IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

Finding My Center After the Storm

Saturday, September 07, 2013

I'm watching Turkey Buzzards circling over my backyard as I sit and work in my office on this peaceful Saturday morning.  Through the other window I see an intricate spider web attached to the eaves of the roof swaying in the gentle breeze.  My 3 children have spent the morning playing, disagreeing, making-up, and playing some more.  There is such peace and fullness in my heart/mind at this moment.  I'm reminded of the word purnam, or "perfection," which, in this context, does not mean what we might think.  I am full...I am whole...I am perfectly content in my spirit as I observe the fluctuations of the world around me.   


After the longest Winter of my life (which bled into the Spring and even early Summer), I am refreshed to find the ground beneath my feet again.  It felt like a metaphorical hurricane swept through my life and left me completely demolished internally.  

After a month of testing in January, my son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.  While I had suspected this for the 5 years prior to his diagnosis, there was still a part of me wishing they would tell me I was wrong on that emotional day.  

The day before I drove to Chicago for this news, I learned that my father was diagnosed with another form of cancer (he had beat Prostate Cancer years before).  My relationship with my Dad has not been a close one, and so I was left with a mixture of feelings, including grief and fear.  

It was a hell-of-a week, and I took a few days to try to assimilate all of this news.  And then...that following Friday as I was waiting in the pick-up line at school I received a terrifying call from my mother.  She was having a stroke!  I spent the next week in and out of the hospital with her...trading shifts with my brother as we worried what would happen next.  Once released, she came to live with me for a few weeks so I could care for her, which included sorting out all of her new meds, helping her learn to give herself insulin shots 4 times a day (for her out of control diabetes), cooking heart-healthy meals, and more.  I was happy to do it, but I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.

By the grace of God, her stroke did not leave her completely handicapped.  While it certainly affected her, with time & rehab she regained most of her speech, balance, and abilities.  It was life-changing for her (and for all of us who love her), and she made incredible lifestyle changes in an effort to avoid another stroke.


Now, months later, we're all doing pretty damn well!  My father & I have become closer than we've been in years, and his cancer is under control at the moment.  My mother lives independently with a helper now who comes twice a week, and she continues to be stronger everyday.  My son, well...of course there is no cure for Autism, but we've been able to get him a 504 at school, which means he is protected for the rest of his educational days.  I've finally been able to talk to him about his diagnosis, and together we are learning how to navigate this unique path God has blessed us with. 


Everyday there are new challenges to face, but this is the nature of human existence for all of us.  For everyone of us life is going to be full of heartache, scary moments, and metaphorical hurricanes that make us feel defeated.  But, the beauty is that there are also moments of deep joy, moments to celebrate, and remarkable miracles which build us up again.  All moments pass, change, ebb & flow.  

I'm eternally grateful for the skills my yoga practice has given me.  Because of these tools I am able to find my center...remember to breathe...and accept that I am not in control of the world around me, but I can control how I react to it.  With a very glad and grateful heart, I am thankful for this moment.  


Namaste

<3 IndigoGrrl

Who's Howling

Saturday, January 26, 2013



...at the Full Wolf Moon tonight?


I love a Winters Full Moon more than any other, I think.  It could be that I was born in February in the snowy midwest, but when I really search my heart I know.

The moon is Yin energy:  quiet, cold, still, silver.  It is the opposite of its Yang counter-part, the Sun (which is roaring, hot, active, and golden.)  Winter herself is the energy of the Yin Goddess, so a Full Moon on a Winters Night is as Yin as it gets.  I want to be silenced by the peace of the cold, bright, beauty of her.  I want to dive into a silent retreat, immersed in introspection so that I can emerge in the Spring ready for personal growth and abundance.  

But within the very heart of Yin, is Yang. While she is shrouded in her quiet power her very heart burns with wild fire.  She looks out upon the attractive, fiery dance of Yang, but within his heart is Yin...dark & cold.  This eternal dance between the night and day, fire and ice, hot and cold preserves and sustains all of creation...of nature...what the yogis would call, Prakriti (and what we would refer to as "nature.")


How do we find that balance of these two energies within ourselves?  How do we acknowledge and accept both aspects instead of falling into the temptation to grasp to one way of being or the other?  We could just howl in agony over the pain this dilemma creates, or we could tune into the Wisdom of the Full Winters Moon, travel deeply within our own hearts, and through introspection explore the answers to these ancient questions.  

Wherever your path leads, may the light of the Full Wolf Moon shine brightly upon you tonight.  May you find the peace, wisdom, and compassion to unite both the Sun and the Moon within your heart.  May all beings be happy and free from Suffering.


Namaste,

IndigoGrrl

"God is in the Roses...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

...the petals and the thorns.

Storms out on the oceans; 

souls who will be born.  

And every drop of rain that falls, 

falls for those who mourn. 

God is in the roses and the thorns."


I heard this Roseanna Cash song for the first time about a year ago as I was driving to our Yoga Teacher Training program at Indigo on a Sunday morning.  I was listening to NPR and hadn't been paying much attention as my mind was busy and my heart was heavy...I don't remember what internal battle I was fighting on that particular day.  I have battled chronic depression my entire life...and while I have overcome so much of this disease there are days & moments when the weight of the world and the suffering of humanity (especially of my own loved ones) swallow me up whole.


But when this simple yet powerful song started to play,

I was instantly hushed -- suddenly I was fully present...alive...aware...surrendered...accepting...at peace in the moment.  Tears of release streamed down my face and as I took deep breaths in and out I found myself absorbing the essence of God and letting go of the hurt.  

It was a moment that made a lasting impression.  It didn't erase my struggles.  It reminded me that my struggles are part of the process.  God is with me in the easy moments and in the difficult moments.  When I remember to let go of my firm grasp on those thorns my pain is so much less severe.  A rose can rest in my palm...thorns and all and when I just give it space (not casting it aside nor grasping firmly...just allowing it to BE) I can become aware of the complete beauty of God.  


Awareness.  Discernment.  Surrender.  There's that Kriya Yoga theme popping up in my life again.  Hmm...


**Just a sidenote to clarify my points of view:  when I refer to God, I do not see a separate God between cultures.  I do not believe there is MY God & then there is YOUR God, and I don't even really assign or assume gender here, as I believe God is bigger than those human labels & understandings.

Whatever way in which you personally connect with this Divine Creative Source, I believe it is the same energy for all of us.  Part of our human experience is finding our own personal connection with God (or the Gods, or the Goddess...or the Sun, or the Universe) ...these are all aspects of that one Infinite Source, in my humble opinion.   





Practice, and Surrender?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

We talk a lot about "surrender" in yoga.  Next time you're in class count how many times one of us instructs you to "let go."  (Just don't tell any of my instructors that I said so...ok?)
Does it ever feel more like the picture above (from a scene in the classic, "The Wizard of Oz") than the picture below when you really TRY to let go of something?  We're supposed to feel serenity...like being on the white sands near the ocean without any heavy thoughts holding us down.  Yet, living in our modern world with everyday demands and stressors can leave us feeling more like we should run and hide.  

I know.  I have those moments and those days too. 

But, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali give some direction in the principles of Kriya Yoga:

"Within this practice we orient our attitudes toward the discernment (swadhyaya) to distinguish the things we can change (tapah) from the things we cannot change (isvara pranidhana.)"  -excerpt from the Introduction of "Yoga Anatomy, 2nd Edition," written by Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews.

Sounds a lot like The Serenity Prayer, doesn't it?  
That's something most of us are more familiar with, which makes it easier to relate to.  
The short version goes something like, "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  In essence, we are to give it to God...that which we cannot change or control we can release ourselves from by simply giving it to the Universe (Creative Source, the Divine...however you relate to that energy, no matter what you call it...it's all the same.)

Still, the white beaches WOULD be nice...but January here in the Midwest can serve as a backdrop to my inner bliss.  It just takes practice.  (lots, and lots, and lots and LOTS of daily practice)
Hmm...now where is my broomstick? 

Oh, thank goodness! I needed this reminder today...

Saturday, January 05, 2013

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