Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Challenge of Presence

*This was a post I started in September and didn't finish until today.*
Parenting is tough. For those of you who are parents this is an obvious statement, but to those who are not parents I do not think there is any way to convey the depth of this statement. I did not come to be a parent with my eyes closed to this reality. I was a nanny for several years before becoming a parent and I had a pretty good idea that parenting meant giving up a rather large portion of your life and freedom. It also appeared to me that to do the very best for your children you were going to need to do a bit more than provide a home, healthy eating choices, and a good school. Kids require your presence, not just your physical presence, but the kind of presence we seek to understand in going to a yoga class. My favorite most intense meditation practice is being fully present as a parent.

But, as many of you know the challenge of being present is the greatest challenge many of us face. And this is not limited to parents. It is our challenge as human beings with incredible minds capable of unfathomable thought, to silence the what if's and should I's and I need to's and just be. It is our challenge to stop looking so far out and ahead, to stop and look in and just observe the light shining around us and through us all the time, even when our eyes are closed in the dark.  Our challenge is to stop and be in awe of the expanding universe inside our being. To see ourselves with as much reverence as we see the universe. To see how tiny and at the same time how enormous we are. To be fully present in the moment, in one moment of an infinity of moments.

Today I hope you give your self the gift of a moment of presence. I hope you will stop and close your eyes and breathe in the life surrounding you and be in awe and wonder of your place in this world. I hope you will see the brilliance of your moment in the sun. And I hope the same for me.

The Dark Side

The dark time of year. My thought go with the season.  The longer I live the more I am able to see the brilliance of the Star Wars saga. As my husband pointed out it is a story ripped from the global pages of antiquity, retold for our times, nevertheless I choose to use it. This time of year is my journey to the dark side

We all journey to find our true self and struggle to find our path and place in this world. It really isn't anything new, but it can be remarkably lonely. Being a jedi is a tough job and sometimes quite isolating. Now am I saying I am a jedi and  you are not, no. I am saying we are all jedi in our own universe searching for others like us. We are searching for others who will see our gifts and our purpose and will welcome us to the community to join the fight for good over our perceived evil.

As it goes with Luke I sometimes struggle to find what it is I am fighting against. What is the dark side and is it really as dark as I think? I find myself saying no, the dark side is just another part of ourself and we get to choose how much we let it become a part of our present self. I think often people look for an external fight to focus their energy upon instead of the dark matter inside themselves. I think for many it is less scary to take on the perceived evils of the world verses facing the dark side of themselves.  I know that my dark side is pretty scary, much more so than global warming.

I am sure I am not alone in this primal fear of the dark, cold, barren time of year. I feel it is a fear passed down though millennia. A justified fear of surviving the hardest time of year even when food is plentiful, my heater works, and there is a first rate hospital 5 minutes drive from my front door.
But the animal brain is strong and seems to easily take over especially when you are tired, stressed, and a bit distracted from your spiritual core. As we know, even the strongest purest of the jedi will be tested by their dark side. It takes a lot of focus to retain your calm center, to remain a true jedi in your time of fear and uncertainty.

It is this jedi mind that I seek during this dark time and I know I am not alone. Thousands of spiritual centers across our world find a spike in membership during the dark time of year. It is to our spiritual center we turn when our animal brain is truly scared and seeking a place from which to draw strength and light. It is not always easy to find that community of jedi with which you feel comfortable and embraces you for who you are and aligns with your central being. And for me it is this lack of fellow jedi that I am morning. I have not found my community. I have friends. I have support. I have love. But, I lack a sense of community of surrounding myself with a council of familiar minds.

So, like Luke I will leave my warm safe cave and face the universe knowing that the light and strength of my mentors is a part of who I am even when I am feeling dark. I will go forward and seek my fellow jedi. I will lift my head up and let the light shine from my eyes and I will put aside the dark thoughts. I will go forth with the confidence that I am not alone, ever, and there is always someone out there I can turn to who will understand my struggle and will lend and ear, a shoulder, and a hand when I fall.

I hope that if you are reading this and you find yourself fighting the 'good fight' you will know you are not alone and that their are others who feel the way you feel right now. I hope that if you are feeling alone and scared and lost that you know if you need help it is there for you, it is there inside your heart and it can be found in others outside your cave. I hope that you are able to find the light in this dark time of year. "May the force be with you."

Going to India (3/14/17)

Well the travel adventure has started. I am getting ready to depart for a yoga pilgrimage to India with a group from my favorite yoga studio...