Prana Shakti, Partnership, Pregnancy, Parenthood, Preparation, Power and Pranams.

My personal Path of Practice:
Prana Shakti
(the creative & pulsating life force within me), Partnership (a love story of two people who consciously choose one another every day), Pregnancy (Grace in my belly revealing herself through this growing baby boy who lives in my womb), Parenthood (The highest calling of them all), Purification (of all self-defining labels accumulated along the way) Preparation (for a new life, a new calling and for the birthing of all this woman has yet to become, experience, learn and know), Power (to fully stand in mine as a wife, mother and creative woman) Pranams (daily gratitude and humble thanks for my beautiful life and blessings along the way).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How it all began...

Very recently, someone said to me "I honestly don't see how you put yourself out there, in front of all, willing to be judged, liked, loved, or even hated." . What I found most interesting about that statement was that I only recently realized just how much of myself I *don't* put out there due to those very fears. It's all perception I suppose.While it's true that the possibility exists; people will always have an opinion, certainly their own interpretation, yet all we can really be is ourselves and at the end of the day. Hopefully we rest our heads having done so in a way that's completely honesty with ourselves, never once having been held back by our own "stuff".

This title "Bold, Brave, & Free", this day, and the new goggles through which the woman who resides in this body now sees the world through stands for this very thing. From here forth, I take a personal responsibility and a strong stance for myself to look deeply and intently at whatever it is thats' held me back for so many years and address it as the illusion and story that it is so that I can get on with it and play my life FULL OUT.

A few weeks ago, I spent 12 hours a day for 3 straight days in an educational seminar called Landmark Forum. Now, I have to say, I've made an entire career; a successful one, out of self-study, inward movement and "being present". I've taken vows of silence in body, speech and mind upon entering into 10 days of silence with 11 hours of meditation a day in an effort to burn off "samskaras" or deep rooted karmic miseries held in he body. I've travel to visit ashrams and sacred temples all over the world including Indonesia, Guatemala and in South India where I even received personal embrace and blessing by the living "hugging saint", Amma-ji, believed by some to be a reincarnation of Mother Teresa.

I've paid what some would spend on a college education on my yogic studies, have chanted 108 rounds of the Hanuman Chalisa and have Gayatri mantra'd my ass off countless times. My experiential education of yoga has far surpassed the national standard set for teachers in terms of actual teacher training hours and I've made a living that's afforded me enough to maintain my debt-free status (through simple living of course), accolades, respect, dare I say "popularity" and much recognition never mind the ability to create my own schedule including travel, call my own shots etc; none of which held a candle (OK it's held a candle... but it sure as shit has shone a different depth of light!) to the insights and break throughs I was left with having attended the Landmark Forum. No exaggeration. Not to discount any of these things I've listed, I would not have "gotten" the ongoing experience in the way I have and continue to daily had I not had these other parts of what is sure to be important material for the continuum. It's just been completely different and I likely wouldn't have been able to receive any of it without the experiences of the other. What's I'm saying is, one has to be ready to receive that which is in front of them or being presented. Just  because it's there, doesn't mean we are able (or willing) to embrace it. Nor does it mean that we are even able to be witness to it's presence in front of our faces if we aren't open to possibilities of the existence of new things.

I've said it before so I mine as well go for it again... I am not, in any fashion affiliated with Landmark Education what so ever nor do I have any friends who are in affiliation with them (although I know a gang of people who have attended their seminars).

The best way I can explain what I gained from this experience is this:

You know how Einstein's brain was studied and it was determined how much more of his brain he used compared to the next "ordinary" person? And how much of the human brain was still untouched even from the standpoint of the brilliant; more "used" mind? I so fully believe that I tapped into a part of my brain that had been dormant and not only that, but on an alchemical level, something shifted in my body (I suppose from the intense, prolonged mental and emotional shifts). How do I know this? Because even my sweat began to have a different smell during the intensity I experienced during those 3 days. Odd perhaps; but true.  As I reread that last line in laughter, my inclination is to delete it because old patters would have me caring what someone would think even though we all sweat, but it's true.

While I would have said before that I actually *live* for this kind of thing, nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. Whatever I was living wasn't to this degree of understanding and clarity. I would be lying if I didn't say that I can so totally see how something of this nature could send someone over "the edge" if they lacked any mental stability. No, I'm not exaggerating. It's that profound.

It's extremely difficult to give a play by play of what took place in that room with those people all weekend long but I'm certain we all carry a mutual respect for one another if nothing else seeing we (as one participant and old friend said to me...) "went through emotional battle together". We really are all so much alike. Our stories we tell ourselves are different but we are the same.

Late Sunday evening I had made a few phone calls, one being to a friend who had been through the Forum. I was in weeping excitement and felt liberated ready to live my life in a way that I had never been able to do before. Exhausted however; I just needed sleep and water.

I feel it important to share that this, like anything else, likely is not fun for everyone in terms of comfort level (...but what's comfort going to do for you anyway?). If you don't like internal confrontation and seeing where you play small in your life, you might not like it so much but don't confuse that with not needing it. I do believe, like great therapy, the world would be a better, happier, more productive and peaceful place if everyone (who was sane) attended Landmark Forum.

So I woke up Monday morning at 6:45am sharp and immediately felt a deep sense of terror. Terror? Yes, terror. I actually woke up feeling so fearful of the undoubted realization that *I* am so fully and completely responsible for the outcome of my life which scared the fuck out of me. I kept telling myself the terror wasn't real; that it was a lie based on years of stories I had created around things that happened yes, but not the stories I had created which created the terror (or fear on a "normal" day). There were moments of emptiness which I would later find to be an insight that the emptiness felt was that which I had clung to for dear life, years; my fear.

Finally, I was empty of my fear...
but the fear was terrorizing me...
but it wasn't fear.
It wasn't terror.

Because one cannot undo what they know and learn from such an experience, even in those very moments, I was reminding myself that the former resident was the fear, but now, it's actually it's power; empowerment.

There was no turning back on this one. This was one of the moments. I knew something on such a profound level in this moment so I had to actually coach myself on what was real and what was not. Kind of like a child convinced there's a monster in the closet only my monster was in my bones and had lived there for what seemed to be lifetimes.

I actually got myself up, made a phone call, dried the tears of terror and made myself a cup of my favorite local coffee. The only coffee I drink actually but that's besides the point (shout out to Lola Savana Pecan Maple Nut makers!) I found myself pacing my floor on yet another phone call looking the way media would have me believe some cracked out woman would look like; offee in hand thanking my lucky stars I *wasn't accountable for my dog in that moment (she was at a friend's house) since I could hardly think straight! I realized I needed to toss the coffee and grab an electrolyte and water potion instead but the problem was that I now felt a huge sense of urgency to get so many things done because all I kept thinking was "tomorrow doesn't exist". The last 36 hours had me in a mind trip and all I could come back to was the same thing; 

the present moment is right this second...what have I been putting off?!

I didn't know where to begin, I looked a mess and I was exhausted, drained and dehydrated still. But what happened next was incredible.

On Sunday evening I had sent in motion a declaration that between then and Tuesday evening (the final night of the Forum... open to guests) I would have a look at my date book at pull from weeks ahead and actually create progression and "forward movement" (as I started calling it months ago) of those things that are important in my personal and spiritual development and evolution as a woman; yet things that I lacked complete integrity with actually making time for.

I grabbed my keys, a folder with a few important paper that I had prepared the night before and headed to the South campus of ACC to begin the formal process of registering myself for the college I never intended on or planned to attend until my previous breakthrough had surfaced a month before I attended the Landmark Forum while I was hosting a yoga retreat in Mexico. Like I stated on Sunday evening, I looked at what I had  booked out in my schedule on my "to do" list and pull from it the very thing that was most important to me. I set aside all the excuses surrounding my putting it on hold and walked right into what scared me. I could not be more excited about preparing to take on a full load of classes in the Spring, expanding my well-roundedness and stepping right into that which will result in the accomplishment of one of my biggest goals yet...but more on that later :)

One of many things I realized was that when we commit ourselves to something, even if it's a few months out (which was the case in this scenario), the ball begins to roll.

I had recently found clarity I had been needing for quite some time about my current path, role in the world or at the very least, how I identify myself and how I felt I have been identified by others in the world. I began to find understanding of where my adult drive comes from considering I wasn't a driven child or teen nor did I grow up in a regimented house hold. I didn't have a whole lot of expectation put on me and I certainly didn't put much on myself either. Don't get my wrong, this hasn't a thing to do with my parents or upbringing, I always knew I was abundantly loved and supported. This isn't at all about that.

I realized in Mexico that a part of me longed for more encouragement to "be all I could be". So when my mother was killed when I was 17, I had about one solid year of doing better than I had ever done academically before saying "fuck you, world!", dropping out of high school then straight on to a path of self destruction. For years, that decision would haunt me until I ended up going to get my GED (because I was about to go to trade school and knew I needed to have it to get in). I had to do it, I had to go through it to  find my independent nature that would later end up serving me well in many capacities (and not so much in others which I now see clearly) ultimately supporting my being successful at pretty much whatever I touched including my current career; but there's a price to pay for everything, yes? Indeed.

The price I have been paying has been suffocating. For starters, I've felt mentally brain dead for a while. I've been craving a new realm of mental stimulation for an unmeasurable amount of time. For sure i've limited myself to the perfectly square shaped container called "Sanieh the yoga teacher" as if there were nothing else I was able or ever wanted to do or become in my life. Thing is, I moved here with convictions that I would teach, for a living, no other option and that's just what I created and I'm so grateful for it all. Once I started to find peace however, that I AM so much more than just this and that I AM great at other things as well and that I DO have so many skills and talents that are surfaced and some unknown and undeveloped because I have allowed myself to be defined by the presentation I show up to the world with currently, I had the most incredible break through.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that while I may be really good at it, respected and well known for it; while it may be working extremely well for me in a multitude of ways, I do not in fact want to be teaching yoga for a living.

Side bar: 1) Already fear sets in as I press "publish post"..."How will that sound to a reader? A student? Will they think or perceive my words to mean I don't want to teach *at all* or that I won't be present when I do? Truth is: I am powerless over what you may think reading this or how/if you may judge, but I am SO POWERFUL in owning what's true and honest; knowing with understanding, peace and clarity exactly what I mean and intend in these words of transparency. 2) In actually coming clean, i'm finding it interesting that I'm feeling a certain level of excitement which also offers a deep sense of CALM when I think about where my personal practice will go from here seeing I've already taken an entirely new, fresh and stronger approach to the very thing that has become a very private and personal place of unapologetic, ego-less, loving and loyal refuge in my life. This possibility bleeds into that of future teaching since my breakthrough (and the ongoing insights surrounding it all) has been a way of making peace with myself. In giving myself permission to stop denying what is, the appreciation for what is ascends .

There. I said it out loud ... and I'm still breathing.

So back to the Monday morning post LMF. The fact that at 33(.5) I actually went down and registered myself for the college I never thought I wanted to attend or would ever be accepted into because my screaming stories around "I'm a high school drop out" ; regardless of my successes since then, the mere fact is absolutely a testimony to a very powerful insight I got during this recent work.

"It's not what you have (or what you do), it's who you're being"

And who I've been being hasn't been authentic because I haven't been listening to what I've known for a while. I haven't been honest with myself. I've been fighting and resisting myself in such a harsh way out of fear of how I would look or what people who think.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be running around in their jammies/Luon teaching yoga solely for a living until they die!? Who could possibly wake up feeling like there just might be something of a more fully embraced personal self-expression in the world!?

Side bar: Add in the fact that I've been so blessed (and have busted my ass from day one to make it happen of course) to have been so successful at making a living doing what I set out to do and to have done so for a good amount of time now; to some, it just might not make sense but there really is no sense making when it comes to being true to one's self now is there? 


I want to write.

There. I said that out loud now too.

For a "living", I want to be a writer.

I can't spell to save my life and I don't know the fancy terms for structuring a phenomenal paragraph or even a sentence but ask me if I give a damn. Go ahead, ask. No, I don't. I don't because my taking that bull by the horns feels like total alignment with what I feel in my heart and it's just another vehicle for creative self-expression; one that allows me to think and use my brain in an entirely different way yet it's still means for me to "reach out and touch someone" in the world.

So, this is where I am with all of it and it's just the start to my coughing up a little more integrity in my life with setting and fulfilling personal standards for the things that are important to me and claiming them in an honest and brave way. Most importantly, this is a huge, new step moving from what I've known, ignored and silenced, into a realm of clarity; a welcomed view in the direction of personal fulfillment through a more fully, self-expressed life. A fully self-expressed life is something I long for and this happening gives me my peace of mind; an acquaintance I haven't sat with for years. And nothing is more important in my life at this very moment than peace of mind.

Stay tuned, World. There's so much more to the swell before it reaches the break. For now, I'm going to do everything I can to "become by doing" in THIS moment because in a world where the present reside, this moment is IT.