IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

Who's Got the Reins?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Attachment, Aversion, or Apathy:  How We Relate to the World Around Us


Our conditioned existence is perpetuated by our lack of control over our senses.  Like a chariot driven out of control by a horse with broken reins, our reactions to any given situation leaves us in a constant state of stress and tension.  Our reactions tend to fall into these 3 major themes:  attachment, aversion, and apathy.

When we firmly grasp at something we have developed an attachment for it.  That feeling that we absolutely NEED this particular thing (food, money, sex, substances, relationships, etc.) because we’re addicted to the chemical responses that happen in our bodies when we relate to whatever it might be.  Gratuitous experiences bring momentary ecstasy and the fear of losing that feeling causes us to grasp very tightly to them.

But then, what happens we have a very negative experience with a particular attachment?  Very easily we can develop the flip side of this, which is aversion.  Hating, despising, turning or pushing harshly away from something is another strong fear-based reaction to a thing, substance, person, etc.   How easily can the human psyche switch from one to the other?  Each can lead to great mental & emotional anguish and suffering. 

I believe that out of this suffering we begin to develop apathy towards the outside world.  No longer do we desire or despise…we stop caring and become hardened.  The phrase, “I just don’t give a shit anymore,” comes to mind.  

All of these states of being lead to suffering and can shut down the emotional, spiritual, and physical energetic centers of the body. 

There are at least 7 main centers of energy, known as “chakras” that govern all the functions of the body.  From these spinning, energetic vortices flow rivers of energy (or “nadis”) throughout the entire being and field of consciousness.  When these areas become affected they slow down, become sluggish, or can become completely clogged or closed off. 

After these subtle energies become affected, like dominoes the effect moves through the layers of the body and eventually manifest as physical symptoms, dis-orders, and dis-eases.  Patterns and cycles of reaction/pain/suffering begin to repeat themselves and the attachment/aversion/apathy wheel continues to spin.  Suffering ensues.

Enter yoga, meditation, and mindfulness!  We absolutely have the power and ability to change these patterns and transform suffering into peace, deep contentment & joy.  The reason for these practices is to develop equanimity (mental calmness, composure, or even-temperedness especially in difficult situations).  Through the practice of observation, awareness, breath control, physical conditioning, and deep concentration we can begin to ‘repair the reins of the wild horses’ or control our senses by learning non-reactiveness.  With these tools we can give space to our conditioned reactions…observe them mindfully…acknowledge the emotion is there but look at it through compassionate, non-judgmental eyes without grasping.  In time, the ‘chariot ride’ becomes smooth and the stress and tension melt away.  These emotional/mental shifts bring about health, vitality, and life-force to the energy centers improving not only the physical health of our bodies but also the way in which we relate to food, money, sex, relationships, etc. 

Whole health functions on many, many levels.  The more conscious we become of these subtle energies and relationships, the less we suffer in this existence.  With continued awareness and practice of letting go of attachments, aversions, and apathy we can transform our suffering into liberation and joy.  It sounds like a big task, but by taking small steps everyday (with patience, persistence, and practice) we can really learn to enjoy the process of the journey within.

Namaste,

IndigoGrrl


Just for today,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I will not be angry.


Just for today, I will not worry.


Just for today, I will be grateful.


Just for today, I will do my work honestly.


Just for today, I will be kind to every living being.


These are the 5 principles of Reiki according to the founding father of Reiki, Dr. Mikao Usui.  

I've posted this prayer in years past and had questions as to why I would focus on these principles "just for today" and not all of the time.  The idea is to wake up and recite these words in our heart/mind daily...and even moment by moment when faced with the challenges of daily life.  This is a reminder to stay in the present moment, and with each breath to be mindful of acceptance, integrity, and compassion.  We are all here sharing this human experience, which is full of suffering and difficulty.  It is easy to become overwhelmed by our adversities, but if we take it one moment at a time and give ourselves gentle reminders it can become more attainable to follow this path of peace.


Wishing you a day without anger or worry, and full of honesty & compassion.


Namaste~

IndigoGrrl

I haven't felt the Earth move

Monday, January 28, 2013
under my feet nearly enough this winter.  I spent so much time and effort building up a running practice last year from April all the way until the end of November.  I even ran my first races...two different 5k's which I found to be exhilarating experiences! 
 
It wasn't easy...I never was a runner and could never get past that first mile.  I started with alternating 3 minutes of jogging with several minutes of walking early last Spring.  It wasn't pretty, but I'd make myself go for 45-minutes...even though I couldn't run half of that at the time.  
I just kept at it...and then I got the best advice yet on how to approach my cardio, "The first 5 minutes are going to suck.  Know that & do whatever you can to make it fun,"  advised my friend who frequents our Wellness Studios who is also a doctor (Dr. Margaret Millar).  She encouraged me to keep at it...to get past those first 5-10 minutes, and to make it FUN!  
Hello, technology!  It hadn't occurred to me before, but once she filled me in on these simple pointers I loaded my iPhone with all kinds of crazy club music (which I don't normally listen to at ALL), invested in some good supportive shoes from the experts at Running Wild, and accepted the "suck" of the first 5 minutes.  And then...magic!  I love the stress-relief and weight-management that comes from a dedicated practice.  It doesn't hurt a bit that it makes my husband notice my legs.
  
But, OH MY GOD it has been a crazy winter.  December hit and those running shoes haven't been on my feet once (well, maybe a couple of times but it wasn't to actually RUN, sadly.)  I can't even blame the weather...especially since I love the cold & snow!  Between purchasing a 2nd business, battling the flu season with 3 kids, the holidays, and a mile-long list that even bores ME (so I'll spare YOU), this mama has lost her steam (and found her beer belly.)

Well, guess what?  Screw YOU crazy/busy schedule!  I'm getting my ass back in the saddle..er, running tights and I'm going to burn off that stress.  It's gonna suck for more than a minute, but not nearly as badly as it sucks to feel defeated & pudgy.  Help me out, Carole King...mama's finding her groove today!

Happy trails, friends!
~IndigoGrrl



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? 


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