What is the rhythm of life?
Remember, Atlas shrugged, too.
Seeking an answer is like trying to understand the tree by only looking into its shadow.
In the silence, the beat, butterfly wings pulsing at your heart.
Witness sacred in mundane.
Take care of yourself and wear your apron.
Sweep your own floors.
Make dinner as you linger in another’s depth.
See the resonance – the relics and the seeds.
Look to the tree, inspiration between limbs. It holds up the sky where you shine.
Getting behind the wheel is something that gives me a feeling of freedom… the car door is like the door to a secret passage way that you KNOW will lead you to adventure. I packed up my car with my dog in the backseat, Joseph Campbell and Kahlil Gibran audiobooks, two new music albums and headed from Texas to Colorado with hope. I’m not sure what I was hopeful for or hoping would happen but I was inspired to the very core of my soul. My sense of sound was bathed in truth by these sonic muses as a new awareness permeated my being.
Back when I started training to be a yoga teacher, I sold my TV because I didn’t want it as a distraction from the work I felt ready to do. I decided to follow my bliss and figure out what I could do to help make the world a better place. I felt a strong calling and I needed to use my time wisely. This trip taught me that I was consumed with my work and it became an easy way to hide from love by making myself busy.
The time in the car helped me see my television addiction just shifted to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram. What was my motivation for all this checking in? I wanted to connect with more people but instead I avoided connecting to the silence and depth of my love. Afraid of my own sensitivity, I used my library card.
I can’t wait to get back into teaching this week so I can keep having the conversations that really matter to me. I start my new Creative Process Yoga class when I do a month-long residency at The Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas. My hope is to provide space for deeper listening and honesty with this class… Both for myself and my students.
We are all on a hero’s journey. Some of us know what we seek and others are completely unaware they are living a life of purpose. Joseph Campbell wrote a book called A Hero with a Thousand faces that outlines the myth of the hero. You can think of it as if your life is a book and you are the hero of the book. The hero changes the world. The hero helps others. The hero lives an extraordinary life.
In order to live this type of larger-than-life myth, the hero is put through a series of tests that give him the wisdom he needs to continue on his path. He learns the truths of the universe.
There is usually a refusal to go once he has been called on the adventure of life. Typically, he is in a place of comfort and security and he knows by moving outside of his comfort zone, there will be the void of the unknown. At least there is a nice little graphic that can help navigate the process.
The more we deny our purpose and ignore the call… the more we convince ourselves we want to live our lives according to our own plans, the more we suffer. Suffering can come in the form of bad relationships, illness, a desire to numb out, or distractions of any kind.
When we practice surrendering, we can observe how much we are clinging to our own ideals. We want to get closer to universal truth and further away from ego and mind-constructs. A practice that helps with this is Yin and Restorative yoga. The best pose I’ve found to notice how to surrender is Balasana, or Child’s Pose: Come to all fours, lower hips to heels, forehead comes to floor, hands move beside body, palms face up. As you breathe, notice the gripping within the muscles of the legs… the face… the shoulders. Practice letting go.
Ever since I saw my first TED talk by Jill Bolte Taylor describing her experience during her stroke, I was enchanted with TED talks.
I, too, had a series of small strokes that left me with double vision and debilitating headaches. My left eye could no longer move and I had resigned myself to always rely on other people to take care of me – a huge feat for a person who craves solitude and independence. I was sad. I was depressed. I needed help taking myself to the bathroom. My life looked so much different than what I had dreamed of as a little girl.
To cheer me up, I was given art supplies because I had said in passing, “I always wanted to be an artist.” I never took lessons but I discovered how to play and tap into the rhythm of oil painting. It was the biggest gift I had been given – relief from the pain, joy from expression, and a love of color that still charms me today.
The creative process is what healed me back to my version of normal (notice I didn’t say “normal” but “my version of normal” because I am definitely a little off-center)… but this time, I had a mission – to live a creative life and teach others how to heal themselves through creative process.
My mind seeks connection in its isolation so I seek to find ways of joining things together. Yoga was the best medium I found for joining people to a deeper connection within and outside of themselves. My teachers always talked about energy in class. Though I understood its meaning in an abstract way, I couldn’t stop thinking about the E in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. I’ve re-imagined his theory to show how our lives and connection to source/spirit/universe can be enhanced through simple conscious breathing and movement as a meditation. I found conscious breathing is the single most beneficial thing we can do to enhance brain function, spiritual connection and overall wellness. So I need a platform to share this with more people.
I decided I wanted to give my own TED talk so I applied and was accepted to audition a 5 minute talk at TEDxSMU. I learned so much about myself, my expectations, my hopes, my dreams and my desire to communicate effectively. The stillness was palpable when the crowd was observing their senses.
This was an experience I will always treasure despite it being a horrible record of my public speaking skills. I couldn’t remember any of my jokes or any of the points I wanted to make. All in all, I sucked but at least I can say I did it.
Perfume of coffee and taste of unshaven legs… the anticipation of art as a container for infinite expression. How does a shadow dance? Where do glances fall? As she approached the tarmac, she wasn’t yet cleared for landing. Baited in breath, the path became clear. There is something rich in mistaken identity as the winter’s trees pretend to have no protection. Just as in every theory, it has yet to be proven.
Her shade was taken away so the sun was in connection – more directly this time. Who was it? Where is that voice?
Belief – faith, even – is what resonates. Recalling bleeding retinas, her grandfather hadn’t warned her about looking into the sun. She assumed it was necessary to go into the light – to bathe in the rays of glorified nothingness.
To become who you truly are and imbibe power beyond form is what creates discernment. Just as the clouds scraped the rays from her skin, she exhaled. Guilt became an extension in the call directory of her thoughts; the number rarely dialed. This unwavering disregard for punishment along the gallows resulted in a sensation between her shoulder blades. What would she do with this new sense of freedom?
She put in place a policy of truth-seeking and truth-speaking that became the touchstone in her future conversations that always pierced into the essence of now. Ultimately, she was her own beneficiary and time an imagined jaded lover. She became provocative… pro-active. Gentle in her approach, the blending of creative energies was her offering.
At some point, I woke up and wondered if I could take better care of myself. I vowed to concentrate the efforts usually given to another toward care for me. I am now in a relationship with myself. I was quite happy about my private declaration but I thought I would make it public by announcing it through Facebook. FB has this cute little option where you can declare cyber-love for another so I opted to choose myself as my own relationship status. FB says I cannot create a relationship with myself. Really? I am in a deeply committed relationship with myself and FB doesn’t recognize it. No fair.
One of the inherent gifts of a relationship with another is that you get to engage in a very present spiritual practice. People trigger other people. Other people bring up your insecurities, doubts, fears, attachments, and desire to be right. There is duality. There is a vacillating motion seeking balance. There is a subject and an object.
Life with Daisy (my dog) is beautiful and peaceful. We are constantly in a state of bliss. She never triggers me but what she does do is keep me in a state of being open in my heart. This is a practice I can’t do alone – I believe love is something you do. There is a subject who is loving and an object that is being loved.
So perhaps FB is right, relationships require subject and object, too. What I hope to experience in this life is a state of loving that doesn’t require subject nor object… Non-Duality Lovin’. Simply by contemplating non-duality, it is within a state of duality. The rational mind cannot comprehend this state – reality must be pierced… it must be experienced. 🙂 The ultimate balance isn’t in the shift side to side but in the Creative state as conduit… straight up.
Identity… it is created… it is stolen… it defines us and it can bring us to our knees.
What do you identify with? Emotions? Thoughts? Titles? Labels? We all struggle to find balance through external mechanisms. We try to balance by holding on to something that changes and fades.
Isn’t it worth noticing that when we identify with the temporary, we suffer? In yoga, we aim to create union and learn to identify with that which does not change. It is a remembering of who we really are… spirit.