Shakti Dance

 

I don’t get out much.  You don’t need my excuses about being a hard-working mother of teenage children who are eating me out of house and home.  The deeper truth is that I love being at home, I love tuning in to my own energy, I love unplugging from the whir of being out in the world.  I am naturally quiet.  I love sleep.  A night at home is bliss.

But when I do get out, I’m in.  Because yolo.

And when I’m smart and remember my earplugs like I did last night, I can get right in front of the stage, right up next to the speakers, and I can let that bass and that sound and that noise take me on their current and let me break out of my thoughts, even the ones I didn’t know I was having.

The music moves my body, not my thinking.  The vibration of pounding sound awakens my deeper pulse, the pulse that’s here for a purpose much more exciting than just keeping me alive.  The pulse that is beating the rhythm of Shakti, the divine creative force within each of us.  Male, female, or however we choose to identify, Shakti brought us into this world and to Shakti we return.  She awakens as the serpent inside of us, the one who begins to uncoil at the base of the spine.  She rises like the Goddess waking up from deep sleep, and stretching through each of the chakras to enlighten us to the pure bliss of being Her child.

She will make you all kinds of uncomfortable and feel all kinds of crazy when a force in you begins to wonder about Her, preparing to let Her out.  Let it happen.  Find your way in to your deepest center and respond like the innocent you are: with craving, with love, with forgiveness.  The desire for your primordial self takes over and you don’t care what you look like, or if you’re the only one dancing.

Your thoughts roll through you and out of you like a fast-moving train, you can’t catch them, you are waving goodbye while you dance in the station right next to the speaker.  You and the entire train station crowd know you’re not going anywhere tonight.  The musicians are out, they’ve taken over the station, and we are mesmerized while they channel Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Beck – as music all their own, like a baby born out of the great poets of rock & roll.

Your thoughts might keep falling pointless stars, but the bass is so loud and the music is so good – Shakti Kundalini is winning tonight.

 

The Yoga Teachers are like Cats

 

Cats and yoga teachers are very similar.  They are like deities.  We bow very low to these advanced creatures.  We bow low enough to scoop kitty litter, clean up cat puke and deal with an eternal sheath of cat hair.  We bow low enough to give up our comfort-zone for 90 minutes in order to complete their class.  We bow low, and these deities grace our lives and keep us humble.

My girl cat, Tova, is my daughter.  She has the entire household wrapped around her pinky claw.  She is the Natalie Portman of cats, perfect in every way.  This morning she was cuddled up next to my shoulder when I awoke.  I got up and put my feet in my slippers to find UGHH!  Little perfect Tova had left me a nice wet hairball in the right slipper, ready and waiting for me like a dead bird.  It was so very unpleasant.

This is akin to when you are in one of the more strenuous postures from the Ghosh lineage, such as Bow pose, and you’re doing great, following the yoga teacher’s voice, following her cadence, and you’re giving it all you got, you’re holding out until the end: “Lift up, Lift up, Lift UP!”  But then she keeps going: “LIFT and surrender into the posture.  Find stillness.  Hold, Hold, Hold.  NOW release.”  That felt like eternity.  Half the class had dropped at that earlier point when we all thought we were done.  But the yoga teacher is sneaky and surprising, offering gifts that in the moment make stepping onto a wet hairball seem like a pleasant sensation in comparison.

These avatars, cats and yoga teachers, they can both peer into your very soul with their transcendent gaze.  By watching how they live, by following their teachings, we can learn to put ourselves in the role of observer more and more.  Learn to respond with a sense of knowing our own avatar nature, our own regal state of being.  When I tap into that, I am forgetting about “me” and “mine.”  It feels good.  The lid comes off the brain.  Gardens begin to grow again.  The doors of the heart open.  A smiling sun, a radiant jewel and a pool of clear water are revealed.

I bow low.

Namaste!

Addiction to Stress

I am chronically late.  I was even born two weeks late.  It is a flaw in my DNA, for sure.  I’m not trying to be rude.  I’m not trying to control other people by making them wait for me.  I am being selfish with my time, and reluctant to enter the whirling speed of the world, yes – I admit to that.  My speed is island-time, Solana time, roly-poly puppy time.  Forgive me!

The younger son teases me and says I’m going to be late to my own funeral.

But I’m realizing, although I’m a peaceful woman, my pathetic time-management skills have something to do with my own version of stress addiction….

As humans, we seek stress.  We crave the adrenaline, the cortisol, the inflammation response.  We crave the irritation, the distraction, the “What the FUCK?!” feeling.  Give it to me.  I want it/need it/got to have it.

So many ways to fulfill our addiction to stress.

The things that gives us a rush….

Do we really want to give them up???

Somewhere inside of us (I’m not the only one), a little maniac is freaking out – screaming “Stop me!”

And once in a while, or as often as we like, we can breathe deeply into that tumultuous chaos, and we can give it the break it is begging for.

Stress wants more stress.  It doesn’t want to die.  But what it “needs” is a break.  Longer and longer breaks, and someday maybe a permanent vacation.

Instead of banishing stress and punishing stress, we can reassure it that we are okay without it, and we can hand it that ticket to paradise.  Be sure to wave goodbye with love, for if it senses you are missing its company, it will come running back to fill your false needs and set both your nervous and endocrine systems out of whack.

As in everything, as always, we remain at choice.

Like me, for example.  I can stay set in my chronically-late ways as long as it takes.  I can blunder about, fighting with Time and plying myself with guilt for my addiction to tardiness.  But whenever I’m ready, I can allow Time to take my hand and teach me how to waltz.  Giving myself space between obligations.  Developing a willingness to be early. Drinking the moments in and finding the pause.  Letting go of the need to rush.

Anything can happen….

Now excuse me, I need to hurry up to get to yoga class!

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Gurus

 

We can have gurus and we can have Gurus.  The Guru is here to take you all the way.

It does not promise to make your life easy.  To the contrary, the Guru will hand you exactly what it takes to unfold you.  And while you are making your calculations about how you’ve been done wrong and what isn’t fair about the world and your life specifically, the Guru is loving you perfectly and slowly stirring the pot that is your evolution.

My introduction to Gurus came at age 20, with some kind of surrender/something to Jesus.  My post-adolescent-existential-angst was eating me alive, and then I somehow allowed myself to experience the idea of this man who had existed to teach humanity that we are one with God.  My intellectual mind took a break.  Fact/Fiction didn’t matter anymore.

At age 21, while I was pregnant with my first son, I met my second Guru in the form of Sai Baba.  I never met him in person, but I met him through a photograph that my Italian friend gave me.  She was/is extremely beautiful and wise, and she had been a devotee of his since her teens.  She was so cool and gorgeous and serene, and she spoke with reverence about this Guru that she loved.  Within months of learning about him, he appeared to me in a very interesting dream in which I was given the answer: “God is not dead.”

At age 22, I met my Guru, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.  She is Amma, the hugging saint.  I didn’t know she was my Guru when I met her, but my baby boy and I received Darshan from her and I felt like I had met God.  The first time I heard her voice, I was struck.  It was deep and gravelly, and coming from a place of such power that it didn’t seem real to me.  Hers is the kind of voice that gives you the feeling of IS-NESS that you have been craving.  Like dark, rich earth.  She sounds like the Source of all things.

I call my experience “a slow romance” with my Guru.  Somehow it took me 15 years to get to a place of complete surrender to her Love.  When I came undone I met the Love that responds with love to everything and everyone it meets.  That Love that gives a shit and will reach for you even when you feel like dying.  That Love that exists every step of your journey in forgetting and remembering your innocence.

And somehow, in surrendering to my Guru, I see the Guru all around me.  In my guru-teacher Gina Salá, who gently guides people to the light through sound-healing and through her presence, like a humble shepherd tending to all the wandering souls who come her way.

Through Neem Karoli Baba, Guru of Ram Das.  Seeing his form wrapped in a blanket is to know a certain eternal sweetness.  He reminds me of every poem by Hafiz, and looking at his image can simply bust my heart open.

Through Hanuman, the Monkey God, the one who will go to any length at all to salvage Love.  The one who opens his chest to reveal the bright light of Lord Rama residing within him.  Neem Karoli Baba would say “Hanuman is Jesus,” with tears rolling down his face, tears of grace and understanding.

{My thinking mind has mulled over that idea time and again, and it wasn’t until a couple months ago that I felt it like lightning “Hanuman is Jesus.”  Hanuman is everyman.  Hanuman is the monkey within our monkey minds that finds the entrance to God through his very heart.  Jesus is everyman.  His message has been corrupted time and again, just like he said it would be.  He is everyone’s brother, he is everyone’s Friend.  There is no ownership of your salvation.  Son of God.  Daughter of God.  That’s all we are.}

Ganesha, the Elephant God, also feels like Jesus to me, like the Friend.  He rides in slowly, steadily, with a grace that makes me weep, makes me laugh and makes me dance.  He is the drumbeat.  He is the pulse of Supreme Wisdom.  He is the Remover of Obstacles, even when he places obstacles before you.  He radiates Benign Reality.  He also “loves to party,” as Gina says in her Indian accent, with her Indian head wobble.  Beautiful Ganesha.

The Guru is here to take you all the way.  In Guru, there is no separation.  There is complete absolution of self.  There can be many Gurus and gurus.  You don’t have to choose.  Lovers, teachers, friends, children – all gurus.  Every family member you have, a guru.  Your dog, a guru.  See your Guru in everyone and everything.  Ah, the freedom of the heart!  For when you see your reflection in their brilliance, you are humbled beyond measure.

Too often, our heart and mind are disconnected.  The heart is trying to talk and the mind won’t listen.  It has been cut off from its source!  Go deeper.  Find the muladhara chakra at the base of the spine.  Go primal and go to your truth.  Find your innocence there.  This is the first chakra and it is guarded by Ganesha, who fosters self-respect.  From there work your way up.  Second chakra, just below the naval.  Third chakra, solar plexus.  When you reach the green forest of the 4th chakra at the heart, you feel an expansion, deep breath.

Keep going up.  Fifth chakra, at the throat.  Your vulnerability is here, and your voice.  It is bright blue and glowing with the electric energy of spirit.  Be heard.  6th chakra, third eye, your indigo imagination/intuition/intellect.  7th chakra, the diamond crown ~~ you are That ~~

These days I am reading about Sri Mata Ananandamayi Ma, the Bliss-Permeated Mother.  She dances on your heart and laughs into the depths of your being.  She eradicates your consciousness to merge with the is-ness of this moment in ecstasy.  She softens the core of your self-identification so you can again be liquefied like butter being prepared into ghee.

This is what I know about Gurus tonight.

Sat Nam.

Grace.

 

 

 

 

Full Moon in Leo, Venus in Capricorn

La Luna enters Leo today at 10:21am PST, and she is exact in her fullness at 5:46pm.  Moon in Leo is courageous, innocent, brave and flashy.  The beauty is in tapping into our loveliness.  The challenge is in seeing our loveliness reflected all around us.  We are bright and so are they!  We are not brighter, and they are not brighter.  In truth, we are each far brighter than our own ability to comprehend.  The influence of a Moon transit is a mood and it passes quickly (2 days), but when the full Moon (emotional self) dances with the Lion (expressive, emotive, courageous self) there is something RIGHTEOUS about how we feel, something we can trust.

Can we allow the innocence of the Lion to further our creative expression?  Like a baby making all kinds of faces and jerky movements, can we simply be as we ARE, without apology or embarrassment or self-criticism?  Just BE THAT WHICH YOU ARE and know that everyone else is doing the same, in their own perfectly human way.  Smooth, awkward, rough, raw, subtle – we are that which we are at any given time.

Venus, the sublime planet of beauty and love, enters Capricorn today at 12:31pm.  Capricorn is the Goat, and she is better known for being steadfast than sexy, unlike the luminous goddess Venus.  Although Venus supports every sign she passes through, she is tamed in Capricorn.  As Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, there is restriction here, there is definition, containment and rules.  Venus is wearing her reading glasses now and an unsexy sweater, while sipping coffee and compartmentalizing her life.  She might feel the urge to go outside and put her bare hands in the dirt, reconnecting herself to the Earth.  She honors her roots, specifically those she has created with her own blood, sweat and tears.

Capricorn is all about straight-forward action and hard work, but she also represents transformation: her glyph is part Goat/part Fish.  She is taking-care-of-business, that is what she knows.  But she is also preparing us for the wild transition into Aquarius, the Water-Bearer.  Aquarius is transformational energy, like electricity.  Our Sun is now in Aquarius, as of this past Wednesday morning, and the rebel in all of us is doing a little dance.  Aquarius seeks the greater good, and he is not afraid of destruction and dissolution to create positive change.

I think it is auspicious that much of our country’s legislative sessions are occurring at this time, with the Aquarian Sun to shepherd our political leaders toward choices that promote equality and expansion.

Adding to the mix, Mercury remains retrograde in Capricorn until this Monday 1/25, when it will station direct at 1:50pm.  Mercury is mentality, wit, communication and perception.  How we PERCEIVE Mercury’s retrograde motion affects how we PERCEIVE the way things are “working out” in the realms of the mind.  I appreciate planetary retrogrades because of the deepening effect they have as they carve their imprint back and forth upon the sign they are transiting.  Mercury is taking its time with Capricorn, digging into its experience with the Goat from 12/11/15-2/14/16 (aside from its brief dip into Aquarius from 1/3-1/9/16).

Mercury in Capricorn means that the mind needs to focus now, the mind needs to produce, ask questions and create solutions.  Capricorn is so earthy and tamed that Mercury can’t exactly get wild or out of control – it’s more like nose to the grindstone.  Great time to work on taxes for business owners.  But as it slows to station retrograde or station direct, Mercury likes to stir up some clouds and many things are likely to seem uncertain.  Wait to finalize big decisions until later next week, ESPECIALLY if you feel as strong affinity with the planet Mercury.

The best way to understand your personal astrology is to receive an astrological reading, beginning with a natal chart reading.  The entire zodiac exists within you, for each sign influences a “house” in your natal chart.  The houses represent specific areas of our lives.  For example, Capricorn – steadfast, structured, driven, linear – happens to rule my 8th house of sex, death and transformation!  So the Venus and Mercury transits occurring in Capricorn right now happen to be fairly exciting for me.  Where is Aquarius in your chart, illuminated by the Sun?  That could be an area that is being given a boost of energy and nudging you out of your comfort zone in order to give voice to a certain type of needed social change.

If you are seeking an astrologer at this time, I can refer you to 2 amazing astrologers/intuitives in the Seattle area:

*Megan Skinner (www.meganskinner.com)

*Stephanie Gailing (www.planetaryapothecary.com)

Or online, I continue to learn so much from:

*Chani Nicholas (www.chaninicholas.com)

*Ainslie Faust (www.astroainslie.com)

~~~

Full Moon photo credit: Michael Ludwig (captured 5:15pm PST on 1/22/16)

~~~

Big, peaceful Full Moon blessings to you and yours, lovely ones.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

Recess Friend (Ode to the Lover)

 

Hello in there,

Can you come out to play today?

No?

Too many obligations and commitments?

I see.

Merde.

What if I was to stand outside the window of your mind,

and incessantly sing to you?

What if I suddenly found myself standing next to you, leaning in to curl my head against your shoulder?

Touching your face with gratitude?

Then would you leave this place of thinking

to come play in the recesses of our brains?

Those places we haven’t discovered, those places

untamed and uncaged?

I want to run in that field with you,

smelling flowers with the warm wind blowing into us.

I want to run until we are in the sand

naked

and at once rolling onto the wet shore to let the waves

lap us and engulf us.

The Angels and Time begin a bargain

to extend the moments now,

these fleeting moments that simply ask us

to keep doing what we’re doing.

*

Do you remember the first time you kissed me?

It was like inhaling all of those things

locked behind a veil of mystery.

An entire boquet, an entire galaxy

of secrets!

*

At recess, it is all there:

A million secrets to explore ~

A thousand ways to receive the gift ~

Taking turns surrendering, and simultaneously protecting

each other in this evolution.

It’s okay if you want to retreat and hide back in your cage sometimes.

I might do the same.

Sometimes, I might want you to walk with me during my retreat, holding my hand and just listening or whispering a kindness, such as “How beautiful you are when you live your truth.”

Sometimes, I will want to walk alone.

But darling,

I like recess.

It won’t take long before I return to play,

with a softened heart

and smiling eyes.

*

For there is so much delight to be found

outside the cage!

The illusory cage that seems so real when I am standing inside of it, turned away from the field and the sun and the sand and the wind.

But now that I’ve tasted the freedom in the Garden,

even the shackles in my cage are pointing me back

to the incredible lightness of my true nature!

The heavy heart prods itself out of its reverie, chanting

“Guess what time it is, sweet one?  It’s time to wake up the dreams!”

And as I open the eyes of my knowing,

the dream shoots into consciousness

so again I am standing outside

with the warm wind,

the field, the sun, the sand

and you.

*

This time, when you lay me out like canvas

for your paint,

and every stroke from your brush,

every strike of your color,

sends me into rapture ~

This time I fully immerse myself in the bliss of being held so perfectly,

and my mouth opens wide

so gold can pour forth,

glowing with the magic of Prana ~

This energy that has awakened has no beginning and no end,

no death and no resolution.

Regardless of how suppressed it may have been,

regardless of having coiled itself into a dormant position

for years or even lifetimes,

when it awakens,

when it begins to shake,

all the walls start crumbling down.

And we dance upon the rubble that piles up,

we dance and dance and dance.

*

Kiss me again like that,

my Recess Friend.

*

 

 

The New Sexy

There are men who don’t want to wake up.  There are men who are completely satisfied with the brain-numbing distraction, stress and entertainment that is targeted at them from a young age.  Maybe not satisfied completely, as in to-the-core, but placated enough, appeased enough, to shut up and let the current take them wherever it’s going.

There are men in various stages of waking up.  There are men who intellectually consider women as their equals, at least in public, for the most part.  But even these men find themselves forgetting when they become attracted to a woman, or annoyed by a woman, or in a position of power over a woman.  The woman is a commodity, and she is wanted or unwanted.

Woman is image.  She is form.  We like it, we invite it, we want more of it.  She has a face, but no name.  Or just a body.  Her face is not necessary, not if it gets in the way.  Her voice is a nice addition if it is seductive enough, and if she says what we want to hear.  Woman is here to satiate.  That is all.

The “good woman” works very hard and asks for little in return.  She is “pure” for all intensive purposes, but as kinky as her man desires when he desires it.  She does everything right and she looks good while doing it; she volunteers, cooks, attends all the meetings, sits with the children in the evening to patiently work on their homework with them.  Her kindness is never-ending.  Her demeanor is sweet and placid.  The food she prepares is delicious and creative.  She takes lots of advice from Pinterest.  And she works out religiously, in her magically-occurring spare time!  She is superwoman.  She has tons of friends, so she’s never lonely, but she always prioritizes time for her man.  She is ever-faithful.  She is drama-free.

Not all of us can be the “good woman” all of the time.  Many of us don’t care to follow any kind of prescribed path, ever.

Many, many women are in various stages of waking up.  I am one of them.

Despite being raised by a progressive single-mother in a liberal part of the country, despite my classes in Women’s Studies, despite a plethora of teachings about equality that I was given throughout my childhood and adolescence, I have forgotten my birthright time and again.  For many years, the drive to attain “what looks good” versus “what feels good” ran strong in me.  I was blind to it, for it was as simple as my will to survive, that impulse to please men.  Not all of them, of course, but when they entered my energy field, when they somehow applied to my life, I had to acquiesce. I trusted their desire for me (or lack thereof) more than I could trust my own sense of self.  I had no concept of what I actually wanted to experience because I had somehow been programmed to “make him want you/like you/love you.”  And yes, at times I felt like a shell of a human being.

The men weren’t doing anything WRONG, per se.  They were just letting me please them.  How convenient.  Another young lady who doesn’t know her worth, nothing new to see there.

But now, everything is different.  Not in the world.  But in this mind that has shifted its view, from outward to in.  The awakening of consciousness can be slow and weird and awkward.  There is this long stage of transformation that may last lifetimes.  As I learn to exist as Awareness, I am not a caterpillar anymore.  Neither am I the butterfly.  I am primordial soup.  I look and feel nothing like I did before I surrendered to the process.  What I am becoming is not yet revealed.  I am soup.  Dismantled.  Messy.  Unknown, except to the One who shapes me.

I live and breathe and move in the body.  I might appear to have it all together at certain times, from certain flattering angles.  I assure you, I do not!

Despite this mess, I do so want to experience the ecstasy of union with a man who can walk this path with me.  But a man like this is rare to find.

Men have an incredible opportunity and responsibility at this stage in our human evolution.  Every man has his own birthright that is calling to him, singing to him, and literally crying for him to claim it.  By gender alone, a man is given power.  This power is a tool or a weapon, and his choice is critical.

Many men would never even consider acting in violence against a woman, child or other more vulnerable being.  But few men will put themselves in the public eye to speak out against that kind of brutality.  Few men are forming coalitions to end sexism and to heals its wounds.  Few men feel brave enough to stand up to other men to stop the cycles of abuse that continue to run rampant in every country around the world.  Few men are seen outwardly grieving the tragedies of war – simply grieving, as in accepting the losses and feeling the impact, without running away with plans to retaliate with more guns and bigger bombs.

Few and far between are the men who are willing to speak out about their own wounds and become teachers and guides for other men who are also learning to heal.  To speak of emotions, pain, vulnerability and the need for healing is a dangerous act for many men.  Few risk it, but some do, and those some have a huge impact.  Because men haven’t just been dehumanizing women for millennia, they have been dehumanizing themselves at the same time.  Patriarchy is a bitch, for all of us.  And those men who are tearing it down are reclaiming the jewel of masculinity.

And that jewel, my friends, is incredibly sexy, indeed!