Tuesday, January 10, 2012
When I open my eyes to the dark stillness of the pre-dawn hours, there is a peace that fills me, different from any other time of day. The world seems calm, nurtured from a restful night, cool from the loving light of the moon and open to the infinite possibility that dawns with each new day.
I embrace this same energy.
Candles are lit.
Nag champa fills the air.
I bow, in reverence, to the image of my masters, the deities that inspire me, the Universe and the guru within.
Rolling out my mat, I connect slow, steady breath to soft, gentle movement. Bit by bit the stiffness that may linger from my night's sleep melts away. Toes curl. Feet point and flex. Ankles rotate. Hamstrings lengthen. Hips open. Spine twists, bends and grows taller. Shoulders roll. Neck circles. Crown of the head lights up, radiating vibrantly, reaching toward the heavens. Morning practice.
Now to breathe. Pranayama, breath control, to open and balance not only my respiratory channels but my energetic ones as well. Skull Shining Breath. Alternate Nostril Breathing. Slow, deep, three-part yogic breath. I am full.
Om. Om. Om.
Meditation. Sukasana or Ardha Padmasana to sit comfortably with a straight spine, chakras aligned. Japa Mala begins, using my prayer beads to count along with the silent, glorious repetition of my mantra. This is when I often notice the tingling sensation around my heart chakra, a swirl of buzzing energy around this sacred space, letting me know that I am open, receptive, alive and connected to the Universe. It is love.
Om. Om. Om.
The Gayatri Mantra. Perhaps the Sivananda Daily Chants. Various mantras and bhajans that stir my soul on this given day. Perhaps I need to experience a release and cry. Perhaps I need to spread some of the joy I feel inside through the vibration of my voice. Always I feel compelled to reflect from a space of gratitude. So after reading a message for the day and when the closing prayers are through, once again I prostrate and I give thanks. Every single time.
By now the sun is in the sky. Dawn has come and gone. The new day is here, and I, as a child of God, as a reflection of the grace of the Universe, as Self and self, am ready to begin again.
Monday, January 2, 2012
I completely love ringing in a new year. New beginnings, fresh starts, chances to set new intentions and resolutions, I am all for it. Celebrating joyously with the ones you love, focusing on the abundant blessings in life, what could be better? With all of this being so very present as we are just two days into 2012, it got me thinking. For all the intentions, resolutions, chances to begin again, the fundamental element is this: whatever you want, whatever you set out to accomplish, achieve or acquire, unless it is authentic and consistent with your own personal truth, it very likely won't stick and it almost certainly won't be a source of happiness.
The thing about this personal truth is it can be somewhat elusive. It takes a true commitment to seek it out, and while seeking you are most surely going to come across some aspects of yourself that may not be so pretty. We are such complex creatures with intricacies, quirks and predilections that allow each of us to be uniquely ourselves. Accordingly, it takes a lot to really know ourselves, to really grasp what makes us tick, what attracts or repels us, what nurtures, inspires and fulfills us, and how we operate in ways that either support bringing the things we want into our lives or not. Sometimes the hardest reality to face is the recognition that we very often stand in the way of our own happiness by acting inconsistently with our truth, making it hard to feel the true peace and happiness that we all desire.
I've spent a lot of time over these last couple of months reflecting purposefully on my truth, and the ways in which I can do a better job of supporting it. I realize my power, that my thoughts, words and actions are so strong and forceful that they can and do shape the course of my life. So if I am thinking, saying and doing things that are consistent with what I want to manifest, so it shall be. As soon as those thoughts, words and actions become inconsistent, I'm manifesting the opposite of what I say I want, the opposite of my truth. Not surprisingly, the clearest and most potent example of this for me has to do with love.
I know what I want in the man in my life, I know the kind of relationship I want to be in, and yet I have involved myself with partners who simply do not fit the bill. It isn't that they're bad guys, To the contrary, they're great guys, guys with plenty of redeeming qualities and strengths, an inner light that sparkles bright enough to have caught my eye and obviously enough common ground for us to connect over. But they also possess certain characteristics or behave in ways that I know don't work for me. I've tried and tried to make it work all the same, not realizing that being so inconsistent with what I know my truth to be is sending a giant mixed message to the Universe. If I say I want one thing, but settle for another, how is the Universe supposed to know what really works for me? If I say I want to be treated with a certain consideration and respect, but allow and accept a partner who treats me in ways that I feel are inconsiderate or disrespectful, I am not living my truth, and I won't ever be fully happy as a result. And it isn't what said guy does or does not do that will have an impact on my happiness. It is the deep-seeded, subconscious knowledge that either I am or am not living as authentically as possible that will determine my happiness. My happiness is my responsibility. I own it. It is up to me to surround myself with relationships, activities, etc. that support my happiness.
This may sound simple enough, but anyone who has gotten real with themselves and tried to look at this knows it is easier said than done. It is damn hard to call yourself out for getting in your own way because we are so conditioned to pointing a finger elsewhere and turning a blind eye. But that all too common euphemism, "I'm my own worst enemy" comes from somewhere. We often stand in the way of our true fulfillment and contentment simply because we haven't taken the time to fully understand what we really want to begin with. And once you've taken that step, the next is looking hard and deep to see the ways in which you can better bring that into being, because there is a very good chance you're doing an awful lot that runs counter to it. If you say you want to be in a loving, committed relationship but just hook-up all the time or always seem to end up with commitment-phobes, where do you think that is going to land you? If you say you want to cultivate a spiritual practice but wile away your days and party all the time instead of meditating, praying or connecting to a spiritual community, what do you expect to happen? If you say you want a career change, but don't bother to acquire new and different skills or search for other opportunities, do you think a new job will just fall into your lap? We all know the answers to these questions, and somewhere inside we know what we need to do.
So do it! Do it now! Do it in honor of 2012. Do it in honor of yourself. Get to know yourself and love yourself enough to be totally, unabashedly truthful then act in complete accordance. You may not be walking down the easiest path this way, but ultimately you will be walking down the happiest one. Here's to it!