Ultimately, we are a body of knowing. The outer reality proves itself again and again to be nothing more than a mirage of separation from the infinite universe. It is an optical illusion of atmospheric conditions that creates a story almost too convincing of separation. When we enter into the depths of consciousness within the human existence, we peer deeper into what modern physics understands is an undivided existence between every object and each event. The exact same matter and material comprising all of life is shared and unified. Scientifically, spiritually, matter-of-factly, there is no separation. Yet, some moments (some days, some months, some years…) reality seems as though separation of self from others, self from earth, self from the BIG, is the only thing that exists. This perceived disassociation has at times left me feeling awkward, alone, deluded and confused. As if life was the lead dancer, and I am off rhythm and either a few steps behind, ahead, or dancing to an entirely different piece of music.
The liminal spaces between hope and climax. The transitory space between intention and manifestation. The pause between the exhale and the inhale that takes a little too long and makes some part of the mind panic as if perhaps another breath will never come. The suspended space that seems to be the only thing that stands still while the rest of life speeds up so much that it makes people believe that time is dissolving. Maybe you know the gap I’m talking about. Things are neither epically flowing with connection, nor are they dismantling and dissolving. As if parts of life are being impounded, held in trust for someone to remember to come and collect them as being integral to the greater whole or to ultimately decide that there is in fact parts that don’t belong to the “whole”.
If someone was to diagnose whether or not one is in the gap it would be classified as the experience of being alarmingly unemotional. It is neither exhilarating, nor terrifying, but dare I say a boring space to patiently wait for inspiration to catch up with life, or for life to catch up to inspiration. At times there is an anticipatory or ominous feeling to being in the gap, as truly, anything goes. Examples of being in the gap include, but are not limited, by the following: having an idea of inspiration and waiting for the inner momentum to swell to be able to actually follow through. Having set intentions, prayers, and magik on every new, full, half, quarter, blue, and harvest moon, the gap is the let go space where life decides what to do with your order. The times of cloudy vision, lack of direction, foggy clarity, a sideways view of reality, and dazed understanding on how you fit into the greater scheme of your own life.
Similarly if one was to offer a remedy for being in the gap, one of the most paramount things required is the practice of shradda, or faith in the Ultimate. For the final days of the 200 hour Training that just graduated in Edmonton, I was researching the concept of imaginal cells in entomology.
From Butterfly by Norie Huddle (I have paraphrased) when a caterpillar enters into a cocoon, scientists find there the imaginal cells. Cells that resonate at an entirely different frequency so are totally different from the caterpillar cells. Because of this, the immune system thinks they are enemies and destroys them. But more and more of these new imaginal cells continue to appear until the caterpillar’s immune system cannot destroy them fast enough. More and more of the imaginal cells survive until the seemingly separate, tiny, lonely (I put in that part) imaginal cells begin to form together into groups. Resonating together at the same frequency, passing information from one to another within the chrysalis. Then with some time in the evolutionary process, the entire string of imaginal cells forms into an entirely new species of the butterfly. Since the butterfly now contains the inherent intelligence of the butterfly, the imaginal cells no longer have to do the work of the individual cells and can operate as a multi-celled organism, a unit.
I don’t like to use stereotypical new-age metaphors. I actually do everything I can as a communicator of the practice to draw upon the metaphors that are not commonly used, and often totally misunderstood. However, chances are if I’m writing about the gap, it’s because I’m in it. The gap doesn’t always lend itself generously to the creative process, so pardon the overused metaphor. The gap is neither the caterpillar nor is it the butterfly. I’m not even sure if it is the composted mush of the caterpillar/butterfly in process. To me the gap feels like what it must feel like to be the imaginal cells. Driven and living by the laws of underlying intelligence that make them do the only thing they know how, yet perhaps having no conscious clue or vision of the greater task at hand The gap to me is the space where only faith and being present is needed to carry on. We take an exhale after an inhale and then maybe exhale again. We keep stepping forward, taking our seat, folding over, returning to the heart, forgetting a dream, and then waking up and trying hard to remember. Going through the motions - at times with full connection, and at others with a hypnotic script losing perspective and losing the point, but doing it because somewhere we disciplined ourselves not to stop. Lather, Rinse, Repeat…. If for some reason, this newsletter lands in your inbox when your connection in practice is but a vestigial shadow of its usual self - forming a small resemblance of something that at one time was much more noticeable - then I remind us all, to just keep moving. Remembering the infinite intelligence that even grants us the space to pretend disconnection. For truly, to even be able to feel separate from the whole, reminds us of the implication of what it means to feel the extraordinarily large Source that never forgets us
With light, prayers, and a heart of faith
It wouldn’t take much to make a sold case that perhaps this life is simply an experiment in creation. An investigation of consciousness, a grand bid for our own innate power and sovereignty, an exploration with no real desired outcome. Immediately following the Spring equinox, we are riding the cosmic ascending energies with the first and most powerful full moon of the year (April 6th) Mercury coming out of retrograde and going direct (April 4th). I often use ThePowerPath.com for one perspective on what is happening on a more cosmic/collective level and for April they state that immediately following this moon, “recapitulation begins and it is all systems go.”
Recapitulation is talked about in a number of traditions but from the teachings of Don Juan it is taught: “recapitulation is a way to entice the knowledge of the energy body to come out in terms of memories”. By recollecting an aspect of life or a situation as well as the feelings invested to the situation, down to the most insignificant detail, one can clear the residual sediment left in the physical and energetic field. Recapitulation often begins with a list of items to be recalled and then by moving through the feeling of lingering emotions and clearing residue with the breath Prana is freed up to be able to direct energy to what one wants to co-create moving forward.
So if you feel called, join us in an experiment. Find a moment in your day when you can center and connect to your heart. With a journal and some space to connect to a vision that is louder than diminutive thoughts, and clearer than muddled distractions, let’s get to work.
Recapitulation begins. Watch for signs to show up indicating where you need work and areas where you are leaking your power:
Where do you feel powerless in your life right now?
Did you always feel powerless in this area?
When did that start?
Is there something repeatedly appearing that feels as if it is an old pattern ready to be cleared?
What are the qualities of people around you that are empowering? draining?
Where do you feel power in your life and is there correlation to where you feel powerless?
Next we envision:
What did you always want to do or to be?
What do you have a desire for right now?
Where do you feel inspired?
List the topics that you are called to read about, watch videos on, and talk to others about.
If you could rearrange one aspect of your life, which one would you change, and how would it look and feel?
(inspired by and adapted from thepowerpath.com)
There are many more questions and avenues we will take this down. For now this is a good start to start to charge this moon and create together. Swaha, so be it, and it is so.
“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.”
― Terence McKenna
Now would be a very good time to fathom that we are each our own teacher, student, judge and jury on this path towards evolved freedom and to celebrate each other’s flaws. Now would be a very good time to step off of the theoretical pedistool’s that we have placed ourselves and others on and realize that walking this path requires a sobriety enducing level of humanness. Besides, this is a path that is safest walked on ground level. Now would be a very good time to allow our relations to have the same ability to make the mistakes and triumph’s that we grant ourselves in quiet places. I am thinking that now would be a very good time to take each other’s liberation and vibrancy and hold them in trust as much as we hold our own.
Now would be an extremely good time to kiss the earth, apologize, and recommit oneself to serving her sentience. And perhaps now would be a very good time to let words have meaning again without dumbing down conversation. To now speak with socially awkward clarity and make-you-shake honesty when having revealing conversations of how we have fallen from grace and fallen in love.
Now would be an exceptional time to live a real fairytale, to kneel in worship to our own hearts, to let old emotional scars vanish with the practice of presence, and to use uncomfortable emotions as tools of magik.
Now would be a very good time to make good love, weird music and controversial art simply as a reflection of being the tool with which the Creator creates. This moment, this one, would be a very good time to begin again. This one too. To atone mistakes, to apologize deeply and forgive even deeper, to walk barefoot, dance naked, read Mirabai and Dickens, and invent new words to express impossible concepts. Perhaps to be so bold as to admit the secret that we are holding that would benefit everybody to know, is a good idea. And in the name of the practice of yoga, now would be a very good time to place the awakening, consciousness and heart of Everybody on your personal altar regardless of personal opinion and differences.
“This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it”. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Well, well well…welcome to 2012. The year that has been overly YouTube’d, speculated about, prophesized around, and for some, deeply anticipated. Actually, before I write about 2012, I’d like to give a solid shout out to the year that was 2011. I have been reflecting on a major theme I saw take place in my own life, in the lives of my friends and many others as they came through trainings, classes, and retreats in Bali and Peru this year. Each individual’s story is obviously as unique as are their lives, however it seemed to me the underlying commonality was that not many people were immune to the ‘alter-your-life-in-a-didn’t-see-that-coming’ and ‘change-the-way-one-sees-reality’ type of experiences that seemed to be bestowed upon practitioners last year.
Sitting in council to many, and as many sat council to me, the common word that kept coming to me was initiation. Lately, I have been fascinated as to how modern day rites of passage are played out in societies that for the most part no longer use traditional, religious, and cultural initiations the way we may have known in the past. In light of this topic, I reintroduced myself to the writings of Joseph Campbell, the mythologist who wrote The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Campbell draws correlations from major stories and myths from around the world and finds that common narratives typically follow a spiral pattern. This shows how typically one encounters a time of separation from their self, relationships, their path or their Source which sparks a time of initiation leading towards deeper teachings, higher wisdom, and greater clarity through trials, tests and challenges. After the hero has successfully proven himself or herself through the admission, therein begins the return process. The return to home, to a deeper remembrance of their Self, and right back to Source.
“In a monomyth, the hero ventures forth from the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unknown world of supernatural wonder and events. The hero who accepts the call to enter this strange world must face tasks and trials, either alone or with assistance. If the hero survives, she may achieve a great gift or boon. The hero must then decide whether to return to the ordinary world with this boon. If the hero returns successfully, the gift may be used to improve the world and his fellow man.”
The practice and offerings of yoga point to the exact same thing. Following the calling of one’s dharma as laid out in the Bhagavad-Gita; having reverence of the Guru as one’s life and teachings are structured in accordance to their karma; the very nature of tapas, are all at their essence, a moment to moment invitation into a deeper level of awareness of the Self and reality within the context of the practice. In my experience, to have trust that the trials and tribulations of life are in fact an initiation into another stage of awareness takes great devotion, courage, an open mind, and at times straight up raw, gritty faith. When I have been able to look at the twists and turns of fate and the revelation of my own shadows as my higher Spirit deeming me ready, strong, able, and well-equipped to experience another dimension of the practice. It allows me to see our common day rites of passage that may not look like self-mutilation, human sacrifice, trance like states for weeks on end, or vision quests through the woods yet have equally measurable benefits.
Alright, now onto 2012. Really, I don’t know what is in store for our sweet world right now. As we observe and participate in occupations of consciousness, resistances of outmoded belief systems, and revolutions of the values that we want to stay true to, I do know that I am so happy to be alive and incarnate at this time of existence. The teachings I have always received from Elders around this time period are unwaveringly the same; keep it simple and stay, without compromise, in the heart. From my understanding, at their essence, the teachings of most traditions are profoundly simple. Without over complicating the matter, I personally am using this year as a mini-experiment. An experiment to see what may unfold from the practice of simply sitting and listening to the quiet pre-linguistic mode of the heart, staying rooted in the teachings of the compassionate Feminine, and letting joy, passion, and that which has ease lead the way. If you have undergone your own initiation in any capacity, watch closely for the chance to integrate with what has sprouted for your own “return”.
As for me, I have decided to step into the seat of Lead Teacher at the Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre for 2012 where I will be there for 50% of the year, keeping my home in Nelson, and continuing with the Advanced Teacher Trainings for Gaiatri in the Spring and Fall. If you are in the city and inspired to come experiment in 2012, I’d love to share with you in classes, trainings, YogaLabs, community service projects and mentorship programs. Their website will be updated with classes I’ll be teaching while I am in town. I am really looking forward to having a chance to spend some time next year within teacher trainings and with the Calgary community again.
In the fresh anticipation of this new year, may the seeds planted in your trials and initiations allow you a greater level of presence as you return to your tribe, your Spirit and Source. May you have a chance to sit council to those you love, may you have a chance to sit council with the Elders around you, and at this time, may there be absolutely no limit to the love.
Peace. Deep Peace.
Testing 1-2, is this thing on? I often wonder if anybody ever reads these things. Of course I know some do, I mean you are reading it right now, and I know for sure my Mom reads the newsletters. That said, however, I have this strange impulse when I am doing personal journaling where I consider the people that will read my journal after I die and inevitably read more than they ever wanted to know about me or my life. In thinking this, I notice that I don’t fully divulge. I write entries as if they are for somebody else and in such, miss the opportunity of being truly real, vulnerable and weird along with the cathartic process that journaling can be. Am I alone in this ‘neurosis’? So, similarly with this newsletter, I feel compelled to experiment in a way to overcome this. Some random information that I have collected to see if anybody is really reading at all. Like here is what I learned last night; the word “Apocalypse” comes from the Greek word “apokalupsis” which means revelation, to uncover, reveal knowledge, or to reveal the true wisdom within. Rad right?! I just ate more almond butter than I believe the human body can consume in a single sitting. And here is my favourite YouTube find right now, watch all five and write me your thoughts. This isn’t a test to see who’s reading, but my hope is that this newsletter isn’t only a unidirectional conversation. My hope is that whether somebody reads a newsletter, attends a course, reads my journal, passes a stranger, that all of life is a multi-directional conversation. A great relating with each other, with ourselves, with Spirit, and in doing so reveals far greater relative and personal truths than we could access alone, writing to ourselves and ourselves alone.
Before I press send, I intend that the newsletter will land in your inbox, you’ll open it, and a whole stream of emails will come into my inbox from teachers throughout the years doing a good ol’ fashioned group check-in. I mean, does anybody else besides Anna and I reminisce fondly on group check ins? If you haven’t done one lately, we’d love to hear from you, what is stoking you, are you supported in your community, what are you learning, and where has this great divine matrix of life taken you?
So right now, this newsletter I suppose is a quick journal entry, my check in to let you know that the rest of our 2011 schedule is up and that me and the crew that came to Bali got home safe and is back on solid ground. The post-200 hour Teacher Training that took place in Bali was nothing short of a magic gathering of inspiring people. I have every intention of continuing to refine this course and offer it locally so that teachers who have been through the 200 hour program have a chance to grow and learn in deeper forms of energetic maintenance, authentic teaching, theme development, intuition, and the art of facilitating and holding space, and of course have a chance to reconnect with like-hearted community.
As everything in our sweet world changes, and paradoxically in it’s essence remains the exact same, I hope you have a chance to lean in, sit up straight, ask for help and if you don’t need it, offer it. Above all, have a raw, real, vulnerable conversation and see what happens. Have a great Spring.
What an auspicious and fun time to be alive! We want to sincerely wish each of you the most expansive and joyful start to 2011. An interesting energy has been moving through the holiday season with us at Gaiatri in Nelson. Following an incredible year of community and heart-expanding teacher trainings, typically Anna and I would be spending our time off with days up high, skating under full moons, and practicing by the wood stove. However, time off and messages of slowing down can come in a myriad of forms. Anna is healing from a fast and unexpected knee surgery, and I am nursing a knee from an encounter with a tree. Both are synchronistically timed and welcomed in lessons of slowing down, being as quiet as the falling snow so as to allow these messages to be whispers from the heart before they need to become any louder. I often think that is a strong gift of the practice of yoga practice, the creation of a still and quiet place whereby the Spirits that guide our essence are able to speak to us quietly, gently, yet firmly so as to not accelerate louder messages. Therefore, I personally have had a lot of time to catch up on, well, everything. People are always asking me for a list of resources as to what I am reading, watching on YouTube, or general places to spend down time. This is a list that all of you are really only getting because I have had an elevated leg for a few weeks. So here ya go, Happy New Years~ (I take no responsibility for the content on any of these sites or in these books. Please use your own discretion, I may be “rabbitholing” due to large amounts of turmeric and traumeel..)
Barbara Marx Hubbard: Women Waking to Purpose
Gregg Braden on the God Code
Mark Robert Waldman: How God Changes your Brain
David Wilcock: 2012 Event Horizon
The Known Universe
Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability
Bringers of the Dawn
The Spell of the Sensuous & Becoming Animal by David Abrams
Myths to Live By by Joseph Campbell
Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.
Although I am not confident of the source, I am more than assured of the notion that in our current time, there is not going to be the coming of an enlightened being, a single individual that has the spiritual task of coming to “save” us, free us, guide us through these creative and expansive times and wake us up. This responsibility is up to us individually coming together as community, operating like single cells living together in one body. A tribe of like-minded and open-hearted individuals fulfilling our individual dharma so fully that together, as community, we all represent an integral and essential piece of the full picture. Having the honour of facilitating and observing the divine way that the teacher training courses continue to grow and deepen, I can honestly say that I believe this is one of the most important teachings for the current times. The essence of the teachings of yoga inform us that each of us is sovereign unto ourselves. There are times whereby we receive outside teachers to guide us while offering knowledge and perspective, however the Truth lies in the eternal teachings that are flowing through the core of our being, at all times, in all situations.
One of my teachers recently said that the highest reason for community, is to be a family of light beings, coming together for any amount of time, with the “job” of helping each other wake up. Parker Palmer confirms this by stating “The only guidance we can get on the inner journey comes through relationships in which others can help us discern our leadings” and through this we can continually support the quest for integrity and meaning of life. For me, this has two grand purposes: primarily to ensure that all of our time is committed to fulfilling the highest purpose with which we are individually here for, the highest calling of our hearts to both shape our own existence, as well as to be the most beneficial presence to our tribe. Secondly, to know that with inspiration, support, love, joy, and practice of those all around us and those synchronistically joining up with us, that together, we are an unstoppable force of light.
Since I’m on a Parker Palmer roll, he also brilliantly states that, “Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others, rather, it’s never living apart from one’s self. Solitude is not about the absence of other people - it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others. Community does not necessarily mean living face to face with others, rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people, it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.”
Whether you have met your family of light within the Gaiatri community, within your local yoga group, or are currently observing people come into your life who are helping you rise, give great thanks. for this community.
Our thoughts are our prayers, please, at this time put much prayer and intention into fulfilling both your individual role as well as allowing this family to grow in alignment with the highest good for all of life.
To the important part that all of you play, much love.
Ally & the Gaiatribe
I recently attended a workshop with Andrew Harvey on the concept of Sacred Activism. Sacred Activism, he outlines, is a “transforming force of compassion-in-action that is born of a fusion of deep spiritual knowledge, courage, love, and passion, with wise radical action in the world. The large-scale practice of Sacred Activism can become an essential force for preserving and healing the planet and its inhabitants”. Immediately following was the Summer Solstice, the return of the light as the longest day of the year, and the time whereby the sun is at it’s highest and brightest. What I noticed following close behind this solstice was that people in my life, myself included, were being asked to look at shadow aspects of self, or the ways in which we relate to the world that may not be coming from our “highest” self that allow us to fully live this compassion in action. For me, this abundance of summer light showcased and illuminated some of my resistances to truly living authentically, fully, and in total alignment with the highest good. I watched others around me grappling with dramas, depressions, relationship upheavals all following this natural increase in solar light. It is true in nature that when the sun is at it’s highest, it also casts the biggest shadow, much like when a bright light is turned on in a room, all nooks, corners and the mess that exists in the room become illumined right along with the beauty as well. I often find that when I am able really see those areas where I am holding myself back from living my practice in all dimensions of my life, that I am able to handle those aspects of my life with a lot of gentle humour and space for the growing up process. My prayer for this summer is for all of us to be able to use this time of heightened light and awareness to see the ways in which we are resisting living our lives to the fullest and in right relationship with each other, with this planet and with Spirit - and to allow this acknowledgment to heal all aspects of the individual self, so that together we can become such a unified whole. May we all know what we are living so passionately for that we are willing to devote our whole lives to supporting that cause. In complete commitment to the light, may we gently and joyfully see, acknowledge and override shadow. Have an incredible summer, let’s go for grounded expansion for the second half of the year.
After returning from Bali after a very divinely inspired retreat with my dear friend and gifted teacher, Mara Branscombe, and then right into a Level 1 and Level 2 of the teacher training program, life is flowing with inspired expansion. DUring this last weekend of Level 2, we were reflecting on the unique message or teachings that were inspiring our practices to go deeper. The word that came to me at the time was “stoked”. Being a relatively well used word in my vocabulary, I appreciated how just today, one of the trainees emailed me the exact definition of this so-called slang word (which for the record is a totally legitimate word in my vocabulary). The dictionary definition she offered was: “stoked” - adj - to be “stoked” is to be completely and intensely enthusiastic, exhilarated, or excited about something. those who are stoked all of the time know this; being stoked is the epitome of all-being. when one is stoked, there is no limit to what one can do.
Obviously, I am now committed to this bhavana (feeling) more than ever. At this time of flux on our dear planet while the state of our oceans, economies, climates, species and the human heart continues to shift, deconstruct and reform anew, I have certainly had to “practice” my way out of a heavy heart while watching these shifts. However, while practicing with this quality of heart, I get excited knowing that regardless of how the external circumstances continue to shift and change, there is a feeling of internal exhilaration that with breath, a wide-sighted perspective, and deep graittude to the beauty of a moment, is untouchable to outside forces.
In the Bhavagad Gita, Krishna explains that all external circumstances, fluctuations and emotions, stop at the gate of the Inner Self. “The Self abides in the inner chamber of the heart, always at peace with whatever forces of prakriti may storm outside. The illumined man or woman maintains a joyful, excited and even state of mind in presence, whereby the infinite is attainable”.
This month, I am practicing to create, increase and sustain a high level of “stoke”, I hope you’re with me.
In love to the light,