Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I don't want to feel alone



“I don’t want to feel alone.”

Such a simple, even common, statement, yet when I heard it spoken the other night in a sacred space of truthful, soulful, beautiful sharing, its nuanced complexity struck me, hard. 

I’ve said these very words, certainly thought them, often enough. Each prior time they arose in my heart or mind, or passed through my lips, I was vibrating from a desire to not experience loneliness, a desire to know there was someone by my side, holding my hand or holding space, traveling down the path with me. It was a desire to feel supported, protected, seen. We are social beings and thrive in community. We gravitate toward partnership and collaboration. We are biologically built for it and emotionally conditioned for it. When it’s all said and done, none of us wants to feel alone.  


Yet there is another way to interpret the statement “I don’t want to feel alone.” It could express the very specific desire not to feel – happiness, sadness, joy, grief, hope, hurt, or whatever emotion on the spectrum – on one’s own. To navigate the waters of feeling, at times calm and clear, at others stormy and tumultuous, without that same sense of companionship is a daunting task for many. It’s a daunting task for me. 

I’ve long understood that the reason I’m so inclined to openly express my feelings, whether by talking or writing, is because it is a fundamental way for me to share their weight, texture and shape with someone outside of myself.  For me this is a crucial way in which I process those very feelings and come to know myself better. More, it’s the best way I know not to be overcome by them, and it’s the best way I know to build authentic connections with others. I need to let my feelings out, give them voice, sunlight, and room to breathe. And I need to know I can safely and honestly do so in the company of another who is willing and able to receive me in my Truth.


I do not want to feel alone, for feeling alone overwhelms me.  “What if I drown in my own tears? What if I combust from my exploding joy?” These aren’t rational, conscious questions I ask myself, yet they have a certain resonance, a ring of truthfulness that someone small and quiet inside of me connects to.  “And isn’t it so much better to share?” she says. “Yes,” I say. “Yes, it is.”


So I do. I seek out those very beings who are willing and able to receive me in my Truth and I open to them. I am not one to sob into my pillow behind closed doors for days on end. I am not the one to quietly demure when I am bursting with ecstatic bliss. I wear my heart on my proverbial sleeve, and whether my eyes sparkle from glistening tears or radiant delight, I keep them open wide for they are the windows to my soul and that is the place I seek to connect from. 


                     I do not want to feel alone.

It wouldn’t be surprising if I were feeling alone right now. It hasn’t been very long since I broke up with a dearly beloved partner and moved clear across the country to a place where I scarcely knew another soul. Both loneliness and the overwhelm of experiencing my emotions on my own would make sense given the circumstances. Yet I stopped playing victim to my circumstances a long time ago. I am victim to nothing and no one. I choose my life.

And I have chosen with tremendous purpose and clarity. I have chosen not to feel alone, but to feel together, united, connected. I have chosen to call in new community, friendships, and opportunities to share in a space of Truth. I’ve chosen to surround myself with a tribe that vibrates at a frequency resonant with my own so that together we can feel, share and be our most authentic selves. 

Knowing that choice, it’s also not surprising that I found myself in that deliciously sacred space a few nights ago so that those tender and profound words could fall upon my ears so softly and with such strength. I was amidst an intimate birthday gathering for a very special member of my newly found tribe. And the celebrant’s request, as we sat together in a cozy, warm, lovingly held circle, was for us to share a piece of our beauty. What, I wonder, could be more beautiful than expressing the Truth of your heart and having those feelings freely received with absence of judgment and total presence of spirit, body and mind, by another being?



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Longing

I wanted from you what you did not have to give. It wasn’t that you didn’t want to. You couldn’t. I see that now. I see all I hold so dear about you, not those things you couldn’t or wouldn’t be. I see You as you are. Heartbreak heals through rose-colored glasses, a shadow of pink to tint my longing.

In the shadow of my longing I see you, honey skin, earthen eyes, Beloved embodied. I see you where you are not, beside me in bed when I wake in the morning. My eyes flutter open some days, searching the sheets for your form. Other days they stay closed up tight, searching within for the embers of love that live in me even though you do not anymore.


In the shadow of my longing I feel you, steady breath, strong hands, Beloved embodied. I feel you where you are not, walking alongside me as I move through my day. My fingers reach to twine themselves around yours some days, walking with the ghost of your form. Other days they ball into fists or open into grace, gestures of moving through the process of moving on.

In the shadow of my longing I hear you, sensual tone, deep resonance, Beloved embodied. I hear you singing to me, showering praise and adoration from your heart to mine. My ears strain to catch a whisper of your silken voice some days. Other days my song fills them so sweetly, remembering these words were always mine to begin with.

In the shadow of my longing I taste you, salty sweet, sex and dirt, Beloved embodied. I taste your skin beneath the tiny mountain range of my tongue; feel my mouth full of your passion and pleasure. My lips seek yours for kisses some days, gentle and quick, long and strong. Other days they kiss sun ripened fruit and cheeks of dear Ones, and their sweetness and mine fulfill me.

In the shadow of my longing I find me, raw vulnerability, fierce strength, Beloved embodied. I embody all that it is to be a woman, seeing, feeling, hearing and tasting what is Real. My entire being flows with the rhythms of Mother Earth. Some days I am in constant motion, dancing, writhing, strutting, soaring, staking my claim. Other days I am in stillness, contemplating, meditating, germinating, creating, staking my claim.

My claim.

I CLAIM ME.


In the shadow of my longing I find what I wanted from you, I had all along. Always did and always will. Beloved embodied am I.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

From Nowhere to Now Here

My fisted hands are now open palms. It's been years of prying this grasp loose, and finally it has happened. It hurts deeply, the stiffness and aching from so much pressure. I let go. I cultivate trust. I believe in Love. The pain will subside. This I know is True.

Shakti is awakening. It's time.

I wrote these words the other day sitting in a space beyond our common constructs of place and time. I wrote them from Now Here, which has no understanding of past or future for this space is Infinite, always was and always will be. This space exists in my heart and is made of my Soul. This is the space of Truth.

After so much energy invested in "soul searching" for so long, I recently found myself face to face with what I had been searching for, even if it didn’t look exactly as I’d imagined. My Soul longed for freedom of movement, travel and exploring new places to call home. I’ve now taken up residence in my third time zone in as many months and feel strongly called toward planting myself here for a while. My Soul longed for creative expression. I’ve made the bold move of redefining my work life to devote more of myself to pursuits and offerings that nurture my Shakti flow, my creative essence. My Soul longed for an enlightened partnership. I’ve had the privilege of loving and being loved by someone so conscious that together we started and ended our relationship in sacred Tantric ritual, and uphold our commitment to the others’ evolution and well being as much as our own whether we’re together or apart.

Home. Job. Relationship. Picture a three-legged stool, with each of these holding up the seat, and the seat is Sense of Self. Most of us define ourselves by these external factors and they uphold the image we project outwardly as well as identify with inwardly. I just chopped the legs off my stool inside the span of a few short months, and now all I’m left to sit in is the seat of Self. I’m left with the chance to feel into Who I AM. And by the Grace of Goddess, I know all I AM left with is absolutely enough.

When I wrote those words the other day, I had just finished enjoying some much needed rest and rejuvenation at the Sivananda ashram in Grass Valley, CA, consoling my weary heart and clearing my cluttered mind after a lot of upheaval in the weeks, really months, prior. I needed the solace of nature and the spiritual community that has held me for so many years. I communed in sweet silence with Ganesha, Krsna, Siva and Durga. I chanted their Holy names with all the love and devotion in my heart. I poured out pages and pages of thoughts, feelings and revelations into my journal and ultimately in messages to the Beloved who was not mine to have anymore for we had come to a crossroads and chose different paths.

I began to glimpse the sense of clarity I'd yearned for, yet the Truth of that precise moment before those words came was things weren’t clear at all. That I had no idea of where to call home, how I would earn a living and whether or not a loving, intimate partnership made to go the distance was in my destiny had me in a state of flux. I had been working hard to establish myself in the space of Now Here, and it seemed I was making real progress until I heard my former Beloved’s voice on the line and felt the surge of hazy emotion threaten to overtake me, dragging me down to Nowhere.

Nowhere is most certainly not where I choose to be. I choose to be Now Here.

So I entered Now Here’s glorious gates. I was sitting outside the home of a Soul sister and mentor who I had been called to connect with, and who, by the Grace of Goddess, had heard the call too and answered it. In preparation for this auspicious meeting I channeled the flow of Shakti in me, moving Her abundant goodness through me with my breath, feeling every cell of my being soften as the vibration of Om came forth. Healing comes from the heart. Healing comes from within.

In the span of time we spent together, this sister of my Soul helped bring me to the undeniable recognition that I had landed exactly where I asked to be all along. I had brought my Self to this space of Now Here, and from it I could time travel into my “future” at will, feel into and see what it looks like to be living the life my Soul is truly meant for. I had a visceral experience with the relativity of time, understanding it as the arbitrary construct it is. There was nothing more to search for. It is all Now Here. 

Many nuances of the path I tread are still unknown to me. Many alternative routes exist for my choosing. Many chances to relearn and relive this sort of experience are likely to present themselves as I continue forward, occasionally crossing the line back into familiar Nowhere, only so I may continue strengthening my commitment to being Now Here. I accept and embrace all of this for I know the hardest part is over. I let go of my iron grip and opened myself to receive the Grace I was born for. Shakti is awake and alive in me. Now is her time. Here is her place. I AM ready, come what may.







Friday, June 13, 2014

Wings

Cool air caresses my skin as my heart pumps warmth steadily through my chest. I stand under the glow of the gloriously full moon, in awe of her power, aware of her pull, a mantra of new beginnings passing through my lips. I shiver, whether from the breeze or a premonition I can’t be sure. Both are equally real to me.

The breeze blows change into my atmosphere, filling me first with the unsettled yet enticing feeling of chaos that precedes all meaningful transformation. I take it in like I would a breath of fresh air after being held under water. It stings a bit even as it tastes of salvation. I gasp hungrily. I fight for a life worth living.  I am ready.

The premonition: I feel in my bones just as strongly as in my soul this change is truly significant. It’s been a long time coming. There have been many partial attempts, many false starts. There has been trepidation, fear and my inner critic holding me captive, keeping me smaller than I truly am. I have hurt myself and hurt those that I love as I’ve stayed mired in this self-imposed struggle. I am moving beyond all that now. I am ready.

Honoring the Goddess, the Mother, the Divine Feminine has been my path for so long. I took Durga as my deity, Gauri as my name many years ago, never imagining the form my worship would take, the place it would bring me to. Here, now, I know there is no separation from “them” and “me” so I must worship myself. I am Shakti incarnate, Devi on this earthly plane. I revere myself as an embodiment of spirit, a vehicle for Light to shine through. I am pulling back the curtains now. I am ready to reveal myself.

The revelation unfolds like rolling waves upon the shore, varied in size and intensity yet constant. I come to know myself more with each breath, tear and smile, each perceived loss and gain. When I ache with the deepest of pain or soar with the purest of ecstasy, I am revealing myself, to me and to the world, more and more. As I go along I recognize the identity I’ve put forth, the hats I’ve worn and the roles I’ve played prior pale in comparison to the full depth and scope of my Divine Being.

I’ve stayed hidden and small behind unhealthy patterns: money earned without passion, obligations fulfilled without pleasure, Truth heard without listening. No more. The Goddess does not play small, settle or sell herself short. The Goddess transcends shame, doubt and judgment, standing in Her full power in all ways.


So here I stand, light of the moon upon me, light of my heart shining, ready to shed what no longer serves me. I stand naked, ready to be seen in my vulnerability just as much as my Divinity.  I stand on the edge, knowing that the jump always looks more daunting from here than it is once you’re on your way. The hardest part is taking that leap and trusting the Universal energy to support you. Naked though I may be, I have full faith that once I step off, I will be cloaked with the wings I need to fly.






Thursday, June 5, 2014

I AM

I am an explorer. I like to set off on journeys, travel to places unknown, immerse myself in languages, scents and sounds that are unfamiliar, attune myself to the local vibration. This has fueled my passion for visiting foreign countries, and it is also why I am so intrigued by inner journeys, spiritual quests. There is an endless amount of mystery and wonder within each of us, so even though I’ve been physically traveling almost non-stop for the last several months, the most significant exploration of all has been to places unknown, or at least forgotten, within myself.

At the start of this year a few pivotal events transpired that set the stage for this particular adventure, so allow me to share the backstory: On New Years Day I met a man who stirred something in my soul that I’d never felt before, and cliché though it may sound, I knew as soon as I laid eyes on him that this was something major. The following day he facilitated my formal introduction to the path of Tantra, which was one of those sun rays shining, angels singing, ah-hah moments as I finally had a framework and a vocabulary for the direction my heart and soul had been moving in all along.  Years of practicing hatha yoga, which is also a Tantric path, coupled with exploring my spirituality and sexuality, had me tiptoeing around the edges, but now I’d finally crossed the threshold. The day after that, we marked the beginning of a new seven-year cycle for him, celebrating his birthday and fanning the flames of a serious spark between us. I can count on both hands the number of days it took for that spark to become a burning fire, and it wasn’t all that long after that we solidified our commitment to journey deeper down the path hand in hand and heart to heart. So when he told me his immediate path would take him to his family’s land in northeast Alabama for a few months, I told him I wanted to go too. Something profound had been set in motion between us, and I wasn’t prepared to stop the momentum with a prolonged separation. Simple as that.

It turns out, much of what has occurred since has been anything but simple.  Getting here might have been easy, but being here simply has not been simple. When two seekers on the path fall in step with one another, you can be certain there is significant work to be done between them. It will be an exploration of epic proportions. Whether the relationship is that of a teacher and a student, family, friends or lovers, this kind of connection is based on soul contracts, commitments made to one another at a level beyond conscious understanding, designed to facilitate expansion and ascension. It’s the journey of a lifetime, or many lifetimes, and it is all about growth. And as with all growth, there are bound to be growing pains. Let’s just say I have been all sorts of achy recently!

As I’ve delved Tantra, I’ve been digging deep into the recesses of my heart, seeking out the trauma stored in my body, unearthing the unhealed wounds that cause me to lash out when triggered, with the aim of liberating myself from them. If you thought Tantra was all about prolonged orgasms, think again. Sure you can have those, eventually, but that is far from the sole focus. Tantra is about Self love and celebrating your own Divinity. It is the balanced, harmonious union of masculine and feminine. It is about intimacy and compassion. But in order to get to what it’s really about, you have to go through your story, your pain. And if you’re doing this work in partnership, you’re going to be faced with your beloved’s story and pain too. You’re going to trigger and be triggered. The ecstasy and joy commonly associated with Tantra are unquestionably part of it too, as these are our True nature. Yet most of us are extremely far removed from that, so it takes serious work to get there. And when I say work, I mean down, dirty, heavy lifting kind of work. So be prepared . . . it’s likely going to hurt, for a while anyway.

My hurt is quite vicious. It unsheathes itself in the form heavy criticism, biting words, a barrage of judgments, and masterful manipulations. My hurt is also quite cunning, as is true for most. It projects onto others, casting blame outward to avoid looking, and feeling, inward. My hurt pours heavy sadness, anxiety and frustration upon me, pinning me down with its weight so I do not feel free to move energy as needed. My hurt insists on being seen, heard and felt, and will go to great lengths, breaking me down, bringing me to inconsolable tears and overwhelming grief, punishment for myself and those around me. My hurt is not pretty.

But I am.

I AM.

I AM Shakti, the Divine feminine, glorious, radiant, benevolent being. It is high time I remembered this and stopped identifying with my hurt.

I am not my hurt. This I know to be True. My hurt is a story, albeit a convincing, moving, powerful one, but it is still just a story. Tantra teaches us to uncover our stories and see them for what they really are so we can transcend them. It is a path to healing, and when you’re hurting, healing is exactly what is needed. In the last month I’d gotten to the point where practically all I knew and all I saw was the hurt. Moments of clarity arose in between, and I genuinely showed up as my joyful Goddess self in them, but they’d fade far too quickly. I came dangerously close to losing sight altogether of the fact that I’d embarked on this journey to facilitate healing and Self-discovery. Very gratefully, my beloved hadn’t lost sight of this, and insisted that something had to shift. He loved himself enough and had enough clarity of mind to be firm in this Truth. My story resisted at first, but it was a feeble attempt. I didn’t want to hurt anymore, and deep down I knew he was completely right. So I listened, and I shifted.

When you’re hurting, you seek consolation and relief, and that is exactly what I am doing right now. I’m actually not in Alabama as I write this. I shifted to Tennessee, Chattanooga to be precise, since that is the closest city for me to find the familiar comforts and conveniences I’ve been craving- yoga studios, people I could connect with as contemporaries, Whole Foods, cafes, bustling energy. I needed these comforts and conveniences to help me create a refuge in which I could come home to myself and heal. Though this is a city I’m just getting to know and that aspect speaks to the traveler in me, the real reason I’m spending the week in a little apartment I rented here is to reconnect to my original intention of Self-exploration. Funny that I embarked on this journey largely because I felt physical proximity to my beloved was essential to my growth only to find that being apart from him is the exact thing I need right now.

No sooner had I settled in here, taken a couple of yoga classes and unwound with a steamy shower and an Ayurvedic self massage, the story subsided and a stream of Truth started pouring through me onto the pages of my journal. All this time, all this suffering and heartache, I was the responsible party! I’d set off on a journey of Self-love but somehow lost my way and was severely neglecting myself. Of course, I didn’t see it this way while I was in the thick of things. My story was that someone else was to blame, so I blamed my beloved and our surroundings, never really stopping to give proper to consideration to how I was showing up, or not, for myself. I knew I was behaving poorly with my stressed out, emotional antics, but what I overlooked was how I was responding and whether or not I was properly caring for myself in the face of them.

So this week has been all about self care. I committed to showering myself with total love and remembering who I AM and why I am here. Shakti is Love, nurturing essence, compassion and gentility, and I AM Shakti. As Shakti, I must love every single facet of my being, the child within who has been wounded, the woman who has been neglected, and the goddess who has been forgotten. As Shakti I speak to myself with loving kindness, total compassion and sincerity, looking myself in the eyes as I do, no judgment, total acceptance. As Shakti I commit to daily meditation, chanting and asana practice, yummy, nourishing foods, massages and pampering, making new friends. As Shakti I make myself the #1 priority and focus on rekindling the most important love affair I will ever have: the one with myself.

This may sound fundamental and obvious, yet I know I’m certainly not alone in doing the opposite despite knowing better. We all know the adage that you cannot love another unless you truly love yourself, and yet so many of us, women in particular, do not uphold this. We neglect ourselves, often under the guise of seemingly benevolent intentions, such as focusing that energy instead on the ones we love. We give and give of ourselves, depleting our resources, often without being asked, and then we build resentment when we don’t receive in equal measure. The paradox there is that most of us don’t even know how to receive in equal measure. We’ve never really tried. The only way to learn this is to start by giving to ourselves. Tantra teaches this. Take the journey inward. Remember who you truly are, figure out what you truly enjoy, and ensure every aspect of your life is set up in support of this.


There is nothing selfish about this. To the contrary, a woman who showers herself with love is a woman living in abundance, and she will naturally have more to share with others. When she fills her cup with nurturing and joy, it is nurturing and joy that spills over to those around her. I’d forgotten this. I’d bought into a story I was telling myself that said being a martyr was the way to go and blaming others was justified. Not so. The journey of moving past my stories, through my pain and into my Truth has led me to This, Here, Now, and I AM so very grateful.

This: the recognition of myself as Shakti, a goddess to be showered with love
Here: in a safe and sacred space created for myself
Now: this present moment

Thank Goddess for this revelatory remembrance, and for abundance enough to share it. Namaste.