This week, as I engaged in the cyclical, repetitive and ENDLESS weeding of my yard, (which my OCD secretly loves), I've been reflecting on toxicity... on weeds, which I believe are representative of the lower energies on the planet. Spiritually, I have been wrestling with how to explain weed-like phenomenons like terrorists and cancer when I believe that God is everywhere and in all beings (I presumptuously assume that it's this very question that has turned many into atheists - and I honestly can't blame them when I reflect on some of the horrific things that we have done to one another here on Earth).
From my interpretation (in the gospel according to Erin ;)), though, the darkness and weeds are here for important reasons (after all we are told that "we can never escape from the Spirit" and that, to God, "darkness and light are the same" - Psalm 139).
It's hard not to admit that after witnessing the aftermath of a tragedy, a horrific terrorist attack has the ability to strengthen a community in their resolve to be tender with one another and to come together in a new way. For me personally, enduring the crippling pain of watching my Grandmother die awakened me to the reality of life as I realized for the first time that one day,we all will be lowered into the ground, and so we'd better really be here with each other. Somehow, these dark moments of disorder were pregnant with a new order, just waiting to resurrect from the tears and pain.
As I got cozy with the varied and annoyingly pervasive weeds in my yard this week, it became clear to me that their disorderly presence makes me work hardto get gorgeous flowers and delicious vegetables to grow. And after weeks of blood, sweat, and thistle pricks, I experience a whole new appreciation for the plants that "bear much fruit" when I've had to witness and rid the yard of the invasive ones.
Here's my big "ah-ha" this week, though. Just because I get the purpose of the weeds, doesn't mean that I shouldn't weed!!! If I don't weed, the lower energies (fear, hatred, anger) take over and suddenly I am so full of weedsthat I can barely bear fruit (or only bear lame, tiny fruits)! And the dis-ease of Fear is the greatest weed of all on the planet -- it's the root of all darkness, and Love is it's only remedy, the only opposition. But love and pumpkins and cucumbers emerges SO MUCH better with our assistance!
Turn on the news and you will see that the planet is in crisis mode -- with human fear reaching a boiling point. And if we look around to this place for guidance, we will fall victim to "the blind leading the blind" scenario, as Jesus predicted -- we will fall into the ditch. If we listen to fearful leaders and take-in their fearful ways, we become a bed of weeds, just as disorderly as a thistle patch. This is exactly why Jesus warned us to "turn the other cheek."
We all live in glass houses, and are all, in some way responsible for what's happening. After all, what happens inwardly, manifests outwardly (cue the outrageous possibility and now reality of Donald Trump's election) -- each one of us holding onto elaborate, debilitating, and toxic fears in our subconscious that we ourselves must examine and uproot. Saint Francis said that “[we] have no enemy except [ourselves]" which is why, this week during our practice, we will use the Ayurvedic energy of heat to detoxify our bodies of any residual fear hiding within us. We have to leave our shame about this at the door, though. We have been warned about this "original sin" at our birth in the fine print: "Welcome to Earth, darling - it's beautiful and amazing place, but WARNING - there has been a cultural "forgetting" that has happened here. Hold the Light, child, and you'll make it."
Because we are magnetic beings by nature, it's very easy to pick up the disease along your Facebook Newsfeed, the morning news, the teachers lounge. This is exactly why Jesus went to the desert and got up early to pray in quiet, because unless he weeded the bed of His heart, He would have been trampled. We come to the desert of our mats to release, to renew and to reboot, so that we may bear great fruit in the world and be the beings of Light we were sent to be. As my two year old says "don't worry, be happy." She's much wiser than she realizes. :)
When I used to teach high school English, I found that using analogy was the best way to explain incomprehensible topics to young, budding minds -- and oh the fun I had jumping around my classroom, excitedly drawing pictures of complex machines, The Grand Canyon, a Mother walking her baby, and the like - while sweating through my shirt (#embarassingbuttrue) - on my white board. It was in these moments when the light behind the eyes of so many students would illuminate. Hearing "Ooooooh! NOW I get it," was honey to my soul. It's what got me out of bed in the morning in a very stressful work environment.
This is exactly why Jesus used parables to explain the mysteries of the Universe to us. How do you explain Grace (aka Life Force Energy or Prana) tosheep who are only concerned about where to get their next meal and not getting eaten by wolves -- why, in a good analogy of course!
For the next two months, during Yoga Church, we will take these parables and look at the deeper meaning of them when understood from a yogic lens. What is Jesus saying in these simple morsels of wisdom that can teach us about the complex nature of our spirits, our chakras, and our life force? These parables are the keys to the kingdom.
We begin tonight by studying his teaching of the vine and the branches where he attempts to explain how connected we are - like fish in water - to the life force energy of God all around us (and how, just like a light bulb needs electricity to be all that it was made to be, we all need this Force to really come alive).
Through my yoga practice, I've learned that tapping into this field of Grace(which I view as literal stardust swimming within and around us), takes regular practice and effort. But, for me, it's the only option. Our world is in crisis and being a person of light feels like being "a sheep among wolves" as Jesus predicted it would be. But, getting on my yoga mat and coming into stillness, deepening my breath, opening my body, and quieting my mind is how I start to welcome the mystical force of Grace back into my life. And the more I practice this, the more I build up one powerful, bad*ss immune system that gives me the strength and protection that I need to go out and face a toxic world. Jesus tells us that the more we build this up, we "can walk among snakes and scorpions" and remain unharmed. How amazing is that?!
Tonight's practice will be slow, mindful, and gentle in order to help you build up this invisible yet tangible field of protection called Grace. And I promise you, it will give you a peace that this world cannot provide.
Many of us can feel - with great fervor - how badly the world needs us. We often hear that "we are the ones we have been waiting for" (Hopi Wisdom) and that Christ has "no hands but our own" (St. Teresa of Avila). When we see suffering, we feel something stir inside of us. It is our innate urgency to, well, do something, and so we add yet another thing to our over-flowing plates.
But what if our hands are so tired that we can barely lift our custom Starbucks drink - yea, the one that we cease to even really taste anymore - to our mouths? We can barely keep our eyes open to read our kids a bedtime story or have a conversation with our spouse before drifting off to sleep mid-sentence? Are these zombie-like "soul warriors" the ones who are going toreally make a difference here on Earth? Jesus is the perfect model of the reservoir that St. Bernard talks of -- always taking time to fill himself up with God's love, before even thinking about healing others.
The more I think about it, self care is truly (and paradoxically) the most selfless thing that you can do because the better you feel, the more likely you are to be patient with that naughty kid in your classroom (or your house ;)), gentle with that needy patient, or to attentively listen to that friend, client, parent, ________ who needs you.
God wants to feed you first before you feed anyone else and that's exactly why I am offering Super Soul Saturday on June 4th. I've gathered my Reiki Master, Massage Therapist, Singing Bowl Musician, Herbalist, and Holistic Food gal together to give you a full-on spa-day experience in one place. This will be a sacred Saturday when the experts in all of the various healing modalities will meld their skills together to create one super-charged self care experience foryou. And best of all, by healing yourself, you will heal others as all donations will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. We are capping the event at 50 members, so please reserve spots for you and your friends if you are interested. No matter whether you can make it or not, I hope that you can find 5, 10, or -- dare I say-- 30 minutes to fill your Spirit and let God love you up every. single. day. Heal yourself; heal the world!
Yoga Therapist, Teacher, Speaker, Writer, Mother