Our past emotional traumas in life are akin to a deep and massive oceanic underworld where our darkest moments are preserved under intense pressurization sometimes never to be discovered but somehow surviving without light or other forms of life. It isn’t until we become our own mental explorers and squeeze ourselves into a claustrophobic subconscious submarine of sorts that we begin revealing the undiscovered creatures of our dark underworld, exposing our mental underbelly for investigation. It’s frightening, overwhelming, treacherous, physically painful and yet absolutely exhilarating when we make it back to the surface and are able to fill our lungs with the breath of renewed life.
- excerpt from Pencil Safety, Memoirs of an Engineer’s Daughter by Margaret Lindgren
That above excerpt is from a book I began writing a couple years ago after my father passed. Both my parents are gone now, my mother having passed when I was 18. The chapter this excerpt came from is called Shift Change and reflects on a moment in my childhood when I realized more concretely that my parents were just humans, struggling with their own issues and difficulties, and could NOT be the super heroes I had put them on the pedestal to be. This particular memory was a bit more serious than this simple explanation but the point is the same - it was a moment that changed me. I remember going a bit dark then, like a shadow had come over me, my trust faded and thinned and I began in many ways to take matters into my own hands as a kid. It shaped me and played a big role in who I was to become as the adult Margaret. But what I experienced is nothing unique or different it’s just a recording of a moment in my life that at times plays itself over and over again, bubbling up old bad habits and conditioned responses.
Have you ever heard the story about how a lobster grows? As a lobster grows - its shell does not and eventually the shell becomes too tight. Can you imagine? That would be like wearing shoes that are two sizes too small for your feet and then having to run a marathon in them! Except, in this case, your feet in this metaphor would be your whole body! It’s painful and uncomfortable to the point which the lobster must seek refuge into a sea floor rock outcropping where it can safely shed it’s shell and grow another to accommodate it’s expansion. This process repeats itself over and over - discomfort, pain, refuge, shedding, growing anew - discomfort, pain, refuge, shedding, growing anew.
This lobster would probably never put itself through this painful and arduous process if there wasn’t the stimulus of discomfort involved. In fact, its the adversity of the lobsters’ pain that is the very stimulus that helps it grow.
And here’s the kicker ... Lobsters don’t have a doctor so when the pain gets bad they have no choice but to deal with it. They don’t have a pill they can take or a glass of wine they can drink, a pizza they can eat, someone to yell at, or ice cream to ease the pain. So theirs is an important lesson: That we can use our own adversity to stimulate positive change to free us from the burden of our inner chains. If we live life aimlessly and just plow through it to get through it then we don't live and we are not happy - and if we don't know any better then how is better ever to come?
So what does this all have to do with this NEW MOON IN SCORPIO coming this Wednesday, the 7th???? Oh, yeah, discomfort! This New Moon will be one of deep emotion that is bound to stir our inner discomfort. It is a time to be careful of those things that can trigger our same old negative patterns that drives us to focus on things outside of ourselves, to externalize our wounds, rather than focusing within to resolve our inner conflict.
In an earlier blog I mentioned the topic of hidden agendas and how, like it or not, we all have them. So what are they, exactly? Remember that moment I explained about my parents? They are the things that shaped us in our early, formative years of life. Experiences stored in our subconscious mind and played over and over again. And those experiences stay in the subconscious realm as we get older and create reactions in us to ensure our needs are being met. Ultimately what this does is undermine our ability to appreciate life, to be happy and fulfilled. Without greater self awareness of this aspect of our subconscious we sing the same song to that recorded tune over and over throughout life.
That's not to say hidden agendas are a bad thing. It is only natural that we do what we can to have our needs met, to survive and to be loved but it is striving blindly through this process that creates habits and karma. Some examples??? The need to control or be controlled, to be the center of attention, of wearing a mask to convince others we are something other than what we really are - but because we fear that we are nothing without that mask we continue the charade anyway. Or maybe its binging on foods or other substances for comfort. No matter what it is, the problem with these conditioned “solutions” is that, ultimately, they are not sustainable and not a path to true fulfillment. Yogi Bhajan called this the Reactive Personality or Hidden self.
This is exactly the time for Kundalini Yoga because it gives us the opportunity to play out a lot of our “stuff” internally which helps us to heal our wounds and gives us greater clarity and self awareness to make better choices for our happiness & love in life. And we can do this (through Kundalini Yoga) without the consequences of Karma.
Practicing Kundalini Yoga is the tool kit for greater Self Awareness & Acceptance/Acknowledgement of “self” (lower case self, that is, the finite version of ourselves) where we can accept our choices in life and know they all serve a purpose. That our adversity, like the lobster's, serves a purpose! Kundalini can actually help us forgive ourselves and shed our shells.
The title of this blog is Culling Gifts from the Garbage. That GIFT is our Sat Nam - our true Self (infinite Self). And to flow connected we have to struggle against something in order to grow. That’s why in class I work to inspire others to take their efforts to the next level. To aspire to go higher because there is always opposition in stretching and moving the body. Like an electric current, we cannot flow without opposition. LIFE IS A STRETCH that is ever deepening. Our gift, our SAT NAM, is the pearl from that discomfort - it is the beauty of Self.
Like the lobster, a pearl begins its life from irritation, a piece of grit that has made its way inside the oyster. Over the course of many years, that irritation transforms into a seamless, radiant pearl. In fact, the more imperfect oyster shells are, the more ideal the environment for pearls to form.
So, feel it, be it, release it. Use the tools given to us by the grand masters to manage the conditions of our mental environment. When you see that Hidden self come out - and you fall back into that negative pattern be firm about the following:
This NEW MOON is an excellent time to venture & dive DEEP into the underworld of ourselves, to learn to love the creatures of our deep that play such a crucial role in the flow of all that makes us whole and to accept ourselves for ourselves. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. It is understanding ourselves that is important to our growth and for the compassion of self.
It might seem frightening, overwhelming, treacherous and physically painful at times but to rise to the occasion with the pearl in the hand of Self is absolutely exhilarating!
Sat Nam! See you in class - Wednesday Evenings 6:30 - 7:30PM @GualalaDanceStudio
The Fall Equinox represents a time for us to FALL INWARD to awaken within us our Inner Light and connect with our NAAM (our true selves). It is the season of shedding and letting go of that which we no longer have the energy to give.
Nature leads us through this time by example as we watch the last of the coastal fledglings hunt on their own and the adult birds leave their nesting grounds for the year. My coastal walks become quieter as though nature has gone back to school and I find myself reminiscing about the summer days of watching the young hatchlings in their groupings - preening, loafing and developing their skills but alas time moves on, the days grow shorter and the Redwoods thin their leaves as the forest floor thickens and plumps itself with duff to store the winter rains. It’s a palatable energy shift, a re-centering.
The Harvest Moon, the first full moon after the Equinox, marks this transition and this year it finds itself in the sign of fiery and impatient Aries! Aries takes us back to the beginning, to those days of our earliest needs, to our innocence, and to our impulse to cry out when something is the matter. So with this full moon we may find ourselves being reminded of old wounds that need healing and urge us to be honest about our pain, problems and needs. We find ourselves driven in this state to get what we perceive as missing and to seek a salve for wounds that have not yet been healed, or even recognized.
I call this state of mind the Common Cold of the Emotions and as humans we are all bound to get this bug at some point - it’s inevitable at this time of year! Symptoms include all or some of the following: mild depression, a sense of unease, frustration, anxiety, anger, impatience, fatigue, negativity and an all around feeling of loneliness tinged with being misunderstood.
Fortunately, though, the adventurous, rowdy, “me first” Aries in this Full Moon is soothed with the compassionate neutral caring of Libra (the scales, balance). Libra helps us define HOW we want to BE in relationships, including the relationship with ourselves. And, you know, Aries ain’t all that bad - I should know because I am one! and if we can use the “me first” Aries archetype in a positive way it can direct us back to ourselves consciously and utilize the head-strong Ram’s fiery spirit to encourage us to be self-reliant and to seek answers and solace in self-knowing, self-confidence, and self-nurturing. Using this positive aspect of Aries in conjunction with Libra’s desire for compromise and win-win outcomes - we can find the answers to our needs!
One way we can do this is through Kundalini Yoga and Mantra. These tools help us to get back to SELF (Naam) and support getting our needs met through self-confirming attitudes. Breath techniques and mantra are a way of sending a positive coded message to the Brain hemispheres - taking the mind off negative patterning and putting us on the track of self love, positivity and fulfillment.
It’s easy to complain, to rehash those old wounds, feel unloved or that life is unfair - because the truth is that it can be at times. But to every decision please know there is an opposite. A friend of mine from whom and with whom I studied Kundalini (kundaliniwithsheel.com) recently wrote about the karma of complaining and I loved what she had to say:
“We think these reactions are not that bad since we are not punching anyone. Sometimes we even sweep these actions under the rug by calling them “being human.”
That might have been okay in past lives, but here is a secret of Kundalini: yogis figured out that complaining creates dullness in your aura, a constant stream of low-grade karma that corrodes your connection to Spirit and other Souls over time, and diminishes the container of your life to effortlessly receive blessings and what you need to complete your mission and elevate to the Realm of Dharma. That is why there is yearning, devotion and even urgency for yogis to keep pulling the mental fluctuations back to the Naam.”
I love this! It couldn’t be said any better! And what is important to know is that this is true from any level you are willing to ponder it. You don’t have to be a yogi, an advanced yoga student or even take yoga, really. You just need to try and be vigilantly conscious, to catch yourself before going down the dark path of negativity! and mantras and breath work can help you do just this. We have used several mantra’s in class (Ong So Hung, Har Haree and others) but if you don’t understand or know a mantra in the language - use an English one, like “I am bountiful, blissful and beautiful” or “I am, I am” (thanks Sheel)
Upon completing my training my teacher gave me a spiritual name based on my birth date and what he saw in me. The name he gave me is Amrit Shakti. Amrit is the sweet, purifying nectar of the Gods which, when taken, purifies us and allows us to live from the Path of the Heart. Shakti is the ultimate feminine - I like to think of it as "potential manifested". I use the meaning of Amrit Shakti as a way to close class... to remind ourselves to live from The Path of the Heart and to ALWAYS see ourselves as potential manifested.
This past week and even just this morning... I have been struggling with a recent feeling of rejection. Something that happened recently seemed to dredge up for me the painful feelings of being unworthy and undervalued, unwated. My typical response in situations like this is to be mean, to put up the shield, to be angry and stew. It seems silly when you are outside of these emotions but the darkness of their cloud is a whole different beast! Each day I would go to the mat and practice and each day I would fall off track with the mind, falling back into bitterness and anger. But the true discipline is getting back up and to remind myself ... I am Amrit Shakti - I am the Path of the Heart, I am Potential Manifested.
And when I do I feel like myself again.
Robert Frost’s Poem The Road Not Taken (see below) is not about the woes and regrets of making one decision over the other - it's about how we navigate our choices in Life that can make all the difference.
Friday’s Aquarius Full Moon Lunar Eclipse will be the longest (4 hours) this century giving us plenty of time to adjust our focus from the Sun’s glare to see what’s really been going on. This is a real eye opener of a Lunar Eclipse with Mercury and Mars retrograde where Mars will also (and very rarely) be eclipsed with the moon.
In a way, cosmically, the message of this eclipse is equivalent to being called down to the Principal’s office over the School-of-Life’s PA system ... WHAT DID YOU DO THIS TIME?
In all seriousness, it’s not about punishing ourselves for our past choices and behavior - but rather learning from our actions in order to express our energy in a more positive, productive way. Our physical body reminds us of our impermanence in this world. Understanding this and acknowledging it through our choices can help us live more soul fulfilling lives that enrich us and help us make the most beneficial decisions along the way.
So with this moon we are presented the proverbial “fork in the road”. Which one will you take to transform yourself and successfully ride the waves created from your past decisions into the future?
Rather than making choices out of the immediacy of need and fear we can seize the opportunity to see our shadow selves and transmute our "dark side" positively. Below are some questions (from GURU RATTANA’s blog) that can help us navigate the path to higher Self - to take the mystery out of the things we do and to set the foundation of courage to live fully from our heart and soul. So get out a pad of paper and a really good pen to scribe your words with integrity and answer for yourself the following questions: Side Note before you start - Contemplating these questions through the fiery, masculine energy of Mars with this Lunar event can make for a very BUMPY RIDE emotionally, stirring frustration and anger relating to where we’ve misused our energy or not been as productive, appreciated or understood as we wished. However, WE CAN channel this emotional energy positively for ourselves and give our Soul the “get out of Jail” pass it needs to continue its journey. Doing so can immediately transform our mood! GO FOR IT!
This year (2018) is all about enlightenment in this Aquarian Age of Truth & Knowing. The number of the year 2018 corresponds to 11 (2+1+8 =11) in Kundalini Tantric Numerology. This Aquarian Full Moon Lunar Eclipse is all about helping you navigate your Dharma in this lifetime.
The Dharma of number 11 is to exist in and through the grace of the non-existence. It is the highest expression of instinctive and innate spiritual wisdom. The Karma of number 11 is to be the duality. To be ever critical. To exist through denial of existence. It is the extreme expression of spiritual naivety.
As we navigate our choices in life - no matter our path and the difficulties we may face - when we listen to our existence we are never alone!
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
by Robert Frost.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
As a note to our readers:
Much of our astrology information comes from one of our favorite blogs posts from Guru Rattana here - Be sure to connect and read her work.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 27th, 2018, is the FULL MOON in Capricorn. If there ever was a time to act like YOU OWN THE BANK rather than needing a loan from it - it is NOW!
Every Wednesday in our local town I teach yoga at Gualala Dance Studio and with each class we set an intention. This Wednesday's goal is to OWN IT LIKE A BILLIONAIRE! We will be doing a set to balance the glandular system followed by a beautiful mantra meditation to open the flow of Kundalini, creating greater self awareness & authority so we can make the right choices to conquer the blemishes in life.
The influence of Saturn Retrograde makes this an emotionally weighty Full Moon and Capricorn brings into form the results of what has been churning within us on an unconscious level. But Capricorn also gives us the opportunity to grab the mountain goat by the horns and take action to release our past in order to create our future. How we handle the emotions that bubble to the surface during this full moon is strictly UP TO US! So it's time to OWN IT LIKE A BILLIONAIRE, to move away from the blame-game and to start DEFINING in life rather than whining. This is the time to not only look deeply at the Cause & Effects in your life but to CHOOSE to respond differently, to move away from unproductive patterns that leave us feeling shameful and to make the choices that place us on a more positive & beneficial path.
We can begin this process by identifying for ourselves where we need to set boundaries and take time for ourselves. Identify what drains you and write down what you are doing about it - as though it is happening in the here & now. Highlight the areas in your life that make you feel happy and timeless --- nurture these areas and remove or minimize the Debbie-Downer zones that serve only to bring you down. Lastly, speak to yourself as you would your own child or someone you deeply love. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion and treat your breath like thoughts - breathe in only good ones! So, Grab the Goat by the horns and OWN IT .... LIKE A BILLIONAIRE!
SAGITTARIUS full moon
The WHIMBREL (Above)
The LONG BILLED CURLEW (Above)
THE WHIMBREL - note the head stripes! Especially through the eye - their bill is also not as long at the Curlew
The Curlew - this is the largest of the shore birds and it doesn't have the stripes on the crown. Also note that its bill is longer than the Whimbrel!
THE MARBLED GODWIT (right) - is another that you may confuse with the above Curlew or Whimbrel… but they have a distinctive pinkish/black bill (that slopes upwards towards the heavens --- connect this hint with their name -the GODwit - and you have a clue to help you identify the species.
Marbled Godwit - winter plumage, upward sloping bill and long legs
Dunlin - Winter plumage - their dullish color is more uniform and they are not as bright white as the Sanderling. They are slightly larger than the Sanderling.
Sanderling - Winter plumage - Note the subtle blackish smudge on the "shoulder" along the top of the wing chord… and their head and chest are a brighter white than the Dunlin. THEY ARE EASY TO SPOT ALONG THE SHORELINE as they titter along quickly along the wave lines… their legs a blur as they follow receding waves, stabbing at the wet sands! They have a bicycle-like motion of their legs when they run quickly
Madge Malone in her blogging zone!
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