el Charco · home practice · meditation · personal yoga practice · revelation · sabbatical · subtle body · women's ritual · yoga · yoga in Mexico · yoga teaching

At the vernal equinox

At the end of my last blog post, I posed some questions:
“… there is now so much in my various practices that feels familiar. i can identify more clearly the things that scare me, or the things i want to avoid, so might this mean i have arrived at the next threshold? am i at a place and a time where i might open more fully and step in more deeply- to whatever is coming- backed up and supported by all the tools i have so carefully cultivated all these years?” My husband read the post and later asked me if I had begun to work on answering those questions yet. The post was barely two hours old! So much for being rhetorical…

On March 10th, I had hitched up my overalls and blown on my knuckles and entered the temazcal holding this question: “What seed(s) of self-knowledge might I plant during or after this event?”. By the third round of the four-part ceremony, lying on my back with not a thought in my head, I had my answer: “You are a yoga teacher. You know this about yourself. Why are you avoiding one of the things that you do best and that has brought you so much over the past 12 years?” Damn you, Self-Knowledge.

Readying for the March 17th temazcal, I held the question: “Could you expound further please on the whole yoga teacher thing?”. I think I received some indirect direction to that one. Rocking around in the bowl of my pelvis, I was amused and delighted to witness my internal garden of earthly delights. Color, shape, texture; a kind of sweet, almost new found appreciation for that which makes me female. I started to draw my inner landscape (in my mind, in colored pencils on thick cotton rag paper), and could even picture the frames the drawings were hung in, and which gallery I would most like to show my work. Aaaaaand then I reined all that in and went back to the question.

My father’s death still haunts me, eleven years on. I have a lingering sense that he peaked early in life (he had tried to run for President of the United States when he was barely into his 40’s). At some point, with decades of business accomplishments behind him, I think he gave up. Addicted to the highs of all the energy, attention and responsibility it required for him to be the somewhat brilliant, somewhat insane entrepreneurial man he was, when he left that life he withered. I have had this fear that I too would wither after leaving behind the life I built over 2+ decades in Massachusetts. I had so many identifying labels that I could conveniently affix to my chest, so many roles I could step into and out of with ease and authority~ she who could run a household with 4 sons and a traveling husband; she who could whip out costumes for shows season after season, she who could turn $500 and a dream into a successful yoga center. A year and more on sabbatical removed a lot of the external markers that mapped my days.

Today, four days after temazcal #2 and three days before temazcal #3, I practice being at a threshold. I would like to enter that dark womb-like place one more time this month, closer to breaking the amniotic sac that holds a developing part of my Self. I can see her through the slightly cloudy waters, feel her form under the slippery casing. She has all of my qualities, and more, and the umbilicus that feeds her begins in my heart. The step forward includes many long looks back.

So to my husband I would say: “Yes dear, I AM working on those questions, and the answers thus far are really challenging, and they might take me to far off places, to new teachers and practices, and just how many frequent flier miles DO we have???”. I will start by honoring the people I have been privileged to have in my classes and workshops and retreats; people who have been dedicated to their own practices and their own paths of self-discovery. I am guilty of something I still struggle to understand: deflecting, rather than accepting, praise and thanks. So today, just after the equinox, I will read through some of the short notes and longer letters I have received over the years (yes, I pretty much kept them all), transplant those seedlings of inspiration into my garden, and begin tending to my potential with greater sensitivity and daring and commitment.

Whew.

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4 thoughts on “At the vernal equinox

  1. Your words are beautifully written, as usual. Lacking access to womb-like Mexican temazcal, I have decided to work within my current reality here in New England by joining a Circle of Women series with Lois Freedman. It is my hope that the process of participating will continue my own self exploration of healing in the midst of the frenetic pace of metro Boston. After weeks of wanting- desiring-wishing for a vacation, just a “little get-a-way”, the yearning ceased when I just decided to just let go of the mental anguish and just be with what is. “Yeah, I’m cold and need a change, but I guess I’ll have to do it right here where I am”. I am frequently coached by my teachers to get out of my own head. The vacating of my own mind is when the fog lifts. This morning on the drive to work, I listened to a talk on Dharma Seed entitled “Equanimity and the Mirror of the Heart”. Lila Kate Wheeler alludes to the spring equinox and discusses seeing all things in an unbiased way. Wow. What a goldmine of a site. It was a most centering way to begin a potentially unsettling day of challenging interactions. Moving through the unfolding events with dispassion gave my ego a healthy sense of self trust…. “Hey, that isn’t eating away at me like I thought it would”. I’ll choose to celebrate my small victories and perhaps I just may make it through to see the May flowers.
    Note: My Bhagavad Gita verse of the day : Without being absorbed in attraction and repulsion as the senses are moving toward their objects – With self-restraint, the self that can be governed attains calmness.
    Question: Do you still resist the twists and turns of Parivrtta Trikonasana? Are your feelings the same as before your sabbatical?

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    1. Thank you for chiming in <3. It was your last comment (on FB) that provided me with the 'womb' image (sometimes I am oblivious to the obvious…). The process of entering the hut and being in the ritual has the potential to strip off layers of the mental 'stuff', which was what I was looking for.

      The asana part of my practice has a greater focus on movement, on the connecting spaces between each pose, on the connecting spaces between each breath. So, when challenging physical movements enter in, they sit more easily in the 'flow', rather than becoming some big-ass obstacle that I then have to create a whole dialogue about. Does that make sense? And by reading the VBT (vijnana bhairava tantra) on a pretty much daily basis, I get to step onto the mat with a much more open and receptive heart; receptive even to the challenges, almost welcoming of them, because there is now a pathway in, a methodology for approaching, chipping away, etc.

      Let's keep the conversation going ❤

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  2. How incredibly wonderful is your journey! May you find the clarity, insights and answers you seek to deep and inspiring questions. The path ahead is paved with new and enlightening experiences that will bring more richness to your life. Liza you are a truly amazing woman! Thank you for sharing your journey. I love you girlfriend! Sara

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