Grace continues her insights on the topic of the Balance of Yin and Yang.
Grace continues her insights on the topic of the Balance of Yin and Yang.
I must start by saying that however near or far we may be, I am grateful that you are a part of my community. I continue to be reminded how important resonance with like-minded, inspiring souls is as I walk this globe and connect with people from unbelievably different circumstances. My community in Seoul continues to expand into different circles, but as usual the people I feel most drawn to and inspired by are those on a path of self-discovery and self-growth. This is the path of Yoga, of finding your truest self through disciplined and continuous searching, cleansing, practicing, sharing and connecting.
It has been many months since I have reached out. And while some things have changed, as they always do, some things have also stayed the same, like my challenge of living in a city of 10+ million people, 25 million in the metropolitan area. The buzzing energy of this city is exciting and exhausting and I am trying to balance how to stay open to the flow of life but also not get sucked into the mainstream ways of living. Fortunately, I do have some really wonderful friends here, both Korean and other nationalities, who support my journey and keep me smiling. The generous Universe has recently thrown some spirits my way who remind me that people who choose to live with consciousness and awareness exist everywhere and that maybe I am the fool for not looking for it more often.
An interesting calling and intuition has appeared lately: to introduce Korea to the style of Yoga that I find most beneficial and direct, Agama Yoga. Not only through my own teachings, but perhaps in inspiring people to go and immerse themselves in a Yoga community. Today I taught a Diving Deep: Yoga to Open the Heart Workshop and by the time the class was over, you could see the cracked-open souls who were daring to bare their hearts to one another. When I first advertised it 3 weeks ago, the class filled up in 24 hours. I have more workshops on the calendar and plan to offer a Transformative Women’s Journey this summer. While I don’t have the energy to teach a full schedule of yoga classes in addition to full-time teaching, etc., I think teaching regular classes is something that I will manifest for the 2nd half of my time here, both in Korean and in English. Plus it really motivates me to study Korean, more than learning conversations about going to the post office. There is always the fine line of boundaries, of knowing when to rest and when to act, and I will listen as best I can to my energy levels and daily need to recharge.
I pray that your world is shimmering with Shakti’s radiant dance and Shiva’s full-on consciousness. May you also take the time soon to connect or reconnect with those who inspire you and whom you in turn inspire. And may this quote from the Radiance Sutras remind you, as it reminds me, that we are always at home.
Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Listen to the song that is always resonating.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.
Quiet ecstasy is here –
And a steady, regal sense
Of resting in a perfect spot.
You who are the embodiment of blessing,
Once you know the way,
The nature of attention will call you to return.
Again and again, answer that call,
And be saturated with knowing,
“I belong here, I am at home.”
– The Radiance Sutras, #26
Normally at this time of year people send out a little wrap-up of their year in progress, things they’ve accomplished, trips taken, family milestones, and plans for the new year. That is not the intention of this writing, so please don’t be disappointed by the non-traditional end of the year correspondence. And I’m grateful that you’re here to read my musings, yet again.
I have been reminded lately of one of my favorite sayings, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.” I continue to learn the ebb and flow between ideas, plans, and spontaneous actions inspired by intuition. Which leads us to my current situation of flying through the air alone and landing in Seoul a few days ago without a safety net. One thing I continue to experience more and more is a feeling of expansion and a “knowing” that there are no wrong decisions. In fact, there are no decisions. Intuition tells us everything we need to know, including the responsibility we need to take for our actions, the effects our actions will cause, and to trust that this, too, is right. I recently read about this phenomenon in The Tao of Pooh. “From our natural state (the Uncarved Block) comes the ability to enjoy the simple and the quiet, the natural and the plain. Along with that comes the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work, odd as that may appear to others at times.”
After a few months of emotional ups and downs, pushing and pulling, and an constant letting go into the unknown of relationships, finances, family, and practice, I followed my intuition and bought a one-way ticket to Seoul with the possibility of getting a job teaching music and theater to gifted kindergarten students in the massive capital of South Korea. You probably know me to be a spontaneous person, trusting in my intuition and going on many an adventure into the wide world. But this was new to me. In the past, I’ve always had a plan of attack where I went, a workshop or retreat to attend, a place to volunteer and serve, a job, etc. I must specifically thank the influence of my partner these past few years in reminding me time and time again to trust what comes and what feels right as the “right thing.”
When I had the thought of just going to Korea (it was literally one of those moments where you feel the light come on over your head) I smiled at the ridiculousness of it, especially in how quickly I would be leaving Seattle and that I would be alone for the holidays with so much uncertainty and emotional confusion left at home. And I decided to jump feet first instead of continuing to wait for the “perfect thing,” which seemed like it wouldn’t manifest over any more time scanning job ads on the computer. And then came the beauty of being present and not upset by other people’s reactions to my decision.
Fast forward one week and here I am in Seoul, snow and all, alone, grateful, and still confused. I realized a long time ago that feelings are not geographically contained. That may seem obvious to you, but it’s taken me a lot of years of mistakes, messiness, and heartache to really know. Whatever you leave in your home, your holiday spot, your schools, etc, will still be there – no matter where you go in the world. What I’ve left in Seattle is mostly an unfathomable abundance of Love and acceptance. I feel so grateful to miss my family, something I know that a lot of families don’t experience no matter how long they’re apart. I’m grateful to have led some amazing emotional and spiritual journeys this year with my community, to meet new like-minded souls, to inspire and be inspired, and to connect even deeper with those who resonate with my crazy ways.
And I’m grateful that I can take action in my life without letting fear paralyze me, to jump continents, jobs, relationships, experiences, and accept whatever comes next. Or to stay still and be with what is in one place for a while. Let’s get this straight: it’s not that I don’t experience fear. I feel afraid every single day. But I let this be a tool to guide me to making intuitive decisions, not a barrier to moving forward with growth and change.
And this is what I want to continue working with in the New Year. Intuition. Internal guidance. It’s easy enough to say that I know everything I need to know and already am everything I need to be, but to believe it and LIVE it is quite another. I’ve been telling myself those things for seven years and now I’m ready to trust in my intuition and follow where it leads. I find that it often feels fuzzier and less specific than having a rational, logic-based answer to back-up my actions. And it means I might not always simply be nice or say “yes” to every opportunity that comes along. It might mean that I change my mind and cancel plans more often, short-term and long-term. I might take more time for solitude and quiet and turn my back on the world for a little while in order to listen more clearly to my internal guide. And it certainly means that I will be more present with my emotions and allow myself to feel sadness, grief, loneliness, heartbreak, longing, confusion, AND gratitude, bliss, grace, abounding love, compassion, sweetness and the vastness of human experiences. Without judgment. Well, I’ll try, anyway.
For your peace of mind, I’ll let you know that I did get the job which begins January 1st and comes with some really sweet students and co-workers, an apartment (starting Jan 1) in walking distance to my school, a few days in Japan to process my visa, and a salary enough to begin realizing my financial goals. Tomorrow I move to a warmer guesthouse in Gangnam where I’ll stay until I go to Japan. Everything works out in the end. And if it hasn’t worked out yet, then it must not be the end. (I can’t take credit for that, I heard it a few weeks ago.)
May you experience the next step on your journey with confidence, strength, acceptance, love, and connection. Call on your guides to support you and remember that you are never, ever alone. Even if you don’t feel the things you need to nourish and support you right now…they are simply waiting for you to ask for help.
Ten months ago I left Seattle with a very large backpack, an adventurous spirit, the intention to connect to myself and my partner, to find a greater sense of compassion for the world’s diverse peoples, and to let go. I let go, yet again, into liberated living. My practice over the last ten years has brought me to ever-increasing depths of surrender, starting with the first moment in a Bikram class where the Divine Consciousness very clearly told me to “let go, everything will be okay.” These words were repeated by a dear friend later that year at Kripalu as “Let go and Let God.” And this month as I finally overcame my lifelong fear of open water by scuba diving, I told myself over and over again to “Relax, breathe, and let go,” a mantra etched by hours and hours of japa repetition.
Often in practice we are looking for a state of consciousness beyond what we experience in everyday life. And while that has brought me more faith in my practice, the wider goal is bringing the experience of connectedness and Divinity into the waking world. In Tantra, the goal is not just to ascend and skip this worldly stuff. We aim to personally evolve, to be the best human being possible right here and now, to realize the divinity of body, mind, heart, and Spirit, and to live fully and freely. As said beautifully by Sia, “Welcome to the church of what’s happening Now.”
My last week in Koh Phangan, Thailand was marked with a Goddess Celebration hosted by Agama: three blissful days of self-transformation and worshiping Shakti, that aspect of the Divine which IS everything we see and experience. We were transformed into the Goddess – or better said, were able to see ourselves as the Goddesses we are and drop the masks which limit us from experiencing our wholeness every day. I will share many of these practices in the upcoming Transformative Women’s Journey.
With the transition back to American life this week, I take the time to learn and live the multitude of lessons life has thrown at me the last year around the world. I hold this year’s intention to appreciate, experience, and integrate life’s precious moments. The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali says, “All experience can either be for bondage or liberation.” May this summer solstice bring you the liberated living that you so deserve.