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.