It is light in the darkest night. It brings people to their knees. It is symbolic and powerful, yet proof-less and criticized. It illuminates life and it wages war. It escapes some and captivates many. To some it is doctrine, to others it is fiction. It is faith.
Today’s definition of faith doesn’t have to relate to religion; it can be trust or belief in something without proof. But in today’s society, the invisible creates disbelief. People lack faith in all areas of their lives because they are looking for evidence. They are waiting for the ideal job, the perfect relationship and financial abundance. They are looking for something tangible — and as a result, they are still waiting. When the answer doesn’t fall into their laps they become cynical and they lose faith.
If this rings a bell, don’t worry. There are ways to find faith in your daily life.
While in LA this past month, I spent some time at the Agape Spiritual Center and listened to the teachings of its founder, Reverend Michael Beckwith. I was inspired by so much of what he said, and one thing really struck home: “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.”
So often we have a dream or a desire to accomplish something, to do something or to create something, but we get stopped in our tracks because we are paralyzed by the fear of failure or fear of discomfort. Instead of facing that fear or going through the discomfort, we give up on our dream.
Does your ego keep following you to your yoga mat, no matter how many times you try to check it at the door? Yoga instructor Jason Crandell encourages us to think it through and consider this in a different way. “We want to invite our ego to come with us so we can see it, understand it and have a relationship with it. Notice and don’t be surprised when ego arises. Practice seeing and witnessing its existence.” For more information, visit JasonYoga.com.
What if I told you I could show you the value of your ego in your spiritual development? If I said that following your ego will help you to discover your own sacredness, would you believe me?
The ego has become misunderstood in recent years. Harkening back to the Freudian concept, the ego is the part of your mind that balances your desires with what is reasonably attainable. It is the part of your mind that can truly be called “the self.” It is within this self that the deepest and most important of the sacred mysteries wait.
In the practice of yoga, as in life, it’s the moments when we work together that can inspire the most change in us as individuals. In this clip, Jenny Sauer-Klein, co-founder of AcroYoga, talks about the principle of doing what works. To deal with the inevitable challenges and miscommunications that happen when individuals become partners, we have to leave room for the unexpected. When we let go of assumptions and embrace the discovery of what works best between these two people at this moment, that’s when we allow the relationship — and each other — to grow.
Last month, I spoke about the process of my expansion into a new arena of leadership and transformation as I hosted a teleseries for people around the world. Well, the Venus Transit event was June 5, 2012, and it was extraordinarily successful.
Powerful teachers gave their time and talents to support people in stepping through this once-in-a-lifetime portal to experience healing and growth. More than 7,800 people around the globe registered, and a powerful community was created. Participants accessed the call via the Internet and phone for three hours of intentional creation. I want to stop here and say that my team — Lisa Livingstone and Jean Hendry — brought skill, care and excellence to this process in powerful ways. We were all on a steep learning curve and still managed to find the humor and joy in the midst of many unanswered questions.
I am telling you all of this to let you know what happened next. The day after the call, we began to prepare for the Venus Transit University sessions that began on June 11th and continue through the beginning of July. As the conversations moved and tasks were undertaken, I had a thought: “Are you savoring the accomplishment?”
I had to pause and really take in what that meant.
What happens during the transitions between yoga poses — and the transitions in life? Whether you’re moving from one pose to the next or from one life event to the next (a relationship, a job, a city), yoga instructor Bo Forbes says that it is during these transitions that we often feel discomfort or a sense of uncertainty. However, transitions are also pregnant with potential for transformation and change, so we should strive to embrace them — or at least listen to what they are trying to tell us.
So the next time you unroll your yoga mat, try to slow down your practice and lengthen the time between your poses. Really listen to your body and mind during these shifts, because that’s often the space where you can begin to grow.
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 was thinking about hope this week and what it means to our lives. When I looked up the definition of hope, here is what came forward: The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; A person or thing in which expectations are centered; to look forward with desire and reasonable confidence.
The definition reminded me that hope can be attached to a feeling and therefore can be affected by emotion. “I hope things turn out okay.” “I hope that I will be understood.” “I hope my family will be okay.” It dawned on me that when I am hoping, I am looking into the future. There is a desire to be supported, but not an assuredness that everything will fall into place. Somehow there is a little kernel of doubt that things might not work out in a powerful way.