I have a confession to make: my personal physical practice fell off. Rolling out the mat and dancing with my breath became nonexistent for me for about two months. It all started shortly before leaving in October. The week leading up to my trip to Cuba was just too busy. Cuba was full to the brim with other kinds of magical happenings and practices and upon my return I was different. I felt vulnerable and sensitive and the last thing I wanted to do was roll out my mat. My life changed on that trip. While my eyes were opened to a new vantage point, I became really protective of my energy and space in a brand new way. Instead of unfolding on the mat, I wanted to recoil. There was absolutely nothing wrong with that – regardless of how many people tried to make me feel like there was – yet I knew I couldn’t stay in that space for long.
But let's talk about how not moving my body brought about a lot of stagnation into my life – my thoughts became fixated on things, my appetite dwindled, my creativity ran dry. My breath became stale. I found myself not thinking clearly and allowing for frustration to run through my mind for too long. I knew I needed to move. I knew I needed to breath, to twist, to sweat, to surrender. It hurt when I got back on the mat cause it had been too long and it's cold and my bones hate the cold. In the end my body thanked me. My mind felt like I had finally given it the deep cleaning it had been begging for. That's the beauty of the mat; it will always welcome you back home.
I closed out my yoga classes with a simple message this year: Goodbye 2018, Thank You. It's important to find gratitude for the shit that tests us. It's important to show reverence for the things that fill us up with love. In Ifa there are two concepts called ire and osogbo, which are blessings and misfortunes, respectively. This is not a dualistic concept. I know it can be hard for us to think, see and experience life beyond the dualistic nature of good/bad, right/wrong, etc but if we ever want to taste freedom we have to try to break from this habit. This bomb book I've been reading called "Osogbo: Speaking to the Spirits of Misfortune" by Ocha'ni Lele says:
Eurocentric concepts of balance are easily refuted simply by observing the natural world: a tree might create 1,000 seeds, with each seed scattered to the four corners of the earth, but only one or two will settle in soil loose enough and fertile enough to grow without intervention. This is not evil; this is nature, and it happens as a result of the interaction of iré and osogbo. The earth re volves around the sun, with nights growing longer and days growing shorter (and vice versa), with both sunrise and sunset upsetting the balance between night and day. This is not evil; this is nature, and, again, it happens as a result of the interaction of iré and osogbo.
We've made it to the winter solstice, now the days begin to grow longer again and the nights shorter. It's the rhythm of life we are all so used to, yet seem to forget. We close out another year, we usher in feelings of potential and possibility with 2019 on the horizon. Tomorrow we welcome the full moon in Cancer, who is asking us to realign with what we love, to release whatever is stopping us from feeling the freedom of living in and through love. But, how? more from Ocha'ni Lele:
And while nature is self-correcting, humans are not. Eventually, the lengthening and shortening of the days and nights results in an equinox; in this, nature corrects itself. The one or two seeds that find soil in which to root grow into trees creating 1,000 more seeds; again, nature corrects itself. This is not so with human nature. Self-correction is a product of our intelligence and free will; instead of being buffeted or nurtured by cosmologic forces, we move within them and manipulate the world around us according to our skills, abilities, and desires. The more we manipulate our lives and our environment, the further out of alignment with the natural world around us we become.
Moving about our life in alignment with the world is using our divine intelligence in one of the best ways possible. I have found that swaying with the rhythm of the earth has become easier when I stay rooted and grounded in what I call my pillars – my core values. My core values create the foundation of not only who I am but also how I move in the physical world and how I relate to people. Faith is a huge one. The Bhagavad Gita talks about it through a concept called shraddha "that which is placed in the heart: all the beliefs we hold so deeply. Our lives are an eloquent expression of our [shraddha]".
Protect your energy & space. Find and use discernment.
Move from your center –
figure out your pillars.
Stay rooted in your shraddha.
Thank 2018 for all it gave you, for all it gave to us as a society at large. For the ways we are all awakening individually and collectively. Turn up this last week. Turn down this week. Do whatever you want to do, with whomever you want to do it with but just promise me that you'll do it with so much love and joy. As for me, I'll be finding peace and joy cultivating my home into the space I have always envisioned - details you get to find out in 2019!
I'll leave you with one more holiday gift: my 2018 recap playlist from Spotify & the playlist from my last class of the year.