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

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018.

Energy Musings. Here. Now.

Today!

Independence.  What does that word mean to you?  personally?

Close your eyes and breathe it in.

Independence.  Freedom from outside control or support.

Independence.  Freedom from the influence or aid of others.

Independence.

What would independence give you in your life right now?  Who or what would you choose to become independent from?

This concept of independence as a foundational element of our very society is one that is worth considering from a broader perspective.  From a place of non-attachment, from the discerning wisdom of a clear mind.  Is Independence a part of our nature…. or a part of anything in Nature to begin with?  Or are we more closely aligned with inter-dependence and even outright dependence?  I wonder why we react from a place of protection and fear when we consider the possibility that we in fact are necessarily and beautifully dependent on each other, on the planet, on those we’ve never met, and on those we see every day.  Sometimes it feels like an escape pod, a reaction based on fear. Fear of our own intimate vulnerability and the truth of how connected and needy we really are.  Perhaps our laser like focus on independence is at the root of much of our suffering as an individual, as a nation, as a society, as a world.  Perhaps its at least worth considering.

Today marks the United States anniversary of Independence.  After 241 years, it may be time to reflect on what that word means to us here and now today and what we know to be true for ourselves, our communities and beyond.  Not looking back at those decisions made in a moment of turmoil, not judging or analyzing,  but looking forward, to how we might want to navigate this territory of “independence” for the generations to come.

Independence? Is that what we really want to be celebrating and the legacy we want to continue?  Amidst the joy and celebration of our amazing fortune to be here now in this truly blessed place, lets take a moment of silence in the presence of all that is happening, to really consider our perceived  “independence”.

With Love,

Jeneen

 

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.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Energy Musings.  Here. Now.

The energy of this moment.

What happens today, when you stop.  Just stop.  Like right now.  STOP!

Stop doing, stop trying, stop moving.  Really stop.  How long does that “stop” take?  As you ‘stop’, what parts of you have stopped?  what parts of you keep going?  Did you really stop?

Stop the excess.  The extra.  The “more than”.  Stop the thoughts, the mindlessness, the triggers.  Stop being lost.  Stop creating suffering.  Stop worrying.  Stop projecting.  Stop.

Then ask: What is essential?  What never stops?  What is vital to your being?  What is vital to this Earth?  What is vital to life as we know it?

We stop so that we can listen, see, hear, feel.  So we can notice.  So we can pay attention.  So we can create IN-tention.  We stop so that when we “go” we go forward with clarity, connection, calm, centeredness and true discernment.  We stop so can remember who we are, why we are here and what are work is.

Sometimes, we think of a stop as a “pause” or a “time in”.  But really, that pause must be a full on, no faking, 100 % STOP.

I remember once a cop pulled me over at a stop sign.  He noted that I came to a sort of “rolling stop” but not a full stop, and he kindly and patiently explained the difference.  A Full Stop is just that: giving your wheels the full amount of time to truly and completely stop.  And then waiting (like a full breath!) before you start again.   And when you start again, it feels like you are starting from the the very beginning.   Like when you first start your car in the morning. How long had I been mostly coming to a “rolling stop” at stop signs and not even noticed?  After that, I paid much more attention to stop signs.  I was grateful to this police officer for calling my attention to a place I had lost awareness.  Now, when I come to a stop sign, (especially the ones back in quiet neighborhoods where I find its easiest to sort of kind of roll to a stop-ish, and keep going because its clear no ones around…) I really, truly STOP.  This is my practice.  And it feels different.  I notice what it means to stop and what it feels like to start again from a place of really stopping.

When did we lose connection to what it really feels like to stop?

Today, re-connect yourself to the experience of truly stopping.  Throughout your day, as you remember to, whenever and wherever you are.

Stop.  Look.  Listen.  Then see how the very next moment unfolds for you.

Word of the Day:  Stop!

Song of the Day: Stop and Smell the Roses by Mac Davis

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.   

Wo-manifesto for a new world.  

Part I.

I am weary of the masses.

of the places of the things of the activities of the drinks of the foods of the people

that are popular that are trending that are cool that are unique that are interesting

that are, “new”

I am wary of the multitude.

of the misplaced power in the perception of community

that is lacking any real depth, real connection, real “unity”

that at best, scratches the surface and at worst, totally distracts us

from the true work, the true change, the true collective.

I don’t want to chase the shiny objects, I don’t want the eye candy, I don’t want to feel clever and hip because because I do or have done the latest thing, because I know how to fill a room or because I have the most toys.  so there.

I don’t really care about any of that.  I don’t need to feel included.   I don’t need  approval.  My life doesn’t depend on societies conditions of success.

not anymore.

not anymore.

not this societies at least.

Pay attention to what is next.

to what color, to what season, to what style, to what animal, to what word, to what dance move, to what place, to what thing is suddenly what everybody’s doing now.

This is our drug.  Our collective addiction.

This is our prison.  Our self created cage.

This is our illusion.  Our mutual fraud.

And its time to come clean.

I’m ready.  And I’ve been ready for a long long time.

Are you?

Show me.

Let(’s) go.

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Energy Musings. Here. Now.

Today!

How are you?  No…. really.  Move inside yourself, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself “how are you?”  “how am I?”.  And then Listen.  Listen to your Self.  Listen the way you would listen to a dear friend.  With patience and true care.  With all your attention focussed on the listening.

At first you might get the stuff on the surface, the stress from work, the business of your days, the tiredness in your body, etc.  This, you probably already know, but still…. listen.  Then just keep asking “how are you?”  like a mantra repeated and just keep waiting, listening, patiently.

Ask your bones, Ask your tissue, Ask your cells…. How are YOU?  Ask you organs, your blood…. How are you?  Ask you mind (be ready for an earful!)….. How are you?  Ask you emotions, feelings, sensations….. How are you?  Ask your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, throat….. How are you?

Ask and ask again.  Without any expectations. Without any need to change anything.  Without any necessity to do anything. Just to listen and ask and listen and ask and listen and ask.  How are you?

Ask you breath…. How are you? And let the breath show you the breadth of its wisdom and knowing. Let it move through every part of you and reveal the inner landscape with its keen awareness.  Listen.  Listen. Listen.  Listen to the breath.  Really get to know, How you are.  And then keep asking, throughout the day:  How are you now?  How are you Now?  How are you now?  And notice, notice the shifting or rigid landscape that is your experience.  Notice what it means to be tuned in to you.  Notice and love and hold and be patient and kind.

How are you now?

 

Song of the Day:  Hello, I love you. by the Doors

Art &….

Recently I read something that triggered me.  It was an innocent enough description of a process of “art” making that involves following a kind of formula to create what they call: drawings that are “free from the anxiety of drawing” so you can embrace your inner artist, trust your instinct and let your creativity flow.

The truth is, this description made my heart hurt.  Made me literally want to cry.  It felt so utterly mis-directed to me about the one thing I hold absolutely dearest in my life and soul:  Art.  I felt sad beyond belief for the need to compartmentalize “art’ in this way. For the fact that people even need to create this kind of offering.  It felt to me, like the black hole of ART.  My initial physical response was to take a rapid deep inhale and my whole body said “Oh NO!  Don’t got THERE”. Like I want to save humanity from jumping off this particular cliff because I can see where it leads…. and it ain’t pretty.

But first, I had to let go of (or try to at least!) any judgement around this particular process so that I could come a place of clarity and discernment.   My belief system holds that when you clear away the mucky stuff (judgement, over analysis, expectation, false knowing, etc), you can come to the place where there is truer understanding of whether something is helpful, harmful, a good idea or a distraction. This place of discernment, in and of itself, is NOT judgy. Something can honestly have positive or negative impacts pending your desired outcome or intention.  Its kind of like when we think about a persons ‘behavior’ being disruptive in some way without intending to imply that the person themselves are disruptive.  Just because the process may be problematic, does not mean theres any ill will from the people leading the process or that the individual pieces of the process are problematic either.

But back to the “Art” class.  It has become fashionable to throw the term “Art” around so that everyone and anyone can participate and feel like they are an Artist.  Which, ironically, they already are anyway.  And, just to make it more trendy, we like to combine Art with all sorts of things now…..Art & Wine, Art & Dance,  Art & Yoga, Art & Meditation, Art & the Chakras, Art & Chickens, Art & Rollerderby, Art & Skydiving, Art & ….. AND the list goes on.  I assume here to make it more ‘accessible’ or ‘interesting’ perhaps?  None of these combination in and of themselves is ‘bad’.  And I’ve taught many of them (working on the Rollerderby bit… tricky to organize).  And again, the illusion here is in the perception, not in the Art itself.

How these offerrings are actually led/guided and taught and WHO is actually leading or guiding makes a tremendous difference.  Not to mention, how they are marketed, who they are trying to attract and where they are being taught.  I’m not particularly interested in prioritizing what is ‘successful’ in terms of bringing in the most people, being popular or making the most money. I’m concerned with what elevates us, and I use that term most carefully, to a place of deeper understanding about ourselves and the world.

I am reminded of a conversation with a student recently who was commenting on the common parlance among yoga teachers these days, I think it was about a comment such as “All levels, bodies, types…. are welcome in my class”  (or something like that)  and she said “You know, ALL yoga teachers say that (substitute in whatever you want for the “That”!), but they all mean really different things by it.  You have to do your work to find out who really means it. “

Anyone can claim to integrate “art” in their practices, but who really means it?  You might start by asking them: What Is Art?

This is where I believe, the divergence lies.  As someone who has studied, taught and created Art, both professionally and personally, for her entire life, who grew up in a family of Artists and who always thought of art kind of like breathing….. its just what you do….this question touches my heart and life deeply.  Not because I think I know more, or because I have studied longer, but simply because it is truly Who I Am.

What is Art?

Well, for starters, Art is not imitation. Art is not knowing how to follow directions.  Art is not easy.  Art is not quick. Art is not something you learn a process to ‘do’.  Art is not formulaic.  Art is not for profit.  Art is not something you judge.  Art is not good or bad or ugly or beautiful.  Art is not created to match the living room couch.  Art is not created to hang in frame on a wall.  Art is not an idea.  Art is not a method.  Art is not a place to show off your skills.  Art is not therapy (although art therapy is its own legit thing).  Art is not pretty.  Art is not repetitive.

Let me put something out there to consider. Art is real. Art is enough. Art is like the breath.  ART IS.  In and of itself.  When guided as an authentic process.  With patience and learning and understanding.  Art will teach you everything about this world, your life and your role in it.  Art is as deep a reflective and transformative process as any spiritual pursuit, as uplifting and mobilizing as any creative endeavor,  and as skillful and knowledge filled as any science.  There is no need for Art AND.  Art AND Nothing. For that matter…. Yoga AND Nothing.  Meditation AND Nothing.  These are all comparable processes that lead you to transformation through careful study and ability.  Why the need to combine them in “new” ways?  In actuality, we do them a huge disservice through many of these combinations.  We miss the point entirely.  We create distraction instead of progress.

I’m fascinated by this when it doesn’t make me want to bury my head in the sand and cry to the earth.

So back to the original post I read.  Heres the stinger for me “free from the anxiety of drawing”.  I need to take a long slow breath here to even continue.

Drawing is prayer.  Drawing is a discovery.  Drawing with authenticity is a personal journey of deep understanding. If there is anxiety around that, theres personal work to be done. Or a total misunderstanding.  The drawing process itself and finding your path through it can address the anxiety.  But not in one 90 minute class.  It takes time, commitment, patience, love, determination.  It takes mastery, courage and yes, actual learning. There’s a whole language to absorb that you then have at your disposal to create with.  Theres no skipping steps.  It is, in fact, a process.

So Instead of the commitment, we change the parameters of the drawing process.  To make us feel better?  To make it more “accessible”?  Why?

No … really…. WHY?

I’m suspect of anything that in the long term serves as a distraction or an escape because we are overwhelmed, tired or agitated in the moment. Lets deal with our “overwhelm” ing feelings and beings rather than to look the other way and stuff our challenging feelings in a box for temporariy relief.  Hell, lets do that together and muck through the journey with our hearts wide open and our minds freed and our footsteps bravely forward charting truly NEW territory.  Not what the mind wants to convince us is new through the lens of what is “unique”.  How’s this for something new:  slowing down, looking around consciously, taking a long deep inhale,  and bravely being STILL instead of running all the time.  We can do this through meditation, through true yoga, and yes, through ART.  Real Art.  But we must practice keeping it Real.  Supporting each other authentically.  Walking each other home.

Thats my journey, at least.  Its not the easy way necessarily, or the fast way, or the way that makes you feel like you’re a star or an artist or a badass….. at least not immediately.  Theres not immediate gratification as we are used to or want. Although, it depends on what you find gratifying.  Because, sooner or later, you come to realize you already ARE all those things anyway when you stop distracting yourself through these clever disguises we have so creatively designed.

In fact, you find, we all are.

 

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.

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Energy Musings. Here. Now.

Today!

Neutrality is key.  How do you maintain a state of equilibrium especially in challenging times?  It is one thing to practice accessing this inner space on your own, and quite another to put this into use through your day, your life, your interactions.

Of course, we all have to start where we are at.  Begin with the breath, begin with finding a quiet place, begin with a class or a book or an app.  Begin by connected to this state of neutrality. What does it feel like to truly be ‘neutral’?  How does your body respond?  Your breath?  Your being?  Is it a familiar comfortable place, or does it put you on edge?  Notice what is here as you practice coming into a state of equanimity.

But remember to include these skills and tools as you move off your cushion into the world.  Asking the same question with the same non-judgmental sense. Pay special attention to your home, and those  closest to you.  While sometimes this may feel the most challenging place to make change, your honest reflection will give you a true sense of the results of your practice.  Without judgement, be willing to see what is here and where you are caught up.

Neutrality is up this month as a theme.  And this week, we look at ourselves, our relationship to our inner life and our interactions with our loved ones.  Starting here, we begin to cast our “neutrality net” in ever widening circles.

Word of the Day:  ataraxianoun.  a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety;tranquillity.

Song of the Day: Equanimity by Ryan Stewart.