Holy Days. Spring. Inspiration.
For me, Easter has come to mean new beginnings.
My childhood winters in the US Midwest were long. Once Christmas had past it was mostly just snowy, drizzly, dreary days and long nights. Nearly half the year spent under cloud-cover, seeing your breath when you talk, waking up for school in the cold dark.
Daylight would arrive each morning a little sooner...and a little sooner until one day, like a sunrise blast over the horizon, the entire world felt different.
The world looked different.
Life changed in an instant.
They say that when Jesus came out of the tomb, not all of his friends recognized him at first. He had changed.
That makes sense to me.
Within the span of the three new moon days/nights, Jesus had traversed into the underworld, ascended into heaven, and returned to solid Earth. It stands to reason, things would have been a little different.
Per usual, Jesus provides a model for the Soul Artist who seeks to live their most meaningful life.
Because this has been a year.
In the span of just over 365, we have certainly traversed some new territory. For some it was a deep-dive into the underworld–the "Dark Night of the Soul." Others found illumination of their shadows. There have been challenges to be certain, and hardship provides opportunity for transformation.
What about you? How have you changed?
Do you feel yourself cycling through into something new?
Today, I remember my favorite childhood Easter dress. I remember styling my hair and polishing my shoes and stepping into the church pew to hear the Sunday sermon.
There was excitement in the air.
After the service (and oh! the singing) the children were ushered out into the warm and radiant sunshine for an egg hunt on the lawn. I was bigger then. I followed behind the smaller ones. Something new was stirring.
As I walked the perimeter of the church yard, I spotted a little nest nestled beneath a tree. It was crooked and disheveled as if it had fallen from the branches. But there were three tiny eggs inside. I sat down to get a closer look.
It was a Soul Artist moment.
On the soft cool ground, under the brilliant blast of the Easter sun, I had a new understanding about the cycles of change (samsara in Sanskrit). It is all happening. Seasons. Moons. Days. Years. Thoughts. Life.
...and it is always coldest, darkest just before the dawn.
It was something like that, anyway, elusive and curiously peaceful as I sat awestruck with wonder beside that little broken nest. Birds sang everywhere above me. The breeze blew the style out of my curls. And the sun was there.
I let the littler ones look for the Easter eggs. I had already discovered mine.
Walking back to find my mother I felt like I had grown.
I wondered if she would recognize me.
Motherhood. Poetry. Spring.
...then sometimes I am eight
and we stay up really late, past our bedtimes listening to records in the loft. Time is our kitten and the moonlight is soft...
and it’s finally Spring after a year of masking our faces and staying away from certain places and I am right where eight is.
I am where we get lost on purpose. We hide and then resurface. You are there and I am there and we are both nowhere else.
We dance the ancient Dragon Dance from the Empire of the Sun. It’s the graceful dance. The sacred one. The one we just made up for fun...and you are my best friend.
We watch the vinyl spin. Flip it over and play it again. We spin and spin and spin and spin...until we fall onto the pillow fort we built, drenched in the water that we spilt.
I am soaking it all in.
Because when you’re eight, there is nowhere but the middle. You’re a big girl...and still little.
You don’t need anyone to tell you what to wear.
You can pack your own bag. You can brush your own hair. But you still always want your mama there.
And so for right now, I am right here-right where eight is.
community. gratitude. inner power yoga
I love you.
You know who you are.
You are the reason I keep trying.
You were the first one to trust me with your downward facing dog.
You were the last person to leave last week's zoom call.
You've seen it all. My tenderness and scars. My triumphs and disgrace.
You dare to look. You give me grace.
And I love you for it.
I love your face.
You came over to my house that one night, nearly two decades ago,
when I was lonely for deep company and hungry for the new perspective you would bring...
the wine. the ideas. everything.
We called it the Goddess Gathering.
I wanted to know what you know.
Because I love you.
Because you believed in me when my confidence wavered.
I can't even count the love seeds you gave when
you supported our seva in West Africa and Pine Ridge Reservation...
when you built sets at Yoga Rocks Mountain Fest or the Rocky Mountain Yoga Conference.
You made time for us.
I found new confidence in your Basic Goodness.
You brought hope to the Soul Artist Studio when it was build on a broken heart.
and ambition broken heart
determined to make a new start
to make Soul Art
to sing a new song over old bones.
I was never alone.
You reminded me to listen for the beating spaces,
for the meeting places,
for the meaning in between the gasps for air.
I love you.
You know who you are.
You were right there.
You are the men who helped me build schools.
who leapt of cliffs into the seven sacred pools
,..the women who formed a wisdom circle around my womb.
You gave me room to make mistakes.
and I've made many in my day. And I'll make more,
but you love me anyway. That's what love is for.
Its for seeing and believing that there's something new in store–
something worth trying for.
This is for you, over there.
You care to read this letter down to this line.
May Love flood into your human experience; from mine.
It's just about time to check all our barriers at the door.
To enter the chamber. To kiss the floor and to sit down at the table of the mystics.
Those who tried to show us what love is.
Could you be loved?
...and BE LOVE?
beyond the opposites.
without an end.
turning and returning again and again
to the guru within, as a student.
As a teacher.
...As a friend.
clothing. cool people. lifestyle
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—KamGi & Kyle
WE 💖 BE LOVE!!!
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The Peace Warrior T-Shirt is one of my personal faves. ...Love their dreamy marketing.
...And, in the middle, that's KamGi, our new BFF!
Love. Inner Power. Diwali.
What don’t I know?
We are all pretty sure about one thing: our own perspective. So many conversations begin with, “Look here,” or “Listen up,” because “This is where I stand.”
The whole entire enterprise of human engagement becomes a quest to be understood.
But standing in that mentality means staying in the dark—denying that there’s another point of view.
So here’s something new: What if you start each encounter with the question, “What don’t I know?”
Example: The neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking and it’s making me crazy. What don’t I know? Or: Marty left his dirty laundry in the middle of the floor, again. What don’t I know?
I fail at it daily. But when I remember this practice, my life is just better. It’s like real world enlightenment. The light shines on another’s perspective and I find out that we weren’t standing so far apart, after all.
Today is an Indian holy day: Diwali. It is an opportunity to celebrate the light.
The light of awareness.
The light of consciousness.
The light of your inner power.
There has never been a more crucial time for the teachings of Mystic Traditions to make their way into the real world human experience,
to make life... just better.
diwali. love. marriage.
Read more on these topics.
Diwali. Lakshmi. Abundance.
Diwali is called the "Festival of Lights" because it is a celebration of illumination. It honors the light of your awakened consciousness. It invokes beauty, abundance, prosperity, and love–the archetypal attributes of the Indian Goddess, Lakshmi. This mystic tradition invites you to realize those attributes as qualities of your own mind. Rituals serve to remind you of your inner power and transform your awareness. Your most powerful expression of abundance is a grateful heart. Diwali is the party for a more meaningful life.
10 Practices for Diwali
diwali. light. rituals.
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Holy Days. Mystery. Muertos.
“I use the word mystery, rather than magic. I love magic.
Something magic was always going to happen.
When it did, it never did anything but land me in trouble.
MYSTERY is the depth of the sacred.”
― Marion Woodman
It is palpable! ...the power of the sacred mystery.
Right here. Right now.
We are creating history...and HERstory.
Your life is profoundly meaningful. Your choices have power. ...even if that sacred purpose is yet to be revealed.
My cultural upbringing included a celebration of answers. It was always much better to be right. We wanted to know exactly what happens next, where we were going, what it all meant. Religion, politics, history, science–education was sought for concrete reality. The unknown was, frankly, dangerous. There was little room for mystery.
These days, I relish the unknown. Within it lies infinite potential. I have found that being "right" is limiting.
There is so much more.
As I revel in the light of the full moon, I honor the unseen darkness on the other side.
Today, I celebrate Dia de los Muertos with my family. This holiday was not a part of my cultural upbringing...it celebrates the unknown. As we gaze upon the photographs of our ancestors, we honor the love that brought us here. We revel in the light each soul brought to the planet. And we honor the mystery–the unseen journey on the "other side."
My yoga–mystic wisdom & ritual–empowers me to embrace the unknown with peace and wonder as I trust in the ultimate fulfillment of Love.
DEEP TRUST: We all could use a little, right about now.
holy days. love. shadow.
Read more on these topics.
Imagine the world before electricity. I bet you'd tend your fire carefully. Make it last through the cold, dark night.
...And then comes dawn. Every morning is like a victory–the triumph of the light.
That is why Indian holy days, like Diwali. celebrate the light.
That is why Indian mantras, like Gayatri, invoke and worship the light as a divine power.
In yoga, I honor the "dawning of awareness" as the power of illumination which awakens, heals, and provides clear vision.
But the light does not always come easy. Let me explain with a story:
Once upon a time my husband and I were arguing. It was heated. Now, I can't even remember what it was about. But at the time I was quite certain–I had no doubt–that I was "RIGHT!"
He disagreed. He presented his case, but I doubled down on my point of view, again and again. I wanted him to realize (and admit) that I was "RIGHT!"
Then something happened. Mid-sentence. It hit me like a floodlight: "Oh, shit. He is right...
Daaaang! I felt just like Wile E. Cayote when he looks down from his full-throttle pace to realize that there is nothing beneath him but empty space and a long, hard fall.
We celebrate the light as if it is always welcome. As if we are in a state of perpetual curiosity, always ready to expand and embrace personal development.
But sometimes we're not.
Sometimes we think we already have the answer. We already know. We are "RIGHT!"...and nothing will change our minds. Then the light of awareness "dawns" on us illuminating our flaws. It isn't comfortable. Sometimes, truth be told, we wish we could stay in the dark.
Our practice often determines what happens next.
Yoga provides the courage and compassion to face, and embrace, the light.
So back to that one time, when I was wrong:
I took a deep breath, mustered up the humility and said, "Wait. I'm just realizing that you are right. I am wrong. I am sorry."
My husband looked at me, first with surprise, then tenderness. "Yeah," he said. "I love you."
I had braced myself for impact, but it turned out to be a super soft landing. Blissful in fact.
Because in that moment, I realized that being wrong gives me the opportunity to experience his unconditional Love. If I were always "RIGHT," I would never feel the sweet sensation of forgiveness.
When I embrace my imperfection it becomes a radiant gift.
I am human, and growing. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Inspired by the words of Leonard Cohen: The cracks are where the light gets in.
That realization has been, for me, like the break of a glorious new day.
At this time of year, the United States of America celebrates its sovereignty as a country independent from other world entities. But how independent are we really?
The truth of our interdependence has become more and more apparent...and important.
We must acknowledge our reliance upon each other for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Countries depend on both global and inter-personal connection for economic stability, ecological hope, and the general maintenance of world peace.
Humanity is interconnected with Nature. We rely on her resources for our survival. Inversely, the survival of Earth’s resources depends upon the wise choices of humanity. Each person’s identity and experience is deeply intertwined with the people that surround her and the entire world at large.
This month, in the Eleven Moons Online God/dess Odyssey, we celebrate the moon as a vision of interconnectedness. Lunar forces influence the rhythm of the tides. Similarly, we are intimately affected by the energies around us. Just as we cannot see the moon except for the sun’s light shining upon it, our lives are each a reflection of the one, Infinite Source.
Every encounter is an opportunity to reflect that divine light to one another, reminding each other of our true nature as Love. We need each “other.”
Years ago, disappointed in the failed commitments of my nation, I was inspired to draft a new declaration–a Declaration of INTERDEPENDENCE. It serves to remind me of my personal responsibility, as an American yogini, to celebrate a world of beautifully interconnected diversity.
Each year, at this time, I bring the following declaration into my meditation practice, updating it as I re-evaluate what it actually means to me.
We hold the truth of Self-Realization:
That all beings are divinely unified;
That we are empowered by Universal Source with certain infinite potential; awakened by prana, moksha, and surrender to Love.
Keys for a better relationship from R.R. Shakti, PhD.
MJ and I have been together for fifteen years. Most of that time has been pretty easy, but there have been moments (or months) that were down right HARD! We struggled to communicate, failed to see each other's point of view, and generally lost our way.
Through fits and starts, we have made it to the sweetest, juiciest, most connected time of our Love...so far.
If you are trying to find Love but your wheel is spinning, get yourself back to your center. That's where the Love originates.
Breathe, meditate, practice you...then ask your lover the following three questions. They will completely transform your relationship for the (oh so much!) better.
1. WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU, TODAY?
It's easy to get caught up in the feeling of lack–"not enough" time, money...energy.
We unconsciously turn to our partners to fill the perceived void with a "what can you give me?" approach to relationships. And before too long we feel that we are just not getting our needs met.
But when you embrace the reality that you are a uniquely embodied expression of the Infinite, you come to know your Self as whole–complete just as you are.
You recognize that your partner, too, is a uniquely embodied expression of the Infinite.
You see every person as a uniquely embodied way for Infinite Consciousness to witness itself, that is, to experience "with-ness."
With-ness requires a subject/object relationship, after all. There must be a semblance of "otherness" in order to experience "togetherness."
Creation stories worldwide explain that the playful and sacred dance of relationship requires a singular Infinite Consciousness to become two (and then myriad more created things) so that Self-knowledge, aka Source-knowledge, aka LOVE can actually happen.
When we Love each "other" we are fulfilling the universal destiny of reunion with Source.
When you wake up each morning, look your partner in the eye, and inquire:
"What can I do for you, today?"
you are REALLY asking:
"What can I do in the service of Infinite Love, today?"
"What can I do for my Self, today?"
(That is "Self" with a capital "S"–the YOU that is way bigger than your ego.)
When we serve each "other," we serve the One Love that abides within–beyond all opposites.
2. WHAT AM I NOT SEEING?
Because we are each uniquely embodied expressions of Infinite Love, we each witness the human experience from a distinctly unique point of view. Friends, lovers, co-workers, even so-called "enemies" can be our greatest mirrors, revealing our blind spots.
From his vantage point, my partner sees things that I sometimes overlook.
Once a week, or so, I will ask him: "What am I missing?"
It gives him an opportunity to air his grievances in a loving way...before they get bottled up and shaken. It gives us both permission to be human. We grow together as we help each other broaden our scope and clarify our vision.
But it takes practice.
I have to let go of my ego's attachment to being "right."
I have to listen without defense, which can be a colossal challenge sometimes.
But it's always worth it.
There is nothing more delicious than feeling Loved in my wholeness–feeling Loved in my complete and vulnerable humanity. When I let myself be wrong, it allows someone to Love me anyway–unconditionally.
Some of the deepest bonding happens when I let my lover clean my lenses and receive the valuable insight of his heart's unique perspective.
3. WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S DREAM?
According to teachings of non-dual Tantra, every person shares a common Soul's purpose: to live our lives as uniquely embodied expressions of One Love.
Your unique expression of Love may take various forms throughout your human experience, as you awaken more and more to the reality of your infinite potential.
Your intentions, visions, hopes, and ideas are the stuff of your Soul's dream. You get to decide how you want to express your particular embodiment of the Infinite...to the world.
It may look quiet or rowdy. It may be earthy, watery, fiery, airy...or outer-spacey. It might include flowers, computers, baked-goods, and/or jokes. This is your story. And you are a Soul Artist.
The full moon is a sacred time for connecting to an "other." Allow your light to illumine each other's hearts. It can be a powerful time to ask your friend, sister, father, or lover: "What is your Soul's Dream, in this moment...right now?"
Listen intently for the real answer. The one that shines bright beyond "should"s or "if only"s–
the dream that comes unabashedly, ecstatically, and giddily from the Soul.
When we honor and celebrate our Souls' Dreams together, we remember that we are each fulfilled in our own individual wholeness. We are reminded that those two "whole"s fit perfectly together...
in One Love.
R.R. Shakti, PhD
* PS: If you feel that you may be caught in an abusive relationship, please seek support.
About The Author
R.R. Shakti, PhD
Founding teacher of Inner Power Yoga®, Shakti is a Contemplative Mythologist, ritual facilitator, and writer who presents a Tantrik approach to personal empowerment and social action. Through contemplative story-telling and mind/body practices, she offers a vision of deep peace and radical freedom.
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