Remember the “very honest letter to those I can trust” I mentioned at the end of my “Week One” blog? The letter that would kick my butt out of paralysis? That would smash my self-centered, ego-based fear about the part of my life I won’t reveal here? It’s still in draft form. Scribbled on 11 yellow sticky notes. All stuck together in a little pile. Over there.
The past seven days were eventful, exciting, uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking. Overall, the New Energy was on high. I am reminded of a W.H. Murray quote, which a friend sent to me about three years ago, when I was beginning to deliberately shape the direction of my yoga teaching journey.
“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth – the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
On December 28th, I made a decision to commit to a 30-day ritual, to witness and learn and make room and live and breathe and watch. To set a Sankalpa, an intention, a deep resolution. So right here and now, in order to take advantage of the New Moon energy of letting go, to sustain integrity and to fully align with my dedication to Shift and New Energy, I’m going to burst the bubble of shame and fear, and admit what I’m afraid to reveal:
Being without full-time employment has brought me to dire financial straits. It is not a pretty picture. I know that there are many others in this same situation. I am not alone. The thing is…what I’m really hiding is…until recent days, I was not doing enough to find work. I spent many, many months not applying for jobs, due to my own self-centered fears. “I’m too old; my education is outdated; my last full-time job ended seven years ago; my career path is not linear.” Truly logical reasons why I might not get attention from employers. And I clung to these reasons so tightly, I wouldn’t lift a finger to look for a job.
Thankfully, around Day 6 of this “Full of Shift” process, I saw a quote from self-help guru Dr. Robert Anthony. Although I typically run in the other direction from self-help gurus, and although I had heard this idea one-million times in one-million different phrasings, these exact words struck a direction-changing chord with me:
“Once you give up all the ‘logical reasons’ why something cannot work for you and allow your new dream or goal to enter your Subconscious, it’s an idea whose time has come.”
Since reading this quote,
- “I’m too old” became “I have 47 years of rich life experience, I have 30 years of insightful business experience, and I have 20 years of personal transformation and development experience.”
- “My education is outdated” became “I am excited to pursue further education, and can apply for funding based on my rich and insightful background, as well as my experiences with personal transformation and development.”
- “My last full-time job ended seven years ago” became “My last full-time job was a 5-year success story; since leaving, I have honed my writing/editing skills as a communications consultant and a yoga blogger; I have launched a thriving part-time career as a motivational yoga instructor and writer; I have been training to work with and teach within at-risk communities; and I have been incubating my vision for a non-profit organization called Ahimsa Now.”
- “My career path is not linear” became “Thank god, my career path is not linear; 2012 was the year of connecting those dots in very meaningful, valuable, useful ways. Let’s rock.”
Reiterating W.H. Murray’s thought – but this time in boldface:
“…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
I started this “Full of Shift” project (for background, see “The origins of ‘Full of Shift: 30 Days of New Energy’” below) toward the end of 2012, because shifts were subtly and mysteriously showing up in my encounters, my yoga practice, my heart center, my dreams. Here we are, mid-way into this commitment; and indeed, providence is moving.
Here are last week’s “Full of Shift” Facebook posts, plus added reflections. Thanks for reading.
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Fri, 01/04/13. Day 8.
Not sure what I dreamed about last night, but before I went to sleep, I read yoga teacher Hari-kirtana Dasa’s blog about Ahimsa and Veganism. And this morning I awoke thinking about the similarities among the traumas created by wars of all kinds – internal, external; political, spiritual; business, crime; families, countries. And in my mind, the phrase “The Myth of the Suburbs” kept resounding, until my body started tingling. After my daily incense/meditation ritual, I again had the strong sense that something powerful is brewing (which is why I started this 30-day “Full of Shift” observation). Later, above my desk, this little exercise happened (see photo). And just now, I saw the Pedro Franco (of http://www.yoganoborders.org) Facebook post from Michael Moore about “supporting our troops.” It’s all related. We’re all related. Little Shifts. Big Energy.
REFLECTIONS: I am a word person, so my “Vision Board” is more like a “Word Wall.” I discovered the benefits of this visioning exercise while working in television programming a while back. Like then, I have small tasks, larger goals, longer-term markers, future visions and big-huge dreams to attend to each day. Using the sticky notes, I can arrange all of these in order of next steps and later attention. Seeing it on the wall (rather than in a to-do list) illustrates that everything is connected, and leads to one umbrella motivation – the founding of my nonprofit, Ahimsa Now.
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Sat, 01/05/13. Day 9.
Missed a day of the ritual today, y’all. Taught this morning, then spent the entire day at IKEA and Whole Foods Market. Made time for Jonathan Foust’s Yoga Nidra CD in the evening. And now, just home from an amazing dinner with a fellow yoga teacher. Good stuff. Some days are just for this. Back to incense and chanting tomorrow.
REFLECTIONS: This late-evening Facebook post was the beginning of my decay into self-centered fear about some yoga friend/yoga event stuff. That night I ended up essentially screaming my emotional pain in a scary string of private messages. This dark episode came from a culmination of things, namely: stuffing difficult emotions about a number of hurtful situations since around Christmas time; not keeping up with my life-saving, sanity-making morning Sadhana over this time period; and being awake much later than normal, and, on the ever potentially-triggering Facebook after a really long day. Total melt down. It happens.
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Sun, 01/06/13. Day 10.
Today, it’s “Full of Sh*t: A Couple of Days of the Same Old Energy.” Thank god this whole life thing is about progress not perfection.
REFLECTIONS: Last night’s great ball of fire evolved into today’s regret and shame. I cannot wait until these words fade from my vocabulary: “I admit that I overreacted and I was wrong to misdirect my pain at you. Please trust that this was situational, remember how I have been constructive before, and know that I am aware of and in the solution for this.” Blech.
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Mon, 01/07/13. Day 11.
In my life, it is scientifically proven – mindful repetition of ritual works in wondrous ways. Old habits fall away; new habits emerge. However, truth be told, I have not been repeating my “Full of Shift” daily practice before dawn, nor with much mindfulness, over the past few days. Fitting it in, whenever, wherever. Hence, I am all over the place – shift owns me, and the same old energy rules. Wake up call? Let’s see what happens tomorrow morning.
REFLECTIONS: I saw this “Repetition” image after a messy weekend of human dynamics, sparked by my own neglect of the practices and routines that ensure peace of mind and therefore peaceful relationships.
Thank god for being a yoga teacher, and for reminders. This morning, I presented “The Benefits of Yoga in Everyday Life” to an assembly of 150 pre-teens and their teachers – on their 1st day back after a long holiday break. I lead the group through a centering exercise, to show how yoga calms mind disturbances – from excitement to worry – and increases peace and focus. It is always a moving experience for me to witness people of all ages and backgrounds responding to the yoga “trick” of focusing the mind, body, breath and senses. There’s that moment in the room when everyone settles into a peaceful hush…it’s amazing! And the yoga is doing the magic, really – not me at all.
When I got home, I was certain to do my own centering, breathing and chanting.
Later that day, a friend familiar with my passion for baseball, my background teaching yoga to athletes and my current job situation introduced me to the community outreach and training director for a professional sports complex. How exhilarating to stand on pro-athlete turf and hear the thump of a 100-mile/hour fastball against the backboard! I had an amazing time learning about the center’s community mission. The fog of the weekend’s mishaps started to lift as I felt myself in my element.
The same afternoon, I found words of wisdom from Alanna Kaivalya and Arjuna van Der Kooij: “In order to dance like Shiva, we must feel free, and freedom comes from knowing there is nothing that binds us permanently. Shiva’s dance is born out of a liberation from the fear of change.” BAM. Om Namah Shivaya! I knew exactly what change I am fearing in relation to what happened on Saturday night. Thanks, Shiva, for point my heart straight at it!
I am afraid of a change in people’s opinions of me. I am afraid that my yoga community, my potential employers, my family, my friends are changing their vision of me, from respected and loved to worthless and unlovable. Making up their minds that the messy truth under the yoga guise is unacceptable. I usually share so honestly; but the longer I go without full-time work and continue managing the related stress and shame, the more I am hiding.
Acknowledgement of this fear informs my solutions for facing and transforming it. Be honest. Don’t be afraid of others’ judgment. Acknowledge my beautiful, messy, eternally changing humanness. Have faith in myself. Give myself a big, forgiving, accepting hug.
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Tue, 01/08/13. Day 12.
As we move toward the New Moon this Friday, and as I continue my effort toward “making room,” this is what struck me after this morning’s 108 “Asato Ma”s and incense ritual (see “Tolerated/Celebrated” image).
REFLECTIONS: Today everything became fiercely positive. I discovered, reviewed and absorbed positive comments from, encouraging conversations with and stronger connections with objective strangers and beloved friends. Encounters affirming my life, my approach to it, my purpose in it. This week I have received immensely wise guidance from peers and mentors. I have met challenges from friends, fellow writers, nature. There have been lots of opportunities to grow, observe patterns, witness behaviors, reckon with humanity.
I spent some time by Rock Creek and came upon one of those crazy post-storm piles of tree trunks, branches and debris. I felt energized by nature, and the smooth, colorful beauty that shines from twisted, broken messes. All part of the organic process of life. Life.
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Wed, 01/09/13. Day 13.
I looked up at the waning crescent moon on my way to teach a 7am class this morning. A few days ago at midnight, under a half moon, I prayed for obstacles to be taken away – “Take it, whatever it is, please,” I pleaded. Since then, indeed, things have been taken away. Debating whether that’s happy or sad news. Still, making room for New Energy, so recent shifts can lead to liberation…being useful…offering service.
REFLECTIONS: Today was a good day for positive influences on friends’ Facebook posts. My fave: “If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” (J. Krishnamurti)
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Thu, 01/10/13. Day 14.
This was a super eventful, exciting, uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking week. C’est la vie. At sunset tonight, I start my monthly New Moon fast. Looking forward to reflecting on these first two weeks of Making Room, as the waning moon disappears, leaving nothing but space for New Energy.
REFLECTIONS: Focusing on the positive, the strength, the connections, the friendships. Letting go of what will make room.
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Today. Day 15.
This morning I awoke before my alarm, and decided to practice Yoga Nidra with a Jonathan Foust CD. “Relaxation is the entryway to renewal and insight, and the foundation of meditative awareness,” he told me in the introduction. So I intuitively knew this would be the right way to start the day.
Jonathan guided me to power-up my inhale, and to relax, soften and let go fully and deeply with every exhale. Then, he invited me to begin breathing without effort. “Notice your capacity to allow this moment to be just as it is, without adding anything to it, without taking anything away.” After a body scan, he noted, “Relaxing…”
“Feeling who you are in the absence of struggle, in the radiance of effortlessness.”
After Yoga Nidra, I repeatedly affirmed the Real, the Light and the Everlasting during my 108 Asato Ma chants. In the absence of struggle, I experienced the radiance of a deeply present, conscientious and self-affirming choice to stand in my truth – no hiding, no shadows, no lies.
New Moon. Letting Go. Making Room. Shifting Toward New Energy. Indeed.
Time to finish and send out that “very honest letter to those I can trust.”
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Thanks for reading. OM Shanti.
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The origins of “Full of Shift: 30 Days of New Energy”
Over one month, from the Full Moon of 12/28/12 to the Full Moon of 1/26/13, I intend to awaken before dawn, light a stick of my new incense (a holiday gift, appropriately branded “New Energy”), practice Pranayama (yogic breathing) and chant 108 repetitions of the “Asato Ma” prayer (“lead me from falseness to truth, from darkness to light, from things that die off to that which is everlasting”). As with all of my other intention “projects,” I am not trying to force a specific outcome – simply to ask how I can bring New Energy to my life, to listen to any answers, to witness the subtle yet abundant shifts of late, and to see what evolves.