This weekend, I received a letter telling me I wasn't selected to present at a yoga festival I applied to teach at. It's humbling to admit and I wallowed in hours of weepy self pity, for fear I was in the wrong line of work. That my passion should just be a hobby and I should throw in the towel now. I journaled, cried, called friends, sobbed to chad, read pema chodron and woke Sunday morning, puffy eyed, to teach.
It's so crazy to feel so fully sometimes. To be vulnerable in so many areas and work to help people heal themselves, therefore having to always focus on my own healing.
And so this morning, two days after such a huge release, under this cancer/Leo moon, I feel so much gratitude for this tenderness rejection created. I'm doing simple things this morning, playing with Drew, laundry, picking up an always messy home, and my heart is so full. Thankful for a home to clean, healthy kiddos, a partner who is the best listener and support I could ask for, a career to grow in & with and close friends who truly care.
I'm so glad I keep going, despite myself, because I have shit to do. If I wouldn't have shown up to that class Sunday morn, I wouldn't have been able to give those people my specific brand of medicine. And we need each other's medicine! It was one girl's first yoga class ever. That's my favorite. If my self pity would have kept me from that, it would have contradicted the whole reason I wanted to teach at the festival in the first place. It's so easy to forget it's not about me.
To help people realize their peace, I have to realize my own, despite all outside circumstance & opinion. So I'll keep showing up.
People don't come to yoga to learn more about me. They come to learn more about themselves, their bodies, their spirits, their journeys, etc. It's for this reason I mostly speak in 2nd or 3rd person as I weave the theme through the class.
You might possibly know though, that almost all class themes are chosen because I need to hear myself teach them most. I'm feeling anxiety? I teach about how to find peace amidst the chaos. Insecurity? A class on strength & confidence despite imperfection. And so it goes. I truly trust Divine process & inspiration, so I know that my struggles are probably shared in some way by anyone guided to my class that day. The Universe is THAT amazing.
So I've been watching my mind lately. It's REALLY busy in there. ALL. THE. TIME. When I set the intention to see what's going on with those pesky thoughts, I am curious little Alice approaching the rabbit hole. (watch out: ANALOGY AHEAD.) Down I go... the same ol' tunnels every time. It's been the same ones for years. Less dark perhaps, smoother, straighter, I don't know. All I do know is I need a way out. A way out of the old thoughts & ideas about the world around me, myself & other people, the shoulds, the shouldn'ts, the chatter, the judgment, the attachment, the needing. AHH! Just typing them makes me anxious. But I bet you can guess what I taught about last week!
And so I step back. I step back to admire & observe my work. My working mind. I become the neutral witness, watching it all happen. The creation of thought, the patterns, the old ideas, the new ones, the synapsis firing & blazing that same damn trail again. When I become the observer, without judgment (negative OR positive), a thought arises. Whooooo thennnn (in my best mad hatter voice) is the witness? If I'm not the thinker, if I can, for a moment, watch a thought curiously to see where it ends up, without attachment, just passing by...
Whoooooo thennnnnnn am IIIIIIIIIIII ???
I am SPIRIT.
Spirit stepping outside of my relationship to thought (EGO/FEAR).
A very dear friend & spiritual mentor calls it the "She" (choose gender specific pronoun as you wish). So many have spoken about this Thinker. The Judge. The pat you on the back, kick you when you're down, better than - worse than, same ol' shit Ego monkey mind that rattles around in there all day telling you what you SHOULD do or be.
And so I step back. I practice. I watch my breath, without controlling it. I observe the sounds of the room, without attachment. I feel that quad is less flexible than it was yesterday & I hear the thoughts arise because of that... so down the rabbit hole I go, this time following behind the Thinker. Where will SHE end up? Probably that same ol' spot.
The most interesting part of this process is that I can work with my willful Ego creative monkey mind. I can use my tools :: writing. silence. stillness. yoga.... to see the patterns. I can anticipate the next turn down the tunnel & release all attachment to the outcome. (even if SHE ends up eating one of those pesky cakes that shrinks her to the point of no return through the mind's doorway)
SO! with ME as my WiTNESS, there's a separation. I (big bold magical sparkly Spirit-filled beautiful capital I) am not the perception of my reality or my thoughts, so therefore, I must be something else.
I am a Divine Soul.
And as my Soul as my Witness, It won't let me down.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren't little.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness is our path to the ever fascinating microcosmic realm. Gratitude & big picture awareness helps us see the Universal macrocosm & expand our consciousness.
When we are aware of the present, we have the ability to expand our relationship with exactly what’s happening right now. Then we can use our senses to connect with the world around us. When we are fully aware of the beautiful rays of sun on the clouds, how our dinner tastes or the echo of our friend’s laugh, we love the world more. We appreciate the little things.
When we focus our drishti (gaze) inward or on what is right in front of us, what we’re looking at changes. Try it. Put your finger (any but the middle ;) in front of your eyes. Stare at one wrinkle on that finger -- the rest of the world blurs away. Then look past your finger into the distance -- we lose perspective of the finger but we can see what's going on around us. Like photographers, we're constantly in a state of adjusting our focus & energy.
“When we change the things we look at, the things we look at change.”
Sometimes all that’s needed is a change in perspective. Gratitude, reverence, compassion – these all change our perspective.
There are times when we can take the micro view too far. When we are so caught up in the details that we don’t see the whole picture. We’ve all had that moment… where the cosmos collide. A situation frustrates us because we have fear of losing what we have or not getting what we want. Maybe I'm stuck in traffic, full of anxiety, rushed to get where I need to go & I see that one car that's blocking everyone else. I go to beep my horn but stop short because I realize it's a cute little old lady, just barely able to see over the wheel. I think of my grandma & how I'll be an old lady someday (hopefully cute with long white hair) & I don't beep. My heart slows. I'm filled with compassion. ALL because of a CHANGE in perspective. I become mindful of my urgency, I come into the moment & I'm able to access kindness & connection. At first, I'm only concerned in that moment with my tiny world, my plans & schedules. Then I connect with my humanity. I feel at once like I am in the Universal flow once again – just because I step back & attempt a different view.
So we need to find the BALANCE because when we’re near sighted, we can’t see the forest for the trees. Conscious living is thinking about how our actions, thoughts, environmental footprint, relations – how they affect the communities we live in, the country, the world, the Universe, all realms & planes of existence – the macrocosm… whew! Everything we are & do affects everything else.
When move into big picture perspective, we grasp again what is truly important in life: faith, love, family, friends, connection, integrity & nature. We’re able to move out of the ego place.
As humans, we are in the middle of the micro & macrocosms. We are neither atoms nor planets, rocks nor Gods. We are constantly in control of our focus – we can choose where to look & how to view it. We can do 10 things at once & not be present for any of them because we are full steam ahead towards a goal that will affect the whole world or we can be present for our child & let the house work go.
Our right brain easily sees big picture, left brain sees the details – when we balance & focus on our intuition – we can easily navigate between both views depending on where the positivity lies.
“Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.”
The amazing paradox is that when we practice mindfulness, we are at peace. When we are at peace, we positively affect the universal energy & all other beings. Small picture & big picture collide!
The little moments – those are the big ones. The ones we will cherish the most after they pass. The ones that fill our hearts & shift our perspective forever more.