Thursday, May 19, 2016

Paradox Time: Lose Yourself to Find Yourself

My favorite paradox in yoga is creating a pose with ease and effort. Finding a place to soften, to have ease, while simultaneously finding strength in that ease to build, with effort, strength somewhere else. 

I'm a bit too tired to write about this but I just have to. 

If I created my yoga practice with only my ego, it would be like creating my practice out of only effort. Where each body part was forced into place, shoving my limbs to bend or not bend, pushing my legs here or there. Without the ease and softening, my practice would be rigid, mechanical, stiff, and dull. Robot yoga. 

"Your ego is a wonderful servant, but it's a terrible master..." Elizabeth Gilbert

My inner critic, or my ego, is a vicious nasty creature. My fear in life has always been success, not failure. Failure was ok. Failure was expected. Failure was ease. Failure was as easy as not even trying at all. I failed because I didn't show up, I didn't try, I didn't let myself care. 

The thing about ego is that your ego will ALWAYS be disappointed, whether you try or don't try, win or lose, or draw. Ego will always be there to pick you apart no matter your effort or your ease. 

"An unchecked ego is what the Buddhists call a "hungry ghost"--- for ever famished, eternally howling with need and greed." Elizabeth Gilbert

Don't feed the ghost. 

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." - Rumi 

Feed your soul. Listen for it. Be silently, quietly drawn by it. Find it in mediation or in the ease of your breath or softness of your practice. What does your soul want? Elizabeth Gilbert says, "More wonder, please."  What else? 

My soul wants to be alive and to have that equality among ease and effort, to tiptoe over a tightrope between the buildings of intellectualism and wild daydreams, I want salty and sweet, tough and tender. I want be the paradox and to love the paradox. I want to lose myself, to find myself. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Power of Now

What would happen if you operated as if you were only as old as you felt, as if you weren't sure how old you really are?  How old would you be if you didn't know your true age? Who would you be if you didn't know your own past, if you didn't carry your stories and hurts around from year to year, from moment to moment?

You can only shed your skin when it's ready. 

There this yogic idea about cultivating your breath in the easier parts of your practice, like at the very beginning when you're lying down and gently twisting, let's say, so when your practice gets challenging (and you're trying to focus on a revolved half moon into revolved dancer) that breath that you built in ease is there when you are engaged by challenge and need breath for focus and stability. 

That's what I'm doing in my life. My past skin is shed. My new skin is growing. MIXED METAPHOR ALERT: My old foundation crashed and crumbled and in the midst of the rubble, I found my breath. Slowly, I cleaned away all the debris, worked to exhaustion to make an empty lot.  Now, I'm not re-building, but I'm building a whole new place, not just a new version of my old landscape. I cultivate these new places in me, grow in the ease of a flat, leveled, clean plane. I foster openness, compassion, meditation, and kindness for myself and others in my daily practice. I'm building soft skills, healthy and strong mental pathways and habits to build strength in foundation but also to lean into when my life is engaged in challenge. Unlike a skin, I'm building a whole new landscape from the ground up. 

I write to figure out what I think. That's all for now. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Day of Awakening: Making Space for De-Light

I write about holding space and what that means--finding capacity in my psychic/spiritual body for myself, or more often for someone else, and holding that space to honor/allow/acknowledge truths and emotions: fear, pain, joy, sorrow, fancy. Today I want to explore making space. Taking away or leaving behind a behavior, a way of speaking, a habit that no longer serves my growth and journey in this part of my life. 

In the Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo writes that burying something and planting something are the same thing. 

In the spirit of May Day, Beltane, the day of awakening, I want to let go of my old rusty habits. Habits formed by a young, scared, imbalanced me.

Smoking and drinking regularly outlived any usefulness awhile ago. And yet, depending on the person I'm with or the day I'm having, I crawl back to my emotional-infant habits to grab a bottle and a pack and howl with the teenaged rebel inside me. I want to honor her spirit because she had youth, vibrancy, untapped power, and best of all, two tons of potential. I love her. I am her. But her silly childlike vices and fear and longing have to go for good. 

Swearing off any thing is not necessary for me. Now I will drink with intention. To imbibe with purpose. Toasting, lifting up, union with friends, to have that balance, not tipping over that line without intention. 

My habits were born from boredom and fear, a birth to mask my anxiety and loneliness. In that space, of course and irony forms hot and wild, because we all know that drugs take you away from connection, take you away from finding intimacy. You are walled off from reality, distanced enough to take the sting off, to feel a little less--until you are hammered/FUBAR and then you feel every thing so exaggerated that you can't sort any truth from the muck that dumps out of you, and then, you go numb. What good is being numb, when you crave feeling? 

I crave connection and love and affection and intimacy. I thrive being close. We all do. It is what makes us human and mammal. How beautiful our humanity is. 

I used to be scared of that. Afraid that no one could or would love me if/when I was really myself or if I was too kind or soft. So I hid over and over and over. I toughened up. I was after all too sensitive for the world. Lied about who I was and who I wanted to be. I sheltered myself from being hurt by building up so many protective walls around my inner, sweet self, that I kept every single person away. Arms length, cigarettes length, or more. I was determined to live a lonely isolated life, half-dead, hidden forever to protect my insecure, small, loving, raw self. 

I have changed so much. What a blessing. 

I am alive. Here I am. 

Today, I am burying my old habits and fears to make room for something alive. Carving out space for my sweet, loving, kind, compassionate, attentive, real, raw, imperfect self to grow. I'll toss away those little bits that no longer serve me. And in that space, the space that I created, with time and light, I will grow. Cultivated, sweet, raw, and real. 

Dancing in de-Light. No longer holding space, for now, but creating space for growth. 

This little light of mine.