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.

Tidal Wave

Photo by Manish Doshi

The deep blue
Ocean
Clear waves
Peaceful purity
I watch
I feel
From the threshold
Careful that
I Don’t get wet
So I can Turn back
walk in home
Engage with drama

I glance back at the blue
It calls me back
“Watch” it whispers
Enormous tidal wave
It drenches me
Sweeps me off my feet
I playfully give in
Then come back to my threshold again
The insistent blue wave
Now peaks higher than the roof
Breaks through the doors and windows
Floods in through me and everything
From the back of the house, out through the front
Cleansing everything on the way
Within me and the house
I am amazed at, how clean and peaceful it feels
Despite such powerful waves breaking in

And I am reminded ‘they’ will return soon
The ones that I am not done playing with yet
And their games have different rules
So I close the windows and the doors
The wave, like the romantic lunatic lover whispers
“I won’t give up – now that you are wet, you can’t keep me out”
I smile one way and annoyed in another
Proceed to hold the door shut tight with all my strength
The wave still pours in, flows through me, and the house
This time it is careful, once inside the house, not to flow higher than my ankle
Flows out the front silently, without the uproar unlike before
‘They’ arrive and I start explaining and convincing
How I tried my best, with all my strength
To hold the door, so no water comes in
I just couldn’t do better than this

I was amazed again
How they simply said “Oh the floor is wet”
Fetched the mop and started mopping the floors
I watched them from the corner
All wet and floored at myself
Wondering if they would ever want to know
About that amazing blue ocean
That visited this house
Did they even notice
That
I am
All
Wet!

Perhaps
I will just
Allow myself
To
Hang dry
As I help Them
Mop and dry
The floors
Of the house.

I woke up recently with a sense as if I had had a profound experience, and slowly realized and recollected this vivid dream. I decided to write it down and this poem is how it got described. It gave me abundant clarity in my juggle and confusion in navigating my relations while allowing/resisting the waves of transformation that keep washing over me. I am in deep gratitude for the gift of healing and awakening afforded to me in this lifetime. All relations and interactions serve a purpose in this evolution towards embodying my authentic being. Emotions of guilt and grief tend to interfere when we first become aware of how we have been unknowingly contributing to false constructs and agreements of relations. Guilt for not keeping up with our end of the agreement any longer and grief for losing some comfortable ways of being, not being acknowledged for who we truly are. It is my personal responsibility to honor the truth of what the tidal wave brings me and continue to walk with that truth. This acceptance helps me smile and continue to engage with all my Love and Gratitude.

Did you relate to the poem in some way …similar or different? I would be honored to know.

Healing & the Emerging Beauty

Photo by myself

I found myself in this tender raw space of being this past week. Outwardly I was functional for day to day life and inwardly I have been sliding down, what I now call, a healing hole. It is a messy, vulnerable experience every single time when that happens. You know the kind of unwellness that you feel and there is actually nothing really wrong in the present times? The kind that would convince you of your loneliness when actually what is true is the wisdom of being present with the aloneness in this process.

I felt assured that I will be guided and supported throughout. There was something within me that was almost thrilled at this opportunity of cleansing and renewal that it usually is. Knowing fully well it comes with much heart ache, tears and discomfort.

It can get pretty dark and lonely in the mind forest where you are clearing away the dense thicket of old beliefs, tendencies and old patterns. Some are so much our comfort zone yet a source of continual Dis-ease. I am not new to this geography of our mind for how we create our reality from all that we allow to grow here.

Just in case that I don’t lose myself fully in the seeming abyss, I made sure I informed few friends that I am feeling the urge to isolate. One soul friend accompanied me into my thickest and reminded me to remain in this human state of suffering only long enough that I am actually using it to clear out the old, and emerge renewed. The realities that we get stuck in, are mostly created in our mind by humans around. It is our responsibility to change that. She reinforced my connection with this Universe, my oneness with the Earth, the sky, the grass, so I could tap into the Infinite source to breathe and feel good where I am.

I found access to a deeper level of myself, that corner of my mind basement that had long gotten neglected. I had to shine the light on everywhere I was conforming at the cost of being my true self. I had to become comfortable to allow the chaos while I clear the space and make the required shifts to reclaim my power. It can feel very disruptive and scary, but then it is all in the mind. The only way out is through.

Photo by myself

I am amused at my arrogance that I feel shocked initially for having to do this inner work yet again. Judging myself for getting hit with this intense a low. As I watched myself continue to slip deeper, I knew I had to surrender to the wave. I slowed down to the fullest. Giving myself full permission for zero productivity. It is surprising how all the necessary gets done with better quality of attention and satisfaction this way.

No matter who is available for us, these are lonesome stretches that we have to be willing to walk through, without mistaking it for being alone, or trying to escape it. Even though it might feel excruciatingly lonely while going through some of it. How we relate to family and society are constructs of our minds. The greatest support from our immediate family is the space for these individual journeys. Drawing boundaries around our personal well being is a necessity.

I marvel in gratitude at how richly beautiful this life is, how amazingly supported we are. AmyRose a divine friend from this blog world sensed where I am through my comment on her blog and wrote this to me, affirming powerfully –

This journey all of us have been on is far from easy. We all have our good, bad, and then some iffy days. It takes practice acting like you and not how you have been conditioned to behave. You are fortunate you are learning this now, for the energies are creating the opportunities for you to grow rapidly. Always listen to your heart for it will not ever lead you wrong. You will know when you do or say or think something that is not lined up for your highest good because your Inner Guidance will not leave you alone until you rectify whatever it is that rubs your Golden Heart wrong. Be gentle with yourself ….”
(Do visit Amy by clicking on her name above, you will find her photography, and authenticity incredible at the least! She inspires me, guides me through her work and words.)

Today I woke up with a very tender nascent feeling, as if I had managed to crawl back to the rim of the hole and now simply absorbing the light. I decided I will take a break from my every Monday blog post. I felt exhausted and absolutely blank about wanting to share anything. Then the following words popped up as FB memory, that I had posted on my wall exactly 6 years ago today in 2015, when I didn’t know what a blog meant and that I would be called a writer.

I felt charged with aliveness after reading these words, a bold reminder of how I have been here before. That I can restart small and slow. I decided to put those words on the burst of blooming pink flowers as you can see at the top of this post. I thought I would post just that image. Then I realized I do not want to only share the full bloom of the flowers. I also want to share about my experience of having gone underground into the dirt before I could find my own joy beginning to bloom again.

I trust the process always. It only gets better from here.

Original photos used for above images below

P.S. I am truly blessed to have your comments.
I have been feeling a tug for not being able to visit your work as consistently as I would like in these few days. I will catch up on all that I miss, genuinely my loss as I love indulging in all the beautiful works by my friends here. Much Love & Gratitude.

Is it necessary?

Photo by myself

Why is Letting Go often so difficult?

Lodged in my bones
are your words
through the years

Is it necessary
that I feel them all?
when they begin
to dislodge
on their
way out?

I had managed
to smile
with them
sealed
all within
my strong bones

My words
never really
made it
from your ears
to your heart,
slid right down
from your strong ribcage
down to the floor,
and you said
you heard me

And I said,
Letting go
Is the way

But
is it really necessary?
that I feel them all?
The words
that you
didn't mean
yet said,
And now
are getting
dislodged
from my bones
to be let go

Love remains
after it all
Is it felt
as dry
Or then
wet drenched
in my tears,
that you
don't see
any reason for?
Is it love
after all?

Love
I will not
let go of
I will hold it
through my 
screams to be heard

Will the holes
in my bones
accept
your version
of love
to get filled
enough
to bring me
a smile?

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.

Eyes Look Longingly

Photo by myself

You look to my eyes
and search for envy
I invite you to look deeper
You will find sadness
for what I see in your eyes

I look to your eyes
and you just look away…

Envy is an inescapable human trait. Provoking envy as a motive hurts the spirit of all involved. Sharing the joy of our Being lifts the spirit of all involved.

Envy & Inspiration – a past article on how I learned to turn my envy into inspiration from experiences from my very young age.

Other related posts:

Here, Take them All – my favorite on this topic, a short poem
Envy & What can Be – short post of 5 lines
Parallel Disappointment – short poem

Guilty

Sunset picture by myself

Those who seem to be happy all the time
Don’t judge them or take them for granted.
Often they have taken deep dives into grief or depression.
They have somehow managed not to drown
and that’s why the smile.

Those who think & act from the heart
Don’t try to fix them, it is not a weakness.
Often they are being their own version of strength.
They are somehow trying not to hurt anyone
and that’s why the tears.

What if we actually live all that we have been feeling & made guilty of? Instead of forever trying to keep living & convincing otherwise?
Where else does this question seem relevant to you?

Earth Gratitude

Photo by myself

I look
I care
I pay attention
I would look more
I would care more
I would pay more attention
I just simply often sleep in

Earth Mother I receive so much
From your Love
From your Care
From your Abundance

Earth Mother I am your child
I just often stay within
As if hidden from you too
As if there is a place devoid of you
As if I am not a part of you

Note: This poem was written as part of Ali Grimshaw’s writing circle The Poetry of Gratitude. Please visit Ali Grimshaw at Flashlight Batteries, her poetry is amazing!

Also contributing this post to Friday Fun – Hidden by CalmKate!

Trust through the unknown

Blooming

Photo: Myself

These delicate stalks peeking out from a gap in a fence as if called out to me. As I stood there for seemingly long, in admiration of the beauty and contrast, a lot was being said to me. I listened in.

This was more than a week ago, when I went on a last long walk around my neighborhood, before we went into shelter in place to stay safe from Covid19.

These are uncertain times of many unknowns. Everything is so transient, all that we cling to as normal and accepted, and also all that we are wishing away.  The air today seems filled with gloom, a shift from a fast moving energy of chaos and confusion in previous days. Just like every big shift that shakes the ground of reality we walk on, we hope that this is temporary before everything goes back to normal soon.

There are many including myself who are able to relate to the personal and visceral experience of every habitual way of being gotten stripped off of everyday living. It came with different experiences of loss or tremendous change with respect to our health, relations, or finances. We coped, survived and then thrived as we discovered the power of gratitude for what is present, what serves in the moment, acceptance and continual surrender to new normal ways of being and living. Peace, joy and amazing new avenues of life became available unlike ever before.

These are certainly times when we are called to appreciate the luxury and preciousness of every single thing available to us on a day to day basis. This experience of having to go out of the comfort of habit is now a collective experience and not lone parallel journeys in the midst of dominant normalcy in society.

It gives a first hand experience in how much kindness, empathy and compassion make a world of a difference. It is bringing to the forefront how pity, sympathy and indifference hurts the heart, soul and spirit of  tremendous courage. It is painful, it is messy, it is calling us to tap into our human resiliency, to trust our hearts, to have faith in a higher power and to peer into the beauty of existence.

Something always finds a way to bloom on the other side of it all. Always. Anchored in this trust, I join the flow of uncertainty into the unknown. I stay present to my capacity and limitations to carry this trust and space of peace in my heart, allowing the waves of all other human emotions to pass through when they do. Wisdom of teachers, their work, my personal practice, support from family and friends is available for me.

New amazing normals emerge, miracles and possibilities await to become evident, lot of our imagined and un-imagined dreams magically come true. They do.

Wishing you health, healing, happiness, joy, ease, gratitude and peace _()_

P.S. I am now offering virtual sessions for breathing, meditation, guidance, listening with confidentiality/witnessing. Complimentary offers available.
Please reach out through http://www.yogasaar.com

 

Mixed Feeling

Mixed Feeling

Photo : Myself

Note :

I loved the process of editing the original picture for this quote image. I first settled on this effect above. I thought it mimicked the feeling that these words bring to me.

I do not have any training or skills for editing. While playing around with tools further I stumbled upon more dramatic effects that could be created. Another version of this above image got more appreciated by few friends and family that I shared with, while comparing the 2.

They actually made me feel very proud of my patience and creativity in getting those results. They convinced me of no other choice but to post that one because of how good it was. I truly enjoyed their excitement …until I was about to publish this post.

Both the versions with exact same picture and words invoked a very different feeling. What I had landed at originally, and posted above, seemed to come from a gentle quiet mind. The other felt loud and from a crowded mind.

I shared my dilemma and I am told to be willing to disappoint my dear ones but not to disappoint myself. I decided to stay true to myself and post my choice.

I am smiling in wonder about how my choices get shaped with what the opinions of my close ones are. I wonder how it is going to be, to keep moving forward with how I feel versus what seems more appreciated or attractive in the world in general.

For now I am sharing with you exactly how I feel and nothing more 🙂 Please let me know what you think about the image & quote above.