So! It has been a while since I’ve written a blog. I’m sure you have noticed because your existence likely revolves around my semi-periodic updates and life-ponderings.
I’ve been beating myself up for weeks to write something to no avail. Then, today, here I am. I have to admit, I think reading Karl Webster’s latest blog incited something within. It is just an observance based on proximity in time: I read his blog, I started to write. He is a mad word genius.
What have I been up to? Living the dream. Though the dream hasn’t been going exactly as I dreamed. After getting back from Italy with the idea that I would become a much-more-full-time-yoga-teacher and finish my book to become a best-selling author, I realized that I was broke. And then I remembered that I went to law school and that I could make really good money being a lawyer.
So I started lawyering more. I didn’t really have to do anything to make it happen. Friends and family and others were calling me with legal problems. The problems ranged from simple wills to auto accidents to child custody issues with some of my old stuff (workers’ compensation, disability, appeals) sprinkled in. I used to turn these types of cases down. Now it seems I woke up and realized I have 11 years of solid legal experience that I can use it to help others, especially when they are being bullied by the system or those with more money.
And I am still teaching yoga. It has actually picked up quite a bit lately. I have an upcoming retreat with Timo Jimenez October 9-13 here in Central Florida, part of which will be a nature retreat at Wekiwa Springs (shameless plug). I have also taken on a single yoga apprentice Jedi-Knight-style (or Sith-Lord-style, if that is your incliniation). That is turning into a powerful learning experience for me.
In addition to being a yoga-lawyer-Jedi-Knight, I have also been playing poker once or twice per week for the last two months. That sort of makes me a part-time poker pro. Maybe that sounds ridiculous. It is actually awesome.
I really feel I am living the dream. I believe I can create my perfect life and career by following my heart while listening to (and sometimes politely ignoring) my mind; by going with the flow and letting things unfold they way they want to, rather than the way I insist they should. And things aren’t unfolding exactly as I would have thought they should. I thought I wanted to stop lawyering and teach yoga and finish my book.
And I can’t lie and say that the bitchy voice in my head hasn’t had something to say about all this. About how I should be writing my book and blogging more often and not playing poker and detoxing everyday to lose 7 pounds because I have somehow convinced my fucked up brain that even though I am a now a size 6 and I used to be a size 12, I should be a size 4. I blame society for that one. You suck.
So what brilliant, yoga-influenced musings about life are on my mind today, you ask? Pratyahara has been the idea of late. Before I lose you non-yogis, pratyahara refers to the yoga practice of turning inward in response to the ups-and-downs of life, rather than always blaming our outer life circumstances for our problems.
It is a way of evolving and learning from the situations in our life; we accept all that happens, both good and bad, as part of the process. It is a practice that is rooted in the realization that all of the outer circumstances of life are a reflection of the inner world; and that the solution to all of our “problems” lies there too.
Amma has been on my mind lately too. She was the “hugging saint” E and I met our last trip to India. I feel that the meeting with her has continued to influence my life since. She says,
Our minds make our lives beautiful or ugly. We try to learn about the outside world but never our inner world. We try to right the outside world and forget to right ourselves. We are slaves to the outside world. We bear many physical and mental scars. We bear many unhealed wounds. Total happiness cannot come from the outside world. It’s like trying to hold the sky or sail across land. Life is short we must try to celebrate it. You hold only this moment in your hands.
Even in the yoga community, we have drama and rifts. It has reached a pinnacle recently. The problems arise when we forget to use our outer circumstances as a chance to look inward with a mind toward growth and evolution; when we consistently blame the people in our lives that “did” something to us, rather than taking accountability and responsibility for our own actions and looking objectively at the part we played in creating that drama and those rifts.We have a unique opportunity living in the West with “first world” problems. We don’t have to be concerned about our next meal or shelter over our heads. We can spend time working on ourselves and doing our inner work. In fact, we may owe it to the rest of the world.
And no one said practicing what we preach is easy all the time. The good thing is that at any moment we can be “enlightened” by practicing pratyahara. Those also practicing their “yoga” (whatever form it may take), will forgive you for your past failings. We can all move forward together with the intention of watching the whole world collectively evolve, in a way similar to the internal evolution we are fostering with our practice.
All this while remembering this place can be really fun sometimes! It doesn’t always reek with sadness and despair. Even Amma knows how to party; she reminds us to “celebrate” life.
So don’t listen to the mean voice in your head when it tells you you can’t be a yoga-lawyer-Jedi-Knight-poker-pro. I can only speak from experience; it is possible.
Live the dream.