My Inner Mystic

reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart

Giving Birth to Ourselves

Every morning during my Hana Maui yoga retreat (and sometimes afternoon too), we took a baptismal swim in the Venus Pools, known to be re-birthing pools. I don’t know how the pools came to be known in this way, but I can offer a few guesses based on my own experience.

For me, it was absolutely amazing to jump in and sink into the depths of the pool, totally submerged, to be virtually absent of thought in those moments and seconds of sinking and then rising back to the surface, body and breath suspended in space and time. I remember my first jump, perhaps most memorable of all my jumps.

Venus Pools

Because I was scared, I chose to make the little jump off the bottom rock (keep in mind I had to clear a rock I could see below the surface). The jump, though little, was so very big, so incredibly exhilarating and revitalizing. I felt so alive. I squealed and hollered in glee, in ecstasy, after I broke the surface.

My “official” Venus Pools rebirth, the big contraction that gave way to my expansion, occurred during my emergence from the pool as I slithered and wriggled around, first on my belly and then on my back, head below feet, through what I affectionately call the “birth canal.” I laughed hysterically my first time through the “canal,” feeling so awkward and so challenged to get up and out of the pool. I wouldn’t have it any other way. To make passage through a canal in our adult bodies, to feel the awkwardness, the challenge, the effort it takes to be “born,” to emerge in this life as the fullest and most awake version of ourselves, is so very impacting and transformative, a real rebirth experience.

Reflecting back on my metaphysical rebirth in Maui is helping me to illuminate another rebirth I recently made passage through. I am sitting on the other side of contraction, resting in a place of spacious expansion. Finally. For many long and rather painful weeks I experienced all sorts of difficult contractions and felt the angst of an inner tension and turmoil. The big contraction, the mother of all contractions, has released and I notice that I can breathe easier, that my inner chatter has quieted considerably, that I feel more present in my body and my senses. I am so grateful for the internal shift. I told myself so many times during my contractions that “contraction gives way to expansion,” a concept of the Tantric yoga philosophy I study. Now I can speak to this truth.

We experience the pulse of contraction and expansion repeatedly throughout our lives. Every breath, every moment, every life experience, every life lesson is the pulse of contraction and expansion, an opportunity for rebirth, to give birth to ourselves. Our birthing of ourselves is our awakening into the fullest, most expansive, most vibrant expression of our Self, of our true nature, our essence.

Let’s consider the breath. Every breath is a kind of birth and death, a Samsara, so to speak – the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Some folks connect with a sense of their own mortality in that moment when the breath is suspended in space and time, in the pause between the exhalation and the inhalation. I see it from an opposite perspective. When we inhale our diaphragm contracts; it draws down and creates a vacuum effect that pulls oxygen into our lungs. When we exhale our diaphragm lets go and releases. This letting go, the release of the contraction, is the moment we give birth to ourselves, the moment we expand.

This is what I experienced in my own life. I let go. I was experiencing a multitude of contractions, many that were induced by my wounding.  The biggest contraction was an attached, clingy, graspy energy living in me – my attachment to a desire, a longing for something. My protective mother, the Universe, intervened. First she said (in the form of a cosmic message), “this does not align with you.” And then, as if to reinforce the first message, she was like, “no, this is not happening.” And with that decisiveness, my clingy energy released and I started to notice a shift inside.

I started to come back online. I felt a remembrance of self. I reconnected with my journey – where I’ve been, what I’ve been through, where I am now, where I’m going on my path of unfurling. I began, once again, to touch in to my inner light. I felt reconnected to my power.  I felt an inner freedom and peace.  I felt expansive.  In that space of letting go, my essence began to re-emerge. This re-emergence of self was a rebirth, essentially, a moment of giving birth to my Self.

Circling back to the Venus Pools, I offer one last insight.  Taking the jump is also a letting go – letting go of fear, letting go of control. Sinking into the water, breath suspended in space and time, is a moment of touching into our death. When we rise back to the surface, we are reborn through our breath, a breath that reconnects us to life.  On the other side of letting go is expansion and freedom and bliss.

taking a leap

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Speaking of births, today, April 16, is the birthday of my beautiful friend Jessica.  I honor you for your willingness to dive into the depths of your self and I so cherish our friendship!  LOVE to you today and every day!!  <3 :-)

Loving from the Inside OUT

The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. ~ Diane von Fürstenberg

The calendar tells us that today is a day for love, a day to celebrate love, specifically romantic love.  Instead of celebrating romantic love, I am choosing to celebrate self love because I truly believe that loving others starts with loving ourselves.  The more love we give to ourselves, the more love we have to give to others and the more we love from a place of abundance.

I have been conceptualizing self love through symbols.  Last weekend I was immersed in a yoga teacher training weekend.  We were discussing The Yogic Life and one of my teachers, Bianca, drew this diagram for the group to illustrate this concept.

relationship to self

relationship to self

I was feeling a wee bit troubled that that top triangle was so small in relation to the whole, that in this diagram, the life affirming practices one does to cultivate a positive relationship with oneself was small in comparison.  Sure, our relationship with ourselves is foundational and informs how our lives unfold, but if we wish to grow positive feelings toward ourselves, I think many would agree that we certainly improve how we feel about ourselves and have a better relationship with ourselves when we increase our life affirming practices.

What do life affirming practices look like?  Yoga.  Meditation.  Mindfulness.  Time in Nature.  Sacred Ritual.  Connection and Communion with others who share our values/passions/beliefs.  Therapy (mental health, physical, massage).  A slow, leisurely walk.  Gazing at the Stars.  Enjoying a cup of tea.  Lighting a candle.  Playing with kids.  Volunteering.  Gardening.  Cooking.  Sharing a meal with loved ones.  Singing.  Dancing.  Retreat. . .

I was turning Bianca’s diagram around in my mind and re-conceptualizing it when this wave of geometrical inspiration/insight flowed through me.

BALANCE

BALANCE

I continued to play from this place of balance.  What I discovered in shifting and re-framing the diagram was a symbol for sattvic love.

sattvic love

sattvic love <3

Sattva, the “highest” of the three gunas (strands of existence, primordial energy), is one of my favorite Sanskrit words and its meanings include tranquility, peace, and happiness.  Energetically, sattva is luminous light. Here I have to pause and marvel at my own “genius” / intuitive wisdom.  Luminous light and love…this is *exactly* what I wrote about in “Maui Magic = LOVE.”   In my symbol, I saw an energetic play of sattva; I saw balance, harmony, love.

My contemplation of symbols representing love continued throughout the weekend.  I began to think about love through the symbol for infinity.  What I saw taking shape is something I call the rebound of love, the idea that the energy we send out travels back to us.

the rebound of love <3

the rebound of love <3

I believe our inner dynamic shapes the outer dynamics of our lives.  Do we treat ourselves with kindness and compassion?  If we have difficulty offering ourselves kindness and compassion, how can we offer this to others genuinely and from a place of authenticity?  If we are impatient and irritable with ourselves, those we interact with are likely to be met with impatience and irritability.  The laws of attraction illuminate that “like attracts like.”  If we are angry and irritable inside and out, we are likely to attract angry and irritable people into ourselves.  However, if we are kind, loving, giving, and caring toward ourselves (and others), we are more likely to attract kind, loving, giving, and caring people into our lives.  This is one way we experience an energetic rebound, by attracting someone into our life that mirrors our inner and outer being.

Another way we experience an energetic rebound is to use the loving energy we have cultivated within to shift an interpersonal dynamic without.  I have seen this play out in several relationships in my life.  Over time I have cultivated love and warmth in relationships that were previously difficult and because of this difficulty I suffered.  In places where I might have acted impatiently, I slowed down inside and breathed space into the moment and moved from a place of patience and equanimity.  I began to bring lightness and humor into our interactions.  I began to sprinkle expressions of care and affection, even if these expressions were as simple as “hey, I like your orange shirt.”  I began to infuse more love into these relationships in various forms, shades, and colors.  I showed up and continue to show up differently in relationships – from a place of loving presence.  I have begun to feel the changes.  More love and warmth and care is flowing back to me which affirms for me that we have the power to shape our lives and our relationships by first loving ourselves.

This 14th day of February, I invite you give yourself some love, to do something for yourself that is life affirming, to continue loving yourself throughout the year, and allow the love to flow / bounce back to you.

It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!
― Robert T. Kiosaki

Maui Magic = LOVE

I am shining like the Maui sun.  I am on a high.  I am in love with Maui, with my Maui pod, with life, with the stars in the sky.

I returned late Sunday night from an ePic 13 day adventure on the magical island paradise of Maui.  I spent the first week on my own and had a lot of time to contemplate the night sky and the stars.  I became curious about the stars and asked myself, “what’s a star?”  While we were watching a sunset together I asked my pod mate, Wayne, and he gave me his PhD answer which I’ll synthesize:  stars are made up of gases and the gases are drawn together by gravity.  These gases undergo an elemental transformation which produces a burst of luminous light and BAM – stars!

Last night after yoga I was sharing with my one of my favorite teachers, Denise, about my adventure in Maui.  Her theme for our classes for January and February is Heaven and Earth.  I was connecting to her theme by sharing what I had learned about the stars and BAM, a wave of insight flowed through me.

The synergy and synchronization in my Maui pod was absolutely amazing.  More than once, we’d find ourselves saying the exact same thing at the exact same time in the exact same rhythm.  I remember this happened with me and Rosh a couple of times; I remember one time we said, “I think so” in response to a query from Shayna.  We’d anticipate each other’s thoughts or after one of us shared the other would say, “I was just thinking that exact same thought!”  This happened with me and Shayna a LOT.  Talk about cosmic synchronization and subtle energy exchanges (synergy).

Chatting with Denise, I was reflecting back how stunned I was and am at the laws of attraction that were at play with our group in Maui.  I remember having this conversation with Rosh one night, expressing, “did I attract YOU or did you attract ME??”  I think he had the same answer as my teacher, Denise, “probably a bit of both.”

The whole chemistry and alchemy of the group was incredible.  I saw in each of us a reflection of each other.  Each of us is at a different place on the same spectrum of light, but clearly living in the same light.  Each of us transmits light from amazingly beautiful qualities and some of these qualities shine more brightly in some of us, but we all shine with the same light and we are all moving toward the fullness of the light and the fullness of ourselves.  That light is what brought us together, the six of us – 3 men, 3 women – just like the forces in the sky that pull the gases together to create luminous light.  The light that brought us together is LOVE <3.

heart rock - Haleakala

RoshRosh… I love you for your larger than life personality and I am admittedly star-struck.  I love your playfulness, your ePic sense of adventure, your ballsiness, your upbeat spirit, your self-awareness, your presence, your openness, your honesty, your creativity, your passion, your hopes, your dreams, especially your dream to be a father.  I love you for the Hope you gave me.  I love you for your good vibes.  I love the cuddle bug in you and the shy, sweet guy – he’s adorable (love that guy!).  And…I love you for your fist bump! :-)  I love you Rosh.

WayneWayne… I love the man behind the mask and veils, the guy that lets his hair down and lets loose, who has fun and smiles and laughs, the guy that allows his feelings to come to the surface and permeate his being.  I connect with that guy.  I love that you are becoming that guy more fully.  And…I love you for your generosity, your thoughtfulness, your intention, your bright mind, and for being Wayne.  I love you Wayne.

Kyra @ Coconut Glen's

Kyra… I love you for your smile, your grace and ease, your boundless energy, and your giving and loving spirit.  I love you for your strength and for your vulnerability.  I love your maturity and self-awareness.  I love the natural, gifted teacher in you.  I admire her very much.  I love you for the love you give to others, especially in the food you cook and whip up. I love you Kyra.

JoshJosh… I love you for your sweet, innocent nature, for your thoughtfulness, for your kindness, for your care for others.  I love you for your brazen courage, for your curiosity, for your desire to learn and explore, for your sense of discovery, for your vivid imagination, and most of all, for the boldness and mindfulness and freedom you are cultivating in your life.  I love you Josh.

ShaynaShayna…You are soooo beautiful, inside and out.  I love you for your spaciousness, for your flexibility, for your burgeoning health, for the nourishment you give to others with your loving, affirming, and encouraging words.  I love you for your appreciation of nature, for your humility, for your mindfulness, for your openness, and for your willingness and desire to learn from others.  I love you for your love of all beings, just as they are, for your ability to meet them right where they are and your gift to help them blossom and grow into their fullest, brightest selves.  I love you Shayna.

 

Bright JoyI love you Bobbi Jean, Bright Joy, for your laugh, your courage, your tenacity, your fire, your strength, your thoughtfulness, your presence, your sensitivity, your playfulness, and your child-like spirit.  I love you for your devotion, loyalty, humility, and integrity.  I love you for your insatiable curiosity and desire to learn and grow, for your willingness and eagerness to go deep, to explore the depths of your self and the depths of relationship.  I love you for your insight, for your bright spirit.  I love you most of all for your open-heartedness.  You have been through so much and yet you stand strong, heart open.  You are an amazing being, a bright, JOYful light.  You are a gift to this world and I love you.

Maui pod

to my Maui pod, with so, so, SO much LOVE <3

PEACE & JOY

PEACE

Peace enjoys long, leisurely walks.  She feels the pulse of the wind, the texture of the air.  She listens to the chatter of a hummingbird and mimics the sound with her own tongue, imagining she is energetically synchronizing with the little bird.  In the still air, she hears a train’s horn miles away.  She stops and takes in a winter rose, frozen and suspended in time.  With curiosity, she notices droplets of water clinging to the bare branches of a tree.  She stands completely rapt, drinking in the shapes and sizes of the multitudinous drops.  Just as she begins to wonder how long each drop will cling to its branch, one releases and lets go, falling to the ground in a silent splash.  She feels both sorrow and joy.  She pauses and remembers her good friend, Joy.  Because of Joy, she feels peace.

JOY

Joy laughs until she cries.  Joy loves surprises, but only happy surprises.  Joy dances with sunflowers.  Joy throws her feet up in the air into a cartwheel.  Joy recently discovered that at age 37, she can still do a somer sault.  She laughed out loud and said to herself several times, “UNBELIEVABLE,” awash in ecstasy.  The other day Joy woke up to fresh snow on the ground.  With a huge smile on her face, she clapped her hands in glee.  Joy loves snow.  She loves to make snow men.  She loves to throw snow balls.  (shh! don’t tell anyone, but she loves a snow ball ambush!) Though always a teensy bit scared, she loves to sled down big hills.  Joy is pretty excited that she is going snow shoeing for Christmas Eve day – she can’t wait to experience the magic of a winter wonderland.  Joy has discovered that the big kids, the adults, are just little kids in grown up bodies.  She knows this because she is still a kid inside. :-)

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Inspired by “The Book of Qualities” by J. Ruth Gendler.

Peace & Joy would like to wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! 

May you feel peace and joy this holiday season.

Denny Creek snow shoe

The Wind

The wind is no where and everywhere.
The wind is a mover and a shaker.
 
The wind blows in and blows out. 
The wind moves the rain in and dries the rain out.
 
The wind draws tears from my eyes.

See it.  Hear it.  Feel it.

See it ruffle the leaves on the trees.
See it shake the branches; see them quiver and sway.
See it pick up and toss dried, fallen leaves.
See it stream clouds across the sky; see them roll past, fast.
See it knock over an empty garbage can; see it tumble away.
 
Hear it rustle leaves on the trees.
Hear it whistle through the needles of the pine trees.
Hear it skate over your ears.
Hear it howl and scream.
Hear it slam the door shut.
 
Feel it pass over your skin.
Feel it whip at your hair.
Feel it blow into your eyes, dirt.
Feel it toss into your face, sand.
Feel it try to push you over.
 

The wind is an actor.  The wind acts.  The wind performs actions.  The wind also talks, if you listen.

The wind brushes through blades of grass.
The wind stirs the boughs of the cedar tree.
The wind claps the fan of the palm tree.
 

I wonder if the wind can clear our energy fields of the “dust” and “debris” that gets stuck in our auras?  I like to imagine so.  Sometimes I stand in a strong wind, arms wide open, and let it clear my field.

I let the wind wash over me and around me. 
I let it hold me. 
I let it refresh me.
 
Mt. Ventoux, France

Mt. Ventoux, France