One thing that this break from teaching yoga has given me is some time to really anchor myself in my own studentship, practice and connection to spiritual community. I have had lots of time for reflection about how I want to move forward in these domains in the coming year. A big theme for me has to do with what it means to have an adult spirituality and a relationship to my own dharma and work from that place as well.
I began 2010 with a theme for myself of "shine brightly and let go of what is in the way". It has been great to have a theme for the year to return to as I worked in various domains because, just as a theme for an asana practice can bring meaning to the hard work, a theme for a year can bring context to the various ups and downs and inevitable challenges that arise as we go about the tasks of living. As 2010 is coming to a close I am reviewing the many ways that theme served me and the many ways it manifested throughout the year.
I spent a lot of time this year exploring some samskaras and patterns that were limiting me and consciously allowing new options to govern my choices. And throughout the year I have found that certain relationships have been revealed as false and have fallen away. I have also found myself going deeper in some relationships in profound and meaningful ways as blocks to intimacy have been removed. Most importantly, I have had a deepening in my relationship with myself this year, finding ways to make room for more of me to be present and to come through.
And what is coming up now is a deeper recognition of the boundaries I need to function effectively. I know my 2011 theme is going to be borrowed from some of Douglas Brooks teachings: "no limits, clear boundaries". My Teacher also said there was "no top end" and yet he was emphatic that we make clear distinctions for ourselves about what served us and our Work as we moved in the world.
So boundaries are really about managing our energy so that we don't unconsciously spend it all on what matters least. It's like so many of the things that get my attention are exactly like a National Enquirer Magazine at the grocery store. What does that mean? Well, have you ever found yourself waiting in line at the grocery store and without even realizing how it happened, you are reading the tabloids? Quite unconsciously, there we are, giving our attention to something completely false, that we do not even believe and that is without any substance whatsoever! So many of these outdated samskaras are the same way I am finding. Without even realizing it I can be swept into their story of drama and heartbreak and be giving my precious energy and attention to something completely devoid of Real Value.
And that is the thing.... Our energy and attention is precious. It is the primary commodity of the yogi, in fact because what is it we are actually cultivating in practice but our energy and our attention. And prana, Life Force, follows attention. Do I want my attention on the tabloid stories of my childhood patterns or do I want it on the deeper truths of my Heart? Do I want keep reading the story of blame and shame or do I want to pick up a different magazine with reliable reporting?
Anyway, in order to keep my attention placed on what matters most I need a certain kind of energy that is cultivated through boundaries and through my practices and through my studentship. In a lot of ways these are internal restraints although I already know cation exterior changes will be coming along as well. I have had some very serious and painful lessons lately about the need for clearer boundaries as a mentor and teacher. It is clear to me that I need to be much more clear about who I am as a teacher and who I am not as a teacher and what people can and cannot expect from me in this relationship. As much as we share deep personal intimacies in this endeavor, I have had some good training these last few months about serving that intimacy more effectively and less casually.
John has taught us for many years to use this time of year, as the night gets longer and the year draws to a closes to review what has passed and to get clear about the intentions we have for the upcoming year. In this time of darkness, we can plant the seeds of our intention for ourselves, just like a seed get planted in the dark rich soil of the earth. In that darkness the seed can germinate and prepare for it's time of growth. And just like a seed can grow no faster than it's natural trajectory, each one of our intentions needs time to be planted, allowed to germinate, sprout and grow into itself. None of this can be rushed.
So, have a great thanksgiving. More soon.
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