india’s evenings remember [poem]

india’s evenings remember
hold the heat on copper, above a saffron glow
emerald trees witness from mango gardens
blue skies now gray behind cooking smoke and haze
aarthi melodies cricket bat crack crack cracks
chatting and chirping away like birds at young souls
delights for wandering ears and eyes
quick to claim understanding, a purpose
intention care systems for saving the way
        their way, of love

their way, of love
mother’s crimson mark
tika on foreheads in hair parts on
sakti hands on palace steps
        reminders of legacy for some, for now

rishikesh uttarkhand india // march 2014

you can forget the words– artist you yogi you writer you–once you’ve gotten the meaning [ram dass poetic teaching]

(ram dass said chuang tzu said)

the rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit.
once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare.
words exists because of meaning.
once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words

where can i find a man who has forgotten words so i can have word with him?
you don’t have to try or even to listen
we just have to be together and it will happen

thanks to ram dass and youtube and for 2020 for all of this that was and is to come

love is love [poetic teaching]

what is it, you say
(baba ram dass), about

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE?

when we’re in the presence
of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
our hearts experience joy and expansion, which
is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
and within experiencing it, we’e free to be
as WE NATURALLY ARE, LOVE

and so, you say
(baba ram dass)

THE HEART will lead your authentic
EXPANSION if we allow it to
SEEK ITSELF over and over and over
AGAIN SEEKING, finding itself
THE SOURCE

so then, you say
(baba ram dass)

in the presence of
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
our SELF is experiencing its SELF
WE ARE FULLY ALIVE
WE ARE WITHIN LOVE
WE ARE LOVE
LOVE IS LOVE

so then, you say
(baba ram dass)

(baba ram dass) two things, maybe three

1) Let yourself BE IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

2) Know the LOVE is also YOU and ENDLESS and INFINITE and is is what is, so just RELAX

3) Don’t attach LOVE to an object or experience. Once it has been felt, ever, really felt between people, animals, places, situations, EVER, it is ALWAYS a part of YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS. BE GRATEFUL FOR THE LOVE AND let it go with GRACE. Period.

who is baba ram dass [in gratitude]

i am an unworthy phony who has moments of holiness, he said

i am not a holy being
who now
and then
falls

liberation
imagine a wheel
hub in the center
liberation

now and then through
intense trauma
and sadhana, or the love of a guru, or something

moments of liberation
you go
ahhh you see who you are and it’s

all beautiful and then you’re off balance and
i oughta meditate

then the weight has flipped and then you’re off balance and
i oughta stop meditating and do the dishes

you don’t have to go to india
your teachings will be right here
and then he disappeared.

in gratitude to he that is ram dass, rest in forever liberation and light.
gratitude to you, ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram.

einstein demands the new way of thinking, which tibetans used to know, jaar [poem]

and i quote
rameshwar das
in polishing
the mirror, quoting
albert einstein

a new type of thinking is
essential if mankind is to
survive
and move
toward
higher levels

YES! 100 AHO snaps~

what we’ve been doing
over and over the up down up down chatty kathy kitty katty nonsense
looping our minds on loop
will never work
has never worked

let it go, new path takers
reflect for a moment

did tibetans
find the
way OUT of it
the suffering, the madness, the cycles of nature, #thehorriblebeautyofitall
by thinking, the same way?
no. they did not.

let it go, new path takers
reflect for a moment

can you, can we
find the
way OUT of it
the suffering, the madness, the cycles of nature, #thehorriblebeautyofitall
by thinking, the same way?
no. i we you can not.

so, alas

look around you, the laws, the customs, the what the fuck is ok by law now?
and what are we doing in every instance of taking and making
if not to be creating more unease
predicaments within which we enslave our simple selves
all our cells and our hands and homes

within whom to we hold the power and preciousness of our sacred human gift of choice?

the invitation is here
can we please all level up
if not all, what about you, and me
for all, to restore the cosmic harmon(e)y

gyan only knows what happened to the essence of einstein, or the insighted awareness of baba ram das, or the actual souls within the actual fully earth-realized and conscious united beings of ramana maharshi, or paramahansa yogananda, or jesus christ, or buddha, or my baby buddha before he takes on the colors and the pains and the human condition of man.

i offer myself and my insights and the light of this beautiful god to you all

surrender
a new way of thinking is here, jaar

(hafiz)
oh thou who are trying to learn the marvel of love
through the copybook of reason, i am very much afraid
you will never see the point

golden cosmic wisdom water cannot pour from empty cups. tibet, i see you. [poem]

silent and still
upon the plateau

can you imagine what it’s like?
just. beings. just. being.
vessels of golden cosmic wisdom water
ready to enlighten

        who can pour from an empty cup?

man wants just the taking, of the taking of the man
not leaving lone magnificence, righteous rights
wisdom is free for all, and within
just. beings. just. being.

        who can pour from an empty cup?

without place to fill their jugs
without sacred drops to drink
without rivers to reach the world

silenced and still
upon the plateau

can you imagine what it’s like?
just. beings. just. being.
vessels of golden cosmic wisdom water
ready to enlighten

        who can pour from an empty cup?

tibet, i see you.
acceptance, patience, equanimity soon will come

mercy, please offer us water. we have thirst.
man, give us back our water wells, our rivers, truths, source.
WE ARE READY but man wants just the taking, of the taking of the man
not leaving lone magnificence, righteous rights

wisdom is free for all and within
just. beings. just. being.

silent and still
upon the plateau

can you imagine what it’s like?

how to shatter a ribcage [poem]

the magnificence of
stars, cold
draw those shoulders uptotheears
trapezius active, terrified
wrap those ribwings
round the heart, kept
protected, warm by fear and power
in the bones

wow what a feeling

wearing wings, bold, strong
you know how strong is the human ribcage?
(links open in new tabs; i know you want to know; don’t leave; i’m still here)
is yours as strong as mine?

your heart hides(is safe) just behind
stretch and open, resined chest
mama, know this
let it go, you cannot change
the past, we’ve passed
now is now, joy, here, now

damn it

how to shatter a ribcage?

silent break ups with boy friends suck [poem]

        did you realize
        you’d broken up?

paint pours, you contour his
cheeks, white pink flesh, two moles
best friend, he was, he was
for many, years ago

and the others?
alan beaver the blonde twins, best friends
trusted them, with your hurt
left you wild, with your hurt
        more than anyone

what about forrest?
friend, heart smart, strong, vata as fuck
        where is he?

        no one, there
        the mat, breath in, breath out
        he was, they were, smoke

come back, guys
sorry, pussy ‘tween my legs
i’m down to hang
like i always was

        more to give than goodies
        promise
        i’ll keep my crazies down

shirodhara: an ayurvedic oil awakening [poem, and embodied request]

drip
drip
drip drip
drip drip
drip drip drip streammmmmmmmm

warm oil streams across my face
pours from a pot above my head
falls an inch below my hairline, just above my eyebrows

running softly across my skull
rushing rivers to my temples
swimming in a swirl of curls
oil pools beside my head, towel on my hair

third-eye sleeping safely, kept under iPhone lock and key

life nectar continues to caress, sweet sweet fragrant oil
thinking momentarily fades away, sweetness in to take his place
simple sweetness, supple powers, of the lady with the oil
inner knowings wait for outer silence sweet sweet sweet

muddled being, struggling with decisions, none
crying heart, lamenting heart, learning not to love, but love
how to disappear and live again, shirodhara oil can you also come

minutes, hours, lives pass by as truth and grace remain
to hold supple hands of a woman in her prime, within an oil awakening

My practice [poem]

❤ new poetry ❤
I read this quote [Our spiritual practice should ” … feel as natural to slip into as our favorite jeans or T-shirt, at ease both with being worn and being worn out.” — Robert Augustus Masters] and I reflected on my favorite spiritual practice. ❤ Yes sir, I’m down with my practice these days.
To me, I think my favorite spiritua practice is my dance at sunset in a dusty dirty Dog Bowl, two blocks from my house, swallowed in a sandy ravine where pups and people and pot gather and sunlight descends over the hills… [ I scribbled this:]
img_2384
—-
My practice
I kick off my kicks
dawdle and hesitate for a moment, then
launch, toe-tips and curlicues into this
spinning purging delicate fierce
dance upon the earth.
Sometimes there are people
high atop the rails
looking down on me as the
golden-hour sun lights my face and forearms
then
I’m completely alone.
Entangled in blackberries
and dill weeds
and air that smells like cardamom
I’m watched by a yellow dog
panting in dune grass
and fennel pollen
begging to be picked
Made present by
a broken-bottle cut bleeding
on my heel
I dance
Because I breathe
I dance
Because I believe
in celebration of
this life
my life reflects a practice
for once
for always
there is only one thing there could
ever be
Me.
You.
Movement.
always intertwining always
alone
Wrist flicks toward a setting sun
As the man-bunned boy
With fuzzy scorched blonde frizz
on his calves
approaches. Says hi.
And I continue to dance.
Ear buds in, do I acknowledge this man?
‘Is this the man?’ I think. I wonder.
‘The man’
from the Mayan foretelling
‘Dance and sunrise and change and movement,’ she-shaman said three years ago in Guatemala
as the fire blazed and
the smoke sang upon my beckoning mouth
It wasn’t the man.
Ring-wearer, he was.
They always are.
And I keep dancing twirling stomping swirling
at daybreak
at moonrise
When souls descend into my space,
when I’m blessed to be alone.
I slip into the movement
Of my body
This body
Your body
Our body
And I sweat
I sing
I smile
I scream
I cry
I am
And it happens
around me and within me
and I open my eyes
to you my eyes
you
My my
you
The dance
Of my
Of you
Man bun
And curlicue
….

IMG_2089 (2)
Art by Arna Baartz — http://www.artofkundalini.com/

Tears of joy! Overwhelmed with love and love and love.

“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed your entire life.” – Rumi

Just one year ago, I sat with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat on a comfortable, puffy, oh-so-spoiled striped yellow bed at my best friend’s house. The two of us and another girlfriend of ours, and my much-too-furry-and-fat golden retriever, shared a one-bedroom apartment in a hip suburban-Detroit neighborhood. In theory, this was perfect (two broke girls + 1 even-more-broke girl(me) + a dog? We were in made-for-television heaven!)!

You see, I had just returned to Michigan, unplanned and unprepared, after four months abroad, and decided to weasel my way into this cozy home and create a fun, bohemian life for a few months. Well, that didn’t turn out so well.

Within a few weeks of living with this blonde yogi/PR-impassioned/pretty princess and uber-motivated/fiery ginger/goddess pair, I was more lost than ever before. What the fuck was I doing? Who were these women who had somehow transformed from my friends into enlightened beings who were living lives that were somehow sooooo much better than mine, who had it all figured out, who were taking me in just as they would a lost, sad, cute curly-haired little puppy? (Turns out, they weren’t purposely making me jealous, but rather they were just regular, albeit amazing, humans with direction and ambition in a world that seemed to have lost all cardinal points to me.)

So I left. I backed out before things had a chance to get better. I went north. I took another fruitless job in an isolated place, openly allowing myself to wallow and wither away…

But it’s not a tragic story in the end, you see. It’s actually an amazing, enchanted tale full of love and luck and magic!

What started just over a year ago as a period of complete confusion and disappearing dreams turned into a year of trials and tests and grace and absolute blessed goodness!

Who started just over a year ago as a lost child grasping at stranded strings has turned into a focused, inspired, ambitious, balanced woman living on faith and intuition, and loving each moment!

Tomorrow I will be leading my first set of yoga classes in Michigan.

What?! I have somehow transformed from a lost soul looking for guidance, to someone who will be providing guidance and hope and (hopefully) inspiration to sister and brother souls looking for peace and happiness — the same peace and happiness I was looking for, the same that I would never find out there, but rather the kind one can only find within.

So today, I sit sipping mint tea. Happy. In this moment. There’s a set of centering stone rings on my tan fingers, a streak of henna in my hair, a sparkling gem in my nose, and a big smile on my face…

Today, there are tears in my eyes but my throat is free, and my voice is strong, and I can proudly say I'm happy to be where I am
Today, there are tears in my eyes but my throat is free, and my voice is strong, and I can proudly say I’m happy to be where I am.

A year ago, I had tears in my eyes. Tears of sadness, depression, anger, confusion..

Today, I still have tears in my eyes. But now, these tears couldn’t come from a more beautiful place. These are tears of gratitude! Tears of strength! Tears of passion and power and hope and honesty! Tears of joy, and tears of truth.

Today, there are tears in my eyes but my throat is free, and my voice is strong, and I can proudly say I’m happy to be where I am, to have experienced all that I have, and to be headed toward a mysterious place that can only be full of blessings and exciting, welcomed challenges.

Life is good, you know. And life is ever-changing. And anything is possible, always.

Give thanks today for the blessings of yesterday, of now, and of each tomorrow to come.

Thank you, Universe. So very much. xxoo

And thank you, above-mentioned soul sisters for all the kindness and love you showered on this curly-haired puppy left out in the rain on her own (truth be told — she let herself out and then stubbornly refused to come back in. what a silly puppy she was!). I love you, so very much! 

 

Starting the descent: Reflections on going up and going in.

… He who kisses joy as it flies by will live in eternity’s sunrise. — William Blake …

Image

Tomorrow morning I start the descent. Slowly going inward and challenging my body, testing my power over the mind, questioning my soul… It makes me think. I’ve come to an important realization yet again — one I’ve come to many times and one that never fails to bring me peace.

Life isn’t always easy, but it is always beautiful, and it is always a blessing. Life is always a gift.

If we let ourselves be present in each leg of this journey called life, we’ll recognize everything, always, is perfect. The “plans” that don’t go as planned — the events that are less than glamorous — our internal battles that break us, allowing for rebuilding — the tests and trials of our physical and mental bodies — the fear-inducing awakening of the spirit — all is perfect and just as it should be.

From the first flutter of the eyelids each day and their first glimpse of the morning sun, to the first breath of air, first sip of water… To the shelter above our heads, whatever it may be, to the clothes and jewelry adorning our temples of flesh… To the simple exchange with another soul, reminding us we’re never alone… All are blessings, and all are deserving of our unending gratitude. We’re blessed to be alive, right here, right now… We’ve been given a gift of grace that allows us to have the simple sweet pleasures of the human life.

 

Anjali = gift of grace. "...This human life in this physical world is a gift of grace, meant to be enjoyed, savored, respected..."
Anjali = gift of grace.
“…This human life in this physical world is a gift of grace, meant to be enjoyed, savored, respected…”

In sanskrit, the word for this gift of grace is anjali. We use the term “anjali mudra” for the hand gesture of placing the palms together in front of the heart center (this is also called namaskar mudra). Each time we press our hands together, we recognize that this human life in this physical world is a gift of grace, meant to be enjoyed, savored, respected… Our lives are designed for giving love and thanks to the Universe for the endless blessings we experience.

This word has been resonating with my heart since I first discovered it a few weeks ago in India. It is the perfect word for this journey… The journey of life, but also my current journey of discovery — inside my mind, and inside the heart of the Himalayas — is truly a gift.

But my insecure mind and fearful self questions this grace… Who am I to deserve beauty? What have I done to deserve sweetness and love and connection and adventure? Why is my life a reservoir for truth, one that is full of the nectar of goodness and hope, one that is designed to share and educate and inspire?

The simple answer is this: I am. I have gratitude. It is.

That’s it! We’ve been given all these blessings in a compassionate offering of love from the Universe. We don’t need to further question or contemplate, because after we start to see our lives for what they really are, we accept that everything is exactly as it should be. Deserving or not-deserving is irrelevant because our lives and experiences are provided to us for our appreciation and growth.

Our only task is to live genuinely, from the heart, guided by intuition and an honest love for all…

Once we make it our pure, heartfelt mission to be the most authentic version of ourselves, always, life will unfold effortlessly to us. All of our lives are destined for greatness and are designed in such a way that we can only follow the unique path so perfectly plotted for each of us. Even when it doesn’t seem to “fit” into the bigger picture, each of our experiences are connecting points on our route.

All of us, each and every one (yes, you!) has a gift to share with the world that will help it become a better place for the other souls sharing this space in this time. Maybe that gift is teaching, or sharing, or entertaining, or caring, or healing… Maybe this is done in a yoga hall as far from home as one could get, or maybe it’s done in a church, an office, a hospital, a home… Scene and setting are constantly changing, but each scene and setting we find ourselves in needs our presence. Each moment of our lives should be an act of selfless giving to the world.

So today, as I pack my trekking bag and prepare for the physical ascent of climbing up to 4,100 meters, I reflect on the descent I’m about to make back into myself, one that will help to further set my foundation, open my awareness, and inspire my physical body and mind to continue on. A solo journey of 9 or so days into the jungles, the farms, the high desert, and the snow-covered mountains of Nepal, and into my heart….

I want to encourage each of you to take a few moments to reflect on your own journey. Where are you in this life? Who are you? …now forget these things you think, and then feel… Now feel where you are, and who you are…

Do you need to peel back a few layers and reveal more warmth? Are you ready to dust off any dirt and grime and polish your spirit? Is it time to let your authentic self lead the way for a change? If you are, let it be… It’s the age of awakening, and maybe, just maybe, it’s your unique time to wake up… ❤

Namaste, beautiful souls. Shanti om. xxoo

Yoga is discipline.

"You will never know who you are if you have not disciplined yourself to know who you are." -- Yogi Bhajan
“You will never know who you are if you have not disciplined yourself to know who you are.” — Yogi Bhajan

Each bone and each muscle in my body aches. I walk with a slight limp because my hamstrings and glutes are tight and painful from a dozen too many parvrtta parvottanasana. My biceps feel as if they’re constantly flexed, and truth be told, maybe they are.

My thinking mind, my ego, does not want to practice this morning. I do not want to do five hours of asana today, or tomorrow, or each day in this remaining week of yoga teacher training.

I want to sleep, to rest, to raise my feet and watch a movie and snuggle with a man…

But, I won’t be doing any of that today. Or tomorrow. I haven’t done this for nearly a month, and I won’t be doing this for the foreseeable future.

I am a yoga teacher, in training, and I know that to walk the yogic path, one that may lead to greater awareness and therefore to a greater good for all, I must dedicate my days to something larger than myself. I must adopt the practices perfected thousands of years ago — I must walk the eight-fold path the best I can.

I must have discipline.

It’s 5:30 a.m. I woke up at 5:00, drank from a copper pot filled with water, prayed and gave thanks for all the blessings in my life, layered a long tank over a sports bra and leggings…

In thirty minutes, I’ll march, barefooted, up white marble stairs to a long, narrow, window-lined yoga hall above my head, and wait patiently, without complaint, for my Ashtanga master to open the door. He’ll command the room from the moment he walks in. With a red tika ablaze on his skin, still fresh and tight from a morning dip in the Ganga, his brahmin dread will bounce slightly as he breezes past myself and a dozen other westerners from half as many countries. He’ll remove his watch and bracelet, adjust the waistband on his shorts, step atop a teaching platform and onto a long blue mat. Then, he’ll turn to face us. His students.

He’s been awake since 4:00. He’s already done his own self-practice, a physically and mentally challenging style of yoga that he’s been practicing since his early teenage years. He perfected each posture, pose by pose, until his own master said he was ready to continue, moving on to the next position in the primary series. Before he even learned samasthiti, he swept and scrubbed the floors of his yogshala for 6 months — only then did his teacher tell him he could begin to learn the practice we know in the west as yoga — physical asana designed to prepare a body for comfortable seated meditation in which one can turn inward, and leave the physical body behind.

Now, a dozen years later, he still is practicing yoga asana and hasn’t progressed to the next rung of the ladder — pranayama — but yet he is more knowledgeable in yogasana technique, physical anatomy, and the arts of instruction and adjustment than any teacher I’ve practiced under in my six years of studio classes.

This man is a yogi with discipline.

I admire his dedication — something I can only hope to develop through years of faith in this practice, and to living a life based on mindful awareness, each and every day. It isn’t easy, for anyone, regardless if you were born in the birthplace of yoga or in the concrete jungles of North America or Japan.

But who ever said yoga was easy?

Yoga is one path to enlightenment, for all who show up. If followed, with dedication and faith, under the guidance of a guru or teacher (at least at first), each of us can progress past the partial ignorance and clouded minds of our lives and move into a place of peace and clarity — we can attain a one-pointed mind and see with near-full awareness the experience of living.

We must act as the self-realized master, living and breathing this life with intention, playing the part until we become the character himself.
We must act as the self-realized master, living and breathing this life with intention, playing the part until we become the character himself.

But first, we must give ourselves to the practice.

We must develop routine. Devotion.

We must have faith in the practice, then commit — bodies, minds, and spirits.

We must act as the self-realized master, living and breathing this life with intention, playing the part until we become the character himself.

Yoga is discipline. Are you sure you’re ready?

If so, join me on this journey. A journey we can start together but that we must commit to, even if that means walking alone.

Recognizing beauty in the squalor of North India

I’m on the road from delhi to rishikesh. I plan to unabashedly immerse myself in yoga and gods and adventure and love, breathing in the bounties of this blessed land.

But here on the road, for miles
and miles starting about 60km from haridwar, what do I see?

Squalor.

I’m reminded of the worst parts of Guatemala, but in this area I see it everywhere. Never ending. All along the roadside lie debris and damaged buildings and dirt. There is dust flying everywhere — I’m chewing on it, despite my window shutting out the world out there… I’ve never seen roads in such poor shape. Cars and trucks are literally pushed off the roads and into ditches and tree-filled fields because the gaping holes between the cement are too treacherous to drive through. We’re making this drive at night which no doubt amplifies the fear factor, however I wonder if it’s hurting or helping to hide the apparent poverty.

There are road blocks occasionally, something I hadn’t expected nor seen in my travels except once or twice in Israel and then again in Honduras and El Salvador (part of me wonders if the latter holdups were government-mandated or purposely and probably maliciously placed by thugs). These Indian roadblocks are manned by handsome, rugged types with guns and badges, although they’re definitely not military stops. …a mystery I’ll surely dig into deeper.

However it must be known that there is industry of sort — definitely some money to be made. And agriculture. With it being dark it’s impossible for me to tell must what’s growing in the flatlands next to the roadway (I think it’s sugar cane) or what is made (it very we’ll may be the same cement needed so badly on these roads). I do see cows pulling wagons stacked six times their height with bundle canes, mostly covered in burlap…

There are also pockets of people gathered, still awake at 1130 at night on a Wednesday. Some sitting around at the countless little roadside tienda-type-restaurants, and others huddled near small televisions or outdoor fires, simply sitting wrapped head to toe in heavy shawls (men and women alike). I also see people solo, smoking cigarettes (of what variety I can’t be sure), faces lit by laptop screens. It makes me wonder if Facebook dominates the real and virtual lives of this North Indian population, just as it does the American population back home.

I am highly enamored by some if India’s exotic sweetnesses as wel. For example, there are numerous stop-offs along the roads set up like small temples to Hindu gods — my ability to name these by visual cues alone is limited, but i have recognized Krishna, Vishnu, shiva, and shakti (the latter pair I’m nearly positive, based on their perpetual pairing). Also, there are many semi-trucks here (large lorries/box trucks). Maybe it’s the time of night or maybe it’s the route, but at least 3/5 vehicles traveling here are of thos fashion. What makes them so spectacular and charming are the colors emblazoned in bold or delicate patterns on the cab portions (bright mint green, fire engine red, peach, pale yellow…), and the fact that in each of the two split front windows there is a name written. There are two names! The way I understand this is that no man rides alone in these trucks — always partnered, always supported and supporting…

That’s what India is about I think. Really that’s what this world is all about. Making the best out of what you have, every day, and living your life with grace and love. I do not pity these people at all! I’d bet most of these people are genuinely happier than the majority of people I know in the western world. I do have compassion toward them and their struggles, just as I have toward anyone I meet. But I also display what I think to be the most crucial of all character traits, and hopefully I will not be proven wrong about this — kindness. We’re all one — each man, woman, child, animal, plant… Each gust of wind or wave on a shore… We all live with different worldly circumstances but we’re all fighting or flowing toward the same thing — peace and a better life. So all I can do is quietly observe when I can’t speak, ask questions and seek to understand when I can, and lend an ear, a shoulder, or a hand whenever possible, without expectation or requirement for return.

Life is beautiful. Always. Everywhere. In the serene peace of northern michigan, the majestic power of the Orwfon coast, the abundance of life in a Costa Rican jungle, and the chaotic, crusty and dusty squalor of a North Indian roadside town or ten.

Let’s never forget to recognize and appreciate the beauty around us, each and every day.

The photo below was taken today, the morning after this post was written. The squalor soon turned into breathtaking natural beauty — tree covered hills and baby Himalayas, and a mint green, majestic river. The Ganges.

20140306-153719.jpg

Surrendering what no longer serves us, and tearing down the wall.

“Remember the emphasis on the heart. The mind lives in doubt and the heart lives in trust. When you trust, suddenly you become centered.” ~ Osho

I have trust issues. Big ones. I hate that I do and I wish that I didn’t, but I accept that it’s something I must work through, to let go of when the time is right, and to be honest with myself and others about.

I don’t remember exactly when or how these trust issues started, but throughout my adult life, inklings of unease have developed into exaggerated and obvious insecurity. I’ve been let down on many occasions, in some pretty powerful, scarring ways, and these situations have surely contributed to my current apprehensive state.

More than once, when I’ve given my heart to another, I have seen the things I cherished very deeply vanish, disappearing right before my eyes and horrified heart, left aghast and in awe of how quickly life can change. Things were ripped from my hands still holding tight to a future I’d dreamt about, to a person I’d selected for a partner, to a grand, great love…

I’ve also been let down by people who promised to help my dreams come true, or who committed to serving as copilot on an upcoming adventure, ensuring I wouldn’t have to face the unknown alone…

Following each disappointment, I molded together brick after brick, created with sticks of anger and stones of sadness and cement resent. I stacked these bricks on the wall surrounding my heart. I slowly and deliberately built a strong and unpenetrable fortress for one. And inside, there I was, making things happen for me, relying only on myself, ensuring that only I could be accountable for my successes or my failures.

 "...If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity, ... if you seek liberalization, ... open this gate. ... Tear down this wall." -- President Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, urging him to demolish the Berlin Wall.
“…If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity, … if you seek liberalization, … open this gate. … Tear down this wall.” — President Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, urging him to demolish the Berlin Wall.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had people in my inner circle, and of course there have always been people who I can rely on, who have always been there in times of crisis, who have always been more than willing to do anything I needed, literally giving me their last dime or shoes from their feet. But for the most part, because of my past experiences, I have maintained sole control and I haven’t expected anything, of anyone, as a means of preventing future letdowns.

This has got to change. I asked the Universe to give me softness just a few months ago, and I’m recognizing that I’m ready to draw this in. I’m ready to emerge from my closed-off castle and I’m ready to welcome in trust and faith.

It’s time to tear down this wall.

The mantra for this morning’s yoga class was, “I am open.” Our yoga teacher, a new dear friend of mine, encouraged us to not only be open to what we can draw into our lives, but also to what we can let go of… to surrender what is no longer serving us.

In past classes, this teacher has talked about how many of our responses — to events in our lives be they positive, negative, or indifferent — are often based on learned reactions from previous experiences, or may even be caused from the stuck energy residue (or toxic ama) in our cells and DNA, passed down from our ancestors. We can reset our response mechanisms, through yoga (practiced while focusing on the chakra system especially), meditation, and conscious effort.

This teacher encouraged us to breathe deeply and say the words “I am open” in our minds as we released the breath. Then, instead of immediately restating the mantra, to let ourselves be void of intentional thought and to see what naturally presents itself in our minds.

On the first release of “I am open,” the words “trust” and “faith” came into my thoughts. I knew right then, that yes, I am ready to let go of this protective barrier around myself and that I am ready to start fresh. I am ready to trust openly, without hesitation and doubt. I am ready to live freely, putting faith in the Universe to handle my hardships and to give and take away as needed. I am ready to release control…

It is time.

Today, I am tearing down the wall and I am emerging from my safe, isolated castle. I am facing the world with an army at my back instead of forcing myself to face the world alone, with only a trusted stallion at my side (whose name is Jax, by the way, and he’s the most loyal golden that ever existed ❤ ).

Doing this can do nothing but help me. Sure, I may face moments of disappointment in the future, but today is a fresh start, just like tomorrow will be, and the day after that. The people and situations in my current life have zero ties to experiences which burned me before, and it’s unnecessary for me to burden others, and limit my own opportunities, by carrying around this baggage. Enough is enough.

Today, I am surrendering what no longer serves me.

Today, I am surrendering my protective barrier of mistrust and isolation.

Today, I am surrendering to softness.

Today, I am…

Today, I am open.

I am ready to let go of this protective barrier around myself and that I am ready to start fresh. I am ready to trust openly, without hesitation and doubt. I am ready to live freely, putting faith in the Universe to handle my hardships and to give and take away as needed. I am ready to release control...
I am ready to let go of this protective barrier around myself and that I am ready to start fresh. I am ready to trust openly, without hesitation and doubt. I am ready to live freely, putting faith in the Universe to handle my hardships and to give and take away as needed. I am ready to release control…Today… I am. 

It hurts to hurt.

I’m an empath. A sponge. I’m the kind of person who absorbs the energy of those around me — good and bad — happiness, pain, anger… Everything.

I can feel negativity because of this. I can sense when things are off. I can recognize right away when tension exists and when there are escalated emotions when there should be, and normally would be, calm.

"Recently, I've noticed negative energy around me a lot. I think I'm not only sensing it and feeling it, but I think I'm the cause. This realization hurts."
Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of negative energy around me. I think I’m not only sensing it and feeling it, but I think I’m the cause.
This realization hurts.

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of this around me. I think I’m not only sensing it and feeling it, but I think I’m the cause. This realization hurts.

I try my best to inspire others to do great things, to push themselves when they can, to relax and rewind when they must, and to love and accept each and every blessing. This world is much too short to sit on the sidelines and watch great things happen to others, so I’ve taken big leaps toward making my dreams come true and it’s my honest intention to encourage others to do the same.

Sometimes, though, people don’t want to hear encouragement. Sometimes people are resentful when good things happen to others. Sometimes people are bitter and brash and downright berating instead of being kind and excited and genuinely happy for the little victories in the lives of those around them.

I’ve felt this nastiness recently, and it’s consumed much of my thoughts. I’ve tried to convince myself I’m imagining it — if someone had a problem with me and my actions, they’d tell me, right? I’ve tried to let it roll off — more slicker, less sponge. I’ve tried to accept it, to force myself to swallow and suppress the pain and unease rising in my chest and throat when I enter a room filled with obvious animosity. But, the empath inside won’t let me do this. The empath inside will continue to feel the negative energy until it’s gone.

In this morning’s yoga class, the Universe lifted this burden from my shoulders — it provided a solution my soul so desperately needed.

Our yoga teacher read Chapter 30 from The Tao Te Ching. The words helped me realize that I can only do my very best, each day, and that I cannot dwell on the outcome, whatever it may be. I can only live honestly, with integrity and good intention, and that the reaction from others to my life cannot be my concern.

I am happy with who I am. I am grateful for the good and bad in my life, for the tiny miracles and the big bummers alike. I am proud of the person I am and the person I’m becoming. I refuse to let someone’s anger or sour response bring me down and cause me guilt and shame or make me feel undeserving of grace and goodness. I’m worthy of life’s blessings, as are they, and my hope is that they’ll realize this as well. My hope is that they’ll work just as hard to live a good life, and that they’ll reap its beautiful blessings, just as I have.

My hope is that my hurting heart will heal and that I’ll always remember the lines from the Tao Te Ching, and that I’ll continue to believe in myself, to be content with myself, and to accept myself, just as I am.

And that one day, sooner than later, they will, too.

The Master does his job and then stops. He understands that the universe is forever out of control, and that trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Tao. Because he believes in himself, he doesn’t try to convince others. Because he is content with himself, he doesn’t need others’ approval. Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him.     — From Stephen Mitchell’s translation of The Tao Te Ching
The Master does his job and then stops.
He understands that the universe is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself, he doesn’t try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself, he doesn’t need others’ approval.
Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him.
— From Stephen Mitchell’s translation of The Tao Te Ching