Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Time Away...and Back

It’s been a while since my last post.  My  most recent time away demanded  more  engagement in my physical work than the virtual.  I do not apologize for the absence as the time away was well spent and desperately needed.  I used my time away wisely.  I enhanced my education, mentored,  released, healed, and welcomed.    It has provided rich fodder for upcoming posts.  I look forward to sharing it with you.   It is good to take time off the grid to  disassemble,  disengage, and disappear to address disarray, distraction, disassociation, disregard, and  disparagement.

In our world of  convenience,  we have come to expect constant communication, contact, and conveyance.  It almost seems unconscionable to remove yourself for an hour, a day, week, or  few months as we are led to believe we need to be constantly fed or stimulated.  Think for a moment.   How much time do you really need or have to actively participate in the daily fast paced world?  Is it more important to be bombarded daily with shallow vanities or to have meaningful interactions of substance?   When you find yourself seeking pleasure or gratification from constant electronic connection, time to take a break.   Time to stand still amidst chaos to regroup and reconnect with the simple beauty of naturalness that surrounds us each day.  Time to go within the simple beauty of silence.

In Yoga, the practice of silence is called Mauna. My Daily Yoga Practice describes mauna best:

" Mauna is not just limited to the restriction of speech, but it is also about reducing and restricting the senses, inputs and stimulations of the mind.  It is calming down the thought current and free the mind from restlessness.  It is not merely practicing silence of speech, but also silence of the mind.  It helps to purify the mind to a deeper level."

The practice of Mauna is just what I needed to go inside, to cocoon myself as I set upon the path of metamorphosis.

a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one,
 in two or more distinct stages by natural means.

Stage 1 - Cocooning
Funny, your body will talk to you and tell you what you need to do...if you take the time
to listen.  I had developed a terrible pain in my left knee - a result of  repetitive, overuse and abuse of the sciatic nerve. My practice and daily regimen was affected.  I visited a local studio for help where I met an incredible being and yogi, whom I had never met before, Empress Thandi.  She immediately "felt" me in the midst of my chaos and told me  I was in conflict.  That the pain I had begun to feel was physical manifestation of my internal chaos.  The Empress was correct, she had "read" me in just a few seconds.  She could see what I had not been able to...conflict in my within my professional world, fear to embrace the next stages of my life,  failure to release what needed to go, resistance to move, failure to grow.  Her objectivity was just what I needed to initiate cocooning, to heal, to reflect, to unplug and tap in.   I needed to go away, I needed to go within.

I started by releasing of a paragraph of a personal writing I had been holding close for a few years.  It glimpse of  my most intimate and personal work.  I shared it with a distant, respected friend.  The freedom and exhilaration of revealing a vulnerability felt good.  While it opened me up to feel empowered, I questioned why I needed the acceptance in the first place.  It was evident that I needed to unplug.  So I did.   I just went "away" mentally and physically.  I made it "real".  I stopped everything -  writing, practicing, doing, "participating",  and producing.   I went silent.  For eight months,  I enveloped myself within the cocoon of  Mauna.    I made my unplugging tangible.

I challenge each of you to unplug from the electronic world for a moment, Disassociate to take a cleansing breath.  Tap in to your true self.  Actually look,  see and feel what is real and true.  You will realize you now have the time to accomplish that what you seek.  I used my time away to do just this very thing.  Go within.  Listen to the "voice" of wisdom.   In the short span of these past eight months while I was “away”, I have been able to achieve two of the aspirations which blessed my list.  Along the way, I was able to meet new people,  with new focus, new agenda, new path facilitating growth and strengthening my “return”.   I now do so with eager veracity, void of negative influences, infused with gratitude, and ready to share with a clearer focus of where I am to “go” next.

Stage 2 - Cleansing
Time away cleanses the mental, physical and spiritual self.   It is the foundation of retreats and vacations.  The purpose is to remove yourself from the very things which took you off track in the first place.   Start your cleanse. Address your conflicts, one at a time.  Initiate your healing. Jump start your success - purge.   Remove negative influences - physical, mental, people, situations and "things".  With your new clean slate, during your time away,  revisit your one, two, five or even 10 year goals.  If you never had one, use this time to create them.  What are your  aspirations?  Where do you see yourself within those time bands?   What do you need to get there?   Is each goal positive to help you be the best you can be?  Does each objective help you help others with servitude and humility?  Do they promote your growth and the growth of those around you?  If you have already pre-established a few dreams for yourself….where are you in the timeline of accomplishment?  Have you started?  Have you procrastinated?  Or… have you achieved?  Time away from detractors and distraction enables focus on what is real, what is truth.  This cleansing opened me up to acceptance of what I am to BE. I emerged from my cocoon ready to heal my body to embrace my new self. 

Stage 3 - BE it.  (Embracing)

I realized that I can just "be" and I don't have to make any specific choices.  I can DO anything I choose.  I can do it all or I can do none or just a few.  It doesn't matter as long as I continue to "BE".  Being is true self acceptance.   It is true existence in the present with clarity. The respite I experienced during Mauna fostered personal "growth".  I have accepted new life, let go that which did not suit me, and decided to physically "wear" it by letting the truth show through the gray and silver stands intertwined in my hair - no more covering up the truth of my years.  I am happy to BE.  I have returned to my practice, resumed my writing.  I  am Yoga Girl goes Vegan, I am a matriarch, a lover, friend,  yogi, hippy, bohemian, vegan, and powerful earthling.  I affirm my healing as the pain slowly subsides and ebbs away from my physical self.  I embrace that I walk my talk, I don't have to conform, I don't have to conflict, I don't have to do or be anything I don't want to be.  I am successful and incredible just as I am.

Yes, with a smile, as I’ve said so many times before, affirm your success.  Say it, believe it, do it….BE it.  Put your plan in place.  Make your dreams come true.  Who will you BE when you return from your time away?  With positive intention and supportive patience, I bid you happiness as you leave.  Enjoy your trip as you revisit your “self”.   Rejoice!  Upon your return, abundantly  and selflessly share  the gifts you received during your time away as I freely,  now share with you.

Stage 4 - Emerging
As this year ends and the new one reveals itself, I eagerly emerge and return as a new creature ready for the next chapter of my writings, with gratitude, healing, growth and the beauty of the new creature I have become.  I am ready to spread my new wings of love over all I encounter with a brilliant kaleidoscopic bursting with bright light and color.
With exuberance, I wish you a colorful cocooning and an emergent, freedom-filled Happy New Year!

Yoga:  Om Namah Shivah

Om Namah Shivah is a mantra which means to honor and be true to Shiva or “self”.   When distracted, we lose focus of our purpose and who we are.  Taking time away to discover ourselves  awakens the Divine bestowed within us.  It initiates the stages of our metamorphosis,  reestablishes the purity of our truth, fosters our personal path to growth, and allows us to use the light of our individual gifts to selflessly give to others.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Be the Lighthouse

I recently reconnected with friend whom I've known for 35 years.  Although our contact has been intermittent and we've often experienced time lapses extending years of non communication, it feels as if it were just a moment ago the instant we speak again.  This is due to his intense gift of light and how he uses it.  For this reason, I, like many others, find myself drawn to him and enjoy engaging within the light he so generously shares.  Even as a young man, my friend, author Mark Aycox, possessed the gift of patience, listening, and guidance often speaking from a vantage point infused with wisdom.  To me, he represents more than just light - he is a lighthouse, one who stands quietly still in the midst of chaos, using the light from within to guide the wayward to safe harbor.  I am grateful my path has continued to be blessed with his sagacity.

One More Rep
Mark recently published his first novel, One More Rep.  He describes it as "Schwarzenegger meets Siddhartha".  It is the coming of age story of a fitness trainer faced with selecting the correct path as he directs others during the fitness craze some years ago.  Mark does not profess any allegiance to veganism however, I highlight and support his work here because he "gets it" championing the same cries as many of my vegan colleagues.  Mark's inner yogi brilliantly uses this book, under the guise of fiction (cleverly interwoven between character interactions), to introduce readers to various real-life thought provoking subjects which impact our physiological health and psychological wellness:

  • importance of regular physical movement
  • respect for our bodies (they really are our temples)
  • impact of poor nutrition
  • importance and frequency of bowel movements (yes, twice a day!)
  • detrimental affects of milk, dairy, and excessive intake of protein
  • harm of processed foods, sugary drinks and dietary supplements
  • rejection of genetically modified (GMO) foods and conglomerate corporate manipulation of fruits and vegetables (which is solely for profit-not our health)
  • the unnatural "synergistic relationship" between meat, chemical, dairy industries and political, lobbyist-laden, so-called food regulatory agencies (again, for profit only)
  • reducing technological dependency; unplugging - replacing with intelligent reading material and preservation/appreciation of the arts and literature (expand mental stimulation)
  • reducing our carbon footprint; living simplistically; get off the grid
  • importance of finding resolution and solace with the unrequited including self awareness/image/esteem
  • respect for nature, all creatures and beings 
  • learning lessons from the small things in life
  • the value of patience, quiet listening and growth
  • the importance of giving and receiving grace and guidance
Be more than the Light...

Be more than the light...
I am entertained, emotionally moved, awestruck, and proud of the work of my friend.  He has managed to use the wisdom hidden in his light for the betterment of others.  Each of us will recognize someone or a part of ourselves in one of his characters.   For some in the book, it's too late.  Yet, for each of us reading, there is still a chance... a chance for redemption, a chance to change - to realize that as we are guided, we too must guide - to recognize, use and share our gifts, our path, and our light to discover that we too, have been blessed with the ability to shine from within with rejoice, resilience, humility and servitude to guide through to smooth seas.  Use your chance to rise, use it to be more than the light...use it be the Lighthouse.

Be the Light (Mantra Mala)- Aykanna ©2012
Be the Light, be the Lighthouse
Stomp your feet and clap your hands
Lift your hearts to chant
We've got to come together

Serve your neighbor
Serve your friend,
Serve each other till the end,
Live for one another.

I am thine in mine myself, Wahe Guru
Humee Hum Tumee Tum Wahe Guru!

Yoga:  Ahimsa
Revered in Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism, Ahisma means love of all living things. It also means respect for all beings.  A true yogi practices ahisma and exhibits love regardless of a station, title, category, or status. Guiding lights have no judgment for they shine for all who seek.