Why Easter Is My Favorite Holiday…

Easter should be my favorite holiday of the year.

Not because of the bunnies. Although I love bunnies!

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Not because of the chocolate and I do love chocolate!

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Not because it is Spring or Equinox although I wait impatiently for it throughout the entire winter.

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It is because it is the only social cultural religious public recognition of Transformation through Death that I know of. It is the only time we, collectively, recognize death as a part of the human experience.

It is also a time that illustrates an aspect of Spirituality that isn’t talked about much: Transformation – the cycle of Death and Rebirth.

Of course, if you think about it from a strict Christian stance I think, Jesus was the only one who could die and be reborn or resurrect. But put the word resurrect aside and call it Spiritual Rebirth then it does seem that conceivably I could do that and have done throughout my years of practice.

This kind of Death that Easter represents, to me, is not in the corporal sense as in a person dying, leaving this earth. It is not only about rebirth as in only Jesus can do it. It is about the psyche and the heart’s ability to transform.

We Die And Are Reborn In Every Moment – If We’re Lucky

I think of Easter as a celebration of the Death and Rebirth of our Psyches over and over again. Going through Transformation(s) is a necessary part of the Spiritual process toward Awakening. We die and are reborn in our lives. You may not know it, but you go through small death/rebirths with every moment. You may ignore the signs of wakefulness or ego-death, and in response to it, in fear of the little ego-death (Thanatos), you refortify your self (small ‘s’) every time you run into difficulty thereby starting the death/rebirth process all over again (karma). Without awareness, we slip back into our neurosis that veils the True Essence of our own Beings.

The Work – Practice

Any practice worth its Spiritual Weight puts the practitioner through the throes of a kind of death any time (maybe not every time) they sit on their meditation cushions or stand on their mats, or chant or do breath work, etc.. And any practitioner wanting Samadhi which is a state of transformative essence, has to accept this as part of the practice.

You’re On Your Own – As You Should Be

Growing up Catholic, Easter was about suffering and resurrection and what Jesus can do for us.

Now as a mature woman, I realize that I’ve always known there is a flaw in thinking that. No one can do this work but ‘me’. The work is available to me as an adult. It needs a certain kind of maturity that comes with experience. But not the experience that is about traveling a lot (external world) or having a lot of schooling or street smarts (intellect). It’s the experience of existence, moment to moment, life unfolding that opens you up to this process (internally) – only you, the individual can know when that time is to delve into this work.

If You Let The Divine/Universe Guide You

As psyches, we are constantly in flux. It’s like our True Self is in a cocoon for our whole lives and it starts out as an opaque vessel, hard and impenetrable. If you let the Divine/Universe guide you through your life then metamorphosis will take place. The cocoon becomes transparent and it is apparent that growth and change are happening inside. Transformation from the inside out. You can’t see it happening until the outer layer/outer body becomes transparent. And finally what emerges into the world is something other than what it started out as. The butterfly doesn’t need to die corporally in order to change and Be this change. It needs to die to the caterpillar it once was. But not only does the physical body change and it only changes in order to Serve the Essence or Spirit of what has emerged: “Dying ego-ically” as it were, in order to transform is the crux of the success of Transformation.

So then symbolically, Jesus’ story represents the Spiritual Transformation from a Secular life to a life with god, union, Yoga. This is what I would like to think the celebration of Easter is about. The celebration of Transformation from one state to another, the death of one immoveable identity to an existence without labels; An existence of Openness and Self-knowledge.

And although Christians to a certain extent can be very maudlin about the whole process, it is a time of celebration – Spirit over Ego, Awareness over Blindness, Wakefulness over Sleep. It is a celebration to recognize that we all have the capacity to change and grow Spiritually.

 

 

Madness.

crazy

This photo from this site: http://stottilien.com/tag/shadow/ (a great read btw)

 

Madness – “Crazy” and Depression are two different things. Madness or Crazy were thought to be a gift bestowed upon individuals in Aboriginal societies. You have to be sort of mad to see god or the workings of the universe. Gurus (saddhus) are mad with the knowledge of god and their culture supports and even reveres them. Most of the Saints would have been thought mad by our standards. Madness or crazy that Robin Williams was talking about I can only IMAGINE what he meant -is the crazy that is the true Creative Spirit. The spirit that makes you act in spite of criticism, in spite of rules like gravity. I don’t mean rules like laws – I mean rules like you can’t fly. The crazy that comes from seeing the truth about life. The madness is the creative spark that it takes to turn this knowing of the true workings of god or the universe, this intuitive vision into art – funny, sad, poignant, inspirational, dirty, truthful art. Depression comes from the pressure of being constantly asked, chided, cajoled, ridiculed, forced to conform to the systems of the material world – the bigotry, the separateness, the fear. It goes directly against the truth that is real and tangible only to the artist. Depression is the weight of keeping your head in this world and your heart in the creative energies of the universe. Depression is the weight of knowing you can really fly but you are tethered to this reality. Depression comes from knowing that if you don’t conform you will be isolated by and from our society (madhouses and asylums, psych-ward). There is no support or acceptance of those who fly outside the Norm. FLY in the face of it. And let those who don’t get it try to figure it out later.

 

This is in response to this comment about #RobinWilliams standup piece about keeping a little madness. He was full of the Creative Spirit. You can see it, hear it… beautiful Robin.

http://www.upworthy.com/robin-williams-advice-for-people-who-are-depressed-is-really-touching-and-important?c=reccon1

Wisdom

Old Woman

Photo Credit: Old Lady by Kevin Demers, Ecuador; cropped

Wisdom can come at any age. Aging just reminds us of it in the nick of time… You don’t have to wait for it to come upon you. The Life Within is constant but unseen to most like the water that flows under the crust of the earth. Dig deep and you will find it and be refreshed!

Link to article: http://www.ramdass.org/the-life-within/

 

 

What I Offer At The Studio Has A Lot To Do With What I’ve Experienced In My Life…

I grew up with the notion that women were less than. This attitude was perpetuated by both parents and then siblings. I did not believe this but was victim to it time and time again. I became quiet and reserved with my feelings yet expressed my opinions aggressively. I was confused a lot of the time about who I was and what I was doing, who to love and who loved me. It took me a long time to unravel the mess that was my childhood because it was all about me trying to appease those around me, rather than listening to myself… I lost sight of who I was.

My spiritual practice and training – once I realized that it was do or die, allowed me to become whole again. Through this work, I realized my fullness, and I was able to see a way through.

This is (one of the reasons) why I practice and teach yoga, meditation and offer Transpersonal Therapy.

I believe I can assist those who want it, to see a way through as well. I realized both victim and perpetrator are in constant protection mode because of their feelings of emptiness and vulnerability. I can guide the process of unravelling and then the reasserting and rebuilding that comes after.

I grew up in a family that believed that you have to be “crazy” to go to a therapist. But I soon learned that this is a process of growth and discovery (when done well) and not an exercise in labeling and pointing fingers.

I believe EVERYONE should seek out self-knowledge – to practice self-awareness/self-observation through any means – the best of which are: yoga (taught by a teacher that practices this not only the postures), meditation (taught by a teacher that practices to see passed the egoic nature), and therapy (facilitated by a person who believes that the spirit is a huge part of the equation and that it’s not about “fixing” you). All of this can bring you leaps and bounds into another and more full sense of self that calms the storms of self-absorption/self-centredness. (Self-observation/awareness is opposite to self-absorption/centredness).

Why am I telling you this? Because this is what I do. I offer those who seek it – wholeness through the therapy I offer, and the yoga classes and meditation (private or semi-private) I have at the studio. I believe I have experienced all this – the prejudice, the name calling, the putdowns, the self-doubt, etc. – in order to work through them and come out the other side with understanding and equanimity so that I can be a light to those who are still in darkness and who believe and feel that there is more to them than what those around them are saying, and who would like to live more fully and more present in their own lives.

 

Here’s the article that inspired this note:
http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-women-arent-crazy/

Missing the Point…

This and that.

This and that.

The 50s moral conduct police are back: *Just sit tight while I’m reviewing the attitude of doing right. There is this trend on most social media sites to *accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mr. In-between.

Christian Ethic As Yoga

Sound familiar? It should. It is the uber Christian Right attitude of the 50s. And although the name of the social group has changed from Christian to Yoga, it is the same thing. The mores which are associated with Yoga these days come from the same pressures of the material and social/religious worlds that the 50s (and before) were influenced by and have nothing to do with Yoga and its teachings.

Like any belief system, it is an attempt to codify, encapsulate and synthesize the teachings of the Existence of Universal Consciousness and Divine Energy into a graspable, definable, code of conduct that pretends to understand the ineffable nature of Spirit. Once the intellect tries to make sense out of this eternal, ungraspable reality – it is done the same way it has been done for centuries – it is reduced to a myopic view of how one conducts oneself in the society that strives to understand these energies.

This And That

Again, it’s about taking one thing and elevating it to cult status (positivity/god/angel) and casting the other down into the abyss (negativity, devil). Even a well-known pop spiritualist does this. The idea that: all problems are illusions of the mind, without revealing that then all successes (the opposite) are also illusions of the mind. Only half the story is being told and it is irresponsible of anyone to not fully disclose what it is. If one: 1. frees the heart from hatred, then ideally one must free the heart from loving sentimentally – both are projections of our own psyches and therefore reflections of our need to control and protect. And if one: 2. frees the mind from worry, then it goes without saying that one must free the mind from planning/dreaming – both are a result of the thinking mind and therefore as a spiritual being, one must live out one’s life following one’s dharma, not directing it. 3. live simply, again is misconstrued as something it is not. The projection is – depending on the “values” of the society, a reflection of that “value” and has nothing to do with what living simply really means. The outward appearance is taken into consideration not the attitude with which one lives simply – as in looking like a hippy could be misconstrued as living simply or taking on the protestant ethic of living could be just as misguided. It is the attitude with which we live that expresses simplicity. 4. give more – again with what attitude? If one gives for one’s own sake (I’ll look good, I get a write off, I need to feel needed, I want to help) then, personally, I do not want your charity. Really. 5. taking less – again with what attitude? You get the picture.

Who Am I?

It’s a judgement call and who’s the judge? Who is it that decides when one is giving less and taking too much? What I mean by Who is the eternal question that Ramana Maharshi put to himself and everyone he met afterward – “Who is it that wants? Who is it that needs? Who is it that asks the question? etc. Who am I?

Before one can dissolve the ego into the ‘I’, the practice then is to cultivate an attitude that ALL things within our understanding and beyond it, must be taken equally into our mind. One must not have sway over the other. The weight of one has to be the same as the other. Mr. Inbetween or the Buddhist concept of the middle way is the way to calm the mind. Then once the mind has calmed, through mindful reflection on Who Am I – the Ego can release all concepts of “this and that” and sit in the quiet knowledge that ALL THIS THAT WHICH IS SEPARATE FROM US IS the Illusion of the Mind. AND ALL THAT IS – IS ONE.

* from the song: Accentuate the Positive

** Link to Ramana Maharshi

The Road I’ve Travelled…

ImageI received a message in a bottle: “You can never learn less; you can only learn more. The reason I know so much is because I have made so many mistakes.” – Buckminster Fuller.

Although I found this quote to be accurate in describing me and my life’s wandering, I have to say that I don’t really want to use the word “mistakes”. Mr. Fuller might have resonated with the word, he had to have to write this, but I can’t say I do.

Twists and Turns

I believe we go through life as we should. Twisting and turning, having ups and downs, starting and stopping, changing direction as we do a thought in mid-sentence. There is not one thing that I’ve done in my life that I would call a “mistake”. I did what I have done for one of two reasons – either it was the only option at the time and I couldn’t see around the situation in my present moment or I saw a need or a value in going down that particular road a little further to see where I end up – I had a notion, a feeling about it.

Who Is Choosing?

What am I saying? I really did not “choose” to do anything. This is the road that which was shown to me and on which I travelled, for better or for worse, really there was no choice.

As a Spiritual Being, I believe that and I don’t see much wrong with it. It makes sense to me. The twists and turns of my life, as the quote says are why I know so much about a lot of things…yes. All that I know, experienced and thought about, all inform me in remarkable and profound ways. I would never regret, resent or want to change one moment of my life. The word mistakes makes me feel that I should or would want to and I don’t.

Experience Begets Knowledge

So… I would then say this: During the evolution of my consciousness, I have experienced necessary and intense states of clarity, confusion, elation, and heartache. These took me to deeper levels of being and contentment. While on a secular level I may have, at times, displayed lack of direction to those around me, I was being directed inward first. Now looking back at all I’ve accumulated, my knowledge and my practice, I can say that I’ve learned a great deal about the world and more importantly about myself, and am more clear and resolved than ever before within myself. How can anything I’ve been through be a mistake when it has led me to this profound awareness?

The mystery continues to unfold. I am grateful for all of it.

Restless Spirit: A Beautiful Space Waiting for You

Restless Spirit: A Beautiful Space Waiting for You

Come join me on Thursdays for the BEST meditation practice you’ll ever do!

Every Thursday Evening:

6:15pm-6:45pm – Intro to Meditation: If you don’t want to jump head long into a long meditation session, why not come and learn what it’s all about.

These intro sessions are there to let us get to know one another, let you get to know what meditation is all about and give you a little practice so you can acclimatize to sitting and the space (and the teacher/facilitator – that’s me!)

7pm-8/8:30pm – Heart Path Meditation Sessions – These sessions are a gift really. 🙂

You may have some trepidation upon entering the room: What’s it all about? What are we going to do? How’s it going to affect me? (these questions can be answer in the 6:15pm class) – but after the session you feel so good and so refreshed that it is like having come out of a really great sauna or yoga class. The heat of the practice is so revitalizing and warming that stepping outside you’d swear it was Summer!

Come join me! And make Restless Spirit into a community of awesome Spirit-ness.

Please bring your own meditation benches or cushions to sit on if you have them. Thx.