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 trail behind me

I feel that I am personally transitioning through a portal from a known past into an unknown future in so many ways at once. It is eerie how outwardly all the walls of reality still look the same, and yet as if all the mental castles of reality have inwardly collapsed. Each day I find another brick falling.

As if each day I wake up and walk into a hall of mirrors absolutely wanting to confuse me – Is that me? or is that one me? Until I push back on a mirror to have it open on to a very expansive space of peace, joy and lightness, carrying an air of crisp clarity.

It is so thrilling and awesome terrifying to surrender in to that space, and live without alignment or resistance to any mental constructs, comforts of relations, definitions, concepts of what exactly makes up our everyday life. Also it is awesome that I don’t have the ever insistent fear rumbling inside me. For I recognize this portal from 5 years ago, and I know now what brilliance awaits on the other side of it.

I love and embrace with a much robust gratitude and awe, the exquisite and divine guidance, synchronicity and perfection with which this play of life is executed. These are such powerful times that our tribe of truth seekers and heart followers are finding their way with themselves and each other like never before! I am now ready to show up in ways like never before.

And hence, I wished to post this poem and picture today to share with you, my gratitude for the trail behind me. For the people on the trail with me.

This poem was first published on August 16, 2016, 5 years ago today.

There’s a trail from the past behind me
From whence in this moment I arrive
I look forward to see
Whereto it wants me strive
The smile on my face
Belongs to those who helped me thrive

The chosen and unchosen soul friends
The given and unchosen of relationships
With their simply Being or coaxing mends
Diffused and dissolved perceived hardships

I have all of You in my heart
To walk with You, I would go back to start
Gratitude for You will keep You forever with me
Especially when I seem to have parted ways with thee
There’s times when only You can make me less lonely

That’s when I look back at the trail
Find the bend where you found me frail
Then I walk forward steadily a mile
Taking with me the newfound smile

Humbled by Honesty

Brutal Honesty can bring out your vulnerabilities. It is worth it when the result is peace of mind.” I wrote this to myself in 2013.

It had seemed the most challenging year of my life, as I was going through a ravaging health crisis. These words came to me as I was unwillingly about to enter yet another agonizing treatment phase. It was more than unpleasant for me to surrender to becoming completely dependent on others, until I regain strength, yet again.

“Do I really want to do this?” I checked in with myself. Without a pause came a YES! I sensed into how I was feeling, and it was PEACE. I felt so vulnerable to myself even. Because it meant I would be going ahead with the treatment, that too willingly. Saying Yes to an impending suffering by choice seemed like brutal honesty to myself. Why can’t I just deny it and be comfortable in ignorance? I thought. Because I felt the trust, that it was going to be worth it. And it totally was.

It has been deeply humbling how this lesson comes back to me, on repeat, wearing different garbs, cracking me open in every vulnerable spot in my being, everywhere I live in fantasy, everywhere I have a need for some things be a certain way. Though by now, along with it feeling Brutal, I feel a lot of Gratitude. For the Gods of Clarity are inherently kind with the revelations, in my experience.

I have found myself supported in utmost possible ways, before a shot of disillusionment hits me. Resources, divine and worldly, are made available to me in perfect design. I am at times lost in awe of the grace with which I am held and guided through the seemingly unexpected, as much I imagine I could slip down in the pain of another castle of made up reality crashing down.

If we are willing to read closely, there are signs along the way. Only in hind sight are we able to connect the dots, regarding any situation and our own role in it. I am amazed at how much I protected myself from the emerging uncomfortable clarity every single time. Not realizing how many mental justifications and worldly definitions, I keep living with regarding people or situations, that are not really serving anyone truly.

I would go into mediation on a rising sun, an object of meditation as instructed by my teacher Chase Bossart, and see myself sitting in a cave looking at the sun rise only partly, refusing to come out in to the wide open space. While discussing with my teacher I said “there are things I do not want to see, I am not ready for that clarity” That is one instance from couple of years ago.

In the recent months I have shared poetry about being Awake at Dawn, and yet not willing to open the curtains to enjoy the early morning light, wanting to take care of baby Me a little while more. I had been wondering to myself for quite a while why I wouldn’t want to see the light of the day, stay hidden in my cave.

Sunrise on Kauai

It makes me laugh at myself (I will do that only lovingly), at how each time I am shocked at how unexpected something that follows is. I am aware this will keep happening until I clear my own emotional geography at the deepest level that brings me these experiences. It will happen again to show me my ability to step up, in my vulnerability, and integrity. I take full responsibility, and it humbles me. I will keep moving through life with as much kindness to others and myself. This process empowers me and teaches me to live more as myself in the truest sense.

Here’s what I have discovered until now. If there is inherent peace to a decision, it is worth it. It is actually a gift to everyone that you live in fear of hurting. It is up to them to find their truth or not. Fear is a Lie, I heard several times from Dr. Dain Heer’s teachings, and yet only now I realize the extent of how much fear existed in me because of some lies I was allowing to continue. If the lies are not your own to yourself, if they have been coming from other people, they are not going to be happy when you make choices for yourself. This can be painful for those who are as if born with the vow of keeping others happy. Often forgetting themselves in this quest for gifting happiness.

All of this keeps getting much more easier, with quicker recovery from the hits of reality, more surrender with faith to the Divine Guidance – whichever way you tune into it, more courage to make tough choices, with literally miraculous ways and people showing up for you.

Honesty as a conquest is worth it, don’t doubt your own knowing of anything. The peace is not short term. The Peace felt in the Truth is addictive. Life unfolds like you never imagined it to be.

Life Waves

Photo by Arnav Doshi

The process keeps going life beside
you yearn for a bit longer respite
A sense of having found a ground
maybe for a day and yet again slip down
Another layer being called to shed more,
then called to show up and Be more

Allowing lower energy mind games to penetrate
to become like others around to be able to relate
Showing how attached still to comforts of certainty
then suffering for not being your own self worthily

Feel and sense the divide happening
Grief of as if current reality leaving
Comes with having to keep going
while still staying in your Being

Cusp of opening up from the guardedness
feel the transition and rawness
The waves keep coming yes
you hope you can let go…
Maybe this is how it looks like always
you simply learn to breathe better in calmness

PS : This poem was composed sometime last year from my response to one of Sue Dreamwalker’s post on her profoundly inspirational blog Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary. I realized I had never published it.

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.

Where We Stand

Photo by myself

Flowers strewn all over my walking path feel like a definite sign and reminder of blessings on my way. They make me pause and smile – at myself, and at their short miraculous existence that brings beauty and joy on our way. That is if we happen to encounter them in different ways – either as buds, blooms or dried and fallen around undramatically returning to ground.
And we get to walk on that ground.

We get to walk on this Earth.
Sometimes with flowers strewn on our way…
And sometimes there are pebbles…

As a child growing up in a tiny home in Mumbai, I used to run out to play with my friends without any shoes or slippers. Coarse sand and tiny pebbles poked my feet but I only remember a befriended feeling of it. Staying out as much as possible was happiness and the feet stepped on and around the pebbles effortlessly.

My family later upgraded to an upstairs apartment in another town and from there into adulthood, stepping out only with shoes on became the norm. It took some decades until now to get back to appreciate going barefoot, welcoming the experience of Earth through the sands, the grass, the water. I am beginning to also venture on to some pebbled areas to test how my comfort conditioned feet now play with the tingles and the tickles.

Wherever I Stand, I Stand on the same Earth”
Use this to stand a bit taller
Use this to soften within…

These lines posted on Jan 26, 2017 came to my mind today. They had come from my awareness of so many levels of separation we feel with others – the feelings of smallness or superiority based on innumerable definitions we have created as our markers, including where we live, what we eat, how we spend our day – literally shaping how we live our life. There was a yearning to share the feeling of Oneness and yet not much ability for how to live it. So I had reminded myself that we share the same Earth – it felt as simple and as radical.

Today, we are collectively experiencing our existence on Earth as never imagined before. The world is vaccinated and opening up where I live. Yet family and friends in India are suffering deep losses and hardship every day. I feel trust in our Oneness and in our Earth to guide us to be of support to each other.

How do you relate to these 3 lines that came back to me today? I would be honored to know what came up for you when you read them. I discovered a lot more layers in those lines today from the time that I first wrote them.

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.

The Journey

Photo by Manish Doshi

The journey itself doesn’t see our earthly age. It is a joy to arrive when we arrive and a delight to meet your own tribe on the same path.”

This blog platform has been a significant way of meeting and interacting with utmost amazing beautiful people who have created an indelible impact on my life journey from one day to another. They are generous hearts and souls delivering divine messages and reminders as if guide posts on the path, through their work and exchange of comment conversations, often year after year. I hope to find the ability and inspiration to share about each one who has been a contribution to me. You know who you are. An humble bow of gratitude to you.

Today I want to share about one such beautiful blogger friend, Tamara Kulish.

The quote in the above image came as a part of our conversation on one of her blog post “Remind yourself that you cannot fail at being yourself” This post made me thoughtful and I responded with saying:

“Do what you want and what you enjoy – this seemed like the most revolutionary advice I gave myself at one time I remember. The sense of self-worth when not independent of others’ expectations, we lose our sense of Being and keep choosing to do things to satisfy some external standards. Your post is one perfect statement after another.”

Dear Tamara responded to the above by saying:

“We have both learned the value of doing this in our lives, you earlier in life than I did, but it’s wonderful when anyone does, whether earlier or later! There’s really no better time than now, for anyone contemplating this in their own life! It’s a truly liberating mind set!”

My heart all joyful with resonance and as if with a nod to her, I responded :

The journey itself doesn’t see our earthly age. It is a joy to arrive when we arrive and a delight to meet your own tribe on the same path.”

Tamara then generously shone her bright light on this statement of mine and made it into a quote in this post: Your soul is the place within you that is timeless, ageless, and eternal She gifted my words back to me, to take this beautiful and powerful form, as you see in the quote image at the top. I hope you enjoyed and found value in our interaction that I chose to share, in similar fashion of her post.

Please visit Tamara Kulish to know of her expansive work of books and journals published in the area of self-discovery, personal development, finding happiness and fulfillment. Her blog posts are a treasure, each one, with her honest authentic sharing and inspiring perspectives.

Silent Revolution

Photo by myself

There is no point in talking to you
I heard them say…
What I really heard was
You just speak the truth

Should I apologize
for my lack of humor…
When it really feels adding to
endless lies we keep telling ourselves

It doesn’t make sense
I heard them say…
What I really heard was
Just say exactly what I want to hear

The time for the heart to sing
its song aloud is ripe
Either you listen
or then silence will speak volumes
The song just keeps rhyming within

The silent revolution
will bring parallel lines intersecting
We are meant to walk on our own
That’s how we find our tribe

The warrior tribe
binding invisible hands
assisting each other
in this intricate
yet well-designed journey
of truth
authenticity
and a lack of deceit

Note: This poem has come from my comment on this post by Sue Dreamwalker of Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary. She has been a deep inspiration and companion for all these blogging years, enlightening and lightening my spiritual and human journey of living with as much truth and authenticity that becomes available in my capacity.

I am very grateful for your continued visits on my previous post while I went on a break. I am yet to find my way to your work that I so love visiting whole-heartedly. I am feeling overwhelmed/sluggish with picking up the momentum of several threads into this new year. You do know I get there eventually, slow and steady I will be there 🙂

Just for fun:
Some of my previous work with similar titles/themes

Silent Communication

Silent Reflection

The Silent Warrior