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).

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Original Possibility

Antone's in Austin,TX October 2002

When I attended the Landmark Forum and Landmark Advanced Course last year, I became aware of the term Possibility in terms of using it as means to explain what is possible...what was always possible. It was through this educational seminar that I got just how much we get caught up in our past, our fears of *so many things and whether or not we believe we are worthy or OK within ourselves and in the eyes of others. I realized on a very deep level just how often we create boundaries and ideas of what we train ourselves to believe is and is not possible. I don't want to get into my attempt to explain in any more in detail as that would do both the courses and a reader a huge dis-service but I highly encourage everyone I know to attend these life changing courses when they come through a city near you.

I don't remember how it came to me but I started thinking about the original possibility in my life; the first big dream/vision I had for myself and in doing so, I started to think about where I lost it.

For me, being a singer/songwriter was my original possibility.

Photo: May 28th, 2007

It wasn't really encouraged or supported but I wasn't banned from it or anything either. I have books full of songs I've written since the first one I wrote when I was 17 shortly after my mother was killed. While it wouldn't be my first choice of expression today, its title is tattooed on my ankled, but that's beside the point.

I use to sing in the choir (somewhere I have a VHS tape of myself and a guy named Dustin singing "After All" by Peter Cetera and Cher...ohh memories...) and with my mother as she played the piano in the living room. I've sung at the legendary Antone's here in Austin opening up for Jr. Brown
Antone's in Austin, TX October 2002

and was featured on the former Warner Brother's channel singing a tribute to the September 11th Anniversary. I've been in the recording studio (one of the best in Austin) with support of some of Austin's best to make a record quality demo CD that would eventually shopped by Arista, Sony Dallas and others. It was a totally different time for musicians back then but I was given opportunities that many work their entire lives towards and on a few occasions, I walked away from them as my life called for different necessary experiences I had to go through.

It wasn't until later on that I got my first guitar (I'm on my third currently) and while I'm not great at it by any means; to someone who doesn't play at all, they might think I could play well or at least that I know what I'm doing (I know very little, lets be honest!). Perception...

While I don't claim to be the best vocalist in the world, the way I feel when I use my voice with creativity and passion from my heart is unexplainable. I use to dream of the big stage but these days, I get so much pleasure out of sitting on my office floor working on new songs or putting my flavor on a cover and I do so in the company of only my dog. Rarely do I share these personal stories that have made their way through my hands, heart and mouth and when I do I quietly begin by humming, then I pretend its just my dog, myself and my story and my mouth opens and I set aside the fear of judgment and I let it out. When the song ends, I bashfully put the guitar down, smile at any commentary and move on about my day.

Being a singer/songwriter; my original possibility.

Somewhere along the way, it got lost.
But inside...
it never died.

What was your original possibility?
What would a resurrection look like in your life today?
How 'bout it?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's in a Goal?

In response to the "talent search" (and the enormous controversy over it) currently being put on by Yoga Journal Magazine, I've been thinking a lot about goals.

It was last year when I wrote about re-assessing some of my goals. I wrote about how some of them had changed, some were no longer important to me, some I had already accomplished and some were just straight lame and served nothing more than the inflated ego; so I adjusted my goals accordingly. What I didn't say out loud was that being on the cover of Yoga Journal Magazine had been, at one time, one of my "goals" until I realized that I don't believe a "goal" should really be a goal at all if attaining/meeting it didn't involve something I actually had power over creating or turning into a reality. More simply stated, if the outcome/end result itself is not within my power, I'm thinking it's not something I want to call a "goal".

For a moment, I found myself getting energetically caught up in the hype and more recently as there's been several heated public debates about it in the local yoga community and beyond.

So with all of this swirling around and being a part of "talent search" (if you have no idea what i'm talking about, click here: ) it was nice to recall that while it might be a "goal" for some it's not for me. It is something I would do if it were offered to me of course, but A goal, no.

This brings me to my point.

What's in your GOAL?

Are you really in control of the outcome?
If so, power on. If not it might be something to think about.

Don't get me wrong. I'd love to be in the world's largest yoga magazine in terms of the size of international distribution...certainly couldn't be a bad thing for business especially knowing they do nothing without calculation in the way of who is in the magazine, why and when as they should. They are a business too, after all. But the difference is this: I realize that I do not have the power to make it happen by "skill" or hard work unlike a different goal such as competing in triathlons for example. While my body is conditioned and disciplined in the way of yoga asana we are taught that there is no hierarchy within it. So while some postures are more complicated or "advanced" in nature, one does not have higher value nor does any one bring us closer to being a good person in the world than the next. I trained for triathlons, worked to improve my time, endurance and distance and was able to fulfill the goal(s) based on my own merits, efforts and hard work.

While the *art as I prefer to call it, does involve skill and technicality, I'm torn on calling yoga a "talent" unless we are talking strictly physical and if so, we should have a backbending competition or something  to which case would be gymnastics or a "Cirque" experiment and not yoga. This post isn't about the details of what differentiates these distinctions so I'll save it but again, I get it. Like I said, it's a business and if you know anything about this particular business, you might be impressed that it's being extended to the "real" yoga community so if nothing else this is worth silencing some of the negative speak. Up front the entry form asked those who intended to enter not to use their most fabulous "advanced" posture... they suggested using one the  participant felt they fully embodied and were comfortable in ... one that they felt they had "mastered".

Having been at one of their major conferences and having attended the Shakti Panel that included the editor, my teacher, Shiva, Judith HL and Seane Corn, this very topic came up. So I've been there and have heard the source address the topic of "pretty people" and "famous" people being on the cover and within the pages and their justification for it all. Some of it sounded legit, some, well, I questioned but I'm not inside the business yet I understand that it IS business therefore I have respect and an understanding that yoga itself is a business as well like it or not. I teach yoga full-time and for a living. If you teach yoga for a living you get the business element that the next person who teaches on the side to get their Zen on might not fully understand or see. That's not an insult by any means. I'm only stating fact that when your ass is on the line you have multiple aspects invested.

Unfortunately, like any business it's not always pretty and recently that has come to life in many public strings of unproductive opinions and statements being tossed around into the ether. I'm a FAN of people speaking their truth when it's unpopular and controversial. I quite like it actually and don't think there's enough of this bold honesty *especially in the world of yoga. Being a yogin doesn't mean being a doormat and it sometimes calls for unleashing something fierce when it's uncomfortable. So I have such respect for those who are willing to put themselves out there and am fascinated by this debate where it's actually productive. That said, because I've seen anger within the world of yoga, it's important to be clear on who you are angry or upset with.

I would love to see real people in the way of different body types and certainly fresh faces of every day yogins (teachers and students alike) who are out in the world making a difference locally, appear on the cover and within the magazine. So if this is the way to make that happen, them maybe it's something to consider and support even if it is a voting contest disguised as a "talent search". I do think it's important to determine how much weight is being put into this from the standpoint of those who are in the big running pool and of those voting alike...and yes, those who are put off by it as well. There are so many different angels to consider here.

This whole discussion has me wondering what it is, as a society and culture, we put our value into. What is a healthy goal? I'm making no secret of the fact that I would love to be in the magazine and it might be an accomplishment ("fulfillment of desire") but I fully understand the basis of the process. It would certainly be a honor but it's not my "skill" or "talent" that would make it happen, its public votes...and that's OK but lets call a spade a spade and not for a second let our egos convince us otherwise. I wish the same for my peers. I'm grateful to be known and recognized in my yoga community and I hold that with humility and want to support my peers and the wonderful teachers around me and certainly those teachers who might be under the radar and not as well known. In doing so, I encourage them all to put themselves out there in this way because with the international big fish publications and local ones alike, it may very well be the only means to highlighting "real world", everyday yogins who are out there changing lives, and doing it every day.