Empowered Surrender with Grace Bryant.
For another video on Surrender, please check out the Mindful Intimacy Series: Surrender into Love.
Empowered Surrender with Grace Bryant.
For another video on Surrender, please check out the Mindful Intimacy Series: Surrender into Love.
Perfection. Do you hold yourself to a higher level of standards than others? Do you allow yourself to be messy in life? I do. And I am better for it. Grace Bryant talks about holding yourself to high standards and how to let go of the of the social stigma of letting yourself down once in a while.
What does it mean to surrender in relationship? Grace defines what surrender means and what it doesn’t mean in this look at mindful intimacy.
Grace talks about coping with what life brings you and learning how to let go.
Now with fewer spots available to ensure more hands-on attention per yogi!
When I coach couples and individuals about relationships, the question, “why have relationships?” comes up in two very different contexts.
The first context is one of despair. Relationships have been so difficult, so painful, so exhausting, that someone starts to ask themselves, “why do I do this at all?” and, “would I be better off being alone for the rest of my life?” They may begin to think that loneliness is just the price they have to pay for peace of mind.
The second context is one of maturity. After working through childhood wounds, neediness, and attachment, someone contemplates the reality that they can provide for themselves anything they might seek from outside. As the possibility of this state begins to dawn, people are often gripped with a concern that being self-sufficient might remove any motivation they have for being in relationships at all.
We could spend an entire article talking about why relationships can be such a struggle, but for now, just bear in mind that what makes relationships difficult is the interaction of our own childhood wounds with another person’s childhood wounds.
The long-term solution is, of course, to do the internal work to heal our childhood wounds through therapy, meditation, self-parenting, rebirthing, and other personal development practices.
In the short term, however, there is a practical way to end the apparently eternal struggle; simply stop engaging with people whose childhood wounds trigger yours. If they are relatives or work associates, take some polite distance. If they are friends or lovers, politely take a break from seeing them.
Now, if you have been deep in your habitual patterns, this may mean distancing yourself from almost every person you know. This is not a bad thing. You won’t be alone for long – the world is full of people who don’t trigger your childhood wounds. As soon as you have some time, space, and emotional energy for interaction, they will be right in front of you, ready to have low-drama relationships with you.
Just be careful not to select a whole new crop of drama-triggering friends and lovers. If all your relationships have always been difficult, then you are probably really good at gravitating to people whose childhood wounds trigger yours. You will need to avoid the people you consider attractive, interesting, and exciting, and get to know some of those boring people you have always ignored.
The idea that we wouldn’t bother with relationships if we didn’t need anything from anyone doesn’t usually arise after someone has completed their healing journey and attained true independence. It is more likely to arise during the healing journey, as an objection to the idea that we can (or should) be meeting our own needs internally, rather than looking to other people to meet our needs.
In reality, once we move out of neediness and dependence on others, we can begin to have authentic relationships for the first time in our lives. A whole new world opens up, with unimaginable pleasures, unprecedented fulfilment, and capabilities that literally seem like superpowers.
The long climb out of the depths of chaos, pain, and confusion is just the beginning. Once we stop grasping at others to save us, to support us, to fill a hole within us, once we are whole and complete within ourselves, then (and only then) can we truly meet another person, soul to soul.
When two complete beings meet in trust and harmony, we unleash the power of synergy – the world in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Instead of finding our “other half” and becoming whole, we bring two wholes together. Like two pieces of nuclear fuel combining to reach critical mass, we fuse together and access the cosmic alchemy by which we become, for a while, something more than merely human.
Written By Jnani Jenny Hale
The last time you had a broken heart, did you spend a lot of energy wishing it hadn’t happened? Trying to fix it?
We often view having a broken heart as being a victim, whether someone else broke up with you or you lost a loved one to cancer or you moved across the country and it ended a deep relationship. I would like to submit another angle for heartbreak: that it’s the best medicine for knowing, accepting, and loving ourselves.
It leads us to show up more as our whole self.
Most of us have layer upon layer of walls around our hearts, hence we don’t let people see us as the full human we are. We don’t even see ourselves fully. Breaking our hearts, in whatever way that happens, can cause enough of a shift to let new parts of us be revealed.
Read the full article at Beducated.
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.
Recently, I’ve begun to reexamine the question “Why Am I Here”? You probably know that I believe everything exists for a reason, all at the right moment, and I trust that I am being led…well…somewhere. What I continue to be surprised about is that it’s not leading me anywhere but here. This is one of those truths that, I think, we “know” but don’t really know. The path doesn’t lead us anywhere but where we are; it only awakens us to actually being where we are. Through the divine medium of Love, I’m still here, in Seattle, in America. As much time as I’ve spent trying to be most other places, I’m here.
Digging through some pretty big barriers of fear, I decided to forgo my plans to return to South Korea and instead stay with my new partner, Circus, in Seattle. Together, we plan to go back out into the wild to experience whatever Life calls us to experience. Together. Together isn’t something I thought I wanted or recall asking for, explicitly. And yet, many of my teachings are based around surrendering to the divine through Love. What I perhaps forgot is that we are always offered exactly what we need and get to make a choice if we are ready to really take it, or not. I choose yes. I choose yes.
I wish I could say it’s been all bliss and roses since. When we are in the bliss of union, trust, limitless love and surrender, it is certainly bliss. But we live in everyday life, too. And in that everyday life I have habits and patterns I am less than proud of. (And letting go of that shame is high on my list of priorities, I assure you.) You could call it karma, too; ways of living that have been imprinted on my mind from countless previous relationships and experiences.
When you are doing what you are used to, things don’t “come up” all that much. And that was my happy, single, spiritual life. I have surely wrestled with the spiritual teachings of celibacy and isolation and have come out the other side knowing that connecting with another soul, or other souls, is a valid and beautiful path to realizing the union of yoga or whatever you want to call it. And it can rock your very foundation, crack apart what you think you know about life and love and expectations, and leave you falling into the abyss of surrender. But isn’t that the point? Aren’t we going for the “Beginner’s Mind” as the Buddha calls it? To see every moment as the first time, without expectations? Aren’t we trying to rid ourselves of patterns, habits, ego-grasping, etc., etc.? Maybe, maybe not. For me, I am reminded every day that connection – or reconnection as I experience it – is a way to see and recall the Divine in every moment.
They say Tantra is the highway to discovering the Truth – Tantra meaning the interconnected web of life, samsara, Shakti, experiential existence, as opposed to the pristine isolation of the soul. And it’s messy and sometimes chaotic. It doesn’t always feel good and calm and perfect. What I continue to learn from the amazing love I experience every day – from so many people – is that life isn’t supposed to be any one way and I’m not supposed to know how to “navigate” it. Truly living in the moment means letting go of what we think the moment should look like or feel like and just experiencing it as is, for the first time. Because every moment is the first time. No two moments are the same and nothing can be recreated or experienced again.
So I unpack what I think life is supposed to look like, what a spiritual teacher is supposed to do, and ask myself “Why Am I Here”? And when I let go of my own expectation, I come back to simply trust that I don’t know and I don’t need to know. Well, in a way, I do know. I feel when I am in line with my truth, when I am doing things that feed my soul and surrounding myself with people who challenge me to be the most compassionate and honest person I can be. I am here to experience and awaken and to share that with you. What I don’t know is exactly what that is going to look like. And that is certainly okay.
One of my favorite teachings is that the amazingness of life comes from its unknowable and unpredictable nature. Even on that day when we wake up and really realize that we are of the same stuff as all of creation, we still get to be surprised at what is around every corner, the beautiful people we run across, the lives we will affect in ways we will never know. And for all of that and more, I must thank you for encouraging me to grow more into myself, just by us knowing one another.
What spurred this topic is having to cancel some really incredible things that I had planned to do today – some of my favorite things in fact – because of a physical injury. So I am lying on the couch in the house I share with my partner, in a bathrobe, trying desperately not to feel guilty, and wondering how I can be what I am supposed to be, how and what I can really give to the world lying on this couch and feeling sad and hurt. This is what I came up with: to continue to share my journey with you, one day at a time and one story at a time. And trust that it’s all enough.
Non-attachment is a big part of what I’m working on right now. In yoga, non-attachment (sometimes called dispassion) is a very pivotal point. Does that mean complete detachment from life? From loved ones? From daily conveniences?
In my experience, it’s two things. The first is learning to be detached from the desires of the ego, the part of our mind that is constantly being driven by attachments and aversions, likes and dislikes, wanting and avoiding. The second is becoming detached from the fruits (results, outcomes) of action. It’s okay to have a preference for the outcome, but being non-attached means staying calm no matter the result. In the bigger picture, this means being open to what life presents and trusting that your steps are always being led in the best direction. It also means being aware of every moment and of why our mind is leading us this way and that: is it because the ego craves/avoids something or because we’re in line with the true nature of our Self? To figure out the difference, one needs to cultivate an awareness of every moment, every breath, and the turning of the mind. You can start with this breath and this thought right now.
Let’s take, for example, hot showers. What I’ve found out about myself is that I can remain perfectly fine with no hot showers** for, say, 4 weeks, but after a while I realize that my preference would be for a hot shower. This morning I asked a friend to shower in their room so that I could have a hot shower. Needless to say, it was divine. So in this situation, non-attachment means being okay with not having a hot shower and cultivating equanimity for my current situation but at the same time realizing that my preference would be for a hot shower and doing what I can to make it a reality. I love being in India and traveling in general, and I realize that there are sacrifices to be made in certain situations. However, if I can have a hot shower I will take full advantage, knowing how happy it makes me.
**Note: I have had hot water by the bucketful in many places and cold showers from a shower head, just not the combination of hot water from a shower head. It’s not that I haven’t showered in a month. And I wash my feet twice daily, which is a necessity in most of India.