I'm a yogi, a writer, a wanderer, female (though not particularly feminine), and an herbalist--these are all ways I've defined myself. But here's the thing--when we define ourselves we're doing nothing more than limiting ourselves.
For instance, let's take that last bit--female, but not feminine. I've been labelling myself that way since I can remember. Then, one day, I was shopping for some event (shudder...shopping...), and I saw a dress I really liked. I walked around for an hour before convincing myself to try it on, really liking it, then being scared of liking it because, heaven forfend, what would it to do to that label I'd so painstakingly crafted over the years? So I put it back on the hanger.
I still think about that silly dress.
But it's not the loss of the dress that disturbs me; it's that I allowed myself--rebel (another label) that I am--to be swayed by *my own* labeling system. If I had been authentically present, I would have tapped into the authenti...
When I don't know what else to do, when I feel fizzy and electric and as though I'm going to self-destruct from circuit overload, I lie on the earth. I put myself out there with the elements and the stones, the mosquitoes and the birds, the rain and the sun, the salt and sugar of the grass, and I just pour myself away. I remember that I am earth--minerals and dust, salt and sugars, blood and rain, microbes and metal. I remember that she's been around a heck of a long time and probably seen a million things worse that whatever it is in my head at the moment, so I just give it to her. All of it. She's offered to take it.
And I let that age and that wisdom, that beauty and that pain all pour back in, channeled as only true gifts of wisdom and strength can be, and I get up. I remember that we are the same, she and I, and thank the goddess for it. That earth is always there--in office buildings, in cities, on interstates, in school, in bed in the middle of a sleepless night. She's there and...
I'm going to be honest with you guys--I really rarely have no idea what I'm going to write when I sit down with these Satyas every morning. Some mornings I think, this is it. This is the day it will fail to happen. But it never has--not in four-plus years of doing these. Some days I get up and think, good lord. I cannot write another thing; I'm empty and no one wants to hear it anyway. But I always do it. It's like my meditation, my daily prayer, my daily practice.
Continuing in this full-disclosure fun--I'm tired of the hustle. You know? Seriously. I'm so tired of shlepping and shopping my wares, my classes, my education, my time, my money, and pouring it into this thing I call a career, but which certainly doesn't act like one. That's what was on my mind this morning as I dragged myself around my routine, so it ended up in the Satya (that's how these things always get created--whatever is floating around, unsettled, lands on the page to sort itself out).
'Otherwise' and 'if only' are probably the two most wretched phrases in our language. In any language. They indicate that you could have (*should have*) done something differently or, worse, chance could have landed you differently, and then (then!) your whole world would have opened up into some kind of enchanted, lollipop-lined, forest wonderland.
Well, I'll take you out of your misery--you would be the same person with the same path, whether or not you had taken choice x or y. How do I know this? Well, I've spent a lot of time examining my life (goddess help me), and I've looked painfully closely at my 'missed opportunities.' You know what? With a few minor exceptions, they all would have converged to the point where I am now.
Which is interesting and reassuring. As long as you're following some path of your own curiosity, you will land in the same place, minus a month or two, a year or two (and, let's face it--in a life, really, what's a year or two?). It's like taki...
I'm not sure exactly what I mean by this one. It's a thought that came to me during yoga practice yesterday. More and more, I've become drawn to a slow, steady practice--for those who know me, a huge leap from my fiery and fast Ashtanga practice. This new practice is no less fierce (indeed, I find myself working way harder these days), but it is more meditative. For so many years I've been running and hanging onto that heavy handle that, for some reason, I believe I must carry or the world will cease to function. Finally, for my own sake, I had to put it down.
I want to say that the relief from putting it down, from slowing down, is enormous; I'm sure must be. But what struck me most is the unexpected grief--this mourning of... what? Perceived self-control? Or, more deeply, perceived sense of self? If I wasn't this person I've been, and have to find this new path for my own well-being, then what have I lost? Who have I lost? I'm not sure exactly, but I've definitely been...
Roots are the communication system, the apothecary, the hotline, and the through-line for every green and growing being on this planet. That is just wicked; it blows me away every time. Roots feel out the microcosm of the infinite universe that is the soil around them--ascertaining its chemical constituents, bacterial population, even sensing the health of the plants around it. This root system can transmit chemicals to heal or harm, depending on circumstances. They can call for help, send out warnings, and communicate such things as trends in weather and incoming storms.
And they never see the light of day. They trust that the rest of the being knows what it's doing, and just keep on keeping on.
Then, there's us, with our own roots bound up somewhere north of our shoulders. We're a mess, really. Often, sure, a grudgingly lovable mess, but a hot mess nonetheless. Think of all we *wouldn't* have to think about if we were just rooted. If we could stay grounded (meditation, yoga...
We think we can do anything. Well, let me amend that. We *can* do anything. We just might not be able to everything. Not all at once. (I can hear the groaning; I think it's loudest over here on this end). But that's what we want, isn't it? Everything. Now. All at once.
Oh, my god, you guys. I mean isn't this why we have history classes? Hasn't this wanting been *the* human frailty for as long as we've been recording such things? Hence wars; hence racism; hence sexism; hence prejudice of every variety, from class to belief systems, to gender identification.
If you trace hatred back (on a grand scale or, maybe more tangible, on a personal one), you'll see it comes down to wanting. Fear, yes. But, really, it's the wanting. We can't have what we want, so we lash out--at a group of people, a shade of skin, a distribution of anatomy. We rebel against ourselves, starving, over-feeding, over-working, over-lazing.
We really just aren't all that gifted with this whole balance...
I don't have what would, in the 'normal' world, be considered rhythm. I can't move to a beat, and I probably couldn't create a consistent syncopation in this lifetime, even with the great Buddy Rich guiding my hands.
But you know, I've finally realized that it's okay. So while I don't dance at weddings (I'm actually quite okay with that), I can chant a mean lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. And that fills me with such joy--I can find the pace. I can walk the chant.
And, don't you know, if you walk enough, with enough heart, the dance carries you, whether you know it or not.
(I wanted to call this post 'True Grit,' but that was kinda/sorta already taken. But mettle is a good word; the English major approves). And that's it, right? Balance. Stumbling. The getting back up again. Man (groan)... The. Getting. Back. UP. AGAIN.(!!) It's exhausting. Why is it exhausting? Because we're badass spiritual warriors and we do it again and again (and again).
And that says something to me--it says we are one determined generation of people on this planet, and we are willing to come into awareness when we stumble, when we take the difficult path, when we find a dead end and have to turn around--we do it. We do it, even though we really want to sit down for a while and stare at the trees (and maybe we do--and that's fine, too). The grit, the mettle, the pluck, isn't really in the **getting up,** but in the **awareness** that you have stumbled out of balance and the confidence in knowing that you *will* get up (when you're good and ready and sufficiently rested)....