Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Make me an instrument...

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, 

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 

to be understood as to understand; 
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive; 

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I've been saying this prayer since I was a child.  Today, I felt like I was living this prayer... Or rather, the prayer was living me.  I have the great privilege of taking part in a sacred circle sharing teachings that I feel so passionately about with a group of amazing women.  

As I take my seat in the sacred circle  I acknowledge and bow to all the teachers who have shared the profound teachings of yoga with me. I ask for their blessing and pray that I may become an instrument for God's Grace.  

As I take my seat in the sacred circle I recognize myself in the faces of each and every other woman in that circle.  Each one bringing to the circle their own struggles and their own profound wisdom.  Each of us showing up with open hearts and open minds. 

It is in giving that we receive.... I was presented with an opportunity to practice this.  I am grateful that I had the clarity of mind to recognize this opportunity.  The opportunity also helped me to understand that perhaps the reason I experienced the recent "trauma" was to prepare me for the opportunity to give what I, myself,  needed to receive.  So often I struggle with the perception that all these bad things are happening TO me.  Today I had the realization that these "struggles" are actually happening FOR me.  

Today, I felt the Grace of God flowing through me as I shared the sacred teachings of the Upanishads with this group of amazing women.  As the teachings flowed through me each word was meant for me.  It was in giving that I received.  Each word that passed through my heart felt like the hand of God healing my shattered heart. One piece at a time.  Where there was despair...hope,  Where there was darkness...light,  Where there is injury...Pardon.  Where there was 

In the words of my mother... "God loves me... He really loves me."  

Sometimes, I feel like I need to pinch myself.  How luck am I that I get to share the teachings that I feel so passionately about in sacred circles with some truly remarkable people.  And How lucky am I to have a friend who made that possible? I am eternally grateful to her for having more confidence in me than I had in myself. 
How lucky am I that in the process of sharing God's message I receive the message I've been seeking?  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It's no fun living in a "fun-house"

Do you remember going to the carnival when you were a kid?  Do you remember the fun-house? The floors would move under your feet, you would look into a mirror and your reflection would be all distorted.  Nothing was ever as it seemed.  I never understood why people would think those things were fun.  

Lately, I've had these recurring thoughts that go something like this "What the fuck happened? How did I get here?  What is going on?"  Nothing is ever what it seems.  The ground beneath me keeps shifting and moving.  Everything seems distorted.  I can't figure out which end is up.  I desperately search for the exit out of this "fun-house" but behind every corner there is another challenge or obstacle.  Every time I think I have found the way I hit another wall.  This is not at all what I imagined my life would look like. 

It's so hard to see God's plan for us. It's so hard to understand why God's plan includes such suffering. It's so hard to trust when you don't know what's real from what's illusion.  Some people seem to thrive in illusion/delusion.  I envy those people.  There's no doubt that our past experiences color how we see things.  The past sometimes causes us to have a distorted view of current experiences.  But how do we know for sure if it's delusion or intuition?  

Over the past few years I started following my intuition even when my brain was telling me that it was crazy.  I would say things to people when I felt a strong impulse to say something even when my brain was telling me it was crazy.  I took action based solely on my intuition even when everyone thought I was crazy.  There have been times when I felt so connected and so clear that I stopped doubting and questioning my intuition. 

Then everything changed.  Hence the thought "What the fuck happened?"  How did I end up in the fun-house?  Why is everything distorted?   Things aren't suppose to be like this.  This is not what my life was suppose to look like.  Naturally my mind immediately goes to "what did I do wrong?" I'm catching myself thinking "I try to be a good person so why me?"  This thought, of course, brings up the feeling that since I'm experiencing emotional suffering I must not have been good enough otherwise I wouldn't be suffering.  Now, I've done enough inner work to know that these thoughts are counterproductive.  

The flow of God's grace is always there like the sun hidden behind the clouds.   My mind may be cloudy and confused but I have faith that God's grace is still there. I don't understand the reasons why these challenges and obstacles have been thrown at me.   I don't understand the reasons for the pain and suffering.  One thing I do know for sure is that it's not a punishment for not being good enough. 

The other thing I do know for sure is that when the world around me seems distorted and scary, when the ground beneath keeps shifting, when I can't tell what's real from what's delusion I need to pray.  The challenges and obstacles are God's way of calling us back to our center.  We have strayed and God needs to get our attention.  The only way out is in.  Meditation and complete surrender to God is the way back to our center.  I'll meet you there.... 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Love anyway.

When does the practice of Svadhyaya, self-inquiry, become obsession and self-destructive?  It's interesting to me that even the spiritual practices can become a hindrance.  These practices we engage as a means to bring us closer to the Divine can become tools for the ego to take us further away from God.  

I came across the picture above on the 100 days of Beauty facebook page. The page was started as a way to share my sadhana to Venus with others and to hold myself accountable.I had committed to looking for beauty everyday for 100 days. With the help of my friends, the posts on the page have inspired me and filled my life with so much beauty.  When I struggle to see beauty in the chaos of my own life it helps me to see the beauty others have found.  

This picture, struck a nerve though.  I have been contemplating love a great deal lately.  I've used this idea of self-inquiry to examine my relationship with love.  But self-inquiry has turned into self-destruction.  I have been picking myself apart for not being able to love good enough and not being lovable enough. It's the same song and dance. I'm not enough.  If only I had not said this.  If only I had done that. If only I was more like this or less like that then I'd be lovable.  

This self-destruction disguised as self-inquiry has even gone so far as to point out how stupid I am for loving people when they don't love me back.  How stupid can I be to continue to feel love for someone who clearly doesn't feel the same about me?  

Then today, I came across this picture.  I'm reading a book by St. Teresa of Avila so when I was scrolling through the posts this one jumped out at me.   Love cannot be bought.  It can't be stolen, it cannot be cajoled, it cannot be seduced.  Only genuine love begets love. 

How do we know if it's genuine love we are feeling or we're trying to seduce or cajole?  How do we know if it's genuine love or co-dependency? If my love doesn't beget love does that mean its not genuine?

If I love you six units and you don't return six units and I don't withdraw my six units does that make me stupid or does that mean it's genuine love?   How do we know if it's genuine love or simply an inability to let go?  I tend to get attached to people.  When they inevitably disappear from my life I suffer.  My head says that I should withdraw my "six units of love".  My heart doesn't agree. 

My teacher says, the heart is the gateway between our humanity and our Divinity.  Seems to me that it's also the gateway to mass confusion for some of us.  

How can we tell if it's genuine love we feel or unhealthy attachment? 

St. Teresa says that if we don't learn to love we will suffer.  My experience has been that even if we do love we may still suffer.  Or... Does the fact that it's causing suffering mean it's not genuine? 

Maybe I am stupid.  Maybe I am too attached to people.  Maybe it is unhealthy to be attached to people who don't, for whatever reason, offer the same six units of love back to me. 

I'll follow my heart instead of my ego and error on the side of love.  I will follow the example of the Saints and Sages and continue to offer my heart.  As long as my motivation for love is genuine and unconditional whether or not it's returned or received the way I intend is none of my business. 

Love begets love.... But even if it doesn't, love anyway. 

Being able to love even after your heart has been broken into a million pieces is a beautiful thing.  Having the tools to recognize that the same song and dance of the ego no longer serve me is a beautiful thing. 

We are made in the image of God.  How can we ever be "not good enough"?