Friday, December 7, 2012

Being Real

Are you Real in your relationships?

We could take that question a lot of different directions, and we're meant to. It's one of those queries that we can ask every once and a while, and the answer will be always shift. On our yoga mats, what's the immediate relationship there? Yep, with ourselves. It does not matter how many other people are in the room, the moment we roll out our mats and step onto them, the moment we start listening for our breath, it's about our bodies and our breath, baby. We are Living, and whether it's “good,” “bad,” pretty, or ugly, this is the real thing. Some poses feel great, some poses we want to run away from the moment we hear the cue, and that's just a symbol for our daily life. Being Real isn't about being an optimist or a pessimist.

This is about making space for all of what we experience, and celebrating how beautiful it is.

If we don't cut our own bullshit and be honest with ourselves, what will our other relationships look like?

Now I am not advocating that we all go around being unnecessary drama llamas (people who throw their drama on others in the way a llama randomly spits). That's part of being Real, too. Maybe we need to look at not what our actions or reactions are, but where they come from, what they're fueled by. If you come out of a pose in a yoga class, are you taking care of yourself, or stopping just before the breakthrough? In my relationships, in my yoga practice, in my daily life, I've used my own drama to hide behind the truth: I. Am. Terrified.

And that's okay.

Because we all are. Are you new to your yoga practice? Are you new to your life practice? You know what I'm talking about. You are exactly where you need to be.

When you talk to yourself (we all do it), your family, your friends, strangers, are you speaking from the heart? Are you aware of your boundaries (some things don't need to be shared with everyone), and can you respect the boundaries of others? This is a practice in mindfulness and vulnerability, and we're not gonna get it perfect every time. But I know deep in my gut that my most profound moments of connection are when I foster the relationships in my life that feed my soul. What feeds my soul? The reassurance that I do not have to ignore or cover up who I am, what I feel, and what I have to offer to this world.

This video is a part of a creative project started by a man known as Ze Frank. He asked the people who watch his videos to record themselves singing a song about themselves. They weren't worried about melody, rhyming, they were just making it up as they went. The more we bare our soul, the more we find our joys and struggles aren't so different from everyone else's. You are not alone. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

what is your Path?

So, here's the deal. We can talk about chanting, meditating, life changing workshops, creating space, setting intentions, and doing the “work” until our heads feel as fluffy and enlightened as a bunny rabbit floating in a cloud. Not only is the image fantastically adorable, but hey, we might actually be doing some of that stuff, too. We make the time to show up on our yoga mats, commit to ourselves and our practice. We experience breakthroughs, breakdowns, we have revelations, and we feel better after we practice, meditate, and eat mindfully. It's the real deal.

But there is a question that keeps nagging at the back of my mind: are you, am I identifying with the image of our path, or with the actual experience of walking it?

I have trouble relating with the idea of being on the “yogic path.” Or really, “any-adjective-I-can-think-of” path. For some people, it works great, and that's awesome. Others? Maybe it makes you want to run for the hills. For me, the inner rebel wants to kick and scream at the thought of labeling or putting a tag on the brand of “life” I live. As soon as I hear “____” path, “____” philosophy, mentally I hold up my hands and say, “Hey, that's great for you, but it ain't me.”

But do we sometimes allow the language to prevent us from hearing the underlying message and intent?

What are we striving for when we decide to show up on our mats? We made a choice. We're walking the path. But whose path is it?

On either side of the coin, we can attach too much power to names and images and forget that regardless of what we identify with or don't identify with, this is real life. Whether we're running towards a particular life style and embracing it wholeheartedly or running away and keeping it at arms length, we can still miss out. At the end of the day this life isn't a matter of which path you choose; it's a matter of remembering that it's a miracle this is your life at all. That is sacred ground beneath you. Whatever names you choose, whatever images you seek to identify with, do you remember what the earth feels like underneath your toes and what the sun feels like on your face?

Our paths will inevitably always be longer and bigger than we expect them to be; do you try to diminish it so it fits, or doesn't fit a certain package?

Friday, October 19, 2012

There is no excuse

Do you make the time to be with yourself?

As you are. As your reality is. No pretense, no stories, no excuses. You don’t need an excuse. Remember? You don’t need an excuse for yourself. There’s a faint echo reminding us there is no need for apologies or explanations to make it right. If we’re still making excuses, we’re still avoiding the chance to meet ourselves again for the first time.
A few years ago, my friend and I started an affectionate little tradition. Whenever one of us would say “Excuse me,” the other would say teasingly and lovingly, “There’s no excuse for you.” It’s true, there isn’t. Why does there have to be one, anyway?

Perhaps you can relate to this: I repeatedly make excuses for how I feel, what I do and what I don’t do. What am I really saying? Two things: I don’t have a right to feel, and in some cases, I don’t WANT to feel or be associated with my actions because I would surely be struck by lightning if I let go.

If you’re feeling silly, can you be so without apologizing? If you’re angry, can you dwell in it and give yourself time to process? If you are joyful, can you express it unhindered? If you are grieving, can you explore the ache in your heart, trusting that you will not be consumed by it?

I leave you with a journal entry I scrawled out recently. Just remember: there is no excuse for you, my love. You never needed one.

My breath and the ache in my chest weigh me into the cafĂ© booth—woven teal against my back and soft blackened brown under my thighs. Morning sunlight brushes the right side of my head, warming my scalp and the tip of my ear.

I realize this is the first moment in weeks—maybe months—where I have taken the opportunity to sit with myself, feeling free in my own time. It’s that independence not driven by: “I can do it on my own” but rather: “I need to remember and get to know myself on my own terms.”
I imagine I’m sitting across from myself, sharing breakfast, and when I look myself in the eyes I feel the lump build in my throat. I would burst into tears and choke out a humble “I’m sorry.” I’m sorry I haven’t been very attentive towards you.

My breakfast arrives: an elaborate vegetable omelet with a side of potatoes dusted with herbs, and a golden brown biscuit. All completed by fresh squeezed orange juice. The potatoes taste like camping: warm, fragrant and woody. The orange juice is like a crisp fall day, served in the perfect little serving size; just enough to send that shiver down my spine, awakening my nervous system as tart citrus drips across my tongue.

The stress of the last week has finally begun to melt from my shoulder blades and the pit in my stomach, though enough remains to remind me of the work and intention still ahead. The decisions. And the discomfort—good lord, what have I signed up for? Freedom, I guess. Nourishment, even when it comes with a harsh side of bitter teas and spices. I am still angry; I feel that dull twist and pull in my stomach, the black square weight nestled on my chest. I’m not yet able to fully enjoy this new chapter while exhaustion still pulls at my shoulders and fingers.
But it is a moment like this one that reminds me to dwell in my reality as I currently stand in it. The fact that it is my reality at all is Grace in and of itself. “I know that I am like the rain; there but for the grace of you go I.”

Thursday, September 6, 2012

That Ellusive "Ideal"

There is no ideal.

The issue of identity and body image has always fascinated me, partly because of my journey with food and weight, but it is also something I studied in college while taking gender studies classes. If there is one thing that experience taught me, it’s that there is no “target weight” when it comes to Body. I don’t mean literal weight.

I mean expression: expression that bursts forth because of what is inside. Our physical body is a direct translation of what’s going on inside of us, and whether or not we are feeding the soul with what it needs: freedom.

While it is one thing to read long, dry, philosophical theories about the nature of self, it is quite another to live it. To see it. To meet it.

I feel like our culture has overdosed on advice for finding the perfect body, and even yoga can fall to this trap. Sure, there’s that “healthy” ideal that we all strive for, the certain weight range that’s healthy for our height, the BMI scale, but I know at least for me, that can be a mask to hide the truth: we are obsessed with controlling our body and controlling our emotions.

Does that sound healthy to you?

I recently heard someone talk about how she put up pictures of certain Victoria Secret models as inspiration for how she wanted her body to look and be toned. Now, inspiration is great. Inspiration can be life changing; if we are not inspired, there is no creative spark to drive us. But I thought about this. In the past I’ve done similar things, even pulled up pictures of myself from a couple years ago. Here are the thoughts that run through my head, “Look where I used to be. Look where she is.”

It’s not where I am now. I could be, but I’m not.
Shame on me.

Inspiration is great because it gives us a glimpse of the mystery of what is Possible. But what are we aspiring to be if our only source of reference is either in the long distant past, or someone else’s story/body? No matter how hard I try, while there may be many similarities, my body will never be your body. And if I do try to make it so, what am I sacrificing in the process?

I’m sacrificing my relationship with myself as it is now. As it needs to be. I’m no longer interested in what my body needs or wants, whatever I put it through is just a means to an end. I am drawing arrow after arrow, trying to get the perfect bullseye. In the end, it doesn’t matter if I train, if my form is “good,” or “bad,” the time I spend trying to reach my goal is lost to me. And if and when I do hit the bullseye, what then? Does my life only begin when I’ve reached the perfect ideal?

What if, instead of the comparison, we focused each moment on what we need? What does the body crave, what does the soul crave? What nourishes us? If we sacrifice nourishment, in any of its forms (not just food; pleasure, laughter, pain, healing), how will we be “healthy?”

Part of this means slowing down. If we push, push, push, we are still on auto-pilot. Each moment we ignore what we feel, we are disconnected. There is no ideal. There is only what the soul craves, and whether or not we choose to answer the call, without shame and without guilt.

What is the "ideal" you've been chasing? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Remembering the way Home

Despite my impatience, I do see that it is sometimes necessary to repeat the same actions and lessons until we realize we no longer find pleasure or enjoyment in them. Suffering may be optional, but it sure is a good teacher, and a necessary one depending on our choices. We know this. Your story fills its own pages, but mine is filled with food and eating “disorders.” But even binging on sugar, fat, and salt loses its taste; especially when I recall the flavor of a fresh summer peach bursting open in my mouth and down my chin as tart and sweet blend on my tongue, making the muscle curl in on itself.

I have a question.

What do you want?

Sometimes we will talk or hear about the difference of want and need, letting go of desire, etc, etc, etc.

Let me be candid: I think that's a big load of bull crap, and I'll tell you why.

I'm slowly starting to realize that my Growth, my path, is in part a journey towards understanding the difference between need, desire/want, and compulsion. Compulsion is the war we fight when we are afraid to claim what we need and have forgotten what we want. Compulsion, craving, insanity, whatever. Indulgence does not equal enjoyment. We know the difference, our bodies know the difference. One leaves you empty, the other leaves you filled to the brim. Filling up a car with air instead of fuel. Here's a (not so) secret: Happiness is the best damn fuel you will ever find (and the cheapest), so long as we remember where to look for it.

My story is a saga of trying to figure out what I want (where are we looking?), and feeding (literally) the compulsion to fix something that ain't broke.

As I sat meditating this evening, I asked my guru, my spirit guide, to sit with me. Usually she comes to me in the form of a beautiful crone, wise eyes, hands a pattern of softness and calluses, cloaked in a woven blanket. But this time she took a different shape, an image that I only recently have begun to get back in touch with: my inner Arist, One Who Creates:

I hold the hands of my Artist self as I sit and breathe, picturing her long, dark brown hair framing a pale white complexion and soft eyes and lips. She smiles and reminds me to Come Back. I realize, as part of my journey, I have forgotten my way home. Her phrase does not refer to coming back to the breath or the moment; her call is to come back to the beginning. Retracing my steps and trail of bread crumbs until I find myself, kneeling at her doorstep, cold and shivering. I have found home, my big bang, my moment of conception that spurred forth infinite color and light, just as the Artist (I am You) presses a brush, thick with paint, upon a surface and gently pulls down, smearing Matter onto Space and Time.

When we allow them the space and the time, Need and Desire begin to mix together like Yellow and Blue, forming a rich Green. What the body needs and what the heart desires are not so different, and if, through grace and openness, I listen, I will find my way Home.  

Always know that if you feel the Desire to share after reading my monthly posts, I encourage you to do so, even anonymously. What resonates, what doesn't resonate, what is stirred up inside you?

Much love,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Transcending Shame, Embracing Love

I have been teaching for a little over seven months now. The most incredible thing about this, besides how fast time has passed, is how teaching continues to be a humbling daily devotional practice and a mirror for journey I walk outside the studio room. Being a teacher, in any sense of the word, means first and foremost that you never stop being a student, and I've found that my lessons come from everywhere. Some days are harder than others; those days usually become the most beautiful. That's why I truly value my moments of doubt, because the days where all I can do is pray are the days that profound transformation can happen and divine love can come in.

Some things that have come up a lot of me lately are shame and fear. This journey is not all sunshine and rainbows; I discover thick layers of darkness, too. My lesson has been to explore that with love and curiosity, and begin to understand where those feelings come from. It's only through understanding and SEEING that I can pull back another layer. Literally transcending shame, and embracing love. While I'm not necessarily being specific I know and I trust that you know what I'm talking about when I talk about shame. It can be anything. It can be something we’ve said, something we’ve done (or not done). It can be your body; are you comfortable in your skin? It is something that is very present in our lives, in our relationships, maybe even our relationship with the universe/nature/Spirit/God/whatever sense of Bigness or Moreness you grapple with.

There's a saying that goes: Shame stops being shame when it is no longer a secret. Maybe it's a secret we keep from ourselves. Maybe it's a skeleton in that closet that we're afraid to look at. So the invitation, not the requirement, but the invitation, is to greet the shame, understand where it comes from, and maybe, just maybe, begin to let it go.

I am going to go out on a limb here (and you are welcome to walk out with me or not): we are holy Beings. So here’s my question: if you truly, 100% believed that every single day, how would you live your life? What relationships would you foster, which would you let go of? What job would you seek? What daily habits would you set into place to care for the soul's vessel, the body, your mind, and your heart?

I know my day-to-day life would look very different if I truly believed and trusted this. How we treat ourselves is just as important as how we treat others. If we neglect to meet our needs, we betray ourselves; and we betray ourselves on a daily basis. That's it. We've harmed a human Being; it's just the human being we looking at in the mirror.

I say this not as a judgment, not as the pointing finger that says “shame on you!” because where would that leave us? We haven't gone anywhere. If we continue to feel afraid and ashamed of looking in the mirror to see our brokenness, we delay healing. We delay forgiveness. I cannot find forgiveness for my self-betrayal from you; and truly, we cannot find it anywhere we look. We will not find it with our family. We will not find it in our partners—pieces of it, surely, because that is a part of the healing process, but not all of it. Not that total release, that freedom.

Why is it so hard to find forgiveness? Maybe we don't believe we deserve it; part of me must not believe, because I have not forgiven myself. What happens when we forgive? We let go of the past. We may remember it, we may honor it, but we've moved on. It is no longer a part of us in this moment. We have replaced it with something new.

So why? I really want it for you, I believe you deserve it, I believe you deserve freedom and love. I believe that the best way for you to serve this world is to be creative, vibrant, and unashamedly beautiful. Where is that desire for myself? Why is it so hard to find?

There is nothing TO find. We cannot find what we already have. The issue is not that we have betrayed Anyone or Anything, but that we believe we have. We believe wholeheartedly in our brokenness. We believe in our shame, in our guilt, we believe in being small. Why do we believe this?

Well, it could be a lot of things, and only you can begin to unveil it for yourself. One possibility is this: we inherit a lot of stuff from our family and most of it is not material.

Recently I realized my pattern of avoiding anger was not something unique to me and my life. My fear of conflict and seeing it through with love was a family pattern. I saw it in my generation, my parents' generation, my grandparents' generation. So here is a marvelous opportunity! I can choose to continue the family path; that is certainly an option. Or, I can choose to transcend it. I can choose not to claim it as my own. When I feel anger, I can state what's on my heart without shame or fear of rejection, set my boundaries, and do this all with love.

Sometimes we inherit a sense of brokenness, of shame for who we are, from our family. It may not be conscious, it may not be intentional, but we are born into this huge mansion full of stuff, thoughts, feelings, assumptions that are not ours. But again, this is not a blame game. Blame does nothing but displace shame; it’s like taking the stuff from that mansion and having a garage sale to pass off the stuff we chose to own onto someone else. Can we choose another route: this brokenness stops with me.

This has been my daily prayer lately, and I share it with you to allow you take in what you resonates with you and leave behind what doesn’t:

“I see the face of brokenness that I have lived with for many years. I see that face around my mother's eyes, around my grandfather's crooked smile. I create a life from grace and love. I do not seek forgiveness, because I am forgiveness. I do not seek love, because I am love. I choose to release the shamed heart, freeing both it and myself. I am a child of Love, created from pure intention. In my essence I am whole, because if I break I do not break apart, but I break open. May this be my legacy.”

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Looking in the Mirror

I'm willing to bet we all deal with family drama on a regular basis. If “Family” had a middle name, I think “Conflict” might be it. That's just the nature of any relationship, whether it be with ourselves, with our partners, or with family. Tension tugs, it's just what it does.

My family, at least a section of it, has a history, a karma, of walking on eggshells around each other. The funny thing is, we are a group of very strong-willed, passionate, intense individuals, but once together, the number of bit tongues and closed lips is astonishing.

This isn't to say that we have to be intentionally hurtful. But I believe that speaking from the heart sometimes creates discomfort for others, and that is not our burden(karma) to bear. May we be aware and take responsibility for our actions, but not take responsibility for another's REaction. While we impress upon each other like a dance of give and take, there is very little we can ever truly control.

Here is what has been on my heart: How do we respond when we feel trodden on?

That feeling is very real, and can be very powerful and lasting if allowed to linger. Victimhood, shame, guilt, unsafe, trapped, violated. Yes, violated.

Violation occurs when we let it occur, and let's be honest, it occurs sometimes. Is it your fault? No. What responsibility can you take from the rubble to better understand yourself, and ah! Better understand the other person? The Other. Also known as, the Mirror to your own Heart.

We can think of it like magnets. What happens when the same polar end of two magnets attempt to come into contact? There are a couple choices: continue to try and mash the ends together or turn, change direction. Change your point of view. Ultimately that does not have to change any decisions you make, but the intention may start to shift from anger to compassion.

I offered myself a piece of advice after my first heartbreak years ago that has served me well: if something creates a strong reaction in you, give it 24 hours. Time and time again, the anger fades from my soul, and leaves a beautiful product: clarity. Anger is a lightening strike. Sudden, vivid, untamed, and it leaves an imprint: something is not right. Whether that suffering is caused by the situation, or the perspective is something only by the individual can answer.

After the reaction, what is your response? This question is one to ask at any moment, when alone, or with family, or with friends. Whether we inflict harsh judgment on ourselves, or on others, it still tears a hole in the fabric of a Human Being. Can we be both firm and loving?


As kids we fought and argued, and as adults we are as different as they come, but with memories like these, and love like this, we are mirrors for each other of the most beautiful kind. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From the ground up

The cold bug I caught last week brought up a lot of things for me. Just as the pile of tissues continued to grow, so did the feelings and the mental jumping jacks my brain seemed hell-bent on performing.

I remember one afternoon during my first retail job, I started getting a migraine. With blind spots, incapacitating pain, plus nausea, there was no way I could start my shift. After I was safe to drive my boss told me to go home, and call if it got better and I could come back to work. So distraught, and overwhelmed with guilt at the thought of letting my boss down (ie, not working my shift), as soon as I was clear of the back door I burst into tears and cried the entire way home.

While I have grown out of some of that fear and guilt mongering, I find it is a lesson that continues to pop up for me, and I suspect I’m not the only one. How many of us tell ourselves in no uncertain terms: “I can’t afford to get sick right now?”

But here’s the deal; sometimes we can’t afford NOT to get sick. At some point down the road our bodies will get tired of being ignored, and force the emergency brake. We learn our lessons like simple arithmetic; until we figure out that 2 + 2 does not equal 15, the question continues to show up.

I realized how ridiculous it is that we have to commit to a vacation or get sick in order to rest and not feel guilty for it. And even then, as in my case, sometimes we still feel guilty for things we have no control over. Even after that realization, old habits die hard. Nearing the end of my week of illness all the old stuff came rushing back to meet me, and just like my 17-year-old self, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably out of guilt and a fear of disappointing others.

Part of the gift of breaking down is what comes after. We are required to rebuild in a new image. Each time I meet my yoga mat is no different; I may have certain expectations of what I should be able to accomplish, but in those instances I inevitably must do less, or more than I planned on. Anything we build starts the same way: from the ground up.

Friday, April 13, 2012


"One moment face flat on the ground reminded me that these hands were made for pushing strings and feeling thunder in my bones. So if lightening strikes me, what did I expect?"

Upon the completion of my very first teacher training, ever, I was raw. My spirit dragged me kicking and screaming into unfamiliar territory, dropped me on my ass, pointed to a distant mountain and said: "Well, off you go!"

At first I thought myself a warrior, when in reality I felt more like a fierce, stubborn child playing dress up. The act was a way to protect myself; with so much going on within me, I was a wailing kettle: under pressure, scrambling to escape. But teaching yoga required that I show up anyway and go through; my experiences were my strengths. I had heard the calling, and I had responded. There was no turning around.

In truth, there is always a part of us that fully believes that we can accomplish anything. The beautiful moments I've been a witness to, the inspiring spirit that reverberates in my soul and in yours, the mistakes, it is all so worth it. My hope is that we continue to believe that we are courageous, beautiful, and stronger than we ever thought possible.

When the starting gun fired, I spent the first few miles tripping over my own shoelaces. There were three options: keep tripping, tie my damn shoelaces, or kick off the shoes to feel the earth beneath my feet to truly know, connect, and feel.

I chose to go barefoot.

With Love,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Letter to Ourselves

You’ve been wandering for quite a while now. You know it, I know it. The path through the forest seems to be taking a suspiciously circular formation; you think this because this seems an awful lot like the same mud hole you got stuck in last time.

I know what you’re thinking. What you’re feeling. You have become intimate friends with the self-deprecating gears grinding away in your skull. And by friends I mean, of course, sworn enemies attached at the hip.

You’ve come to the point where you’ve collapsed on your ass in the middle of a strange, cold wilderness, thrown up your hands and declared, “What the hell am I doing here? Why?” I know you have done and said these things, my love. I know because I was there with you, by your side and in your heart. Thinking you were alone, you were frightened and ashamed, putting on a proud, brave face whenever passersby came near, intent on their own twisting paths.

Amidst the wilderness, you felt your body had become an even more terrifying place, a war zone. Alien and uncomfortable, what should have been your home, your safe and sacred place, was nothing more than a reminder of all the mistakes, and all the left turns you made when the simpler path was to the right. And even in that moment, knowing clear and well, you turned left yet again.

“I am lost!” you sobbed, pounding your fists into dirt, into stone, “I am lost, I am lost!”

Stripped bare of all external defenses, you have guarded your heart well, finding it better to carry the heavy wall than to let it drop and leave the burden behind. Stronger this wall became, and heavier, until you were forced to slowly drag it behind you, pulling and straining, forgetting not only where you were going but why you were headed there. Frustrated, it was this moment your knees buckled under all the pressure, and the self-loathing you created.

But here is the beginning of your story, and the moment you open your eyes to gaze around at the wilderness you found yourself so hopelessly lost in. In the moment you realized how lost you truly were, you also discovered you knew exactly where you were. There was no other place you could have been, as you found yourself: dirty, exhausted, broken, disillusioned, and utterly, and completely REAL.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Suspending our disbelief

I have a confession to make.

I am a fantasy nerd.

Let me explain. I grew up on Tolkien’s world; before I was a teenager I’d read all three installments of The Lord of the Rings, became the typical obsessed fan girl of all three films (the extended edition, if you please), and before that, Grimm fairytales (and their Disney interpretations), Sailor Moon, magic, fairies, and warlocks littered my life with fantastic stories and fanciful imaginings.

I suspect the majority of us remember a time in our childhoods when we imagined and enacted incredible adventures. The possibilities literally were endless, as was my capability to suspend my disbelief. Who cares how it’s possible? What matters is that it IS possible, and gosh darn it, I’m going to have fun with it! I could be anything, and anyone, let my imagination transform my bedroom into a mining town from California’s Gold Rush and play a plucky girl named Kate, making a name for herself, and finding gold for her mother back home.

There are two major branches of storytelling that we as human beings most commonly come across, or weave ourselves. Stories used to escape reality, and those used as metaphors for reality. Sometimes the line between the two is so blurred they become one and the same, but it all depends on two things: what was your intention, and what was the result? Stories have the power to either draw us away from whom we really are, or pull us closer and closer until we break through our conceptions and assumptions and take one bounding leap into what is Possible.

As children we are masters of imagination, make believe, and fairytales. At some point most of us stop believing in the fairytales and stop believing we are something special. We stop believing in ourselves. The fairytales we weaved as children were merely metaphors of our soul’s desire to fly. All the characters and demons were aspects of our lives and ourselves; the epic quest to slay the dragon and save the princess? What happened when I found out that the princess and the dragon were one and the same; my enemies turned out to be my greatest teachers!

When we stop believing in fairytales, when we stop believing in ourselves is when our story, our fairytale, really begins, because it's the hero/heroine's journey towards redemption, rediscovering who they are and how beautiful and precious their light is. Your life is the biggest, most elaborate, most fantastic fairytale there is, and ever will be, period. Your quests are real, the magic is real, the romance is real, and the journey towards self-discovery and love is so very, very tangible and real. YOU are the hero, YOU are the heroine whose destiny and duty it is to BE on that path, and wherever you are in your story, you are just getting to the best part.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Cocoon

My year began with rip-roaring speed, pummeled with family health emergencies, death, and the inevitable dating dramas (despite our best of intentions). Even the warmer, drier temperatures this winter seem to signal the acceleration into spring. Either that, or I'm just crazy thinking that it's March or April outside.

All of this is to say that we are not even two weeks into the new year (and only a hair shy of three weeks since the solstice), and already I'm feeling a huge push towards reawakening. We've all heard the cliché: it is always the darkest before the dawn. I would challenge a rewording of this: it is often the darkest before we choose to strike the match and light the candle what was in our hand the whole time. Because it is through feeling, and feeling alone, that we remember the flame. The ache that pulls us towards recalling that there is no other way BUT to shine. And it is good.

It is SO good.

There is a very real risk in numbing, or stopping our reactions prematurely under the guise of equanimity. Let me be more specific: it is counter productive to try to rush and achieve equanimity because I think I need to be there. That is ego, because, bless her heart, my ego finds certain strong emotions, like anger, to be terrifying. My intention for the next few months is to come out of the winter cocoon as a raw and trembling being. We've all played the game, some of us more convincingly so than others, of keeping a calm face and disregarding what we feel as a way to protect ourselves. And there's no judgment to be found here, it's a survival mechanism in most cases. Instead of shedding the cocoon entirely to expose our naked, delicate (yet astoundingly resilient) selves, we punch out holes to stick our head, arms, and legs through and proclaim: “Well, I'm out!”

We are out in a way, certainly, but if that becomes the norm, the numbness becomes the norm, too. The Good Enough. The Look How Stoic and Calm I Can Be.

Newsflash: we are not statues. The last time I checked, we were very fleshy and squishy. The squeezing ache in your chest is your heart struggling to break open again, not an attempt to hold itself together using old, fraying stitches. There are many wounds in this world, just wanting to be heard.

There is nothing more lovely, nothing, no where, no when, that is more beautiful than a Being as it Is. So even as life rushes at us, demanding to be broken open, may we continue to weep, to laugh, to feel anger, and love so hard we almost shatter, taking care of ourselves along the way. If there's anything I pray for, it is that I wake up tomorrow still able to cry.

Be well, in all your stages of transformation. You are Good, Holy, and Beautiful where you are.

Namaste, lovelies!