Embracing Uncertainty

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“I know nothing with certainty, but the site of the stars makes me dream.” –Van Gogh

As I mentioned in my last post, I am planning on moving to New York. For me, this is a huge step because I have never lived anywhere else other than the small town of Winston-Salem. Granted, I have traveled a lot and I get asked all the time why I am still here. But you know what? I am ready for this…mostly. I still have a lot to plan and have to hammer out all the details in the process. The good news is I have the support emotionally to be able to do this. I think the biggest challenge for me is…well, myself.

We all do it, we hold ourselves back. Sometimes more often than others. Why? It is the whole, “I have no idea what is going to happen, so I am just going to play it safe and keep all my I’s dotted and T’s crossed.” This whole year has basically turned my view point on its head. From changing jobs, meeting new people, new relationships, traveling like crazy, the way I eat, and deciding what to do with myself I basically have no other choice but to let go and embrace the unknown. I can’t play it safe anymore, I just cannot do it. I am meant for greener pastures and have the ability to do whatever I choose to do. I don’t care what anyone else has to say, I have to believe it for myself. So, I am making it a point to actually do that.

When you embrace what scares you the most, then you have no choice but to surrender and let go. For me, it is embracing failure. If I don’t try, then I don’t fail, but in the end I did fail because I never tried at all. I want to be a yoga instructor and guru. I want to help people though the ancient practice of Yoga and Ayurveda. I want to travel the world doing what I love and I can and will do it, dammit. If your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough…or so the saying goes. So, if I fail to do that then that is perfectly okay. I am sure that something better will arise if it does not happen, but I am going after my dreams regardless.

So, ask yourself, what scares you the most and why? What are you holding yourself back from? Make it a point to recognize it, accept that it is fear, and then take the steps to let it go. After all, most fears are not based in reality and it is pointless to hold onto them. Namaste.

 

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Inner Wisdom

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“He listened yet more intently to what was within him, to the past, to see whether that voice of memory truly foretelling the future would not speak to him again, revealing the present to him as well as the past.”
― Stefan Zweig, Journey Into the Past

Meditation is hard. It’s an honest fact of life that when you try and sit still for however long, your mind will wander about and then you have to constantly remind yourself to come back to the breath and inner peace instead of following your thought patterns that you have created. There, I said it. I am human and sometimes when I sit on a cushion or I am in shavasana my mind will go in a million different directions and I am just beyond frazzled. They say that is when we need to practice the most. If you have time, then practice for 10 minutes. If you don’t have time, then practice for an hour. Or so they say…

Lately, I have taken to listening to my body and see what it really needs instead of forcing it into something. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do need a good kick in the tush to do my meditation or yoga practice. As of right now though, looking within to what I need is helping me tremendously. Sometimes I will practice for over an hour, sometimes for 10 minutes, and sometimes I just will go with the flow of what I need and do short spurts.  Everyday is always something new and we are forever changing. Because of that, sometimes our practice needs to change and we should be more fluid.

We all need to go inside ourselves and see what we truly need to nourish our souls because the answers are never outside, but always within. Why? Because we are all connected to everyone and everything on this planet. Why do you think we have such similar DNA to chimps, dandelions, and other things? We are all made of the same stuff. We feel we should look outside of ourselves for answers, that we need guidance or approval of others.  The things is we don’t NEED it in the original sense. More so, it is a good indicator or reminder that we are on the right path so we are able to realize something within ourselves. Our egos trick us into thinking we know nothing, when in reality, we know a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. We just need to go within.

So, instead of beating yourself up because your meditation practice, yoga practice, or whatnot is not how it normally is, just relax. ask your body what it needs and you’ll be able to figure it out and better practice being present. Namaste.

Past Lives

Narasimha

 

One who knows that the position reached by the means of analytical study can also be attained by devotional service, and who therefor sees analytical study and devotional service to be on the same level, sees things as they are. — (5:5) Bhagavad Gita

Cleanses make you do funny things, like look back at all your past lives and go, “Ok, what should I learn from this experience?” or even just your past from this life and ask the very same question. It has been a bit rocky, to say the least. Having all this anger and fear come up, trying to let go of things that I NEVER had control of in the first place, disassociating feelings with situations going on now that I saw in the past, and the list goes on and on and on…

Well I am going to tell you about one of my past lives that I feel is a bit important especially now. Since I was very little, I had reoccurring dreams about being a man. I didn’t speak English and it sounded very similar to Hindi, but I was able to understand everything. I would talk to groups of people and they would listen to me and ask me questions about life. I remember practicing yoga and waking up early to do my devotions; mantras and I would meditate. I even remember meditating once and I was able to levitate and when I woke up I said, “I remember how to do that!” and so I did exactly what I did in my dream. I scared my self a little bit doing so, but hey, it happens.

Some of you are probably going to say that I was just around some Hindus and I picked up on a few things and I let my imagination run wild. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I grew up in a VERY white bread community and didn’t know anything about that stuff at all. I wasn’t ever exposed to it. I just gravitated towards it as I got older and that is when I started putting pieces together. For awhile, I thought they were just dreams, till people started meeting me and telling me about said dreams that I NEVER told anyone about. “Oh, you were my guru in a past life.” “Do you remember levitating? You were an Ascended Master.” “Oh my God I found you again!” At first I was like O_o and asked, “How the hell do you know this shit?” but then I sat with it and continued to put pieces together. I figured with all the people telling me these things then I should PROBABLY look into it.

Last Summer, I had an experience where it all came full circle. I was with my best friend and my boyfriend at the time. We were doing a spiritual cleansing because I felt like I had some sort of attachment to me that was extremely old and really needed to go. My body was in dire pain, everything literally ached to my very core; even my hair hurt. I was trying to breathe through it, but whatever it was, it would not let go. I felt helpless, then all of a sudden I hear this voice boom into me and say, “Do these asanas.” And so I got up with no warning and started doing a series of yoga I had never done before. I heard mantras being sung in my head and all I did was breath deeply and continue until I heard the voice say, “That is enough for now.” The entire time, my body had this wave of warmth run through it and i felt like things were being rearranged. Once I stopped, I sat there in silence and just breathed. after about 10 mins or so, I opened my eyes and both of them looked a bit befuddled.

The next thing I heard was the word Kullu and I went, “hmmm…that sounds familiar. I wonder why?” so I did a search on my phone and BAM! It is a place in India and you know what else? There are devotees to Lord Narasimha there AND it lines up with all of my dreams, previous experiences and what just happened. So basically, I was like…”Oh my God, it all makes sense!!!” Since that point, I have had a lot more experiences and being able to remember things from that life time. I have come to the conclusion that who was talking to me was Narasimha and he stayed with me for about a week after and then just faded out.

So, why am I bring this up now? Well, like I said, cleanses make you reflect on things and I feel I needed to reflect and share this with all of you. I also have been doing comparisons between The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Bhagavad Gita to help get me through some of these “emotional hangups” I have been having. I am trying to get myself out of this thought tunnel I have been stuck in for quite a bit. I know it is going to take time and lots of effort to do so, but I am fairly confidant I will be ok. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and anything really is possible. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

And Good Friday to You…

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“He drained the cup of God’s wrath bone dry, leaving not a drop for us to drink.” –Richard Allen Bodey

It is, indeed, Good Friday amongst the Christian community. The time of year where you trek to Church to remember Jesus dieing for our sins on the cross and how he rose from the tomb to show that he was indeed The Son of God. Then afterwards you you gather with family over dinner in celebration. However, this was not the original purpose of Easter.

All those eggs in cool colors, the flowers, and the Easter Bunny were not Christian ideas. Blasphemy you say? Oh no, it’s quite true. They have nothing to do with Jesus rising from the tomb, being put on the cross or even breaking bread and taking in the body of Christ. Easter, is indeed at its roots, a pagan holiday. And all the things we have had become synonymous with Easter really all has to do with Spring and Fertility.

In early times, Christians celebrated with the pagans and just took their own spin on it. As Christianity gained popularity, some of the things just stuck because people refused to give up tradition. Like Hot Cross Buns, egg bread, and exchanging colored eggs as gifts. In origin they represented The Goddess (which one depending on where you lived) and the “sun” being resurrected into the sky so that we could grow crops and be prosperous. That is one reason why I don’t really have a problem with Christians and celebrating Easter like they do. It still works out on both ends and it shows how cultures can coexist amongst one another.

It just scares people because they were never taught this growing up as a child and I guess people get embarrassed. That is why you have a lot of people trying to deny it and be extremely ignorant about the whole thing and then take all the fun stuff out of the holiday. That seems like no fun to me at all and just breeds more ignorance amongst others. So, where does the mindfulness come into all of this? EASY!!! Go celebrate and be tolerant of others and their traditions! It is good to know the history and traditions of different cultures when it comes to holidays, but sticking it in other peoples faces and saying, “I am better than you because of [insert bigoted statement here]” is not necessary. This is a time of happiness, gratitude and a good excuse to eat some awesome food! It is a “moveable feast” after all.

So when you are meditating, praying or whatnot; just take a few moments to express gratitude, joy, and love towards yourself and others. Go sit outside in the warm sun with friends and take pleasure in knowing that we are all different and unique and that is perfectly awesome. It keeps things interesting. Now, go pick some flowers, bake an awesome cake, and celebrate with family and friends over the weekend. Don’t get too stuffed on peeps though. Namaste!

Keys

Keys

“Falling in love should be like Polaroids. Instant.” –Unknown

Within the past month, I have had a whirlwind of excitement and wonder as far as my love life goes. With any new relationship, you tend to have the puppy love stage where everything seems to be perfect and nothing can seem to go wrong. The problem is, most people let that wear off and forget to see their special someone in that light again. They become comfortable and let things slip and just “put up” with them. I refuse to be like this!

I will not let myself fall into the trap of letting someone I am with become just another person that puts up with me and let that give me an excuse to let myself go in all the wrong ways. I have been in too many relationships where this has happened, and the excuses for doing so have led to fights, heart break, tears and ass like behavior on both ends. We are but human, and sometimes we do stupid stuff, but the worst you can do is treat the person who has your heart like they aren’t special and just do whatever your ego is telling you to do.

And by ego, I mean the little gremlin inside your head that says you need X,Y, and Z to make you happy and makes you act like a down right jerk that thinks he/she is better than everyone else. Its what makes us attached so much to our image, what makes us feel jealous and insecure without material possessions and desires , and what drives most of Western culture to be like it is. When I meditate, this little guy starts screaming at me loud and clear with a megaphone trying to get me to pay attention to it. “You need to loose weight! You need to get a boob job! You need to buy this purse! You need to get a vintage Jag! NEED NEED NEED NEED NEED!!!!!” Well, most of those things aren’t needs, they are just things. Things that have been drilled into our heads to make us feel like we are not enough as we are.

We are enough though, right now we are indeed enough. The reason someone falls in love with you is not for all the fancy things you have, your job, your money or what car you drive or even the clothes you wear. They fall in love with you and who you are inside on both good and bad days. It’s all the imperfections that make you who you are and what makes you special. We tend to forget that, we think that someone is perfect and once they show us they are but only human, it automatically makes us feel betrayed and wonder what they think of us. And that is where the ego starts yapping away, making us feel like we are less than we are. “He will love you more if you dress this way. You should try and make your lips look bigger. If you died your hair then he would notice you more. Maybe if you start liking all the things he likes and doing all the things he does and give up all your hopes and dreams then hell pay attention.” And then we listen, and then feel resentful for it and blame our love for it…and thus the vicious cycle starts.

However, if we come into a relationship with mindfulness, not just of ourselves and our limits, but of the other persons as well then we are able to grow in love. Honesty is the best policy; trying to be your best self is great if you are doing it for yourself and the other person encourages you to do so. They are there to accept you as you are and give you the support you need to be able to grow. That is how love works. Now, as you can see, my blog post is entitled keys. Keys, in this sense, can be tools we use to ground ourselves and remind us not to get all up in our head so we can make sure we put our all into any relationship. This can be romantic, work related or really anything we need to put our mind to. We just have to remember we are enough.

It can also be taken literately. When I said my love life has been a whirlwind, this is one of the things I was talking about. I ended up writing a poem yesterday, in all of my twitterpation about it. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste.

Keys

by: Michelle Curry

Jingle, Jingle, Jingle… the sound of keys ring as I drive home as they beat against the ignition. It reminds me of the melody that is your voice, playing over and over in my head much like a well loved record that is stuck on repeat. “Go make yourself a key.” I contemplated this while making breakfast and waiting for you to come back from work for a few minutes to discuss details. I have never had many keys in my life, not even ones to my own home.

It felt…new and precious, even if it was but only a small gesture of kindness and vulnerability. You have let me not only occupy the space your heart, but also your space in your home… I have given many a boy a chance to show they have the key to my heart, and all have failed till now. You rush in and make quick work of chores, making sure you have enough time to lay with me before you run back to the office. “You are amazing and I love you. You have all of me…” Thinking of those words just reminds me of your eyes, soft and blue…full of hope and trust. They are the gateway to the soul, after all…

Many a kiss and hug were given before you dashed off again. I had my assignment, you sent me on a mission to find a hardware store on Franklin Street. Of course, being from Winston-Salem, I don’t know where anything is and GPS helps but only so much. I park in a free spot and trek up and down…pondering about shop whereabouts and who’s keys fit where. All the boys who had tried before had keys for different things. Some where too big, some where too fancy, some were too small, and some were very rusty. They all seemed ill fitting to my heart and were better suited for other things. Like garages, old cars and even basements. Some of them were for cages, making me feel trapped, and all the gold plating on the bars and frivolous gifts that were only given if something was wrong were just to hide the fact I was more like property than anything else.

Only but a prize or a trophy that had been seemingly “won”, I was not… and like a bird, I flew at the best chance I got to escape, and I hid my tracks hoping to not be found again. You found me though, hiding in the bramble all shook up and teary eyed, trying to nurse old wounds so I wouldn’t feel so weak and failing miserably at it. All you did was hold me, no cage to bind me or chains to hold me there, I wanted to stay because that was enough. And kind words, like mantras heal my soul, as they pour out your mouth like waterfalls. “I love you…go make yourself a key.”

I got lost for a bit during my quest, asking a police officer for directions I finally started going the right way. Apparently the store was on the other end. On my way back I got many a cat call… random college students trying to impress there friends in how “bold” they were. Puffing out there chest making a show and honking horns as I walk by. A few random hobos who looked like they were stuck in the 70’s and drunk then decided to have a go and see if I would pay them attention. No avail, but it freaked me out quite a bit. Then an older man decided to be a flirt as I walked to my car to go park elsewhere; I was beginning to wonder if they were sent here to deter me from my quest…

I park in a spot someone still had time left on and then I found the place. Brown’s Paint and Hardware, and behind the old wooden door sat a little old man with a very sweet (yet flirtatious) demeanor. “Well hello there young lady, how may I help you?” “I need to make a copy of this key, please.” “Ok, that will be no trouble. How many copies?” “Oh, just one, please, sir.” He winked at me and went behind his desk, whistling an old tune that seemed familiar but couldn’t be placed, I hear scraping of metal behind the wall and I craned my neck to see what was happening. It was all over in a matter of 15 seconds and he walks back with the bright new shiny key. “Here you go, young lady. That was mighty nice of you to stop in here to have this made.” “Well my boyfriend told me to come here so I figured it was a good place to stop.” He smiled as I handed him the money. “Come back anytime you’d like and have a great day!”

As I walked out the door I couldn’t believe that I now had my own key, one that finally fit. It was just the right size, gold and shiny and fit nicely on my key ring. Now they jingle when I walk instead of just making a muffled clank. And even though it isn’t much, it means all the world to me. I will keep it forever and I will never let go. Jingle, Jingle, Jingle, a melody that floats about my ears, singing a song though my atmosphere. This is where our souls meet body, like 2 puzzle pieces we fit, and you have the key to my heart and then some.

The “Art” of being Vunerable

Sad

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I will admit it, the past few days I have been living in my head and letting my fears get the best of me. It might have something to do with my cycle coming up soon, but still…it has not been great. Thank God I have people in my life who actually understand this and aren’t going to run away from me because of it. I am human, I am imperfect, but life is constant practice. We just have to keep telling ourselves that.

And because I have been up in my head, I had a bit of a break down. Simple words making phrases that were intended with love and kindness turned into haunting demons from days of yore that I did not DARE speak of. It made me mull over it the entire day…to the point where I could not even paint. I felt crushed, like I was bleeding from the inside out and it came out as anger, pain and tears. I haven’t felt like that in a pretty good while. And I let it all out over FaceTime with my man.

See, being an artist is hard because you put your soul and heart into everything that you do. It is not just a painting, a sculpture, a dance, a song, a poem, or a photo. It is a glimpse of ones soul through the lens of that individual.  It has emotions, feelings, and memories tied to it. Everyone sees things differently in our world and because of that everyone feels they are entitled to be a critique. People that are not comfortable in their own skin tend to be the first to say, “That is wrong, fix this, I hate this, I can do better than that, I don’t understand this, that is not art.” and so on and so forth.

When we come from a place of love and understanding, then the critique is softened and said when it is ready to be heard. Sometimes though, it can still be misconstrued and that isn’t anyone’s fault.  That is just because the other person is too guarded, in which in this case I was for several reasons. Art, for me, is therapy. Most of the time is there was something going on that I didn’t know how to deal with, then I would delve into my artwork. I have ALWAYS done that. I have a hard time communicating my feelings through words sometimes and the only way it can come out is if I draw, paint or some how put it on some sort of paper or surface that is tangible to my hands.  It is raw, it is very personal, and close to me.

In the past, people didn’t understand this. I was the weird art kid that always had a sketch book and would hide behind novels and note pads. It was my wall so no one could come in, even though I really wanted them to. I wanted to show them who I really was, but when I did I just was shoved off and told, “[insert persons name here] is better than you.” Or I would make a doodle for someone I really cared about and then find it in the trash. “Oh, it’s only a drawing. It doesn’t mean anything. You make these all the time so you shouldn’t be upset.” Even in my serious relationships I had, I didn’t feel like my art mattered anymore so I stopped creating things. I thought, “oh, they don’t care…what is the point of this?”

That was the depression speaking, but now that I have started creating again those little voices still pop up now and again. They are all in my head though… Sometimes it takes a lot to quiet the noise and turn up the sound. I have a lot to learn, one of them being able to separate myself from a piece. It is like a little piece of you that is no longer a part of you. Kind of like a memory…it changes with each and every time you remember it. It will come in time, but it will be slow. I am still very raw in this state with rediscovering that part of myself. I will get there one day though and when I do, I am not going to turn back. Namaste.

The Thaw

by: Michelle Curry

And as the Winter leads into Spring, where the flowers blossom and the trees breath in new life from the sun, I too shall thaw. And just like the temperatures and winds that are unpredictable, my soul shall be as well, for I will have a blistering cold winds accompanied by calm warm breezes. May my crown of branches and thorns make way for flowers and vines and deadened leaves become soft moss in which I am cloaked. Have the frost turn into morning dew that gathers and waters my heart and spirit. Bright Yellow and Cobalt Blue like the Iris are my colors and i shall wear them like war paint. And with each step I take, may the ground soften and ease into new life. The Holly King has gone and Jack of the Wood has come to play and I too have awoken from my slumber…and just like the song birds, I won’t be quiet anymore.

 

Falling into Place

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If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.  –A. A. Milne

Ask and you shall receive, that is how the universe works. Well I asked a long time ago and I finally received because I was ready for it. Remember that post where I talked about hating being single? It was called Owner of a Lonely Heart. That was in January and boy, have I grown a lot since then. It has been 2 months since that post and within 2 months I have had some major upheaval and detoxing. Not just physically, but spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

Growth is what you make of it; it can be easy or you can take it kicking and screaming. I did a little bit of both, plus some tears. It has been really hard being able to just let go and have the universe guide me though all of this…but it happened. All the strange dreams, energetic shifts and even that horrible night where  felt like I was going to die while at a party amounted to something. It opened me up so that I may create space for love and create new patterns. It allowed me to be vulnerable enough so that I can and would take chances.

“So I am practicing self love by allowing myself to be Okay with singleness… I know it won’t be forever, but for now I have to be okay with me. And when I am ready, things will fall into place and go as they may. Enough is enough of patterns. Its time to make new ones that are good for me and not self deprecating.”

That, right there, was my intention and you know what happened? Prince Charming came a trotting on his white horse. You know how they say you just “know” when you meet the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with? I was a bit of a nonbeliever in “love at first site”, a cynic even! I thought all relationships are hard work and they don’t just fall in your lap. Well the universe proved me wrong on that one.

So, what happened was I was suppose to have a date on a Monday with someone out of town, but they ended up canceling on me because “they had been driving all weekend and they were tired” which really meant “I found someone I really connect with on my ski trip and I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Needless to say, I was a bit sad and so I sat with it for a little while. Then I got the urge to go to OkCupid and look and I did. Low and behold, I noticed someone had looked at my page and I was like “oh I hope he messages me…but maybe I should send him one first so he knows I am interested.” He beat me to it and from that point it just kinda snowballed into awesome happiness.

We messaged back and forth, then had an amazing phone conversation that night that last for 4 hours…yes, 4 hours. I have not talked on the phone that long since like high school. we decided to have a date on Thursday and when we met in person…well fireworks happened. I have to say, I have never been this happy and so relieved all at the same time. Things just fit and are falling into place naturally. I can finally be myself and not walk on eggshells anymore. I have room to let go and just be as I am with someone and that is enough. I am looking forward to seeing where this leads to and see how we both grow with all of this. So, next time you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere in life, ask and you shall receive. Namaste!