“we have all hurt someone tremendously. whether by intent or accident. we have all loved someone tremendously. whether by intent or by accident. it is an intrinsic human trait. and deep responsibility. i think. to be an organ and a blade. but. learning to forgive ourselves and others because we have not chosen wisely is what makes us most human. we make horrible mistakes. it’s how we learn. we breathe love. it’s how we learn. and it’s inevitable.”
~ nayyirah waheed
Caroline would say, “except for Hank. Hank has never hurt anyone. He is just what happens to light when it turns into matter.” Well, she has a point. But we are not all as lucky as Hank, our maltese.
This quote came to mind while watching my country, Colombia, wrestle with forgiveness more than with peace during these peace agreements. As I see how easily the conversation shifts toward finding a place-holder for the blame, for all of the hurt, all the death. Now they have focused a lens erroneously on the LGBTQ community making us the reason things can’t move forward. Once again, how amazing we are to be so responsible for all that is wrong with the world. We must really be an incredible people and a force to be reckoned with. Our glitter and hair cutting sheers seem to be very cunning weapons, indeed. I can see fear so naked, so clear, so evident, it shows itself. The fear is not of us. The fear is having to move forward in some way after all these atrocities, there is also the fear of letting go of the hurt. The hurt was something to hold on to. What will we have to hold on to if we are no longer war torn and bloody. It’s how we’ve identified for the last half century. We will no longer know who we are or know ourselves.
In life, when you care about something/someone, there are two predominant responses: fear/hate or love/desire. The ancient yogis, unpacked this further, deeper by going under the emotional plain to the roots and causes of the emotions themselves, not just the surface of the emotions themselves. They would probably discuss these more as rejection (dvesa) vs. attachment (raga). This is the issue- magnified over a bloody, relentless war of 52 years, with unimaginable death tolls. That’s it on the big scale. On the small scale, we all navigate this constantly in our lives. The relationship between fear and love. We are always choosing one over the other.
One of the most powerful weapons in disarming fear, is listening. No matter how horrible what the other person has to say, it is rarely as horrible as you think. Even if it is, then you know. You have more information. The thing about listening is that is is such an act of love, that by doing it, you are allowing the situation to shift. It can’t not. Feeling seen in that deep way dissipates big emotions. Even if an agreement is not reached, understanding still happens.
Someone asked Mother Teresa once what she says when she prays and she said she listens. Then they asked her, what does God say when you pray. She said- he listens. Yoga. The meeting place between two opposites or dynamic forces.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we could have a friend listen, or a break up listen, or any other kind of listen for that matter? The things we would learn if we didn’t talk so much. I have these types of listening with Hank and Arlo, my dogs, all the time and more is conveyed than by speaking. It’s awesome. Now that the fall is truly setting in, it’s a great time to let go of the things you don’t need, clean and streamline your energy so it preserves well through winter. Allow stories about yourself and other that are no longer serving you to pass. I’m finding less is more these days in all aspects, both on and off my mat. It’s creating a nice sense of ease and spaciousness.
And how amazing would it be if we left some room for mistakes. Everything is so streamlined now. With our technology. Less and less variables happen because they are continually being filtered out of the equation by algorithms and such things. Big learning comes from big falling and failing and even flailing. Beautiful art comes out of mistakes. And as I often say, yoga and meditation are the practices of picking yourself up again, not the practices of staying up. I love nothing more than having space to make my own mistakes. So I always try and will continue to try to let you make yours. For that, I have to give you space to reinvent yourself and recreate yourself. I have to release my story of you the the great wide open and see what happens. Scary. I know.
– Monki Menace: For those of you who can’t wait for the album, I have postedour latest kirtan for your listening pleasure under the music store tab. It’s a really sweet one and all the proceeds will help us finish the album as things have been, as usual, more expensive than anticipated. And SAVE THE DATE, Kirtan Nov. 19 at 8 at Laughing Lotus!
– October 21-23: you can catch me on Friday night at Prema Yoga at 6:30 for the Advanced Practice, Saturday from 2-7 at the Bhakti Center for practice and a study session where we will break down and discuss sequencing in relationship to self practice. Let me know via email if you are coming. And Sunday, it is a Maha jam or two hour practice at Pure East at 12:30. Let me know if you want to be my guest.
Winter Retreat: Nuqui- Surf and Yoga
with Derek Cook
Feb 27-March 5
This one has sold out the last two years and I already have a bunch of sign ups so if you want to come, decide sooner than later. Unlike Costa Rica, there are rarely mosquitoes, and Medellin, the landing point is a beautiful city and world destination. The surf is perfect for beginners and tenured surfers alike. Come! Derek and I are leading it together and if you haven’t met Derek, not only is he one of the sweetest and funniest people I’ve ever met, but he’s also an amazing yoga teacher and manual therapist. So this year, it’s safe to say that it will be spectaculars. And I will be back on my surf board. So that alone will be cause for a big old dance party. You should come, get off the grid with us, enjoy Colombia’s beautiful pacific coast and the warmth of her people. All I can say is it’ become a yearly thing because my sanity depends on it.