Monday, April 14, 2014

...wherein i reveal my seriously hippy side

My favorite thing about kundalini yoga -- which I do to fix my head rather than for its physical benefits, but my abs are in pretty good shape right now (can you say "washboard"?) -- is that right in the middle of class you view the world differently. It suddenly, miraculously turns into a benevolent, love-filled, anything-is-possible place. All your worries and your problems melt into the ether and you realize, in a slightly cray-cray SoCal way, that you need to turn it all over to Guru Ram Dass. In laymen's terms, ie. something you and I can both understand, it means that you have to trust in the universe and believe in the inherent goodness of the world.  Somehow that everything is intricately and delicately woven together, all in a lovely connected whole, makes perfect sense. Away from the lonely, loony middle of the night thoughts we all have and despise, when the sky is blue and you're surrounded by beatific beings in white meditating earnestly and gracefully folding their hands in prayer, everything is possible.

-- Jim Dine

"I'm not training you to be students. I'm training you as teachers," says Tej, my wise, wonderful teacher. "The sh*t is about to hit the fan and someone needs to have their heads on straight." The shit she's referring to are the powerful astrological events that are happening this month:  the blood moon or full lunar eclipse that is happening tonight, the Cardinal Grand Cross on the 23rd and the solar eclipse on the 29th. Even if you're not an astrological adherent (and I'm not really) popular opinion suggests that these events may in fact affect us, and make us a little, you know, loopy. There is even a whacky belief that the Cardinal Grand Cross somehow consciously uncoupled Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow (I know, I know.)

I have some healthy scepticism here. (Mamma: if you're reading this, I haven't gone nuts, or been in LA too long, or joined a cult). There are things I don't agree. There are things that I find jarringly, cringingly new-agey and strange. But kundalini works for me. It cleans out the cobwebs, allows me to see clearly and to be more loving. Do you know what I mean by that? I go back to my two ways of looking at the world mantra (which I've written about ad nauseum, for example here). Life is just better when you look through the lens of love as opposed to the lens of fear. Looking at through love is adopting one's higher self. Fear is when the ego leads (see this article on what the ego is).  It's very, very simple. Everything becomes easier, more connected, more bountiful through the lens of love and positivity.

Easy things you can do to reconnect with your higher self (and I'm saying this without a trace of irony; I firmly believe this to be true):

1) attend a yoga class
2) go for a walk, preferably in nature
3) deep cleansing breaths
4) a cold shower
5) move away from your cocoon for a few minutes
6) listen to uplifting music
7) eat cucumbers or celery, cold and crisp from the refrigerator
8) interact with animals (preferably on the ground)
9) do a headstand or a shoulder stand
10) hug someone for at least 20 seconds
11) listen to a beautiful mantra, for example this one 
12) drink lots of water

These are tried and true. These things will work when you feel panicked, or small, or your mouth becomes dry, or your heart starts beating as the fight or flight reflex appears, or you feel punchy, or attacked.

I once had a brilliant acupuncturist, Dr David Kearney in Santa Monica, whose mantra was "let it go," not in the "Frozen" sense of it, but his was the idea that you just breathe stuff out and just relax. "Just chaaa" he called it. He said, your body is made up of 90% water and when water is flowing it's healthy and energetic and life-giving. When water is still it becomes green and stagnant. So, for him, the flow, the chi, and so on, was important. And, to be obvious about it, this is why you feel so good after a run or a Soul Cycle class or 20 minutes of cardio (or, in my case, 40 minutes on a bucking four year old horse.)

-- The Beatles

And I can still be a bitch. I can still be lazy. I can still despair. I can still pick a fight with an irksome guest at a dinner party. I can still be irritated by my children. But, slowly, it's getting better.

You don't have to eat chia seed pudding, or lentils, or have your chakras balanced, or wear beads in order to embrace your higher self. If Arianna Huffington can do it, anyone can. You don't have to stop using deodorant, or grow your underarm hair, or chant every day. All you have to do is open your mind to these possibilities.  Just a little.  Just a tiny, tiny bit, and everything will start to change.


MrsWheelbarrow said...

Thank you, dear Bumble, for reminding me of all these smart ways to deal with the noise in my head. Wishing you the very best, clearest, deep-breath-worthy day. xox

Anonymous said...

Good morning Bumble,
is that you who has written this beautiful essay? Cant make it to yoga today, therefore this is even more
meaningful today...

LPC said...

Ah, I too am an old hippie. And I think it's for the best all around.