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Mancora, Peru
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Yoga Retreat Deposit and Fees

Yoga Retreat Deposits and Fees

Friday, May 21, 2010

What the heart loves is the cure

I've been reflecting this past week on what it means to live from Freedom. I notice in my work and conversations with others how so many of us live limited lives, based on what we think is possible, and also based on our own judgments over what we think is right and wrong, better or worse ways to live. All of our choices in life; jobs, partners, the food we eat, the alcohol we ingest or do not ingest, the clothes that we wear, etc. are determined by these judgments. Ironically, often we are unaware that these judgments even exist, they are so internalized that it seem to us to be simply how things ARE. We are familiar with the idea that rules and limitations are often imposed on us through our society, religions, families, and general codes of social conduct and mores. However, the topic that interests me in my work are the judgments we create ourselves, often subconsciously, that limit our own freedom of who we allow ourselves to be.
This of not a new idea. There are many theories around why human beings create our own boxes in which to live. I perceive that we tend to create these perceptions of better/worse and right/wrong in order to delimit the playing field, to give ourselves some sense of order and guidance in order to make a semblance of order from the chaos of unlimited choices. The trick of course, is to remember that these judgments are flexible, self-imposed and that we have the ability to change our perceptions. This is a scary idea for many people; if we take away our perceptions of what is right and wrong, or better and worse, how would we make choices in the world? Would not chaos ensue?

I believe that to live from freedom involves examining critically our own ideas of what is better or worse, even to re-evaluate entirely what I think is possible and to find where there is room for expansion, deconstruction and change. New worlds of possibility emerge. And then the next question ensues: how does one choose??

Listen to the heart's longing.
Beyond the judgments of our rational brain and our abilities to understand intellectually that there is no inherent "better-ness" of one thing over the other, beyond this we have preferences and callings that are rooted from our profound sense of internal guidance. People give this sense a different name; intuition, our sixth sense, the internal guidance system, I don't worry so much about what it is called, as long as I can recognize when it speaks to me.

Of course the next question that arises is, HOW to tune into the guidance and hear our true heart's desire? There are many different processes and tools that I am exploring around how to do this. But I do believe that the first step in any process of finding our authentic expressions is to acknowledge that these exist. There ARE things that feel better to me than others, and that does not make these things inherently better than something else, but perhaps more appropriate to ME and my own life path. That acknowledgment gives me the freedom to make choices, not out of judgment but out of discernment of what feels good to me, and brings me more into my own sense of strength and balance.

Try out the following exercise the next time that you find yourself trying to make a decision about something. Without having to act on your decision, just ask yourself the following questions: What is my heart calling out for right now? What would make me feel most relaxed and at ease? When you have an answer to these questions, notice if there is any part of you that tends to judge your answer. What is the judgment? Does your answer sound selfish, or insignificant to you? Unkind, or unhealthy? What about downright impossible? Notice the ways in which your own judgments about your longings may be limiting your life.
Repeat the exercise various times, and notice if there are similar judgments that occur to you over and again. These judgments, or variations on a theme, may be tied into a particular image or (mis)perception that you have of yourself, that can be limiting your expression of who you really are.
Once we crack these self-judgments and identify the story that we have created, they cannot hold the same power over us, because we recognize them for what they are: a story. By freeing ourselves step by step from our own judgments and limitations, we have the ability to make choices that fulfill our heart's calling and live our lives more and more from a place of freedom.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Have you had enough?

Have you had enough?

I have found myself reflecting recently on the topic which I am calling the ever-expanding realm of enoughness.
In the place where I live and work, someone left a bumper sticker that says; “How would you know if you had enough: money, love, time, food, recognition, etc...?” I reflect on this question often from my viewpoint in my work here in the Amazon.

Do you know anyone who feels a lack of satisfaction in their daily lives? How about the sense of not having enough time, or money, or love in their lives? Anyone who goes to bed feeling like they haven't gotten everything done, worrying about something that they will have to take care of in the future, or with a general sense of anxiety and foreboding about what is to come? There seems to be a cultural dis-ease in the West that prevents so many of us from feeling satisfied and content with what we have, and leaves us striving to have more. We live with stress and frustration under the belief that we do not have enough, have not done enough. How does that affirmation feel to you?

I often reflect on this in my daily life as I watch people arrive to the jungle and settle in at healing center. Almost all of us who come here are from the Western world, of middle class and higher and thus are used to having material and physical comforts at hand. Suddenly, we arrive to a place where there is no running water, or electricity, where there are insects everywhere and generally living conditions are quite simple.
Initially this can be quite a shock for some people upon arrival, but I am amazed to find how quickly people settle in and adjust to this environment, albeit for a temporary period of living here. The irony of this strikes me, as they are clearly living with much less of the comforts and technologies than they have access to in their daily lives, and yet it seems to be perfectly what they need in that moment, perhaps because it is simply all that is available.

This makes me believe that our needs and expectations for “comfort” and “well-being” are a sliding scale that can expand and contract tremendously depending on what we perceive to be available to us in the moment. Of course, if we live in a society where we are told that anything and everything is possible, then how do we determine when we have enough?

It is an interesting question that I will be considering myself in the next week or so, and I invite you to consider this question yourself, and if you like, share with me some of your reflections. I'm interested in hearing your experience of having “enough”.

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