished business do you have blocking your way. Hurts from others. Hurts from your youth. Events that ended in failure.
These boxes carry a two-fold problem: they block those that love you from getting in, and they block you from every getting out.
You may ask then, how these events could possibly add to your experience. That’s easy. Within every experience carries the potential to expand your soul; to broaden and deepen or restrict and constrict. It’s up to you. It’s always been up to you. I know many people who have been through the worst of the worst. Moments in time that altered everything; moments so crushing it could have shut them down completely, causing them to live a constricted life of fear and resentment and hurt. Instead, they chose to allow it to expand their compassion and deepen their understanding. They sat with this complex, evolving, evolving emotion, sometimes for years, and learned, and saw, and grew.
I’ve had quite a few hurts and events that have brought me to my knees. But after a time of recovery, I expanded and opened – letting the energy flow. Those moments have strengthened me, and softened me; strengthened my faith, softened my compassion for others. That choice was mine. We’ve got one shot at this life. Dig in, live it. The choice is yours.
For those who are curious, this blog was written while listening to: Into the Mystic by Van Morrison, Drift Away by Dobie Gray, Home by Phillip Phillips, Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men and Seasons by Future Islands.
November 4, 2014 § 2 Comments
It feels as though I’ve been pushing against the wind to get to this moment now. So odd it is to be busy carrying out my many obligations, all the while feeling the need to write press down upon me; ever-present, never letting up. I’m here now. And that’s all that matters. So with that, I will say to you dear reader, one of my deeper truths, is in coming to terms with inner restlessness. Restlessness, in my opinion, is one of the most potent emotional responses we encounter. I would say it’s as potent as fear, but to me, restlessness is an offshoot of fear. It’s the fear of simply being still within one’s self.
Because when we do, it is then that we notice all of our inner, unfinished business, our insecurities, our hurts. The chatter in our mind begins, either as an angry mob or one haunting voice. So we busy ourselves. We reach for something that will distract, numb or drown out the voices and urges. This is usually what makes meditation difficult for so many. It’s not easy working through the mental layer, with its constant chatter about what needs to be done, then the emotional layer that unearths all that was buried, and hopefully forgotten.
It’s a dreadful state so we bolt. We run toward something that will nullify the feeling. I say dear reader, as uncomfortable as it may be, sit in your restlessness. Let it wash over you. Let it wash through you. Let it bring everything to life. And when it does look around. Doing so is the gateway to peace. One is never free while running away. Freedom exists once we come to terms with who we are and who we’ve been; those things that frighten us; those things that cause us to feel vulnerable inside. That’s peace.
Looking at all those things that trouble you sounds like the last thing one would want to do in order to find peace. Yet, truly, it is the road that will take you there. Because as long as you run, as long as you distract and avoid, you remain the prisoner to those very things from which you long release. You can release yourself by sitting with those restless moments. You’ll be okay. And in time you will come to recognize restlessness as just another layer of your being that needs working through, allowing you a deeper understanding of yourself. Each layer discovered takes you closer to full ownership of yourself. And that is freedom.
But you have to be willing to go there. You must be willing to sit with it. After time you will look back and notice that you’ve conquered many moments that once sent you running. You can’t silence or run from inner restlessness and also find inner peace and freedom. They reside in two different places.
I am a long way from where I want to be in this regard. Yet, I take comfort knowing that mastering one’s self isn’t a title handed to us upon our death, it’s handed to us along our journey. And you will never master yourself, and thereby experience peace, unless you sit with yourself first. That means sitting still even when all you want to do is run.