Let Go Let ... God?
"I was dead, then alive. Weeping, then laughing. The power of love came into me, and I became fierce like a lion, then tender like the evening star." -- Rumi
A story about the old saying "let go and let God" . . .
Leaving for retreat today and getting my car back after being gone for over a month after being stolen I was doing some reflecting. The past year for me have been peppered with moments of mind bending desperation alongside massive angel tornados.
From the most intense "throw away my close and shoes I'm staying here forever and devoting my life to serving God" mystical experience in India to moving across the country by myself mostly out of fear of abandonment. From what truly felt like a psychotic episode (thanks Marcus Ambrester and all of you friends who helped save my ass) to confusing manifestation power with pretending like I had money I didn't have. From having my car stolen with all of my belongings inside during my move (except my harmonium and laptop, a couple pairs of underwear and the shoes on my feet that I didn't end up leaving in India) to finding the only thing left inside my car was a picture of our smiling teacher Neem Karoli Baba, Maharajji they call him. All bringing me back once again to a place they call Grace.
After a couple days of beating myself up pretty hardcore internally after having my car stolen and leaving all my things in my car in the midst of a confusing and brutal time living in LA, I got a phone call from the detective. They had found my car downtown. He gave me the number of the tow yard and the sweet woman I was staying with at the time offered to take me there. It was about 30 minutes from where we were on the eastside.
As we drove and got closer my anxiety began to rise which I was pretty used to at this point but something knocked some sense into me and and I asked her if she minded if I played some chanting music and took a moment to pray. I put on Krishna Das beause I knew that would make me feel safe and I needed that so badly. Over the past 6 months of living there chanting and dancing following the energy of my soul were the only things that helped me feel safe in my body and in my life. There's no doubt that stuff works if it's in your blood.
When we arrived at the yard I still felt nervous and kept the chanting on, just really low as I went in to talk to the nice woman that worked at the front desk next to the vending machine. I kept secretly tuning into the "sita ram sita ram sita ram sita ram" as she informed me where my car was and told me it was ok for me to go look at it.
The detectives didn't give me much information so I had no idea if any of my things were still inside, that red dress, the Hanuman and sweet Ganesh that had helped bring me so many dreams to life, that banjo that I had played not so well, clothes, my hard drive with all my photos, my childhood photos and my dads old cameras i saved, sacred prints and that special incense all from India, the turkey feather someone dear to me just gave me as an offering, that black velvet dress that felt so good on my skin, so many yoga books, all the new home goods I had bought or were gifted to me for that sweet little studio in Topanga, years of journals, all the spiritual materialism that I held on to so dearly especially over the years that helped me remember so much. Especially in the last six months of spending so much time alone praying, writing, healing, crying, swimming, dancing, purging and not sleeping.
Everything I had owned dwindled down to what I could fit into that little white Prius.
I followed a kind man through the yard and kept the chanting close on hand as I walked and eventually saw my car. I named her Kundalini when I leased her a year and a half before and had a strong feeling I would be driving her to move out west. The same feeling I had when I visited after going to see Ram Dass in Maui and I knew it was the exact place to land when I was to leave New York.
As I approached and looked into what was a completely packed car I saw space, emptiness. I immediately felt an odd and confusing sense of relief. A calm wave moved through my body. I opened the door and saw nothing, not even a phone charger. Just the smell of sage, rose and sandalwood replaced by cheap cologne.
I opened the glove compartment and this picture, this pamphlet from the Neem Karoli Baba ashram in Taos I had visited and prayed so hard at only that summer before fell out onto the ground. And there he was smiling at me. Maharajji. The only thing left.
All the self loathing, shame and pity that was killing me and I was so embarrassed by that had consuming me and in that moment I stopped and I felt so deeply held. I was surrendered. I was loved. It was like I started remembering as soon as I saw the emptiness of my car. My mind wanted nothing to do with all my things being gone, or how lucky I was and how much I still had compared to some. I sent a photo of it to my soul mom. Her and I first connected through Ram Dass, Krishna Das' movie One Track Heart was our first date and then we went on a Living Meditation pilgrimage to India and to Ram Dass' retreat together. Her response . . . HOW PERFECT.
"Never without Grace."
The last time I remember really feeling that deep of a let go was on that said India trip walking down this amazing mountain (the one Hanuman was born on) after having a lot of conversing with the Divine, feeling my individual soul merge with the oneness and feeling like that Rumi poem. "The power of love came into me, and I became fierce like a lion, then tender like the evening star."
My mind was sarcastically saying . . . "really, now your inside the Rumi poem?!" But my heart was melting, growing and connecting to this mountain's light, to this goddess' seed infused inside my heart and the wind like nothing I ever felt before. I had let go and softened so much of myself I felt this unexplainable tenderness at the same time there was an overwhelming fierceness that came through. Like an I have to do this. I have to say YES to my heart, to Love and to my life from now on no matter what.
Many times in the months that preceded my car being stolen due to some shitty circumstances, a ton of loss, grief and shame were present even though on the outside nothing was really "happening" that people could see. The young drug addicted girl in me showed up in my being to be healed and held. I questioned my faith so intensely at times. Everything that was so sacred and real to me started to feel so far away and false. I kept telling myself I was healing this shame for the collective feminine, because at times it feels way beyond me and my story. How could I feel so much love and then get so burned?
I questioned why if I was so blessed and loved that I felt so completely lost and forgotten. I was burning like a wildfire. The grief that began to unmask itself a couple years before after Ram Dass' retreat was in full swing. I had the yoni then to set my intention to heal the grief I never allowed myself to feel from my father as I wanted redemption and freedom so badly in my heart and in my life.
I longed to move forward and have healthy relationships with men and with my self worth. So I could serve more and live more in alignment with what my heart truly wants. Which all went out the window in the process btw. The move I made from Brooklyn to Los Angeles was in some ways reckless. I had no money to do so, I barely knew anyone and yet I wanted it and my bull head and wild heart got me all the way there. To that very moment sitting in my empty car and I was no longer terrified like I had been for months on end. The sadness felt tender and the grief was there but I didn't mind it so much. The relief that comes when we finally stop fighting.
But for some months on end I was so scared all the time. My friends were all the way across the country, I had taken a step away from the spiritual community that helped me save my life, no boyfriend, sober, no cigarettes to smoke, no one to hide behind and there I was with the mountain of my grief and my shame.
The death of a father, an abortion, all of your "stuff" stolen, I start to wonder if that fantasy I have always had about being a nun was perhaps meant to be. Or was I just living through this life in accordance with what my soul needs to heal and evolve, and it doesn't have as much to do with "me" as I had come to believe it had? I have felt that longing so badly in moments I thought I could die from the heartache. The pure pain that makes you scream in the shower.
Then that timeless pause in my car, seeing this reflection of Maharaji looking at me and knowing on a bone and soul level that I am, we are, never without Grace?! What a trip.
It had been hard to write since then, hard to reflect on the way things were before because it brings up so much. But lately I've come slowly back into remembering. Back into a deep care and massive trust and love for myself in a way I may have never known otherwise.
I'm not sure why I seem to only learn through mistakes and failures so much. But maybe it's the same reason I'll decide to run down a mountain in the way my soul wants me to move, barefoot after a rainstorm with no inhibitions while inviting the glistening drops on the leaves and the mud in between my toes to inspire the way I serve. Or why I have to make my way off the trail to find a place to take my clothes off and be alone within the sun and the streams. Maybe it is what gives me to gifts of the the women whom I get to witness healing and evolving, change their lives and their own stories in amazing, potent ways.
Maybe the failures are what help me stay present and more tuned in when someone close to me is suffering. This life that is now mine again perhaps has so much space so I have time to be with the women that come to me for support. Maybe this is the way my life is supposed to look. WIth debt, with failure written all over it, that darkness always there, the light and the sacred fire shining throughout.
That failure and that darkness keeps me humble, alive, and real. I'm committed to not living or reacting from that place in me. I'm open to living true and letting myself be used by God however I am meant to be.
My addictive tendencies gift me with a sensitivity to fall deeply in love with a moment just because. And a sincerity and perseverance that is needed to be happy and in love with life. That shame is why I can feel into every inch of my body and fill it with love most days and the grief opens me up to being alive and really caring. It helps me feel into and sense that the bigger picture is not only about my work and my life purpose, but this deep and wild calling. The evolution of my heart and of the Soul.
Now sometimes for a laugh I imagine the people that may have found my stuff- someone spiritually on fire inside that tent I did some powerful transformational work in totally blessing everyone that comes by and performing miracles beyond anything I've seen. Maybe under a bridge somewhere or maybe they took that red dress to Bali, Lord knows that deserved to travel.
So many times I want to feel like I can do the work all inside, all those hours and all that time invested sitting on my ass in retreats and learning the invaluable skill of connecting to Spirit and to my soul in an authentic way. But the truth is that my life is where it all gets worked out. No matter how I try to hide or run or stay and really go for it! Don't wait go for your dreams is definitely the attitude to live with and a vibe I can totally hang in. And the falling, the fear and the depths of sadness are here in that too.While I may not be as terrified and angry as I was a few months ago, when the curtain closes there are still many tears backstage. Thank God.
Somehow the love comes back no matter what. I am holding this space open as much as I can bare to be in it. That 's why when I'm alone I connect in and move my body in whatever ways it asks me to. Or I go out and get what my heart need's from the Earth. It's why I write even if I can stand myself enough to share it. It's why I sit in my seat as healer and a teacher. There I have an immense responsibility to show up that I take very seriously and that seat brings a current of love and joy in waves I am learning how to surf and share.
I have the third step prayer written on a big piece of paper on my wall and I love to use it in my practice. I like to feel used in a certain twisted way, and now I get to in a way that is for the good of all! Oh my how the tables can spin, turn, get knocked over and rebuilt.
God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!
Feeling fortunate to offer my love of yoga and it's teachings this weekend on Heidi Rose Robbin's annual Radiant Life women's retreat where there will be astrology, writing, poetry, movement, community, realness, love and amazing nurturing food and circling with the incredible kitchen healer Jules Blayne Davis.
I'm feeling so grateful for this life and these breaths that I get to teach about and this heart I can feel into. May we all continue to follow our souls calling and dance to that heartbeat drum inside, whisper just for fun and lose ourselves for deep moments when we kiss and make love.
May we realize that we can learn how to feel pleasure inside our bodies and that our bodies and lives truly are landscapes for our awakening.
Reach out and share your beautiful self, I would love to hear from you..
Sending heaps and mounds of sweet, soft love and strong powerful respect and soul beauty love blasts your way.
Grateful for you and us and all that we have inside,