With the solstice behind me and the New Year approaching i have found myself spending more time in meditation, both seated and observing my thoughts throughout the day to day circus that is my life; parenting, teaching, house minding and everything in between. I call this Empowered Living. Being involved in the health and wellness industry for the past 15 years i know all to well the tradition of “New Years Resolutions” I have set them myself, some i have followed through on and some fell short or lost steam quickly thereafter. Transformation is one of those words that gets thrown around much like the word resolution.
Lets begin by first defining the word transformation. The first part of the word “Trans” means to go above beyond or over. The second part of the word “form” is the physical composition of your body including blood, organs, bones, muscles, nerves and skin. The word transform then implies to go beyond your physical from, beyond the physical world. The word transformation becomes an adjective, which then implies action. The entire word transformation is the action of going beyond your physical self however when seeking transformation most of us are looking at changing or distorting only our physical bodies or habits.
The evolution of physical fitness is mental fitness. We can change, distort, contort and beat up the physical body as much as we want but if we do not transform our thinking all of this hard work becomes easily unraveled. We become a different (better, smaller, stronger) version of the same old thing. The problem with this equation is the same old thing still exists and eventually those old patterns and habits begin to manifest back into your life. Because the body is a direct manifestation of the mind, as we transform our thinking our bodies follow. Thoughts become things and the beautiful thing here is that there are no laws or rules that limit your potential in the mind.
Setting goals is a start but if we don’t get clear, tell the truth and get to the roots of our stories and fears we will begin with good intentions only to find ourselves losing momentum as we encounter the same old patterns and boundaries holding us back. We must dig out, starve and disolve the weeds in order to create space for new seeds of possibility. Once the seeds are planted, we must refine and fertilize, for what we feed we ultimately become. Who we are being in each moment, conscious or unconscious, is also who we are becoming. Our thoughts shape our reality.
In transformation the emphasis is shifted from the physical to the formless self. In this realm we begin to eliminate all of our boundaries and limitations. Self-defeating beliefs will be dissolved. Un-conscious habits such as overeating, gossiping, nail biting, smoking etc will begin to disappear. As an understanding that the physical body is a temple that holds the miraculous self develops, we will automatically be inspired to take care of it. Instead of exercising to change the way we look, exercise will become a means to worship and maintain the precious self. Instead of dieting, binging and starving, food will become a way to nourish the physical body and, as a consequence, soul. Yoga practice will be less about flexibility and strength and more about creating suppleness and comfort. Meditation will no longer be a search for enlightenment, but rather an understanding that “you are already a beautiful enlightened soul”. The journey to find happiness will become complete when we realize that we have all they have ever needed.
I had an epiphany while in Calgary talking with an old friend. We were discussing her teachings and having her collaborate with Empowered Yoga in order to offer some very cool core alignment courses for the 500 hr training. In typical fashion I began to share what “everybody else” had going on. She said she was so focused and into her own thing she did not know what anybody else was doing.
The next day was the solstice and the practice of the darkest day is to explore your darkness. I sat with this idea of constantly comparing myself, an automatic rating system that I have created but often was not even aware of. It is an unconscious pattern that i live out in several areas of my life. I followed it back through my days in a corporate setting where within 5 min in a room I knew where I stood in line for promotion (or thought I did anyway) my days in fitness and martial arts where I always knew who was ranked what and those that were the best I obsessed over. Basically in most areas of my life I could find this pattern. This pattern is not making me better. Some may argue competitiveness is a good thing, for me it is not. As I look back through all of my visions (goals) from the year I am blown away with what I have created in my life but the crazy thing is in the day to day reality I spent many hours angry and unworthy. When I was focused on my passions and vision I was amazing (this is called being in alignment) when I was taken hostage by the pattern, the story and my crazy theories I became derailed and angry. I started to make decisions furled by fear and winning as opposed to love and creativity. I started to compete instead of create. Where this pattern came from I can’t exactly say. I was a twin, that is probably a part of it. I also had some vivid memories from early adolescence where I could see these weeds being planted through “popularity contests”. Regardless I have acknowledge my darkness. Since I have made this discovery I have been able to observe it not only in my thoughts but in my body as well. I am becoming more aware of the triggers (ahhmmm FACEBOOK) and I am dedicated to the practice of staying in alignment with my heart as opposed to trying to win at somebody else’s game.
This is just one example. Over the past few years i have discovered other stories and patterns i have unconsciously created as well. I like to call this exercise detoxification. For those of you who have ever done a detox, or cleanse you know that at first it feels scary, gross, hard and frustrating, but you keep purging toxins from your body and have to battle through the withdrawal and cravings and then suddenly after a few days you feel amazing: Lighter, stronger, beautiful, clear and more energetic.
The mind works the same way. We are so addicted to our stories and theories. We created them at some point because they served a purpose for us in that moment; we got something out of it: Comfort, numbing, acceptance, looking good, pride etc. However these stories and theories are no longer serving us and are most likely our biggest obstacle standing in the way of being AMAZING.
It is amazing what energy becomes available when we do the work of detoxification, dissolving all of the unconscious patterns, stories, theories and lies that keep us stuck, tired and un fulfilled. What is more amazing is what becomes possible. I no longer have to play the game and follow the rules. I can create my own rules, my own ideas, my own practice, vision and life. I am excited for 2014 and all the possibility that comes with it. I am also excited to share this process with you through both my Empowered Living 12 week Transformation programs and a weekend module i am co-teaching with the beautiful Jana Rene Roemer Empowered Living: The Yoga of transformation through detoxification, creation and manifestation.