But a series of moments

(via audreyhepburncomplex)

What is this thing called life? The existence we walked through day by day hour by hour minute by minute? And is it really the second by second that counts?

I often begin a yoga class, scanning myself to become aware of who I am right at that moment. Who I am emotionally spiritually and physically. But what does that really mean? I am not my goals I am not my career. Am I as transient as my emotions? As scattered as my thoughts?

I am energy. Creative and destructive.

That is so abstract I’m not sure what that means. I understand creating and destroying… But I may not understand the reason behind it. But I love where my imagination takes me. Creating and destroying, That dichotomy is infinite… And then so am I.

What is this thing called reality? Is my reality the same as your reality,

Every time I walk onto a yoga mat I’m reminded that I’m in a moment. And that moment is the only moment I will ever have like that moment. It is unique. It is an experience and an expression of who I am at that moment. I am the conglomerate of all of my experiences thoughts emotions up to that point.

I am but a series of moments.

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Journey

We are all on our own journey, and I just caught a glimpse of mine.

Journey, path, well-travelled? Or in the brushes?
Look down, see your feet, where are they walking?
Look deep, into the seat of your soul, where do you wander?

We drift, we direct, we control, we let go.
We experience, we love, we hurt, we grow.

The path I am on is mine.
I am living my life.
People influence, people judge, people teach me…
I, make the choices. I, live the life.

I can let my full weird out.
I can live in the flourishing world of my nerdom.
I am allowed to be me. Just me. In my entirety, as I journey through this life.

 

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Passion

Do you feel that passion? The kind that keeps you up at night the kind that drives you forward? The Kind of passion that you think about every waking hour, Dream about through the night, And constantly crave?

The kind that you won’t let you settle for second-best. The passion that gives your life meaning? It gives you spice And entices you to dance with it.

The kind that isn’t comfortable but keeps pushing you to your edge making you explore your own abyss.

Passion that regularly taps you on the shoulders remind you that it’s there. It’s seductive. It’s mesmerizing. It has you entranced so you think of nothing else.

This passion comforts and claws. It torments and soothes. It is the devil and the angel. It is the vixen and the virgin. It bursts and flows through your veins. Part of your innate being, part of your soul.

That passion ignites fires and boils the waters. It is everything and nothing. It is infinite.

It is that kundalini snake coiled at your spine, that begs for exploration.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Go now and explore. Don’t get comfortable. It’s a journey.

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Experiencing a merge

Tonight I feel like I connected with myself. The first time in a long time. And I wasn’t even trying. After a long, exhausting and painful day, I slopped down and had some dinner. Turned on the computer and tried to disconnect with reality. And I was succeeding. And then I was suddenly overwhelmed with the need to do art. Not do any specific kind of art, I just wanted to be making lines, no purpose, no design, just art. I slept the computer, turned on Type O Negative, grabbed oil pastels (because I don’t usually work with them, just thought they would make less of a mess), and sat down with a big pad of paper.

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I just started making lines. No real purpose. I had seen a few images today I had connected with and was thinking about their lines and what I liked about them. It turned into a very awkwardly drawn body. I stared a

t it and suddenly knew that I should draw the energy centers. I started with the root chakra, making a very large red blur of color. And while I was doing that, I remembered some visions I had just before drifting to sleep last night and knew that was what I was supposed to be doing. And I proceeded drawing the other energy centers. And I really just focused on the way the color left the pastel and went on to the paper, the beautiful, uneven lines it made. And I watched as my hand moved the pastel across the page, how my fingers held the pastel and how my wrist turned as I made circles with the pastels. Pete Steele was singing in the background. It was a really intimate phenomenological moment. That one when you literally watch like an outsider what you are doing and yet at the same time being consciously/unconsciously(?) intentional in movement. Time stopped. I stayed on one color and focused on that energy center for as long as I was drawn to it. I noticed how I responded to various colors. Sometimes my hand moved quicker, sometimes slower. And then I realized I was out of space, still had to do the last chakra and that I really wanted to stretch my legs. No idea how much time passed. I stretched while looking at what I had spent time doing.

And I realized, maybe for the first time, I read myself in my art. It was like I had done a tarot reading…I was looking and could read in my art exactly where I was at as a human being. What I needed to be working on and what I needed to do to grow. I was excited to quiet my mind for long enough to listen to my energy. It’s been so long since I’ve felt quiet. I find it, at times, during yoga. In yoga class I feel my muscles like I watched my hand. I feel the pleasure of stretching them and releasing the emotions from them. But it doesn’t carry with me. But I had another little taste of the calm tonight. I felt that moment where the ethereal and corporal meet…where they merge and connect. You feel the beauty of each of them, simultaneously.

 

 

 

Tense up to fly

As I was planning one of my Vinyasa classes I realized how many of the asana’s named for birds require some sort of tension or even a bind first.

Bakasana (crow) needs a squeezing in of the the forearms and the shins. A tightening of the Uddiyana Bandha and the engaging of the Mula Bandha. (For more information on Bandha’s click here.)  All of these areas need to be engaged in order for flight to occur. Svarga Dvidasana (Birds of Paradise) requires that you squat down, bind, and then root to rise, extending the leg out.

What’s obvious about these postures when you think about them, is that sometimes adversity leads you into flight. Utilizing tensions, putting them where they belong and where they are appropriate, can free you. In crow, if you don’t engage the Bandha’s it’s harder to life and easier to fall on your face (it’s not a far fall! Doesn’t hurt…much!) Maybe the lesson in that statement is that if you embrace the tension and learn to live with it and breathe through it and use it, it will prevent you from falling.

And really, this is true about everything from art to music to work to life to love. Obviously I’m not some insightful genius that had an epiphany strike my brain. Well, actually, that did happen but it’s not unique to me. It’s everyday we encounter tension, and we can either succumb to it or use it. We can run from it or learn to understand it and grow from it.

Of course, that’s the kind of statement that’s easier said than done, and oft times when currently in the tense moment, especially the really bad ones, we all want to cry bullshit and crawl under our pillows. And fair enough. I highly recommend doing just that. And under that pillow, just breathe. Not in the Faith Hill “Breathe” kind of way, but in the Willie Nelson kind of “Just Breathe.” (Pearl Jam does a great cover). The kind of breath that allows you to feel pain. The kind of breathe that allows you to feel comfort and love. The breath that accepts the gamut of emotions that we as human beings experience.

 

 


The answer to everything seems to be: Meditation

meditationArea

 

Maybe it’s because I do yoga and that tends to influence the randomness I read on the internet, but most articles I read seem to suggest that meditation is the key. Everywhere I look there is new evidence on meditation and how wonderful it is.

For example, this article on Mind Body Green shows pictures of some people’s transformation at a month-long meditation retreat. And Tiny Buddha has an article dispelling meditation myths and telling everyone why they should start today.

 

To be that girl, I’ve been trying to meditate for a long time now. And let me tell you, it is freakin’ difficult. The actual meditating part isn’t so hard. I love just sitting down on my soft meditation pillow, putting on my over-sized headphones (yes, I normally listen to music), and settling in. I can normally get into those Delta waves pretty quickly and I am zoned in. Although I do appreciate the help of my Om Harmonics download. But once I’m there, I’m pretty good. Mind you, I think 15 minutes of meditation is awesome, it’s not like I’m sitting there for hours.

However, finding my way to my meditation cushion is a challenge. I only try for 15 minutes and yet I still haven’t been able to find a consistent time that works (my schedule is pretty inconsistent). I should probably just start out slowly and meditate one day a week or something, until I can work it in as a habit. And I really really want to. All of the articles describing the benefits of meditating scream out to me to sit my ass down and meditate. It would be so beneficial in every area of my life. It’s amazing that it is so beneficial and should be essential to my lifestyle, and I yet in my social media, technology-tapped world, I feel like it is a luxury.

 

It’s amazing that I can know how beneficial meditating is and yet can’t seem to find the time to sit my ass down to do it.

 

How do you find the time? What tips do you have that have helped you make meditating a habit? Or are you in the same Paripurna Navasana asana I’m in and haven’t been able to cultivate the meditation habit?

Photography Prints

Blog hope via @RockablePress

After a sleepless weekend of trying to figure out how to better manage Social Media, I made a decision. I keep seeing this  “How to build a successful blog business” ebook from Rockablepress.com. I’ve been hesitant to buy this book mainly because I think I should be able to find everything I need just by perusing sites. However, this has clearly not been working for me. I’ve been trying this social media/blog business for about a year now and still have had no success, no comments, no user interaction. In all honesty, it’s getting pretty old. I’m tired of feeling like a failure. I research all the time how to make this better and I still haven’t been able to do it. Granted, I lack a consistency that is essential to success. But I think it is more than just that. An obvious answer could be that there are so many blogs out there, already established, doing exactly what I am trying to do. So what’s the point? Why do I keep trying? I’m not sure. That existential question of what’s the point when there are so many other more talented designers/artists/yogis out there has been plaguing me for a while. Put me in all out crisis really. Lacking reason, motivation…the understanding of the why. It sucks walking down a path like that. So I am attempting to put the energy out there that says, I want to figure this out. Or I’ll have to give up and decide I was not meant to be a blogger.

To blog or not to blog

And it’s not just about making money on a blog. I already have a few jobs that pay. That’s not what I am after. I am after the interaction. I want to know if others have the same struggles, same excitement and just similar experiences as I do in this world. I don’t think I am so weird that no one has similar experiences. There has to be millions of people out there that like art and yoga. Hell, I’ll appreciate an either/or at these stage. I just want to share and have others share. I guess I just want to jump on the band wagon and do what everyone else is doing, and connect with people like everyone else is. I just want a piece of the online experience/success. I don’t want to be passed by as some ignorant nobody who couldn’t figure it out. I’m not ignorant, and I am a somebody. At least I think I am. Maybe you will too, eventually. I just need some help figuring it all out.

So, I bought the @RockablePress book. I haven’t had a chance to look at it, but I am hoping it was a good investment and it will help me make my blog, my time, my efforts worthy of a good investment and a good ROI as well.

We shall see, and this blog will be the evidence. Here’s to hope.

Fear of the darker parts of the soul

Yoga mama  posted this quote:

 

We have a fear of facing ourselves. That is the obstacle. Experiencing the innermost core of our existence is very embarrassing to a lot of people. A lot of people turn to something that they hope will liberate them without their having to face themselves. That is impossible. We can’t do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our excrement, our most undesirable parts. We have to see them. That is the foundation of warriorship, basically speaking. Whatever is there, we have to face it, we have to look at it, study it, work with it and practice meditation with it.

Chogyam Trungpa

 

 

I speak purely from myself here, but I find that when I fear facing myself, it’s not because I don’t want to acknowledge my undesirable parts. I am fully aware of these chunks of myself that are on constant display for the world. I lament on them, they consume me. I am in constant self-reflection attempting to “better” my self, and yet find I fear success. I fear being able to do something well. I fear my true artistic power. I opened my closet last night and realized I have a ton of art materials. I have some dating back to my first college class ages ago. What this tells me though, is that I have a lot of materials I am not using. My friend, has one book and a few watercolors and one paintbrush. Maybe a set of pastels. But he has portfolio upon portfolio upon portfolio of work. He sits down and commits himself to his art. He does not fear it. He knows he has talent and shares it with the world. Me? I’m so scared of trying that I am not even sure what my preferred medium is! My place is a disaster area so I am constantly cleaning. This is really just a defense mechanism to help me avoid sitting down and doing art. I even have am a graphic designer for a company and yet fear graphic design when I get home.

 

How do you get over your graphic design fears? I sit down in front of my computer, excited, inspired, millions of ideas filling my head. And POOF! all gone the minute I open Illustrator or Photoshop. And then I find myself wondering what my idea was and what program should I be doing it in. I will fail if I cannot figure out how to focus and not fear my creative energy. If you do things, things get done. And I am not getting anything done b/c I fear doing things.

 

 

Another example is bakasana, though this is a successful example (but I hope it doesn’t take me as long to get over my artist fear). For a decade, I couldn’t do bakasana. This was totally my water break. I couldn’t even try for the longest time. Well, that’s not true. The first time I was introduced to bakasana, I was tricked into doing it. Clever yoga instructor. She led the class through the movements step-by-step without us any the wiser of what we were moving into. Place your hands on the ground, shoulder distance apart. Start to really bend at your elbows finding a drishti slightly in front of you. Place your knees on the back of your triceps and then lift your feet and bring the big toe mounds to touch. I was in bakasana without even realizing it. And I was soaring. I was confident and zestful. But when I tried to do it again I couldn’t. I tumbled forward. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it. I showed my friend what I was trying to do, someone who had never done yoga before, and she gracefully moved into bakasana with ease.

 

A decade later I am only once again experiencing the pleasures of bakasana and can nearly hold it for five breathes. Of course, now there is eka pada galavasana or eka pada bakasana. There’s always something new to try and something new to experience.

 

But, to bring this back to the beginning quote, it isn’t my fear of the darker parts of my soul that inhibit my ability to accomplish, I’m aware of the darker parts. In fact, my issue is that I am so aware and so deep in them, that I fear the brighter, more vital parts. The parts of power, the parts of graceful poise. I would like to not fear success. I would like to actualize the artist power I feel slumbering inside of me. I’m just not always sure how.

Finding in your seat in life – an unexpected lesson.

Shanti. A beautiful picture from Yoga Journal.

I was surprised the other day by yoga. I thought I had a decent understanding of the philosophy of yoga and had invested ample amounts of time in Karma yoga. However, I had an interesting experience that taught me a lesson I did not expect to learn from yoga.

 

I have begun a little freelancing with my yoga studio and we were going to work on a trade and in doing so I found myself in a quandary. The business side of me understands my prices, why I charge what I do and I have it all thought out and solidified. I have a solid billing system and things work for me. But when pressed with coming up with an hourly number for my yoga studio, a little voice in my head said, “Really? You’re going to charge your normal prices, really? Come on Karma yogi, really?”

 

I was struck at how awkward it seemed to charge my yoga studio so much for my work. I thought and pondered about it for a while. On one side, the yoga studio is not lacking in business, it charges me a lot for my unlimited access, and my work is quality and my time is precious. But on the other side, the humble yogi in me wasn’t so sure. It seemed to me that a discount was tolerable in this situation as I felt it would be karmically positively charged. I mean it’s yoga.

 

So, I made up my mind to charge much less than I normally would for other clients. This was going to be a special exception to my rules. So, proud of my decision, I sent off my hourly rate to the manager of the studio, a woman I admire and look up to as a mentor.

 

Her response was a quote from the Gita:

 

“The secret of karma yoga is never to accept a wrong situation, a situation in which you are exploited, discriminated against, or manipulated, because it is bad not only for you but for the exploiter as well.”

And then she proceeded with her own interpretation:

 

Not that I am an exploiter but part of Karma in the Gita is finding our ‘seat’ in what we are actually worth. This practice allows for others to step on the path to self-recognition of worth. Ya know? So please rethink what you would like to charge us for your services that is fair and worthy of your beautiful talents and that is what we will move forward with.

I was humbled. I thought I was being the “good yogi” by lowering my prices, when in fact, I was doing the opposite. I had no idea. I was so surprised by her response and the quote from the Gita.

 

In the end, I charged my normal prices, and the response I received from my yoga teacher, was that she was proud of me.

 

In the end, yoga continues to surprise and encourage me. It is continually encouraging us to find our own seat in life, and be aware of and acknowledge my own self worth.

 

You too, are worthy. Where is your seat in life?

Syncing with the seasons

I have many times said that I am an inconsistent person. That my habits cycle as the moon does. I was discussing this with my acupuncturist/hypnotherapist last week, hoping that she could somehow help me find balance and consistency. In a nutshell, she said she could help me direct my energy there but that I must do something every day to cultivate the habit I was trying to assimilate into my life.

As I was finishing up my yoga asana this morning and about to proceed to my meditation pillow, it occurred to me how good I felt and that this should be a morning practice, that I can wake up 30 minutes early to help my body feel wonderful. And as I began my meditation outside, and felt the warmth of the sun flow across my body, it occurred to me how great the sun is and how its’ warmth helps me feel good about the day and that I should meditate for at least 10 minutes in the morning sun before going to work to help prepare me for the day. And so I sat in meditation content and placing an intention to make this routine a regular morning routine for me.

And I sat there basking in the sun.

And then it occurred to me. The idea of making this a morning routine is a great one albeit not a possible one. Well, I should say it’s not possible to make this a year round morning routine, that I could make it a summer morning routine, but I couldn’t do it in the summer. I experience four seasons. To wake up at 8:00 in the morning in the summer is to already have the sun risen but it in the winter, this has not yet happened. My routines cannot be the same because the environment I am basing my routines on is not the same. I need to tune into these seasonal changes and sync my energy.

I do not know why it took me so long to realize this. But for whatever reason it is happening now. I have long thought that my inconsistency is a bad thing, a weakness. But in reality it is simply nature, earth nature, animal nature and human nature. And it doesn’t have to control me. I can adjust myself accordingly to find balance in each season. To find consistency in change.