As many of you know I left London at the end of the Summer.
Last year in April I led a retreat in Southern Italy and one night I sat quietly on the cool grass under the moon light listening deeply to the stillness. It was as though Mama Moon spoke directly to me and I received a very clear message that it was time to leave the city. It was time to leave behind the comfortable routine that I had established and step into the Great Mystery with open space ahead to welcome new opportunity, growth and discovery. I had received the medicine and healing I needed from a familiar and safe environment and having my close friends and family around whilst I navigated the dissolution of a 10 year partnership and divorce. My heart felt strong and I was ready to respond to the longing, the pull of some great force that wasn't showing me answers or an end point, but sparking questions and curiosity and a knowing that if I kept listening, it would carry me where I needed to go to be in alignment with my soul. As I was making the transition at the end of August I spent a weekend in meditation and ceremony and was blessed to receive a very clear affirmation of my decisions thus far; however much of a storm they may have caused, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was as though the weekend was the closing of a 3 year cycle that had tossed, turned, churned and squeezed me through a long and winding worm hole and I was finally being re-birthed. Clearer, lighter and landing fully on a path of trust and devotion, qualities which are now revealing themselves to be the powers that, more effortlessly than ever, will lead the choices I make and guide the unfolding of my way. So Trust and Devotion are the heart of my intention for this year, along with Service; to surrender to the higher wisdom and guidance that reveals itself, to trust my inner knowing and offer everything up as an act of devotion and prayer to Spirit. To continually question and purify my intention and motives and find clearer and more direct ways to channel my energy and longing towards serving the greater whole. I don’t want to stop growing, to deny my own sadhana (spiritual practice) and of course I need to support and nourish myself. We all must in order to give from a full cup, but I am looking to grow a stronger thread of seva (selfless service); to redirect and refine my energy and open up the flow of abundance to pour, not into me, but through me and out into the world.
I spent some time at an ashram in December of which the gifts and teachings are still revealing themselves to me on a very deep and unexpected level. I was there for personal sadhana but also seva, which is the main practice of the ashram. Absolutely everything that they do there is an offering, not only to the lineage and the devas and devis, but to all the faces of divinity. With the belief that every single being is one of these faces, a spark of the great light of consciousness, and in essence none of us is less deserving than another. The ashram exists to be of service to those in greater need; feeding, clothing, providing medical care, education and all the basic needs to as many as they can reach. It was extraordinary to witness this yoga in action and making such difference to so many and teaching those of us visiting so much of our desires and ‘needs’. Of course there is something far beyond our understanding at play that brings each of us into the unique circumstances that our life gives us, and it is not always up to us to change the course of someone else’s life, but we can do our very best to use the boons, the gifts and blessings that we have, in whatever shape of form they take, in service of others. Surely this is the highest way we can use and channel our energy. My teacher Sianna has always referred to cultivating ourselves to be vessels of love, of the great universal love of which the desire is to embrace all of life without exception. So we must continue to clear, purify and strengthen ourselves so that we can let love flow through us in all the ways it is able to and find as many ways as we can to give others an opportunity to feel and to trust that there is a Love that is taking care of them too.
Serve others with the feeling that God dwells in all and receives your service as worship. Service of humanity is service of God only. Service of humanity must not be mere mechanical acts. It must be done with atmabhava.
~ Swami Sivananda Saraswati
What is your intention for 2019?
Have you taken some time to dive inside and see what the longing in the heart is calling for you to bring forth, how it is asking you rise up, to show up?
Where is there resistance, what old ways and patterns are ready to dissolve and where can you create space to welcome in the new?
Are you creating enough time and space to take care of yourself, to self-care, to nourish, so that self-love can grow and create the ground for you to rise up in your own unique way and to be present for this one precious life.
We have to ask these questions so that we can participate in the dance with our eyes wide open, we have to go in to all the dark corners and be curious as to what is there. Transformation isn’t over night, it is constant but for it to be as powerful as it is able it requires us to engage with it consciously. One of my teachers, Burgs, often reminds us that even if we don’t like our current circumstances, we have to take ownership of the choices that we have made thus far and that have put us where we are now. We must show up for what is but start to sew the seeds for the change for we want to see and be. It can take time and it might involve a hard dismantling and dissolution of comfort and familiar structures inside of our minds and in our external lives. But please trust that if you can move beyond the thinking mind and drop deeper inside your heart to make decisions from a place of love it will, in time, take you to a greater place of freedom and possibility, beyond the limitations and conditioned patterns of the mind.
It can be hard to know your 'truth', I know, I’ve tussled with trying to discern between my head and heart, the ‘I should’ or 'shouldn't' do this or that, saying yes or no to things, knowing whether something is truly in alignment. There are ways and practices that can help strengthen this capacity to know and they don’t have to be complicated. More often than not it is a matter of getting out of our own way and finding enough stillness and space to listen and feel, and with time it will become easier to feel, to see beyond the mind chatter. When you move from a place of feeling you meet less resistance and start to be carried along with a flow. This surrender can really take us ino the heart of the transformation.
It's how we want to move in our body in practice; that journey we take on the mat, it is always like a little microcosmisc life cycle, shining light on ways to be and to release in the bigger cycle of our lives. Remember this, and notice how you are moving in your practice, there is space for insight to arise all along the way!
I believe there is an extraordinary higher intelligence weaving this great unfolding of life and that perhaps we don’t always need to understand why or know the outcome, but rather surrender to it and know that the tiny threads of our life are part of something so much huger. When we can know this inside of ourselves, every cell of our being breathes a huge sigh of relief and stops fighting and struggling. We find a renewed strength, courage, grace and wisdom to presence what is.