February brings a lot of things - Black Excellence/HisHerstory/Future Month, the release of the Black Panthers movie, the commercialized celebration of love & also the chance to dive back into the Bhakti Sutras at the studio I teach at in SF. If the word bhakti is new to you, bhakti yoga is a yogic path of spiritual devotion and the root bhaj means to engage with affection. Think of the Hari Krishnas you may see at Union Square (for my NYC folks), which spend their time singing songs to the divine and practicing seva (community service) and utter surrender to the Divine - this is one popular form of bhakti yoga. The Bhakti Sutras describe the nature of spiritual devotion as the supreme love & its essence is the nectar of immortality.
Amrta - literally “nectar” is used to describe this divine love. The Tibetans refer to amrta as meaning “the supreme medicine”
Y’all. LOVE is the sweet nectar to living & beyond. It’s the supreme medicine. In her book Eastern Body Western Mind, Anodea Judith reminds us that “through balance we find a center from which we can love, through love we can form relationships & through relationships we have the opportunity to transform the self-centered ego of the lower chakras into awareness of the larger realm in which we are embedded.” The ego gets a bad rap. Over and over we are told to not have one, but that is such misguided information. See, our heart center is literally the middle of our chakra system. In order for us to heal the existence of the seperativeness between our bodies/earth experience and our spiritual existence we need to have a healthy meeting of these energies right dab in the middle - our hearts. Which means we have to heal both our earthy selves and our spiritual selves.
What if you gave yourself permission to explore your connection to ancestors & family and what a stable home life looks like for you (first chakra)? What if you understood the flowing nature of your relationships to others (second chakra) and allowed for the natural ebb and flow of said relationships? What if you formed a solid, healthy relationship to yourself in which you understood your internal power; your power which is the vibrant internal fire that sparks transformation, gives you the ability to see and to ACT (third chakra)? This fire which then sparks consciousness into an understanding that allows you to transcend into your heart space and then we can move about in this world through our hearts, our love, compassion - having passion with all that we see, touch and interact.
I wrote all of the above for February's newsletter and realized it should've been a blog post. So here it is. I'm expanding on this thought….
Tonight I taught my happy hour class and had a bomb ass playlist based on the above thoughts. It was a heart opening sequence, which was all about having us feel into our bodies, to feel secure enough to expand our heart space intentionally. One song on the playlist is Forgive them Father by Lauryn Hill. My favorite part is the end and that sweet dialogue with what I've assumed is between a teacher and a bunch of high schoolers. Teacher says "so what she feels is important to you – Why?" and the kid answers "because I want her to still love me."
And it always brings me back to that grand, innocent love of high school. Where we were so concerned about finding our forever love and experiencing that first break up had us feeling like our world was ending. I think it's beautiful that Lauryn Hill put this dialogue at the end of a song, which talks about those closest to us being the ones to trespass against us. For me it speaks to understanding that folks are going to treat us in pretty shitty ways and yet we can still find space for love in our lives.
The other day I was processing something with my bestie around how irritated I get when people lie to me – especially family and close friends – as if I do not have the ability to see clearly through their lies. I said to her: how are we going to heal if we keep lying?? And she quoted me a line from this same song – "everyday people, they lie to God too, so what makes you think that they won't lie to you?" She was right. The fact is that some of us just aren't ready to look at all the stuff we carry that has our hearts closed off.
The fact is that some of that pain we carry can feel to overwhelming to try and dismantle all at once. I know better than assume a lie is automatically coming from a place of deceit or malice. Even I need reminders of empathy. And while life does hand us shitty experiences that make us close off our hearts to never let love in again, it's simply not a way to live. I know we've all heard it before but seriously, we're doing ourselves a disservice if we think that shutting out love, in any form, is the answer. How will we find joy and pleasure from anything in our life? How will we welcome and call in freedom and wholeness?
Thursday, February 15th is the new moon in Aquarius and a solar eclipse in the south node. As Chani Nicholas reminds us "this eclipse is near the south node which has an emptying out effect. The south node is a place of downward movement, a place where we are reminded that the only thing lasting is our connection to Creation…During eclipse season it's imperative that we put our healing first as these are pattern setting times."
What started out as my newsletter opening has combined with a bit of dharma from my yoga classes and an offering of new moon wishes. Instead of recording a meditation audio, I've decided to just share my playlists from my classes this week. Enjoy one or both so you can jam out and sit with these questions any time between Thursday and Saturday.
- What are the ways in which you run from fully loving yourself?
- What are some patterns of thoughts or habits that keep you stuck in old dialogues and old karmic ties?
- What are you creating with your hearts energy?
- How often do you bring your mind back into your physical being on any given day?
- What about love makes you uncomfortable – self-love; love of friends; family love; romantic love; love of community; love of strangers; love of the Divine energy (whatever you want to call it)
- Are there areas in your life you're purposely not looking at? If so, how can you let yourself begin to take a look in small gentle steps, while setting in place methods and support systems to help keep you grounded throughout your explorations?
- What are you consciously invested in? is it helping you find a strong sense of karmic resolution?
- Do you remember what your first love felt like? Describe it.
- Can you name the love you currently have in your life, in all its forms?
- Write yourself the sweetest love note you would write to someone you were so disgustingly in love with – and then put it up somewhere you look everyday (a mirror, the fridge, your front door)
Remember, healing is a life long journey. The first step is recognizing that there are parts of you that need calling back to reintegrate. Then give yourself space, time and permission to see, collect and honor ALL of you. In your journey to loving again remember -