Between The Lines

 

“Deeper dimensions of experience are now available to us, where we are not limited to experiencing just the physical plane. When you look at a tree you will begin to see not just the physical form of the tree, but rather a multidimensional experience of the tree, its spirit, its communication, its soul. The same goes for people around you. You will begin to experience them as multidimensional beings with loads of history. The downside of this expansion is the tendency for overload and the possibility of losing ones tether to the agreed upon collective experience of the physical world.” – Unknown

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Friday The 13th

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“The moths, the birds, the dragonflies, and all the winged creatures are sacred to Her.”  (Image via Kateafaerie.)

Today was an initiation.

I could feel it coming. Something in the air. Something in the way my mother moved about the house and played gospel music yesterday. Something in the sleepless nights and jet lag I’ve clumsily dealt with since I’ve been home.

None of the small signs prepared me for a day I expected to be normal, but turned into nothing of the sort.

I think every single one of us has had a day like today.

Unexpectedly hard. Unexpectedly sacred.

I can’t spell it all out right now. I simply wanted to mark it, here on the blog.

It’s all messy and close to my heart.

I feel, in this moment, like a child. Full of awe at how big everything is. So deeply held and cared for. Broken…made of sunshine and grass and roses and moonlight.

In love.

Perfect.

Alive.

 

#thetower #sixofswords #thestar

#magic

A New Take On Eating


This is what a 5am breakfast looks like when I’m still adjusting to the time change: saltine crackers, a hunk of dark chocolate, a halved strawberry and a giant cup of instant coffee. (Not pictured: honeydew apple devoured just before this photo.)

I ate what my parents had available, just as I did in India. And it was delicious. While traveling, there was rarely any requesting of “gluten-free” this or “dairy-free” that — you just ate whatever was handed to you. I understand that it’s a totally different story for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or allergies, but for me these were preferences due to thinking I was somehow being healthier. I saw an Ayurvedic doctor there and he said the first step to truly healing my years of digestive upsets was to relax. Then, cut out all the BS I’d read on the internet, and start eating the foods I grew up with, seasonal and local foods a bonus, with lots of fruit and vegetables.

Also: Coffee: ok. Wheat, butter, bread: ok. Food-combining or timings: Who cares? Just eat what your body wants when you feel like it. It’s all about balance, and your body will do this naturally if you relax.

Since then, I’ve noticed a marked change for the better, simply by letting go of all my (mostly false and detrimental) stories and stresses about food. It’s still a big no for me on overly processed junk foods, and the only other things I’ll moderate going forward are sugar and caffeine (a good idea for anyone to moderate,) and little to no meat or eggs (it’s kinder, and my body likes it better that way.)

🍎🥐🌯☕️🥗🧀

Home


Home. It hasn’t quite set in yet, and it is so very quiet and suburban here. Gone are the fruit vendors, the chai whalas, the honking, the bells, the outbursts of drumming and singing.

Still, this is where I belong, for now. I’m taking one round of Ativan for sleep, especially after how crazy and jet-lagged I was when I first got to Jaipur three months ago. Of all the things I cannot function without in this life, sleep is highest on that list. My mom lovingly says I’m a little loopy with all the meds, but I couldn’t be happier.

Things I hadn’t realized how much I missed: air conditioning and hot, clean water. Blueberries. My family. India was the adventure of a lifetime, but I’m sure we all know the feeling of coming home to what we consider our safest, sweetest place.

✈️😊❤️🙏🏽

 

Pushkar Camel Safari


Pushkar is famous for its annual camel fair and safaris. My host here convinced me to try a trip into the desert and it was absolutely magical. An amazing evening with my guide Sonu, and Krishna, the sweetest, funniest, most gentle camel anyone could ask for.  

The best memories of any adventure usually can’t be captured in a photograph, so I’ll share a few here: 

We happened upon a local camp outside the city and were greeted by a group of men playing traditional music on the ravanahatha, children running around, sweet incense burning, and the sun setting in the distance. It felt like stepping out of one world and right into another.

On the last leg of the trip we traveled a quiet country road back into the city under a bright first quarter moon. Krishna stopped to eat from every fragrant tree along the way and after awhile we laughed and gave up trying to move him along. I loved that so much…letting go, giving in to play and amusement, and letting life meander as it will.

 So much gratitude for this journey.

🐪 🌓 ❤️

Rishikesh 


I leave Rishikesh in a few days for a short stay in Pushkar, quick stops in Jaipur and Delhi the following week, and then home.

There’s a quote that says, “Don’t make any plans for India, because India already has plans for you.” This has proven true from the very start of this journey. Nothing went as planned. Yet everything was perfect. (Even when it wasn’t.)

There was one evening during our yoga training that I sat in my room alone and wept during a rainstorm. For the first time in my life I’d touched something that I’d only barely grasped before, and the understanding of it broke my heart open. 

 I felt real. 

Here. Present. Alive. 

I know what these words mean now.

The day after we graduated, I paid one final visit to our yoga hall, the room that had seen me breakdown and breakthrough every day over the last four weeks. I laid my garland of marigolds around a statue of Ma Saraswati and cried some more as I walked away. 

It wasn’t in the plan to spend another month in Rishikesh after the training, but something pulled me to stay. 

There is magic here, in the cool waters of the Ganga. In the mist over green hills and the moonlight after an eclipse. In the people, in the temple bells, in the mantras chanted every morning and evening. 

It has woven a spellsong through my heart that has undone so many stories of sorrow. I remember now, who I am, where I am, and why I am here.

Onward.

❤️

Yog Peeth

An Offering to Saraswati. Opening Ceremony, Rishikesh Yog Peeth 200 hr YTT

 

I drafted some notes last Friday about what I thought the first update on my teacher training at Rishikesh Yog Peeth would look like…a few humorous anecdotes, an unexpected twist with my registration, lots of intense yoga, and that story about the time a monkey almost attacked one of our teachers. And then it got real, and none of that mattered anymore.

The night after I wrote those notes I climbed into bed and noticed a slight pull at the back of my left knee. I didn’t think much of it, especially since I’d been feeling really strong in my practice, despite being a little sick all week. And then I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever, and in excruciating pain.

I could barely move my arms or sit up, both knees were extremely swollen, and walking wasn’t happening anytime soon. At one point, I somehow managed to lean over far enough to drag my trash can to the side of the bed so I could half-squat and pee. (Easily one of the most humbling moments of my life.)

I felt utterly helpless and terrified. For hours I drifted in and out of sleep, each time waking up in more pain. There was no walking down three flights of stairs to get help, and I wasn’t at the point yet that I would either yell for help or call my mom and freak her out. So I decided to wait it out until morning.

I prayed. I obsessed over every tropical disease or infection I could possibly have. I found some comfort in the fact that our anatomy lecture the day before had covered psychosomatic pain, so maybe, just maybe, it was all in my head. And then I cried. And cried, and cried. Somewhere amidst those tears I dropped into brief, incredible places of surrender. I was a little delirious by then, and I apologized to people I loved. I forgave people. I forgave myself.

The sun eventually rose, as it does even after the longest nights. Everyone here is up super early for practice, so it wasn’t long before I was able to hobble to my door and croak for help.

I was immediately and wonderfully fed and supported. I got to meet with staff and one of my teachers, and that afternoon, I gratefully accepted an intense, no-helmet (I don’t think anyone in Rishikesh owns a helmet) scooter ride to the hospital to figure out what was wrong with me.

Side note: an ER visit, blood work, and 4 prescriptions cost me around $25, and I saw a doctor almost immediately after walking in. The flip side to that? Sanitary conditions that would make any westerner balk. Still, I was too sick and exhausted to be anything but happy that I didn’t break the bank.

The amazingly good news was that blood work ruled out major things like dengue and typhoid, and that it was likely some minor bacterial or viral infection combined with exhaustion. No one could figure out why all my joints locked up for hours, so that part still remains a mystery.

Something in me died over the course of that awful night. Something dark and heavy, some old, stagnant energy that had met its time to move on. I’d been having nightmares before, and I still am, but there’s less of a negative charge around them now. Unprompted by me, one of our teachers randomly announced during class this week: “If you’re having nightmares, it’s good, and it means that the yoga is clearing out old stuck energies.”

I fully recovered from the illness after a round of meds and limping around for a few more days, but it’s still been somewhat up and down. Some days, I feel weak and tired, and on others, astoundingly sharp, lighthearted, and present. Interestingly, the other students started dropping like flies right after I did…fevers, indigestion of all kinds, lethargy, emotional upheaval…you name it. We’re loving that it’s ok to opt out of asana classes and observe or take notes if it gets too intense, and we’re learning the true meaning of, “be gentle with yourself.”

I’ve realized that the gift of this experience isn’t the certification, but the fact that I’m learning more about my body and spirit than I ever thought possible. It’s also in the energetic transmission that comes with being initiated into an ancient tradition. Our philosophy teacher is absolutely phenomenal–younger than I am, yet a true master who lives the yogic path, and I consistently walk out of his lectures with my mind blown.

I love that we started this training on a new moon, and are ending on another new moon/solar eclipse, with a full moon/lunar eclipse right in the middle. It’s a potent window, as eclipses are known for heralding major endings and ushering in new beginnings.

I have no words for my endings or beginnings. But I can feel something within dying and being reborn. And this training…it’s like a searing hot knife cutting through the muck, so I can see the brightness that’s been here all along.