Lunar Eclipse Chewed Me Up and Spit Me Out…Improved

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“Lunar Eclipse* Full Moon in Libra illuminates the shadows and reveals the energetic wounds in our hearts in our relationships to Self and Others. With gentle loving acceptance, it’s time to hold space for it all as we continue to choose love.” Mystic Mama

That says it all, really, about this incredibly powerful energy.  I have had 5 friends describe how they have been torn apart this month, purged and rebuilt. I am no different.

My primary lessons this eclipse were:
– respect and love for myself
– facing spiritual ego
– manifesting abundance
– opening my heart

I was pounded. Tested on all fronts. 

Death. Judgement by strangers. Cleaning up other people’s messes and saying No More. Manifesting unexpected abundance by releasing shame. Deep connection and loving relationship.  Fear of trusting and being hurt. Defending my ego identity as Spiritually Accomplished.

I had my sense of Self sliced apart.

All in 7 days. All. In. 7. Days.

And you know what? My gratitude for this is boundless. I wouldn’t change a minute of it. I was pushed back into truth over and over. I let go of the intensity of one moment because the next wave was seconds away from crashing over me. I didn’t hold on, even to judge myself.

I am the Bionic Woman of spirituality…rebuilt better for having been broken and taken apart.

But You Don’t Look Like A (Insert Spiritual Stereotype Here)

“But you don’t look like…”

…a yogi

…an intuitive

…a student of Tantrik philosophy

…a bodhisattva

…a spiritual teacher

This week, I had 3 conversations with new people in my life where the conversation turned to the idea that I do not meet their expectations of what a yogi, bodhisattva, spiritual teacher or whatever looks like to them. My ego became involved each time, which is a great way to know something has to be let go on my part.  Really, each of these is about identity, and identification.  Moving into awareness, I am less interested or at least, wish to be less interested, in my identification with roles or expectations of others.

Some days, I do not look like a yogi. If a yogi wears yoga pants, or loose hemp clothing most of  the day, I would be a surprise in my suits and dresses and heels.  If an intuitive uses language about energy fields, the influence of astrological phenomenon, or balancing chakras, I would seem to be apart from that when I am leading a conversation about workplace performance.  If a student of Tantrik philosophy is envisioned to speak Sanskrit, my hopelessness with languages would be shocking.  And if a bodhisattva or a spiritual teacher is someone who runs many classes focused on entry level spiritual ideas and practices, I would most definitely seem out of place in the ways in which I integrate spiritual concepts with business concepts or build community with people who have set an intent on spiritual truth and awakening as the biggest priority in their lives.

One of the most profound teachers of yogic philosophy and awakening was Nisargadatta Maharaj.  Initially he worked as a junior clerk at an office but quickly he opened a small goods store, mainly selling leaf-rolled cigarettes, and soon owned a string of eight retail shops. If you read his works in the book “I Am That”, it is clear that he is an awakened being.  Yet, he did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. He gave talks in his humble apartment, and it was used for chanting, mantra, and meditation.  He could be irritated by his students, he was direct, and most definitely did not “look” like a fully realized spiritual guru.

I am glad I do not look like what people expect. I am glad this triggered my sense that I must look or practice a certain way to truly be devoted to my path.  I am glad I surfaced some part of me that was connected to how others identified me to be. I am one step more in line with freedom.

What If You Loved Your Belly?

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About a year ago, I bought a fantastic temporary tattoo to see if I might like having an Om tattoo, from Conscious Ink. They have beautiful Sanskrit sayings as well as intentions for healing and Abundance.  I also received a free gift from them: A temporary tattoo that says “I love my belly”. I nodded at the gift, then put it in my drawer.  And forgot it.

Like most women, I live in a society where my body image is constantly under assault. I am taught to accept objectification of bodies,  self hate for all body parts that are not part of a magazine models’ body, and to fear revealing my body to my lover as there is no way he/she will find it to be good enough. For decades, I lived in that hell.  And my most hated body part was my belly.

I spent years sucking in. Doing sit ups. Strengthening my back. Avoiding 2 piece bathing suits. Hating my body especially if my partner admired another body.

I have taken pains to keep my daughter away from hating herself. As usual, she is as much my teacher as I am hers.

“Mommy, I love your belly. It is so beautiful! ” She says this to me every night as we settle in for our good night snuggle. She means it: she loves my belly.
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What if I loved my belly too?

If I loved my belly, I would be living what I know is truth: as I am, I am divine. No change is required. I am loved as I am. I love myself as I am. There is no self improvement that is necessary. The idea that something is wrong with my current experience is some demonic projection. How could anything be wrong with my belly?

So tomorrow I put on the tattoo. I will wear my two piece bathing suit. I will love my beautiful belly. What if you love your belly too?

Mother Cacao

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My sides are sore from laughing. My feet are black from dancing barefoot on a ceremony floor. And the work of the plant medicine is not done yet.

I could never plan a life a interesting as the one I am living.  Some day, I may accept that when I resist something,  it’s about to be my best teacher.

First, it was Tantra and all the misconceptions of it as a sexually based practice  (farthest from the truth – such a sad bastardization of a powerful and rich yoga. ) Then it was Adyashanti. His teachings induced terror in me of the Void. I thought Byron Katie was insane. And I saw plant medicine as pseudo-hippie-shamanic charletonism and an excuse to indulge in hallucinogenics.

So of course, the universe is exposing me to the deeper side of plant medicine. The spirits of the plants serve as fully awakened spirits that guide is to our true nature. They are there as guides and allies of our spiritual awakening.

I have practiced cacao ceremonies for myself for about a year now. Tonight was my first group ceremony. I am glad I practiced alone first – group energy might have overpowered my awareness of the cacao.

It is not coincidence that the issue that opened for me tonight was related to even sharing in a group ceremony.  I received two insights.  First, I see myself cancelling and not showing up to alot of things I plan. It worried me that now I seem to not honor my commitments. But for the first time, I am honoring my commitments to me and doing what is right for me. Sometimes that means staying home.

Second, I accepted that I have anxiety and it isn’t going to be “cured”. It may move and change but it won’t go away and stop being in my life. So no more resisting that. It is a teacher too.

When I see how much openness has moved through me, my sense of oneness begins to cracked open through me.  Tonight, thank you Mother Cacao.

Sadness Wants To Be Held

“Sadness wants to be held, not healed.” Jeff Foster

As your child grows up, it can be natural to not run to them for every scraped knee, not to scoop them up in a hug when they cry.  We think we are supporting them being able to “take it”. When my 8 year old daughter began crying over a lost toy, I sat quietly watching her.  “She should be over this by now,” I thought to myself.

She jumped up with a red, tear covered face and yelled, “You hate me! You didn’t even give me a hug! You don’t love me! I must be terrible!” With this, she ran to her room.

I sat stunned for a moment.  I could not believe I had communicated so much to her, both through my inaction and my judgement of how she ought to experience things.  I had communicated a form of hatred, and it was a form of violence.

So, I stood up, asked to come into  her room, and opened my arms wide to hold her.  She pouted first, so I remained silent with my arms open.  Soon she ran into them, and we sat together while she cried some more and I held her.

Sadness wants to be held, not healed.  This brief video speaks to how our minds are violent with us when we have thoughts like “Why am I still suffering? Why do I still feel this way? I thought I would be over this by now.”

When the Going Gets Rough

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar. ”   Drew Carey

Generally, I love what I do. I specialize in improving organizational performance and I teach systems approaches to business problems.  Cool, right?

A few years ago, I left a role because the business I was working with were making decisions that I didn’t agree with, and I could not implement these decisions without hurting every time I acted against my values as a leader.

For a year and a half, I have been engaged and satisfied in my new role. But not now. I am being asked to implement decisions that I struggle with again. My engagement has dropped. I feel anxiety and I am getting sick.

But, I recognize that when a pattern like this shows up, it is about what I can learn. It is a pointer towards my spiritual awakening. 

Since the last time I faced this, I have learned that circumstances do not control my experience.  That knowledge alone, however,  was not enough to move past this.

Today, I had an event remind me of an essential truth: when I look at a situation with an expectation of how it should be, I have limited my availability to life to only one option – whatever expectation or belief I have. It means I cannot be available to what is. And it means I will be unhappy. In the Tantrik tradition, it means I am confused by illusion.

When I let go of my belief about how something should be different than it is, I can breathe. I can let go. I can be open. I can be with Truth. 

So now,  let’s be with what is.

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