The journey of life is different for all people. For some, the days of youth are punctuated by joy and it is there for them as remembrance of what it is to be in touch with their carefree divine true natures. Their homes are filled with love, their bodies with health, and their spirit with peace of mind. These are the ones we say are the lucky ones.
For others, the journey home takes them from a past of chaotic minds, health struggles, and a house that is filled with violence and rage. For them, the choices they will make through their life to find and be the love will require unfolding, forgiveness and they will wander far to find in metaphors and daily interactions love that is healing and restores their belief in, touches a special part of them and brings them back to soul.
Still others, though coming from a place of love will have trials and be refined by the fires of time and life. They will come to learn the value of their innocence and they will come to know what it is to cause their own suffering by the choices they make.
Regardless of where we are coming from, the journey is the same.
How the journey begins is not as important as where we end up. The real test is at the end and whether we can come back to, find the way, or even maintain in the face of adversity our true selves.
These are the selves that exist within us all....the real self that is beyond doubts and seeds of fear or lack of self-worth that are planted by negative experience....the real self that is beyond entitlement and ego that stem from easily achieved successes and though, perhaps not knowing their own failures must then come, somehow, to compassion, vulnerability, and support the fragile journey of humanity as a collective.
The gateway to home is through the heart, the breath is vehicle, union is the arms that embrace, leads us, and teaches us the way to a warm meal, hot cup of tea, and a home filled with love. Connection, in every way from my hands and heart to yours. And even, if our focus tends to the external and not enough on our own life, then it is from my own hand to my own heart, I am listening.
Having travelled now for 12 years, I have begun to hear a little teeny child voice inside of myself say, "I wanna go home." And an older version of me asks, "Darlin, where is home?"
With all the places I have been I am eternally missing someone somewhere. But the voice has resorted to squeezing my little heart and, though, I have thought myself listening in practice and prayer it has only been in the quiet of the jungle by the sea that external noises have dropped away.
Day by day, in the spaces between massage and yoga, the sounds of crickets and ocean waves drop me into places of my heart that have been singing songs of loss, of regret, of forgiveness, of peace.
In these places I have found the poems and verses that have inspired a deepening compassion for those things I have done and the time it takes to heal them with the wisdom of experience they impart.
In a society and a generation that teaches to live with no regrets, to claim what is yours and to do so at all costs, I might add a soft reminder that, "Regret is an honest and fair teacher."
Over the years Chacalla, with its Mexican heart, has danced its way into my heart and revived a passion for living, for dancing, for opening and has given me the opportunity to embrace new people from all over the world while being comfortably in one special place.
I feel into this experience and fall in love again and again with the sea, the sunsets, and the people with whom I work.
When I return, it is a sort of homecoming, not only to the people I have known but in the quiet of the night, I come home to myself. I come home to feeling. I come home to realizing I have been away from the places where I started for so long, and from those I have loved.
It is with a revived spirit of community that I write, not just about the courageous personal journey but with the knowing that true growth and a sense of self comes only from finding a place in community.
And real community? How is it to be found in these days of heirarchy? In true friendship, in heart centered connection, in the vulnerability of allowing ourselves to be seen and, truly, in small community nothing is hidden. In true community, everything is seen.
That is of course what makes a community so powerful either to lift us up when we are having trouble holding it together. And if you are unlucky, it has the power to tear you down and pull the last threads of your sweater. And, at times, our own self judgement and inability to face our own lives can contract us from fully embracing community to pushing it away.
So it is that really coming home, not only to our own souls but to the places that will know and love us through our best and worst takes courage. It also takes love on the part of everyone to become, not just the people at the gym, or coffee shop, but to become in some human way a family that passes through all levels of experience together. Ask any community that has passed through fire, hurricane, or flood and they will tell you what it is like to be in it together.
That in small community where you will see the same person many times, we are known. We are no longer blindly numbly paying at the register or getting our coffee but that we know each other by name. That we have a moment for a story. That we are connected.
That we come to realize that no matter what role we are playing in the drama of life, we all have a story, either ours or someone that we love, that makes it so that we understand, so that we can support the safety and trust to, hold our own joy and presence, with someone who is in the throes of suffering.
Some are in the circle stories of their own lives and will not jump the loop to the next ring. For them, it is not yet time.
Some are ready to let go, for them a new story shows them that everything is possible. In the never now exists miracles are possible. An experience of triumph is a map that shows there is a road that stems from experience and that the vulnerability born from being true to our hearts, natures, choices, however difficult they are to make or bear, can light the way.
True healing is knowing intentions are only one part of the journey, it is what we choose now forward, learn from life, and how we show we know life is long and regret, it is honest.
Regret has spoken to me of learning, of traveling and it has spoken to me of home. The home that is more than our own heart, but is the love of the favorite little coffee shop on the corner, the little whole foods market, and the little studios in gyms that remind you that day by day is actually found in the simplest of places.
It is found in the places that receive you back after you have faced the deepest hurts of your heart, that know you have been out in the world learning to trust your heart again, and to forgive the things done to live true to our heart, to do yoga, to breathe deep and to finally forgive everything by returning it to yourself.
It is in revisiting and returning to the love that found you in the beginning when yoga started, when Nature took you, and everyday was an embracing of what was known, including yourself. It is the knowing, the accepting, the peace and the return of what is nearest and dearest to our hearts. Reconciliation. Integration. Experience. Belief. Trust.
That though the way is not known or set for all people and the time needed to repair be different for all, and though we have love to give and gratitude to express for all the experiences we have had, that in the end, "man returns home to find what he was looking for."
And so may our wonderings return us to peace, may they teach us that choices affect not only ourselves but all those who touch us, and that, in the end, may the prayer for home bring us to the greatest reflection of our soul.
And so then, sit, and be quiet. Find a place of refuge with little to no external sound. Sit with your breath. Observe the memories as they flood in, feel them, be softer than they are and then dive through all barriers, all the things we know too much about ourselves, others or society.
Dare to believe again in the deep things of your little self speaking. Let go of mind and all the thoughts that limit you. Imagine for a moment that you are really embraced, that you are safe and ask for the real longings of heart so they may rise again and fill you with the light of joy.
And in your enlightenment, in your happiness, in the rising of spirit do not shrink back or hide alone but instead leave the light on to let others know...somebody is truly home.
My little 4'11" mom is a warrior. I have seen her power her voluptuous round Mexican body through step, spinning and kickboxing classes, smiling sweating from every pore on her shin, face, and arms my whole life struggling with weight. She has done every diet--Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Adkins, South Beach and she is the video queen. At home she has tackled The Firm, The Firm with weights, Reebok, and Karen Voight. She would grab me and Jazzercise, Zumba, and dance me around our kitchen. There was even a stint of her jogging.
She is a flirt and a beauty. She never went out of the house without make-up and would look at my tomboy face, "Zonia, put on some lipstick."
"Bleh, I would say. I just wanted to be outside planting flowers--in the crawl space in the mud.
A new video--a new exercise. Yoga. I never clung to any of her weight or beauty obsessions but this one...set in Nature with the deep soothing voice of Rodney Yee...that sparked something in my 14 year old mind that never went away. It was at the end of my drug and alcohol high school phase and after a near death experience. It changed me. It changed everything.
Until I began teaching high school at 20, I went to work with an acupuncturist, chiropractor, herbalist with an in house massage therapist . They taught me yoga of the spirit. To my biblical missionary life, I now added wholistic health, diet, energy, meditation...and I craved more. I wanted the physical aspect. My dear mentor only said to me and his son, "Make sure it's what you want. Your whole life will become a prayer. The asanas are very powerful," he warned. Neither his son nor I were afraid.
We went to yoga like moths to the flame. Ashtanga. Hatha. Bikram. Vinyasa. Yin. Iyengar. Anusara.
I moved to Tahoe to teach. I meet Jason. We are both high school teachers.
I have a brain tumor and am on the way out of a being a Jehovah's Witness, a choice that will cost me a lifetime of friends. I am praying.
Jason and I fall into sharing the spirit of practice. Never have we met another person who loves yoga the way that we do. We do yoga 6-8 hours at a time. David Swenson is our teacher. We finish yoga practice. We start again.
It wasn't popular. There is no Facebook. There are no photos.
Jason is my first glimpse of the spiritual on the outside of a religion that taught me everything out there is separated from God. God only exists in here, we are told. Evil lurks around every corner, but there is no denying...Jason loves God. So do I. We are the same, but also so different. We go our separate ways.
I crash snowboarding, get tired of having a tumor, leave my religion and go to Hawaii to heal my spine, tumor, heart, and life.
I cry for vision. I see God everywhere and in everyone.
I walk 12 hours a day. Hike Kalalau three times. Sleep on beaches. Trust the direction guiding me is love.
My tumor comes out of my nose. I go back to Tahoe. Teach at schools. Wreck my car. Tear my thigh and abdominal muscles. Start over in yoga. Lay on the mat crying in pain as my dear friend and teacher Shaelah Morris lays warm hands on my pain. I don't quit. I start from the inside. I build my body back up. My spirit is strong. Yoga guides me.
Five years have passed.
Doing sun salutations to the sun rising. There are no pictures. Jason is in Tahoe. We are friends. We are both teaching yoga. It has taken us. We have left schools and entered yoga rooms. We are each other's greatest ally.
Yoga is beginning to be popular. Our families still don't understand. We are each other's closest, strongest ally. We can see and experience how much we have both changed.
You are not crazy. Don't quit.
My sweet mom gets breast cancer. I return home to pray, care for her, teach her meditation. The house is a sanctuary of hope. I pray to heal our cancer lineage.
Yoga. I have a vision.
I go to Hawaii. I meet Ken.
We travel tipi, both ex-Jehovah's Witnesses, we face our greatest fears together. Unplant seeds in our mind. Learn about our ancestry. I heal the breast cancer lineage for women in my line. Accept my medicine.
There are no pictures...well a few, taken by a 12-year old at a retreat. There is a lot of heart. There is no money, only prayer, trust, love, and good friends. There is yoga, fasting, vision quests and long, long walks. We build and run sweat lodges and bring together people as family. There are no pictures of these. There are no cameras.
Jason and I are in Maui, the Ananda Yoga Sanctuary. We teach yoga for free and support it with other work driving around the island. There are a few pictures....not many. Facebook is popular. I activate and deactivate with regularity. Craving the real.
We go to India. We teach kids on a mountain top. Do healing work with families. Teach yoga to those who knock on the door. We did not come to teach but to learn. We are teaching. There are no pictures....well, one with all the kids. It wasn't a photo op. It wasn't for public. It just happened.
Years keep passing. Yoga keeps happening. We both keep teaching, practicing, and learning.
I teach and travel to California, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Mexico. I am told to make a website. I gather pictures from a few people who take them.
As usual, there are no pictures of my students or of me teaching...I am...well, I am teaching.
Jason returns from Thailand where he has been doing teacher trainings.
Let's start a school.
Live True, he says, like our life.
All people can ask for are pictures.
We need pictures.
I send a couple.
Who took these?
My four year old cousin.
Really, Zonia? Really?
Ha ha. Yes, really. When she finished she said, "Now let's go live." Ha ha. Just my sentiments, we ran up a mountain.
Zonia, just take pictures.
Take a few. Get bored. Change focus.
This is my family.
This is art.
This is Nature.
This the White Sands desert where I am from, minus the best parts....snow angels and rolling down hills. We are playing so...there are no pictures.
This is me and my friends in the rain and at the river, I start taking pictures of them.
Try again to take pictures. My friend's farm burns down. A friend and teacher die. I pause again.
What are we doing?
Out here...it isn't about me. It's about being in the moment. It's about connection. My favorite moments are not in pictures. They are the moments before and after. Long hugs. Moments spread out over time. The whole sky, land and water, not just the frame. It's multi-sensory. The breeze. The sound of the water rushing. Rain drops falling on rooftops. The smell of rose and cedar. Fire crackling.
It's about prayer. It's about healing. It's about God and it's been happening since I was born. It's been happening to all of us and, this yoga....it is life.
How do I capture it without losing it? The internal experience. This journey, the powerful practice of presence...the way this yoga has become a life prayer just like I was told it would.
In another photo of me in warrior, camel or wheel? Bleh...
Just take a few pictures during personal practice for Instagram.
Take some in class.
Who will I ask to refrain from class?
I am singing...a photo cannot capture sound.
Who will I awaken to prompt, this is me adjusting, helping people connect to their bodies, explore their joints, know themselves?
Take a picture?
I dust them with sage.
It's real...it's not posed.
I look at my dear friend's photos--they are beautiful.
Use Jason's, I say.
Jason says, "Zonia, now it looks about me and it's not. Take pictures."
It's ok, I say. It's ok.
Two non-competitive people who hardly use computers, love yoga, serving others, God, and Nature wish to share their yogic life journey and must now somehow compete through social media which is image driven. I don't even own a camera.
Overwhelmed. Ha ha. On the computer. Making websites.
Resisting. Let's go grassroots, I say, travel to people, places.
Just try. We will get a social media guru.
What if this doesn't work?
It will, have faith.
Besides, no matter what, there will still be yoga.
We will still be living true to ourselves.
We will still be friends. It's been almost 20 years.
Take pictures, Zonia.
I look at yoga photos. Handstands. Sculpted. Abundant. Young. I clap and smile. Gorgeous. Gold's Gym. Social media geniuses. They help each other take photos. It's easy for them. They love it. I love them. I see it shouldn't be hard and that it can actually be fun. I join my heart to their smiles. Resistance softening. Open to someone who can capture my internal experience of yoga.
Zonia, take pictures.
Two white butterflies swirl in front of a lava rock wall with a vine climbing. Three pelicans circle the sky. Waves crash. Birds sing. My room is quiet. One table. One yoga mat. A bed.
I just finished teaching a class with 20 students.
There are no pictures.
And...no one is here to capture me writing with a pen in my journal, praying, practicing, but it's happening.
It's all happening now.....and now....and again now.
Zonia? Blog, please.
Yes, my Love.
Is anyone reading, feeling, understanding my heart, my prayer for us all?
Cannot give up living, experiencing for an image unless it happens naturally, authentically. And no image can substitute for the experience of being where you are when you are there with the people you are near.
I look at posed pictures and laugh when I see my face. Ha ha. A deer in the headlights. I am way more lighthearted than this. I am my mother dancing to music in the kitchen. I remember my mom. She is beautiful....and strong. A cancer survivor. Hair grey. In tennis. Now an artist. Covered in paint. No make-up.
How does it feel to give up beauty?
We laugh until we cry because even I am surprised I have asked her this question.
Finally she says, "It's nice, Mija. It's so nice."
"If destiny comes to help you,
Love will come to meet you.
A life without love isn't a life" ~Rumi
This is a new day and new story. It is our love story and it is the greatest story ever told.
It is the story about how we find our place in the world both self-assured and softened in our compassionate soul. It is the story about how we learn how to live for those who die, laugh for those who cry and remember our value is in our experiences not our things.
We are all writing this story together as we form a collective community that supports each other's expression of life, desire to enjoy the life we have been given and encourage others to let go of whatever seeds prevent our flowering into beautiful, adorable, lovable beings firmly rooted in our True Nature and guided by spirit.
It is the story of our destiny to embody all the things we love about life and living. It is the story about how we finally are able to look to the past and allow regret to be a teacher that changes us permanently so that we give our lives over to Love.
In this story we let go of fear, we stop worrying about mistakes and allow our basic instinct to merge with our intuition so that spirit can do its deep private silent work. Led by peace Love will show itself to be in and around us everywhere.
The way to go is obvious. It's not a big secret. It is just the truest you have ever been.
What does it feel like to be in love with someone, ourselves, beyond doubt and unknowns....remembering our sweet hearts, our value, our worth? Authentic. Loved. Independent. Committed. Open to the future. Accepting uncertainty and going with the flow of emotion that animates our very existence.
Free of dogmas, restraints and teachings, we are liberated by the experience of Love in our private hearts and lives so that we are no longer costumed or performing, but our true selves.
Forgive everything. We can never right all the things that have happened in some other place or time. We are still despite circumstances destined to be and to express, to explore and to understand Love.
Eye to eye we breathe love into the world. And how long will it last? Forever...like all true love does, in memory, in story, in the stars.
Create a future by starting today. It's the only day that really matters. Live your dream life, rejoice when you are in it, adjust when it shifts. All the while, through ebb and flow, hold onto love and the ones you love. Create sanctuary where you can both relax, "unburden and be kind."
On this new day, fill yourself with these sentiments:
I am willing to fall madly deeply in love with no expectations and fully connected to dreams fulfilled in gratitude. I am willing to know, acknowledge, accept, see, feel, speak as one in love. I am open to hear, feel, be told, shown, and to believe, I am loved. I let go of all other stories but this one. I have everything I have ever wanted unfolding in life. Everyday I look to see how the Creator is blessing me. As it unfolds I feel more and more love. I trust amazing things happen when I focus on my world and do what I want to in a carefree kind spirit.
Bliss will find you softer than joy, quieter than celebration, its subtlety like eyelid kisses and a soft humming subconscious melody of your heart song singing.
This is the love story I am writing. It is not just about God, Nature or partnership. It's about you loving what you love, who you are and when you love, doing so whole heartedly, trusting that which is pulling you forward towards the love destiny unfolding.
This is the greatest love story ever written..it is yours, it is mine, it is all of ours.
I can hear the fan overhead spinning with the sound of cars in the distance almost fading into the current of the rivers. It is a beautiful night with palm branches swaying and I am tucked away in a small bamboo bungalow. Trying not to contemplate the meaning of things in philosophical terms...a knowing passes through me to write:
We can never be truly
prepared for anything
When its time we can only
what experience has taught us and
pray for the spirit to know
what to do to
one day at a time--sometimes
one breath and
when we are able to
open again after loss or change
live and find reasons to
the little things
that like the thunderbird
rise softly like smoke from the ashes.
In the deep caverns of the pelvis lives our darkest deepest most powerful root of human tendency and need.
Mula Bhanda, the energy lock of the reproductive organs, sphincter muscles, kegels, abdominal and bowel all pulling into body awareness at the physical level of strength, will, determination, and commitment to never yield.
The warrior Bhanda that deepens our connection with our own personal bodies, blood, bones, muscles, ligaments.
In it is the struggle to survive, the willingness to dig deep and experience the space in between effort where stillness and silence live.
Slow. Steady. Moment by moment. Like the heartbeat of our mother. Electromagnetic pulse, thump thumping with the rhythm of cycles, seasons, time.
Foundational. The place where we store all our stories of shame, suffering, anger, rage. The place where we have stored memories of life's imperfections, imbalances, and traumas.
The place where we rise up and despite circumstances, despite externals, we find the internal resources to commit to the process of living and create a different story.
Perseverance. Training. Change.
A profound legacy of pioneers for the future charging forward in the face of adversity to stand firm in humanity and for humanity that despite all the trials and tribulations, despite moments in life that are suffering the human will to survive is a miracle.
If that miracle can exist so can others.
To dive deep and then surface again, break out and break through running awareness in the rivers of volcanos and eruptions that tunnels through our veins.
Private sacred moments of internal change and catalysts that you keep for yourself to grow and understand how precious the simple things that capture the essence of time passing intimacy in life's slow treasures really are invaluable and cannot be bought only experience with time you set aside to slow down to the pace of nature.
Trees that sprout from seed to give shade over the course of a person's lifetime.
The sunset travelling over the mountain range with the passing of the year.
The moon waxing crescent to full and waning to new.
Flowers in seasonal cycles, budding, blooming and petals falling to ground.
Children, once held, now birthing.
Memories of friends over time that build community.
Simple meals bursting color and spice.
A cup of steaming tea.
And yoga...the dance of prayer slowly unfolding breaths most intimate movement vertebrae by vertebrae to the base of spine and pelvis where you sit in your center, greying, wrinkling, but surrendering to time but holding to happiness of youthful heart unbridled freedom in flight no matter the gravity that holds us all on this planet rotating sun in solar system of small galaxy in Universe.
We are but a speck...but a speck of sparkling dust that laughs and smiles, embraces and experiences. Your personal life matters and so does the choice to live, to mature, to be at ease in the process of natural evolution.
Day by day.
Day by day.
Day by day.
Until the day when the temporary physical gives way to dust and dust floats on the wind.
"Deeper than thinking, deeper than feeling, alive with the breath...There is a place in your body which gives birth to stars which is the end of all longing,...the pivot around which all your worlds are turning. There is a place in your body where you are born, where you belong, where you are welcomed with all-encompassing love."
Find yourselves fully in sanctuary in the sacred space of infinite love. Your body is that refuge. Your place of worship. Your breath is your temple. Your focus is your prayer. What you see and experience is your pilgrimage to God.
Slow. Unfolding like the petals of a rose--the hovering moment when hummingbird sucks the sweet nectar from fragrant blossoms. A drop of water in perfect reflection before it falls from limb--glistening--sparkling--life infused with beauty, tenderness, love--
Swirling in the belly like warm honey fresh from honeycombs. Perfect hexagon, bees moving in perfect order and relation to the Queen--birthing mother love for all her viscosity she nourishes and is nourished. Reciprocal relations. All bees move to her rhythm and cycles, wordlessly. Perfect harmonious dance of community in service to the Queen who gave them life to enjoy
To lick the honey from fingertips that touch warm light emanating like the sun being drunken in by leaves that give fruit to the mouth that tastes strawberry, chocolate, orange ripe juices
Energy running down legs like warm Amrita golden showers, blessings of the Goddess to stand on ground hips swaying like oceanic waves tides crescendoing waters crash and spill overtaking lovers in ecstatic embrace one being united and perfectly created to be in full contact
Sensuous beings of memory imprintation--necks--tongues--back of knees--little pinky fingers--collarbones---valleys and crevices that move and undulate like land plates that move and shift creating heat and friction
Lips kiss and soul rises to breath as snakes move and dance together in full eye to eye we see the deepest emotions of need, craving, jealousy, rage, woundedness, vulnerability as we give ourselves over, abandon and forget consequences, to transform and fully surrender to your human nature that brings this ecstasy, bliss, laughter, tears in full range of life's experience. Let go once again. Let go and flood the world with release and forgiveness for it all comes and we are one.
Brother, sister, family. And do we relate on only one level of understanding or do we know that when our sisters hurt our hearts are not healed? And when my brother cries I feel his heart clench inside of min? And can we learn to hold things together, rather than break ourselves apart.
We give ourselves over to birth and rebirth according to the cycle of life and then do we finally learn wisdom that pleasure domes of paradise are transitory, beauty and youth is temporary. That we can rise higher and higher riding the waves of eternity by diving deep into the infinite unfolding bosom of love to take each other in, breath by breath, sip by sip, delving and churning deeper, a devotion, a prayer to the divine Beloved to hold when body has fled and spirit flys free we are still one in this breathing Universal Being.
One form. Then another. Tree spirit. Earth. Oxygen, fire, fled and lingering scents of sage, lily, sandalwood, cedar, copal do lift up in the whisper of smoke to find us again...breathing this breath into hearts.
To love unconditionally the metaphor of union and separation still forever connected in the stream of time by the spaces between you and I is a living God that is both in us and around us. Forever immersed in heavenly embrace down to our cellular structure where light pulses orgasmically to keep us alive reproducing in our marrow the blood of life runs through our veins being pumped by our hearts electromagnetic pulses that unite body-mind-spirit into one miraculous organism breathing muscles into action from spinal column and nervous system connected to brain impulses of which we are one.
In the Great Cosmic mind a Great mystery of creation to wander to explore-delicate leaves, thorns, petal, fragrance variation together as one being so many layers to living and knowing is examination at the subtlest layers to know a thing-a person-a place requires relationship filled with presence in all senses of the world, holy heart, wholehearted. Direct contact.
Learning breath variations, curvature of spine and neck--tone of laughter--to see bark of tree and hear song of bird tune into the feeling of life breathing life. Eternally connected we reach our spirit out across the Universe within us when we remember God in the little things, the details of life is in the senses but the source of life is in the love that carries us.
While we are in the womb consciousness broke through the container to arrive and conceive a miracle, multiplying cells that become organs that sustain life from the breath that we breathe that oxygenates the blood that circulates and cycles through us like seasons of harvest and the food we ingest is one of many from the fruit that ripens on the tree that roots down into the Mother, flutters leaves in the wind and stretches for the Sky.
Our being of divine energy that rises and falls giving life to the seed that nestles in the soil drinking in waters of life through which we entered the world from between the legs of the woman who father ravished from deep within and she willing vessel for conception.
Rising to the surface of consciousness that life begins anew everyday to grow--to become--to open--to receive and then to give, the essence of existence--in tune with cycles of moon, sun, stars, seasons.
Growing towards our evolved state of being and delving deeper into where we come from. Immersed in the seed potential. The fruit of struggle, strength, will to survive we eat to thrive in bliss and to do so daily in gratitude for our forefather in perfecting the way we have been wonderfully made to be receptacles of so much love, we give over our pleasure in ecstasy to make love to each other and bring Earth Mother Womb together with Sky Consciousness Conception of life.
Sublime living prayers to the God who made us to move, to enjoy and to take in life. To be life, in motion. To the Goddess who carried us, kissed, held and gave her body for our outward manifestation of who these two are together in one you.
Male and Female intertwined to make us perfectly this way. Both Mother and Father...we are child of Earth and Universe. Both responsible to our human family not over-correct and not learn from Godless loveless hedonistic behaviors but liberated in spirit and made to free ourselves of dogmas, fear and sin.
Created and creating a new world in balance with ourselves on the inside becoming higher versions of our genetic dispositions best qualities and let all else fall away. Until the essence is now visible for all to see what you are made of, how you feel, and believe.
What is possible for you and I? On this blue marble earth floating in the ether of space on an infinite wave of creation and wonder.
Move. Breathe. Pray the water in and around you to life. Honor the Earth. You are fire bursting flame in the cauldron of light energy, the wood of our family tree and winged with the spirit of the angels dancing starlight.
Nourish the seed in you as only you know how, keep it sacred this gift of spirit to your soul feed and nourish it with love. It is your sanctuary. It is your God. The spaces between where you are watching, listening and experiencing...is where you exist...fill your existence with your eternity.
"You are never far from the Light. It is as close as your breath."
Inhale. Pulling the diaphragm in towards the spine. Exhale. Dropping your awareness down into your body's mind. Falsely inhale, no air in your nostrils, and pull the diaphragm up connecting the seat of your power with the force of love through the gate of Uddiyana Bhanda, so that the power you harness is the only one that can never be misused. More love is merely more love.
In connecting to this love in our hearts, we find our true identity. The Bhagavad Gita reads, "People are the sum total of the beliefs they hold in their hearts...and there are many faiths....One's faith corresponds to one's nature, and one's nature is equivalent to one's faith" (17.2-3)
In finding the truth of who you are in your heart, your purest child heart filled with joy and wonder, you will also come to love, unconditionally accept and encourage yourself to express as an act of faith. Know that it is your spiritual responsibility to authenticate, to come in contact with your truest Soul Nature, beyond sex, beyond station, beyond role. The moment you seek to make contact, your soul rises to meet you.
Breath by breath.
Delving deeper and deeper to each particle and part through the gates of your being. Accessing the pathways to another self, another body, delving so entirely into that body that you dissolve and return to the Source. Through our very breath, harnessing our connection to the Great Spirit.
As we reconnect, we bring all our parts and particles together and experience wholeness.
The Hawaiians teach that there is a place in the center of our being through which mana, the animating force for all things in the Universe, enters into this world from our highest self, it is seeking our aliveness, awareness and responding. In our truest moments of life, we have all felt these complexities drop into simplicity and known presence for the way energy is both receeding and entering all at once.
This energy teaches that in order to heal the collective, we must first heal ourselves.
It is our divine responsibility to
1. Remember our True Selves and our connection to the Divine.
2. Develop ourselves to meet the potential of our True Selves in this body.
3. Un-do and re-do our lives and past by applying lessons we have learned in experiences that have unfolded for our growth.
4. Start again and leave behind any story that is not a reflection of our ultimate power of love serving in our truest capacity as self within the love we have for others.
How to begin? Simply, we begin here. In this body that we are, in these physical beings let us begin to remember why we are here and what we were meant to do, so that we can, at last, get it done.
This is our defining moment, let go into possibility allowing the infinite to infuse meaning into the temporary. Obeying our natural instincts, finding the truth of our life and standing for it. Keeping our agreements to end cyclic loops for new story lines, to shine in the world, unlimited, fully supported, safe to embody, and breathing with the light.
And in every instant of breath, planting seeds of courage, hope, laughter. Planting the seed that God is real and directs our lives, that even when it is hard, we are loved and we will pray to stay together as one race of human kind, to forgive the things we have done to one another, to let go into the experience of being healed in our hearts and supporting healing actions. Healing our relations past, present, and future. Healing our desires by balancing them with devotion.
To remember as Leo Buscaglia writes that "what is essential is not only to take from life, but it is essential that you put something back into it."
What we put back into it is a accumulation of a life story, a life story that is your soul's prayer bundle and gift back to the Creator at death--that beyond religion, upbringing, age, gender, experience we can cling to the true essence in all nature, that there is an omnipotent power who lifts us up, seeks us out in private moments and secret prayers, to give us value beyond partnerships, friends, and external affirmation.
Truth authentically expressed in untold moment of union when our personal power yokes with the power of the Universal Love flowing through prayer channels via our breath that leads us to surrender our will in order to experience the freedom of spirit, exploring our human potential to realize our awesome capactiy to be an instrument of God, not merely observing where we all are in our spiritual growth as we evolve towards a peaceful existence together but participating in a state of wonder and mutual appreciation for each person's unique gift.
It is a gift of untold value, this spark of consciousness that is gifted to each one of us in order to elevate our understanding and move us to choose a higher order of thinking. Spirit driven choices for a blessed time, a very special destiny, that of us all passing through our evolution together as agents of change, in full power and experiencing the light that exists within us all.
Whatever life you choose, let it support what the Great Spririt has breathed into you--caused you to become and may the partners, friends, family that surround you hold a mirror up for the beauty you are. This embodiment is free of competition and ego, it is easy and it is yours right now in this moment. You are perfectly you. May we then, spend our time praising not only each other, but the Creator who so perfectly made us, who "loves the handful of the earth you are." (Neruda)
Moved to call. Called to answer.
1 am...the phone rings...Random, "accidental" call that lifts me from deep sleep into the present where I see a holographic image of Yogananda floating in the air. I swim through it to the phone, see who it is and wonder what it could be. In this sleepy head moment I wonder if I should answer it because Yogananda is there floating in my mind's eye. The image dissipates and I return to my bed. No sooner does my head hit the pillow than another call comes in...1:02 am...another call from someone who hasn't called in a long time sitting under the stars in Tahoe contemplating life paths and yoga teacher training courses. We get off the phone.
I return to my bedside to kneel on my mat. Obviously I am supposed to be awake.
I hear the words "Eternal Truth," just as an image of a golden embryo with a golden cord floating in pink embryonic fluid appears to me. I fall into it and the feeling of absolute nurturing, safety, release, weightlessness. In this realm there is no thought, just an all pervasive equanimity and bliss beyond peace.
I see the sternum bone, one of the first to form in utero, containing stem cells as marrow for every part of the body. They are the original 8 cells of mitosis and conception. Our blueprint, first cells to divide, containing all information for all major organs and, therefore, all energy centers. Able to communicate with all levels of our being from the Divine Crown to the Primal Pelvis through the language of love.
I continue to experience utero as unconditional love, screened off in the belly and fully fed. Embryonic. Fluid.
Then birth, the first breath, the leap of heart and consciousness as I enter the world of light and noise. I take in my breath of life and cry. There is both personal loss and shared joy. I experience love from being held, touched, and kissed.
I feel the duality of these two arise in me as I feel in this experience the spiritual symbology of our eternal desire for connection, oneness and the return to our eternal origins. This is the journey we will inevitably attain after passing through life lessons and practices to reunite us with the Source of life and Spirit.
The first birth, eclipsed only by awakening and re-birthing after years of grasping, a constant quiet primal yelp until we are finally satiated and return to our natural inheritance of spiritual love and nurturing. This is our Soul Purpose to breathe prayer and take in Source unity as the Great Spirit, the Holy Spirit, moving us, breathing consciousness, birthing our divine state of love in all circumstances forgiven, blessed and utterly in love with the Divine in all things.
My eyes open at daybreak. I reach for Yogananda's "Eternal Quest." He teaches me about the medulla oblongata, the gate of God. He describes it as the gate through which God enters our bodies. I open my anatomy books and discover it sits upon the spinal cord and is the continuation of the spinal cord into the skull and contains the nerves for our lungs and heart.
The Magical Portal...the one that activates and communicates to the rest of our body that it is time for our hearts to beat and our lungs to breathe, in essence for us to live. "God living in us."
I arrive at chapter 2 line 50 of the Bhagavad Gita, it discusses "uniting your heart with God." It talks about us all being endowed with spiritual intelligence. That intelligence is given us to guide us on our journey, of moving from human duality in this life through diligence and submitting our individual consciousness with Ultimate Consciousness in everything we do.
This is the elevated consciousness that ends our karmic, samsaric cycle of give and take, yin and yang, male and female, full and empty. The moving from human love's dual nature towards the transcending soul satisfied God connected state of evenness or union or yoga with the Divine. A heart, as the Gita reads in verse 48, that is "fixed on the Divine," immoveable, in the still center, at the seat of the soul, seeing every act as a devotion, unattached to the outcomes. Serving for love's sake and that is all. Content because you are moved and, that in and of itself, is evidence of Divine Presence in your life.
It brings me back to the sternum at chest center housing both the lungs and our physical heart. I see a complete whole being in total harmony stands at the center, the thymus tucked behind, governed by Libra and the scales, balance and harmonious relationships.
It brings to my mind the etheric heart where our secret intentions are read, da'at hiding within the tree of life, connected to Chakmah and Binah (knowledge and wisdom) with a pure energy channel to Keter (crown), our soul heart blessed, pure, filled with our meditations and the channel for our prayers.
So then the ultimate act of love is that we are living souls. The ultimate act of love on our part is to beautify this soul that we are and in which we are housed. To become victorious through experiencing the great thrill of living by never forgetting, though we be free to love and do as we wish, the soul that is our breath, heart, consciousness is not ours, but borrowed.
Our ultimate destiny it is to unite with the Divine light, enlightened, as love. A gift back to the Creator, a heart that shines as brilliantly as gold.
Of this moment of unification, Rumi says:
"If destiny comes to help you,
Love will come to meet you.
A life without love isn't a life..."
Of the infusion of meaning in life through Divine Love that takes one beyond suffocating bitterness into the wonder of everlasting joy, Rumi says "A rain of gold will pour from heaven" and, to the humble hearted and those who have transformed themselves like the "rose into rosewater," and we will all be humbled and transform, Divine Love is your eternal destiny and the ultimate Truth.
The visshuda located at the center of the throat is tied into the zeal point which is located at the base of the skull in the occipital ridge and triangulates with the pineal gland to form a center of transimitting dreams into the human realm via our life experiences.
This chakra is also tied into the collar bones and the thymus, which is the gland activated during tapping sessions and, therefore, contains the ability to reset and reprogram a person's concept of truth.
By activating this entire region then, truth as it is represented by the throat, is truly beyond our personal concepts and tied into the dream which can in its purest form reset our life experiences so that they are a part of our original makeup and soul destiny.
It is the truth that, much like the imaginal cells of a caterpillar will inevitably transform it into a butterfly, we will evolve into our highest state of being.
In tipi ceremony, one of the most profound exiting statements spoken by our elder, Larry Ruiz, is that you are as perfect today as the day you were born. This is also the perfection of the Buddha.
From this statement is the understanding that many of our concepts of truth arise from experience, good or bad, that has occurred to us since that day of birth. How we identify with these experiences, the roles we take in regard to their manifestation, and our attitude can determine what the truth is we live.
Our ability to be healthy and happy, often times depends on our ability to take these seeds of "truth" implanted in our mind's eye, and allow them to be reset and reprogrammed according to the eternal truth. Anything that is implanted in us that is prohibiting us from soul growth, holding us back from experiencing God in all situations, keeping us in patterns of victimization and dis-ease, can be, in essence, according to the Native American ways, left at the door, thrown into the fire, and upon exiting in the morning we can be reborn.
I believe this cycle of rebirthing, of awakening, of surrendering, or reevaluating, is a process that takes place daily and in our dreams. Everyday can be new. Every you can be different. The day determines the way for us to be.
I remember times in Maui, sitting on a curb with my backpack, last $5 spent, not knowing what to do, feeling abandoned in the world, unsure of my faith, when always, a spiritual leader from Africa only known as Baba, would appear. Inevitably he would enter the scene with his beautiful smile and ageless appearance and in his jovial happy voice would declare, "Ah, I see the Creator God has you in school. We are so blessed to learn so much, so often, how much he truly cares about us."
To his declaration, his smile, his attitude of gratitude I could only smile and greet him. And in that moment I often saw him as a reminder from God himself that no matter what the circumstances appear to our human limited mind, we are never abanadoned and would inevitably wake me up so that I could perceive the coming miracle, housesitting, jobs, worktrades, they were always there when I needed them.
I came to understand that doubt made me blind and that often the sources of our greatest suffering comes from our perception and that at that moment when our faith is most greatly needed, we look down at our feet and not up at the sky to see what the Creator will rain down upon us when we have been fully emptied.
It has been my greatest joy to be in a constant state of re-definition and re-experiencing concepts and ideas that were once foreign to me, then known and beloved, and, again, find a place in the middle where I am not attached either way but able to appreciate the truth of all sides of circumstances understanding whatever truth people are sharing there is often an experience that goes with it.
In this regard, I have come to see the fluidity of personal truth as a story unfolding in time leading us to an eternal truth of which we have been a part since the beginning of time. That is the word of the throat issued from our mouth out into the air as the state of our heart condition in regard to the lives we live daily.
In order for us all to return to the eternal dream for life in this Universe, we must then, grow beyond our concepts and experience all sides of a belief system. This is the beginning of wisdom. This is the beginning of compassion. That we have all been or done a thing at one time or another. That whether it took place in one lifetime, or many, we have all lived the sufferings of humanity in all forms and in all customs and creeds. That in this time of dreaming, when our crowning movement of grace arrives, we must then learn how to surrender our concepts of what is real.
What is real differs from one religion, country or perhaps sex to another...this then is a reflection of a more confined and personal fluid truth that changes according to the openness of our mind and the agreements of groups of people.
From this stand point then, real is an illusion co-created by large groups of people who hear within the dogmas and spirituality a truth.
At one point in the tipis I had a vision wherein all the religions of the world overlayed upon each other much like the gear and mechanisms of a watch. At the very still center, unmoving was the fire. The fire being a metaphor for our soul connection to the divine source of life and transformation.
One of the main tenets of the tipi is, never let anyone get between you and the fire which you speak to with the medicine of your heart. The medicine of your heart is your life experience. Your life experience is a gift from God to teach you the lessons you must learn or unlearn by feeling the effects of words or creeds in their manifestation of love or not.
This then is the greatest truth: Love.
Whatever then increases love in the world, let us sing its praises with our voice like birdsong. Singing it to life, making it stronger so that those looking down at their feet can lift their head again to see the beauty that exists all around us.
Whatever creates separation and increases hate, let us leave off these phrases for the fire and come back to the love in our hearts that is forgiveness for the many wrongs that have been suffered during the learning and purifying of humanity.
To be sure at the heart of all beings is the desire to be perfected and to feel, understand and be supported in their version of life, of God, of love, of True Nature and that the finding of it is the liberation that is assured by the master who walked the sea of Galilee, "The truth shall set you free."
Free to love yourself, to love your families, to love this life, to love the future and to see it in its most perfected state and you as being reborn in every instant you learn to re-see, re-experience, re-express this gift that is your life.
Wisdom and true understanding come from experiential knowledge. While reading the words of the masters is absolutely necessary it is but one part of the yoga practice that guides us to ourselves to gain this knowing. For all that we need, all the answers to the questions we are asking, can really only be answered by looking within.
When we come into contact with our True Selves, we begin to understand, realize that everything in the external world is truly a reflection of our internal state of being. We have created either, consciously or unconsciously, absolutely every circumstance in our lives. This may be very difficult to accept, when we see that the external world is full of chaos and injustice.
The easiest way to verify that the external world is a reflection of our internal experience is by becoming aware of what is happening within ourselves.
The practices of yoga are a systematic science that enables us to remove the blockages and obstacles that prevent us from seeing who we are and how that person is affecting the outcome of our very lives.
Spiritual practices of contemplation, meditation, prayer, and selfless service are all intended to bring greater awareness to ourselves about our relationship with the people in the world around us. This path takes courage, honestly, and perseverance to be able to confront the aspects of ourselves which could be considered darkness, shadow or negative.
It is through these practices that we begin to understand that these shadows are what helps us to appreciate the light and have deeper compassion for the experience of being human.
Where does this motivation to embark on this challenging path come from?
It is an inner calling to know the truth, to be set free from suffering, and to help others to be free themselves from their suffering. Everyone is on their own unique individual path evolving at their own pace. At some point in the process of our evolution, we begin to yearn for an alternative to the modes of living that create the suffering.
Eventually we have had enough. Eventually we are willing to commit to the process. Eventually we are able to let go. Eventually we must trust a new process, a new method, a new life.
For many people the path to awakening becomes a neccessity, once they have hit rock bottom. This is the grace of the Divine. For living a life of comfort and luxury, can be a cage that prevents us from seeking greater meaning for our lives. A cage with golden bars, is still a cage. A person trapped in a golden cage is susceptible to complacency, an acceptance of status quo.
Complacency is an obstacle on the path to evolution. So, in the ultimate perfection of this universe, each person comes to their own turning point at just the right time, through the right means. We can neither push them onto a path or pull them onto ours.
When that desire for liberation is awakened within ourselves, we can never go back to the lives we were living before. Those who hear this calling can not deny its existence or the urge to seek, to experience love of the Divine.
Yoga is the science of answering this call for Union. This path of yoga is in no way adding to ourselves, it is only removing the misunderstandings, barriers, incorrect identifications and helping us return to what we already are. This is a process of letting go of erroneous belief systems that are instilled in us by the ego driven institutions around us that are only a reflection of our own levels of consciousness.
If we want to change things outside of us, we must be willing to change within. The science of yoga has lasted thousands of years because it is a step by step guide to the Truth. In the West we have become attached to the physical aspects of yoga because our level of consciousness is at the material level.
However, a shift has already begun because as physical aspects of yoga grow in popularity in the West, the door to the deeper aspects of the science is opening for more and more people. It is important to remember that the ego is very cunning and will employ any tactic to maintain its predominance in our psyche, in our consciousness.
Looking at ourselves through this mirror of yoga we begin to ask ourselves:
Why am I here? Why am I doing this? Is it serving a higher purpose? Am I serving a higher purpose? Is this life serving a higher purpose?
Yoga is not a quick fix, take a pill remedy and everything will be okay. The yoga journey requires strength, courage, devotion and the ability to be honest with ourselves. So let us offer our practices to something greater than ourselves. For when we affect change in ourselves, it has an impact on the mass consciousness of which we are all a part.
Begin by looking at your own thoughts. Realize you are not your thoughts or your mind. You are the awareness that is experiencing and then choose the experience you wish to have. Experience the changes. Experience the shifts. Experience the fluctuations. Experience the wisdom that comes form within.
Abhyasa: Personal Practice.
"Personal": individual, private, particular
"Practice": do again and again, regular, constant
Ultimately what comprises your personal practice is a private connection to a particular thing you will commune with constantly. Your private way to pray God into your life, or as Rumi says, "Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
"Sa tu dirghakala nairantaryasa tkaraseulto drdhabhumih" (1.14 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
"It becomes grounded by being continued for a long time."
How does one become grounded in a practice? Four Chapters on Freedom: Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satyananada Saraswati (Bihar Yoga) comments on this sutra discussing the methodology of practice:
1. Deep patience.
2. Continued practice without interruption.
3. Continued practice with faith.
4. Love your practices. Love your body.
5. Practice willingly, with respect and devotion.
6. CONTINUE DOING THESE AGAINST ALL ODDS.
Whatever your practices, I recommend exploration, not only of the things that come easy and are pleasant but giving yourself the opportunity to grow by doing a few things you don't like and breaking through the resistance. (Years ago I suffered from fear of heights. One of my students observed that I had mentioned several fears and, upon his reflection to me, deciding I did not want to be a fearful person, I began a practice of doing things that were extremely uncomfortable. Rock climbing. Ropes course. Climbing trees. Ziplining. Trapeze. One day, I stood at the top of a wall. I was just hanging out talking to others and suddenly it dawned on me, "Hey! I'm not scared!" It took years, a couple times I almost puked, but the exhilaration of persisting, of continuing against the odds, was a practice worth sticking to.)
Do many practices you love. Get to know it intimately. Set goals. Meet them. Exceed them. Extend time. Deepen your relationship. This is your sanctuary and you are using your body as a vehicle to expand, perceive and embody spirituality as you understand it to be.
Chapter 1: Sutra 15
The pracitces we choose are not about the outer life--but the inner life--all practice starts from within--what relaly matters is your attitude. The integrated approach increases feelings of love and compassion without attachment to the efforts of action. In other words, practice from a good place of love and compassion, then act authentically with a peaceful mind experiencing undisturbed happiness. Release ideas of reward. Get lost in the moment. Enjoy the silence of samadhi in your perfect moments of bliss.