Journal entry~April 4, 2014 (one year ago)

 

I feel like I am in a little place of peace right now in my life. No, I don’t know anything. Where we are going. Why we do the things that we do. Why our perspective is the way it is and how it got there. Every single person is so different from the other. Every single, individual being is unique. I’ve been telling my little yoga/mindful movement group about this very concept. Not necessarily about our perspective on life which is compiled of years and years of unique experiences and interactions and people that help to contribute to that completely individual perspective of the universe in its entirety.

~”It’s as if you had a light, covered with a black ball, and in this ball were pinholes, and each pinhole is an aperture through which the light comes out. So in that way every one of us is actually a pin hole, through which the fundamental light—that is the existence itself—looks out.” -Alan Watts ~

Rather, we have been talking about the physical idea of uniqueness in our bodies. Yes, we can use an anatomy book as a guide for the general structure of our body. We can learn the connection points and muscle functions but when it comes down to it we are a completely unique physical form. We are an organic material grown in the womb of another organic being whose choices and actions and even the stress they’re under have a significant impact on how that organic material is formed. The foods we eat and the way we interact with our own body impact the way our systems function and perform. The tumbles and falls we’ve experienced in our lifetime rearrange the structure of our physical form. Our unique gait and repetitive motions cause muscle imbalances. A million unique factors all combine beautifully throughout the course of our lives to create a completely unique and one-of-a-kind organically grown being! So ultimately, my practice is my own, it is also one-of-a-kind. No one else’s practice will look like mine. There is no, “it’s supposed to look like this,” or “it’s supposed to feel like this.” My warrior pose is mine and mine alone and only I can discover what that means to me by going on the journey, by deciding to practice and understand what warrior means to me, what it feels like in my own joints and in my own skin and ultimately, I’m my own life. As long as we can hold a position or a variation thereof, using whatever tools we need to, to be “comfortable and stable,” as the Yoga Sutras claim, then we are right, we are doing yoga!

Warriors.

Warriors.

All of this can be a direct metaphor for life I think, as I always think, haha. “Yoga” and “life” are interchangeable as words for me on a daily basis, as well as “position/posture” and “opinion.” We are all on this path to bliss. We are all trying to find what makes us happiest every single day. Who am I to judge what that looks like for an individual? Who am I to say that their posture or position or opinion should look or be this way, should be the same as mine? It’s true, some outlooks on life help to catapult us into productivity, learning and growth. Some outlooks on life tend to keep us still, stagnating in the waters of monotony, but all paths and journeys are seeking the same peak of enlightenment at the top of the mountain of life. Some people will make very small, struggled steps, spiraling around a tightly wound path up the mountain that exhausts them and they may even die trying to reach their bliss without ever truly finding it while some take this direct path to the top, expelling minimal effort to get there and they seem to get there long before the crowd does. Just as our physical, organically grown form is unique to each individual, so is our path or journey of life. It takes into account every piece of advice we’ve ever heard and taken to heart. It takes into account every time someone spoke words of encouragement, inspiring us to own our reality and it takes into account every time someone spoke hurtful words, slighting us and making us question what it’s all about and doubt whether we are good enough to continue on. Our path takes into account every time we’ve tumbled and fell along the way or been tripped up by an obstacle. Our path takes into account every input that creates a perspective and outlook on this world but I believe all paths are seeking the top of that mountain where we can stand up and say, “I made it,” “I get it,” “this is what it’s all about,” “this is the point to it all.”

The path is clear.

The path is clear.

I think I am on a good path with a good perspective. It is my own. It is beloved to me. It teaches me and guides me and yet I also have the power to guide it, changing course when I feel like I’m walking in circles. Ultimately, I adore this life. I am eager to learn all I can within this short venture of existence and I am hit in the heart every day with the reality of our very mortality as a human being. Even though that sounds morbid, it encourages me to bless every single day with actual presence. Nothing good lasts forever and I don’t believe we would find the sacredness of life if we were eternal. Of course, for me, I believe our collective consciousness goes on but we won’t be aware of it…just as we weren’t aware of our individuality before we were born…nor do I think it will matter, we return to this pool of love that is everything, all the time, everywhere. This background fabric of existence that fuels it all. I find it hard not to worship it all. Every single thing. Every single being I come into contact with. Every single green signal of life…the trees, the grass, flowers and all my beloved plants, my pets, the radiant Sun, the glorious Moon. I worship the universe. It is my god!

I worship it all!

I worship it all!

I am so thankful to have been born in this age, the age of knowledge, the age of science. We have a beautiful grasp and understanding of the complexity of the stars and the universe and a basic knowledge of how the fundamentals work. We can observe and see the physical laws that govern our world and yet we are still so far from knowing even a smidgen of the entirety that is our existence. It is meant to be that way. Elusive. Keeping us forever searching for answers. As we reach out into the void of nothingness it is being created right at our fingertips for us to grab hold and digest but there is always more to be known. We can never fully have it. It is like a beautiful woman…you catch a waft of her scent and a glimmer of her eyes before she slips behind a corner just out of reach. You seek her out around the corner but only catch a glimpse of her gown and flowing hair as she is off again, beckoning you to follow. You seek and seek and only ever get a small taste of her wondrous nature, lusting for more but you can never know the fullness of her touch. You’ll never fully be able to lock onto her, to grab her up and kiss her. Again, she is gone. So you seek. On a perpetual journey of seeking the universe and all that she has to offer. Both inward and outward she is boundless and unable to be contained. Many are too fearful to journey on anyway, in spite of knowing the simple truth that we will never fully know her but craving the excitement of the hunt and pressing on anyway. Few are brave enough to follow her endlessly into the vast darkness, always on the frontier of what is known and marching on with determination into the unknown. Sustained by the thrill of what small amount she is willing to reveal of herself and driven by sheer, dumb, bull headed stubbornness. I know for me personally, I just cannot get enough!

Value Authenticity

A note to your younger self

I saw this as I was scrolling through the internet and immediately it impressed me. What would I say to my younger self? I think it would obviously be different based on the time in my life when the question was asked for sure but for now, and maybe mostly because it is extremely relevant to my here and now…I would say,

“Amanda my dear, value authenticity.”

Okay so that is technically five words but you know what I mean. Ugh! If only I had learned this earlier in life. But that was not my journey, for me it has been a long and arduous process of even understanding what authenticity looks like. Being authentic means being true to you.

Lately, everywhere I turn someone is giving me their input and advice for my life. “You should do online classes,” “You should record your yoga classes and sell them,” “You should make custom jewelry orders for people,” “You should live here or there when you get to California,” and so on. When you are on the cusp of a huge adventure like this, uprooting your whole life, the life you’ve spent all your years to craft and create to move across the country, people want to share in it with you. It is bold, it is brave and people want to help. Not only do they want to share their own experience but simply enough they are going to miss you and want to stay connected. They want you to be successful, they want to see you go out into the world and do well. It is endearing and so so cherished and it is also a bit overwhelming. 

As a Libra through and through I have this built in urge to make everyone happy. The practice for me is brushing up against that comfort zone and advocating for myself and my own dreams. What do I want? I have to keep remembering to be authentic to myself and the deeply rooted passions and purpose for my own life journey. I have to remember that I have a message to share with the world and getting it out there will only work if I can follow my own path to make it happen. No other person in this world has lived inside my mind and heart other than myself, no other person knows how to effectively activate my soul to accomplish such hearty dreams. I think that if anyone knows best how to handle the upcoming challenges of this adventure it is my own self. And this goes hand in hand with the idea that we are our own god. We create our own reality and we are the magic of forward motion in our own life goals and dreams.

Lands End, northern California

Lands End, northern California

Of course I am open to every single suggestion and every input. People have so much experience and I want to know every single tip and trick that can be shared! I just don’t want to feel overwhelmed with this idea that every suggestion needs to be fulfilled. There is just no way we can please everyone. I can see so clearly that these suggestions, although unintended are meant to fill a want or desire of the person saying them. This person thinks I should live in this little town but that is for them, for their dream, where they want to live one day. Maybe that town isn’t a bike ride from the Pacific ocean (an absolute must for me), or maybe it isn’t within the price range we have in mind that will allow me to maintain my dream of being unemployed by an establishment. 

That person wants a custom piece of jewelry but I know that I just don’t work well like that. The jewelry I create is for the outlet of everything inside of me…it is an urge to create, to impress the world with my own imprint…I mean I have to share it because I love to share beauty in any way and I want people to have a piece of my art of course but the act of creating a piece of art, whatever it may be is never really for the public, it is for the artist. If I start the custom order thing, even just for the challenge and to learn, then that will take over my art (because of the type of people pleaser that I am at heart) and there will be no room for creating my own ideas and exploring the medium. I can also see how this could be a fear holding me back but truly I have no desire to create custom jewelry for people so no…it is not a fear holding me back.

Everyone wants me to get my yoga up online for classes and connection and while that makes my heart swell so big with acceptance and love it also scares me. Although this is an actual dream of mine and I am working on the foundational steps to be able to launch the idea, it just is not ripe yet. I don’t want to rush to get a shotty version of what I do have in mind up just because I am moving in under a month and people will have to find new yoga classes to attend or new routines to establish. That is not my concern. I like working with people in the flesh. I like to connect to people in real life, looking into their eyes and having conversations and seeing their face respond. I like teaching a physical practice to physical bodies in a physical space…how can I succeed in those things in California with the beautiful souls there too if I am worried about editing a video for the good souls back east? It is just not true to me at the moment. I have been in this place teaching yoga for the past two years and if these people aren’t making the effort to be in class for the short amount of time that I have left here then why would I stress about technology and my lack of fluidity with it to make the effort to put up an online class? Especially when my own practice is getting shuffled around because of all the other obligations popping up around every corner. It just would not be fair to myself. I love these people to beautiful vibrant life and their presence and support in my life is completely irreplaceable but the truth is, I just cannot make everyone happy. 

“Are you willing to put personal integrity above a promise to another? Are you willing to be authentic even if it means being vulnerable?” -Rhonda Britten

Whatever it is, do I have the awareness to see those things coming at me? Can I have the grace to take them in stride for what they are, a kind gesture of love and support without feeling overwhelmed and obligated to meet every one of those expectations? Can I make myself happy and allow that brightness to draw people together, ultimately being the catalyst for their dreams and my own? Can I root down into the being that I am naturally and learn to manipulate the inputs and outputs to facilitate the being that I want to be? I guess we shall see…it is a life practice.

So, my dear Amanda, value authenticity.

What would your note be to your younger self?

The Gods That We Are

I cried today in yoga for the first time in my life. I met God. I’ve experienced this same emotion before many many times…during a run, in the quiet of a still moment, watching the brilliant Sun set over the Pacific, or anywhere else for that matter (literally every time this moves me), standing at the peak of a mountain looking out on the world, certain interactions with certain people. Even in asana but never this intensely. Inhale up to a flat back, exhale and step your left foot back to a lunge, inhale your arms up and out, coming into your Warrior II. A flutter of the heart and a tingly nose. Then, without warning, tears and immediately I am one with all that is. The energy in the room syncs up and we ride this breath through our poses. I feel powerful, I feel strong, I am a warrior. I control my world. I am God.

IMG_4019

As a yoga instructor I’ve heard numerous stories of people becoming overwhelmed with emotion and crying in Savasana or some other pose. Yoga has a way of doing that, it is a dislocation of the mind from the body. We tell the mind to get out of the way so that we can tune in with the flow of something bigger. By shutting down our chatty brain, for once we can just be. Tears come to people in that space because the heart is working out their life dramas. People are fully inhabiting and connecting to their bodies and souls in ways that they never have before. People are finding the humm of the universe pulsing within their own skin. It is magic! It is OM. It is God. And yoga is one of many ways to worship that God. 

Like the catch of your breath when you see this in real life--like actually SEE it, that's worship.

Like the catch of your breath when you see this in real life–like actually SEE it, that’s worship.

I have had the privilege of being able to come to that place often, tapping into the flow of just being, riding the wave of my breath. Not only in yoga but in many many moments sprinkled throughout my day and my life. It is my purpose, to share that magic. To remind people that we’ve always carried the ability to call upon it at will. Only we’ve forgotten, we’ve gotten busy. But it is there, it remains a power that we possess but rarely activate. To me, God isn’t some all-powerful man in the sky guiding our worlds, it is me, it is the very being that dwells within my skin. It is you. It is all that is and ever was, everywhere, all the time. The underlying frequency of the Universe. It is LOVE!

The Bible says God is love. And although I don’t identify with a specific religion, I think the Bible is right about this. But I think we’ve interpreted it slightly backwards for so long. Love is God. Literally, love. Is. God. A God to be sought after and discovered. I believe there are two core emotions, love and fear. Two sides of the same coin (so technically one emotion), built in as natural responses (think gut feeling) to the input of our lives and we are constantly operating out of one of those emotions. Neither is right or wrong, it just is. The only true sin is unawareness of the power that we each have to actively embody either love or fear. The only true sin is allowing emotion in either form take over your whole being leaving you inept to respond to situations or people in a healthy way for your own mind, being and overall happiness. Acting out of fear moves you in one direction in your life and acting out of love moves you in another. No one can decide what is right for you, only you can decide what kind of person you want to be in this world. But it is your responsibility to decide to engage, to actively choose how to live every single moment.

You are a unique being, I am a unique being. No other person in the world has ever or will ever have the exact compilation of atoms or thoughts or beliefs or experiences or interactions that I have had in my life. No other being will have my specific outlook on this Universe. 

“We have been educated to use our minds in a certain way. A way that ignores or screams out the fact that every one of us is an aperture through which the whole cosmos looks out. It’s as if you had a light covered with a black ball and in this ball were pinholes, and each pinhole is an aperture through which the light comes out. So in that way every one of us is actually a pinhole through which the fundamental light, that is the existence itself, looks out. Only the game we are playing is not to know this.” -Alan Watts

To me this means that where I am coming from in my life is completely unique…the decisions and actions I take in my world can only be judged through my own self…by my own God. (Obviously, if you’re breaking the law or harming others this doesn’t fly in society and it is definitely not bringing you closer to love. I hope this is implied.) Only you can choose what path to travel. As for me, I choose love. It just feels better. I want to learn how to have unconditional love for every single being. 

“It’s impossible to feel true unconditional love for any single person, until you can feel it for every single person. After all, what differentiates them, except conditions?” -Mike Dooly

Can we allow people the freedom they deserve to be authentically them in any given moment? Even if we don’t agree with them or don’t approve of their actions. Can we see them as the God that they are? This precious, one of a kind expression of the Universe in human form…worthy to be worshipped, worthy to be acknowledged and loved? If not, then why? I think it is simple, ego. When we think that our opinion matters more than someone else’s or when we think that we deserve more space in this Universe than another being, that is the ego. That is fear. It’s okay, just notice and redefine who you want to be and what kind of impression you want to leave in this world. As well as extending this freedom to let others be authentically them, can we also learn how to take that same freedom for ourselves when we need it without caring how we are viewed by others? Freely moving through this life at your own pace, on your own terms, on your own journey in your own time? 

This stopped me in my tracks.

I always think, “I’m not ready for that,” it doesn’t matter what the “that” is…I know I’m not ready for it. But if there is one thing to believe in it’s that by facing it anyway, we get ready fast. Then, once we’ve faced it, we recognize not only that we had what we needed within us all along, but that by practicing facing those scary things, we are conditioning our minds, bodies and hearts to be ready for anything always.