True Grit! What is freedom? !tirG eurT

I had another amazing day today after what started lousily. But time and time again—as has been a recurring theme in and out of different yoga studios throughout Los Angeles over this seven-year period of being on the West Coast—I am nearing the conclusion that the business of expanding personal freedom is so far from a given and that to continue and thrive, it must be fought for every day, both outside and in. And it wouldn’t be so tasty if is was easy. In yoga as in many other sports necessitating endurance, this persistence is commonly referred to as ‘breaking through’ or having that ‘second (or third) wind’. Recently, in yoga classes, I have found myself in physically-demanding poses where the burning sensation in my thigh muscles or shoulders felt as if my flesh was burning so hot it would melt off of my body like hot plasma. This pain is what many teachers in one way or another have routinely suggested as a place where one come to terms with whole selves. It is in the middle of these postures where healthy relationships to our edge of limitations are confronted as well as the opportunity to enlarge or expand them. This is done by disassociating the negative stigma that we might attach to physical and/or mental pain while holding the poses. Furthermore, many teachers  suggest that if we worked on changing our attitudes during these postures towards acceptance of discomfort and pain we might start breathing fire! : ) Or just experience extreme joy.

I have come to take up this cause, of observing calm in the midst of chaos both in yoga as is in life. Any storm, no matter how big or threatening, will dissipate, “so breathe” the  teachers say. So, throughout my last few weeks here, I’ve put in concrete terms, that the high and lows happen no matter what, but how we handle ourselves in between is what really is at stake: The present moment, and it begs one to take a position, one that will constantly recur and will always invite a solution; are we the ones deciding or are we being decided for? I trust that in one of life’s greatest questions, it must be worth the pain of finding out.

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I know my time has come. I see the ship and I am standing on the foggy port, bags packed, myself readied. The smell of salty and fishy water washes in my nostrils. I breathe it in becoming intoxicated by its wildness as well as by my mind moving in tandem with it. I am in admiration of having been delivered to bask in a deep brightness.

Others move about as if around me, it is a normal and normally-lovely day. I can feel uplift sprouting about as people mill about, as if their dreams and aspirations weren’t trapped and suffocated in only our individual shells but fluid, seeking, wandering and circulating among us all, and what we feel, which is resplendent! The sun has poked through. Amidst haziness, a patch of the ocean shimmers and light scatters about.

To which I feel free is yours as much as mine. Rejoice, for we have arrived in astute fashion from dank and bloodied repositories with vision blinded by betrayal of an epic magnitude. Whatever it was, you’re forgiven, but only because you have paid your dues, put in your toil and turned in your hours from when you were called upon. You were in safe-holding all along, while unbeknownst to you, your mettle was being evaluated and scrutinized. Did you think we’d let you down after all this?

You have fundamentally changed, and have been changed by the world, no longer to be relegated to trivial pursuits. You have been called upon for life’s ultimate journey which is, that it is yours and yours fully. Now take it and make us proud.

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The smile on his face is one that bares semblance to reality, no longer easy and cheap, but fought for and wrested from compromised hands to have made his own and in his own form.

Late at night

It’s getting so real. Life has this way of directing you on your own path at some point, all you know is that you’re alone and you’re going to be traveling alone and somehow, this is making it right with the universe. It is. Only then do you have to take that plunge and hope you’ll formulate a direction that yields the way. Have courage. I’m there. I feel like I’m at the edge of a cliff, about to say bye to all I know. It’s the first time I’m scared of such intensity in a long time. I was excited all of last week and now that excitement is becoming anxiety. I hope I know what I’m doing. It’s like I’ve been living on a foreign land for the last 7 years. I’m finally taking steps out of that and am going to go now to the larger vibration and something like another kind of directional home. I feel like this thing happens to most people a lot earlier in life. It’s the mature thing, to let it all go…the ego, what the ego’s desires are and temper the ego with honesty and some humility towards this – this – this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This that is bigger than me. I can’t go on distrusting, and avoiding this aspect of life – that is a force and that I need to respect what is bigger and more powerful than myself, so that I can live. What a conundrum, I know. I can’t believe I’m even saying all of this because it must sound ridiculous and crazy. I needed to get here in my own life, to make an actual decision that would have purpose. I subconsciously knew that. Until now, life has been just about getting to this point! And I guess I got here or I’m getting here, or whatever. I’m here.

This crossroads and point of no return. I can’t believe I am breaking my own space up this way with something current, immediate and personal in this blog. I usually try to keep it light, but this isn’t light at all. There’s no other thing I can say. I’m scared. I’m terrified that I’ll get lost and forget all I know, but I’m also knowing my life’s just begun and that today I become a new person… I mean, I won’t become a new person – I’ll be me, but that me will take on the experience and information of now and tomorrow and will cohere differently. It’s so crazy and is a trip. I need to let it go. Ready to do it. Okay, I just needed to get that out of the way. I’m going into the future without ego. I accept surrender to the path that has always been here for me, but that I’ve not been ready to step into because I wasn’t for what a noble path requires. It requires not living an unhealthy lifestyle, blissfully ignorant of real suffering, real awareness, real challenges and real steadiness, not some privileged bullshit, not some, “I can skate around whenever I please and I’ll be a formless parasite.” No, life is to be formed when you’re ready for that. It’s ready for me. Rinse and repeat I know. Thanks. I’m here, at the trail’s head. What do I do!? Dare I say it, just go.