Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Astrological Inspirations and a New Year

Whether we believe in the power of the stars or not, this seems to be a pretty potent time for astrological portents.  The new year is emerging as a time to act and not ponder; this latest Venus retrograde cycle has offered up both challenges to be answered, confusions to sort through, and conditions to shed.  Whether these are helpful explanations or simply ideas to ponder as we consider where we fit in the grand scheme of things, I think they're worth taking into consideration.

This tiny painting sits across the living room from me.  When I asked the artist (Dalbo Suarimbawa) the story behind it, he said, "You know, when you're feeling like you're..." and when he gave up on trying to find the word in English,  he leaned to the left to demonstrate lack of balance.  I knew I had to bring the image home.

There has been a lot of leaning to the left in my world of late--for a variety of reasons--and I'm not the only one (I shouldn't feel solace in this, but I do).  At yoga last week, when the instructor mentioned that we were still in the throes of a Venus retrograde cycle, the room erupted in knowing groans of understanding.  She followed this with, "You woke up this morning.  That's a lot to be grateful for." (I've been repeating this statement each morning since I heard it).  At dinner afterward, a conversation with a beautiful friend indicated that we were both struggling to find ourselves upright and clear headed of late.   I don't think that these moments of being on the edge are inherently bad, but I do know that these moments are inherently challenging.  

This seems as good a time as any to ask some tough questions.  This seems to be as good a time as any to refine where we put our love and time and energy.  Fortunately or unfortunately, these types of refinements require that we face our ego monsters, that we release some attachment to how we expected things to be, face what is, and smile at this awareness.

I have been facing my ego monster as I face what is... quite possibly my least favorite part of myself.  How easily bruised, how fragile, how utterly ridiculous it is...yet, to find compassion for this part of myself?  To be generous and accepting?  Well, that's some work.  I'm seeking out new possibilities in the world, which brings with it a feeling of being "judged" and questioning whether I'm "worthy" and when I'm not centered, these feelings can lead to defensiveness or fear, and they manage to gather up all of the fear and judgment I've ever conjured surrounding missteps of the past as they come barreling toward me.  Whoa.

And last week I phoned a friend.  I said, "I need to say all of this out loud so that I hear how ridiculous it is..."  And that's a gift.  I woke up this morning.  I have quieted my ego.  The stars are aligning in ways that might just be a tad more fortuitous than they have been in a while.  I'm ready for the shift in the motion.  Bring it Year of the Horse.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lost in the Finding

I almost titled this "'Figuring it out' and other such impossibilities."  I'm not sure when it is that we decide that there's an "it" and when we decide that "it" can be "figured out."  I think we generally use this statement to refer to "life"--as if life were an indeterminate pronoun whose referent could be easily identified.  I think that life may be more appropriately considered as a series of events in which we lose and find ourselves, and in which this series of events is repeated...forever...

It's taken me a while to realize that feeling lost or feeling as if we've found our way are equally fine.

"Everybody talked about finding themselves, but maybe you had to get lost first."  --Elizabeth Eaves, Wanderlust

There are lots of ways to get lost.  And often we end up back where we started, but armed with all sorts of new experiences that make it ultimately impossible to ever actually define any place as a start or any point an end, in and of itself.  I often feel like a tourist in my own life (I am aware that I cultivate this as a practice), and recently I was afforded an opportunity to move about the world (writ a bit more large than usual), as a more traditionally defined tourist--no home, no job commitments--only moving through space and interactions as me, with a fabulous partner in crime, taking it all in...and it had been a while since I felt this level of freedom of movement.  And, in the same space, there I was--lost and found--at once a surreal and real state of being.  And I began to think of the role of the drishti as a point of focus not only in yoga or meditation practice, but any time we need to keep our gaze outward, but also need to lessen the judgment and attachment we feel to our surroundings.  It's not dismissal or hiding, but a way of staying in touch with who we are as we move through.  I'm not speaking literally, as if I think the tip of my nose should be my point of focus as I walk through city streets, but a willingness to keep my focus on where I am at any given moment.   And one that helps me keep my gaze soft.  And when we have that, we may be able to stay in a place where we acknowledge we are lost, but are safe in that recognition.

I don't mean this to sound all navel-gaze-y.  I'm recognizing (and celebrating) the futility of navel gazing, actually.  [NOTE:  Navel as drishti= not probably our goal.]

I've been swimming in a sea of uncertainty in the past years (I've been a bit underwater at times too), and I finally realize I always have been,  AND, well, we all are.  I think this recognition can make us a little bit kinder with one another, and a little gentler with ourselves.  The water's nice, come on in; let's go for a swim.  Every once in a while I might be treading water and trying to see over the horizon, and every once in a while I might be swimming swiftly back to shore.