Saturday, June 6, 2015

How Did I End Up Here?

The great lyric from Nahko and Medicine for the People often brings me to reflect on what brought me to this moment, my “here and now”.  It would take a million books to encompass the vast array of events which lead to beginning this journey.  There were several journeys that I travelled which ultimately lead to this moment and my practice.  Like I have been known to say, “It isn’t a light switch…it’s a process”.  Throughout this process, I had a musically spiritually guide, which was Nahko and Medicine for the People.  I am forever grateful to them for their “musical medicine”.

I began seeing signs.  I viewed them as “strange coincidence” at first, but after the universe kept throwing them my direction, I was forced to sit back and reflect.  “Okay, what is going on here?”  So I followed them…not without a lot of questioning and self-doubt…not without trying to back out of this terrifying journey several times…not without extreme hardship.  There was something pulling me and it was too strong to ignore.  

Most often, there is a huge change or event which forces you to look inside and make other changes in your life.  The initial, most drastic change in my case was divorce, but can be anything in your life: a job change, a move, an accident or near-accident, etc.  I needed a change from my environment, my circumstances, and my current situation.  I didn’t know what would happen; I couldn’t control how it would play out; I felt like I had no idea what the hell I was doing.  It was terrifying!  And it didn’t come without great cost to those whom I love and myself.  It was not easy.

There was a lot of back and forth.  I wasn’t sure that I was making the “right” decision.  One day,  I was overcome by this internal knowing that I was leaving my marriage.  There was no giant fight, no crazy sign, I just knew.  After my separation, there was a lot of uncertainty.  Everything was different.  It took so much from me before making the final decision to leave that I didn’t think much further than the leaving part.  I didn’t know where to go from there.  The next few months consisted a lot of me trying to heal forcibly.  I did everything but allow the process to occur naturally.  

I always dabbled in mental and physical fitness, only ever really committing to running.  Throughout the process of coming to terms with my decision to leave my marriage, I went to some yoga classes, starting meditating some again, started to connect to crystals again, and was running fairly often.  After losing my marriage commitment, I lost commitment to pretty much everything.  I struggled to get myself together.  Some people speak of an “aha moment”.  I feel I had many, I just didn’t have the mental or physical strength to carry them out at that moment.  I pushed myself to get some routine together to get back into fitness.  I thought if I could just get back into running everyday, I would be fine.  If I just surrounded myself with people, I would be okay.  If I went to a yoga class every week, I would be more grounded.  If I immersed myself in work, I would be better.  It was causing more stress and it was exhausting.  That was not my intention at all.  In fact, it was the exact opposite of my intention.

Don’t get me wrong, getting out for a run, being around friends and family, going to yoga classes, and losing myself in work helped, but trying to commit my broken self to anything was not going to happen.  I was all over the place, trying to find my center and settle into the newness of being on my own.  I began playing guitar and singing again.  It was the first thing that I did with no agenda.  I sang what I wanted, when I wanted, and however long I wanted.  I had no restrictions or commitments to my guitar.  The freedom and ease allowed for my healing.  I played for hours at night, after the kids were in bed.  I needed to get it out in a way that focused only on my mind and emotions.  Such is the process.  You must head in a direction, hold onto your intention, however, allow the process to happen naturally.

One day, I woke up and said to myself, “I need to get on the yoga mat today.  I don’t care how, where, when, or with who, but it needs to happen.”  This was different than the other times when I had said that I needed to because I felt I should.  I had an internal knowing that the mat was where I felt I needed to be that day, so I followed that intuition.  This “internal knowing” was not the only one besides my decision to leave my marriage that I had felt.  In fact, they were coming more frequently now that I had opened myself up to the possibility that they meant something.  Or perhaps I was just listening more closely.  I was not reluctant at all to follow it and attended a great yoga class that day.  

I ended up doing yoga and/or running almost everyday since that day on the mat.  Initially, there was the process of integrating the things that I knew would help, yet didn't have the energy to commit to yet.  This process lead to my process of allowing yoga, meditation, running (my “moving meditation”), yoga philosophy, and holistic healing into my life.  It transformed my life.  Slowly…because it is a process, not a light switch.

Checkpoint of my Journey: Part Three

It is a continuation, isn't it?  Nothing ever really ends or begins; it changes and morphs into other things, all built upon the events, emotions, and time before.  There have been many changes in my life over the past year.  None "good" or "bad", some more stressful than others.  However, through many moons and many suns, many rainy days and many sun-filled ones, I have morphed into a more grounded, adaptable, spiritual being.  I have grown.  I have opened my heart more than I have in years and I have found that I will no longer stand for a life that doesn't encompass all that I am in spirit.

The unknown is scary and I have moments of self-doubt and skepticism.  Many, many years of searching for the most logistically sound, practical approach to life has left me with a sense of stability.  It has become habit to search for these things for comfort in my decisions; however, it has also left a space where I have suppressed the spirit and not allowed for a very important area of growth.

My blog was always called "The mind/body link"...I was leaving out an important part: The Spirit.  This aspect of my self that I have not fully connected to since I was in my 20s, before I started to have to "think like an adult in order to provide the best I could for my children".  Even just thinking it feels silly to me now, for the best thing I can give my incredibly spirited children is a mother who is sound in spirit herself.

So, hereon continues my journey.  Linking my mind/body AND spirit to live free, while still making sound judgement calls.  Trusting in the universe, destiny and the path to living as I am purposed.  Most importantly, having the strength and the faith to move forward on the paths that I feel pulled toward...opening my mind and my heart to hear and feel the messages that my intuition provides.  And to stop being such a wuss.  :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

My First Experience with a Holistic Healer: Polarity Massage

This is the thing about healers.  They can feel energy, know where to move it, help start you on the journey of self-healing outside their office, but they are usually not psychic.  This means that their interpretation depends on the amount of information about you and your life that you give them.  If they know nothing about you, they cannot interpret their findings as well as if you go to the same healer numerous times and allow them more into your world.  

The first holistic nurse that I went to did a polarity massage.  She stated the following findings:
  1. I had gone very deep into my self.
  2. I had a very open heart.
  3. I had a black energy in my entire head.  Toward the end, there was a sliver of bright, white light.
  4. My body was very receptive to her moving the energy.

She was concerned and asked if I had headaches (yes, often) and what was going on in my life.  My first thought was that I was going through a divorce.  So her interpretation was based off these things.  I must be allowing too much negativity in due to the divorce and I needed to ground myself to get through.  I should close myself off to receiving negative energies…protect myself.

However, what I didn’t tell her was that my divorce wasn’t really embodying a whole lot of negativity.  It was actually mostly cordial.  I also didn’t tell her that I had a history of dissociative coping mechanisms.  Because of this, I can pretty much turn my thinking brain completely off (unfortunately, I often “turn off” my emotional and spiritual bodies in the process).  I have begun to use it positively and it makes reaching a meditative state much easier for me.

If she had known this about me and had asked me if I was in a meditative state, which I most certainly was, she would have probably interpreted my black head, much less as a blackhead to be popped and more as a positive reading.  Bright, white light often indicates divinity, enlightenment and truth.  By the end of the massage, I was much deeper into the meditation and, although my thinking mind was off, it was accepting the things that it strives for.  

I was very excited about her findings after researching things on my own.  I saw it as a sign that I was learning to better control my dissociative tendencies.  I was happy that I was able to shut out the thoughts, while keeping my heart open and ready to receive.  I was really intrigued by the white light and was hoping to explore that even more.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

My First Yoga Festival: MayFest 2015

I went to my first festival, MayFest Yoga and Music Festival, in May of 2015, with my boyfriend, Tom.  Our first day/night there was all music and vendors.  I felt introverted (a very rare experience for me), but I accepted it.  Through yoga, I have learned to accept the moods, like tides of the ocean.  There are benefits to all moods, as long as you use them with good intention.  That day, we explored the grounds with no real agenda.  We met our “tent neighbors”, who had a 2.5 year old named Marley.  There were very nice and Marley’s free-spirited engagement was a joy to watch.

That night, we watched some great musicians.  In between sets, Tom wanted to take some photos of some amazing hoola-hoopers.  I took the time to delve inside myself.  Although it was “off-limits” (oops), I walked the lakeside beach to a small pier.  I looked out onto the water for a while, noticing the vast contrast between the white moonlight’s reflection and the seemingly black water.  I then closed my eyes and meditated, coming to my center, focusing my intention.  

The next day, I woke up and sang softly to my guitar in my tent.  I was still feeling a bit introverted and I didn't want anyone to hear me.  A few minutes later, the two yogis in the tent next to us left their tent.  They stopped and thanked me for playing, saying it was a treat.  I was embarrassed, yet grateful that they shared their appreciation.  It was touching.  It made me wonder what I was so afraid of. The people here came for yoga, art, and music!  They didn’t come to judge my singing.  I’m sure that most of them were on their own journey, finding an appreciation for the more creative and inspiring things in life.  What better people could I surround myself with?

We had scheduled SUP Yoga for the morning, but it was really cold, so we skipped it.  We went to MC Yogi’s Beastie Yoga Class later, where DJ Drez played all Beastie Boys mixes, while MC Yogi lead the class and his wife, Amanda, assisted.  It was my first class that people who were really into yoga travelled to come to.  It was a bit intimidating, but once I got on my mat, I felt better.  Looking around, I saw the same people that I would go to any yoga studio and see.  There were people of all shapes, genders, ages, and skin types.  Somehow it felt more like a community, even though we were all displaced from our own community environment.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well they conducted class.  It was lighthearted, funny at times, fun, and inspirational.  It encompassed everything I loved about yoga.

We came back to the tent before our next class.  I noticed on my way into our tent that Marley was protesting a nap in our neighbor’s tent.  Upon entering our tent, I saw the guitar and thought about how quickly my daughter falls asleep when I play.  I would play one song and hope I was helping and not disturbing.  I sung loud and with the regular emotion I feel when I sing.  I sang like I do in my living room.  Tom sang with me, which I love.  I really enjoy sharing music.  Later, Marley’s dad was holding him outside the tent.  Without me saying anything about my intention to play, he told me that he enjoyed our playing/singing and that it put Marley right to sleep.  Imagine that.  Abandon fear and you can do anything…even put a two-year-old to sleep who is fighting nap time.

Our next class started with chanting.  I had never chanted anything more than “Om” and once “Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti”.  I had definitely never had a chanting experience like this.  It was beautiful music, hearing everyone sing Sanskrit words together.  The meanings explained to us before to let us feel what we were chanting.  What followed was a yoga class that moved quicker than what I was used to.  The instructor was teaching us to move into the poses on each inhale and each exhale.  It made me dizzy, literally.  I expressed my problem with moving too quickly in yoga moves with Tom.  He pointed out that I have a similar issue with moving too quickly in life, but that sometimes life doesn’t offer us the luxury of waiting around while we analyze, evaluate each decision’s consequences, and make an educated deduction.  Sometimes, we just need to breathe through the changes and flow with them.  I need practice in this.  I was thinking that practicing a quicker Vinyasa Flow will help me to make the connection to being better with a similar issue in life.  

We got something to eat and were buzzing about the Nahko and Medicine for the People (MFTP) show later.  We couldn’t wait, wondered if they arrived yet, if we would get a chance to talk to them, etc.  We decided to get massages: I got a polarity massage, Tom got a Reiki massage, and MC Yogi was right in the middle of us getting a Thai massage (which I thought was pretty cool).  After the massages, we sat on the top of the hill, while MC Yogi sat with his friends at the bottom of the hill.  A little while later, we noticed him talking to Chase, the guitarist from MFTP. 

We were star-struck.  Should we talk to him?  No, we didn’t want to interrupt.  Should we?  I mean, we could keep it short and just tell him how much their music affected us.  No, it would be awkward.  We ended up walking down toward the food carts as Chase did.  He said hi to Tom, noticing his MFTP shirt.  We walked away and we talked about how that was our opening!  I bee-lined it back and said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but we just wanted to tell you how much your music has changed our lives.”  What followed was a great conversation and a few hugs.  We met his friend, Geary, who we ended up having several conversations with that night.  They were both so appreciative of our sentiments and such great people.

After charging all our modern technology, we ended up with a drained car battery.  As we tried to turn it on, only to hear the awful clicking of an engine that won’t turn over, we hear from a car behind us our rescuer, Nate.  He jumped our car and after a funny story, a photo to prove to his girlfriend that he was making friends, we ended up walking to the main stage together, all very excited about the Nahko and Medicine for the People show later.  On our way, who do we see?  Nahko Bear.  

Talk about star-struck.  Wow.  This man was a prophet in our eyes.  His words and his music fostered such a change in both of us and in our lives.  We had to stop and talk to him.  Courageous from our positive meeting with Chase, we stopped him and told him how his music and words were our guide through an incredibly emotionally confusing time in our lives.  He stared into my eyes when I spoke.  He listened.  Intently.  He was so gracious and understanding and we took a photo to remember the experience.  I sometimes look at the photo and still marvel that this experience happened.  It was perfection.  Serendipitous.  We cried.  We were washed over with closure.  We were grateful that we were able to personally meet and thank Nahko himself.

We saw Nahko and Medicine for the People play just a few short hours later.  Of course, we stood right up in front.  We were excited and engaged…surrounded by the music that had become a guiding force in our life in the live version.  It was an amazing experience.  After the show, we went to the food carts and met Justin, the drummer in the band.  Is this for real?  The universe provided us the opportunity to meet practically everyone in the band and thank them.  Absolutely amazing.

The next day, reflecting on everything that happened the day before seemed like we were reflecting on a dream that we had over the night.  But it happened because we followed our hearts and made the choice to attend a festival in a place we had never been to and “check it out”.

Live life.  Check things out.  Go places.  You will be surprised at the things that the universe will throw your way.