Daily Archives: December 10, 2015

#reverb15: Radical Acts of Love

magicforest

Prompt: When we heal our spirits the ripples are felt from the highest branches to the deepest roots of our family trees. What radical act of love or non-conformity did you embrace this year? How did performing this alchemy affect your ancestors and what is the gold waiting to be shared with future relations?

I stopped working out with a trainer. This was one step of a larger transformation, but it was one of the biggest. I decided to take back my own power, my own authority over my body. I no longer was going to move my body the way someone else told me to move it. I was no longer going to feel guilt or shame about how I looked. I was no longer going to control and manipulate and punish my body. I wasn’t going to force it to be anything it didn’t want to be. I wasn’t going to regret or reject or even hate it for being something other than.

At the end of meditation practice, we do something called “dedicating the merit.” Basically that means whatever good karma we’ve generated by way of our practice, we offer it in the hopes that it does some good. When I teach yoga, at the end of class, I say “may the merit of our practice together ease suffering, in ourselves and in the world.” It’s in this spirit I imagine the “gold waiting to be shared with future relations.” Maybe the more women who live in a way that honors their body, in a way that nourishes their whole self, the less suffering there will be in the world. And if I can be just one of those women, an example to those who came before me or those who come after, even if I’m an example that’s not entirely successful, I’ll feel like I’ve offered something of value.

#reverb15: Secret Ingredient

secretingredient

Prompt: As you may have gathered, the theme of this year’s Reverb reflective writing challenge is Alchemy. This was my word for 2015 but it has been so rich and evocative that I may just keep it for life. Just the idea of alchemy makes me curious. Like, what if you had to give someone a recipe for how to make a YOU? What major ingredients are required? What method do you recommend? How would your je ne sais quoi be recreated?

I had a reading a few years ago with an intuitive counselor. Kind of like a psychic, I suppose. She told me that when I was born, the experience for me was something like a thermal shock. The best way to describe that is to think about how sometimes when you put a block of ice into a glass of water, it cracks and makes that loud popping sound. It’s because the temperature of the water and the ice cube are so different, and the extreme stress of that difference causes the ice to crack. The object entering the new environment can’t withstand the stress of that difference.

I have thought about that a lot since she said it. That’s not to say I “believe” what she said about me, just that it’s an interesting thing to contemplate. And even if that isn’t exactly what happened, there’s something about it that feels true. Maybe I took a Bodhisattva vow at the very end of my last life, and was surprised when I was born again, shocked by the reality of what I’d promised — to keep coming back, to devote myself to easing suffering until there was none left. Maybe being born at that particular time was too much of a shock — during the Vietnam War, four years after Kennedy was assassinated and only five months before Martin Luther King would meet the same end — not that I know if reincarnation is even real.

What I do know is true is that I’m a highly sensitive person and an introvert. This can make navigating an experience so inherently uncomfortable in a world so full of other beings incredibly difficult. The first part of my life left me very confused. I tried to do things the way I thought I should, but it just didn’t seem to work out. In this next part of my life, I somehow was lucky enough to find practices, (yoga, meditation, writing, and dog), that enabled me to meet confusion and suffering with wisdom and compassion. And while it’s easy to regret the time I spent struggling, the struggle galvanized my understanding, deepened my knowing. Without it, I’d be ignorant of the ways we all struggle, and as such, I wouldn’t be much help.

I suppose the secret ingredient for me is suffering. I don’t mean to say that it was a gift, or that it was somehow my fate or even necessary. What I mean is that I would not be who I am, where I am, if I hadn’t suffered, if I didn’t have to learn how to meet that suffering, to withstand it, to go on, to not give up. I am stronger because of it. I have clarity because of it. I am still here in spite of it.

#reverb15: Alchemy and Serendipity

reverb2015

Prompt: While alchemy is the active process of creating something of value, serendipity is the passive path to finding an unexpected treasure. Looking back through 2015, what did you diligently try to create? What great thing did you just happen to find?

In 2015, I diligently tried to create: space for myself to become this new thing that’s emerging which I’ve already imagined, confidence to teach a regular yoga class, willingness to let my body be what it is, time to rest, healing in my body, momentum for “my business” (it still feels weird to call the work I do outside of CSU a “business”), connections with people doing the kind of work I am as well as those who want to be the recipients of the work I’m doing, and patience for what doesn’t go the way I want it to go.

In 2015, the great thing I just happened to find: ease with teaching, a natural rhythm and genuine approach, a depth of strength and perseverance that I didn’t realize was there.

#reverb15: The Verdict

image from Kat

image from Kat’s post

Prompt: In her seminal book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott offers the observation: “The evidence is in, and you are the verdict.” Regardless of where you live in this crazy beautiful world, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s been a BIG year. Today, I want to acknowledge that you are here and I am here and we are here. We’re just… HERE. That feels like a BIG DEAL. And, that being said, I invite you to reflect on all that this evinces. What are you the verdict of?

I am the verdict of a universe in love, with all of it, and all of me. There is a longing for me, for us, for all of it to stand in the wonder, in awe of all that is. We are the spontaneous arising of wisdom and compassion, of deep knowing, laughing at the same time there are tears streaming down our cheeks. I am ears made for sound (music and screaming), eyes made for sight (beauty and muck), a nose made for smell (fresh baked bread and shit), skin made for touch (a caress or a pinch), and a heart made for love as well as being broken. I feel in particular to be a manifestation of the desire to ease suffering, for the cycle of violence to stop, for love to win. I am the embodiment of an intention to make things right.