February 14, 2018

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On this day when many people are basking in the bliss of romantic love or lamenting that they are not, I would like to offer another perspective for those of us who are not partnered. Many times I have felt very sorry for myself that I don’t seem to get to have what other people seem to have and so many songs and stories say is the ultimate experience that everyone wants, the companionship of mutual romantic love. There are myriad reasons why some of us don’t find this, or perhaps don’t have it currently, and while having it can certainly be lovely, finding romantic love does not necessarily make or break a fulfilling, vibrant life. Many people hold on to relationships that have expired or perhaps were never even all that good to begin with in order to avoid the seemingly horrific potential of life without a romantic partner. Sometimes we put ourselves into situations that are not viable and at times even dangerous because we are more afraid that we need to be held in order to be okay. And many, myself included at times, miss seeing the beauty that’s right in front of us in pining for something that we imagine would make us complete and can’t seem to find. I have been without romantic relationship for many years now, with only very few unsuccessful attempts along the way. In each case we would have likely benefited each other much more to have related as friends instead. While I still get caught up in the desire for that at times, and am not closed to the possibility that at some point I may find mutual romantic love, I have also found great peace in letting go of needing to have it, in being complete in myself.

Some of the benefits for me have been: I am very comfortable going almost anywhere alone and enjoy my own company, whether or not I engage with other people on my journeys. I have come to often prefer it, especially the ability to come and go as I please without having to compromise with someone else’s desires (other than my son, but that is another situation, and also part of why I deeply appreciate my times of pure freedom). I am pretty capable of doing most things on my own, and when I’m not, I am becoming adept at finding ways to support myself to get those things done too. I am not resentful and waiting for someone else to do their part to balance the tally, I just get it done or not. I relate well with men and women and value them as beings worthy in themselves, not so dominated by the tension of being potential sexual partners or not. I am becoming more comfortable walking away when this is not respected, and am able to take it less personally through time and practice. This helps me feel safer and more comfortable in my own skin, and in my own integrity, and sometimes wakes people up to how they are limiting the ways we may be able to relate by fixating on sexuality and romantic love. I experience the transmutation of sexual energy into vitality and creative inspiration, and sexual attraction into appreciation and connection beyond just that initial potential interest. I am often able to desire without having to obtain the object of desire and enjoy the beautiful experience of the desire in itself. Which…is freedom. My identity is not confined to being a partner and I am able to relate with whoever I want, however I want, as long as it is agreeable with the person I am relating with, and perhaps their partners  I continuously discover what I think and enjoy without the influence of others defining what is possible or valid. I have come to trust myself and am my own validation.

I’m not saying these things can’t be found in the context of a romantic relationship, monogamous or otherwise, I’m just sharing that life can be beautiful and satisfying even if you don’t find romantic love. Even if that’s not what we’re conditioned to believe, and even on a day like today. If you’re feeling alone, just know you’re not alone in being alone. And that being solo doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. There are many ways to have companionship, including the companionship of your own heart.

On this and everyday.
Love

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Equinox Sunrise

For many years I taught yoga somewhere that was a 45 minute drive from my house and at certain times of the year I would leave in the dark and witness the sunrise. Often during class I would say, because for me it was true and because I had seen it happen so many times, that the awakenings come slow and steady like the sunrise, and then there are those moments like flashes of light when everything suddenly becomes brighter. When those shifts come, let it happen. Let yourself be transformed.

At some point I noticed that these sudden flashes happened especially at certain places along my drive, like when I drove north past exit 20 on I-93 in New Hampshire. Some of it was that the sun had risen higher and some of it was just that I had moved myself into a position where I could more clearly see the light.
Which really, is all the sunrise is, and the equinox, and the passing out of an eclipse. The sun is always shining. We just move into a position where we are in more in the light than in our own or something else’s shadow.

lalita

i am a child
who is older than you
living in this body
that becomes younger with age

and my mind that was once wrest
as yours is now with strife
with shame and other’s taboos
has gradually left that behind me

for my foolishness has an innocence
that matures as i grow wise
and instead of turning cold and tough
i let it tenderize me

as i step into the interplay
of the light and shadow dance
shimmering on the snow
in pine forests

what i get when i let go…

When I become aware that I am chasing something, often because either I’m not getting what I think I want and/or I am exhausting myself by trying so hard, if I am able to let go and soften back into myself, making space for what I was chasing to come to me or not, I feel a sense of peace and release that can be more sustaining than when I get what I think I want by grasping for it.
Sometimes in this place of calm and openness I get what I thought I wanted anyway. And even if I don’t, I’m okay. Because I became willing to let it go.

true freedom

One of my favorite physical aspects of practicing yoga is that there is nowhere on my back I cannot scratch (I am not suggesting this is true for everyone who practices yoga :-) ). One of my favorite mental aspects is the possibility that even when I feel an itch, I can feel it and not have to scratch.
I can, but I don’t have to.
This becomes more true all the time.

Deep listening

When I say that I am not “strict” in a cleanse, what I mean is that I don’t tell myself I “can’t” have anything. Or that I “have” to do things a certain way. Instead I become really sensitive and notice the effects of my choices. And let myself resonate with what I gain by not eating the whole block of cheese just because I want it, rather than that I can’t. Because I can eat it, I’m just choosing not to, for now. And seeing what that is like. For now.
It is an interesting freedom to feel desire and not have to react. As the tantric adage says – nothing is forbidden, nothing is advised. However we act has consequences…it is up to us to discern through time and practice which way we choose to go in any circumstance. And that may vary according to the situation.

catalyst

For me, snowboarding is physical yoga practice, asana ~ moving meditation, becoming comfortable and articulate in my body and in relation with the physical world. As I ride I gradually tune in to the subtleties of my movement, awakening presence in my entire body. I don’t have to try so much anymore, it just starts to happen. The movement becomes efficient, somewhat effortless. Grounded in my body, I become aware not only of my body, but with my body ~ my movement responding to the contours of the mountain, the crisp scent of the air and the temperature on my skin, the sounds of my board against the texture of the snow and the wind all around me. Everything becomes more vibrant. There’s nowhere to go and nothing else to do but to be right here, completely open to the moment. It refreshes me, brings me back to center.
I used to get pretty sad at the end of the season, as I thought I depended on this activity to do all this for me. Without it I would feel flat, empty, dull…or so I feared. Through time I realize that these activities that have the potential to revitalize us and bring us spontaneously into the moment remind us that this is possible. We don’t have to become attached to the catalyst, there are many ways to do it. Breathe in, feel yourself in your entire body. Hear the sounds. Right now.
I will miss you, my beloved mountain, my mermaid~tail serpentine snow dance. Another season has come and is passing and I have again learned so much from you.
Until the next time we meet dear friend, the love I tap into when I’m with you lives inside of me.
(yeah, yeah I know kinda sappy. And I mean it  🙂 )

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