"Don't dig your grave with a fork and knife" (Old English Proverb)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Removing Barriers

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and remove all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's All About the Is-ness

Just having returned from teaching my first ever Guided Meditation, I'm once again humbled by how much power we can hold over the ones who trust us. Whether you are a doctor, banker, teacher, lawyer, mother, brother, friend, lover....the responsibility we ought to feel towards taking care of those connected to us can be so overwhelming that I so often see (and personally am guilty of) shirking of these duties. One may pose the argument that it's out of an attempt at self-preservation but im learning every day just how far from the truth that mentality is.

What are You Afraid of? Commitment for loss of 'self'
What do You Love? Connectedness

These were my answers to an exercise we did one of our first days on this journey. I was upset at first by how seemingly irreconcible my responses were:  If I am to always be afraid that being with someone will ultimately lead to destruction of the idea of 'myself' as I have cultivated it, then are my only options to remain in at best ephemeral relationships or to be alone forever? And neither option comes close to satisfy that which I really love....

My qualms were quelled by a simple revelation by our Sanskrit teacher here. While breaking down mantras from the Upanishads, we digressed into a discussion about the physical body during mediation. There are no coincidences, there's a reason the classic meditation pose involves the hand with thumb and forefinger joined in a circle and the other 3 fingers splayed outwards, fanning away from the body. The accusatory forefinger is Dharginia, representation of Ego, of identifying the separation of You and I (makes sense right? That's why pan-culturally it's so rude to point!) The thumb represents God/Ishwara/Some spirit that is so much greater than anything that you or I can comprehend. The joining together of these fingers into Chin Mudra as it's called is essentially the ultimate recognition that this divine essence resides in every living being and therefore since I am in you (and you and you and you....) and You are in Me, there is no separation, no duality, no opposing forces; we are One, just different expressions of the same, greater and Whole concept. The three fingers represent a falling away of mortal attachments so you're left with a pure representation of the only thing that matters - the divine in me recognizes the divine in you.

Isn't it curious if you take this into the context of the real world how the concept still resonates? Most primitively, the act of sex when done sacredly is the ultimate manifestation of the recognition of divinity in one another. For some, drugs or alcohol elicit the same acknowledgment of the higher powers in others. Why are we so drawn to people who are so attuned to their prowess in academia or in a spiritual realm? Or to people who are 'good' at yoga? Initially it's perhaps because we too crave to emulate their expressions (I wish I could lecture like that, wish I could be as spiritually sound, wish my body could look like that) but ultimately, it's because we see something in 'them' that we also somehow know is in 'us.' But the irony is that It's already in all of us, we just maybe needed someone to remind us to tap into It!

And therefore, so long as the one I'm meant to continue this quest with (and so, all of us) has attained the same level of understanding and enlightenment, I (and all of us) really can have it all! There can be freedom and love in harmonious coexistence because in their truest expression and cultivation, freedom ultimately leads to love and true love, to freedom.

As I work my way out through the cobwebs, finally gaining a deeper understanding of concepts I had a only been able to create a rudimentary construct of on my own, im happy to be comfortable knowing that my whole and equal is somewhere out there doing the same, because we are all the same. It Is What It Is...But feel free to hurry up finding me :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dokter Trina

Following the earthquake off the coast of Sumatra (no worries, Ubud is thankfully no where near the places they were concerned would be affected!) my poor mother put on her Concerned Parent Hat and furiously skyped me to yell at me thousands of miles away, the crux of her irrational fear causing her to question why in the world I had chosen Bali as the launching point for my spiritual journey.

There are no coincidences. The way you do anything is the way you do everything. I've worked so hard to try and shape all the decisions I make and keep the people I do around so that everything and everyone is aligned with the greater purpose I am trying to fully uncover. Mid rant my mother ridiculed my quest to 'find myself' to which I had to correct her - this journey was not about some fluffy concept of retreating to the tropics with like minded hippies to try and be something im not for a little while. This was never about finding myself as I've never really ever felt lost. This is about understanding myself and only through that process can we understand how to better serve others.

Blips of affirmation are arising just about every moment here. One of the most clear messages I received to confirm that im living life in alignment with purpose was when I had the privilage to put on my Doctor Hat just a few days into the teacher training. The heat here can be stifiling, and coupled with all the rigorous physical exertion we're undergoing and most of our dietary changes lending more towards juice fasts, raw diets and just generally less consumption it was inevitable that people were going to start falling ill if not careful. One of the students became so dehydrated that she fainted during the middle of the session. Thankfully I recognized that the situation was not life threatening so when people started screaming that she was having a seizure I was able to check her vital signs, capillary refill, turgor etc and jump into action elevating her heart over head and making sure she was prepared to throw up when she came to post vaso-vagal syncope. It was humbling that the program directors trusted me to take charge and we didn't have to send her to the hospital, which would have been a feat in Ubud. On top of that, I was able to give a lecture on ways to properly counteract fluid and electrolyte deficits and signs and symptoms to be aware of. I love helping people but that was one of the first times I really began to understand just how much of an impact I have the potential to make on society and what a privilege it is to know as much as I know! I've earned a new nickname now as several of my classmates now refer to me as Dokter Trina.

The past 6 days have been mentally, physically and emotionally challenging on all levels as very tragic and personal issues close to home and my heart have occurred during this time too. But instead of internalizing and festering with the pain, Im coming to see that It's All About the Is-ness. More to come on this concept soon :D

Wishing you all may one day be able to also find a way to step out of the darkness and closer towards the Light <3

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In Tune with Intuition

28 students from around the world: 28 different jobs, different backgrounds, different experience, different types of baggage. The past 3 days of the program have been a full force plunge into the Ego's favorite pastime - learning how to get rid of the Ego.

The structure of the program is simple: 6:30am-9am we meditate and do a full vinyasa flow class. 10:30am-12:30pm we have philosphical instruction on the principles and types of yoga as it stems from Hindu cosmology and extends to a tool for reckoning with the forces within on a microcosmic level. From 2pm-4pm we practice breaking down each pose to the breath and learn to structure and teach a class. 4-6:30pm we have a Yin Yoga to reconcile the day's worth of mental and physical stretching.

What I can't as succintly quantitate is the churning up and upheaval of the impurities from within that is taking place each microsecond of the day. Imagine for a moment that you're in the world's most spiritual mecca, surrounded by lush greenery, the kindest souls you will ever meet, raw foods restaurants at every corner, other beings on a similar quest for enlightenment, constant gratitude and effervescent love, I could go on and on....

In short, I can't even begin to chronicle the type of journey that is underway but I can spread bits of the wisdom im acquiring in an effort to hope that you too may one day find a way to manifest tthe support and love that you need in order to live your life as perfectly as you're meant to, sins, faiths, transgressions, morals and all. I've always had an inkling that it's not what you do in life that's important, but rather it's with what intentions you execute each action. Just one step on this path to spiritual prosperity and im already realizing just how in tune with Tantric and Hatha Yogic philosophy I've already been living my life for years and years, I just could never put a name to it. Tantric and Hatha Yoga speak to the idea of recognizing that we live in a world of material sins and rather than to forsake them and society altogether, in order to rise above you must actually experience all those impurities and tendencies within yourself in order to be able to purge yourself of them. Keeping in mind again that you're doing so with the idea of 'Ahimsa' or non-violence so as not to interfere with any one else's spiritual quest.

Just as the universe has gone through periods of massive expansion, only to grow so quickly that the energy causes it to actually collapse and disappear on itself, so too we as microcosmic manifestions of this greater idea will go through our highest of highs and fall into lowest of lows, only to know from past experience that we will one day rise again. The key is to truly know ourselves so we know next time what direction to grow in. And paradoxically, the more we work to better ourselves for others, the more we get and grow in return.

Lots going on back home that came up suddenly which had me a mess yesterday. Today my practice is dedicated to sustaining and nurturing a newly awakened sense of self so that I may better serve those that enter into my energetic space. I bid you all Welcome.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Monkey See, Monkey do Better...

It's ironic how it's not until you're as far away from safety and familiarity as possible that you appreciate how truly comfortable you are in your own skin. I oftentimes used to worry that my rash and whimsical decisions were rooted in a callouseness hardened by disregard for societal norms. while that may still be the case, i've come to realize that that's not where the story ends. I've watched my friends, family, lovers, acquaintances etc evolve over the years and have seen that the ones I still have the capacity to care for are those who embody similar ideals. The strong willed and the wild, the compassionate and the passionate...these are the personalities that fuel me and vice versa and are the ones who have helped me to realize that we are all individually better than ok, we're great! Never have I felt more strengthened by the ones I love nor felt as independent and capable as I do now. Before leaving for Bali, my shakti goddess girlfriends and I reunited and within each we saw and reaffirmed that we will never need anyone else to validate who we are. We've learned how to admire but also how to achieve when inspired. We've learned to love others but more imprtantly, ourselves. We have blossomed and yet, rooted as well.

This feeling of power has carried over, thousands of miles across the seas to Indonesia. Arrriving in the dead of the night, having to arrange a car to carry me an hour further into the bowels of the country I somehow felt not an iota of fear. The Balinese are incomprehensibly gracious and helpful. The air here is perfumed with heady incense and laughter. Even though im staying in a family homestay, i feel like im living in a temple (pic of my abode attached to this post!)

This morning, restless from a night of visitations in my dreams I woke at 5am to the sun rising outside my balcony window. Without a moment's hesitation, I had slipped on my running shoes and without map or phone, took off in a direction that seemed to beckon. The next 6 miles were marked by a series of events, as connected as they are unrelated. My first stop on my journey had me stumbling into Monkey Forest temple. I ran through throngs of wild monkeys on the footpath and their babies playfully scampered along at my feet. emerging from what I thought to be the other side, I found myself in a rice paddy field. I was approached by a man in his fifties and his dog. He offered to walk me around the desolate paddy fields and without a second thought I was trotting along after his golden retriever. We came across his cousin's store and out of young green coconuts we sipped the sweet milk and chatted about our lives, his in Ubud and mine in Florida. With the last dregs of the fragrant nectar he then offered to show me his home. Figuring I had already spent over an hour with this complete stranger I happily traipsed through alleyways until we arrived at his compound. After playing with his nephews and accepting some fruits from his wife to bring as an offerring to the temples I plan on seeing later today, we parted ways with sweaty sticky hugs that the climate facilitates.

I've discovered a favorite cafe of mine nearby that boasts the most hippy and free-love mentality embodying clan of young and old alike. I feel at home in my green harem pants and mala beads. The only item that gives me away as a foreigner is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that is creeping out of my embroidered shoulder bag. Sipping on my tumeric and aloe juice, some young people who also live in new york stike up conversation. After exchanging information im off for my first official yoga class of the program. This next month will be marked by being receptive to new ideas, people, information while all the ways still staying true to myself. Something tells me that ill be returning same-same....but different (bonus points for those of you who caught that Salman Rushdie reference)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead...

Tumultuous as the past few weeks may have been, it is far better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all...especially when those who were lost find their way back...

It's been so long since I've heard that 4 lettered word uttered from someone whom I felt the same for. Love is such a funny thing - we fight so hard to hide it though we carelessly leave behind us a trail littered with signs of its presence. For a long time it's only been family and a select few girl friends who I've shared that word with. But long before and then again now, there's been him. My heart aches that we have to now say our goodbyes. Forget about The First Love, this is The True Love.

I found pictures of us from years ago, back when our romance was first flourishing in the heat of trips to Miami and Trinidad. Now we have become more brazen and my camera captures sweet moments abroad and in the tropics. But no matter where the location of our adventures, the passion still burns the same, if not brighter. To douse the flames, I'm trying to drown myself in the guiltless love of family and friends.

And I'd like to think my move to NYC is going to quell the burn though thanks to his infinite kindness and big heart, where I'll be staying the first 2 weeks is going to be a constant reminder of him. Thankfully so though - as always he remains in my heart as the most stable and dependable man I've ever known.

Do you think that we can really love twice? I'm hoping so because he's said he doesn't think it wise for us to keep on dreaming. I suppose to be together we'd have to change where we are and run the risk of awakening next to someone who is no longer the same person we'd fallen in love with. Regardless, waking up alone I fear is going to be so hard to do...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Man and the Rock

There once was a man who devoted his whole life to pleasing God. Every morning he would wake up and pray and ask God what it was that He desired he do for Him. One night, God spoke to the man in his sleep and said, "Go outside and push that rock." The next morning, the man walked out of his house and saw there was enormous boulder in his front yard. For days the man pushed as hard as he could, toiling all day and all night until sweat poured down his face and drenched the clothes on his back. The days turned into nights, weeks, months, years - Finally, one morning the man heard another voice in his head. This voice started to question "Why should I keep pushing the rock? I've been slaving for so long and the boulder has never budged even an inch. I've spent all my time pushing against this rock and nothing has happened, I must not be doing something right and have displeased God." And so, the man stopped pushing.

That night, God came to him again his dream. He asked the man, "Why did you stop doing what I asked you to do?" The man responded "God, I spent every waking moment doing what you told me to do but I can not get that boulder to move. Please tell me, what am I doing wrong?" To which God replied "I asked you to push the rock, not to move it. This whole time you thought you were so intently waiting for the rock to change that you neglected to notice any other changes that may have taken place. Look at your arms, they are so strong and sinewy. See how muscular your legs and your back have become. You dedicated everything you had to the task at hand and your mind has become strong and willful like never before. While you were waiting for something to change on the outside, you missed all the change that has happened within."

Reminding myself that sometimes resistance can be a blessing in disguise...