Hold Me Sweetly

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Again, I am drinking my Yogi brand tea for Throat comfort, and again I am reminded that the best things come in small packages.

“Trust creates peace”

I have so many people mistrusting me lately for reasons based in their own fears. I realize now it was their own fears, but in the heat of the fire, I was panicked, unsure, anxious, doubting myself, which only played into their view (projection) of me. I alleviated the worst of it yesterday, and today was full of so many wonderful affirmations from professionals, friends, and strangers alike that I am the good person I thought, and not the monster these people made me out to be.

If trust creates peace, then mistrust creates hell, for everyone involved. Trust has to also include trust in yourself. Trust in yourself really requires trust in something larger than you. Call it what you want, but being able to trust that things are truly happening as they need to is not easy. It takes surrender.

I received a healing from my friend today, who used to train in Sufi healings, and it was interesting what came up. Not surprising, but interesting.  He told me to drop into my heart, and I honestly didn’t know what that meant. I still don’t, but I thought about opening, breathing into my heart, etc. At first, lights behind my eyes were billowing in and out, in the shape of a heart, and purple even. Then, I tried to envision my physical self, with the area of my heart expanding with each breath, and in my mind’s eye, that area was caved in. It just wouldn’t budge and expand.

From there, my body felt very large and heavy, like I was inside a giant rock, but it didn’t bother me, and I didn’t feel stifled. I transitioned out of that into something else…so much I forget it all. At one point, my friend told me to ‘feel completely supported’, and I was instantly brought back to one of the darkest, most challenging times in my life. It was one of the nights shortly before I gave up my dream of dance.

I had a full scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School, but I didn’t have any way to support myself. My body was shutting down. My hips were so tight and painful that I sat out of many classes. I never went to anyone for help. I called up my pilates instructor one night in desperation to alleviate some of the tightness and pain so I could take class.

She had me lie down on the floor of my little basement room and put my legs up the wall. ‘Now, let the floor completely support you. You don’t have to hold yourself. Feel completely supported.’  And as the floor came to meet my body and hold me, I broke down. Like a little girl running to her mom’s embrace, I sobbed. I had been holding my pride, holding my life together, holding in my hurt and pain, and my body reflected it. I wasn’t even able to trust that the ground beneath me would support me.

Today was a reminder to trust that the world around me will hold me. I need not resist or hold or brace against anything. That is lack of trust in everything in the world, which is really all one breathing soul with limitless manifestations. How can I not trust that which is of me? When I start hurting and feeling like things aren’t going well, that somehow I am not a part of this amazing world of peace and light, I will PAUSE, FEEL the earth and the space around me, SURRENDER to the moment, and be THANKFUL for this universe that holds me so sweetly.

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Staying Open

Intimate relationships bring out the best and the worst in people. It is where you have been most vulnerable, hurt the worst, and where we tend to find ourselves reacting to emotions brought up in past relationships. It is scary being vulnerable, for there is where you can get hurt. There, you lie naked to the one you open to. You offer yourself in love with the risk that they won’t accept you.

I find myself feeling very vulnerable at some point in relationships as I open myself up. At that point, I have had some people turn away. It is really hard not to take it personally, not to wonder what is wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with anyone. The people I chose to open to are hurt from prior relationships with women who manipulated them. They aren’t ready to feel vulnerable. I have been reading many excerpts by Ram Dass, and the last paragraph of this excerpt really hit home for me.

Every time you trade in a partner, you realize that there’s no good or bad about it.  I’m not talking good or bad about this.

But you begin to see how you keep coming to the same place in relationships, and then you tend to stop.  Because it gets too heavy.  Because your identity gets threatened too much.  For the relationship to move to the next level of truth requires an opening and a vulnerability that you’re not quite ready to make.  And so you entrench, you retrench, you pull back and then you start to judge and push away and then you move to the next one.  And then you have the rush of the openness and then the same thing starts to happen.  And so you keep saying “Where am I going to find the one when this doesn’t happen?”  And it will only happen when it doesn’t happen in you.  When you start to take and watch the stuff and get quiet enough inside yourself, so you can take that process as it’s happening and start to work with it.  And keep coming back to living truth in yourself or the other person even though it’s scary and hard.’

Still Waters Run Deep

Don’t let the Bunny reference fool you.

The smile, humor, and hop in the step are the surface of the lake. When the waters are disturbed at any level, the surface reflects, but does not mirror, the magnitude of the disturbance.

I am capable.

Of immense strength and resolve, but also intense vulnerability and surrender.

Of undying love and devotion, but also absolute indifference.

Of exalted joy, yet also debilitating despair.

Of raging fury, yet utmost compassion.

Finding that balance between the two extremes is a daily struggle, but also a perpetual joy, for it is my awareness and attention to finding that balance that teach me so much about myself, and about others.

I am capable.

Of navigating the deep waters, for my emotions are my reflection of all that lies deep in my soul.

Surreality

What do vivid dreams mean? I went to TEDxMaui tonight, and I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Jacob Lieberman. He spoke with such clarity, both calm and passionate at the same time. He talked about a dream he had where he could see himself sleeping and he then saw every detail of a speech he was to give a year later. The speech happened just like in his dream, without his intervention.

It was timely, considering the night before, I had one of the weirdest dream nights ever. I was sleeping with my partner, but I remember several instances of interacting with him, and I couldn’t tell if they were real or not. Even upon waking, I couldn’t remember what was real. This is why. At one point, I was lying on my back, and he put his hand gently on the crown of my head. Under his touch, my head became hot, my mind envisioning scarlet red. I felt myself relaxing into the sensation, and then he gently put one finger on the back of my head, just behind and below the crown. I can’t describe the energy shift, but I saw the room, and I saw the glowing outline of a white flower in my field of vision. At the same time, I froze.  I went from blissful relaxation to utter panic. I couldn’t inhale, and I couldn’t move. Inside, I was crying “Help me! Help me! Oh God, please help me!”, but no movement of my body, my arms, nor my lungs to be able to say anything. Meanwhile, this white flower is forever in my vision, which couldn’t change. My eyes couldn’t move. NOTHING in my body responded to my mental orders. It lasted what seemed like an eternity. HELPLESS, lying right next to someone who had no idea what was happening, and I couldn’t move my hand the few inches it would have taken to grab his attention. HELPLESS. I was suffocating. When I thought I would pass out from lack of oxygen or outright fear, I gasped and my whole body shuddered. I felt such relief to be able to breathe, that I didn’t dwell on it. I was just so happy to be able to move and feel my lungs fill with air. I literally shook it off, and continued on my dreams, or maybe it was reality. I don’t even know if me sitting up and looking at the clock was real or not. I asked my partner the next morning if he put his hand on my head, which he said he did, but he didn’t remember me shaking my head or gasping. That sensation, that flower, the room was all too real. The panic, the inability to breathe, the absolute shudder of my soul as I was somehow released from the prison of paralysis sticks with me. It was too real.

Thanks Audrey

English: Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn ...

Audrey Hepburn

I just saw this quote, which I have seen before, but I want to adjust it a bit:

BEFORE

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others, for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” -Audrey Hepburn

AFTER

“For beautiful eyes, SEE the DIVINE in others, for beautiful lips, speak only LOVING TRUTH; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are A DIVINE BEING.” -Amy Baker

What is the Spirit of Maui?

Deutsch: Sonnenuntergang bei Kihei (Maui/Hawaii)

Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

How would you describe or define the Maui Spirit?

We all know Maui is special and attracts many amazing people.

So, tell me please, how do you describe (in one sentence or one word) the island of Maui, no ka oi?

333/333- Coming Full Circle

With the final post of my 333 project coming up, I clicked through each and every post and was surprised at the evolution of my posts, and of my life, my focus. While riding my bike that week, I thought of all that has happened over the past two years since I started the project, and I had the complete blog all in my head. It was fabulous (or so I thought at least), but once I stopped spinning, the thoughts stopped flowing, and it wasn’t long before they trickled away. I have bits and pieces in my mind, and I scribbled down some thoughts while with a friend, but I can’t find that paper. C’est la vie. Let’s see what happens.

Beginning

I should probably talk again about what the 333 project was based on. Many friends of mine were doing 365 projects, where you post a pic a day. I liked the idea, but missed the start of the year, so I decided I could do a 333 project based on that many days in the year left, as well as 3 being my favorite number. My posts had to do with the numbers 3, 6, or 9 either literally or figuratively. If you want a quick background, please read my post HERE about the significance of the numbers. I highly recommend this, or the rest won’t make sense.

Middle

Reflecting on the number 3, and how it has played in my life since February, 2010, I see many births, beginnings, creation. Some of them were wonderful, some of them very painful. Many of them came out of loss and death, which is embodied in the number 9.

My project itself was born out of the ending of a very special relationship, which led me to focus in more on myself and start fresh and redefine myself. (Let me just add that going back and reading my old blogs is a trip!)  Here is when I made the commitment to myself.

10-17-09 symbolized for me a new beginning in my relationships with Myself and everyone I interact with. It symbolized a letting go of destructive views and behaviors and an embracing of a life based first and foremost on love.

And during my project, an old love was being rekindled and fostered. In fact, it was our third time dating since we we were 15. Heck, we even fell in love in our 15th year (1 + 5=6). Don’t they say third time is a charm?

I experienced the death of two family members, the cancellation of a very exciting trip to Nice, and received notice that I had not matched for a pharmacy residency all within two months.  The death of my grandmother brought together 3 generations of women, which was a beautiful reconnection. We all shared our love (6) while we mourned the loss of our matron (9), and this allowed us to move on and start again (3). My daughter’s father came back in the picture after 11 years, which was, and is, bittersweet. I finished up ten years of college upon graduating with my Doctor of Pharmacy, and I moved with my daughter to Maui, an island way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Talk about a big change! I was again ready to treat myself better. The relationship I had been in all this time ended, and I found myself feeling strong, but a bit lost. I started and ended a pharmacy residency, and now I am starting my own business. I also have reached a new phase in my life, which is only just beginning to unfold.

Now is when I wonder if I do a timeline or go through each category? Everything ties into itself, with 3, 6 and 9 working together in a cycle. So, I think I will just work on reflection, rather than recounting things. Let’s start with today…..

12/18/11

Reading “The Wisdom of Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras” by Ravi Ravindra, I found myself with a deeper understanding than in prior times. Before I could comprehend the philosophy of it, but now I can say that I have embodied just the beginnings of some of the first chapters.

I feel that I have learned to let go of a lot and flow more with the cycle of death and birth, and I have accomplished this through love. When I made that commitment to myself in October of 2009 (see above), it was powerful. It started with loving myself. I had to learn to love myself first and forgive myself for any mistakes I had made. Flowing with love requires letting go of attachments. In the yoga sutras, vairagya is the concept of non-attachment and brings freedom from personal desire. “This includes desire for salvation or enlightenment, as well as the desire for great knowledge or wonderful experiences.” My journey in love and relationships has led me to deal with my attachments to certain things, and to realize the pain these attachments cause. One by one, I identify an attachment, dive into it to find the root, and pull the plug, letting the pool drain away. My motivation for this self-reflection has been freedom from the pain that I knew I was causing myself. Yet, it has taken me on a path much wider and more beautiful than I imagined, for I never viewed the path, never projected what I thought it would be like. I was going into the unknown, and I simply knew it would be better than what I had been experiencing. Life has shown me that I can’t know the future, and to project actually prevents me from experiencing the Real, which may be oh so much nicer than what I can imagine.

In the book, vairagya is “freedom from myself, the self which is constituted by all my past actions, fears, desires, ambitions. It is a dying to myself.” I feel that is what I am working toward. I was a dancer. I still am, but not in action. To call myself a dancer is to identify with certain ways of being. After 10 years of college and several years of triathlon, I have realized that movement is what moves me. It’s all a dance, an internal dance with one’s self. It is a constant meeting of doubts and insecurities, and ideally a spinning away of those feelings and thoughts, leading to a lightness, an elevation of spirit within. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of the beauty of the lifting of the soul in movement. There, right there, is an attachment to past feelings, and that’s okay, for now.

From the book on dying to myself:

“We are like

A bird in a cage.

It’s door wide open.

With no practice in flying,

sitting in the cage,

composing an ode

To freedom.”

How sad to have the ability to fly, but be so settled in what we DO know that we never try.

I have always felt there is something very powerful within me, a certain “greatness”. I never dared to say this to anyone, for it may come across as pompous. This quote from Krishnamurti, one of my favorites, explains what I have sensed all my life but denied until recently.

“To be absolutely nothing is to be beyond measure.” (Journal, p. 73)

To be empty is to be full. When you let go of what you “know”, you make room for the Real. When riding my bike that day that I planned this post, I had a feeling of being a channel of positive energy. What you put out in the world comes back to you, and what you put out in the world comes from others. When you channel positive energy, you are simply a receiver. Love moves through you. It is no longer just from you to others. It is boundless, for you accept love from others and give it freely. Like the torus, it is a constant flow, and the more you are empty and can let go of attachment to love and what you “know” love to be, the more love you have in your life. I had a day recently where the love was running so freely through me, that everything glowed. Everything was vibrant and beautiful, and my skin prickled with calm excitement. I was an open channel and would have kissed any of my dear friends and let them know how beautiful they are.

The End? No, for that is only the opening for another beginning……

“To be absolutely nothing is to be beyond measure.”

By letting go of the image I had built of myself in others’ eyes, and letting go of what I thought I once was, I am allowing myself to be me, truly me. I have been taking more yoga and putting my bike aside, for my body and mind are wanting more movement. I recently decided I want to dance again, to try any and all movement possibilities available to me. Right when I decided that, I was told of a dance class being offered just one night by some women from Phoenix. It was three classes rolled into one: classical jazz, hip-hop, and modern/contemporary. I was ecstatic to realize that my body was strong enough (thank you yoga!) to fully express and go into the movements with conviction. My training did not fail me. It’s all there. All those years of sweat, tears, dedication, and LOVE of movement are in my cells, in my heart. My energy level was so high afterward, I can’t describe the joy I felt to dance again, to truly move through the space within me and within the room. I had ideas of what I would like to do with my experience, which I will save for later.

Right now, I am letting go so that I can fly. I am learning to trust myself and let myself fly. No longer composing that ode to freedom. The door is wide open, and with the new year, I am taking that leap of faith into the beautiful unknown. Like my friend TJ Frank said, “In Faith, No Fear”.

Have You Been Vulnerable Today?

I have seen this video from TedX before, and I may have shared it before, but I felt it worth sharing again. Especially during the holidaze, when so many family issues come to the surface, this is a great reminder and eye opener. I have struggled for a long time to feel the comfort with vulnerability Brene Brown speaks of in this video. It has been a slow process. I recently hung out with a new friend who is on the cusp of a new outlook on life, one step closer to living his truth. I told him why I now feel so emotionally and mentally secure, which is because I had a nervous breakdown in 2008, and I vowed NEVER, EVER to let myself get that way again. After sharing that, I was driving away, and I was overwhelmed with the realization of how far I have come. The tears welled up, which confused me, but I realized that it’s a good thing. I am okay with me, and I am proud of how much I have let go. I have a long way to go, but I have turned my life around for the better. Enjoy this video. Share it. Digest it. Watch it as many times as you care to. Then watch the second one. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Much love, Me.

When Worlds Collide

Sometimes, serendipity works in the most amazing ways. Tonight, all my worlds collided. I have been wanting to connect with more people who practice yoga, are spiritually focused, and eat healthy…really healthy, not just making sure you get enough fruits and vegetables. I have been eating more raw foods and noticing a difference, my yoga helps ….everything, and incorporating it into my life has actually made me look visibly younger to people around me. But I digress…

So, it all started with a guy that I had randomly met at Coffee Roasters back in September I think. He seemed struck by me and asked if he could call me some time. I said yes, but to wait until my residency was over in October. Just too much going on. Well, that time came and went, and I wasn’t surprised not to hear from him. That’s a long time to wait. BUT, I saw him at the world premier of Thrive, so I made sure to say HI. Within a few days, we were in contact, and he invited me to go with him to a party in Makena. He wasn’t sure everyone that would be there, and I just decided to dress like all islanders do…casual. I made sure to not wear anything too…appealing. I wasn’t sure who I would meet, and I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. So, he picked me up right on time, and we went out into the sunset.  It took about ten minutes to get pitch black, and we found ourselves lost in Makena. We drove all the way to La Perouse and back while he tried to remember where this place was. He had been there just once before. No worries, it was all an adventure in my mind. We finally found it, along with several others, but the gate was closed. A couple of fashionably dressed, and quite appealing, women came up and introduced themselves to me. Evidently, I could have worn whatever my heart desired that night, but it was all good. The owner came down to open the gate, and all I could see was his white shirt in the dark. Once the gate was opened, we all entered, and I tried to tell the owner that Jeff (my “date”) was getting something out of his truck, but he had quietly retreated already, as did all the others. We walked carefully up a dark driveway using my cell phone for light. I don’t have that fancy flashlight app figured out, so I had to hit the button every 10 seconds or so to turn the light back on. It was eerie and beautiful, with trees arching over us and the stars sparkling above.

I could tell already that this was a very special crowd. Jeff had told me there would be movers and shakers there, but he didn’t tell me of what kind.

The house was bright and open. I left my shoes in the entry, and as soon as I entered the kitchen, there he was. Jorge, the owner of the house, very polished with his tan skin, bald head, and nicely ironed white button-down shirt. Yogi style, not the stuffy office type of shirt. I knew exactly who he was, and I was surprised at how different he looked than I remembered. I last saw him in a yoga class, but I really remembered seeing him on a beach I was frequenting. He goes there quite often, and actually lives very close to it, and he would hang out with many of the same people, playing  frisbee, or hitting a ping pong ball back and forth, or volleying a soccer ball with someone. He was playful, yet so balanced and mellow. You could tell just by looking at him that he was an influential man, and he intrigued me. I wanted to get to know more about him, and suddenly I was in his home among several of his friends. No need to describe the house, other than it was wood and tile, the walls moved to the side to open up everything to the outside, the furniture had been moved outside, and Buddha was prominently situated in the room, bigger than life. Amazingly classy, clean, romantic, elegant.

While taking my wine bottles to the table outside, I was approached by none other than Bear, whom I had met two days prior on my bike ride. Go figure! He cleaned up quite well! I knew he was special, and seeing him in this group, it was confirmed. After a bit, and more people arriving, a man with a very large salad walked in. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. He had a playful look about him, with sparkling eyes that made you wonder what wonderful adventures he could take you on, and his hair curled out a bit on the side in a boyish way. He didn’t lack in masculinity though, quite the contrary. I approached him, and he reminded me that we met at my house a while back. He was the agent that helped my landlord buy the house I live in. I remember thinking when I met him that he, too, had something very special about him, and that I wanted to see him again.  He had picked all the salad from his garden, including the giant avocado in his hand. He was worried the salad might be too spicy, which seemed odd, as it had no dressing on it. He looked around in the salad, then picked out what looked like arugula for me to taste. It was as spicy as wasabi! I mean, this little leaf literally popped with flavor. Good think I got to try that, because the salad didn’t last long enough for me to go back and get some.

I hit it off with a girl named Petra there, who lives out past Hana and grows her own food. She literally glowed with health and vigor! What a beautiful person to be around. Eventually, I met Kevin, a naturopathic doctor. I loved hearing about what he does, and it was refreshing to talk with someone who understands the scientific lingo, as well as the problems when East meets West in medicine. He has found a way to combine the two, but most people don’t breech that. I want to, but I feel so far behind everyone else I meet. One must start somewhere. Kevin just happens to be a cyclist too, so we agreed to find a time to ride together.

I was surrounded by amazing people I resonated with, and when that happens, lights shimmer, time drifts away, eyes sparkle, and you can see and feel the energy all around you and those you come in contact with. I left that evening feeling so alive, invigorated, and ready to move on in the next phase of my life.

 

3D

I just didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to roll out of bed at 4:30am to prep for a ride leaving from Twin Falls at 6:30. Don’t get me wrong. I love my cycling buddies, and I love the ride to Hana, but it is just too far that early in the morning. Instead, I decided to do what my body needs, and that is yoga. Man, how I have missed yoga! It is as close to my true passion as I can get. My passion was dance, but really my passion is movement. Whatever form that may be. I do prefer to move in 3D though, versus the uniplanar expression of running and cycling. That just gets old after awhile. You don’t have the same internal depth and expression, and it’s hard to let your body BE when you are falling off the pace line in a crazy headwind. Unlike the Amy of past, I just am not into pushing 24/7 anymore. Go figure. Does that mean I am getting old? Nope. Just more into taking care of myself than showing to the world I can do whatever I set my mind to. I proved that already. No more proving. Just LIVING.