Repaired With Gold

gold potOne of the fun parts of my incarnation is that I fall a lot.  When I was a teen, I would fall going UP the stairs.  In university, I would run for the bus and slip on grass. I have fallen down stairs and broken my wrist.  I fell when climbing a fence a year ago, and hurt a few spots.  This month, I fell on my own knee while planting my vegetable garden, and bruised my ribs.  Bruised ribs and broken ribs feel the same, but have less risk when bruised.

I have a high pain tolerance, yet these ribs tested that.  I would say my pain history in life would go: broken wrist, child birth, bruised ribs.

And yet, I am deeply grateful for this injury.  I learned how many people love me in my life – a reflection of how Life loves me.  I had friends show up out of no where to help.  Some picked my child up from school because driving was too hard and probably unsafe for me.  Some friends fed me.  Some friends watched my pets.  Some friends checked in on me and sent me love. As much as my rib could not support me, my circle DID support me.

More than that, it was a deeply spiritual experience.  No one but you can explore your relationship with pain.  For the first time, I understood what my teacher, Christopher Wallis, meant when he said that you get to a point in life of being grateful for everything, even dog poop.  My gratitude for what this has opened in me is profound. When I shared that with him, he wrote this to me:

“You’re more beautiful for having been broken.

People tend to think that something has gone wrong when they’re wounded, or hurt, or broken, and that healing is fixing that wrongness and getting ‘back’ to a good or ‘normal’ condition. But consider this: just as, in the context of weight training, the muscles need to actually tear (get damaged) in order to rebuild stronger, why not consider the parallel possibility that we actually *need* to get hurt/wounded/broken in order to grow stronger and more compassionate?

In that light, nothing ever goes ‘wrong’. And being wounded can be a gift.

The Japanese have a word for this, from the context of artfully repaired pottery: kintsukuroi, “more beautiful for having been broken.” – Christopher Wallis

When I told a friend I could not visit her because I needed to rest, she offered to do healing work with me.  I turned her down, because I was loving the work I was doing on my own.  I shared that with her, and she commented I was handling it with ease and grace and a smile on my face.  I absently agreed, but inside I knew that was not the truth of it.

To handle it with ease and grace and a smile would be to deny what is.  The pain is.  Sometimes I am at ease.  Sometimes I am not.  Sometimes I am smiling, and sometimes I am irritable or crying.  Why should I be at ease and grace and smiling? That is some form of spiritual overlay on how we think spiritual people are – these detached spirits walking on air and sunshine.  What is true is that I am not suffering from the beliefs I lay over the pain.  I remember the quotation: In life, pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional. – Haruki Murakami

I like the words of Matt Licatta on what happens as we grow spiritually and heal:

“There was an idea that as you healed, you would feel less. That as you awakened, the emotional spectrum would narrow, into some safe, consistent, happy, resolved calm. But you are seeing that love continues to ask you to feel more, to hold and metabolize the full-spectrum of a broken open world.

There was an old hope that as your heart opened, the vulnerability would diminish, the shakiness would fall away, the tenderness would yield… but you are more raw now than ever before.

There was an old belief that as you deepened on the path that you’d be more detached, untouchable, not care so much about others and the world, resting as the great “witness” beyond it all, in some safe, constructed place of observation. But somehow, everything and everyone matter now more than ever, in spontaneous, unexpected ways.

Something new is being born inside you, but something else is dying. Rather than prematurely forcing rebirth to emerge, turn into the uncertainty, the contradictions, and the purity of the death of an old dream. For it is here that the womb of new life is to be found, where the raw materials of resurrection are woven into being by the Great Weaver herself.

While this level of trust may be disorienting to a mind longing for resolution, the body knows… the heart knows. Trust in the fires of disintegration. And the birth that can arise only from the ashes of that level of grace.” – Matt Licatta

Downward Facing Dog: 4 Things I’ve Learned

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Everyone has a yoga pose that they resist. For me, it has been downward facing dog. Its a bit of a conundrum too, since it is a core pose. You need it for the Sun Salutation, it is a start into inversions, it can be a heart chakra opener. Its kind of a big deal!

I’ve made up excuses to avoid practicing it – I have bad balance, it gives me a headache and of course the surgery on my broken wrist has made the pose difficult. At times, the metal plate and screws in my wrist make the pose treacherous.

But recently, I’ve experienced a huge shift. Not only can I do the pose, I like the pose. I’ve learned from the pose. And here is what it has taught me.

The Whole of Reality
This pose is like the Hanged Man in tarot. It gives you a completely different perspective. And if you look at the whole of reality instead of the one or two places your energy has glommed on to, things shift. This pose takes you into a movement of energy. In the past, I would focus on where it hurt to do this position. Now, I focus on the whole experience.

Acceptance
A man and woman were intensely discussing the pain they had in 15 years of relationship. She took responsibility for judging him. In anger, he said “What do you want me to say to that?!?” Her loving response was “Whatever you want to say.” Acceptance. No judgement or convincing him of what he should see or feel.

I’ve judged myself when I do this pose. I’ve judged myself for my lack of balance, flexibility and strength. But like the woman, I now say to this pose “I’m listening. Tell me whatever you want to say.”

Identification

We are told over and over to be present. Be present with the breath. Stay present in this experience. What in heaven’s name does that mean? I’m struggling to hold this posture – trust me, I’m about as present as it gets!

Being present isn’t the same as identifying with the experience. I get caught up in trying to find the yoga in…yoga. I want to identify with this thing that seems to take over the room when we aim for the perfect pose.

Stop. Being present has nothing to do with anyone else. It has nothing to do with anything other than creating awareness of what arises for me in the pose. Today. Right now. Not last time. Now.

Moving energy is what it’s all about

Beautiful men and women pervade the classes. He can balance on his arms. She can effortlessly walk into an inversion. They look like art.

When I do downward facing dog, its not effortless. Its not art. My arms shake. I get dizzy. Bad stuff happens emotionally. I’m uncomfortable. And that’s the yoga.

This pose challenges where I hold stuff. It makes me see myself. I see a belly. My neck is constricted. That right hip isn’t lining up. Ah…here is where I need release. Here is my hiding place.

And then I move the energy. Its not about looking graceful. Its not about anyone else in the room – they have their own stuff. It’s about releasing one more part of my story. One more false belief. One more path leading me closer to consciousness.

Downward facing dog, I love you. You are the patient lover, who has waited for me to see your wonder. You have offered me your fullness over and over while I rejected you. Now I gratefully sink into your arms. Thank you for not giving up on me.

Growing and Breathing

Whenever my child tells me she is in pain from growing pains, it reminds me of the truth of any growth process. My response to her is love and caresses.

This weekend has been filled with growing pains. I’m very uncomfortable on the inside. Normally I would swallow all of this and carry on. Today I’m not.

Like my little one, I’m allowing it and like her I am going to acknowledge the pain as well as all other qualities of the energy. And see what I can do and learn with its energy.

Do, Be, Do, Be, Do

beingIn the Quantum Activist, we are told that we influence each other through entering into the quantum field with thought and intention.  It is suggested to us that if we want to harness this intentionality, we need to be moving through a state of “Do Be Do Be Do”, referring to moving into a state of being and doing – acting from our intentionality, then returning to conscious awareness, and repeat as necessary.  This is as effective if we are working towards planetary harmony, or individual expansion.

If some of us could practice do good, be good, practice do-be-do-be-do regularly, be with God some of the time, and be in the ego some of the time, and let the dance generate creative acts of transformation, then I think we will hit a certain threshold and will be able to achieve very quickly the power of downward causation in unprecedented numbers.  This is a threshold that will carry us towards making that fundamental step that these changes will take hold in all of humanity, not just a few of us.” – Quantum Activist

There was a time I would have pulled towards being a Quantum Activist.  I would have believed it was my moral responsibility to try to create a better world.  We are living in a time of greater consciousness, I would have explained, and we must all harness ourselves for the good of the planet.  The very word “activist” would have been an apt description of how I lived my life.  I was very active.  I did a lot. I moved through out my day from one set of “doings” to the next.  At times, I would become overwhelmed by how much there was to do, whether in my life or in the world, and I would become anxious about it. I would feel that I was not doing enough.  I had to do more, be more.  I could spiral into believing that I had to go get everything on my bucket list done in order to feel that my life had been spent wisely.

In tantra, we are presented with a different view.  The idea of assigning meaning or significance to things moves us away from the state of being, moves us away from consciousness.  The divine is in all things.  We are one with all things.  And that includes the things we are labeling as good or bad.  Suffering arises from identifying with the experience of good or bad, instead of recognizing it as energy vibration.  The divine is present in all things, accessible to us in every moment of experience.

shiva shaktiI am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with doing. I am saying that for me, doing was a way of masking myself.  What I did was driven by a state of obligation, “should”.  A belief that if you can do something to help, you should.  If you see suffering, you have to do something about it.  It created separation between me and the divine consciousness.

In tantra, and in many metaphysical philosophies, we recognize that we do not experience the world as it is – we experience the world asGreen_cars we are.  Where our attention goes, energy flows.  This is beautifully demonstrated in one of the exercises of E squared.  The exercise is meant to show that all possibilities exist in our field of reality, but that we attend to only those that we consider significant or that align with what we believe.  We are told to go “create” a certain color car, or a unique object, and then see how they show up in experience.  I created green cars, which I chose because there are a lot of black, white and beige cars out there (I believe, so that is what I see). I didn’t expect to see green cars very often.  And within a 20 minute drive, I saw 12!  Did I suddenly “create” green cars, the way I create cookies from batter? Instead I aligned myself with the possibility of green cars, and saw that.

“Quantum physics is the physics of possibilities; possibilities proliferate when we sit quietly in the ‘be’ mode, doing nothing.  Occasionally, we choose from among the possibilities precipitating an action, a ‘do’ mode.” – Quantum Activist

The balancing act becomes the harmony in being and doing.  Attending as much to being as to doing.  In our culture, we value doing.  What are you doing tonight? What have you been up to? What is your action plan? Have you set your goals? What are you creating?  We spend very little time understanding ourselves from a state of being.  And we have fewer social conventions that bring attention to that state of being.  And so, when we are presented with pain in our experience, it is natural we move to action.  What must I do to end thisuniverse suffering of mine? And we make an external change. Tantra suggests that the divine wants to experience all things through you, so the feeling you have is part of that divine experience. The practice of not identifying with the story that causes  the pain allows us to witness the energy of the emotion, and move that energy through us.  The movement of energy and the clearing of the path create beautifully powerful moments of experience.  It also helps prevent manifesting from the same blocked energy pattern over and over again.

While many flock to books like The Secret, The Magic, or E squared to learn what they can do to feel better, the truth of the spiritual path is captured for me in Do Be Do Be Do.  The spiritual path is not about feeling good all the time.  It is about moving between being in consciousness, and doing what arises from being in flow with the energy of life.