I did! My Universe has been spinning with an “out of the blue” crazytown offer which I will tell y’all about later… I’m coming close to deciding, but regardless of what happens, here’s what I saw, which is maybe the biggest lesson of my life.
He halted all convo. So quickly, in fact, that he startled me.
Waved his arms up in the air, loudly and emphatically said,
“WHOA. What?? Who is this??”
(This man is a Manhattan CEO, btw.)
“Ganesh. You know. Ganesh, the Hindu god. The remover of obstacles. He has an elephant head. Sits on a lotus a lot. Yogis talk about him a lot. Ya know, Ganesh.”
This dearest has had a particularly trying year. One of his worst. That’s putting it mildly.
“Why didn’t you tell me about this before? You’ve been holding out on me?? Why didn’t you tell me there was a Guy I could ask to remove my obstacles?!”
“Um… Haven’t you wondered what the, like, half dozen elephant statues are in my apartment?”
“Don’t you remember me talking about Him in my awakening course? I talk about Him all the time. Jeez babes, you’ve taken it twice!”
“No! I can’t believe this. Where do I find this guy? I need one.” He was surprisingly lit up and resolute about it.
Needless to say, I gave him one of my mini Ganesh and we laughed about it. I’m pretty sure he carried the little bronze Indian icon to his office in Midtown East.
A month ago I was on a panel and there was a woman who spoke up. Now this woman was super deep, connected, in touch. One of the highest vibing people I know. She offered a realization, not a question:
“You know, I am just starting to see, I can’t escape the dark side, the suffering, the ugly parts. I see that I need to let it be where it is and there is nothing I can do to affirm or move or shift it away. I have to embrace it to transform it.”
It surprised me to hear her say this because that is the main tenet of what I teach. It’s the core of everything. It’s also pretty opposite to a lot of what’s out there in the spiritual marketplace, because let’s face it, that’s not really the sexy sell. This bright, gorgeous woman had taken our course two years ago, and was a serious student of her own development, yet she was only just now understanding it on a cellular level.
Which reminded me:
It only clicks when we’re ready.
The Universe’s truths and secrets revel themselves to us in waves and layers and tidbits. In realizations and epiphanies, in mundane practices laying out to immeasurable landscapes of understanding and flashes of white hot divine lightening in an instant changing us forever. You never know when or why they are coming, and this, this is why we practice. This is why we investigate and delve and hope on. Because we had a taste and we know Its there.
Or because there are people that came before us saying, this works.
Here take my hand.
Don’t believe me.
Just be willing to believe and come and see for yourself.
You can run, hide, cry, scream, try to tear down the work that came before you.
But it will come around.
Because your Soul his longing to know him or her Self.
And you know what that looks like?
An end to personal suffering.
Effortless presence to you and everyone in your life.
Natural compassion + love that’s not a practice, babe. It just becomes WHO YOU ARE.
We are restless until this Realization.
In a way, Life only begins after it.
We will still reach and expand and soar, but without craving or need.
Until then, that restlessness keeps us on our toes, so that a CEO will find himself grasping a Ganesh or being 25 years older than everyone else in a downtown hot yoga class.
We will look for that guy, that falafel, that martini, Homeland, the apartment, the newer svelter hotter bod to fill us, and it will, until it doesn’t.
So the restlessness comes again.
We will find ourselves Ohmmmming and stretching and sitting on floors and falling into dance and falling into tears and falling into Love. And it is all so beautiful and wide and never-ending, ever expanding.
Be willing to embrace uncertainty, and the heavens will open. Even just be willing to be willing to be awkward and wrong and hurt and angry and just that awareness causes a shift.
The restlessness is there to stir you to reach.
It is kept out of reach to stir up the restlessness.
There is a perfection in this exchange. A Supreme, Divine perfection and not a gosh darn morsel less.
If you’re in NYC this weekend, I invite you to come witness this in action. My intention is to always have words infused with juju, but there is nothing, nothing at all that comes close to experience.
And if you have someone near the city who you think could benefit, advance thanks for sharing the info if that feels yumalish to you! xx
I wanted to build on that post because sometimes in the depths of the ick, it’s tough to get there. When momma’s having a sh**y day, she’s not thinkin’ of singing to sunshine. Also, when we’re in different stages of healing or different levels of consciousness, our communication desires and needs are different. No one way is wrong because what works for one person or one moment at one time is exactly the perfect action for him or her.
So, I wanted to add here. If you’re feeling a bit of disconnection, restlessness or unease, go get on with your bad Self + Beyonce and shake your sweet thang.
If that seems too “out there.” You can go ahead and find that love song to sing to yourself. Right straight as: a shot to the heart. You won’t be to blame. You won’t be giving love a bad name. (Apologies, I just couldn’t resist.)
In deeper states of trauma, we are usually on an unconscious level holding on to hurts that are long gone. In fact, almost all of the ways in which we are less than what we want to be is because there is something that is hurting us from when we were little kids. An event happened, the reaction never processed or healed and we may or may not even know it’s affecting our current situation. We are unconsciously carrying around the hurts and life keeps presenting us with opportunities to heal them.
Good grief, you mean to tell me I’ve been carrying around this sh** for 20 years?
Yes my darling, I’m sorry to tell you, but you have. Don’t worry though. The healing’s already underway.
If we’re not ready to sing to the Universe, or in a particularly trying time, sing to the little kid version of yourself. Sometimes, particularly with more profound abuse or trauma, we just need to know that we are safe, it’s ok to feel the way we do and that someone bigger than us (in this case, literally the bigger, older version of ourselves) loves us.
Years ago, I regularly attended a new thought church that no longer exists in the city but was amazing. Here is one of the things I was told and moved to do at the time. That’s me, all baby-like. Yes, that’s me loving myself in paint pen around the frame. Yes, I hid that anytime someone came over… but you know what? It truly had a profound healing on some childhood stuff during a time when that was what I needed to heal. That little girl needed to know she was safe. Sing a song to that little boy or girl; just see what comes up. It sounds, and will probably feel a little dumb. That’s why I posted a naked baby picture of myself here, if I can do that, you can do this in private.
I promise you, if you really shut your doors, go lock yourself in the bathroom or hide under the covers so the neighbors can’t hear you and let yourself do it, it might cause an explosion of release. When you’re shockingly sobbing your face off over that thing that happened “x” number of years ago? Yep, that’s it. That’s the spot. You found it. If it just feels a little silly but you start to soften and there’s a warmth and love for that lil kid? Yup, that’s it too. It’s working. :)
I work with a lot of people who can fly high yet are still carrying decades-old hurts and patterns. If there is something stuck within, this is a simple way to access that unconscious pattern and shift it up.
It’s really really super duper muy importante to never try to “change” your internal world. What we’re doing here is fostering a connection to something bigger. So, in the instance of something more traumatic, it’s not that we are trying to shift your mood, but rather bring love and acceptance to exactly where you are.
It may seem a subtle difference, and I find it’s the most often wrongly perceived understanding of spirituality: that we can “choose to be happy.”
So rock it out, lullaby it out, lean in to the delicious rawness of the weepy ballad, if need be. Whether that’s to the World, your Self or the little kid inside ya.
A good musical always ends with a happy ending.
When I was a little girl and in a sad mood, I’d sit in my little attic-windowed room in our little white house in Chicago and make up songs to sing out the window. This is what they did in Grease, Grease 2 and my favorite television show, Rags to Riches, which was like the 80’s version of Smash, with much much larger hair. I just assumed that when one was emotional, you broke into song about it. Obvi.
Clearly, this is why I majored in musical theatre in college. But I always loved that about musicals: the idea being, the character’s feelings are so strong, so overflowing and immediate, they simply cannot be contained by mere action or dialougue. The world is ending, the relationship going awry, the barricade is going up, and damn girl, it’s time to sang.
Music ups the level of our experience, whether it’s a restaurant setting a mood, or a nine-year-old being dramatic in her attic.
In terms of spiritual stuffs, one of the main problems that people come to me with, is that they don’t have a connection to their divine. You can call that Personal Mojo, superpower spirit, Allah, J.C., Universal Force, that thing that is bigger than you are and is unnamable—that connective tissue of the Universe.
I don’t know how to talk to my divine.
There’s no connection there.
I don’t know what that means.
I don’t hear anything back.
I’m stuck, how can I shift things up?
Kirtan, which originated (did everything?) in India, is a call and response singing, usually in Sanskrit. It’s become super popular in recent years, most notably via American Krishna Das, and raises levels of consciousness by using music as bhakti, or devotion. If you grew up in the States, I’m sure you have a couple of Ave Maria’s or Hava Nagila’s under your belt from some point in your life. Same idea. Sing to the Force. The Force likes it.
If kirtan seems too intimidating and the Hava Nagila doesn’t conjure up Universal connection, but rather memories of Jodi Rothman turning down 7th grade advances after her Bat Mitzvah, well… how can we make this connection practical, modern and fun?
Ok, I want you to stay with me here because what I am going to suggest might sound a little kooky. BUT- I don’t care how cool-for-school or how shy you might think you are, you have, at one point, burst into song, my friend. You have.
You’ve exploded with love or excitement or a total sense of “I am frickin awesomesauce-ness” and burst into an uptempo or a ballad of “my life is so f***ing fantastic right now, it’s movie- musical good.” It’s “Greased Lightening” good.
It’s like that moment in Jerry McGuire when Tom Cruise is SO super-psyched and keeps flipping the car radio channel until he finally lands upon: “And I’m FREE… free falling!” And Cruise soars, singing at the top of his lungs, fist pounding the wheel.
“Since U Been Gone” : Perfect for feeling empowered after ending it with that douchebaggy guy who never scheduled a date ahead of time.
“Billie Jean is not my lover… She’s just a girl who thinks that–”
What’s that next line? See, you know it.
“With or Without You.” I don’t care if you’re a guy or girl, I will place money on the fact that you have played that at one point, on repeat, murmering the lyrics through tears of self-pity after a break up. Maybe in 1992, maybe two weeks ago.
I went through a particularly deep spiritual phase a few years ago, and I found myself, like a total dork, eschewing the dating scene and instead singing love songs to my inner Big Daddy. You know what though? I was deliriously happy. Annoyingly happy. Always.
Most of the time I did this on my bike or in the shower, so it’s not like anyone knew what I was doing. Even if they could hear me, they didn’t know to whom I was singing.
So, here is a very very simple trick to connecting to your Higher Flow. Pick a love song. If you don’t wanna sing, just keep it on your iPod. Dedicate it not to your husband, girlfriend or 7th grade Jodi Rothman, but sing that sugar to your SOUL.
Whoa! That’s hopelessly embarrassing and dumb, Mags, I am not doing to do that!
But let me gently remind you, my love, you don’t have to tell anyone you’re doing this. In fact, I’ll urge you not to. Would most def keep it off the dating docket topic list.
The more we reach out to this Source, the more it nourishes us.
The more it guides us, the more it takes over our lives until the moment that there is no separation at any moment. When we’re in this Oneness, life is effortless, Technicolor, unable to be anywhere other than the present moment. Totally equally accepting of muck, guck, and beauty, since there is no difference whatsoever.
Well, I hate to be captain obvious here, but if that’s not happening for you, it’s just ‘cause the connection is clogged. Don’t just save it for Sunday service, sista. Get all “Crazy in Love” up in your Divine self, once, twice, three times a Lady, and I PROMISE you, you will see a difference.
No one’s looking, go ahead. Pick a song. Set your iPhone/pod to it. Play a coupla times today. Notice the difference, for reals.
When you love the Universe. It Loves you back.
It got up to 50 in New York yesterday, plus I have a pic of a totally cute little baby chick in this post, which means spring is just about upon us! Between 6 weeks in Salt Lake City this winter + a long stretch of gray days, I know I am BEYOND looking forward to being outside more + getting a fresh start to the year. When we’re clearer, our lives flow easier. “Spring Cleaning” isn’t a cliché, it’s a rite of passage, a change of seasons, a time to freshen up and clear way for the new.
I would love to switch up couches, paint my walls, throw out half my stuff + start anew… but it’s going to be a busy month, so I’ll do what I can, and you should too. Change doesn’t have to be massive to notice effects.
Here are a couple of quick tips to cleanse on the quick + cheap.
1. Purge. Throw out or donate 3 books, one outfit from your closet and a tchotchke from your shelf. Any new thing you buy going forward? Throw out two in its place. Make that a rule. Ongoing Feng Shui builds badass, streamlined karma.
2. Liquefy. Ok, you don’t have the time or funds for a fancy 3-day cleanse? Ayurveda says to take one day a week (every week!) + only drink liquids to give your digestive system a break + a reset. Soup, smoothies, juices, protein shakes. For extra points, make sure it’s au naturale. This is an *ideal* time to give that system a break to reboot.
3. Sage! Buy a stick, it will last forever. I sage after every move, break up, fight, tough business negotiation, guest to the apartment, depresso monteblan mood. The last time I bought sage was a year ago, and my stick is only just now a nub. (I don’t really know how to rewrite that so it doesn’t sound dirty, so please just keep it above board with me here loves.) There’s no way you could sage as much as I do: $4.99 from Whole Foods or your local health food store, + go get jiggy wid it. You light the sage like incense, let it burn + blow out. Negative energy binds to the smoke, and poof—wafts from your apartment + life! Caution: potent. I usually sage + then open up my windows just before I leave my apartment.
4. Promote someone up in your love. Have a look around your house or apartment and look at the pictures present. My guess is, unless you’re fastidious about art, there’s some old, random photo of college friends you haven’t seen in ten years that you fell out from or with whom lost touch. If that picture brings you a surge of nostalgic joy, great, if it’s bittersweet or makes you a little sad? Toss it, hit up a color printer + print up that Facebook picture of you + your bestie at her bday. Reframe. Her love deserves an upgrade to presence in your life.
5. Juice. Oh, you already have a Breville + want a DIY cleanse on the cheap? Here are a couple of super cheap juice-able nutritionals you may not have considered: anything + everything from farmer’s market (hello giant bags of apples for $1 a pound!), broccoli stems, sweet potatoes, go find some jicama (it’s amazing in juice) + plain, big ol’ giant heads of cabbage juice surprisingly sweet! My secret? I buy everything as nitty + gritty as it comes + then sweeten up any bitterness with a little stevia (NuNaturals is the BEST + only brand I use) or Agave.
6. MOVE. It’s obvious that moving + moving in a different direction is going to switch up your energy + shift things around in a different way. Try a different yoga or group fitness class at the gym. It goes without saying I hope, that being in nature is paramount to clearing out mind stuffs. If you are in NYC, like me, hit up a new yoga studio, or Soul Cycle. Most offer discounts for newbies. And for something totally free, freeing + fun, the awesome Michele Joni has a free weekly, skipping club, that’s sure to get you outside of your box.
7. Meditate. Ya, so, according to Facebook, pretty much everyone I know is doing this Deepak/Oprah 21 day meditation challenge. It started a couple days ago, but permission granted to jump on board. You haven’t missed anything; you’re just fashionably late, dahling. Want something more guided? Email me at email@example.com + I’ll dropbox you a raw version of a 12 minute mediation MP3. Meditation trains your mind to clear space + let the wisdom of the natural flow abide. Is that too woo? It also makes you more efficient, happier + younger looking. Get on that train.
8. Smush. last week rather than store a box of files, I decided to scan them all. Box of files? Shredded. Files? Permanently parked in a virtual folder, smaller than a digital inch on my desktop. I’m going to be doing this with tax returns + 20 years of sheet music I’ve been hoarding. Obviously it works better if you have a professional scanner, + not a flattop, so head to an office, or a kinko’s + in a couple of hours or less, all those files are shrunk from your life. It’s a great feeling to look over to where there used to be a box + now there is just: space. Ah, space.
9. Give something unexpected. A six-pack of beer to your super. Mail that book to your sister you love with a handwritten note. Have a slice of his favorite cheesecake delivered to your guy at work. Nothing breeds love like giving love when someone least expects it. It clears your heart + spirit for more.
If you haven’t seen the 2006-2010 NBC sleeper hit series “Friday Night Lights,” really you should stop reading this and go Netflix it immediately. The show is structured around a high school team in Southern Texas (stay with me), but truly it’s about head coach Eric Taylor and how his career and family life tango alongside his unbendingly high moral standards. I avoided it for a long time due to the description above (see: football, Texas), yet two summers ago inhaled the entire series faster than a nine-year-old gripping a Fla-Vor-Ice in August.
Coach Taylor is basically, like, the best guy of all time. He’s the guy that can have his wife get all feisty and upset, yet fully accepts and allows her passion; he knows how to get angry without taking it out on her. He’s for the underdog. You’re given the sense he would never, ever, not in a bajillion years lie, stretch the boundaries of integrity or wade into any grey area for any reason whatsoever. He takes a beating for truth and he streams honor.
On the show, the football team’s motto was “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.” This slogan became so wildly popular across America, that Mitt Romney even stole the phrase to use it in his 2012 presidential campaign, before being admonished by the show’s writer and director.
It resonated so much with Americans because we inherently felt the truth of the phrase. We understood, at our core, this is who we are.
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.
Clear eyes mean a mind and vision unconflicted by doubt or fear. The ability to be in the present moment and deal with each second as it comes. It’s what separates the men from the boys on any football field. There are loads of big guys out there, thousands that play high school and college football, but not all of them sign to multi-million dollar contracts with the NFL. What’s the game changer? Clear Eyes.
Full hearts are engaged and full of passion. Authentically streaming from hope and integrity. What are heart stuffs but an indefinable Love—the magic special sauce of the Universe? We cannot choose to care, we care or we don’t. It’s inherent or its not. We can’t choose to love any more than we can choose what color eyes we have.
But we can be willing to be love. We can practice being available to love. We can work to be clear.
Clear eyes and full hearts means operating from a higher level of consciousness. When you make a sale, ask a girl out, even sit in a co-op board meeting, it’s not what you say, it’s WHO YOU ARE that resonates.
When our eyes are clear and our hearts full, people know it. There is nothing more to do. They can sense it. They draw to you. And if they don’t? You don’t care. Not in a negative way, it just doesn’t matter. Next play and the ball on the 38-yard line. Hut one, hut two + GO. No time to mourn, clock is ticking and forge forward with those clear eyes.
Having great parents helps in both these departments. Where you were brought up, where you live can help. However, each of us can cultivate these clear eyes and full hearts. Yoga, exercise, eating well and choosing to be around positive people and uplifting environments, all help. But truly, at the core of this ascension are two simple things:
Clear eyes = Awareness.
Full hearts = Letting life make Love to you; surrender.
Awareness is being where you are, SEEING where you are, what comes up and letting it be there, without ever changing it. Shining a light on it. I know you know: that’s not as easy as it sounds. It means not reaching for the chocolate, the vodka, the blame, the excuse, the Xanax. Whatever comes up, be with it.
Every single time you do this, not run from the ickiness of a moment you don’t like: the clearer your eyes are from there on out. The next time you want to run, consider that. Staying with what is, is a deposit into the bank account of clearer eyes.
Full hearts: what is that? Full of emotion, of compassion, of desire, of connection. Let’s continue to use the example of a football team: knowing that you are a part of the whole. There is a loyalty, responsibility and pride built-in to that sense of “team.”
You are a part of the Whole.
The Universe is your team.
Let it be, play from and for this space of knowingness, and that Love shows up.
The more we practice, the better we play. And this is just another friendly urge to practice, ‘cause it’s your life, sweetness. It’s always gametime.
Have you ever used a Vitamix? Man, those things are like the Lamborghinis of blenders. I have been coveting one for years and I think that this is the month I finally break down (tiny closet-sized West Village kitchen be darned,) scootch the juicer westward on my granite, forsake all countertop space whatsoever and bestow a permanent parking spot to my very own Vitamix.
This thing can make smoothies out of golf balls.
In 12 seconds.
It’s the bomb.
We want our life to flow like the ever-amazing Vitamix. Just full speed, mowing over bumps and tribulations, ice cubes to silky creaminess, effortlessly, every time.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
I often get asked the question, how come I’m not progressing in my spiritual life? Most of the peeps I get to interact with are in the city and therefore exceptionally ambitious, talented, bright and devoted. They dive into spiritual study and discourse with passionate abandon. We’ve all been in a space where we are flying with the flow, effortless and connected, vitamix on full speed, baby…
And then it stops. We lose the flow. We’re stuck. The mind takes over. Connection? Forget it. Divine communion? Ha. What?
Regarding these spots of stuck-ed-ness, you might have previously heard any sort of metaphor to nature. For instance, when a flower is blooming, there are roots underground, but just because you don’t see the bud on top doesn’t mean there isn’t growth happening. That analogy is a little “Footprints in the Sand”, doctor’s office/”God is carrying you” for my taste, so I will offer this.
Let’s say you have a blender. Not a Vitamix, but just a regular ol’ blender. Maybe from ten years ago, not supersonic. You know how sometimes when you are making margaritas green smoothies, and all the stuff is in the blender flowing fine, and then, for no apparent reason, the blender gets stuck. (Remember, this is the non-supersonic blender, so you left the room to let it do its work.) And from across the apartment you hear that annoying “eeeeeeeeeeeeee” sound.
The blades are stuck. You go back to the kitchen. You approach the blender. You squint your eyes, pucker your lips, evaluating the state of the blender. You decide: it’s not going to move. The power is still on: “eeeeeeeeeeeee”. You reach over your counter to grab a large, wooden spoon from the vertical basket of large spoons/spatulas on your countertop. “eeeeeeeeeeeee”.
Spoon in hand, you are just about to push the power button to “OFF” and mix up the tequila, ice cubes, triple sec banana, kale, agave, ice cubes, when “WHIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!” the blades of the non-supersonic blender amazingly whirl back to life and your smoothie continues to blend.
All that time you were walking around, hearing the “eeeeeeee”, making plans to fix the situation, there was pressure being applied to the ice, even though it was stuck. Your perception was that nothing was happening, but in fact, it was the cumulative effort of the pressure of the blades that caused the blades to start up again and your smoothie to flow.
When we are spiritually stuck, we’re just little non-supersonic blender blades. Electricity is moving, there is pressure happening, a tide of smoothie sweetness will break, we just don’t know it.
Awakening is being the Vitamix. It’s not that the Vitamix is always joyfully blending. There are plenty of times it’s not being used at all. The difference is, the Vitamix doesn’t sit on the counter wondering: Why isn’t someone making a smoothie? What does that say about me? Are they over the Vitamix and going into a juicing phase? Are they abandoning me all together and getting take-out Pad Thai? Is the next smoothie ever gonna happen???!!!???
The Vitamix doesn’t have those questions. It’s just hanging out, collecting dust, whatevs. When golf ball smoothies need to be made, it will be there. That will be tough. Golf balls are not easy to blend, people. But it will do it and that will be that.
Until it’s time to upgrade to the Vitamix, we’ll have to deal with the non-supersonic blenders. Yes, it’s hard and frustrating at times, but you still want the sweetness dontcha? If we can’t know, all we can do is trust the supersonic is on Its way.
May your path and smoothie be creamy + sweet. Namaste + Salud.
I’m all about Love. I have two teensy love tattoos on my wrists to remind me to ask for Love each time I bless something out. I am all for the underlying Universal Love and the acceptance of this Truth and the inadvertent, unconscious pull we have to rejoin with this Love.
But I’ve also been seeing a lot of blind black and white regarding Love and Its pursuits.
Reaching for love?
Rather than being: the best! We are now substituting achievement for being guided: to be love!
Slighted? I choose love!
Forget fear, you can have love!
Americans are ambitious and successful. As we open and awaken to a new paradigm and consciousness, a brighter way of living, we are using old concepts to uncover our light… We are trying to ‘win’ love
So, I just wanted to say:
You can’t choose love. Love chooses you.
Throwing a tent of muscled (perhaps hopeful, yet inauthentic,) ‘love’ over a situation can be just another layer of mind or ego, escaping the suffering in heart, at hand. Unfortunately we can’t just skip over all the icky stuff and go from zero to love.
Specifically, the concepts of love and forgiveness have been musing inside me and whether they need to go hand in hand, and it might surprise you to hear, I don’t think they do.
Forgiveness is not about getting to a space of love, it is about getting to a space of neutral. Of awareness and acceptance. Forgiveness is a spontaneous Universal action. One cannot draw from it or use it, if it doesn’t naturally show its face. Love and forgiveness show up on their own time and dime. We build it; they come.
The problem with suffocating something with love is it doesn’t go away. It will come back, in the form of another situation, another person, your mom with the same fight, a new boss with remarkably the same douche-tardiness. The harder you push it away, the fiercer its response.
Of course, forgiveness is a cornerstone of any spiritual practice, but what we need to understand is that it is not ours to offer.
It is easy enough to say ‘I choose to forgive’ when we are slighted about someone or something we don’t know or care about. In the belief system that ‘everything that happens to us, happens for us’ it is much more difficult to wrap our minds around forgiveness when you bring atrocities into the mix: senseless murder, abuse, holocausts, accidental deaths… On a level we can’t comprehend, these did happen for us, and here is where we need to redefine forgiveness.
I feel like there is a general pull and overlying assumption that we need to love everything in order to heal. We don’t have to love it, or love someone, we just need to take the charge (our charge, our reaction) out of the situation and deal with it. In order to do that, we have to truly feel those ugly things that we’d rather throw under a blanket of ‘love and forgiveness.’
We need to accept that it happened and sometimes, in the case of very deep trauma, know that we may never understand a reason why. The ‘why’ is unnecessary.
As inquisitive, bright, delvers of our own psyche, we can drive ourselves bananas with ‘why.’ What if the ‘why’ no longer mattered? What if all you ever needed to do or know was that it was there for you, to grow you stronger, to stretch you to your most remarkable Self, and forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s only ever for you.
We need to own that any emotion present is for us, and only us… forgiveness happens only when we have the courage to face how we truly feel.
We can only be responsible for ourselves. In the most difficult and traumatic states I have seen, ironically enough, the forgiveness that most needs to happen is forgiveness of the self. We are much harder on ourselves for having allowed whatever happened, than even on the supposed perpetrator of said abuse, slight or attack.
There are times when it can be empowering (if safe) to contact or confront whomever is the object of your intended forgiveness. However all forgiveness has different levels of healing, and you do not need someone else’s participation to do your work. If anyone is in a space of insisting you need to hear them out for “your mutual” healing and understanding, that is more often than just another level of the mind/ego: look how great I am, that I am able to confront this situation, embrace its ickiness and release you into your freedom. Um, that’s a lovely suggestion, but everyone, please release people into their freedom on your own time. That’s a higher spiritual practice than dragging them out to a coffee shop and hearing what you think is wrong with them, just so we’re clear.
Healing and spiritual work don’t happen in a linear manner. So, go ahead, do your chosen healing voodoo with that person’s picture on your makeshift altar. We can intend, we can ask for forgiveness, and until we feel neutral, we keep asking. Healing is rarely a one shot deal.
We cannot muster forgiveness or love any more than we can sprout grapefruits from tomato seeds. These are gifts of Grace. They are little packaged miracles of fruited effort: the effort is the awareness, the fruits are the gift. You don’t produce the fruit, you only tow the hoe. Ya?
My interest has never been in “solving” this moment; in lightening it up or making it more palatable. My interest is and always has been for the overarching, inherent, hidden, muddied bliss that lies within us. That is not to be caught or achieved or attained—it is only ever to be discovered and released.
“Knowledge cannot be achieved from outside, it is always within you. Happiness cannot be achieved from outside, it is always within you. Purity and piety cannot be achieved from outside, They are always within you.” -Yogi Bhajan
Each place we hold on is putting a stopper on this inherent bliss.
Yes, our reaction is a choice.
Yes, our activities and how we respond and offer ourselves to the world must be conscious decisions that are in our hands as we fumble, stumble through it all.
But Love is not a choice; it is a benediction.
Be with what is. And then it will come.
Feb 9th + 10th, I am facilitating a two day course in NYC. Its sole purpose is to unearth this muck, face and ask for forgiveness so that we can awaken to our inherent bliss. Bring your pain, and drop it like it’s hot. Hope to see you.
This might seem off topic for me, since I would, never, ever ever claim to be any sort of chef. Particularly because I tend to be a persnickety foodie and have a discerning palate that annoyed my mother throughout my childhood. (What do you do when your 10 year old refuses to eat cold cuts? Oh, mom, I’m so sorry, thank you for putting up with me…)
Most seriously, I’ve been interested in nutrition since about 16 and remember going to the Whole Foods in college thinking: I wish I could buy stock in this; this is the future. Whole Foods wasn’t a public company then, nor did I have any money, but still, the interest had been birthed. Oh, if only!
I’ve done 7-day water fasts and 2-week pancha karmas in India. Juicing, macro, vegan, raw, paleo, food-combining, aruyveda, no fat, all fat, Mediterranean, bland congee, a dozen spicy master cleanses, you name it.
These days I am easier about food than I have ever been: I eat what I want. Nowadays that translates to primarily vegan, occasionally fish and greens are my #1 consumed food. I don’t do it because I’m so compassionate for little animals (although I do love the lil animals, don’t get me wrong) I do it because it makes me feel fantastic. Twice a year (ish) I will have a burger: either made with love by my fantastic friend Brian, or the $26 Minetta Tavern burger. I fully 1000% percent believe that the care that goes into your food preparation translates into how our bodies integrate it.
A little while back, certain Whole Foods across the country began displaying ANDI scores on each of their fruits and veggies. This stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index” and for all intents and purposes, tells you how awesome, or lack thereof, something is for you.
Kale is 1000 on the scale. The highest score, the winner, the superpower by far. Strawberries are the best of the fruits, paling in comparison by a mere 221. As soon as I started really seeing what was best for me, Kale became an almost daily addition to my diet.
The top 10:
Enough back story! Here’s how to do the simplest, most delish kale recipe of all time.
This is requested by my peeps whenever I’m supposed to bring something to a BBQ! The best part of it, is that it is super easy, kids love it and the sweetness takes off the bitterness of the kale. I have yet to come across someone who did NOT love it.
You need: (I use organic always if it’s available.)
- Kale, any amount
- Agave (preferably raw)
- Sea Salt (I use pink Himalayan)
- Olive Oil (preferably cold pressed, extra virgin)
- Flax seed (always ground; flax seed’s nutritional value is not released until ground.)
Using cooking shears (or regular scissors if ya ain’t got em) cut the kale into pieces; I discard the heavy ends and just used the leafier portions
Drain kale. Mix in bowl with squeeze of lemon, squirt of agave, dash of olive oil, sprinkle of sea salt and crop dust of flax seed. No exact amounts, just to taste, depending on how much kale you use.
That is it! Try it, it’s amazing. If I am making large portions, I will let the kale cool before mixing it all together. Be sure to drain the water off the leaves well with a salad spinner or paper towels. My ghetto option for a single portion: keep it in the silver metal steamer, close up the petals and shake like crazy over the sink. (We’re not fancy here, just healthy.)
I know this might have seemed off topic for a blog that’s about awakening. It’s all one thing baby, how you take care of one aspect of your life is how you take care of all aspects of your life. As the fantabulous Kris Carr would dub it: this is your ‘God Pod.’ Baby.
But don’t worry, amazing on topic posts are forthcoming, re: awakening… things that will produce this dialogue:
“oh my god, really? That’s amaaaaaazing.”
“ya, I know, totally, riiiiiiight!!!???”
Unless you are a straight man, in which case your response will be:
Eat kale! Be love!
“This would never happen in Europe. What is wrong with this country?”
He was speaking of course, of the atrocious massacre at Sandy Hook last week. Its horror stunned the nation. My father, having been born and spent a large portion of his life in Europe, was a man who barely watched television. Never when we were growing up. He adored art and culture and would have no idea who the Kardashians are, were someone to mention their name(s.)
He was right: this would never happen in Europe. What is wrong with us?
To pin this barbarism on the sick mind of one individual, is to deny that we are all connected. In order to understand what happened here, we have to accept some responsibility that our culture fosters such evil; that said sickness is an expression of who we are, as much as the heroic gestures of the teachers who gave their lives to save students is a part of who we are.
One of our problems, our addictions, is media. Soulness nonsense of pointless or dramatized violence masked as entertainment, packaged, sold and force fed to us through even airport TV monitors and backseat taxi televisions. It nearly impossible to escape in America; you have to choose, to effort, to escape it.
We don’t even realize how brainwashed we are. People leave the TV running all the time, as background noise. I go out of my way to not eat at a bar or restaurant that has a TV in it. This is very easy to do in downtown Manhattan; it’s more difficult uptown. In the rest of the country? It’s near impossible. Why? Because having a huge flatscreen is something we are accustomed to seeing. We have no idea how to be quiet and sit with ourselves.
Perhaps you are familiar with the most popular Power Rangers, a show aimed at 9 year olds. Forget Sesame Street or Sponge Bob even for young children; what is considered appropriate is a line smeared by convenience, overlooked by overworked and over tired parents.
“The National Coalition on Television Violence (NCTV), which has analyzed the violence in TV programs since 1980, has stated that “The Power Rangers” is the most violent children’s program it has ever studied, averaging 211 violent acts per hour (Kiesewetter, 1993). The NCTV has also reported that most of the aggression in the show is severe, and the sort that would be classified as hostile rather than instrumental (e.g. Feshbach, 1970), that is, most of the violence in the show is intended to harm or kill another character.
Because the Power Rangers are the heroes and “good guys” of the program, their high prestige and status could increase children’s imitation of their behaviors.” -C.J. Boyatzis, G.M. Matillo, & K.M. Nesbitt, California State University
That study was in 1995. A generation ago. It has only gotten worse. That is one children’s show. Start analyzing video games, adult television and film and it’s only more disheartening.
We have become anesthetized to violence in this country.
This past week, what was also disturbing, as I was wading through scrolls of facebook commentary that day (outrage, sadness in the aftermath of the massacre,) were comments posted by those oblivious to the carnage. Even if one is against gun control, or feels entirely removed from the tragedy, we are lacking at the core a basic awareness of the appropriate reverence of these occurrences and their dark mark on the face of our nation. America mourns, and someone is posting with wild positivity on a seminar or drunken holiday party photos—it’s embarrassing that we don’t feel, if at not the very least a connection, at least a diplomatic understanding that others are suffering.
How about this ridiculousness: A serious of violent tweets berating Obama for cutting into football time with a memorial speech. I cannot bring myself to quote it: Click the link: it’s beyond embarrassing, it’s disgusting.
America, as a nation, lacks awareness. We have been dumbing ourselves down to a true experience of reality. We don’t even know what that means, it is time to WAKE UP.
When I returned from my first stint in India, which had stretched to 6 months in a pre-facebook age of certainly less technology than these days, I went to my gym at the time: a posh club in the West Village, and promptly cancelled my membership after one workout. The TVs, constant music blaring, ongoing cacophony of too loud sights and sounds, were too much for my nervous system at the time. It physically hurt to be there; it was an assault on my senses after a 6 month gentle silence of 3:30am rising. Half a year earlier, I would not have been able to recognize the effect on my physiology in the course of an average day.
Shortly after this time, I took a spiritual course where we were to go 12 weeks on a media fast. No TV, no papers, no online anything. News was garnered from what you heard from other people, or saw on the front page of the papers, walking down the street. I have a loud mouth and love to be debate; in a previous chapter of my life: obsessed and vociferous about politics. To be able to let that go and realize how unnecessary the media was in my life was absolutely freeing. How I was still able to learn about world events, and when I wanted to go deeper into a subject, I could choose to go find out more information about it.
I am not saying ALL media is evil, but there needs to be a conversation that limits should be drawn. I haven’t had TV for almost a decade, but I am just as addicted to Homeland as the rest of the country. A friend was shocked that I loved Skyfall, the latest Bond film. Of course I loved it—Sam Medes directed it, who is brilliant and soulful. It was exciting and tasteful. Our innate American problem is we always think more is better and that constant entertainment is as much an inalienable right as the right to bear arms.
This week is, albeit arguably, one of the most, if not the most, important in the history of humanity. December 21, 2012 is a shift from a thousands year cycle from the Kali (iron) Age to the Satya (golden) age. What does that mean?
It means we are about to understand that that still small voice is our inherent majesty. People are going to be able to hear that voice, have a connection to each other and the universe like never before, and we will slowly transition to an age where Sandy Hook could never happen.
It’s possible, but it will take time, and awareness.
You can’t hear the voice if there is something always on in the background.
We will only ever have peace in the world when we have peace in our individual hearts. The latter begets the former.
We must petition away, rise up, have a voice, and in equal, if not greater measure:
Turn it off, shush up for a minute, and go within. That’s where the power is to change the world.
Om shanti shanti shanti.
Oh, and please sign this if you haven’t done so already: