What about the Dark Side? 5/28/16

darkness

I’m exhausted, and in no way do I feel like I can pull the “so grateful for the lessons” card. Life is fucking hard sometimes. Truth.

Recently I’m asking the question: Where is God? Even though I have all my basic necessities met, which is more than most of the population of this planet can say, I feel like I’m being dragged through the rubble, muck and debris of a soul being torn to pieces. My only hope is there is a re-assemble phase somewhere in the (near) future.

And right now, I’m not even sure who will read this raw and un-optimistic spilling of my heart and soul. I’m not even sure how many people have read the posts I’ve written over the last several months. I know some of my closest friends don’t even read them, and sometimes I bet my mom is even to busy.

I’m tired of technology taking over our lives. Put away your damn phone while I’m gushing my heart to you. Stop pretending you can really listen, and check your email or facebook feed at the same time.  Not only did I “release” old, non-authentic parts of my self…I ripped their controlling, clingy paws off of my True me and threw them to the floor, hoping they smash into infinite little pieces that can never crawl back together and try to attach to my True me. I can’t live any other way.

As someone who had a large capacity to “look on the bright side” I’m now in the underbelly. What about the Dark Side? It has its place just as much as the bright and shiny does. The grit of reality, over time, slowly chips away at our ideas of ourselves, until what is left is no idea at all, simply Being.

I struggle with the “Spiritual Community” particularly as I visit yoga studios decked out in mass produced furniture that has no “high vibe” feeling to it at all. I’m deeply saddened by the popularity that can come into the yoga world; where the studio is a place to “see and be seen” and not in the sense that my True Self can walk in swollen eyed and all from crying more tears than I thought my little eyes could hold, and fall onto my mat in a place of protection. Some of these spiritual places become a place to show off the coolest new clothes or your perfect hair-do. I want people to walk in wearing the things they only wear at home, make-up be gone, stained shirts and ripped sweats and get on the damn mat and let all your shit fall away as you breathe and move.

Yoga is not about me. Yoga is about releasing the idea of Me, and stepping into the part of me that will never die, to connect with the part of you that will never die. That is where Connection lives, outside of personality and story and always-smiles. Connection is the raw and real. The place of true empathy, where I feel your pain so deeply that it becomes my own, and I can mourn your loss and sorrow with you.

I’m tired of words not being enough to express my feelings, and they are the only “acceptable” way to share Truth. Fuck language and explanation! I want to roar out my anger and sadness, and be witnessed for that truth. It’s not scary. Being un-authentic is fucking scary, because it’s not real. Roar with me in your anguish and sorrow. It’s as beautiful as the moments of joy and celebration. The underbelly reminds me there is no escape. It is all life, and I refuse to put on a happy face and stride through, when sometimes I can barely lift my feet to walk. One. Step. At. A. Time.

The Darkness reminds me that it is All Love. And love isn’t flowers and kisses and happy feelings. Love is all the parts between grief and pain, and joy and face-numbing happiness. Loving what is means being in the pain and letting it crack you open, one breath at a time; and celebrating the moments of happiness.

I can choose Love. And sometimes it won’t be what society tells me is “love.” Love can be crying near the ocean and remembering my tears are made of the same thing as its vastness. Love is forgiving humans for being human, because I’m a human too.

If anyone reads this, I hope you remember to be gracious while in your rage, disappointment and emptiness. The Container is love, not what is inside the container. Empty or full, it’s all life. And like the tide, it fills and empties. And Life goes on.

Passionately Meet Mystery – 5/16/16

I recently finished reading a marvelous book Vital Signs: Discovering and Sustaining Your Passion for Life by Gregg Levoy (Do yourself a favor and read it if you ever get a chance!). It reminded me of the exquisite beauty of a non-ordinary life, and the reminder that we all have the choice to do so. You don’t have to fall in love, quit your job, move away from your Home-base and travel to live an extraordinary life. Although it doesn’t hurt. There are tiny moments every day to choose to recognize the miracle of our existence. At the end of the book the author talks about the chance of life happening on Earth is as good as a hurricane rolling through a wreckage yard and leaving a complete 747 in it’s wake. A Miracle.

In the time since our last post, we went to Austin, Texas to visit friends. A childhood friend of James was generous to fly us out with abundant frequent flier miles, and share a car with us while there. In the week we were in the Lone Star State, I learned as much as I have in a month (although I feel like growth amplifies growth, the more I dive into the learning, the more I get, and the more learning opportunities arise).

I was reminded, and James learned, we are not city people. They have their place, and are great for certain types of people, but the biggest city (or town depending on who you ask) I’ve lived in was La Crosse, Wisconsin, when I was in college, with a whooping 60,000 people. I grew up in the country, surrounded by trees and the quiet buzz of wild-life around me. Spending a week in a city that is growing by 1,000 people a week (we were told) is not my idea of rest. That being said, we were grateful for the numerous parks and outdoor recreation areas Austin has that we took great joy in exploring and experiencing. We also delighted in the numerous food trucks that spot the city, and ate very well. Staying with friends allowed me to have a kitchen, and I was immensely grateful to make food that nourishes us, and to share it with friends. For those who love a good beer and live music, please visit Austin!

I was grateful to connect with an old friend who I studied abroad in Italy with, and I hadn’t seen in 3 1/2 years. I celebrate the connections that are truly timeless, even though we don’t stay in contact much, I could drop in with this lovely woman and share where I am right now, and be heard for it. I have great respect for the authenticity of individuals I gravitate towards, and who gravitate to me. We saw old friends that had new lives, and the lesson I take away from Austin is: listen to Truth, which resides within. When we are connected to our own truth-intuition-we feel when a person, relationship or environment is in alignment, or when it is not. It doesn’t mean one is wrong, or better than the other, it just means I feel most me in the presence of Truth. And I want to feel in alignment as often as possible.

We saw the way relationships can influence people (particularly romantic partnership); relationship is the opportunity to be a mirror for someone, to choose to see ourselves through the lens of someone we trust and respect, and to refine who we are, to become more our True selves. On the flip-side of the spectrum, relationships can also enable us to stay who we were when we met that person, which inevitably, we won’t. I’m inspired to allow myself and my relationships to be living entities, to be malleable, flexible and transformational. This personal growth stuff is no cake walk, and, I didn’t sign up to breeze through life and play it safe. Another lesson from Vital Signs: risk is a necessary ingredient to living a passionate life. Risk requires accepting fear, and going for it anyway, and the result is that we are alive, fully. Safety is nice, and maybe convenient, but it’s also just that, safe. It’s the known, the comfortable, the expected. It’s what I call living “a life half lived” and that is not what I came here to do. I came to live this life like the wild ride it is, to scrap my knees climbing trees, to feel cold water on my skin, to taste foods my tastebuds don’t already have an opinion about.

When I chose to give up the comforts of a house to go home to, I didn’t realize how much I was also choosing to walk hand-in-hand with the Unknown, the Great Mystery. As I walk in the Mystery, I also see the bounty with which Spirit provides. I’ve had a bed to sleep in and food to eat every day.

We returned from Texas to more yoga magic. A Yin Yoga for Spring class; Compassion in Action: Assisting Yin Yoga (an 8 hour workshop on assisting, massage, and the importance and power of healing touch and space holding), shared at Body Yoga-Roseville, whose owner and community we adore. We taught Yin-troduction to Transformation at Bikram Yoga Natomas, where we were greeted by 20+ kind, compassionate and inspired souls, desiring a more Yin way of being. I see how the practice is an example of how many people want to be throughout their days, not just on their mat. Yin yoga is one of the most potent self-care, self-healing practices I believe is available. And you need nothing more than some quiet time to yourself to enjoy the benefits. I invite us all to do less, to feel more, to live this precious life and continuously ask yourself “what is important to me?”. And we know the answer is not a bigger car, or more clothes, or the right hair-cut. My answer: Connection, to myself, to community, to nature, to Spirit. Connection costs nothing, and is available any moment you choose to feel how connected you already are.

Surrender isn’t defeat, it’s allowance. ~James Kapicka

Learning a Life of Balance – 3/16/2016

We are approaching the Spring Equinox, and I am excited for the inspiration and playfulness of spring. It feels apparent to me that we are approaching the time of more light; leaving the darkness of winter and shedding the old layers of what doesn’t serve at this time, a challenging and rewarding lesson I’m learning.

As James and I continue to navigate a non-traditional, nomadic life, and the beauty of an unfolding partnership, I’m reminded time and again of what we all know: The best way to meet life, is to show up in your fullness, stand firm in your Truth, and accept others where they are. Be rooted in yourself and connect with life from that place.

I’ve had an interesting experiencing living in Southern California, a place very different from Ashland, OR, where I spend the last 4 years, and before that Wisconsin, my home state. Times I’ve moved or traveled allow me to ponder the question: Who Am I?

When my environment changes dramatically, what part of me is unwavering and not influenced by the external (relationships, climate, jobs, friends, the “what’s typical around these parts” mind-set)? One thing I’ve noticed is that my sense of self, my Identity is malleable, and always expanding. I’m less “in my element” here than I was for the last several years of my life. And I witness…the more I find my center, the more variety of “elements” I am able to flow with. I meet what is present in front of me from my own unwavering Truth.

  • I wrote this the other morning while reflecting on where my life is:

I will strengthen my heart instead of soften it.

The world can be harsh, encounters with judgment, shame, unconscious behaviors and misunderstandings.

I choose to strengthen my heart in the face of the challenge of life.

I choose a strong and supple heart.

To be Supple: to move easily and gracefully. To be flexible. To be forgiving.

My strong heart supports my purpose in life, my strong heart lets nothing come between me and my happiness.

Its suppleness allows me to connect with others from my internal strength.

I have a strong, supple heart, and I am grateful for it.

We leave Thursday for our first festival of the season, Serenity Gathering, we’ll share Connect~Partner Yin Yoga Massage. I’m deeply inspired by this offering on many levels, the healing power of yoga, the importance of touch and affection and the beauty of soul-connection.

I’m grateful for the lessons in life, and for the mirror James and I hold for each other.