happiness

Time Travel

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It never ceases to amaze me that time feels like it truly goes by with a zing and a pop as today marks another solstice. On this same note, as I reflect on the passing of time I continue to be amazed that days of fun, joy, delight, and wonder fly by even faster than the years, while days of grief and pain trundle along like the slow climb of a long train up a steep mountain. As a result of my contemplation on the journey we take through time and space I conclude that it is truly a wonder and wonderful, and ultimately we are the equivalent of time machines time traveling trough the epic story of our lives. Deepening my contemplations and looking back over this last cycle from winter solstice to winter solstice, has brought up memories of an assortment of a spectrum of types of days I have experienced in time.  I note first and foremost that this last cycle marked more long and hard days than short and joy filled, for sure.  Yet, even though this year has been more long and hard that short and sweet, I somehow still feel surprised to all of a sudden be here at another solstice once again. These long nights of the past few weeks invited me deeply into introspection, as they seem to do for all of us, and for me this past year was as if it were just one whole long night of looking inward and mostly looking at that which I did not want to see. Shadow sides are generally like that, ugly enough that we just wish to ignore them, and yet it is in ignoring them that we permit them to run amuck through our lives like bratty children who are never disciplined. It was in the company of an assortment of bratty inner children that last year at this time, against my own personal great resistance, I turned the gaze inward on my darkness and met with the demand of my spirit to deal with my shadows and the deep multi-layered pain that was literally paralyzingly me.

My journey has so beautifully mirrored the Earths journey into darkness and back into the light. It is a slow revolution. As a result of this hard personal work, my honest self reflection, the journey back into my own truth, lies, shadows, and light, is a daily meeting with my deepest and most authentic nature, a daily greeting of my own inner approval, a daily guidance from my own inner authority, and ever more compassion and empathy for others in this world than any day before. These personal boons multiply daily, with every moment of presence I offer myself and my own experience, my own needs, my honest responses, my nurturing of my shadow self like the face I like to call know-it-all Nancy and many many more.  The cumulative effects and affects of my self awareness grow exponentially.

Truly so much of the transformation that takes place in life is slow like the revolutions of the Earth.  As I reap the current rewards of my work, the beaming and joy filled feeling of the glistening of my inner light, I have to acknowledge that many things have been contributing to this experience for many many years, acknowledging that this moment of my own solstice is  the result of a long haul and not an instantaneous happening.  From the car accident that almost killed me eighteen years ago, to not being able to walk last year on this day, to the revelation I had in my yoga practice yesterday, and all of the other stops I have made in my time machine of life throughout the journey, every moment has mattered.  This is the way it is for all of us, we each have our stories, our experiences, and with that, our own unique opportunities to transmute the darkness into light, and shine our inner light more brightly, feeling ultimate elation as we live honestly, our one authentic expression of precious life not to be wasted. Remembering always, it takes the time it takes.

This afternoon the Earth will hold a still point for one moment in the farthest extreme of the northern hemisphere's journey into the darkness. A reminder that it is natures way to have to swing out that far in order to swing back.  At 4:03 pm she will begin her slow ascent back into the light, followed shortly by a new moon at 6:27 pm.  No matter where we are on our own journeys, be it in the journey into our own darkness or back into our light, may we allow these glorious starry happenings of today to be a great reminder that in the darkness the light shines the brightest, and every time we turn back toward the light, every time we set the course for our joy, no matter the length and hardship of the journey, we will reap the blessings that are the gifts of a continuous return to the intentions of crescent moons on their way to fullness.  The fruits born by those seeds become trees that shade, fruits to harvest, lumber to house, and roots to support us for a lifetime.

Growing trees, waxing moons, planets shifting on their axes's, humans pursuing the spaciousness of their spirits and the ultimate joy of their hearts, all time machines warping the fields and dimensions of space. All those zings, pops, and slow undulating sounds of the clanking of rails inviting us forever to enjoy the ride.

Happy return to the light.

With love, always, in all ways, from my time machine to yours, for giving, in joy,

Genevieve

The Best Medicine

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Gratitude is the medicine that connects us to our hearts and grounds us into the magic of every precious moment. It is so easy to become distracted and dismayed, confused and consternated as we live out our days aligning happiness and satisfaction to outcomes and circumstances. This kind of value placement not only does not serve, it also continues the digging of a well of dissatisfaction and discontent. Over time, a lifestyle focused on what one does not have, and what is not working out, can lead from dissatisfaction to disease. Dis-eased in stress and discontent, with comfort, happiness, and peace no where to be found is not the path to a meaningful life. Gratitude is the medicine that lifts us out of the well of lack and fear and into the lofty delight of abundance, joy, and ease. It is impossible to feel lack when in the space of gratitude for all you have. It is impossible to be overwhelmed with anger when in the gracious state of gratitude for the opportunity to have the experience to grow from the circumstance. It is impossible to feel the constriction of greed when in the delight of gratitude for the abundance of what you have to give. It is impossible to stay overwhelmed with grief when overwhelmed with the gratitude for the opportunity to have loved that which you have lost. Gratitude for the lesson leads to forgiveness, and gratitude for a life of lessons leads to presence in the moment. Gratitude for the present moment, as it is, leads to peace, and gratitude for the opportunity to know peace and live in peace and choose peace, leads to ultimate happiness while looking back in the rear view mirror of a meaningful life.

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” -Meister Eckhart

With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving, In Joy, Thank You,

Genevieve

 

Knocking on the Door of What Serves

There are many common misconceptions of yoga, one is that yoga is just exercise, another is that just by practicing yoga you are becoming more spiritual. As a yoga teacher I find I spend a bit of time in my classes trying to clear up these misconceptions and more, as well as explain the value of a spiritual practice that uses the physical one as a vehicle. Just to be clear here, from my understanding and background there is no right way or wrong way, only what serves. What serves however, changes, and the practice of yoga is deep enough and spacious enough to make room for all changes in the search for what serves. From the place of yoga as exercise to yoga as spiritual practice and everything in between there is value to be gained. How deep any seeker goes is up to them. With all that being said, there is an essential focus to better oneself by knowing the trappings of ignorance and the value of awareness. In the wake of ignorance is often hurt and suffering, therefore the more one pursues awareness the more one may experience peace and contentment. Knowing the difference between powers generated from the energy within and power generated from a willingness to surrender to something greater is a point of awareness that can greatly serve and is the premiss of a spiritual practice. One of my yoga teachers once said, “this practice (hatha yoga) will make you more powerful, but it will not make you more spiritual.” The sentiment referred very specifically to the quality of hatha yoga that enhances the power of ones energy body by dropping restriction in the flow of energy creating more potency and energetic power through this process. With increased energetic power comes an increased responsibility of the practitioner to act with more mindful integrity, because the heightened power increases the risk of ones potential to go out into the world and abuse the world in a state of ignorance. The ignorance being the unknowing of the quality of ones great power and the effect such a powerful state can have on others.

I find it is common to come across people with great personal power who have not refined their awareness of it and therefore their boundaries around it. These people present themselves commonly in places of leadership and authority, and from their ignorance can flow hurtful words and actions, such as the art teacher who criticizes a piece of work without sensitivity to the artists expression and their vulnerability in expressing themselves.

Anyone who has practiced yoga for an extended period of time and in so doing has advanced their practice, has probably experienced a heightened sense of personal power, the ability to accomplish ones desires, to rise above adversity, to face ones challenges, to set goals and intentions and follow through, and so on. It is one of the many blessed gifts of the discipline. However, as my teacher said, all that power does not make you more spiritual. Perhaps the power is all you are seeking and the spiritual aspect of the practice brings up feelings of aversion in you. This perspective of the practice is fine, and it serves, until it doesn’t.

In my experience no matter how willful we become, how powerful, how capable, life hands us circumstances that can bring us to our knees. Sometimes experiences so extreme they bring us to our bellies lying prostrate upon the floor of absolute loss at the bottom of the well of deepest grief. Other times, life brings us to a confined space between a rock and hard place, the hard place appearing to look like the edge of a cliff, and perhaps is. Life pulls the rug out from under us leaving us shocked in the wake of deception and betrayal. The general expression in this state of loss is completely embodied and completely devastating, confirmed in an exasperated and hysterical statement of “I don’t know what to do.” When the level of severity of life happening reaches this breaking point, the throwing oneself over the edge point, is when all of that power has very little use in service to us, for in the confusion of no control there is no clear place to direct our energy except into the abyss.

This is where a spiritual practice can have great value. A spiritual practice that gives inward permission to believe in and pursue a relationship with a higher power than oneself. Simple as that. However, as there are many kinds of spiritual practices and many of them are also tied up in religious dogma and loaded words it is common in this day and age of science and extraordinarily accessible information to avoid spiritual practice, to see no purpose for it, to discount its value based on evidence of its use to disempower and not self empower and on and on. Truly the most valuable choices any of us can make are the ones that serve us. Using any discipline to know what serves each of us personally is of great help in making informed choices to do so. Speaking for myself and from the basis upon which I live my life, I am served by a practice of believing in a higher power. I am also served by the practice of believing that the essential nature of that higher power is benevolent without condition with love, and in that all things are allowed, all things are accepted, and all things are always moving in the direction of more beauty and more benevolence. The boundaries, the integrity by which I live are choices I get to make based on what serves me, and this, is as I see it, the essence of free will.  Though there is no fundamental scientific evidence of the greater power I believe in, I see evidence in everything. From the grand intelligence of the universe to the unconditional nature of gravity and the intelligence of my body to heal without mutating into some obscure unnamable creature. I don’t know how it all works, I cannot see any of it working, yet I trust and believe my feet will touch the ground tomorrow, the earth will continue to rotate on its axis, and the next time I get a cut on my knee it won’t grow back another finger. Believing in a higher power is very similar to this and does not have to include any rhetoric of good, bad, evil, and holy, unless that is what serves the person with the beliefs.

Spiritual teachings have existed for thousands of years for a reason. There is something to them. Sometimes they provide answers, more often they provide more questions. Not unlike hatha yoga a spiritual practice can generate great personal power and like all things of power, there is the potential for abuse of that power and the people who stand in its shining light.

One doesn’t ever have to take on the spiritual practices of yoga or any philosophical discipline to see their lives benefit from a concerted and disciplined effort over time, to measure the efficacy of their work, to have integrity and be accountable in value systems and personal actions. However, when life throws down, spiritual belief serves the individual who believes in a higher power to take the leap of faith trusting on the other side there will be a net, to swim in the well of grief knowing that all things in nature change and that love is never gone, and to be ok with not knowing the how’s and the when's, finding spaciousness in their awareness to be present in letting something greater then them self know the design, leading to a state of contentment and inner peace.

The practice of hatha yoga (the physical stuff) will make your more powerful, yet it won’t make you more spiritual, true spirituality takes a more concerted effort than that. If evidence it what would serve you to believe, know that eventually, if one goes looking hard enough, spirit reveals itself everywhere, however like anything we are not looking for, it’s hard to find, if you don’t believe you will.

In the end, the truth is that when we seek beyond our ignorance, beyond our misconceptions, beyond that which we are told are facts, whether it is a spiritual, physical, or scientific seeking, we are always serving ourselves. Expanding into the spaciousness of awareness is where we receive the invitation to contentment and peace, it's up to us however, to take it.

“Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually look out the window to see who’s there.” -Rumi

With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving,

Genevieve