What are you really looking at?

I felt moved to repost this inspiration first published on August 22, 2016. It has come back to me to help me look at my own deeper wounds and how I am doing at allowing the light to bring healing. I have had a long unconscious tendency to overlook all that is hurtful and gloss it over with positivity and love. Until the lies to myself stop working, I am forced to face the truth. I am grateful to find the capacity for greater deep dives in the crevices of my wounds than ever before. 

Peeping thru the leaves - starburst at dawn - Kala Pathar beach - Havelock - 1F8A1073

“Peeping through the leaves” by Atanu Chakraborty

There’s an empty glass of water sitting on the counter. It is broken. It is holding together but it has been shattered and has cracks going all direction. I look at it and see just that and nothing else …a piece of broken glass.

If you try to think of a situation or event in life that might have shattered your intact way of being …what do you really think of ? A situation that has cracked your core and wounded you open in places? Or something that has been bothering you very much since yesterday or last week? The broken glass probably doesn’t really represent anything to you. Life is perfect …except that this person, yesterday or last week, did not behave well, had a wrong attitude, did not do exactly like you expected or even deserved. My glass is as intact as ever. Now if I somehow make evident to this person that he/she has wronged me, I can get on with my perfect life … 🙂

I glance up out of the window behind the counter. There is this big vibrant sweet gum tree, always standing tall majestically, un-wavered through the winds and seasons. There are 2 men cutting off overgrown branches. The ones that were weighing down on the core were being fell to the ground. The idea made me feel light. They then raked off the fallen leaves and branches, leaving the ground clean and green again. A lot felt cleared on the slate of my mind. The sky was in better view now that the tree was trimmed.

Looking down at the broken glass again, sunlight now reached through the window and pierced through the broken glass …as if pouring through the cracks …filling them up, making it shine like never before.

I closed my eyes. Trying to imagine the healing golden light pour through my wounds and cracks. The glass became all gold but a dull one …no more cracks. Instantly I erased it and opened my eyes. If I am healed of my cracks I better look lustrous, I do not accept dullness!! …Ohhh do I accept my cracks?!!!

Are they caused by blows caused by other people or person? No, I do not play that blame game in my life. Did I allow those to be caused to me? Was I never strong enough to stand up to myself? That self-judgment doesn’t feel good and hurts me. So I am not going to relate to that broken glass in any way!!!

How many times do we try to mask and escape this way? In day to day life, what are we really looking at? Is it really the person yesterday that has made your life miserable? Or is there a deeper patterning at work here, a deeper healing  that we are denying ourselves? Healing of our health, and also relationships, with ourselves and the most significant to us. So, all that is bare and there, is there to nourish us.

Be brave to see the cracks, the deep wounds, let light enter through them, seal them and heal them. Let the glass hold the gold of clarity for you to drink from it. A crack in the roof of a deep dark cave lets the light in …imagine the exhilaration of seeing your path clearly, when you encounter that crack. What chipped the roof to make that crack, all the trauma that it endured, is just the drama that can become your story, that you might tell one day.

Be wiling to see your cracks …not as some external object or person. Sometimes we have shown such enormous endurance towards something un-imagined, or even unacknowledged, we don’t dare to look back at it …making us cranky at the most trivial though. Sure it is very human and also helpful in the healing process. But really if you see what you are looking at and what you are trying to escape, it becomes a true digesting of life events …tantrums, tears and all that are a part of it. Let it flow!

The light will always lead you to solace …if you allow it to enter you …pierce through you …seal you and heal you and shine you!

The Ordinary Extraordinary

Photo by myself: Crater Lake, Oregon. Unedited mobile click – what is so ordinary or extraordinary about this picture?

It helps to blur the line between ordinary and extraordinary, whichever end we think us to be on. When extraordinary strength is required for everyday life during challenging situations that seem to be present for a long term, it helps to remember that even ‘normal’ life feels the same periodically.

I realized this when I dealt with a difficult illness for some years with no break of ‘normalcy’. I decidedly trained myself to accept my new normal and then the days that felt really hard became just like any ‘normal’ life. It lifted the burden of Why Me-s and made it somewhat more acceptable to live through the ordinary pain of a seemingly extra-ordinary situation (or vice versa).

And when we think of us as ordinary and normal it helps to remember that we hold the potential for extraordinary. When life is ‘normal’ we take it for granted that only some special people have strength. We forget that they are choosing to be strong. All of us have the choice to go a bit beyond our comfort zone, with integrity to our well being.

I love and admire people who have, what I don’t have in me yet. We need all shades of capacity, resilience and joy in differing measures from time to time. I keep learning to love myself more and more with all my perceived shortcomings. It gives a renewed taste of newfound freedom continually.

All things big and small when dropped to the felt sense become our internal experiences. No experience is ordinary or extra-ordinary, in some ways. Just because it happens to everyone and is normal, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be affected. If our thoughts and emotions are taking over that means our experience is real. It is affecting the quality of our life. Acceptance is being aware of all of that.

When fear grips, it means some perceived and real experiences have left us with no control over how we feel and choose. It becomes a struggle even when we have had a taste of divine faith before. We now seem to have lost the ability to be congruent with the core of our original being. When our system is out of balance the fear might bring up some pain or symptom in the body. We might feel agitation or confusion in the mind, we lose the capacity to connect with divine faith.

It is helpful at such times to create experiences to influence our system in the direction of balance. This can be done in various ways. A breathing practice that brings the body and mind to a calmer & clearer state of being, time in solitude or nature with nurturing activities. To me sometimes I just need honest conversations with people who can act as authentic mirrors to me. Either a friend or mentor who reinforces and channels that sense of trust, faith or divine connection back in our system.

I have found tremendous rich value in this process of intentional shifts between imbalance & balance, ordinary & extraordinary, and fear & faith. I am blessed to be a receiver of such reinforcements from friends and teachers that I reach out to.

I am also grateful to have opportunities to facilitate such shifts through the yoga classes that I teach in group and private sessions. If you are curious check my humble yoga website: http://www.YogaSaar.com

This post is from a train of thoughts that I had saved in my drafts. I would be honored to know what came up for you and if we are able to exchange perspectives.

You are Here, Awake & Alive

There is subtle calibration of life processes that keep us going at our optimal, or become out of balance. It may show up in our ability to stay calm or feel overwhelmed in turmoil.

How do we access that calibration? How do we access the unmoving stability, strength, focus, ease of our being when surrounded by chaos, confusion or challenging life experiences that seem to be real and unreal at the same time.

The capacity to bridge & reach the unmoving stillness within, from all the unrelenting movements around and the mixing up of what is normal and the new normal – how do we explore the edges of this capacity?

One way for me is through a breath-oriented yoga practice in which the breath is invited to stay long and smooth no matter what posture, and move only in co-ordination with that breath. It is a distinctly different effort for the body and mind. It helps us explore our individual patterns of how we add stress to our being and bring more awareness, consciousness, calibration for optimal functioning. The result is a sense of calmness and clarity. The more consistently I practice, sooner I am able to get back to balance, each time I lose it.

Above pictures are from a Healing Trail I walked with 2 of my meditation friends – We walked with prayer and intention for all our families, brothers and sisters from India who are in such deep suffering with losing loved ones on a daily basis. We expressed humble gratitude for this blessed opportunity to get to walk on this planet, be together in that moment – “You are here awake and alive” – we have that available preciously in each moment Now. I chose to share just these out of a lot more such markers on this trail, because I connected with these the most on this day. I feel a sense of spaciousness after walking this trail, within me and around me along with being connected to everything and everyone.

Perhaps go back and look at the pictures again, peer through them if they can give you the peace.

P.S. If you are curious, check out my yoga website : www.YogaSaar.com

Did I hurt my ‘image’ by sharing about my pain?

My Meditative Moments – Photo by Manish Doshi

I shared about my recent knee pain here and how I used it as an opportunity for deeper healing. Since then I have had quite a few conversations with curious and also concerned friends. I was encouraged by one of them to write this part 2 for my post “Liquid Gold” Following are some of the questions/comments I received along with my responses.

Why do you share about your pain publicly? Doesn’t it hurt your image as a healthy yoga teacher, and affect your business?

I do not have a brand to create in this moment, if at all, I am the brand for who and how I am. If there is any public image I strive for, it would be one of authenticity. I am in the business of creating myself in the truest expression of my spirit, and I facilitate that process for my students to the extent they would choose to go. I am a good coach to help someone identify what it is in their way & reach their goals with clarity, if we are a good match to each other.

I am as curious as you are, if my approach creates a well paying business for myself. I am open to discovering it. I forever keep pushing the edges of my skills, courage and vulnerability, and will keep showing up with all that I have in the moment. The results come abundantly in ways we are open to receiving, and that can look different for each one of us. I refuse to create an image of that which I am not in my being and becoming.

You practice yoga every day and also teach people, then how come you have such knee pain suddenly?

I am a human first, then a teacher, practitioner and everything else. Yoga practice does not give me a pain-free pass through life. It gives me the ability to become present to the pain and find a positive skillful way of being through it, and maybe out of it. It gives me the capacity to discern clearly, where is the pain coming from – is it purely physical, or is it also from some stagnant emotions? Is it being inflicted and accumulated from some mental belief that has us make certain choices repeatedly? Often pain has deeper roots than we can imagine.

I am skilled at facilitating this process for others, designing practices that help them become aware of their own body, mind, emotion patterns, and replace them with more aligned, balanced patterns.

I am a bit worried about you, Pragalbha. Are you taking health risks by treating yourself with yoga & spiritual stuff? Do these affirmations and all work for you because you are really specially spiritual or are you really doing something scientific?

This is in no way to replace expert medical advise (which I did take). I simply believe I have absolutely contributed to whatever pain emerges in my body, and so I need to be of equal or more contribution to my recovery from pain. Sometimes there are perspectives and choices that are needed in addition and for any medicine to take sustained effect.

While my doctor focused on the inflammation aspect of my pain, I focused on lengthening my spine with postural yoga to relieve strain on my knee joint, using my breath to keep my mind calm & clear, and other ways to clear out emotions like fear, inflexibility, anger, resentment that tend to create stiffness and pain in joints. In my case, my knee needed help to allow me to move forward literally and in life. I still have some lingering moments of pain coming back, reminding me that I am falling back into my old patterns. Pain is a very intelligent medium that helps us by its presence, until we heal wholly, deeply and fully. I am in touch with my expert medical practitioner for advice as needed.

Yoga is a science and practice of Being. It helps us get skilled at Being through circumstances without added stresses like fear or worry for example. It helps us get through difficult situations with much more ease, without anything become a major impediment. We are able to function in ways that otherwise might not have become possible. I have seen countless examples of this in students that I work with, be it physical pain or other stresses of life. And of course, I hope to keep sharing my personal journey with honesty.

P.S. If you liked this article, you might like the poem Questions Answered that I wrote back in 2017.

Everyday Warrior

Yesterday while walking along the ocean, the fallen woods called me to play on them and I found myself an experience of the strength and spaciousness of The Warrior. The strength felt is a very subtle inner power.

The warrior may have an ocean of emotions churning within, the warrior allows space for them. The ground the warrior stands on may not be wide or is a shaky one. The warrior has strong grounding through the legs and open arms to receive to the fullest – the breath and from life itself.

Later in the day I found myself contemplating- what does Yoga mean to me?

Yoga is about:

  • cultivating positive energy and joy for our daily life.
  • dropping the effort and developing the skill and focus for everyday ease.
  • building our ability to sustain our productivity and functions for the long term.

The postures and movements may or may not be physically challenging for you. The effort is in the attention to cultivate a long smooth breath, that gives us the ability to be balanced in our body and mind. It helps cleanse the effects of stress and pain, physical and emotional.

The challenge is in maintaining focus of attention where it is required, often true even in our daily life. Yoga trains our mind for that focus, and to meet challenges with clarity & skill.

P.S. This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects.

Pace of Success

Runner

Photo Credit: Vikram Phale

All the running in mind to get somewhere
Often makes us feel stuck in the nowhere

I have been enjoying the spaces in my mind
Between thoughts, of all kind & unkind

In arriving those spaces we get to face
Our self with all that we try to escape

Taking the time to know our own thoughts & emotions
Towards our self, others & this life

Enables us to choose with no fear
Our actions become crisp & clear

Slower we go, quicker we reach
To all that we truly beseech

We can either struggle, become impatient and keep running in our minds with how things should be, how we should be and how different we wish it all to be. Self-judgment often fuels this mind marathon.

OR

We can take time to truly know what we are reaching for through all that we want. All can become possible if we allow the time and space. Clarity of choice comes from the slowing down in our mind.

 

P.S. This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of Forgiving Connects.

 

 

 

I am a yoga teacher …actually I am not.

IMG_3808

Photo Credit: Manish Doshi “Be present as you make your way”

Question: What do you do?
My answer: I am a yoga teacher.

Just that I don’t identify with that answer ever.

So what do I do?

My true answer:

I create space for people to rest their thoughts, feelings and emotions, and help them access their own clear voice that leads them to their truth and joyful living.

That is the answer that feels true to my heart. When I begin teaching a class my name, different tags of relations and society, our acquaintance if any, all that disappears. I lead you through an experience that is called yoga practice. I help you tune in with your breath, energy, body and sense of being. We take a dip in the pool of Infinite Living.

The practice helps you get clear in your mind, truly knowing and sensing what is going on within. Your time with me is a safe space to allow all that comes up in your body, mind, and emotion- no judgments. It is designed to help you be attentive and listen in.

I help you build skills to navigate through all that and listen to what your truth is and where your joy is. It is not an hour mind vacation after which you walk back into the same stress you live in. You know something about yourself or your life better than before as a result of your own attention. This happens in a group class too.

Do I continue in this relationship, or walk out? How do I find joy in my continuing relationship? Am I content with my current health status and how my doctor is addressing it? Do I quit my job, or continue? Do my food habits truly nourish me? Does parenting really have to be this difficult? How supported do I feel through these life changes and choices? What do I really want? I am worried, I have depression, anxiety, insomnia …

I facilitate these above experiences for you, as you find your own answers. We vibrate together with the joys and tears of transformation as you find your own relationship with yourself. My utmost contentment is when you need to see me less often, for our private sessions because you are now skilled at finding your clear voice and true choice. Your chronic pain has disappeared, digestion improved, or any other body issue addressed through therapeutic focus of yoga.

We are like lone kayakers in this Infinite ocean of the universe. If we are very present with the life currents, then we are skilled at the navigation. We have but this short and sweet vacation on this beautiful planet. We meet with each other, sometimes in happiness and sometimes in misery. Each one of us has our own path to carve through.

I have been blessed with teachers, with whom I continue to hone my skills. I have been blessed with students with whom I can share this powerful work, so I can pass it on just like I received it.

Teacher, student tags are just our convenience. What I do as work is create safe space for your pain, feelings, emotions – no judgment – so you feel positively empowered, inspired and supported through life and choices.

 

 

P.S. Dear wordpress friends, I apologize for my absence on your work, that are my joy to read. I will visit you soon.

Do Nothing

RestHere

Photo : Vikram Phale “Rest Here”

Choose to often do Nothing
Choose to not play the game
Choose to simply stay & Be
Choose the seemingly insane

Try it
Do Nothing
For an hour
For a day
For a month

For any length of time
Know what really is the fight
Win over that all in the mind
It is the Brave
Who can truly rest on this planet
Their choices are such …

Just Be
Aware
Then watch
Prowess simply becoming You
None of it you feel the need to be shown
Yet you are seen as powerfully grown

 

Life Flow

Life Flow1

Photo Credit : Manish Doshi

It was beautiful to watch this clear stream of water flow and merge in to the waves of ocean. It had traveled from a distance afar, its source not directly visible from this place. As the stream of water became part of the ocean, stopped existing by itself, did it just become more alive?

Each awareness of my merging with the infinite intelligence of Life itself, I stop existing by myself and just become more alive.

 

P.S. I have to say it again how much I am loving making these photo images, and you my friends have kept me going with your kind words on the previous ones!

P. P. S. The ocean is calling me and I am taking  4-5 days off on all platforms. I will get back with any messages of inspiration from the seas and the sky, I am hoping for a few good conversations 🙂 Once back I will eagerly catch up on all that I missed from my favorite writers!

Clarity

Clarity

Enter a caption

Creating these quote images has become as if my new poetry. Inspiration comes to me in short snippets nowadays instead of poetic rhythm or lengthy prose. My thoughts then go through my mind lanes leading me to find photos clicked by my husband or photographer friends that I collaborate with – to find an image that speaks the emotion behind my inspiration.

Reverse process happened with the image above. My friend and photographer Vikram Phale sent me some pictures he took on his weekend getaway with his family. And this picture of the sky just astounded me. I spent few minutes intently looking at the picture and the words that came are the quote you see.

Thank you friends for getting me excited in this new creativity with your appreciation for my previous quote images and encouraging me to make more.

 

P.S. I wish to share with you a blog that has been nourishing me with confirmations of my spiritual perspectives on everything related to our existence. I have felt more confidence in how I perceive and live this process called Life, with my regular interactions with the author of this blog through his deeply profound posts. Here is the link for you : https://thejobblog.net/free-to-be-ultimate-you/