Thoughts

#artofsurrender

According Merriam-Webster, surrender is defined in a variety of ways:

  1. to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
  2. to give oneself up into the power of another, especially as a prisoner
  3. to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed
  4. to give up after a struggle
  5.  to let go of or relinquish

In our cultural understanding of surrender, we associate it with negative connotations such as wars, defeat and loss. Surrendering is waving a white flag and turning yourself over to the enemy. When we look closely and without judgement, there is a deeper meaning of surrender. My surrender began in a dictionary defined way, I couldn’t keep fighting a losing battle, both at work and at home. I quit my job, I stopped fighting an inevitable break-up and I gave myself up to an unknown and uncertain reality. I surrendered to the reality that the way I was living my life was no longer working.

When you surrender, you must let go of everything. Your desires, your control, your expectations, your fears, your thoughts, your worries, your perception of who you are. It is simply letting whatever happens, happen.  Surrender requires trust. Surrendering requires you to trust yourself; that you’ll find your way out of whatever madness, chaos or black hole you’ve found yourself in. By surrendering to my pain, I was able to heal the wounds from my years of battle. My real life surrender shifted my entire yoga practice. There was a new found fluidity to my vinyasa flows, a lightness to my body in balancing poses, and a steadiness in my breathe. When you are able to free yourself of these limiting beliefs, there is a sense of expansiveness, strength and peace that comes with surrender. The act of surrender broke down barriers between my mind & body and my life on & off the mat.

In all my years of practicing yoga, I have never been able to fully access Shirsasana — headstand.  Sometimes I avoided it, sometimes I tried too hard and felt a strain in my neck, sometimes I blamed teachers for not being able to explain how to do it properly, sometimes I thought I wasn’t strong enough to do it. After months of practicing the art of surrender, I positioned myself for a headstand and with the slightest effort, my body simply went upside down. Yoga requires complete trust & surrender in order to seek the wisdom within ourselves. This moment showed me the beauty in surrendering — to let go, to not know, to not control, to not think, and to simply trust myself. 

#trust

Before we can love, we must trust. Children have the gift of being able to love unconditionally without being taught to do so — they have complete trust in their world. Someone will hold them if they cry. Someone will catch them if they fall. Someone will mend their wound if they are hurt. If a child grows up in a world where they cannot trust, fear overpowers their ability to love. As adults, if we are unable to trust, we will seek and receive love but our fear is like a hole in our heart — the love comes in for a brief moment before it escapes us. If we do not heal this hole, we cannot nurture or grow love.

In the journey to getting back to our inner child and healing him or her, trust is restored.

Trust is guiding yourself with your eyes closed.

Trust is falling without knowing where you will land.

Trust is allowing things to unfold instead of pulling and pushing.

Trust is finding wisdom in not knowing the answers.

Trust is letting go of what you can’t control.

Trust is accepting things even if you do not understand them.

Trust is devoid of doubts.

Trust is surrendering to what is unknown, unseen and unheard.

Trust is believing that love is stronger than fear.

#thejourneytomyself

I stood alone.
I stopped resisting.
I admitted defeat.
I surrendered.
I closed my eyes and went inside of myself.
I sank into the burrow where my darkest thoughts lived.
I sat still as each of my fears crawled over my skin.
I cried and howled, feeling all of the pain hidden inside of my body.
I released my suffering, letting it out and letting it breathe.
I opened my eyes and realized I was sitting in my heart.
I became intimate with my fears.
I witnessed their cleverness and discovered their vulnerability.
I learned they could only survive inside darkness and ignorance.
I sparked a flame in the shadows, triggering an emotional upheaval.
I meditated through the chaos and my awareness grew the flame into a fire.
I burned every fear, insecurity and negative thought into ground.
I was finally alone.
I channeled the energy I mined from my heart into healing myself.
I filled the empty space left behind with unconditional love.
I closed my wounds and opened myself up to the universe.
I opened my eyes and felt completely at ease.
I looked in the mirror and saw my soul smiling back at me.
I laughed at the irony of the human experience.
Once I discovered who I was, I could never be alone again.

#trybeing

Why we do try so hard? It feels like an itch we keep scratching without any relief. We try to help people, we try to change ourselves, try to fix things, we try to achieve things yet it always feel like we fall short. The more we try to love someone, the more we push them away. On the mat, we try to go deeper into a pose and our body resists, we try to sit still and our body keeps fidgeting. We try, we fail, we try again and the cycle continues.

How do we stop trying?

When we are trying, we are always forward looking, forward thinking and forward moving. There is something external we want and we put forth our energy in trying to make it happen. It is only when we let go of the external that we can stop trying and start being. If you practice yoga and focus only on the asana, the physical, the external, the tangible, you will never stop trying. If you live your life just focusing on goals, you will never stop trying. When we go inside of ourselves, both on and off the mat, we can be okay with exactly who we are and where we are in life and we stop trying to be anything else. We become okay with our lives being “un-done” — with the career that has yet to grow, the opportunities that have yet to manifest, the people we have yet to meet.

We move from trying to either being or not being. I am being present. I am being grateful. I am being honest.  I am being sad. I am being cared for. I am not being kind. I am not being respectful.  I am not being patient. We cannot fail at being —  it’s something we are or we are not. We can enter and exit these states of being but there is no trying. You can be honest or not be honest, saying that you are trying to be honest is well, kind of bullshit. When we re-phrase I am trying to be more honest with: I will be open about how I feel, I will not be afraid to tell people what I am thinking, I will be comfortable in telling the truth even if it hurts people — you are already there and your efforts are directing in staying there or perhaps moving into another state of being. There is a sense of relief of not having to try, fail, try again. 

We should all just try being :)~

#fuckeverythingelse

We’re constantly being pushed and pulled by everything and everyone around us. We manage our needs against the needs of our family & friends and the people we work for. We over-commit, over-plan, over-work ourselves while we under-nourish, under-serve, under-mind ourselves. Whether you are a high school student, a CEO, a single mom, or an ambitious young professional, it seems like people don’t have a moment to breathe, let alone commit to a mindfulness practice or go on a deeper spiritual journey. I am going to out on a limb here and say it’s not impossible. When you do some re-organizing of sorts, you can create a balance between your karmic to-do list while giving your soul some TLC. In order to do this, you must have a clear understanding of your karmic duties (to family, to employers, communities) & spiritual responsibilities (to yourself). Once these are concretely defined, everything else must fucking go. Especially living in New York, it feels like you are constantly missing out on something if you are not “hustling” your way through life — whether it’s a promotion, a better apartment or an exclusive social event. The ironic part is when you are running  from one thing to another (sometimes literally), you end up either too tired, too distracted or too hungover to enjoy the experience that’s right in front you. Worse yet, you’re in a constant state of defeat for failing to achieve everything you’ve set out to accomplish. For me — my karmic duties include: achieving personal financial goals, working a full-time job while building a business part-time, and spending time with my family. As for my spiritual responsibilities — this includes a daily mindfulness practice, writing, reading and teaching yoga to others in a safe and meaningful way. I also manage to do silly things like have spontaneous dance parties in my apartment and make myself home cooked meals.  My life was not always like this. There will always be a trade-off — you are always balancing one need against another — health vs. wealth, sleep vs. productivity, work vs. family.  When I was younger and chose a high-stress, high-reward career, I committed all my time to my karmic duties as the cost of my spiritual self.  When I finally quit my job, I was knee deep in spiritual as well as physical/mental health debt. In order for me to pay this off, I had to temporarily abandon my karmic duties to heal the damage that had accumulated over the years. Similarly, going off and studying at an ashram or traveling for months will provide tremendous spiritual wealth, but will quickly empty your bank account. Actively managing against these extreme imbalances helps avoid racking up financial, spiritual, health debts. Through experience and awareness you can finely tune your personal balance of health, wealth & happiness.  When you can effectively prioritize your time, balance the trade offs and commit to showing up & being present —  you are consciously choosing how you spend your time and the type of life you want. You are in alignment with yourself. When you sense forces pulling you away from this alignment you’ve designed, ask yourself why am I doing this? Does this serve my karmic duties? Does it lead to spiritual growth? Honor yourself and fuck everything else.