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 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



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