I like the word practice. It means still working at, doing, learning, not done with. The practice of yoga is something I began in 2012. It is one of the top two decisions of my life; the other was Jill who left her body in 2011. I have gotten “good” at yoga and will participate in a teacher training sometime this year so I can begin leading practices. It feels like it is on my path. It’s interesting that anything that is a practice is something that requires daily dedication, mindfulness, heartfulness, awareness, willingness to keep trying, and “failing and succeeding” albeit I often hear in yoga practice that the beauty of falling is getting back up. I agree. Take note of other areas also labeled as practice; law, medicine, religion, karate… I once wrote a piece title “Life’s Yoga, A Practice Of Being” about the dedication required to heal emotional wounds and to learn to let go of patterns that no longer serves you.
Well what I want to know is do you practice life? Do you have a daily dedication to mindfulness, heartfulness, awareness, and non judgment? How is your life? Are you living peaceful and content or existing dramaful and worried? Do you think that by merely changing thought patterns or eating habits or adding exercise or prayer or affirmations that everything will get better? If that were true then the world would be a different place wouldn’t it? A better job or haircut hasn’t done it either, right? There isn’t any external fix for an internal emotional scar and you can’t think your way to happiness and peace. A white knuckle approach to your existence will not create peace and contentment. It will create temporary distractions to your embodied pains and sadness. Do you worry, are you always thinking, is your mind restless and your body always needing a fix? Did you give up one temporary distraction for another; booze for attention, for sex, for yoga, for running a marathon, for religion, for money, for Facebook likes or comments…….? Is your heart and spirit crying for something that you desperately want to fix but can’t seem to find the “answer”? These are all signals from your guides (angels, higher self, god….) that perhaps it’s time to make a dynamic shift from existing to living and that the only way to do so is by beginning your practice of life. Life’s practice is just that, a practice. And it requires your willingness to learn a new way of being, to stop thinking your way through, and instead feeling your way through.
I remember how terrified I was of everything. I wanted to be liked, approved of, noticed, have a lot of money, and most of all not feel all my sadness I had been carrying around my entire existence since birth like a leadened cloak on my back. The thought of feeling my sadness scared me so much that I did everything to avoid it. Drugs, alcohol, sex, work…. anything to not acknowledge my pains that self perpetuated more pain through misdirection. Even in all my years with Jill I wasn’t peaceful and content. I knew great love with her but was unable to truly and healthily participate in our relationship of it because I was carrying all my unresolved baggage around with me and she had hers as well. We are best friends and soul mates and we still had our own life scripts to play out.
After Jillie left her body I became so broken and at the very bottom of my being that I could no longer contain my pains in this vessel (they wanted out) so I went back to drugs and alcohol and suicide thoughts as well for awhile until at some point I decided that I wanted out of these self imposed chains that were killing me. It was at that point that I began the practice of life. It wasn’t neat or pretty or easy in any way and I spent many days and weeks on the kitchen floor sobbing at all my loss and sadness and abandonment. But I will tell you that I would do it all over again if necessary so as to know the peace that is me now. No more worries or fears of any sort. I am like a lily pad on the water; no matter how much the waters churn up and down and around I float without permanent disruption. Everything I write is everything that I practice and know and after a certain point in your own life practice the practice of practice becomes less necessary because the triggers that once held you hostage and misled your life are no longer there. Perhaps you’ll notice this one day yourself.
The practice of life begins with breathing and noticing. Take notice of when your mind is noisy and you are constantly thinking, worrying, or obsessing about something and then you suddenly take a gasp of breath or say just let me catch my breath. When you are in your head you are not breathing. Don’t judge yourself for this, just notice it. By beginning to notice your patterns you can recognize when you are in your head and playing that same old tape and repeating the same pattern in a different color. All your childhood patterns are still present in your adult body and your attachment and reactivity are programmed into your psyche which is there to keep you out of your heart space. Your heart knows love and peace, which is its natural state. But your mind (ego) knows drama and chaos and wants to keep you reeling through your existence. Begin to notice how you make decisions. Do you feel one way but instead listen to the noise in your mind and decide counter intuitively? Perhaps it’s time to begin to feel your way through decisions. Your mind has many choices about something but your heart always knows the one true decision. As I’ve written before, you know when you meet someone and instantly your hairs stand up on your neck literally or energetically but your mind says give him or her a chance, or you need the money, or ……. And afterwards when it doesn’t work out you say “I knew it!” That is it. Heart centered guidance is always the choice because it is in alignment with your guides and the flow of life.
The next time you find yourself having to make a decision stop, pause, take a breath and feel into it. See what your heart and gut are telling you and follow it. Don’t worry about what may or may not be the result and just follow your guidance. This is a beginning to life practice and it stems from your breath which emanates from your heart space. Close your eyes and through your nose slowly inhale and pause at the top and then slowly exhale; three times. Wishing you peace, love, friendship, and joy.