Month: January 2021

uncertainty

Below is the blog I had created before Wednesday, January 6th, the day the capitol was stormed here in the U.S..

After that day, the intention softened from one of uncertainty moving us towards making great change and saying “yes” to getting active in life; into one that was more gentler, softer, a practice of trusting the universe and allowing an unfolding thru a way of self-care, compassion and love. The intention needed that shift after such a day of aggression, violation, anger, and attack.

I believe in both. I believe uncertainty has a way of reminding us to soften, trust, surrender, and let go so we can remember the light, the love, and the goodness that IS innate in the world, even while suffering is happening.  And, I believe that uncertainty, thru the portal of the “don’t know mind”, which you will read about below, moves us towards becoming active in life, designing new paradigms, getting creative, and moving from that sacred place of Source within our self.

Here is the blog in its original form and with additions created post-January 6th!:

Last week Mark Nepo reminded us just how rare, precious, and awake we are. That we have this privilege of consciousness. And that it begged of us a life of gratitude. And he said how it made hesitation useless.  Read my blog and his words HERE.

That “hesitation is useless” made me a little uncomfortable. I’m a believer in sacred pauses, what I mean by that is, time to turn inward.  As I contemplated this a little bit more, I think what he’s getting at is that not living your dreams, not taking action towards what you love, not listening to what your heart is longing for, is useless. It’s helpful to rest from time to time, to pause and feel what you feel, and it is even important to do these things, and to listen deeply within. But, once we’ve heard the call, the hesitation is useless.

A cousin of mine who runs long distances and is about to embark on training for yet another 100 mile ultra marathon!  One of the quotes that’s inspiring him lately is from Theodore Roosevelt: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure … then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

I feel that this is an equivalent to “you never know unless you try”! It brings up the notions of detachment from the outcome and embracing the journey. It brings up the contemplation of embracing uncertainty and not knowing what’s going to happen. Detachment from the future, and embracing the now.  Getting out of our heads, dropping down into our bodies and hearts, and being in the experiences that we are living; all of them.

For me this is coming up in a way of “re-learning” things in my life, or, as I now prefer to say, ‘re-organizing’/’re-evaluating’/’re-versing'(verse, song, story)/’re-imagining’/’re-naming’/’re-membering'(remembering I am human and Spirit and connected to all things). Relearning in a way of realizing that I have taken in information along the way in my life’s journey that is at times only a partial truth of mine, and that sometimes are completely false. Or, not of my resonance anymore. For example, a belief that I can’t learn the tech to support my business in order to serve the people of this world that I am meant to serve and help, is a belief that is false. I’m releasing that belief that I can, and embracing the journey of learning the tech things.  And, embracing the remembering that I can ask for help when I need it. So that, instead of freezing, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “in the gray twilight” where I’ll neither get hurt nor know the deep resonance of love of helping and serving others and healing within myself, I’m willing to risk it…. Or as Dawna markova writes in her poem from her book entitled “I will not die and unlived life: reclaiming purpose and passion”, 

“I will not die and unlived life.
I will not live in fear
Of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
To allow my living to open me,
To make me less afraid,
More accessible,
To loosen my heart
Until it becomes a wing,
A torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
To live so that which came to me as seed
Goes to the next of blossom,
And that which came to me as blossom,
Goes on as fruit.”

I think I understand more fully now when she says “I choose to risk my significance”.  Yoga teaches us that we are infinite, we are Source itself; we are Atman. So, what do we have to fear? What do you fear most? Dying? Not being enough? Do you fear failure?  Remember you are enough because you are.

What happens when we simply let go? When we begin to choose to trust, and surrender?
Here’s where the sacred pause becomes important.  James Baldwin said, “not everything that is faced is changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
We must slow down enough in order to be able to feel what is present within us.

Marcel proust wrote “The voyage of Discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  To see what lies within, we must take the time to feel, we must take the time to listen, we must take the time to be friends with silence. We must create this time in order to discover our own inner landscapes that are yet uncharted. Then, we can see how we might develop new lands, new creations, new designs from what and who we already are.  What we need and what we seek does not lie out there in the world, it lies within us. This is also why we don’t need tons of ‘stuff’ and possessions.

So what if you made friends with uncertainty? What if you began to see instead how there is wisdom in uncertainty? This became the greater focus of the practice after January 6th.

Jack Kornfield in his book ‘The Wise Heart’ writes “The wisdom of uncertainty frees us from what Buddhist psychology calls the thicket of views and opinions. … When we are free from views, we are willing to learn. … Seung Sahn, a Korean Zen master, tells us to value this “Don’t-know mind.  He would ask his students questions such as what is love? What is consciousness? Where did your life come from? What is going to happen tomorrow? Each time, the students would answer “I don’t know”. “Good,” he replied, “keep this don’t know mine. It is an open mind, a clear mind.””

Jack Kornfield goes on to write, “Through beginners mind we learn to see one another mindfully, free from views. Without views, we listen more deeply and see more clearly.”  And, I would ask that we do the same for our self. Then we will learn to see our self more mindfully, free from views and expectations of who we should be and who we ought to be. We also then offer ourselves practices of more deep listening and become more clear on who we truly are.

“Release opinions, free yourself from views. Be open to mystery.” This is what Jack Kornfield states is the 25th principle of Buddhist psychology.   And, he states that aliveness is one of the hallmarks of a mindful psychology.

This may all sound and seem very fiery, and I agree.

After the events of last week, and changing the tone around uncertainty, it came to light that uncertainty can be, what I began to call, a portal.

Drawing upon the “don’t know mind”, if I enter into that ‘spaciousness’ where I can courageously surrender and say I don’t know, then I soften.

If I surrender and let go and remember that I’m being supported by Universe, and at trust and have faith, then a little bit more compassion arrives. A little bit more softness is experienced and possibly even rest can be had.

Uncertainty can be a portal to acceptance. Acceptance of how things are in this moment. Acceptance that there are things that I do not have control over. What is possible from this place? I invite you to take a sacred pause here and really imagine into this question.

I can only speak for myself when I say that I’ve never been, at least to my consciousness, in a place in life where there are so many uncertainties. And even beyond the number of uncertainties, the uncertainties of the type where I cannot make any choices to change anything beyond what I already know. As an example, I don’t know when my husband will be back in his high school and teaching. So, for now, that uncertainty forces me into a way of living in scheduling our families dynamics towards what is possible with him being at home instead of trying to plan for something that I don’t know will happen or not, meaning him being back in the school or not.

However, I’ve been thinking how I am inviting myself, and you dear reader, to feel into some of these uncertainties not as being forcing in their nature, but rather they are of an invitation.

This way of living, again speaking for myself, is inviting me to be creative. It’s inviting me to be more open. It’s inviting me to be in an act of surrender more often. It’s invited me to alow the portal of uncertainty to be a pathway towards courageousness in my work and my living!  It’s made me more certain of my purpose!  It’s help me become more certain of the type of work I wish to be doing! In a way, uncertainty has led me towards certainty!  I’ll explain just a little here…

One example of uncertainty being a portal and a pathway towards courageous living is that of the taking risk. Not knowing how something might land, but knowing my truths, I’m taking the risk to speak my truth and foundation with my values, my heart and my spirit.  It’s started to feel really grounding. Because of this, I’m surrendering more, I’m letting go of my worry about what other people think of me.

This might all sound very cyclical, and perhaps it is, because it’s bringing me back around to Donna Markova’s poem. I know I, myself, I’m ready to risk my significant, to risk the way that people have been perceiving me for years in order to reveal my own light, and to uphold my values, and to speak up where I see injustices and inequalities, and to serve where I can.

Thank you all for listening!  May you remember your grounded resource of your breath when uncertainty shakes you, or move your body if that’s your resource. Most of all, remember your Self as resource.  You ARE love!

 

Breathe and Believe.

precious human birth

In this first week of the new year of 2,021, I truly fell in love with this offering from Mark Nepo out of his book, “The Book of Awakening”. It brought me to tears a few times. When he says, “in this time, in this place”, I was taken aback. To practice this level of gratitude for being in human form, with such awareness and consciousness, thru the time of a pandemic, a cultural awakening to the suffering of Black Lives, and more, wow.  I invite you to read this piece more than once. Soak it in, and read it whenever you like.  May we all honor and treat each other as rare and precious.  May we all honor and treat our self as rare and precious.  Enjoy, and I will see you on the mat soon! And, stay tuned for some other announcements coming up!  Love, Shawna

Precious Human Birth

~Of all the things that exist, we breathe and wake and turn it into song.~


There is a Buddhist precept that asks us to be mindful of how rare it is to find ourselves in human form on earth. It is really a beautiful view of life that offers us the chance to feel enormous appreciation for the fact that we are here as individual spirits filled with consciousness, drinking water and chopping wood.

It asks us to look about at the ant and antelope, at the worm and the butterfly, at the dog and the castrated bull, at the hawk and the wild lonely tiger, at the hundred-year-old oak and the thousand-year-old patch of ocean.  It asks us to understand that no other life form has the consciousness of being that we are privilege to. It asks us to recognize that of all the endless species of plants and animals and minerals that make up the Earth, a very small portion of life has the wakefulness of spirit that we call “being human”.

That I can rise from some depth of awareness to express this to you and that you can receive me in this instant is part of our precious human birth. You could have been an ant. I could have been an anteater. You could have been rain. I could have been a lick of salt. But we were blessed–in this time, in this place–to be human beings, alive in rare ways we often take for granted.

All of this is to say, this precious human birth is unrepeatable. So what will you do today, knowing that you are one of the rarest forms of life to ever walk the earth? How will you carry yourself? What will you do with your hands? What will you ask and a whom?

Tomorrow you could die and become an ant, and someone will be setting traps for you. But today you are precious and rare and awake. It ushers us into grateful living. It makes hesitation useless. Grateful and awake, ask what you need to know now. Say what you feel now. Love what you love now.

*Photo of my daughter on her day of birth. March 4th, 2019.

 

Breathe and Believe.