I had a fun time yesterday mountain biking with the Sunday Sinners! I feel so strong on my bike this summer. Honestly, I haven't felt this strong in a long time, my BF ( best friend ) Gary says 10 years and I think he's right. I feel more in my body and more like myself than I ever have. It's awesome! I have done some serious work on myself this past year. Diving in to look at some old patterns and deep wounding and really allowing myself to go there and do the work to heal. I have lightened my load emotionally and I really feel it in my physical body and in my attitude. My creative energy is amazing and I am loving life. This really isn't an ad for yoga but yoga is it for me. My practice, my teacher's and my studio are all an amazing gift in my life. Yoga really helps me to connect to myself and to what is real. I had the opportunity to sit by Rifle Gap and enjoy my meditation practice numerous times this past week. As I was driving home I noticed this rather amazing shift in my perspective, everything appeared to be more clear. The colors were brighter, the shapes more defined like my internal lens had been cleaned and I was now seeing through new clear lenses. This is the beauty of the practice. As I sit I watch my breath I hear my mantra in the back ground and I just watch and allow my thoughts to move through. It seems simple. It is. Not necessarily easy though and so an amazing tool for processing and digesting life. The results are clear seeing. Last month in our Women's Healing Circle Erin was sharing how what we say isn't necessarily true. What we say is a manifestation of our thoughts and emotions and generally we tend to believe that all of this is true. We tend to see through our own set of lenses that have been clouded over by our past experiences, beliefs, judgments etc. If all of this isn't true then what is? Exactly! What is is true. This moment is happening and it is beautiful. Even when it doesn't feel beautiful it is, even when it hurts, even when we hate it - beautiful. Ram Das, one of my favorite spiritual teachers, teaches us to love everything. When you have a dark thought, the kind that doesn't serve you in any way, love that thought. When you have pain, could be physical or emotional, love that pain. Love it all because as Rumi says in The Guest House - it has been sent from beyond.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I recently had the opportunity for a mini camping retreat with Beth (our VW van). A lovely friend shared a quiet spot by a little lake and gave me the opportunity to enjoy a little bit of sunshine, fresh air and friendship. We took some time to sit by the lake in the morning and practice our mindfulness/meditation practice amidst the birds and the breeze, it was quit wonderful really. I've noticed that this concept, mindfulness, is quite popular these days. I see magazine and newspaper articles, there are a ton of books on mindfulness, I personally like to use mindfulness as a tool when I am teaching a yoga class. To simplify it mindfulness is simply giving mindful attention to life. This practice of mindfulness or meditation is a part of my day that I really look forward to and cherish. However it didn't start this way. I remember the first time I attempted to meditate, my teacher back then (15 years ago) instructed me to start small. So, I set a timer for 3 minutes figuring this will be a piece of cake. It was the longest 3 minutes of my life and in that 3 minutes I learned that my mind never stopped thinking. It was like a crowded room of voices all trying to talk over each other. This experience inspired me to commit to a meditation practice.
When you begin a meditation practice it may seem like not much is happening at first. In fact it may feel the opposite. Besides the lists of things to do, the he said she said stories, negative thoughts or patterns show up like judgment, anger and fear. At first you may not even notice that something starts to happen. What does happen is that you begin making space to be with what is rather than with the past or future plans. As the great teacher Ram Das puts it, this allows us to see more of the mystery of life itself. This is a place where we can step into another dimension and remember who we really \ are. Beyond the small sense of self to the vastness of the greater Self is in deed liberating. In this we discover our true nature. We become the consciousness rather than our experiences and this gives us the opportunity to rest in the timeless. Instead of focusing on the changing conditions we turn our attention to the One who knows and we rest in awareness itself.
I am excited about where my meditation practice is taking me. There are times now when I am going about life that I find myself able to just watch my thoughts. It is truly a gift in these moments to not be so caught up in my thoughts. I can actually see that I am not them and I get a glimpse of something that actually feels like freedom. I find myself in this place of wonder, realizing that all of this time I have been believing what my thoughts were telling me and suddenly it's like someone turned on the light and I can see. So, loving my practice, a sense of presence, even touching on enlightenment and bliss at times there are still days when I have resistance. I wish it weren't so but I am human and I am required but inspired to tap into my resolve every day and sit.
A lovely poem by Rumi ~ You have been walking the ocean's edge, holding up your robes to keep them dry. You must dive deeper under, A thousand times deeper.
I have heard that there are approximately 3000 pages and 1000 studies out there on meditation, here are just a few of the facts: meditation creates more balance in your life and lessens stress, can help you to be more pliable and less reactive, more mental clarity, attention & focus, academic performance goes up, improved emotional regulation, stronger resiliency, more access to compassion, improved ability to resolve conflicts, improved immune function, Nero protection, more rapid healing, increased integration of different dimensions of our capacities and executive functions.
My spiritual name is Sivakami, which means... one who desires transformation and/or one who transforms desires. I live in Rifle, Colorado where I teach yoga, create art and love life. I would love to hear your comments.