Tag Archives: boundaries

30 Days of “A Year of Living Your Yoga” — Day 2: Go Find Yourself

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Welcome to Day 2 of my new blog series. This series is based on Judith Hansen Lasater’s “A Year of Living Your Yoga.” While the book has 365 quotes, I picked only 30.

I chose the dates in the waiting room of my kids’ dentist. I rolled dice and arbitrarily chose dates based on the numbers that showed up with each roll of the dice.

I also had the pleasure of sitting with a Turkish grandmother who didn’t speak any English. We managed to communicate in a female, maternal way that transcended any real words. I used a “bee buzz” sound to describe my middle son, a steady hand / ocean wave motion to describe my youngest and oldest sons and then we “spoke” effusively about the World Cup. “Keeek! Keeek ball! Futbol!”

I will try to keep these posts to less than 500 words. (These words don’t count — ha ha, nor does the quote.)

Here is the quote:

March 3 — To understand union, you must understand separation. Union with another can only occur when we fully occupy our place in the world. Let yourself expand to fill your place, so that the coming together with loved ones can be that much sweeter.

AMEN.

I can speak to this with much authority.

The bottom line is this: no one can live your life but you. Until you admit your reality, know your fears, your drives and all the rest, you’re going to be a giant mess looking for yourself in other people.

It’s a lot of work, this “know thyself” crap.

Boundaries must be established and adhered. You don’t want yourself to be **needed** by anyone. That gets sticky. You want people to be themselves. You want to be helpful, but not enmeshed.

Once you know separation, you can know union.

“We’re all alone in this together.” –Lily Tomlin

When I began therapy years ago, there was a time when my husband was threatened by it because my therapist was working assiduously to get me to understand my own personhood — the place at where my being begins and ends and where another’s begins.

When you’re like me, from a family with blurred boundaries affixed by codependence, your identity becomes mushy. You don’t know who you really are. So you work extra hard to attain things in which you might not otherwise be interested; they only seem like good ideas because that was what you were told to do. You look for your reflection in other people, in anyone actually, but yourself. So you only start to see what you are TO those people. You don’t get to see what you are to yourSelf, what you are on your own.

(What’s funny –not– is that I first wrote this post in past tense…)

So in order for me to build my Self identity, I have to strip away a lot of the conventions placed before me and on me by society: I am no longer my mother’s keeper, my father’s sentry, my brother with a uterus or my other brother with breasts. I am my own person. That means I need to do things (including failure) for myself, by myself and without the assistance of others. It means I have to live in a way where I admit and can’t blame my crap on anyone else. I have to solve my own problems and take my own chances. I have to be ok, really, with being alone — not angrily holed up in a cave somewhere, but being alone with myself. Because that’s how it is in the end. Even if we die with other people, it is still a very unique experience.

So live for you.

An example: when person A vests her success in person B, person B has to live for two people. B will screw up. It’s a given because A really doesn’t know who she is or what she wants. B can’t read A’s mind because they are two different people. So B keeps swinging and missing. The guilt B feels is overwhelming. As a result B constantly feels inadequate. So he works harder, but that builds resentment and then A feels disenfranchised because all she wanted was for person B to be happy… by telling him what to do. A put too much stake in B and B in A. This creates a cycle of toxic codependence in the most amazing and fast way. A tries to let go but she can’t and even if she does, B will feel like A’s letting him off easy because he’s a failure and so B tries harder and never wins. So they ignore the conflict: that both A and B are totally lost inside. So we walk around on eggshells in silence.

That’s one form of separation.

“Until you are your own person, you can’t walk in union with your husband,” I remember my therapist saying. “You will walk around with him as a half-person or a quarter-person, but not a full person. Does that make sense? It’s ok to do a dance, to fill in for one another when needed, but we must come back to ourselves, or else we take on the other person as well, and that’s no good, because we lose our identity.”

So we never separated in a marital / legal sense, but in order for us both to grow, I had to do a lot of Work to find mySelf. It took about half a year. It felt a lot like rejection to him, but I was on a mission to find myself. It felt a lot like things were falling apart for a while there, but like a sky after a storm, it all cleared up and we are stronger for it.

So … go find yourself. Don’t hook up too intensely with people who are living for external reasons. It’s a messy proposition. The energy is there: you can pick up on it. You know when you’re dealing with someone who’s lost. Be good to both of you and erect boundaries.

Thank you.

 

 

Missives from the Mat 5 — Start and the Pressure Will Be Off #Yoga #Bhajan #Writing #Numerology

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It has been a long time since I’ve written.

I have actually wondered if I would be able to start up again; on the blog, I mean. I went from writing every day for 31 days about Carl Jung and how I interpreted him to stopping almost completely for almost a month. That’s a hard transition. I went from mindfulness on paper and sharing it to mindfulness in the ether and installing it.

Y’see, the yoga retreat was a profound personal experience. I remember driving away from my home, that Thursday afternoon almost three weeks ago when I began my journey looking in my rearview mirror at the three sons and husband I would be separated from for more than a fortnight. That rearview mirror moment was the last time I was the person I was before I changed.

That sounds weird. Let me rephrase: I am more the person I was meant to be now. I have less pretense, less interest in what other people think. I’ve always been pretty confident seeming, but that was because I wanted everyone to get along. Now, it’s not so much that I’m less interested in people getting along, it’s that I’m less interested in having to make people get along. They will figure out their way. I have my life to figure out and I have three boys to mother and a husband to partner. It’s just clearer now. There’s something to the power of being with complete strangers for 15 overnights (about 350 hours) for a yoga retreat. The moment some people say yoga, others envision pretzels or insane postures.

The yoga we practiced every morning at 6:00 am, one time at 4:30 am, is totally different. We would sit on a massive wraparound deck to watch the sun rise when we managed to peek out from under our shawls during a meditation. That 4:30 am practice is something that created a cosmic shift in my consciousness and it will forever be revered as one of The Most Inspired Moments of My Life. Each morning we were to be in a meditative state 10 minutes before the practice began. That meant for yours truly who loves her blankets and her bed that I had to be awake at least 40 minutes before the start. So on this 4:30 am day, I set the alarm for 3:50 am and I woke with little resistance; even with a sense of childlike glee. I’ll explain in a later post why this timing is so special. But it was as if my spirit knew I was going on a trip. And I did go on a trip even though my body never left the planet.

sun up.

sun up. 6:01am due east.

The sun never rose the same way every day; it never does and it never will. But it was always majestic the way the earth bows to the sun.

still glorious, no?

still glorious, no? this was shot at 5:53am i’m pointing west.

We were treated to some of the most wonderful weather ever for those 16 days. I kept on saying to people who were not from this area of the world that the Heavens must be smiling upon us because it has almost never been 59˚ on any morning in July or August in the Virginia Blue Ridge.

The yoga I talk about now transcends the poses. It goes right to the spirit and it means Guts, Determination, Growth, Strength and Self.

Strength and Self

The poses come later. The work, it’s a pleasure, most of it. There were some kriyas (sets of yoga exercises) that set my shoulders on fire. I miss them. I miss that wonderful, bearded wiseman, Kartar Khalsa, who would state to us, “I can show you how to get there, I can show you, but you have to do the work, you have to get there.” He wasn’t talking about stronger deltoids or trapesius muscles. He was talking about stronger Selves, with a capital S.

Kartar Khalsa Singh. Yogi. Badass. Compassionate.

Kartar Khalsa. Yogi. Badass. Genius.

This Self is part of the genius of kundalini yoga. Rephrase: the pursuit of the Self is the heart of kundalini yoga. One of our yoginis at the retreat, the owner and author of the program, Shakta Khalsa (and Kartar’s wife) has a phrase, “Yoga is the science of the self, and kundalini is the awakening of the self. It is that simple.”

This retreat was more healing than it was learning. Ok, that sounds bad. That’s not what I meant. I did a ton of learning. I can tell you all about how babies have this life stuff all figured out and if we’d just do with our bodies what they do with their bodies from time to time then we’d be totally happy. I can tell you about the eight limbs of yoga (I just can’t find the sheet in my binder) and the 3rd chakra and the lymphatic system and why cold water on the thigh is a bad idea (because it leaches calcium from the femur). I can tell you about acidic foods and the energetic transfers and releases of certain chants and kundalini exercises. I can. And intermingled in all of those discussions and lectures and yoga sessions and kriyas and asanas were life-affirming, life-changing lessons. It’s metaphysically impossible to attend a training retreat of this caliber without changing on the inside. Impossible. The bottom line is that it’s impossible also, for me to explain it all to both of you in one post. So natch, I’m considering a book.

These women, the 13 of us and then 1 extra and 2 of our originals left and then that 1 extra did too and then 4 more came in… (it was a little revolvy-doory there for a bit) are in each others’ DNA. We just are now. I will never forget them and seeing the pictures they are posting as well as the ones I will share in a photoblog post about the retreat (to come soon) bring back all sorts of warm fuzzies.

I wonder about the numerological significance of choosing 16 days for the retreat. Numerologically, the 16 converts into a “7.” A 7 represents the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of Truth (notice the capital “T”). The 7 doesn’t take anything at face value — it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. The 7 knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions (I got this from http://www.numerology.com/numerology-numbers/7). I have a seven in my soul position, which is sort of a big deal, and it explains a lot of things which I will go into in a later post on numerology and how learning about it and myself has vexed liberated me in a lot of ways. Go to www.3ho.org to learn about your numbers.

When the 7 is in balance, we are elevated, happy, curious, philosophical, sensitive, a “solitary spiritualist” and we lean a lot (or we should) on our inner voice, our inner knowing. When the 7 is out of balance, we can feel lonely, reclusive, aloof, hypersensitive (I AM NOT!), fear scarcity, confused, find fault and demonstrate a lack of boundaries both emotional and physical. The bottom line is that we need a lot of alone time. This was something I wasn’t sure I was allowed to express as a need for myself because I’m a fairly gregarious and social person, but man, when I saw that I was WAHOOO! All you suckas git lawst! I need some alone time! Holla!!

I’ve just recently taken out my books from training. I went to the beach for five days after I returned from the retreat and so I’m just getting back into “normal” here at the house. Just having this time alone to do some writing has been nice. I really haven’t had much alone time at all, actually.

Yogi Bhajan, who to me looks like a movie star in the photo below had five sutras (statements / aphorisms) for the Aquarian Age. One of them is applying right now: “When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off.”

Omar Sharif, anyone? Sheesh this dude was intense. Never met him.

Omar Sharif, anyone? Sheesh this dude was intense. Never met him. He “died” in 2004; I say “died” in quotes because in the tantric yoga and metaphysical tradition, there is no death. I dig that.

So here I am, starting and deciding to write.

Ok, ok, here are the other four:

Recognize that the other person is you. (Reminds me of that phrase, “when you point the finger at someone else, you’ve got three other fingers (yours) pointing back at you.”)

There is a way through every block. (Notice he didn’t say around every block… yuk yuk a*hem.)

Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times. (I got nothing.)

Vibrate the Cosmos, Cosmos shall clear the path.

Woo-woo?

Heck yeah. Ask me about the Soul Retrieval. No, wait, don’t ask. Just ask me where $100 went in less than five minutes. I’ll tell you, it went on a ride on a train through the desert. (I told you not to ask… I’ll explain in a later post. I promise, Marn.)

So no, I haven’t changed in a cellular way; my yoga retreat sisters would likely agree that none of us has changed cellularly; but we have changed in an energetic way and my manner of thinking and old patterns of reactivity and blame and fear are almost things of the past. Now it seems it’s like logistics are the stepping stones.

But embracing the woo-woo isn’t new to me.

Y’see, I was already On That Bus before I left. I was someone who believed in the things that were unseen more than the things that are seen. I learned on the retreat that it’s likely because I’m left-handed that I’ve already got some of that thinking in the bag. We right-brainers tend to be more creative and as long as we’re not suppressing it, we can easily relate to other people on an energetic level. We can let things slide because we know: it’s not real. Whether it’s an intuitive realization or simply because we are geniuses, we left-handed people have a different sense of the world.

As I said earlier, there were 13 original students on the retreat. I’m not taking away from the four awesome peeps who joined us later because they are cool too, but the 13 of us altered each others’ menstrual cycles (someone foolishly suggested that it takes a month to do that, well we yoginis can get that shit done in two weeks, holla!), we shed tears with and for one another, we held hands, we held hugs for more than six seconds, we chanted, we punched the air, we pounded our fists, we asked a ton of questions, we disagreed, we snarled a little, and we grew a lot. We drank and showered in fart water — that has to count for something, right?! — and we really miss each other. I never belonged to a sorority in college. I commuted to college. So this is my first sorority and I can tell you this without a doubt: I’m glad I waited to join this one.

Some of us are having an easier time than others re-entering the Earth you inhabit. I can tell you that going to the beach for a week with my cousin and kids helped a lot. I miss the mountains though. I’ll post again soon, mostly pictures about the days there. I would go back in a heart beat… but only with those soul sisters. It wouldn’t be the same without them.

Thank you.