Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

I had a really great Christmas Eve today.

I got up, met Gioconda for a yoga class at Pure.  I was laughing to myself that even though I, myself, do not want to create a trademarked yoga system, I am thoroughly enjoying the benefits of the Bikram system these days and finding a lot of insight from my involvement with the well-trained teachers at Pure. More on that later.

After class we left and went to BFree where Gia was teaching at 10:00. So I got a chance to take two classes today and to spend some time with Gia which was fun. Also fun was to see a bunch of folks at class and to enjoy just being in class and sharing in the love of the practice on a holiday weekend. The folks at BFree are so open-hearted, accepting and fun. Shelby and her teachers have created a great culture there and I always love taking classes at BFree. It was such fun for me to roll out a mat and be with everyone. I really needed it.

After class I came home, ate lunch, took a shower and finally finished unpacking from my time away in November earlier this month. I had come home and went right into teacher training and have been dealing with business and family time and its taken me this long to actually finish unpacking completely. And Wednesday I leave again. Whew.

I have been processing a lot of personal feelings and emotions these days and reflecting a lot on the year which held more than a few surprises for me. It's probably symbolic that it's taken me so long to unpack from that last trip because in a lot of ways, I suppose I have also been unpacking the last few months of decisions. Not only have I had a chance to look at my own personal feelings while I have been home, I have spent a lot of time processing with other people this week and clarifying relationships, boundaries and what moving forward in my various relationships looks like.

Lee talked a lot about relationships and I think that his teaching in the domain of relationships  was one of the hallmarks of his Work.  He said, more than once, "Its all about relationship. That is it. How do you think are you going to be intimate with God if not through the intimacies you create and cultivate in your human relationships?  God does not exist outside the domain of your interpersonal relationships." He said other things, too, that probably contradicted that but well, thats the nature of a living teaching- its paradoxical and so all sides can not always be seen at the same time. (Or like Manorama says, "In yoga, we have to keep our eyes on the opposite." Whatever we are focused on as "truth" in one moment has another side that also has its own truth. But, that's a bit of a side trip for what's on my mind tonight.)

Forward momentum and forward movement are what is on my mind tonight and the ways that the path is both charted and uncharted territory. Certainly, people have walked the path before and can steer us clear of certain pitfalls if we let them (charted) and yet some mistakes are necessary for our learning and growth and it is absolutely guaranteed we are going to make mistakes on the Path (uncharted). One of my mentors recently told me that not only is it certain we will fall down repeatedly but that  some days, "all we will be able to do is simply forge ahead in the name of what we hold sacred."

It's actually a very interesting process, this "forging ahead." As I reflect back on the year and look forward into a new one, the expression seems very apt. So much of what I am doing is an organic figuring it out as I go along and simply trying to surf the wave of my choices, my vision and what is my dharmic task. In a later conversation with my mentor on the same subject, she and I got to talking about how, as I am forging ahead and stepping up to new challenges and opportunities, my fears, doubts, and insecurities are also arising. It's as though they are gargoyles that are  guarding the entryway to the next phase of growth and development and trying to keep me from entering, etc. We talked a lot about how that is normal and predictable and yet she gave me a really cool nugget to chew on relative to that process.

The thing is, she explained, that hidden in all of that dynamic mixture of excitement, doubt and so on is also a call for honest self-scrutiny. There is also the clarity of the soul, at every new level, reminding the seeker that the stakes are higher, the obligation is greater, the opportunity is bigger and the demand is more meaningful as one progresses. In 12-step communities they used to say that the road narrows in a certain way. Yes, we expand and grow our capacity and all that and yet, there is more of a razor's edge quality and not an a wide-road anymore.

So relative to those gargoyles coexisting with the call to clarity, my advisor said, in her experience of 30+ years on the path, that at each new level, its all there. The souls' impulse for clarity will come through the entirety  of our being, sweeping along with it our neurotic tendencies of the mind such as  doubt and  fear, and our emotions like sadnesses, angers and so forth. It's all there, not just the easy, inspiring and Light-filled stuff. And while we need to make sure that we see the thoughts and emotions for what they are, we also need to make sure that we do not skip the soul-searching that this "sweeping through" is inviting us to. The soul is always begging for clarity and so its the "going through" of those things that is the work on self, not the bypassing of the discomfort. It seems to me that these pockets of discomfort hold the keys to shifting to  new levels of consciousness.  It is the very real work of experientially examining our places of discomfort and sifting through it all that they hold--the dark and the light, the joy and the pain, the agony and the ecstasy- that gives us the fuel we need for transformation and self-realization. I mean really, can we Realize the Self, without actually realizing all the stuff that lives in those nooks and crannies? Doubtful.

So- I suppose I should tie all that into the solstice and how its a going into the darkness time of year and with the birth of the Light, the days getting longer and the Sun/Son here at Christmas......but I think that's enough for now! I did have a fun time going to church tonight with Mom and Dad as I do love songs about Jesus and Christmas and think that the Christian faith is so very beautiful. On some other blog I will spin a yarn about that and stories of Krishna but for now, let's just wish ourselves a wonderful holiday. May the full spectrum of experience take each of us into deeper intimacies with ourselves and with those we love.


L Sheldon said...

You are often speaking to me and in my own reflection this holy morning I sat seeking clarity staying with the fears and allowing. "Never believe that I am alone always know there is no separation between me and God and no separation from the other beings on this planet" a comforting piece of clarity. As you share your journey so eloquently it reminds me to remember. Love, Lora

cailen ascher said...

i came to your blog after my teacher, amy cronise-mead, recommended it to me. she's reading from "my body is a temple" this month in our yoga community and we begin each class with your words and wisdom.

i look forward to reading more.