The truth behind becoming “bored” with yoga (or any other spiritual path).

First. 

You must recognize the path of yoga or meditation you are on is a spiritual journey inward, as opposed to an externally driven one.  We must start here because of course we are going to become bored with ANYTHING that is externally driven.  We will eventually fall in to the pattern of needing more or different in order to stay interested.

Thats the case with externals.  Like our homes, our stuff, our gadgets, our clothes, our apps, our appliances, our electronics, our car, …. etc. When something is or becomes a commodity in that way, when we interact with it from a place of “entertainment” in some form or another, yes… indeed… boredom will ensue.  Without the depth of understanding and truly relating, boredom will continually steer our ship invisibly forward toward some unknown destination.  And it may take a lifetime before we realize just how lost we really are. Like someone who needs to move or switch jobs or change relationships every 3-5 years to stay “interested”, nothing will every hold our attention for very long if we don’t first understand the subtle (or not so subtle) ways in which we expect to be engaged and entertained by others, by activities and by things.  

This tendency is largely driven by our own boredom.  But what perpetuates this boredom?  I believe it is at least partially caused by misplacing our understanding and becoming focused, as it were, on a false “goal” or any definable goals for that matter!  If we think that asanas, for instance, are poses meant to be mastered and that the more challenging the better, we’ve created a structure within which we are expecting ourselves to achieve a certain level of skill.  One we have “gotten” there, whether thats 5 months or 5 years or 15 years, there becomes a kind of “OK, now what?!” realization.  Sure, you can take a long time to get there and kind of learning all the way up to that point.

All the while, however, the practice was not in fact a practice at all,  but a perfection toward an attainable goal. Perhaps that goal in our minds eye was something we saw someone else achieve, on you tube, on social media, in a master class, etc.  Perhaps we’ve deemed it as good, rewarding or otherwise beneficial. But yoga and other self awareness systems like it, require you to let go of goal driven truths and to embrace instead, the inquiry itself AS the path and not as a means to an end.  This is quite subtle, actually.  And I meet and know very few who truly embody and live this aspect of yoga.  In this way, “practicing” is not so much about how many hours a week you put in on your mat, or teach or have studied or how many hours of training you have or even how ‘successful’ your yoga business is, but the quality of time spent both on and (perhaps more importantly ) OFF the mat.  How do you show up when you are not wearing your yoga pants?!

In this age where yoga clearly has “fad” status, where it is often relegated to “fitness” alone, where social media produces images of perfect lean young (or well kept older) bodies in perfect poses (or even in imperfect poses!), everyone is vulnerable to this conditioning.  And honestly, yes, yoga will work to get you in shape and help you feel better improving your overall health including your state of mind (which, comes with improved health anyway!). But if we fall into this conditioning, we miss the point. 

And the point, quite frankly,  is incredibly beautiful and well worth paying attention to.  

Why do we become bored or uniterested in Yoga?  Why do we need a million “new” kinds and styles and combinations and tricks and props and additions to yoga to keep us engaged?  Because, we forget that Yoga does not happen on the mat or in a gym or hanging from the ceiling or flying with another person or when we sweat or feel a deep stretch or sense the adrenaline rush from a vigorous flow or experience the endorphin release after a physical practice…

no.   

Yoga is union (overstated, but barely understood). 

Union of stillness and motion. 

Union of inhale and exhale. 

Union of mind and body. 

Union of heart and mind. 

Union of life and death. 

Union of effort and surrender. 

The union of all parts of you on every level in every way through every lens.  It is a delicately crafted, indescribably tender balance.  And the moment we separate out these parts, these pieces, we are sadly no longer cultivating union.  No matter how much we claim or say we are. Our words won’t make up for this lack of understanding. We are no longer bringing long term balance to the body and systems.  We are no longer practicing the ancient transformational ART of yoga.  

So how about this:

Forget your fancy yoga mat. (the ancient Rishis didn’t have them!)  and the stylized clothing.  Forget your “practice” of asana all together.  Forget about “Posing”.  Forget about impressing anyone, even yourself. Forget about yoga as something you ‘do’. Think of it more as a verb itself. How do you YOGA at work?  How do you YOGA at the computer?  How do you YOGA while you are commuting?  How do you YOGA when you are engaged with your children or partner?  How do you YOGA when you are by yourself at home and nobody is watching or listening?  How do you come into balance and union and softness and strength and clarity and discernment?  How do you embody your center in every moment… live from this place?  Otherwise, your yoga is truly just you ‘going through the motions’.

Its not enough to step in to this awareness every once in a while, to visit it like a fun stopping point along the way.  Don’t you see:  this place, this union, this delicate balance IS the path and the goal all wrapped up in Oneness.

 And every time you do step on to that mat, step fresh, new as a beginner as though you know nothing, because in that moment, if you show up authentically, you really don’t.  And stay away from  inversions or twists or backbends.  Try keeping your practice humbler, simpler and deeper than you’ve ever dared.  When you travel deeply in this way, internally, instead of externally, there is no limit to how far you can go. There is no need to create something new or better or more advanced or more complex or sweatier or more fun or harder or more challenging.

There is only surrender, surrender, surrender, sweet surrender. 

And trust me, there is no boredom anywhere to be found in this place of deep surrender.

namaste.

Jeneen

Advertisements

Me & the Moon

Why Full Moon Offerrings? 

They are everywhere these days and have become a bit of a marketing hook to get people in the door.  But I have to tell you, from the bottom of my infinite heart, how deeply I resonate with the lunar energy and how my work came to be.  You see, it unfolded over time.  Years, maybe millennia, from a shared communal connection to the moon and her pull, her sway, to something much more specific and directional. She led me to uncloak information in the darkest of darks that came from many traditions over time and space and that required nothing less than to leap into her shadows to know the secrets that lie there.  My moon training is by no means traditional.  Although I have done my share of research and study through both Astronomy and Astrology to understand her waxing and waning and her continuous cycling.  I have also been trained to work with womens rhythms, their cycles and to understand the wisdom through reflection that the moon provides.  

But thats not even at the heart of my path, of my work.  I live in ceremony with the moon at all times and hear her whispers, and sometimes her desperate calls, as she directs me to work in specific ways through monthly patterns and flow.   It is absolutely not just about me showing up and “going with the flow” and being spontaneous.  I don’t work with the moon because its “cool” or “trendy” or even “fun”.  Its actually, an incredible service and an enormous amount of work to be fully present with her. Before each lunar event, I go deep into meditation to listen to and respect her guidance for that particular creation.  For this reason, no two moon events are ever identical AND it is almost impossible for me to script the details too far in advance. 

Her overall guiding message is to be gentle and nurturing for even as her work contains and embraces the shadow, we must remember that this life, that this being, is fragile and delicate and must be held with the utmost care and tenderness.  I use sound mostly now, but in the past I have used dance and movement and art and silence as my main tools.  The sound in collaboration with my Moon offerrings is very consciously crafted to move through cycles for connection, which, by my training and experience, requires the most reverential approach for establishing long lasting quality harmony within each person present.  This harmonizing requires an intimate knowledge of ceremony and discernment that cannot be learned quickly or superficially, but takes place over a long un-folding, over a lifetime, and many lifetimes.  

The moon, she is powerful.  And we would be best served by respecting and honoring her power with those who have dedicated themselves to guiding on her behalf. 

Blessings on this moon, and always.

The cult of the new

I only need one Gong.  One Crystal Bowl.  One drum.  One.  Only One.  More than one confuses things, can create chaos or can shift the focus.  The mind, the being then is trained to want more, to desire bigger, to yearn for “better”.  Both in the one who is receiving the work and, more problematic still, in the one who is guiding the work.  By “better” I don Not mean in the sense of of what is truly best for us, but in a false perception that more is better.  that bigger is better.  that larger, that stronger, that higher, is better.  

Perhaps this is human nature. The tendency to get caught in the trap that we need MORE.  That somehow, in this very moment, we, it, they, us….. are not ‘enough’.  That somehow if only:  we had more money, a new job, a bigger house,  more trainings, more tools, better marketing… that we’d take off and fly and leap into the life of our dreams. 

 I am here to hold the space of understanding that includes the life of our dreams as it is here and now. This heaven on earth. Through the radical lens of acceptance.  Not through the lens of wanting, desiring or grasping.    We have lost touch with the most fundamental knowledge we possess:  the completeness of simplicity, the truth of this moment, the wholeness of our being which needs nothing more to be Full except this very breath.  In fact, I don’t even need the Gong, or the Bowl, or the Drum or any “tool” at all.  And neither do you.  All the work, the depth, the transformation, the shift, the release, that you long for, can be achieved by simply sitting in silence together. With one who knows how to guide in the dark and in the stillenss. I don’t even need any technique, no scripted visualizations or guided imagery, no mantra or meditation ‘style’, no book or quote, no message cards or fun games,  none of it.  That is the truth.  The only truth. Every tool we use is in essence an illusion.  The danger being, we can confuse the path itself for the ultimate goal.   We can confuse the ‘method’ of our choice for the end result.  Then we will be stuck forever, on this treadmill of thinking we are progressing, but really being stuck .  We might be stuck in an “ok” place and so that may feel “ok”.  And we might even register “ok” as ‘good’! But sooner or later, sooner or later, our soul remembers its eternal longing and realizes it has been tricked and this is when we truly wake up.  And I must tell you, it is a rather rude and shocking awakening. (set apart by the many false awakening that arise in ones life which are often described as “aha” moments) And in that moment, we understand that we truly need nothing and we let it all go, without any hesitation. And then, only then, do we really know what it means to fly.   

You are Already There.

A breath in, a breath out.  One breath.  This breath.  This very one.  It connects you to the moment.

The Truth is: We are always in this place, this moment. This life IS a mediation.

The Journey is: We return to this realization over and over and over again until the re-membering is a part of us.  Until we are living it in every breath.

This balance of awareness and understanding with what already is present brings us into our true alignment. With what already exists.  There is nothing to “do” here, nothing to “be” here.  We have a proclivity for making everything more complex than it needs to be.

Just remember.

Remember who you are.

The breath will show you everything you need to know.  Stop looking outside yourself for the answer.

Just breathe.

on Inspiration

January, 2018

Inspiration. Its whats on my mind this wild wonderful Winter.  Honestly,  its what’s always on my mind.  As an Artist, inspiration is the fire to my soul; what keeps me joyful, enlivened and vibrant.  Someone at the museum after my workshop today commented “you always have so much energy”!  I would re-frame that:  I’m always deeply inspired.  By everything I see, feel, do, create.  It doesn’t mean I necessarily find it all easy or comfortable or even ‘good’.  But this world, this life, my breath, every person I meet, I am most truly inspired by.  Call it living life in a constant state of being taken by happy surprise or in a state of awe. Each moment, precious and new and full of wonder.  The ‘energy’ I have, is from this connection to inspiration.  I live and breathe it.

Consider this for a moment.  The literal definition of ‘inspiration’:

in·spi·ra·tion:  noun

  1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
  2. the drawing in of breath; inhalation.

That just blew my mind:  the drawing in of breath.  Inspiration.  to do or feel something, especially something Creative.  Inspiration.

Wow. Did you get that?  Did you feel it?  Did it sink in?

Inspiration IS in every breath, because it IS the breath.  This is available to us all, in every moment, to live a life aware of and engaged in inspiration.  It’s not just the domain of the Artist.  What a powerful understanding and teaching.

This year, I wish you all an inspired life.  And I’m cultivating and creating workshops, retreats, series and classes designed to hold you and guide you to this place of inspiration.

May we walk this journey together, with love & inspiration.

‘tools’ of the trade

Yesterday, after a quite extraordinary crystal bowl “meditation”, a student asked if I ever just sit in stillness.   It was a great question following back to back sound healing work.

The tools that I use are just that:  Tools. They are never to be mistaken for the goal, the end, or even the path itself.  They are simply helpers along the way.  Our crystal friends come from deep inside the earth to offer us their medicine. Our resident resonant tools offer vibrational healing, clearing and deep visioning. But this medicine is not “what its all about”.  What its “all about” IS stillness.  The greatest sound for healing IS silence.  If we mistake the tools for the goal, we have become lost along the way.

And sometimes, thats ok too.  Life’s diversions, like the fluctuations of the mind itself, are simply what they are.  Perhaps the path forward is clear, straight, efficient.  Perhaps it instead sends us on all sorts of detours, road blocks and obstacles.  Usually, its a bit of both.  Remember though, to gently come back to the path as soon as you notice you have become lost in a distraction.  We practice this in meditation to imprint that reflex in our whole life.

The key is to slowly, carefully and attentively become increasingly discerning.  So that, over practice and time, you learn to see clearly what is a diversion and what is, in that moment, a tool to move you forward. Everything and anything can be either one of these: distraction or valuable tool, depending on the timing and who you are, whats happening and where you are.  An authentic guide understands this and can offer tools as needed all while nudging you gently forward, encouraging a healthy detachment from any “tool” itself.

The question naturally arises:  what is the intention for your practice?  One intention of meditation & yoga as a path for example, is to bring you to a state of “thoughtless awareness”, an expansive mind in union with a clear body that allows you a perspective not based on biases, belief systems, judgement, analysis or expectations.

We become the still pond.  We are the clear blue sky.

Along the way we receive gifts, insights, benefits.  Sometimes the practice is joyful, fun and exciting: the gifts feel like blessings.  Sometimes the practice is difficult, challenging and painful: the gifts can feel like a curse.  All of it is inspiring, creative and essential,  coming from the same loving source.  All of it brings us into greater balance and understanding so that we may hear the silence and be with the stillness.

Balance. Stillness. Silence.

These are words I don’t use lightly.  I carry the depth of their authenticity deep within my  understanding.

But balance, stillness & silence are ultimately still just tools.

so, what its all about, anyway?

Messages Reflecting

I walked through the woods today. A place I walk regularly.  A place where I ground, feel, connect and let go.  A place that is at once ordinary and exquisite.  A place I love.

But today, I walked differently through these same woods.  Today this path felt different.

I found the remnant of an old stone gateway, long overgrown and forgotten, that I somehow had never really noticed before.  As I passed through, time shifted.  My footsteps lingered.  I walked as if in slow motion, moving with my breath like an ancient giant being. Careful, oh so careful, of every pitch forward.

The world looked transformed from this place.  The colors, brighter. The sounds, clearer.  The wind, cooler.  I walked and walked and walked, at a snails pace, to a pond I love dearly.  Here I lingered, for a long time, gazing at the reflections.  The upside down world greeted me, waved at me, called me, laughed at me, beckoned me.

What is a reflection, I wondered?  What is this mirror of the world I am looking into?  What secrets does it reveal? What messages does it have?  Breathing deeply, I moved on.  Continuing my journey through the woods.  Along the way, I found the stub, the knee, of a tree root, closely resembling a spiral.  I bent down to examine it.  It spiraled inward clockwise, like a lid sealing a jar tightly closed. What secrets is it hiding, I asked?

I looked up, and something called me to leave the comfort of the path I was on and just to go up. Straight up the incline, the steep hill before me.  So I climbed, until I reached the top, turning around to gaze down upon the path I was just on.  But then I noticed another tree root.  Its shape and form remarkable resembling Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.  I bent down again, offered my prayers, placed my hands on the earth and was suddenly pulled in.  My being traveled into the earth and through the roots of this Oak tree I was under.  Down and down I followed the roots and then I gazed up at the Tree taking in its full height, understanding that for as far up as it reached, it also reached down into the earth.

And here I was, standing on this earth, on this physical ground that marked the midpoint between its tallest visible point and its lowest invisible point.  Holding the space of the middle, the balance, the clear place.

I turned again to face the descending landscape before me. This time, I saw not a forrest of trees, but the reflection of their beings, their roots, dug deep into the earth.  I recognized that what we see from our perspective is only half the truth.   And the woods before me became alive as never before.  As I slowly, even more slowly, walked back to my path, I felt my own imprint, the vibration of each and every footstep, echoing below and into the earth as I walked above it.  As I passed the grove of  Cypress trees, I found another root, distinctly in the shape of a Buddha.  He seemed to be waving at me.  “Goodbye!  Come Again!  Remember!”  he whispered.

These reflections, they are invisible, but they are everywhere.  We only see half the truth at any one time. But if we open our eyes to the wonder of it all, we might get a glimpse of the true nature or this world, our lives, our selves and our impact.

This is living in fullness.  Eyes Wide Open.

Aho.