Love Becoming Me - A story about meeting Ram Dass
"I love everyone... even me." Ram Dass"
I went from Hawaii with beloved spiritual teacher Ram Dass to the beaches of LA and now im sitting in a cafe in the magical Topanga Canyon. So much beauty, so much churning and burning, so many tears, and laughs have erupted over this past week. And as RD says, "it's all grist for each other's mill of awakening."
Naturally everyone wants to know about my experience with Ram Dass. How amazing it was and some nuggets of teaching he gave. But honestly he doesn't teach anything. Not in the traditional sense. He just loves. He sees and meets people where they are at and gives them what they need to move more into themselves, more into Love. It's incredible and heart opening to witness that, and to be with him in the flesh. I'm so grateful to RD, everyone who helped put together the Open Your Heart in Paradise retreat, and to the land and the ocean and the sky in Maui that helped me connect and heal so much during those 5 days. Processing any retreat takes some time, but this is the beginning of my insights.
The theme of the retreat was Love and Power. So this is a story not only about how amazing it was, but also about some of what I learned and experienced on an inner level. I learned how I give my power away and how that keeps me from Love. What needed to be forgiven and let go. Even though I'm putting a ton of LOVE into these words, I teach through sharing my experience of transformation. It's the reason why I do any of this at all. Hopefully this will hit you in a place that matters and wakes you up to whatever you may be hungry for today.
A little backstory. I've loved Ram Dass since I was a teenager taking a lot of LSD and found the book 'Be Here Now'. Like most Ram Dass lovers 😊. I would to try to follow what it said and meditate for 5 mins everyday when I was in college. And when I met my spiritual teacher and mentor Harshada, he mentioned Ram Dass and that was part of the soul connection I had made with him that first time we met.
On my 30th birthday Harshada opened up my copy of 'Be Here Now' to the page that read ... "Painted Cakes Do Not Satisfy Hunger." I remember at the time looking at that and trying to think about it literally- obviously super confused. I was having a birthday party in this house upstate I was living at, with lots of friends and music and crystal bowls- it was a great time. It was my first sober birthday and I invited everyone I knew. Since then that teaching has began to settle deeper and deeper into my consciousness, and I've recognized it in different situations in my life. From a past relationship I was trying to force into something it wasn't - to my most recent experience on retreat with the man who wrote the book himself.
The spiritual path in my experience, sadhana, isn't always sweet and easy. It has and does bring me a contentment and happiness in my life that I never knew before. But it's called "work" for a reason. It takes guts to look at your bullshit over and over again, each time strengthening your ability to stay in your power and love no matter what comes up.
To have the opportunity and be open and willing to share a moment of oneness with Ram Dass. Wow. On top of the cake I was chanting with Krishna Das every night and snorkeling with the fish in the warm blue water and allowing myself to be held and healed- floating dead style in the ocean. Naturally that was all BLISSFUL and UNFORGETTABLE. But to say that was my experience initially would be untrue.
Somehow even with ALL of that, it was work to get there. I don't just mean physically - that part was easy in a way. I mean emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I have to admit for some reason I assumed I was going on a "spiritual vacation" (hah), and on a subtle level went seeking something outside of myself. I should perhaps know my path and how fierce and direct it is by now, but sometimes I dream it is just all cake and orgies and stuff like that.
So I did have some cake and I danced and I got a tan, but on an inner level what I found was an old pattern of not being there for MYSELF, feeling afraid and unsure - out of my comfort zone. Going to old ways of trying to connect or get attention, looking, seeking, searching. I found a deep aversion to the spiritual scene (as I do a lot of times). I was triggered not only by my stuff coming up, but by anything or anyone spiritual in a room full of 300 beautiful seekers- all with their own sincere intentions to heal and evolve and all their "stuff" coming up too. Man it was intense. I could sense all that what happening on this energetic level but on the outside everyone was just having a great time it seemed. I was feeling alone and in my head, unraveling in a situation that did not feel safe or supportive to me. People partying and doing their own things that triggered my self righteousness to no end- even though I longed to see the face of God in everyone. Before I knew it I found myself pretending like everything was great. Tranced out in an old pattern of avoidance and unconsciously committing so deeply to some sadness, grief, separateness - that It became my experience.
On this retreat I needed to feel discomfort and feel how I run and hide when I need myself the most. As my wise friend once put it... I will abandon my own ship in a second. Especially when it gets sad or hard for me emotionally. Especially when it's me that needs Love and not someone else. But the truth is when I'm in that stunned state it is hard for me to be there for anyone really. It's painful in a quiet, subtle way. And why is it that I see serving others as a service to God but not myself?
A new chunk and flavor of abandonment was coming off me. I never even looked at abandonment as something I can do to myself. I always saw it from the perspective of something someone Has done and does to me! But not showing up for myself is and was, up until now, keeping me withheld and withdrawn. Keeping me from my power and the Love. And then there was good old grief. As much as i want these parts of me that don't serve to go, I hold tight and then even have to grieve as they fall away.
My ego likes to tell the story about how I've dealt with this grief already, or this thing I've been working on for so long.... "Ugh, it's still here?!?!?!" But that only keeps me from looking at it all from a place of power and fearlessness. I believe we use our lives to heal and work out whatever is keeping us separate from the power of our souls and the true passion and wisdom of our hearts. And anyway it's an honor and great fortune to even have the opportunity to wake up to love like this. I mean how many people even get to do that?
My work lies in choosing greatness and love for myself. Identifying with the power and beauty of the soul. Over and over again. Maybe yours is different but I believe that we all deserve that. I don't believe in the old... you have to love yourself before loving others, because I've learned so much by practicing seeing and being there for others. By taking "me" out of it when I am loving and serving, has helped me to get over whatever would be holding me back from really being there and fully seeing someone else or a situation on all levels.
But being there for myself in this conscious, inner way is different. It's next level radical aloneness. It's finding the joy in serving myself on this level. The cool thing is we all grow and heal through each others experiences. It can be scary for any of us to live with an open, tender heart. On the deepest level our experiences are all so similar. Finding that joy within Being with and loving myself is what makes my experience and intention in serving others more pure and direct. There seem to be different levels to how we serve. This is how we get fed by it instead of burnt out. Because it's not coming from a place of being needed. It's funny I feel like I "got" all of this before but everytime we think we get something or know something we are kindof screwed right?!
Someone asked Ram Dass something about how he came to recognize the soul and he replied... "It wasn't from being a psychologist." And then cracked up. He goes on to say that his sadhana was going from his head to his heart. We can know so many things but transformation comes from us living through it and learning, really growing from our experiences. A retreat or a course gives us the space to do that, and so do our lives if we let them be filled with that kind of intention. If we make everything we do intentional, weigh our decisions against our greatness, we shed light on the hidden parts and uncover more light. The only way is through. It's what being a yogi is all about. And it means different things at different times. It's our ability to be fluid and sensitive with all that there is. And to hold a space for the power of our souls at the same time. This is how we get fearless and move through to a more open and loving part of ourselves.
And then there is the soul and our ability to connect soul to soul. RD mentioned how one of the advantages of identifying as a soul is that you see other souls. Because every soul has love, wisdom, compassion, joy. Then we can begin to know love beyond the limitations of our egos and personalities. The work I have done so far helped me Connect to my soul. That's what moved me to look at Ram Dass in his beautiful blue eyes and speak to him with my heart. I waited until the last possible moment to do so, but I did it and I'm so happy I didn't let myself get in the way of making that connection.
What satifies my hunger is really going for it and loving hard even when something inside is telling me not to. Connecting to my soul, to your soul, and to the oneness that we share. Although my path has brought me more happiness, bliss, pleasure and joy than I ever knew before, it's not just about how amazing everything is all the time. (Or is it?!) It's also about being alive. Another wise friend reminded me through text about how RD always says, and this, and this, and this. Being awake to what is. And then moving on. Even in moments of discomfort and deep healing. Sharing our experiences WHILE keeping an awareness of the wisdom of our hearts. To speak the words we long to hear and to be there for others to do the same. To me this is powerful and it's REAL and it's how we can shift and change the world. Ram Dass did tell us to save the world because we love it, not out of anger or guilt. And the only world I feel like I can truly change is mine. What other one do I have really?
I went on that retreat with the intention to remove anything I'm holding onto that is making it difficult to step up and into true love and success right now. To embody the woman I know I am inside in every way. To know that no matter what I'm going through I'm ok. And it's ok. I am coming home having found mostly a new appreciation for all the beautiful support in my life, and within myself.
I feel my heart in a new way and am happy to return home to all of the love that I love so much. On this retreat I touched the part of myself that is afraid to be great. The part that forgets how funny she is, how connected and how powerful. To know that we can satisfy our hunger for change and love and anything by the wonderful power of Grace and through using our bodies and lives to make it happen, is a miracle. Just like Ram Dass, just like me, and just like YOU!
*Oh and on a side note, we all swam In the blue with RD on the last day and chanted OH JOY over and over. And it was AWESOME.
"Suffering is a part of the plan of it all and suffering stinks. And as human being you do what you can to end suffering because of the compassionate nature of your heart at the same moment you know that it's perfect including your wanting to get rid of it." RD *Photo by Jerry Scarnato
#awakenedfeminine #artofloving #lovehardlivetrue #loveandserve