Fire and Grace

Me and Suzanne Sterling 2012

As you know, I was blessed with another opportunity to study with Suzanne Sterling. I had the chance to study with her last year, and honestly, that workshop changed my life. This year, it was even BETTER!

There was singing, clapping, yoga, ecstatic dance, hugs, tears, and an amazing sense of community and bonding. Just letting go and being free was amazing. So much was moved in me this weekend. I came out buzzing, feeling remarkably lighter and freer. And my dreams were super vivid last night. Certain things I needed to let go of–I let go of them in my dreams. That’s not to say that something won’t trigger me again, but for now, I’m liberated of those bad feelings and I’m going to bask in it while it lasts!

She talked a lot about shatki: the yoga of sound. About how we, as humans, are self-wired for expression. In just about every non-westernized country, people are greeted with song and dance. Doesn’t matter if you speak the same language or not. People are united through music.

We’re always trying to regulate our nervous systems because we want to feel good. It’s why people eat chocolate cake, or smoke marijuana. And we’re hard wired to move trauma through our systems through expression. If you DON’T move that trauma, disease takes hold. In this country, we’re not really allowed to feel our traumas. We’re expected to do the “spiritual bypass” thing–locking the trauma away and being “fine.”

NO BUENO, FOLKS.

As Suzanne said, you need to do the “fuck you” before you can say “I forgive you.” You gotta go to those uncomfortable places and move it out. Dance with it–you’re always working. But you have to move it so it won’t become stagnant and more harmful.

Sound is a PHYSICAL thing. You can SHIFT a situation with sound! Sound affects respiration, heart rate, brain waves, and consciousness. We’re affected by sounds we can’t even hear. Shabda, yoga of the word, is immensely powerful. Mantras are powerful and can stay true or become true. They invoke a certain consciousness. So… let your mantras bring you abundance and light and love! Don’t say things to yourself like “You’re an idiot” or “You suck, you’ll never amount to anything.” Those are mantras and they’re very real, and they will manifest. Everything we say is out there. And once you admit to the universe that you’re ready for something, it will come. I have experienced this myself. Back in April of 2002, I said out loud “I wouldn’t mind becoming pregnant.” I kid you not, two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with Aidan. The universe heard that and RAN WITH IT. So universe? I’d love my writing discipline back please and thank you. Still dreaming of hitting that NYT Bestseller list someday…..

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Imitation of Life, the second one. The maid, Annie, says “There’s no shame in looking prosperous. It just shows the good Lord you’re ready when He is.”

Doing yoga has made me WAY more sensitive to sound and the things that affect my environment. I do NOT like bars anymore. Too assaulting for me. Adam loves the show Breaking Bad, but I can’t watch it. Too much screaming. ANYthing with terrified or tortured screaming in it really affects me and I don’t like being exposed to it. I just unfollowed someone on tumblr for posting too many pictures of violence and blood. She can post whatever she likes. I don’t need to see it. Hammering, banging, pounding. All those sounds are so jarring to me and I just can’t stand them anymore. I don’t like any violent sound. But I also hate the sound of people chewing and people walking in shoes on hard floors. I don’t know what that says about me, but there you go.

The yoga practices were way more vigorous than I remembered, but that’s OK. I was able to keep up. I must have done well over 100 chantarungas this weekend. I know for an Ashtanga yogi, that’s nothing (they do hundreds in a single practice probably), but for me, that’s a lot! I feel much stronger now. And I welcomed the challenge. I want arms like Gabby Douglas. Those muscles aren’t going to get defined by themselves. ;)

Pushing myself to my edge–that place where there is sensation but not pain–is how I’m going to grow. And doing loads of chatarungas (safely, of course) and getting defined arms is just a physical manifestation of this practice. It works in life transformation as well. My authentic truth is finding it a bit easier to breathe tonight, which is wonderful because I’ve been tamping it down for many, many years. I feel the seeds of Suzanne’s teaching already working in me. My life is already being transformed. It feels great to surrender to it.

Go into the places that are uncomfortable.
Breathe there.
See what happens.

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