opportunity

Without Practice Nothing Can Be Achieved

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Perhaps you are already thinking of New Years resolutions? Maybe, like me, you are resolving to do new things and experience life differently all the time? Hopefully all of these desired courses of action require a small, if not large, level of difficulty and will present you with a true opportunity to achieve something different from what you now know. If this is the case than it is quite likely that at first you will meet with adversity and challenge, you will miss the mark if not fail completely. The question will then become how important is it to you? If it has a modicum of importance than you will return to try it again and again. Over time, that which was challenging will become less difficult, and eventually that which once eluded you, will become your nature. This is the nature of practice, and it’s rewards. The process of revelation, from ignorance into knowing is effectively a pealing away of layers and veils of sensitivity that limit the space of perspective until individual consciousness is united with all encompassing consciousness. To know yoga and unconditional love requires passing along this journey. There is a process of assimilation that cannot take place solely through the passing on of information, solely through the teachings and the words. Rather, we must experience the expansive and personal unraveling of belief and attachment in order to arrive at the door of truth and understanding. Experience is the path that guides us to such a threshold.

Satisfaction comes from rising to the call of the arduous and difficult, and learning how to fail well. Failing well means getting back up, getting back on the mat, allowing yourself to be vulnerable after heartbreak. This is where the value of true achievement dwells and this is the reward referred to in the famous quote “Practice and all is coming”, attributed to Pattabhi Jois. This is the teaching of Patanjali’s first yoga sutra, Atha Yoganusasanam, traditionally translated to “Now the exposition of Yoga is being made.” Basically, without experience, no true knowledge can be gleaned. “Now is the time to get to the mat.”

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

Genevieve

It's All OK

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I got the news that she had passed and the wave of sadness gently began to roll in. I would not be surprised to hear it was a drug related death, that was the way she had been recently, awash in a sea of drugs. Knowing that does not soften the blow as I think back to the woman she was before.             I was fifteen when she told me I was like her and I would always be a smoker. She was right and she was wrong. I was seventeen when she told me how her son saved her life as he and I scavenged for Easter eggs in Des Montes, he was a perfect two year old excuse for me to engage in childish activity. He was an even better excuse for her to stop using and to try to put the pieces back together. I was in my late twenties when I saw her beginning to fall apart again while I was slowly trying to put myself together. Since then I have felt the waves of grief rise and fall in the wake of countless drug related deaths, nothing to be done about now, for them.

My wise mother always says, “No one has the corner on suffering.” She is right, and yet what we do in the face of our stories is where we set the stage for the outcome of the tale. I am a smoker, in that I have an addictive personality. I no longer smoke, but that does not mean I don’t want to. If I were to light a cigarette I would be a full-blown smoker again in a day, I know this about myself. I also know that like all my friends who died of over doses, it could have been me. So why wasn’t it? Because somewhere along the way I realized that did not have to be the choice I made. I realized there was more to all my hurt and pain and I wanted to know it, I wanted to feel it, I wanted to integrate it into a story with a happy or happier ending. We are all going to die after all.

My sister wisely said, “She is in a better place now, free from all that pain and turmoil.” They all are, and we all will be to when we leave these mortal bodies. Yet the real challenge, the one that can make us or break us, is to find that freedom while in this flesh.

My friend called last night to say her brother od’d over the weekend. So many fall to drugs. I think of the Lauren Hill song, “I used to love him, but now I don’t.” Remembering when drugs were new, exciting, fun, now all that is just awash in a haze of nostalgia and naivety. Many of the people in my memories of the times I used to love drugs are now dead. And yet, there was a gift in those experiences, an opportunity to see beyond the veil and into the depths of consciousness, heart, anger, and fear. Just like everything though, too much is too much.

I will always be a smoker, but I refuse to always be trapped in a story or lifestyle of limitation. I will always feel the loss of my friends and loved ones who could not find their way to freedom in these bodies, but I will not see those losses as a reason to give up hope for every other human on this planet including myself. It always makes sense to me to learn something from that which cuts deeply and what I take away from this loss is the remembrance to make good choices, life affirming choices, life enhancing choices…and not to judge the pain of others.

My heart yearns to hug her and tell her it’s all ok, but I know she knows that now. So I share it with you instead. No matter how big the scar, how deep the cut, how sharp the pain, it is all ok, it is all a gift, it is all an opportunity to know a deeper freedom, a more spacious spirit, and a more loving heart.

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

Genevieve