The Great Mystery ~
We live in it everyday, and every day we must summon our courage to continue down the path. Things occur, take us by surprise, a sunrise lifts our spirits, a dying whale sinks us down. We lose a friend. We celebrate a new career path We complete a goal and climb yet another mountain. We wound. We heal. Birth, Life, Death. Our lives occur in countless cycles. This decade we are here doing this job with these people, and We all strive to live our truth. We open our hearts again.
I see this as trusting in our life, what Native American medicine teachers call, the Great Mystery.
Our lives lead us places that we can't predict or plan. We experience our lives through events that occur regardless of whether or not we want it or not. And yet, we find ourselves surprised by beauty as well as suffering. Native American philosophy teaches that to live in harmony with our lives is to stay open to what isn't know, to cultivate the courage to stand in the face of the unknown and not waiver or lose faith.
The total integration of our lives with all things. Earth, Sky, Fire, Water, Wind. Including all the living creatures and plants. To honor the life we have because of this beautiful blue planet.
It might seem to some "new age" to direct our attention to the elements. Living here in the Pacific North West, brings me right up against a fierce kind of natural world. Eagles fly outside my window. The cold snowy mountains tops frame my view and the trees tower above me, the rich dark wet earth gives me a deep feeling of coming home. I find it extremely grounding and purifying to allow myself to let go of my small mind and embrace the vast magic and power of the sky, the water, the mountains.
Perhaps we can put aside our judgement, misapprehensions and doubts and open to the possibility that we are our environment. Can we suspend our self-conscious hesitation and love the "mother" that loves us? Can we become more than consumers of this planetary support and embrace our role in nourishing the Earth and walk mindfully in harmony with her.
Van Morrison sings about this magic place of trust and acceptance. "When our heart can do our thinking, and heads can truly feel, then I can look around the world and see what is truly real."
In opening to change, we allow for our lives to expand, and we are able to live authentically. That to me is true freedom. To be authentic in all ways with all things.
Living with the unknown magic and paradoxical meanings of our lives, means trust, and also change, a fact that like death, most of us avoid at all cost. Every day is a small reminder of our precious life. As a yogi, every breath is both life (inhale) and death (exhale) contained in a life giving act of breathing! How profound to realize our bodies, like nature, are perfectly balanced.
Why do we resist this natural process?
It isn't such a "natural" process when we live in the city. Everything around us seems hardened and empty of natural beauty. We confront the traffic, the constant movement, the bright lights and the noise. Its seems change is all around us, in the most aggressive and unnatural way.
I realized the other day that I have lived in the urban environment my whole adult life. New York, Paris, Los Angeles. And now Seattle. Yet something earthy has always called me. The beach, a mountain, a forest. Certainly, that signal became strong enough to call me to the Pacific Northwest, where I have discovered the power of nature to guide us, and now hear the messages of our planet. To loosen my grip against change. I step outside and connect to the earth. The trees, the plants, the sky and the stars. I find a quiet corner of EARTH and dip into to its sweet smell and life giving power. I sit on its surface and feel the warmth, and remember I am enough.
I remember my humanity when I touch earth in this way. I remember my joy when I see flowers bloom. I remember my own struggles when I see suffering, trees burning, land scorching, animals dying. I remember my journey as part of this planet and give thanks for this simple reminder of living in change. So many of us love the Fall Season. The tastes and smells. The colors and seasonal food. It is the Earth at its most potent, in the midst of change. We feel the softening of the air, the call to slow down. To linger, to pause, to receive.
One of the best ways I have found to help myself change is to connect to my gratitude. When I am at my most vulnerable, or my most anxious, or simply out of sync, I recall the things I am grateful for to help keep things in perspective and to raise my vibration. It is easy to get caught in those spiraling eddy's of life.
Halloween seems to get everybody celebrating with whimsy and creativity, making merry before the world goes cold and grey. My birthday is on Halloween, which has given me a deep connection to the energies of Fall.
It is the perfect time to draw ourselves closer to home, especially the home that lives in our heart. The Fall brings us back into our selves and guides us to prepare, to reflect and to honor the harvest of our life.
As we watch our loved ones, grow, change and age, we are in the face of change. Learning to allow the emotions to surface while change in our midst brings us in alignment with our deep humanity. I have learned that change, like suffering, is the great equalizer. It humbles us. It opens us to miracles and madness. Change is our very nature & that of our ever expanding universe. As I watch my 15 year old labrador age with grace, get up each day with courage to face her increasingly weakened legs and restricted movement, to witness her slowing down, I know my heart is going to be broken. She is forever a reminder to stay open in my heart and love regardless. She is one of my daily lessons in change.
I offer a special experience, four times a years, called Yoga Ceremony. It is a sacred honoring of the Four Seasonal transitions, Equinox and Solstice. I use yoga & meditation to go inward and unlock the wisdom of our mind and our body and bring them together with our breath and our movement to reveal the truth that lie within us, that most of us don't take the time to explore or acknowledge.
Fall Equinox Yoga Ceremony, is a time of reflection, a pause in the buzz and flow of modern life, to remember our selves, our relations, our planet, and allow our selves to change.