Well, it has been a big week for me being home. I have had a chance to settle in, sleep a lot, do a lot of asana and also make some serious headway on new projects and plans. Another fun thing this week is that Elena and I started our webinar called The Yoga of Shifting. It was so fun to have a chance to teach together again. The Yoga of Shifting is about just that-- Shifting.
Several years ago, Elena and I started a dream business together called Yoga Convo. Elena and I met in 2002 in Utah at Inner Harmony in what I fondly remember as the Golden Years of Anusara Yoga. Elena and I met and connected toward the end of the week there and managed to stay in touch a bit in the year that followed. The next year, we decided to room together and we have been like sisters ever since. As much as we share a love for the practice of yoga asana, we have always connected more on the inner work of yoga and on the ways we were managing-to greater and lesser degrees of success and elegance- to live the teachings. Over the years, we have discussed our inner lives on the phone, via text messages, over dinners, visits and on yoga retreat and so on. I know, no matter what is going on, I can call elena and get a nonjudgmental, understanding kick-in-the ass. And I do my best to do the same for her.
There is a little funny backstory about how we ended up roommates that has to do with first impressions, cliques and our own journey through those themes in order to get beneath the surfaces of our personalities and into the the deeper aspects of sharing, but that is a story for another day. Suffice it to say that you are never to young to feel like you are in high school all over again!
At any rate, we dreamed up an idea about opening up a conversation about "off the matt" topics that we are interested in and sharing the conversation with other like-minded folks on the journey of awakening. We made our first video about the project (see above) in October of 2010 and here we are now, in the first week of a webinar on the very topics we had dreamed about.
In fact, its very cool to say it like that because that was a huge part of where we started the webinar was talking about what primary areas we wanted to shift and to dare to dream a bit about what the "shifted state" would be like. Elena is sharing so many great techniques and principles from the Handel Group and I am chiming in with my own insights from similar process-oriented work to give both practical and theoretical tools for living more consciously.
The thing to me about this kind of "dream work" (different than the dream work of actually working with the dreams one has when they sleep!) is that is so fascinating to watch all that comes up for us when posed with the question- "What do you really want for yourself?" As yogi's we get to sort out the dynamic interplay between "letting go and letting God and allowing the Universe to bring us its surprises" with the goal-setting, focused-approaches of "creating our own reality and authoring one's own life." Before I say much more on that, let's be clear, I think both ideals have merit and I think each one of us has a predisposition or comfort zone with one way of living more than with the other. No problem there as I see it.
To me, I do not see these two approaches in conflict but I think clarity is pretty important when I go about dreaming, visioning and goal-setting. For me, I have to get into a space inside where I am visioning in line with my heart's values, not in line with society's standards, my own critical nature's ideas for me, etc. So when "we listen to ourselves" I think it is super important that we are clear which aspect of ourselves we are listening to.
I notice it a lot with yogi's-- many of us are ardent, perfectionistic, hard-working with high ideals and strict standards for ourselves. And none of that is a bad thing- I, in fact, think it is a great thing. (of course, I would think it is a great thing-- I just described myself! Anyhoo--) I do, however, believe there is something Higher than that within us --I call it my Heart's Light--that is still very principled, and is, in fact, the very source of our integrity and values and yet (and this a very big and yet) it speaks with the tone of compassion, love and understanding. So what might it mean to have high ideals without harsh judgement for mistakes? What might it feel like to have strict standards and yet to be loving and spacious around ours and other's shortcomings? This is a great inquiry of mine these days.
In my experience, the dreams and goals that start referenced here, in the spacious compassion of my Heart's Light have a lovely flavor to them that has nothing to do with manhandling myself into some new-and-improved version of me. Goals and dreams that start here are about are about bringing my heart forward with dignity, integrity and sustained discipline. (Keep in mind the word discipline relates to disciple and so to me discipline, in this context, is about being a disciple of my Light, my goodness, my own wisdom, not some harsh imposition of rules and punitive guidelines. All that is referenced somewhere else, as I see it. I call it The Dark Side, just to keep a bit of humor and perspective about it, but I digress.)
So the thing is that when I establish myself in this inner place and then dream, vision and set goals from there, then I am, in a sense, bringing the domains of "let it flow" together with "make it happen." Truth be told, I am powerless over so much of "how it is going to happen" and the exact way the different threads get woven in the outcomes of my life, so to me, goal-setting is still a highly mystical endeavor. I mean, I can not tell you the number of times I have clarified an intention, focused on a direction and then be 100% surprised but he way it manifested! For instance, Elena and I started Yoga Convo and had no idea it would be this webinar and that we should be met with so much support and enthusiasm for the project. Definitely still feels magical.
So, we worked with the theme of ACKNOWLEDGEMENT- how it is key to acknowledge what our heart really wants and also to acknowledge the truth of our actual relationship to that dream. Do we long for connection and intimacy and yet behave in way that imposes loneliness and isolation on ourselves? Do we ache for understanding yet criticize ourselves, the people in our lives and fail to even offer ourselves the very thing we hope the outer world will give us? Do we wish we had an abundance of money but fail to live within our current means, save, and spend our resources wisely? There is that crazy ongoing pulsation of acknowledging the Truth of the Heart and not shying away from our real-time behaviors, attitudes and tendencies. And as it is so often, the Work is in that pulsation, in closing the gap between the voice of the heart and the behaviors of the contracted personality.
As I was working on some of my own homework for the course- I always like to do the homework along with a group- I realized that this course- and so many of my current project are me living into my dream in a very real way. My dream for my own work involves: Enlightened partnerships with the people I love. Offerings that are in alignment with my beliefs and behaviors. Working from a home base so that my energy is cultivated, nourished and magnified. Joy in serving. Optimal clarity and boundaries.
To me, this work of crafting an optimal life expression IS our Life Work. It is not that we get to a destination and then we are done. These are simply tools to establish, navigate and maintain and meaningful relationship with ourselves and our outer lives. It is so cool.