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.

Sleep Chaos

Photo by myself

Clarity exceeds capacity
Calmness becomes chaos

Dreams keep awake
Sleep alive with dreams

Life itself pulsating, Allow it
To draw you out from within

Float away into the day
It will carry you back

To a good night’s sleep
When you give up the need

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.

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.

With Love

Photo by myself


Give IT time …with love
Give what IT takes …with love
Give IT fiercely …with love
Give IT all …become love

Give IT space …with love
Give IT up …with love
Don’t give up on IT …just love
Watch IT come back …with all the love!

Sometimes the IT is Love itself, and Love itself keeps unfolding for what it is for us. As I was wondering if I wanted to post anything on the theme of Love on this post-Valentine’s Day Monday, I was moved to revive this post that I had published on February 16, 2017. So I made it into the image above. I hope you like it and look forward to your thoughts on it.

P.S. My dearest blog friends and readers, I might be delayed in my responses and happy visits to your work, as I am traveling the whole week. Yet I will be very much and as much possible present here with utmost gratitude for you taking the time to read and comment.

Things I have tried not to say

Photo by myself

Things I have tried hard not to say:

I gave you valid respect for your given role in my life. I will never falter in that. I became weak, I cried. You scolded, told me to become strong. I did. You can’t stand me now.

I have no desire for power games. Each time you try to make me small, I hurt a bit, a lot and then just become tall. I desire respect for who I am and regard for my personal growth.

I shared with you that genuineness in relationships is required for me. You explained how I am being unreasonable. You thought you helped me understand. Sadly, I understood what you said.

I said it is important to show more care for each other. Soon it became a game of guilt-tripping grievances, while flaunting privileges. I wasn’t interested in those. I quit engaging. I am learning to be ok.

I kept my stories positive. I didn’t share what I really struggled & triumphed through. Validated, empathized and supported you inside out. You took me for granted and declared that I am lucky I have it all so easy. I am learning to find a balance.

You have given me a lot of goodness, helped in times of need. I expressed profound gratitude at every opportunity. I am done being made indebted to you forever. I perhaps bring no other value to you.

You praised my spiritual writing in public and in person. Then you said I was foolish to actually attempt to live what I wrote. I need to be loyal to my own word. I think you should have no say in that.

I have acknowledged both your struggles and your privileges without agenda and envy. I think I have suffered enough humanly, if that’s the competition we are in, to prove our worth. I now go for continual joy and gratitude. You preach me positivity while pointedly reminding me of my lack. I become weak only because I care and want to trust you.

You are so so lovely, I would love to create some fun moments with you, instead of you trying to make me jealous with other people. I wish we are truly that which we take turns trying to become/show. Have a cup of smiles, perhaps with some sweet, bitter, hot, perfect brew. I want us to speak easy and true, or then why bother with the façade/role play?

Praise is not the expectation behind any of my action. Love is the intention behind all I say and do. I feel deeply. I mean what I say. Your mixed layers of what you say, what you really mean and you intend to convey something underneath saying something in the perfect nice words – it is exhausting to me.

Respect & Love exist as attitudes, trickling into action and words. Certainly not true when the words are claimed, assumed, imagined, explained. All this while continually invalidating others’ feelings, in the guise of wanting to make them strong and positive.

These are things I have tried hard not to say.

Today I decided to get them out of the way. I am not perfect, made my own human mistakes. I am working my way through. All this is what I really think sometimes, before I work diligently at letting go of expectations and acceptance of what is.

When emotional I am often unskilled at expressing, wanting to keep the love and kindness, fearing loss of relations. It is ok I think now, to say what I really mean without trying to make it into something nice. It is ok to love myself as much as anyone else.

I am learning to become unapologetically myself, still humble and authentic, valuing positivity and peace, yet more unapologetically myself. All my heart feels is Love in this moment and I am willing to grow to be able to live it to the fullest extent of it.

Post Update because of some comments I am getting : This is not about a single person in my life. I share a good marriage with my husband – we grow together as individuals. This is a compilation of various journeys with multiple interactions in life. Not an exact experience of this moment but a description of cumulative experiences I have been working through. A venting of how I think relations work in some ways in society, that I am growing out of very clearly, and felt the nudge to put it out in the Universe for anyone who might find it helpful and mark my own journey ahead.

Related posts from the past, if you feel inclined –

Prose :
Downsides of Gratitude?

Step into the New …You

Truthfulness, kindness & the dumbness of it all!

Love broken down to …Basics

Rhymes :
I Certainly Will …

Gratitude Attitude

Being Positive Truthfully

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

 

Letting Go?

IMG_4035

Photo: Manish Doshi

Letting go of results does not mean denying the gifts of your labor. It means letting go of the idea of what the result looks like. Goodness comes in ten thousand and different ways. We fixate on having it come a certain way.

Be open to receive what’s coming to you. We shut ourselves off from what is coming to us. We do that with our busyness or often with feelings of unworthiness. Always filling the spaces available to us with ‘doing’ and ‘trying’.

We then go into judgment of self, and rest of the world. That is a sure way to find a million upsetting things in our life. Things, not even in our immediate life, upset us. We go about finding glory in all the suffering we endure in all our pursuits.

There are so many things that need not define our life. There are so many pre-organized structures that don’t really work for us. We seem to think it is comfortable to make ourselves fit into them. We imagine it would be our success to show growth within those structures.

There are some given structures that are nourishing to us. Those that give us certain joys, stability and security. Those are our gifts to receive from, and find our worthiness through them. There are some areas of our personal growths that need the freedom of creation.

Be willing to create, express and offer exactly what you want.There are no barriers in the space that is not restricted by definitions. Most things come to us in ways we haven’t ever thought about them. Don’t lock yourself up in finite ways of achieving things.

Keep your self-reflection with kindness and compassion. Have a willing contribution towards your pursuit. Let go of the idea of how it should be coming to you. Letting go of results does not mean denying the gifts of your labor.
This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects! You will find this blog very inspiring.

 

Innocence & Its Faces

IMG_3955

Photo Credit: Manish Doshi

Innocence is the face of a baby born
So also that of a person reborn
Each one has faced the struggle
To show up in the world

In their painful journey of birthing & re-birthing
Gut wrenching twisting and turning
Courage and surrender both have shown
To be able to breathe
And cry a cry of relief

That innocence has known survival
Not a scent of the vices of the world
The purity if they wish to retain
The reborn must keep the intent
To be alive & born to new moments
To die to each that has gone by …

We are blessed with many rebirths
In this lifetime alone
As much they make us weep & cry
Smile to welcome each one with joy

 

Note: This poem was first published on Dec. 11, 2015, when I was about 3 months into my blog on WP. The 4 bloggers that read it that time had felt so very precious to me. The poem itself was an emotional experience in response to a curious remark sent my way. Today this poem called me back as if to check in how and if it still fits with me. I felt it natural to share it again with all my new blogger friends.

This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays on ForgivingConnects, a blog by Debbie Roth who profoundly teaches the art of letting go.