Month: September 2022

Recognizing the sacred
Recognizing the sacred feels different than recognizing the beauty in all things. 

To recognize the beauty in all things, when that’s not the energetic or mental space in which I’m in, almost feels like a spiritual bypassing.  “Just see the beauty,” “good vibes only,” and “just look on the bright side”.  I love good vibes too, don’t get me wrong, but, I am also human, with some less than good moments. 

 

In those ‘less than good moments,’ I personally feel that we have to become our own care takers, our own guru (more on this later).  We have to support ourselves with all of our tools and make use of our awareness. Then we can begin to remove the darkness that we are experiencing. And in its removal we experience the re-membering of our True Self. 

 

*Remember in the space between us and what we are aware of is always compassion. Read my last blog about that here. So, this week instead of recognizing the beauty in all things, the practice to recognize the divine in all things!  To see everything, including yourself, as sacred.

 

After you go back and read my last blog about recognizing the truth of a lived experience and the compassionate space between, return here. The reason I say this is because that is one of the first steps for removing the darkness.

 

Awareness and compassion become our first gurus in our journey for self-healing and removing the darkness.  Even as I write “self-healing”, I want you to know, dear reader, that you’re actually not doing this alone at all. Because the divine, universal love, permeates everything.
 

Sometimes, however, our lived experience doesn’t support us in recognizing that all is sacred, even the dark.

 

How is it sacred that people are dying from the climate crisis? How is it sacred that people are dying from war? How is it sacred that people are dying because of personal choice and preference? How is it sacred that others are abusing their power over others?

 

After years of contemplation, and I continue to contemplate these questions still today, my only answer to this is for the learning, transformation, and evolutionary healing. That we all come to “see”, darshan, what these events show us and how we can change, heal, and transform from them. 

 

Those questions I asked above are very weighty. And that is what guru can translate as, “heavy or weighty”. 

 

Meaning of Guru

Guru means the heaviness and the weight WITH wisdom. ‘Gu’ holds the meaning of “darkness”, and ‘ru’ the meaning of “dispel”.  Guru shares and teaches wisdom of values, ethics, and practices, alleviating the suffering and weight to dispel the darkness and move us into the Light. That Light is always shining. 

 

If we are to dispel the darkness of all of these evils of the world, we must have clear vision. We must see our Self as that Light. We must see each other and all beings, all creatures, all things, and everything on earth, even earth itself, as divine and sacred. 

 

So we start with awareness and compassion. These two wings of the One bird is what I’ve learned from Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.We start with awareness and compassion so that we can step out of the darkness long enough to see truth, values, and what is so dearly important to every being; to be respected and loved. 

 

I consciously put the word respected there because sometimes we might not love somebody, we might not agree with them, we might even feel hatred towards them, but we can recognize our emotion of hatred and still offer respect. And then we can better resolve and heal our own nervous system through releasing that hatred and anger and other emotions that we feel because we have already previously set an intention to be seeing each other through the lens of respect. We complete our own stress cycle even when we might not be able to stop the stressful situation, or move away from a stressful person.*

*If you want to learn more about this, let me know!

 

So, I was not surprised, only feeling pleasant synchronicity, when I went back to look for the definitions of “sacred”.  I found that one of the definitions is “entitled to reverence and respect”. -Brittanica

 

Will you set an intention for this week, with me, to approach and interact with everyone from a place of respect? (I’ve already started and the responses have been profound already.)

 

In yoga there is a term that has caused some ripples in the yoga communities here in the west for some time. This term has gotten a lot of heat in the press. The term is namaste.

What do you know about this term? What comes up for you?

 

The real meaning of Namaste

Because it became such a popular term and used so widely in the west without deep understanding of its origins, a lot of South Asian, Indian, and other certain people of color, became angered because of the use of a word that they have had in their culture for thousands of years.  And rightly so to be angered when the term has been appropriated across tote bags and t-shirts and more. And, when the phrase and term has been turned into other catch phrases such as “nama-slay” and “na-amma stay”. I am guilty of once using “mama-stay” over 7 years ago when I became a mother. I am sorry.

 

I am clearly sharing some of my personal disheartened frustration around how a culture that I grew up in has disrespected another culture. I’m not saying everyone has done it, but a lot of people have.

 

But without going deeper into appropriation during this blog, I want to stick with the theme, because if we truly are to recognize the sacred in each other, we will also practice not doing harm to each other. And that includes our languages, the way we dress, the way we express ourself in the world, our religious practices, our non-religious practices, and everything else that a person expresses. You must always first hold a sense of wonder, offer our awareness and compassion, and open our hearts.

 

However if you want to get an understanding of how yoga is appropriated in some parts of North America causing harm and disrespect, I encourage you to read my virtual assistant and fellow yoga teacher Juzbi’s blog here

 

Namaste, according to Subhannoy Das, is “a way of showing respect and that you are equal to one another.”- Das, read his article here.

 

‘Namas’ means “not”(na) and “I or mine”(mamah). ‘Te’ means “to you”.

Not I, but we; we are same, we are equal, we are made of the same star dust.

 

Madhav Deshpande, a professor emeritus of Sanskrit and linguistics from the University of Michigan states:

 

“The first part of namaste comes from “namaha,” a Sanskrit verb that originally meant “to bend.” Deshpande says, “Bending is a sign of submission to authority or showing some respect to some superior entity.” Over time, “namaha” went from meaning “to bend” to meaning “salutations” or “greetings.”

 

The “te” in namaste means “to you,” Deshpande says. So all together, namaste literally means “greetings to you.” In the Vedas, namaste mostly occurs as a salutation to a divinity.” – taken from an article by Kumari Devarashan. You can read it here.

 

Namaste, date backs to the Rigveda, one of the oldest Vedic texts. To hear professor Deshpande share with us that it was mostly used as a salutation to a divinity, means that as we give this salutation to each other, we are recognizing each other’s sacredness. And this is my belief. That as I say namaste, I am seeing you with the utmost respect.

 

And seeing you with the utmost respect circles me back to the term darshan. Darshan meaning seeing. Darshanam means seeing a divine being or having the site of an auspicious or holy person. To see a picture of them, to see them in person, to see them as vision in your meditation, a darshanam.

 

Every morning, if you have a mirror, can you look back at yourself in the mirror and say from your heart, namaste? Can you look back at yourself in the mirror and see the sacred being that you are, deserving of your own, and others, utmost respect?

 

And then can you step out your door and offer the same view to everyone else? As you see them, you see yourself, and you see the cherished essence of each person?

 

In their opening convocation address in August of 2020 to St. Olaf colege, Anantananda Rambachan said:

“Diversity is not here problematized (in the Hindu sacred texts of the Upanishads). Diversity is an expression of the intentionality of the one; it is a celebrative outpouring of the joyous fullness of the divine. God’s capacity for bringing forth difference as self-expression is inexhaustible.

 

The Upanishads, however, do not stop here. They tell us more. They teach that after bringing forth this wondrous diversity out of itself, the divine is present equally in every being; everyone and everything is enfolded most intimately in God.

 

Nothing exists outside of God and nothing exists but for the fact that it receives the gift of moment to moment sustenance from God. In the words of the sacred Bhagavad Gita, everything rests in the divine like radiant jewels strung on a single thread.”-from ‘Darshan: The challenges in seeing the divine in all’

So how beautiful and sweet it was to wake up this morning, be going about my day and then coming home, only to find a message from one of my ‘Inner Strength’ women! The message had embedded this song:

 

One of my favorite lines from it:

” What’s so amazing

That keeps us stargazing?

And what do we think we might see?

Someday we’ll find it,

The rainbow connection.

The lovers, the dreamers, and me.”

Coincidence? I don’t think so. A sacred happening, upon a sacred day, between sacred Beings!

And now it gets passed on to you, dear Guru. 

 

Maybe you’ll join me this weekend for classes where we will do some eye exercises and some meditation so that we can see and come to recognize and respect the sacred within all things.

 

As Alicia Keys sang, “we’re the authors of forever”!  Let’s change the world, starting with our own hearts and minds!  minds!

 

Namaste,

Shawna 

Breathe and Believe.

 

P.S. we will be using the Anjali Mudra.  The mudra of “offering”. See me in the picture holding the gesture. 

 

I love how Siva Rea describes it:

“Anjali mudra is used as a posture of composure, of returning to one’s heart, whether you are greeting someone or saying goodbye, initiating or completing an action. As you bring your hands together at your center, you are literally connecting the right and left hemispheres of your brain. This is the yogic process of unification, the yoking of our active and receptive natures. In the yogic view of the body, the energetic or spiritual heart is visualized as a lotus at the center of the chest. Anjali mudra nourishes this lotus heart with awareness, gently encouraging it to open as water and light do a flower.”

Contentment can be present to all of us right now

I had pre-planned this third week of the month around the theme of ‘recognition’ to be recognizing the beauty and good in all things.

 

WELL, that wasn’t going to happen because I wasn’t seeing it, lol!  

 

And so, in the honesty of what my experience was the previous week, I caught a little glimpse of something I had written two weeks prior while creating the whole scope of this month for recognition; “recognize the good in the world and nature, that is truth.”

 

What stood out to me was the word ‘truth’. 

 

Because the truth, satya in Sanskrit, of what I was experiencing was not really a feeling of beauty and love of myself and the world. The truth of my experience was that I was really recognizing how misaligned I felt.

 

In my body, I knew I needed it, the poem.  Here it is…

 

Intimate With All Things

By: Danna Faulds

 

The Buddha said, “I am

intimate with all things.”

Imagine that. To be on

the same close terms with

suffering and panic as bliss

and rapture; to know the

souls of water buffalo as

surely as my own; to push

away nothing; to let the

sweet or bitter taste of

life linger; to see the

Beloved in everything –

and when that isn’t my

experience, to be intimate

with self-hatred, unmet

preferences and the many

ways I don’t show up as

saintly.  Imagine that.

 

Phew…a few tears, some deep sighs, and a margarita on one occasion. It’s ok.  You’re ok.  I am ok.  And yes, it’s ok to not be ok.  

 

This is how it came to be that this week’s class was all about recognizing the truth of your experience. The truth of the experience itself, and the truth of you in the lived experience.

 

Nowadays, I continue to giggle about what came through in a class… that it’s the awareness of what you are aware of.  An “awareness of awareness itself.”  And how this creates space, even a distance, between our calm center, and the things that we’re feeling and experiencing.  

That space is filled with compassion and the divine.

 

“Santosha invites us into contentment by taking refuge and a calm center, opening our hearts in gratitude for what we do have, and practicing the paradox of ‘not seeking’.”

-Deborah Adele

 

I can’t specifically remember who said it, but in essence the feel of a profound quote around santosha is to ask the question, “can I fall in love with my own life?”

 

Are you content in your life? 

 

I always remind myself how contentment is not giving over to what is and giving up.  Contentment, with all other practices within the scope of life and yoga, still invites us into action. 

 

So are you happy with the actions you’re taking in your life? Are you accepting of things, no matter what happens? Are you using the practice of gratitude for what you do have? If not, it’s okay. I invite you into the beginning of practicing gratitude and contentment in your life today.

 

I’ve been discovering this week that that compassionate and divine space only supports me as I am aware of what I am aware of.

 

My real life story of how I experienced this:

 

One evening while brushing my teeth, it dawned on me just how much I was missing my children. In my home and in my family there’s been a lot of change because my 3-year-old and 7-year-old are now both in school. And they are in two different schools. 

 

I practice gratitude that both of them are receiving an education. Gratitude that they have these safe and supportive spaces to go to every day and to learn and grow and play. And at the same time I need to have Max picked up because I can’t be two places at once. And as I’m grateful for Warriors Taekwondo to pick him up and give him yet another safe place to go and have snack and have support with his homework and have a Taekwondo class, I’ve lost those after school hours that used to be just me and the kids.

 

Now, I’m grateful to have that alone time with  Quinn, but I’m missing Max. And what I realized is that part of me was sad. Part of me was grieving. And that sadness hadn’t been processed. The ever-changing development of life and how my kids are growing and what that means for them and what it means for me and what it means for family dynamics and time, I hadn’t had time to just have an awareness of how I was feeling. And by now it was affecting me in negative ways.

 

However, while brushing my teeth, having this awareness and realization, the insight was so helpful. It moved me into that compassionate space between my calm center and the experiences and the emotions. It allowed me to take a bird’s eye view of everything and to simultaneously be able to tell myself it’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad. And whatever you want to do to heal is okay.

 

And I say all these same things to you dear reader. As I say all these things tell all of my clients and students.

 

To inspire awareness. 

 

And from the awareness so much can change. 

 

We might just soften, and our hearts open, and that can be enough. And other times we will become aware of a situation or emotion and we will choose to take action towards resilience and healing and love. 

 

Mandy Hale wrote,

“happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.”

And I would have to say, just for myself, that’s where I’m landing these days. It’s not always easy, but through recognizing the truth of all that I’m feeling and experiencing, it is bringing more peace.

 

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

-Lao Tzu

 

Or as the Beatles say, “Let it be.”

 

Through the example of my story, perhaps you were able to see how I became intimate with myself, my sadness, my emotions, my experiences. Deborah Adele’s poem, for me, has always been a balm for my soul. And to think that I could know the soul of a water buffalo as intimately as my own strikes me every time I read it, every time I think about it.  And to just be intimate with all things.

 

Anais Nin said,

“My mission, should I choose to accept. It, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am. To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance, my talents, my flaws, and to stop this incessant worrying that I cannot be loved as I am.”

 

What if you applied santosha, contentment, to every aspect of your life? Even as you remember your past, even as you strive towards your beautiful future, and even as you notice what your experience is right this moment, can you be aware of all of it without seeking anything different than what is, and how it all unfolds?

 

Throughout the flow of these words, and the flow of all of my classes, and the flow of just awareness for what is and acceptance of the truth of what is, I find that calm center. 

 

You can find that calm center within you that is everlasting.  And when you touch that calm center, and you look back out, what do you see?

 

For me, I’m able to see without judgment, without fixing, without expectation. I’m able to see what is and in that moment I’m also able to see just how much I have choice.

 

I can choose to allow an experience or an emotion to succumb me and take over to the point where I become stuck or frozen. Or I can choose just to be okay with it and let it be, and focus on the next task at hand in my day; revisiting the emotion or situation when I’m more grounded and centered. Or, I can choose to change either my own perception, or, if possible, I can change the whole situation.

 

And even when I act to change a situation for the betterment of myself and all beings, to be content with not seeking that it happens a certain way. To practice that paradox of not seeking that things go my way. And to fall back into that compassionate and divine space, calm core of my infinite self, and to be content with all that is.

 

So I ended each class with this poem…

 

Joy For No Reason

By: Danna Faulds

 

I am filled with quiet

joy for no reason save

the fact that I’m alive.

The message I receive

is clear – there’s no time

to lose from loving, no

place but here to offer

kindness, no day but this

to be my true, unfettered

self and pass the flame

from heart to heart.  This

is the only moment that

exists – so simple, so

exquisite, and so real.

 

All my love,

Shawna 

Breathe and Believe.

 

The power of intuition

Something doesn’t feel right. There’s a little rumbling in your stomach, your eyebrows start to furl and your eyes start to look around. Your energy feels a little unsettled.  As you notice all these physical and energetic sensations within yourself, your mind starts to become curious.

There’s a sense you have at this moment that’s hard to explain. It’s something that you feel and “know”, it’s just hard to describe with words.  


Perhaps you felt this way about a physical space, another person, or even something someone asked you to do. If you’ve ever had an experience like this, what was your choice in that moment? What happened afterwards?


Or maybe you’ve experienced the opposite.


This all feels completely incredible! Your body is tingling with a positive vibration that feels grounded, real, alive.  You can feel your heart beating with a solid steady pace, maybe it even quickens a little. You feel strong and capable. Anything is possible at this moment! You’re knowing is clear, your focus is definitive, and you aren’t questioning yourself.


You ‘know’ this moment right now is right. It feels so resonant that you begin to be curious about the possibilities, and begin to envision the future.


Have you ever had that experience in your life?  What happened during and after your experience?


Your intuition, your highest self, communicates with you in many different ways.

Ways. Your higher self is always on the lookout for you. Your true self has the best intentions for you. You’re authentic and divine self. Only ever wants you to experience joy, peace, success, abundance, love, connections, and the life that you so deserve.


But don’t worry, if you’ve ever had a first impression, a ‘knowing’ that you should, for example, leave a situation, a person, or say no to a request from another person.  It’s ok.  I know I’ve done it numerous times in my life.  


These moments become lessons and growing edges that only strengthen our awareness of how our intuition speaks to us. These moments bring us closer to the knowing of our Self, and they show us how we can empower and uplift our own lives. 


Here’s the one ingredient that will help you recognize and stay connected with your intuition: Awareness!

But how do I become aware of my intuition when I have a million things to do, places to be, work to attend to, family asking me to do a million things, and my own “monkey mind” doing somersaults in my brain!  Phew!


Deep breath! Take one more deep breath.  What happened? Where did your awareness go during those breaths?


There’s no right or wrong answer to these questions. They are meant to bring you into awareness. See what I did there! 😉


There are many mindfulness practices and tools that I teach not only in my yoga classes, but that I offer and create with those whom I work with one-on-one. Mindfulness practices such as the breath that you experienced above, quickly checking in with how your physical body feels, noticing what your spiritual heart is sharing with you, and noticing the signs around you can all be ways in which we are dialoguing with our intuition.


I used to really feel that intuition was this “outside of myself and my body” idea that I just couldn’t grasp. Many people would say, “listen to your intuition”!  But, in my head I was rolling my eyes and thinking, “what are you talking about and how do I do that?”  I knew I wanted to listen to my intuition but I didn’t know how. And I knew I wanted to develop trust of my intuition, but I didn’t know the best route.


That’s when I began my journey with my intuition teacher, Kim Chesney. She, and her book, ‘Radical Intuition: a revolutionary guide to using your Inner power” Have really changed my life for the better! 


I can definitively now say that one of the top ingredients for living your most fulfilling life is…Using your intuition!

“Radical intuition is not about learning a new system; it is about becoming aware of the system that you have already been using for your whole life. Once you are aware of it, you can own it.”

-Kim Chesney

And there it is again, awareness.


When we have an awareness, a recognition, of our self in all layers of our being, we will have an awareness of our true self. True self, authentic self, higher self, divine self, these are all synonyms for intuition.


Some of us will experience our intuition most easefully from our physical body. Others of us will feel most connected to our intuition through our spiritual heart. Others of us will feel most easily connected to our intuition through our abilities of foresight and mind. And yet others of us still will feel most connected through a higher awareness, a transcendental energy.


Though your intuition may be experienced more readily through your body, all of us have the availability to connect with our intuition through all our layers of being. That’s where some practice can come in. And whether we choose to practice more intimately with our intuition or not, we all have the power to communicate with our intuition for the higher goodness of all were well-being and for others.

“True intelligence is to rise above thinking as the source of all intelligence.”

-Eckhart Tolle

 
You have the power of awareness that connects you to your highest self.

And when you are in alignment with your truest nature, how do you feel? Do you feel empowered? Do you feel powerful? Do you feel grounded and able to take on anything along your path?


Those are some of the things that I experience when I’m connected to my highest self. When my doubt of myself sheds away and I can step into the light with all of my confidence! When I am living from the place of my divine self, nothing can bother me and nothing can stop me. 

I have a bond with myself that is unshakable.


I have a way of staying, living in my center that is unwavering. And that way is with my intuition. 

This is why I chose the mudra of unshakable trust for this week’s classes.  It reminds us how we are an indestructible Being of Light force, and that we are unstoppable!  It gives us the energy of connection to our hearts.  It reminds us that when we are in alignment with our True Self, we are limitless, confident and can handle obstacles with grace, ease, fierce compassion, and more.


Vajrapradama mudra, “unshakeable trust” gesture, is so sweet and so powerful.

Vajrapradama mudra

Interlace your four fingers and leave your palms open. With your thumbs pointing towards the sky, rest your hands on your heart space. Let your shoulders and elbows drop, and begin to take some slow deep breaths. Notice what you notice in your body, thoughts, energy, heart, and spirit.  


How to use Vajrapradama mudra to exercise our intuition and gain clarity. 

If there’s something currently weighing on your heart, or a situation you’re living in right now that has and holds a lot of uncertainty around it, bring it into your mind.  Ask the divine for support. Let go of the expectation of receiving a definitive answer during this brief meditation, just keep asking for the support, the clarity, and guidance for yourself. And as you continue to ask, keep your awareness open.


Keep your awareness open throughout the time that you sit and breathe with the mudra. Notice your physical bodies sensations. 

Where are the sensations in your body?

Where are the most intense sensations, and where are the softest sensations? Do you notice an emotion arising? 

Where do you feel that emotion in your body? What do you sense from the emotion? Or maybe you notice thoughts. 


Perhaps you start to see visions in the screen of your mind’s eye.  Be curious about what you see and notice, and just can simply keep your awareness open.


You have the option after the meditation to think back on your experience and to notice what stood out the most to you. What were some of the first impressions of your experience in any layer of your being? And you can hold curiosity, with using your intuition, to feel if there’s meaning or correlation with your situation in life today. Not forcing to make a connection if there isn’t one, but just staying open and curious. And if there does happen to be a correlation, what might be the take away and the learning from it?


After this seated meditation practice and journaling, keep your awareness open throughout the rest of the following days. Perhaps you’ll see a sign in nature, a hawk flies by or a butterfly lands on your shoulder. Or, a literal sign, as a billboard, that will support you on your path so that you will become clear. Maybe you will keep hearing the same song over and over again, everywhere!  Or, maybe that old friend from years ago called out of the blue, and when they do their words touch your heart and give you love.  These are just a very few examples of intuition speaking to you from outside of yourself.  


Trust (think back to the mudra!) that you will know what is resonant, best, and true for you.  You WILL know what is loving for yourself. You will come to feel in alignment again.

Feel free to add these mantras:
“I have a bond with my Highest Self that is unshakeable.”
“I am open to receiving divine guidance.”
“I open my heart to the universe.”
“I am created from the Beyond and I trust in my highest self/divine nature/authentic self.”

Know that intuition might send you your own mantra to repeat.  One that is resonant to you, one that is for you at this time in your life. 

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.”

-Malcolm Gladwell

Be patient. Be open and aware.

“Trust in yourself, then you will know how to live.”

-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe 

Still a little uncertain?  Read my blog around discernment.


With my intuition and love,

Shawna Emerick

Breathe and Believe.

Part 4 of Embracing Support series

.

A picture depicting the gift of receiving support

When was the last time you allowed yourself to receive support?

 

Hopefully your experience of receiving support was positive. Though I’m thinking of times where people will offer their unsolicited advice, and even with the best of intentions, it does not feel like help or support. But this is where even the act of giving support needs to be done with mindfulness and an open heart. I’m thinking of the ‘Platinum Rule’, something I learned about two years ago through Sam Killerman’s book, “A Guide to Gender: the social justice advocates handbook”.

 

The platinum rule is different from the golden rule.

The golden rule says to do unto others as you would have done to yourself. The Platinum rule invites us to do unto others as they would like to have done unto them. Sometimes what one person needs is not something that we would want or need. And this invites us to ASK! 

 

How beautiful is that! That in this series on embracing support, even in giving support we can be asking. That instead of assuming what we think the other person needs, that we ask what they need. This gives the other person, the autonomy and empowerment to speak their need.  

My invitation to you right here, to circle back to all of the blogs in this series. From the first one around self-acceptance to the second one on presencing and getting clear on what we need, and the third one around asking. This last installment is about allowing yourself to receive.

 

Knowing your worthiness in receiving.

This is the blog that completes the series, and yet opens up so much more in a continual healing journey. This has been a journey about loving yourself without any conditions. It’s a journey about getting quiet and really seeing all parts of yourself (*new series on recognition starting next week in all my classes; and it starts with recognizing yourself).  It’s a journey on supporting yourself, and supporting yourself enough to ask. It’s a journey about knowing your worthiness in receiving.

 

So you might be wondering why I started this blog around receiving with really speaking to how we might be giving. And yet, when we are reminded to ask the other person what they might need, this means that we must go back to being clear within ourselves to know what we need in order to ask and therefore receive.

 

So what happens when we receive what we asked for?

And what happens when we are given a beautiful gift that we did not ask for? How do you receive? Can you receive? Can you receive without feeling the need to give back?

I’ve been asking myself the question why it feels hard to receive support more often than not. And then I’ve discovered this beautiful poem by Reverend James A. Forbes, Jr., entitled ‘Poem about receiving and giving’:

I’m a novice when it comes to receiving.

Giving has become my second expertise,

But giving a loan without getting

Become soon if fatal disease.

 

If the intake valve is not opened

There’s no way to maintain a supply

There comes a point in a cycle of life

Where the outgoing stream runs dry.

 

Straining out love from a vacuum

Is like drinking from the heart of a stone.

Try as we may, at the end of the day,

We are exhausted, frustrated, alone.

 

‘Better to give than to receive’, We are taught

Yet another truth I’ve learnt just by living:

Only the soul with the grace to receive,

Excels in the fine art of giving.

I love the beauty and simplicity of this poem. I love its direct statement towards the acts of receiving and giving. I love its clear naming that only when we keep a valve open to receive, can we truly give.

 

The Yoga of receiving 

Sally Kempton wrote a beautiful article on the yoga of receiving, I really invite you to read it. 

 

In her article she writes, “receiving is a yoga in itself – one that demands a high degree of sensitivity, awareness, and even skillfulness.” And I have only discovered this to be so true.

 

She lays out a beautiful four part flow around receiving. And I found this funny and resonant because I have just completed this four part series around embracing support. And, it really goes to show how even within the four parts of embracing support that I’ve laid out, there are so many deep dives that we could go into each part.

 

The four parts that she lays out are:

  • Recognizing you’re being given a gift
  • Being open to receive
  • Appreciating, even if just the intention*
  • Feeling and knowing you deserve it

One of the highlighted takeaways that I really received from her article was to be present to the giver and really recognize their light, which she calls their ‘holiness’, and to perceive them as a teacher and a bearer of Light. 

 

The energy of blessing

the energy of blessing

 

And, not only might they be a guru, bearer of Light, for you, this means that the gift is filled with, as she calls it,”the energy of blessing”.  So their gift is infused with an energy of blessing.

 

  *Even when we might not like their gift, even when we might not want their gift, can we recognize the giver in their Light and just be open to receiving?  I have to admit that this doesn’t fully resonate with me, but I am open to receiving what this sentiment is saying. And I want to support each of us and remembering that it’s okay to ask for what we need; because maybe what we need to be asking for is to ask the other person to stop giving. 

 

The example that I am clearly thinking of here is how people will often continue to give you their unsolicited advice on parenting. And they might continue to give their advice on parenting, but it might not always be welcome because it doesn’t align with your parenting style. And I’ll be the first to say that this can be challenging, but it just reignites the need for self-acceptance, presencing and naming what you need, asking with kindness in your heart for yourself and the other, and really allowing yourself to receive the boon of what you’re asking for.

 

I do want to note that what Sally is talking about in terms of the gift, is a genuine gift from somebody with good and positive intentions and who holds a positive regard for you.

 

She goes on to write about how the Latin root word of receive, recipere, means ‘to take back’ or ‘accept’. So beautiful to me how in receiving we are taking back and accepting our own light. How so, you might ask? As I am a believer in each of us having the hearts thread connection of Oneness, and that the light in me is the light in you, and the divine in me is the divine in you. 

 

The light in me is the light in you

When we receive, we are receiving back the light that we need, and the light that we give out.

Sally writes it beautifully here, “In fact, the word “receive” comes from the Latin word recipere, which means “to take back.” This implies that what we receive is already ours in the sense that we do, indeed, deserve it, that it completes something within us, or simply that we’ve attracted it by the nature of our being.”

“When we aren’t able to receive a genuine and heartfelt gift, we subtly upset the balance of the cosmos. One of the core Vedic understandings is that life is based on exchange, the dynamic interaction of giving and receiving.”

-Sally Kempton

 

There are many reasons why one might not be able to receive so open-heartedly. There might be a childhood trauma, there might be the feelings of unworthiness, or the belief that one does not deserve it. But I invite you this week, and always, to allow yourself to receive those heartfelt compliments, those heartfelt gifts, and those supportive moments when we’ve asked and receive what we need.

 

I’d love to hear from you. When have you recently received, and really truly allowed yourself to accept the gift?

 

All my love,

Shawna 

Breathe and Believe.

 

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the 4-Part series. 

Part 3 of Embracing Support series 

Is asking the hardest part, or being honest with oneself that you need support?

I think both could potentially be equally as hard because both can bring up shame and unworthiness. 

 

But what if you never asked for support?

Sometimes we can receive it out of nowhere, without asking, and it feels more harmful than helpful. Others can give to us from the kindness of their hearts unexpectedly and it is incredibly beneficial, more than we could imagine.

 

I will NEVER forget when my boss, while working at a coffee shop in NYC, paid for a month of my health care out of his pocket! Why did he do it? Mostly because he has one of the most loving hearts that I’ve ever met. And also because I was traveling for a month out of the country to attend my first Yoga teacher training! Thanks Marc T., I love you and my coffee shop family to this day.

 

Now in the case of my coffee house boss, I hadn’t even thought of the possibility of somebody supporting me financially while I was gone. I didn’t ask because I hadn’t even thought of the question and possibility. And in this same thread, sometimes in the asking more possibilities are presented because now we have a collective consciousness from which we’re drawing from.

 

But, I also want to honor those moments where we might be too afraid to ask because we’re afraid of what the answer might be. This fear is coming because we are making up a scenario that we ultimately have no control over.  And, we are possibly making assumptions about a person that, again, we have no control over.

 

Where we do have control is in the asking.

Call it ‘asking’, ‘prayer’, ‘longing’, ‘for guidance’, or ‘request’. Whether we’re asking for something tangible, or sending out the request for our life to transform in some positive way to the Universe, the one thing that “to ask” seems to return back to is to One’s Self.

 

Before the actual making of the request, we have to first come back to that self-acceptance, presencing ourself and acknowledging what is within us and around us in our situation and circumstance to be clear on what the request is, and then being courageous to speak it.

 

It is the giving of the request, the action of asking for what we need, that is the third part in the arc of this month’s theme around embracing support.

 

I have come to discover through conversations and explorations that the asking can bring up a lot of emotions for the person who is doing the asking.  Sarah Peck, of Start up Parent, has a great article about the ask! Read it here! In her article she speaks about confidence, mastering the pause, being audacious in your asking, keeping it simple, timing, asking multiple times, asking everyone, and practicing! I love the detail she goes into and some of the question examples. 

 

Sarah addresses a lot of good, real-world topics. I tend to get Spiritual, lol. She talks about asking to pick someone’s brain about things, and I also want to consider asking the Universe for support. However, one thing that these both have in common, yup, you guessed it, awareness and clarity. 

Ask for support but first find awareness and clarity.
Asking for support begins with awareness and clarity

Even here, in the third of four parts in this arc of embracing support, to become present is so key! We have to be clear with what we need/want in order to clearly state that need/desire in a simple and compassionate way. 

 

To be as clearly able to ask for the person at the door who is leaving, to hold the door open for us as we’re coming in with our arms full, as we are able to ask the Universe to support us in making a difficult decision to leave a job or not.

 

And we can oftentimes find that we already know the answer within ourselves even us we ask the questions. We just need to get quiet to hear that voice within; our intuition and wisdom, it’s our knowing.

 

Simultaneously, I’m hearing Rainer Maria Rilke’s quote in my mind of living the questions because we might not be able to live out the answers today. Read the full quote here.

Perhaps then the best thing to do is to stay present and curious, and to keep asking questions!  To keep living, and to “live everything” says Rilke.

 

And still yet another key aspect to remember is that you are still not alone!  

And you never have to do any of this alone.

 

You can always breathe with the divine. Even when asking to know your True Self more and to understand your own heart, you’re diving in with the divine breathing through your lungs and body.

 

Joseph Gassman wrote this short and poignant poem:

” She acts so strong … like stone

putting the needs of others ahead of her own

holding them up … the toll … unknown

She does not phone for help

she acts so strong …

just ask because you do not need

            to face these things alone.”

When was the last time that you really asked for help that you so desperately needed, instead of forcing yourself to go it “alone”?

” it’s been a few days since anyone asked how I am.

it’s been a few days since I said I’m all right.

it’s been a few months since anyone cared how I am.

it’s been a few months since I told the truth.”

-Mae

What could happen if you did ask? What if you don’t ask?

Recently I posted this video in my Instagram.  I say that if you don’t ask the answers always no. I want to challenge this idea that the answer is no. Because sometimes when we don’t ask something different happens. Sometimes if we don’t ask, the other person might come up with us offering what we were going to ask for. And sometimes if we don’t ask, a different event happens. Maybe I don’t ask to go get ice cream, but instead my family and I end up eating some chocolate chips.

 

And because I do believe the Universe is always listening to our hearts, even if we might not explicitly ask the universe for what we need and want, I believe the voice within our heart is heard. And sometimes, even when we don’t ask, we will receive; because our heart is known by the divine.

 

And, of course, when we don’t ask in that clear and specific way, sometimes we do end up with what we want and need. But it comes in the form, shape, experience, that we couldn’t imagine.

 

Intimate partnerships.
I found my intimate partner after knowing exactly what I was looking for

 

When I started to become really clear in the type of intimate partner that I wanted, I saw my relationships changing and evolving in the ways that I had hoped for. And still, I could never have imagined meeting the person who would become my life partner through online dating, and coming to meet the person that they are, and how our lives are unfolding together now.  Many aspects of our relationship have been very unexpected in the most beautiful and loving ways. And some of those unexpected ways have in return caused me to learn more about my self, both inward and outwardly.

 

Some of the healthful unlearning that I have done because of this marriage has actually allowed me to reach my own personal potentials, and in my own way.  

How fascinating is that! … I get clear on what I want (in a partner), and through the process of meeting (my life partner), I have actually opened myself up to deeper parts of myself; Allowing me to experience parts of my True Essence! 

 

This invites us to give gratitude to our self and to the person who we ask!  That I have overcome my fears, stepped into my worthiness, believed myself and my needs so that I can ask. As well as gratitude to the universe, to others, to whomever or wherever we have asked for the support and those places we receive it from.

 

Inside all of this I’ve come to discover we have lots of choices:
  • Choosing awareness.
  • Choosing curiosity.
  • How we choose to view our Self.
  • How we make the choice to choose our self by loving ourself enough to ask.
  • To choose to let go of shame and unworthiness.
  • To choose love.
  • How we choose to perceive ourself or any other person who’s asking for help.
  • Choice in how we perceive ‘asking’.
  • How we posture our self before the asking.
  • How we posture our self during the asking.
  • How we continue to hold ourselves after the asking, no matter the response.
  • Who we choose to ask.
  • When we do the asking.
  • Where we ask.
  • The words we choose while we’re asking.
  • Choosing our heart as the place from which we are asking.

How will you use this blog, dear reader? 

Has it reminded you of your worth?  Has it inspired you to ask?

Has it moved you to share it with someone you wish to help and support? 

Please do, pass it on, I am asking you to do so! 😉

 

All my love,

Shawna

Breathe and Believe.

P.S. Don’t forget to keep using the heart center mudra of the month with this all! Click here for the mudra.