The Pulling Back Time

Lancaster County has been under stay-at-home orders (house arrest) since March 27, 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. I see on social media that this situation has not been easy for many of us; and some days, I struggle too.

I think back to my time in Embudo, NM – a town in between Taos and Santa Fe (a.k.a., the middle of nowhere), where I knew no one and had very few resources nearby other than the local Walmart. It was a far cry from the East Coast where I could get anything I wanted at any hour of the day, all just a short drive away. And now this. It feels a little too familiar! Life is funny.

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Being Forced into A New Paradigm

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One of my friends posted this today on Instagram. I really love it. For so long I’ve wondered why humans behave the way they do, preaching one thing while doing another. And why it always takes a cataclysmic event for us to get a clue and work in harmony together with the Earth.

And so here we are: COVID-19. Forcing us to work together to ‘save the economy’ and implement ‘social distancing’ simultaneously.

I felt the desperation and anxiety over not having our basic needs met when I was out over the weekend, triggering a bit of my own. And as days pass, I see via social media that ‘social distancing’ is not going well for many. I find it to be another interesting phenomenon, another kind of ‘mental pandemic’, a constant need to be distracted and the fear of not having enough.

As a self-proclaimed loner who much prefers my own company – and that of my pets – I thought I’d dive a little bit deeper into this topic and maybe help someone along the way.

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An Apology from a Yogi

I think I experienced another dark night of the soul this week. Confronted by yet another [vegan yogic] religious zealot, did I want to continue down the path I’ve been on for the last 15 years? Quite honestly, I’m tired of dealing with the type, growing up in a cult and all. Should I extricate myself from yet another tribe of people that claimed to know what’s “truly” going on?

SOME HISTORY

Things have been very odd since I moved back here to PA at the end of 2016. My graphic design work dried up entirely (after working for the ashram in the Bahamas, an art group in York, and a weird stint with a Jewish group in Lancaster — just a few of the highlights of weirdness). And, I wasn’t able to find work here in PA as a yoga teacher for the first time since I was certified back in 2010.

I began to consider the possibility that teaching yoga wasn’t for me. Maybe it wasn’t my path, even though some astrologers told me teaching enlightenment was. Or some other possibility beyond my limited human point of view?

But, headstrong as I am, I decided in December of 2018, to experiment with my innate god-like creative potential and started practicing the techniques outlined in “The Miracle Morning”. And lo and behold: I got quite a number of gigs teaching yoga at various local places. It worked!

Well… as usual, be very careful — and specific — in what you wish for.

I quickly came to realize: yoga ain’t what it used to be. Maybe my spirit guides were protecting me again from the cold hard truth by not giving me work in the field. Could it be, that in about 50 years, Americans had twisted this beautiful esoteric practice into something physical, mundane, and competitive?

And for that, I will apologize right now. Because for the most part, it seems like these conflicts stem from a very primal part of the psyche that has not yet been healed. And for that… I am sorry.

No one wants to feel judged (as a student OR a teacher). No one wants to compete with their teacher or the person next to them on their mat. No one deserves to feel marginalized for their food and/or lifestyle choices. No one should be made to feel like yoga or meditation is inaccessible to them. And no one should be prevented from connecting to the expansiveness of their Spirit and their soul. And if anyone tells you that you can’t reach the essence of your Self because of what you eat or where you live, you should ask some serious questions about that person’s motives.

The fact is: at some point, your physical body will no longer be able to perform asanas, so all you will be left with is your breath and the inner workings of your own mind. (Sounds eerily like pranayama and meditation, doesn’t it?)

For me, yoga was a path I came upon after years of abuse, drug use, and a near-death experience. It helped to strengthen my mind, my aura, and my soul. It gave my spirit a glimpse into all that Is. It was everything BUT a physical practice for me.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post, other than to say… yes, this spiritual path has been filled with unexpected twists and turns. So if you’re on one as well, expect the unexpected and never give up on your soul.

https://gretchensuarez.com/abuse-in-yoga/

https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/judgment-calls

https://www.kinoyoga.com/yoga-assignment-the-yoga-judgement-cure/

Let All of Your Actions Be in Praise to the Divine

With every breath you take, remember that you are here out of grace. Your human birth is a true and rare gift. The fact that you opened your eyes for another day on this crazy and awe-inspiring Earth: a miracle!

When you cook a meal, make love, go to work, become upset, talk with someone else… remember that you are manifesting lila, divine play. We create because we are made in God’s image. The divine needs us for his play. Therefore, there is no reason to become attached to any thought, experience or action because it is not you performing these things. It is God manifesting through you.

As an artist, you may have encountered a situation where you had a vision, a dream or some kind of tap on the shoulder about a piece of artwork you should create. You ignore it. Then months later, you see that exact same thing “you” thought of – only someone else did it! This is the divine making his will happen – with or without your cooperation!

All the gods and goddesses, the angels and the devas long to have the human experience. Can you challenge yourself to live for them and let them live through you? May you let your divine light shine! Namaste!

How Art Can Save Your Soul

“You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.” — Anais Nin

From a very young age, I turned to art as a way to process and sometimes escape the world around me. Art provided a space for me to create the kind of life I dreamed of: horses and unicorns, happy families, and all things cute and pretty. There were no arguments, no angry faces, no fear in the world I drew on my paper. Coloring absorbed my mind and passed the time.

As I moved into my teenage years, art gave me a way to express all of the emotions I was overflowing with and overwhelmed by on a daily basis. I continued to color even then because I found it so relaxing.

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