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Autumn has arrived, and with it, I always feel the need to turn within to find balance between the lightness I felt during the warm summer days and the sudden desire to stay cozy and warm inside, as the temperatures cool outside.
Watching leaves float to the ground is a reminder that our lives are a mirror of nature’s cycles and that everything is in a state of impermanence. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that no longer serve us.
Many of us long for a life of happiness and peace, but we don’t believe we can have it. The great paradox is that our lack of faith in love and miracles is what blocks us from receiving love and miracles.
If we want to live a miraculous life, we must raise the volume on the loving voice within us and turn down the volume on our fear.
Many Eastern and modern spiritual traditions claim that oneness is the pinnacle of spiritual achievement. In this sense, oneness means to connect to — and ultimately become absorbed into — a great numinous matrix. This can be likened to a drop of water returning to the ocean, as Zen traditions claim.
However, oneness can also be realized as the loss of individuality when memories and experiences become information within the Akashic records. In all of these cases, the individual that once was a human being no longer exists upon the death of the body. The essence of one’s experience and being is simply absorbed into the fold of a higher level of reality, or into a greater whole.
In the classical sense of oneness, each individual is advised to reject or remove the ego. This enables an easier assimilation into the great numinous state of oneness. This results in the loss of who you are, and all that you have gained, as an individual. However, this is not the only option open to us. We can retain our individuality and still become part of a greater whole.
In the east end of my city is a methadone clinic, a safe place where opiate addicts can ingest a less harmful substitute under the supervision of doctors and addiction specialists. This clinic is new, operating out of a pharmacy in a residential area.
Concerned residents, led by a university student who lives in the area, are outraged that a methadone clinic was opened without consulting the neighborhood, though it adheres to the city’s bylaw that clinics in residential areas serve no more than 40 people.
The group has taken to photographing the addicts as they come and go, which has, of course, created an environment of fear and shame among those who use the clinic, already prone, as addicts often are, to fear and shame.
These protesters insist that they’re only taking photographs so that “if crime increases,” they’ll have shots of the “likely criminals.”
The media story around this has inspired equal anger on the parts of many citizens, who have sent e-mails filled with threats and accusations to the protesters. An eye for an eye, it would seem.
There is a quote that sums up my experience heretofore with yoga better than anything else I’ve ever read. I don’t know from whom or where the quote came, or I would totally give the person mega props and a huge, bear-like, electronic hug. The quote goes a little something like this:
“My yoga practice is no longer the battlefield of a long-waged self-improvement project by an overachieving person. It has become what I always hoped it would be — a place for love and acceptance.”
I think this quote embraces the yoga journey for many of us, because let’s be real here: How many of us started yoga because we wanted a thinner waist and perky yoga butt? How many of us, in the beginning, saw yoga as something we would conquer rather than embrace? How many of us saw someone in Crow Pose and said to ourselves, “I can do that shit.”
Over time, however, as we dove deeper into our practice — no doubt bumbling, grunting and falling along the way — our hardened layers begin to peel away, and we were left with the lingering feeling that yoga is something more than a way for us to gain strength, flexibility and balance. As we emerged from Savasana, time and time again, we began to realize that something else — something besides exercise — is going on here.
I’m a 43-year-old Romeo. Seriously. At the ripe, sweet age of 43, I’m playing the star-crossed lover in the Shakespeare classic. It was a surprise to me when the director casting this production asked me to play young Romeo. When I stop to think about it, it cracks me up. I mean, this character typically is seen as a horny, brash teenager on the brink of becoming a man and discovering true love.
Ah, true love! It’s a common enough phrase and yet I do believe it’s not actually all that common in our world.
I consider myself to be pretty independent, taking pride in all that I have because I’ve worked hard for it.
If you asked those closest to me, they would probably tell you I’m a little too headstrong, preferring to do things myself rather than seek help. I never really considered it like this, thinking instead that I am just successfully self-sufficient. However, in the past year or so, I’ve had to soften to the experience of seeking and accepting help. For the first time, I’m learning to lean on others more than makes me comfortable and to rest easy with accepting help.
Thinking that I’ve been doing a good job with this practice, I was shocked to feel genuine discomfort when I had to ask for help from my boyfriend recently. We’re moving in together, and we have a very solid relationship, so you’d think that asking for a little assistance would be a no-brainer…
With the holidays approaching, no doubt many of us are making a list and checking it twice. Ensuring that we find just the right gift to give to those we cherish in our lives.
Yet the giving is only half of the equation. We’ll undoubtedly be receiving gifts, too. And while many of us are world-class givers, can we say the same about receiving?
When is the last time you told a lie? Nothing major, just a little white lie? If you’re anything like me, you lied yesterday about why you were late, or you stretched the truth about the extent to which you read a book, or perhaps you weren’t honest about what you did or didn’t eat. You are not alone. We all do this EVERY DAY.
I’ve spent the past five years in a deep self-inquiry and this is one of the most interesting discoveries I’ve made. It sounds simple but at the most subtle level I’ve started to notice the vibrational quality of these lies when they enter my mind and leave my mouth. It feels much different than when I am moving from a place of love. There is a complete lack of integrity and I find myself out of alignment with my sankalpa, my deepest intention, which is to speak my truth.