It’s the beginning of spring, when many of us become obsessed with cleaning out closets, drawers, books and clutter. I find it interesting that we are not as excited to embark on a road to “emotional cleansing.” Why not take some time this week to inventory old behaviors and patterns that keep us in a constant state of drama — and clean them out along with the dust bunnies?
Astral City on GaiamTV.com poses the answer to this question in an extremely unique and bold way, using the notion of spiritualism. With spiritualism, spirits of the dead have the ability and inclination to communicate with the living. Anyone may receive spirit messages, but formal communication sessions are held by mediums, who provide information about the afterlife.
If you’re ready for a wild, mind-opening and thought-provoking ride that’s based on a true story, Astral City is your ticket. Here are the highlights:
For over five years, my yoga practice brought me joy and fulfillment, but solely from my studentship. Teachers had always intrigued me with their beauty, strength, confidence and presence, but to actually become a yoga teacher seemed like entering a different realm — one that I thought could not possibly be as blissful as the space on my favorite coral-colored yoga mat.
But every now and then I would think about what it would be like to lead a class, spreading pieces of possibility and shining smiles to all the students. I would cue and they would flow, moving with ease to the perfect music I was playing that matched all the perfect words I was saying.
But then my daydreams would subside, and I would find myself happy to only be responsible for my own moves, my own mind. Why would I want to teach anyway? It would take up so much time. When would I get to do my practice? If I was teaching, I wouldn’t be learning.
But are the two job descriptions — writer and yoga teacher — really that dissimilar? As a writer, my true calling has always been found in the power of connection and inspiration, traits any good yoga teacher should possess. I like to set my own schedule, travel a lot, wear comfy clothes and work in bare feet. I love sharing my insights and experiences, spreading words of wisdom wherever I go.
So, yes, now I am not only a writer. My career of word crafting has united with my passion for movement.
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 last few weeks, I have had several clients and other acquaintances who have shared their discontent. Their challenges range from unsatisfying relationships to chaotic work environments to spiritual disconnection to complete exhaustion. As I listened to each person there was a similar question that kept running through my mind: “Is your container too small?”
I’m sure you can feel it — the change that’s in the air all around us.
It’s been a spectacular autumn so far, and I’ve been spending as much time as possible going on long hikes. Perhaps I should feel guilty about the chores I’m neglecting, but I cannot resist the spectacular display beckoning outside my window. The smell of cool, crisp air and sound of rustling leaves instantly put me in a good mood.
I have always felt the healing energy of nature, and lately I have connected even more deeply with the cycles of each beautiful and fleeting season. I used to dread the end of summer, but with age (and lots of yoga), I am now grateful to live in a place that has four distinct seasons. I embrace change — after all, it is inevitable.
Being in balance with our outer world brings more harmony to our inner world, both psychically and physically. As the colder weather sets in, we transform our habits as well as wardrobes and, hopefully, our home environment.
Here are a few easy ways to welcome the fall season in your home:
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 no rush, there is only now. Tapping into patience.
I haven’t written in the past ten days. Writer’s block, stuck in a rut, loss of inspiration … you name it. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my writing usually happens when I write from a place of inspiration and peace, instead of fear and must.
In the past year, something has shifted within me. It is both confusing and wonderful. I cannot put my finger on exactly what is going on, but it seems to be happening in just the right way. One of my favorite quotes is by Arthur Rubinstein: “There are no formulas for living the life you secretly dream about, because if you simply accept and welcome life, it’ll reveal itself to you.”
We often find ourselves “asking” for expansion. We ask for expansion into a more powerful way of living and being; expansion in our thinking; expansion in our abundance and affluence; expansion in our relationships. The interesting thing to me is that when we are in a space of desiring expansion, we don’t often consider the totality of what that means.
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.