Before I lived in a tiny Manhattan apartment, I shared a 25 sq ft room with another woman. Yes you read that correctly. 25 sq ft. We shared the same berth, bunked on top of each other and only one of us was able to stand in the room at a time. Though we were limited with interior space, we lived large. We were sailing around the world.
The time I spent living and working on a cruise ship gave me a new appreciation for keeping a space clean and tidy because there was simply no room for the alternative.
Ancient yogic wisdom has been passed through generations because it still applies to our lives today. So in sharing this month’s teaching it would be incomplete not to mention current circumstances.
We can’t hide anymore. We live amidst massive polarization. We always have and more are becoming more aware of this. Yet in order for us to live with balanced connection, the marginalized must be uplifted. Black Lives Matter.
I have made mistakes in my short lifetime and chances are, I will make mistakes again. I do not pretend to know everything. But rather, I am committed to a path of learning and unlearning. In fact, the more I understand that I am both spirit and human, the more I’m aware of my human frailty and my divine wisdom simultaneously.
I also don’t bemoan the experiences of my human life, because they are my personal references. But I continue to sharpen the lens through which I perceive the world and my own experiences so I can understand these circumstances more clearly. It’s about perception. In the years following my time sailing abroad, I bemoaned the incredible experience because during that year I also experienced a painful trauma. I’ve not shared my #metoo story with you and I won’t be sharing it now, but I do want you to know that I have let that time, which was filled with incredible blessings and moments of immense joy be darkened as an experience of regret, shame and guilt. We see circumstances many ways.
In this week’s Metta meditation I spoke about the universality of suffering. We all experience loss, shame, grief, heartbreak, disappointment, confusion and hurt…pain is a great equalizer. We all know it. And as we are waking up to our collective suffering, anger, fear and hurt we have a chance to narrate our experiences with more clarity and connection than before. The five Yamas, which we focused on at the beginning of this year, were guidelines for how we can live in relationship with the world. The five Niyamas, the first being Saucha, are constructive and spiritual tools for us to build internal balance and presence within ourselves. They are ways in which we sharpen the lens of our personal experience.
Saucha is the daily ritual of purification. It is connected to tasks which beautify our lives.
Make Bed. Wash dishes. Take out trash. Chop wood. Carry water.
Often times, when looking back on past experiences we can purify how and what we remember. We can choose to repeat a pattern or story we’ve held onto, or we can clear it and give way to a new way of telling that same story because the old way no longer serves.
We all go through this.
Cleansing is not easy. Change and transformation are uncomfortable. But we are all seekers and travelers, we are all educators and storytellers and so learning and growing is our path.
May we be gentle with ourselves and each others as we continue on and share the wisdom and the truth which deserves to be repeated.
See you on the mat.