Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The other side of the mat

For years I've been attending the early morning yoga retreat week that happens at the change of each season.  For the last couple of years it's been the only time I get to practice with my favorite yoga teacher.  So when my favorite yoga teacher asked if I would lead the spring retreat week I was both disappointed (that I wouldn't get to practice with him) and at the same time incredibly honored and excited to lead it. The anxiety and nerves came later. 

As a student participating in the retreat  I have had first hand experience of it's profound nature. I wasn't, however, prepared for the profound revelation I would experience from the other side of the mat.  

Today is day 3 so the focus of the practice is the heart center.  I was nervous about setting the intention for our practice today.  The struggles with the heart center have been plentiful so it took quite a bit of introspection to try to find words that would inspire a yoga practice.  It reminded me of how inadequate words are. Nevertheless, together, the group shared their thoughts and ideas related to the Anahata Chakra (the heart center). Somehow, through the joint effort of the group, inspiration
was created. 

As I was leading the group through the asana practice I was experiencing a very powerful inner revelation! An intense moment of clarity that I was not prepared for.  I was, after all, in the middle of leading a practice!!  "God, can you hold please?"  "This is really not a good time for me to get distracted!!"  Still, the message persisted.  

What choice did I have but to flow with the message...Open your heart to receive love. 
Whether from yourself or someone else.  Be open to receive.  

My mind quickly races in with reasons why I can't do that.  Why it's not safe to open your heart. 
The mind is such a powerful persuader.  Opening our hearts puts us in a very vulnerable position. 
I would venture to say that feeling vulnerable because of previous hurts is a fairly common experience and it is a convincing argument to keep the heart closed.  Especially if, like me you have 
the false belief that you can still give love without fulling opening your heart.  Sort of like "selective numbing". 

The more disturbing reason my mind came up with is that I'm not worthy of receiving love.  When one of the students was sharing this morning she talked about negative self talk.  I suggested that she ask herself is any of it is true.  I suppose I should start there myself.   My initial response is to try to figure out why I have this belief.  Where did it come from?  How long have I carried this belief? How has it impacted me?  And, of course, who's to blame? 

Instead, today I will simply recognize it as a false belief that does not serve me and release it.  It's a burden I suspect I've carried for lifetimes.  It's too heavy to carry anymore.  

I am worthy of receiving love and I will continue to open my heart to receive it.  When I feel myself closing down I will gently remind myself that I am worthy.  Combining this new practice of opening to receive love seems to go hand in hand with my practice of accepting only what is being offered freely.  Being receptive rather than reaching will be the theme.

I'm remembering something I read in David Frawley's book about Soma.  It said something like the sun represents our striving towards God and the moon represents the Grace of God flowing towards us.  Maybe the moon practices that I've been doing were preparing me for this revelation. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

From Darkness to Light

From darkness to light

Woke up during the night with a nagging sense of lack. 
I got out of my warm, comfy bed when the nagging feeling persisted.  
Walking into the kitchen, where I prepared our dinner earlier,
With the flick of the switch I have light.
Turning on the faucet I fill a glass with clean drinking water. 
"You're not doing a good job", "You need to do more", "What if 
there isn't enough?"  
The nagging, persistent thoughts continue. 
Before going back to my warm, comfy bed I check on the kids.
My healthy children are tucked into their warm comfy beds,
 sleeping soundly. 
As I crawl back under the warm, clean blanket on my warm comfy bed
I listen to the furnace working hard to heat the home where my healthy,
happy family is fast asleep in their own beds under their own warm
blankets with their bellies full of the meal we shared together.  
I try my best to get back to sleep. 
 Pushing away the nagging thoughts only makes them stronger.  

Then I remember the mantra... My saving Grace. 

In between the mantra and the thoughts of lack there's Grace.
It's there, in the Grace, that I heard the whispers of the Divine.
" It is the mind that frees us or enslaves..." 
It's the mind that senses lack 
It's in the heart that Love resides. 
Change the focus from the mind to the heart
A shift in perspective happens
The sense lack shifts to an enormous sense of gratitude. 
Gratitude for the what I do have.  Gratitude for my teachers that have 
pointed me in the direction of my heart and taught me the tools I need to
see and feel the guidance and Grace of the Divine 

I drift off to sleep in my warm, comfy bed with a shift in perspective.