Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Breathing in snowflakes.

Oh Birdy you continue to amaze and inspire me. You know the feeling before tears? That place behind your eyes that fills with emotion when something pulls your heart to the extent of losing control of time and space and control in itself? 

You must.

She sometimes gives me that feeling.

"White lips, pale face
Breathing in snowflakes.."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That home.

"If only you could sense how important you are 
to the lives of those you meet;
how important you can be to people 
you may never even dream of.
 There is something of yourself that you leave
 at every meeting 
with another person."
-Fred Rogers

photo by anavicky

I just wanted to wish everyone a lovely Thanksgiving. 
Now, if you aren't nostalgic already (given it's the holiday season) are you now ready to feel an ache rise from your bones to the soon-to-be goosebumps on your skin's surface?

I'm sure I've shared this breathtakingly gorgeous song before 
and tonight,I just couldn't help but share again. 
It's the kind of song that haunts you beautifully 
where you can feel it.

I admittedly regret not learning how to play the piano as a child as I've always been deeply moved by piano notes, particularly in magical, heart swelling songs such as this piece of heaven. 

"Where the doors are moaning all day long
Where the stairs are leaning dusk 'til dawn
Where the windows are breathing in the light
Where the rooms are a collection of our lives
This is a place I don't feel alone
This is a place that I call my home."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Love the darkness.

My recent article for the fabulous Rebelle Society: 

Life is difficult and complicated. It’ll knock you sideways, upside down, and at times land you flat on your face. You’ll regain your footing, but if life isn’t ready for you to stand quite yet, you’ll be pushed into yet another direction with another roadblock, or another seemingly un-mountable wall to climb. You’ll hold the tremendous pain of something that may have happened or perhaps worse, the pain of something that never will, along with the crushing weight of anything and everything else that is sad in this world.

 Let’s be honest- we all go through it.
 C’est la vie.

“Woken by thinking
Into hours too small
to permit free association,
I lie beneath the weight
of night. Darkness crushes
like a room with shrinking walls.”
-Peter Goldsworthy

Life is also glorious and magnificent. In the depths of our darkest despair, the light sweeps it’s way back in as though the universe knew you couldn’t bear one more failure or disappointment, to take you by the hand, and whisper, “I am here. Come this way.” One door will open after the next, and everything will fall into place effortlessly, as if a path of petals unravels before you, leading the way to only joy and bliss.

"What can I do with my happiness? How can I keep it, conceal it, bury it where I may never lose it? I want to kneel as it falls over me like rain, gather it up with lace and silk, and press it over myself again."
-Anais Nin

Whether you’re in the sun, the shade, or the lingering stillness between, life will continue to change with sometimes shocking speed because no feeling or situation is ever final.

When we are young, some of us dramatize our very existence as though we are the only ones that “attract” the drama. Some of us pour the ups and downs into our art with great fury, creating sentences, music and vivid paintings. Some of us can’t seem to fathom why “what goes up must come down’, and vice versa, so unable to tolerate any uncertainty, so we become fearful of life itself, resisting any form of change at all.

Such efforts to control life won’t work; instead they will only confine us to smaller and smaller comfort zones, shrinking our individual worlds as we know them, and severely limiting us to experience any pleasure in life at all.

As we gather years under our belts, we should learn how to grow more capable of accepting the ups and downs as “normal”, and embrace the rollercoaster that is life. In Buddhism, the “it is what it is” quality is called such ness—tathata—in Sanskrit—as it is.

I remember as an impressionable teenager, I used to stand in great awe of my wise Grandmother’s nonchalant shrugs accompanied by knowing grins when life delivered yet another blow that I at the time, couldn’t possibly fathom handling in my own future. Now, I understand.

It’s liberating to recognize the struggle as an essential part of the learning process. We are too often so afraid of failure that we forget that the heartbreak, defeat, mistakes and regrets give us the very grit and strength we need to get through the next obstacle, as well as the humbleness we must acquire to appreciate the light; and the light will come back, as it always has.

 As it is in nature, nothing is stagnant; everything is fluid and will change, which is crucial to our adaptation, and perfect in itself.

So embrace it; embrace everything: the light, the dark, the rising and the falling. The uncertainties are beautiful, and the wisdom acquired to carry with you forward even more so. Wake each morning with trust, and always allow yourself to be vulnerable whether you’re in the shadows or sun.

“Happy and sad, elated and miserable, secure and afraid,
loved and denied, patient and angry, peaceful and wild,
complete and empty…. all of it.
I would feel everything.
It would all be mine.”
-Stephanie Meyer

Sunday, November 11, 2012

When all else melts away.

"One looks, and looks long, 
and the world comes in."
-Joseph Campbell

"Don't blink your eyes or you might lose your balance." My teacher's voice is confident and stern, sometimes wavering on the line of arrogant, but done in such a way that something tells me to trust it. The words are simple and clear, gently trickling from the podium on which the teacher’s stands, surrounding and seeping into my mind until they essentially become my master. Line by line, minute by minute I obey this dialogue, stretching and straining through each of the twenty-six postures done twice in the humid, 105 degree room, hyper aware of each subtle step, ache, and release, even down to every precise drop of sweat that falls from my body to the soaked towel planted firmly beneath my feet.

I've been practicing Bikram Yoga since January, the yoga that is often misunderstood and even frowned on by many, skeptical of the extreme temperatures, the quirky founder, and over-sexualized reputation, yet this yoga is more adored than criticized. Now I know there is good reason for the passionate, cult-like following of this practice, as it's swept me up into its web, luring me with the pain and pleasure that so many have come to know and love.

 I never understood prior to starting Bikram why it was referred to as a “journey,” but now as I continue to practice, I realize there is no better word. Bikram is a journey to unravel yourself through what at times feels torturous... the pain of breaking through stored injury, stress and emotion the body accumulates through the years of simply living, and rediscovering inch by painful inch everything the ever-connected body and mind have tried to forget, storing these toxic parts deep into the psyche and muscles, protecting you from their harmful grip. There are no short cuts in this journey, and the right way is certainly the most difficult way. Over time there are improvements and there are set-backs, but you continue the practice with improved strength and belief because you know that every tiny step leads you to wellness and self-discovery in ways you’d never expected when you first begun.

To do this yoga, you must face yourself. You are vulnerable and stripped down in every way possible; very little clothing to bear the heat, watching your body unflinchingly in the enormous mirrors, eyes stinging from sweat, muscles straining through the postures commanding every last ounce of strength they have, and having to consciously choose to remain calm and focused in what at times can feel like chaos. The chaos is created by the mind, wanting to just run- run out of the room and into fresh air, where you don't have to face the pain, the truths, the work, and the parts of yourself you dislike. We often do this in our everyday lives, attempting to run and fill them with unnecessary busy tasks, self-medicate with various unhealthy "Band-Aids " or actively seek any other external validation that ultimately won't fulfill us. All of these created escape mechanisms are the equivalent of running out of the hot room, but the way I see it, when you are brave enough to face who you are there is goodness. Often it is through struggle, and adversity where immense wisdom can be drawn.

“Truth is something outside to be discovered, 
it is something inside to be realized.”

 Sometimes, in tough classes the dialogue is my enemy. I'd rather be anywhere else than class, and every movement is a great struggle. In my best classes, the dialogue is my lover; the other students and heat have melted away, along with my usual whirlwind of daily worries, anxieties, and ever expanding “to do” list, and I'm able to fully surrender to this moving meditation, alone and at one with only myself and the words. Ultimately, the dialogue is my route back into the part of me I've so often neglected: my true self. In life, it is there in the hot room that you can once again face yourself, and be introduced to your soul with stunning clarity when all else melts away. 

Photo source: here