Breaking Through the Self

I celebrate Earth Day coming from the inside out.  Like the hatchling, I break out first.  You may see it as a crack or a hole.

My specialized egg tooth is meditation; well equipped on the inside. Breathing the air deeply I ready myself to break free; the air that is within the egg.  Like the egg tooth itself, all dissolves.

Then I have to peck to break out. This takes consistent effort. Rajas – passion, energy and motion. Not just when my butt is on the cushion or the mat is rolled out; daily with self-love and discipline; striving toward my goal. The yolk that sustains me is tapas – the fire of desire.

Working in circles, using its wings for propulsion and feet to kick, the chick takes rest in between pipping. Permission to spend more time on the inside to strengthen when what is outside is hard. I cannot break out until I land.

Some chicks are preoccupied with the pecking itself…always trying to do, learn, expectations, accumulations, letting busy be a distraction.  Mistaking grace for boredom. Release and allow.

My tendency is to let the shell become armor for the Self. I will not let it harden ever again. Rest and peck the way nature intended. Too much substance breeds self-doubt. Tamas – complete darkness holding and limiting me.  Engage in outer activity. Break that shell.

Be open to the forces coming from the outside. Who breaks into me? Teachers? Loved ones? Difficult neighbors? View them all with a non-rejecting mind. They are here to help me find freedom. Agitations and affirmations coax me out equally. They peck in as I peck out.

My pecking out.  Their pecking in. They lead to the same place – life history, experiences, stories, all that is in my shell. In me, but not me.  I will break out.

Mother Earth supports transformation in spring. This chick will decide for herself when she is ready. My only goal is to break out. The final push, with no urgency to fly.

Love and Light,
Megan

Insider Journey -New Years Resolution

A day of resolution starts with purification. Awareness to connect to what is healthy and disconnect from what is not. How much of the path is already laid out and what can be manipulated with the mind? Desire leads to that which is changeable. Recognize unnecessary suffering. Draw old patterns out into the air and ignite them with intention. Empowerment to become.

Perception dims to where I see my reflection in others; Not in achievement but the struggles. Fear in Muladhara. Attachment in Svadisthana. Ego in Manipura. Separation and this season build upon the old framework. The false identities of Prakriti; that which is seen – constantly changing. Deep trenches of samskara trip me again.

This morning is a return to the dark where I barely sense that the pilot light is still on. Then it is about the willingness to commit. Again and again. Influence the direction of change starting with Self. There is no prescriptive pill to swallow with water. No bill. It requires determination in personal practice.

Internalize the vibration first in meditation. Heart passionately dances with each level of its being in Purusha; the seer – consciousness unchanging. Ask for an all access pass to the immovable reality; the source of all Light. This is the safe space where the energy used to resolve imbalance can now build the positive force within.

If the soul knows its purpose, who are the people planted that help to bring me to my higher self? My first partnership is with you. I want more of what you have, but this takes full surrender. Be still in seclusion with the resonance of love. The F word is faith.

Today, the journey backtracks to thoughts that form written words. Tomorrow it is a relationship with expansion.

“Love opens up the day, guides us on our way, illuminates the path we are to walk…” – Jai-Jagadeesh

Namaste New Year 2016,

Megan

Application To Be A Yogi

Dear Student,

Thank You for applying for the position of yogi/yogini.  This position is not to be underestimated or taken lightly, but a sense of humor is encouraged.  During your initial yoga internship, you may commit to only one or two class per week. Before you can make a decision to accept a full-time position, you have to show up for yourself.  Eventually, becoming a yogi will require more time in the form of every day mindfulness with family, friends and total strangers.  You may be training for this position while doing things that bring you joy as well as with people who deplete you.

Perhaps you think you are applying for a seasonal position and a 3-6 month commitment is sufficient.  This is accurate if you plan to return to your current position.  However, you cannot place a time restriction on transformation.

Please detach yourself from any outcome. Things happen that we cannot plan for. Do not quit.  Always code your program with the belief that you are capable and deserving.

You are encouraged take your work home with you; a home practice is highly recommended and could include a few postures, meditation, or taking time throughout the day to observe your breath. This will promote self-study, increase productivity and promote happiness. You might even sleep better and like yourself more.

You will need to gain strength, flexibility and balance. These are mental traits. At times, you will be asked to slow down and under-do. You will also be taken outside your comfort zone, dig deep within yourself and stay present for whatever arises.  This is a prescription to reduce your own suffering, be more compassionate toward others, and uplift you from a state of ordinariness.

This position requires you to accept that you are a multi-dimensional being. Yoga is meant to release karmic bonds of human suffering using the Panchamaya Kosha model; there is a unique physical body (Anamaya Kosha), a breath body (Pranamaya Kosha), a mind/senses/emotions layer (Manomaya Kosha), a deeper intellect representing the relationship between self and the universe (Vijnanamaya Kosha) and the even deeper layer of pure, unbound bliss (Anandamaya Kosha). We can get stuck in any of these layers. What on the surface appear to be physical postures will bring about changes to your whole being. Working with any one of the Koshas can ‘unstick’ all layers.

To say this position is in the field of health care is accurate, but understand that you are starting with all the healing tools you need already within you. And while long-term health is important, please find who you are in spiritual terms.

Don’t worry about a dress code.  You will be observing yourself from the inside.  What you may come to see is that you are a spiritual being dressed in a human form.  And the human form can be uncomfortable.  Over time, you will begin to see possibilities in yourself. You will want to change, or so it appears.  But what is really happening is not a change as much as it is a shedding of anything that didn’t fit you to begin with.

There may be tears.  Thank them for carrying the agitated energy out of the body. You are not the first one to wet an eye pillow in savasana.

And know that if you chose not to show up for class, your teacher and co-worker yogi’s miss you and may even worry about you. By coming to class, we extend our own life energy to others.

This position is permanent and you are everyone. The main qualifications are self-love and discipline. Are you ready?

Light and Love,

Megan

Weeding The Inner Garden

Perhaps it was the soaked soil after several days of straight down rainfall that motivated me, but it was the first time in 2 summers that I got into the garden to weed. I used to do some pulling and transplanting in spring then leave things like watering and expansion to Mother Nature. The motto was “only the strong survive”.  In spite of all the years of thoughtful tending, and in a relatively short time, the 16-year-old garden has morphed into a forbidden jungle.  What were clearly marked flagstone pathways have perennials of all sorts growing in the cracks over the stones.  One particularly invasive ground cover strangled out some favorite flowers.  Certain plants that are tall and strong still manage to bloom, but it is officially the “in spite of me” garden.

Squatting in the soft rain with soaked gloves and mosquitos buzzing made me realize how much life is like a garden.  Low maintenance is preferred and something grows even in complete neglect. There are still good seeds in there somewhere, they just get overtaken when we stop working. But there is no such thing as no maintenance. When you can no longer see the path, it is hard to take the next step.

Sometimes we don’t see the work that someone else puts in.  My neighbor has what appears to be several acres of natural, unkept woods. Every spring, he spends hours in the thick of forest floor clearing out garlic mustard and buckthorn. Inner work is like weeding. You need to be alone in a sacred place similar to the garden or woods.  Being in that space encourages transition and growth; yet, you will feel uncomfortable and in the dark at times. And it will seem as if no one else appreciates the amount of effort you put forth.

It is said that yoga therapy is waste removal; substitute ‘weed’ for ‘waste’.  If you pull enough weeds, the light will touch the things that are already planted that you want to develop.  In removing the weeds, you are also clearing space for new seeds to plant themselves…even if it is in the cracks.

Words Within Our Body

soften, melt, surrender, whole(ness), gentle, release, breathe, invite, feel, let go, assimilate, nourish, observe, joyfully, love, offer, access, integrate, flow, allow, transition, impartially, sweeten, transcend, tenderly, ground, stimulate, centre, nurture, awareness, peace, miraculous, heartfelt, organic, smooth, soothe, advocate, please, relax, expand, passionate, presence, bliss, manifest, notice, receive, smile, remember, grace, lighten, subtle, uplift, brighten, precious, goodness, pause, witness, support, openness, sukha, loving kindness, acceptance, sensation, consciously, welcome, embrace, beauty, exploration, amazement

The above word list fell out of a book from a yoga therapy training from several years ago. Sometimes it takes things literally falling into my lap to know it was meant for me. This was a gentle reminder that in a state of healing, our words and thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) play an integral part in the outcome.  “Healing Words” as it was labeled, was compiled by the teachers in the training to help each other speak to our students in a way that would encourage them to have a nurturing relationship with their body. Regardless of the conditions, diagnoses, or experiences, self talk is the sounding board for our innate ability to heal.

In ancient philosophy of yoga, the yoga sutras offer a present day GPS to find physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Out of some 196 sutras, a mere three directly discuss the physical aspects of yoga (asana). And to the surprise of many practitioners, the suggestions could easily slide into the “Healing Words” list.

Sutra 2.46 sthira sukham asanam – postures should be steady and comfortable.

Sutra 2.47  prayatna saithilya ananta samapattibhyam – perfecting the posture means releasing tension or effort to remain in it and allow attention to merge with the infinite.

2.48 tatah dvandvah anabhighatah – then the perfected posture brings balance to complimentary opposites and freedom from suffering.

It was dark stories that ultimately brought us to the yoga therapy training. But at some point, and perhaps presently, our journeys were graced with the healing power of yoga firsthand – that of body, mind, emotion and spirit. Often confused with curing,  we came to understand that healing is an inside job. It requires effort, form and self-discipline. But never without “Healing Words”.

Peace and Light,

Megan