Perspective, Integration, Intelligence and Unconditioning the Heart.

In January of 2014 I suddenly fell into a space of deep pain and personal crises. In response to this I took a hiatus from my regularly scheduled life and journeyed deep into the core of my being and healing. This is a short telling of what I have found, without going to deeply into the personal details. I hope that you will find it informative and perhaps helpful. Genevieve IMG_0138

Perspective, Integration, Intelligence and Unconditioning the Heart.

In pursuit of unconditioning my own heart to experience a life of more happiness, I have recently found myself in an opportunity to examine my beliefs. As I explore them, I recognize that the fundamental ones are not mine alone, rather they are beliefs most humans commonly share. Humans generally believe that the earth will continue to rotate and that the sun will come up tomorrow, in conjunction with that, we also generally believe that the Earth will continue to shift north to south and back again on its axis bringing winter and eventually bringing summer and vice versa, over and over and over. Humans generally believe that they will die. These beliefs exist because the earth continues to rotate and the sun continues to come up tomorrow. Twice a year the Earth alternates on it's axis bringing with it the turn into, or away from, the light. And, with the exception of a few mystical characters in stories of old, everyone dies. I individually, and we as a collective, generally all choose to believe these things as truths no matter what our religious, social, economic, racial, educational, and superimposed beliefs may be. These fundamental beliefs allow us to have a foundation of steadiness upon which to build our dreams, hopes, new beliefs and ultimately our happy lives.

Looking at life from the perspective of the natural world, or, the way I perceive the natural world to perceive life, helps me to feel more at ease with the nature of being human, with the ever changing circumstances of living, and the inevitability of the death of this mortal body. In the ever changing natural world is evidence that the natural world has a built in intelligence which learns from the experiences of the past, and integrates those experiences into an evolved future. Seeds evolve, animals evolve, DNA evolves, nature evolves.

The ultimate question that nature asks is, How can life thrive? I ask, Why does life thrive? The answer that comes back to me every time I ask this question is, because it can. Why do we ask questions and seek answers? Because we can. Why do we align ourselves to beliefs and dogmas? Because we can. Why do we flux in the rhythms of nature, like nature? Because that is the nature, of nature. Be it energy or something more, intelligence exists in the fabric of all life, and in that intelligence, all life is interconnected. In the interconnection, is the ever evolving tapestry of life thriving in the presence of natures love, unconditional and omnipresent.

In the process of living, I have experienced hard times, challenges, difficulties, hurts, or as the Buddha so liked to call it "suffering". In these experiences it has sometimes been hard for me to identify the omnipresence of love. Not romantic love, rather the love that is at the essence of natures ability to adapt and thrive. These hard times, experiences, challenging circumstances of life are the places where my mind becomes consumed in the story of the hardship. I have found, it is in this place that, great work can be done on the front of belief structures being made or demolished. In the classroom of life, I have learned that it is the belief structures we carry, that become the launchpads of our evolutions and dreams, or our dis-eases and hardships.

Over the past three months I personally have had to face my old stories, my old beliefs and my old hurts. Inevitably this journey has been a process of finding new tools to heal my body, mind and spirit, as well as create pathways that integrate my past and present into a route that allows me to adapt like nature and thrive in the future, rather than just survive. On this personal journey I have had to make choices that were new, that took me out of the places and belief structures that were comfortable and easy, and into places of deep hurt and fear. And, with this was the devising of new belief structures of great courage and love. Discovering along the way that through the integration of my past experiences and stories into new belief structures and experiences that wholeheartedly, without condition, benefit my greater self love, I not only benefit myself, I inevitably benefit the whole interconnected fabric of life that I am constantly in relationship with. This is a direct reflection of natures intelligence and natural course of adaptability and evolution. As time passes I now see these so called challenging experiences as life's greatest opportunities to know love and natures built in love of learning and evolving in love with love, unconditionally. The fundamental beauty of natures love, is that it is unbound, always spacious, always allowing, always present and always available and always intelligent. Just as our shared beliefs of the laws of this natural world; sun rising, seasons continuing and bodies dying, create the foundation that is the stepping off place from which we create our happy lives; it is our own true unconditional self love and evolving relationship with ourselves, coupled with wise discernment, through which, the weaving of honor, respect, and love for others, including our relationships to others, that we can emulate and co-create with nature the beautiful and loving tapestry in which all life is held.

Why does life thrive? Because it can.

How does life thrive? With love, and a natural intelligence which recalls and integrates past details of life experiences into what will work better now, and in the future.

It is a very interesting time to be alive on planet earth. So very much is changing, plenty of which could be seen as limiting or a challenge or even suffering. In this time is an incredible opportunity to look back and to look forward, with awareness and prudence and foresight, individually as well as collectively and with greater vision to make choices that integrate what has and has not worked, with a desire for deep self love and the thriving of the greater good of all life, we will all evolve. Evolution is what nature does after all.

With all this said, I am happy to announce that I will be returning to teach at Shree Yoga beginning Monday March 24 at 9:30 am. I am eager to share the evolved knowledge I have gained being a student of life as well as a devoted yogi on life's path, from my new and integrated perspective. I look forward to seeing you there with your bright eyes, loving hearts and curious minds.

From the wide spaciousness of my heart, Blessings and love, Genevieve

Unconditioning the heart, begins in the mind.

Surrender.  Let go.  Release.  Easier said than done. Unless, you are on a long car journey and you really have to go...then when it is time, oh that sensation...it is one of my favorite releases of all. And like a full bladder that must be relieved, all things must be surrendered in time.

In time, this wild ride of a life has absolutely one thing in store for us, that it will end.  In the face of the truth of our someday demise, is another truth; It is probable and practically inevitable that we, each and everyone of us, will have attachments that we will never want to say good-bye too. These attachments may be people, things, money, thoughts and most likely the beliefs that we have built our lives on.  It is in this loving, coveting, knowing, holding onto, that we become limited and bound to the experience of what is, and feel challenged or even afraid to move into that which may become or will be.  I often find myself in a state of wonder as I ponder the fact that nothing remains forever the same, that all things will change, all humans will die, and in the face of this truth I question how it is we as a collective have not found a way to be more at peace in the process of surrender, in the face of loss, in the transitions of change.  Perhaps there is a fear in the collective conscious that if we (the entire human race) found this way, surrendering always with ease, we would become quite bored?  Perhaps we would find that everything from going to sleep, waking up, using the toilet, loosing a job, loosing a finger or even more, a leg, and loosing the ones we love to be all too easy?  I do not know.  What I do know is that energy is eternal, love is existent in everything, and it is a limited belief of the mind that says "just because something is no longer in form it no longer exits".  I have also come to understand through the passing days of my own life that the facing of that which we do not know, mostly in the question of what lies beyond living, is the foundation upon which most practices of spirituality and religion or non-religion are based.

To know the unconditional boundaries of love, time, energy, and the universe we must first uncondition our minds of the belief that the boundaries exist.  It is the ultimate surrender, the ultimate letting go.

What would happen if we could perceive love in all things without condition?

What would happen if we could perceive the divine in all things without condition?

I propose we would know a state of peace John Lennon invited us to Imagine.  Or even more tangible, we may hug each other more often, and say I love you more often with deep tenderness and conviction, rather than suspicion or fear.

The fundamental tenant of the spiritual practice of yoga is Ahimsa, the practice of Non-Violence, or as I like to see it, the action/s of Loving Kindness. If we wish to truly honor the beauty of Ahimsa, surrendering our preconceived notions of good/bad, right/wrong, this/that, black/white, and letting in the all encompassing power of love without condition, by feeling, or even more profound, thinking with the heart, is where we must begin.  This does not mean that the value of active intelligence has no place in love, rather it means the heart guides the active intelligence to choices of thinking that encompass unconditional love.

One can actively give more power to the practice of loving unconditionally and letting go of belief structures that do not serve, with a practice with mantra and meditation.  I find in my own practice the following mantra to be a powerful vehicle into the spaciousness of my heart through the softening of my mind.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Lokah:  The location of all universes existing at this moment Samastah: All beings living in this location Sukhino: In happiness, joy and free from all suffering Bhav: The divine mood or state of union Antu: May it be so -

The practice of praying for the liberation from suffering for all things existent at this moment, as well as the prayer for happiness and peace, most importantly, includes yourself, as you are, right now, today, faults or no, good or bad, black or white, animal eating or vegan.  If you truly wish to know peace and unconditional love, you must endeavor to liberate yourself from the binds of suffering chained to the limiting, nonsupporting, hurtful, painful beliefs of your mind.  By offering yourself the same love and compassion you would offer another, you come to know the depth and value of your ability to love without condition and be a conduit of love without condition.

If it is inevitable that we will have attachments throughout the duration of our lives, may we attach ourselves to the ever expanding unconditional love of our hearts and spaciousness of our spirits.  May we be disciplined in our practices of self liberation and walking with honor and integrity in relationship to all life.  May we know when to let go, and surrender like the grace of a lowering tide, an exhale of full breath and a caterpillar going into its cocoon.

It is always truly my wish that all beings may be happy, healthy, free from suffering and know peace.  May we share that love and freedom with courage and joy.  May we all reap the rewards of peace from the surrender of the boundaries of our fearful minds together.

I'm doing my best, and admittedly still learning.  However, in the face of surrendering all that I have known to be true before, and making room for all that exists now, I do feel more peace...most especially when I let the energy move, as I do my bladder empty, when it is full...

With love always, in all ways, for giving,


What if?

Today my mind swirls and twirls like a whirling dervish, somewhere between earth and the heavens I am suspended in time and space, to feel.  Feeling deeply the yearning and unrest of the whole of civilization as I dive deep into the web of information that links us all so closely, yet somehow keeps us so far apart.  Another tragic day here on planet earth.  Yet in the midst of the tragic news are pebbles of delight, photographs and stories of great humanity and spirit, art work and words that propel deeper introspection and questioning of the boundary of reality, while displaying only beauty, even as it appears to be otherwise. Reading and reading and reading my mind cannot be satiated.  News of the world, news of my hometown, books, magazines, philosophy and spirituality, no time for fiction today, the end of the Mayan calendar, the end of the world, Facebook (which I actually loath, because I believe in real life socializing) blog posts and of course news of the sad story of the elementary school in Connecticut.  There is almost no way to string all of these thoughts together into something that makes sense, yet i keep searching, looking, seeking the gem that will help me feel more peaceful about the shape of things.

The shape of things.  It rings so loud through my entire being.  The shape of things.  What is the shape of things exactly?  That's what I keep trying to make out, and for all my searching, there just isn't much to hold onto.

As a yogi I align myself to the belief that willing and receptive openness to the constant fluctuation of change that I cannot control will allow me to feel peace in times of challenge and upheaval.  Through the experiences of my life I have been able to experience this, as well as the states which are not this because of resistance in its many forms.  Though I believe these things I feel scared, frightened, nervous, and unsettled, as I farm for information and, at the same time, I also feel entirely hopeful that the human race will rise to the challenge of BEING human.

The shape of things is always changing.

There was a time when I did not study yoga.  I reflect on myself then as an insensitive and not very mindful person with poor integrity and low self esteem. It wasn't that I was something then that I am not now, just that I had not had the opportunity to even pursue that kind of self development.  Being a child of the new millennium means so many different things.  As a young person I acknowledged that there was a gap in the way that my friends and I saw the world versus the way our parents and their contemporaries or even more drastic their parents saw the world.  It wasn't hard to see why, the world had changed so much since they were born.  I was born in the era of MTV and Nintendo, nuclear bombs and Apocalypse films, during high school it became fashionable to come out of the closet, whether you liked it or not, we all listened to rap music.. Nowadays children are being born into a world with the question of will the world still be around in a few decades, looming over their heads.  Discounting human myths and fairy tales, the oh so real situation of global warming, excessive use of not replenish-able natural resources, the failing economy, natural disasters left right and center, school shootings, this is the story of their childhood.  It is clear to me the differences in our childhoods as I acknowledge more and more that I don't see children playing outside all that often anymore, and as video games have become extremely awesome in their technological advances, who could blame them.

When I was a disgruntled angst filled teenager there was one song that seemed to tie it all together.  That song came from a time I was convinced I should have participated in, as I watched those around me ignorantly enjoy the end of Bill Clinton's economical paradise.  (Looking back, even though I was in high school, I see how much more people had then, how much easier it was, even for those of us who had very little, oh Monica...)  I just couldn't understand how thousands of people could create a movement of peace love and happiness and then turn into capitalist money grubbing pigs, I still don't quite frankly, and I couldn't understand how the people of my generation were more interested in glam and reality t.v., than what was so wrong with people.  The first high school shooting in America happened while I was pondering these questions, I was a senior in high school.  Those years were horrible years, school shootings, Federal Building Bombings, the first Trade Center Bombing, this was part of the back drop of my generations youth.  It still was so curious to me why in all the thousands of years on this planet together, we hadn't worked out how to get along.  That's why the hippies left me so disappointed, and yet one of their anthems still echoed in my head.

"Come mothers and fathers throughout the land,

and don't criticize what you don't understand,

your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,

your old road is rapidly fading,

so get out of the new, if you can't lend a hand,

for the times, they are a' changin."

-Bob Dylan

Today I just scoured the internet and books I have at home, looking for something to bring it all together, to help me make sense of this sad and senseless world.  I found a slide show of twenty three pictures of things that will rebuild your hope in humanity, I watched you tube flash mobs, and read reflections and opinions on gun control.  In the end, it seems to me that it's all just changing, and changing so fast we can hardly keep up.

The Yogi in me knows that this material plane is a place of magic and mystery for the eternal and divine to manifest and dissolve, only to manifest again into something new.  The Yogi in me knows that change is the only constant, and willingness and receptiveness, allowance and acceptance lead to more peace.

My heart aches non the less.  I feel tired of this story.  It seems to me, that we all are.

I've been tired of this story for a long time, and that is why I was an angst filled loud mouth teenager, an opinionated searching adolescent, a wild and spontaneous young adult, and now a disciplined and free woman.  It is in our questioning and our rebellion that we find deeper meaning, that we connect to more than what is on the surface, and we come to understand what it is to be in peace.

My heart yearns for a world of greater respect and honor.  A world of self respect that comes from sincere gratitude for the blessed gift of living.  My heart yearns for a world of guidelines rather than rules, because humans have lived up to their capacity to self abide and respond with sensitivity.  This is not the world we live in.  We live in a world where poor integrity and greed and selfish scheming are honored, where truth and honesty are put out like last years iPhone.  Where things are all replaceable and disposable, whether they are or not, without thought of action or consequence, where no one is held accountable, from religious leaders to public servants, to even our selves as we gain weight, lose weight, cut ourselves up with knives or words, dampen our lights with drugs and alcohol, smash our spirits and the spirits of others with our carelessness in thoughts, words, and deeds.  Another sad day on planet earth.

However I have hope in man kind.  I have hope that one day man kind will recognize his ability to think for himself, to feel for himself, to act for himself, with mindfulness, respect, honor, and love.

I believe in the words and the lives of men and women like Mother Theresa and Gandhi, Jesus and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Songs like Imagine and Axis Bold as Love, songs like The Times They Are A Changin.  I believe that we have not let Jesus Christ hang out on a cross for two thousand years, to not work this one out.  He's up there for your sins they say, but then when does that make me accountable?  (Jesus was the number one rebel and questioner.)  I believe that each and every human has the capacity to love and be loved, to be happy and safe and to know peace, but none of us can do it alone.

We all live here together, we have to be in it together, despite what separates us, we have to remember what connects us.  This planet connects us, and without her we are nothing.  The whole story of the history of man kind connects us, we share the entire burden of the poor choices we have made.  The story we write for the future generations, will either tell of the beautiful community we fostered or the continuing destruction of the divide and conquer tactic. There is no need to be like everyone, but recognizing with love that which connects us and that which makes us different allows for more peace.

What if?