Blessing of the Honu

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Today,  I got a chance to meet with Eternity.
We made it to a tiny beach early in the morning.   No one was there, and we were greeted by the sound of he waves, the myriad blue of the Pacific, and a gentle breeze.  The morning air was fresh, although it was already getting warm.

As I stepped on to the sand, making my way to a shady spot, I gasped, involuntarily.  There, to my left was huge creature of the sea, resting on the sand.  My breath knew it was there before my eyes had registered it.   A large sea turtle had made it's way to the shore.  I stopped in my tracks and knelt down a few feet away. It's presence touched some indescribably, ancient place in me.  Looking into it's eyes was like gazing into a universe — openings full of darkness, yet bursting, even glowing with Light.  I was met with pure Life, gazing back at me, from the depths of space. 

There was nothing to do but remain.  To sit in deep recognition.  I noticed that my breathing changed, and my thoughts had slowed. Nothing seemed important, because nothing else existed in that moment. I was lost in Life. Not what we normally consider to be 'life' — the running around, getting things done, working, fixing what breaks, making sure everyone else is O.K., but the Life underneath it all. The only Life that truly matters.

In this endless moment, the early morning sun touching the water, my skin, the honu's shell.....the sound of the waves, soft and strong, the gentle surging breeze filled with salt air, the feeling of soft damp grains in my feet, were all one shape / feeling / experience. Nothing could be separated,.  Everything seemed to meet in the touch of eyes. Creature to creature. Held in the expanse of Eternity.
 

Dropping into Infinity

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It's time to give up all teaching, all learning, all ideas about who you are and what should be, and just meet whatever is opening in you right now.  The feeling of your feet touching the floor, the velocity of the breath entering your nostrils, the temperature in your back and shoulders......all your sensations are here, now.

The simplicity of coming back to the most fundamental common denominator of who we are as human beings, can be a doorway into the purity of this moment.  It is an invitation to listen to bits of ourselves that we may have taken for granted, and in so doing, open the floodgates of permission, for all the other unmet bits to be heard and seen. 

99% of the Life that we experience with the full spectrum of our being, is unmet.  Most of our sensations, impressions, impulses — even the complex detail of any sight our eyes take in — cannot be percieved by our conscious mind.  We are unaware of most of the experience of our lives, yet we are eager to 'make sense' of the little we perceive.  As mental creatures, we are eager to capture, define and analyze our world.

In fact, we are more than our knowledge, personality, or conscious impressions.  But the vastness that flows through us cannot be captured by our minds.  We cannot 'harness' the power of the Divine in us, as many personal empowerment practices would have us do.  We can, however, allow our Tiny Minds to be harnessed by the Divine, The Great Mystery passing through us, animating every aspect of our Life Force, down the sub-atomic levels to and beyond.

Ancient Wisdom guides us into the practice of listening, and allowing what is already here to expand.  We can spend a great deal of energy trying to shape and control our lives, or we can place our attention on opening the vaults and dungeons where we have imprisoned the parts of our being deemed 'unacceptable'.   At the same time, we engage in the powerful work of freeing our 'Perceptive Field' from social, familial, religious and cultural doctrine — the embedded judgements and assumptions with which we take in our world.  As we become more committed to this practice, we may notice that there is a part of us that remains free of programming.  Below the 'static' of all the conscious and subconscious rules and regulations we have absorbed. lies and truths, hurts and resentments, is pure Life.  The Innocent Grace of Life that remains unaltered by knowledge or belief. 

In the mystery of Paradox, this place exists in an expanse which can hold every part of our being — even those that have been locked away.  We have the possibility to move into a new Paradigm.  The One Life that we are us is not divided into 'right' and 'wrong'. 

This path has nothing to do with knowledge or conceptual theoretical Spiritual Ideals.  It has everything to do with this moment.  You. Here. Now.....accessing more and more of the Infinite Life that breathes you.

Nourishing Life

Ancient Wisdom guides us back to fundamental truths about who we are as human beings.  My fortunate encounters as a student of Hawaiian Kahuna Abraham Kawai’i, gave me new avenues through which to experience existence through the body.  These pre-historical indigenous teachings are based in the simplicity of Oneness.  In other words, ‘Everything is connected to everything else.’  When we apply this knowing to the human body, we may notice that nothing occurs in isolation.  While we may imagine that our emotions are somehow separate from our thoughts or spirit, they actually all occur in the same location. All of us is always here, now. The memories of our childhood don’t disappear when we go towork and our hopes and dreams are not erased when we’re at the dentist.  Moreover, our conscious experience of Life, and even our identity, are in deep synergy with the more expansive part of ourselves:  our cellular processes.  Although we may identify with who we ‘know ourselves to be’, we are, in reality, mostly Life Itself. 

When we consider just what has occurred in our bodies in the past 24 hours, without our conscious participation, we might realize that even our most brilliant thoughts are tiny in comparison.  Since yesterday, the Life of your body has shed and replaced approximately 1 million skin cells and your heart has pumped 2,000 gallons of blood through blood vesselswhich include 40 billion tiny capillaries. We have a brand new stomach lining every 4 days and our taste buds renew themselves every 7-10 days. Clearly, we being lived by a Wisdom that is beyond our comprehension.

This Ancient paradigm teaches that not only are we mostly Life, but that this Life inside of us is itself Alive with consciousness. While we are in this body, we cannot separate spirit and tissue, except in our imagination. 

Perceiving from this embodied place, nourishing ourselves with food can become a new adventure. In our current modern world, Food is often used to fill an emotional void, or supress difficult emotions, hence the popularity of 'comfort food'. How does our relationship to food change when we take into consideration this Great Mystery inside of us?  We must be willing to listen with new ears, without agenda or interpretation. Eating what we think is good for our bodies is not the same as paying attention, and letting our whole system be heard. The language of the body includes emotion, sensation, rhythm, texture, temperature, image and color. The practice of listening to the language of consciousness as it appears in the body can open new doorways of communication with Life Itself.

We humans are used to being ruled by the mind. If we can create a practice of holding open attention in the body, we can notice how we actually feel in the presence of certain foods, how the sight, smell, appearance, and taste impact our system, It can take a bit of practice to notice if we are actually feeling or making a mental assessment.  Most of us are deeply programmed to automatically base our perceptions on the thoughts and impressions of our conscious mind. Ancient Wisdom guides us back to the body.  Our cellular self does not think, it simply operates in a synergy of wholeness.  Our listening can become very simple as we align with the motion of this synergy. It can become very clear what foods result in vitality and well being, and which deplete us.

In my experience, I gradually began to feel what was only yummy to my tastebuds, and what was nourishing to my Life Force.  My awareness grew to notice when I was eating to stuff my emotions, and when it was actually more nourishing to skip a meal.  The proportions and quantities of what I ate changed, and cravings disappeared. 

What nourishes us at the level of Life Force, nourishes us in every part of our being:  the quality of our emotions, thoughts, relationships, self-worth, energy, awareness, connectivity and general health.

The Being of our Life Force, the Great Mystery inside our own bodies, becomes more available, the more it is recognized.  As we listen, we may find it is eager to communicate.  When we feed Life Itself, Life, in turn, feeds us with vitality, health and joy, increasing our potential to be of greater service to our loved ones, community, and world.  If we can make the shift out of the old paradigm of separation, we may experience more interconnectedness between what we had previously seen as our ‘Body’, ‘Mind’ and ‘Spirit’.  We may begin to experience our whole system in it’s natural state — as One.

Ancient Cellular Yoga

Though there are many aspects of, and definitions for Yoga, I have always loved the simplicity of the one most of my yoga teachers have offered:  a conscious union of body and mind, creating more harmony in our being.  When I became introduced to the work of Ancient Lomi Lomi (also known as Ke Ala Hoku — Pathway to the Stars), I was surprised to find that most of the work was not at all about bodywork, but about the awakening of our own cellular consciousness.  One method used to explore the Great Mystery inside of our bodies is called ‘Ho’omanamana’.  In the words of my teacher, Kahu Abraham Kawai’i, Ho’omanamana is “stretching as awareness of physical, psychological and energetic body and its' connection to breath.  Ho’omanamana is taking old, ancient or unused energies and converting them in to contributing functions.” 

As I dived into this powerful work, I came to view Ho’omanamana very much like a form of Ancient Yoga.  Consciously making gentle circular, or stretching movements throughout the joints, muscles, liquids and connective tissues of the body, I discovered an experience of deep interconnection between tissues, breath, awareness, emotions, memories, thoughts and expanded consciousness.  Beginning stages of Ho’omanamana allow us to begin to listen deeply to the many layers of our being by paying particular attention to breath and sensation as we move. 

As a dancer, used to pushing my body to (and past) its’ limits, I was fascinated by the gentleness of the practice and it’s encouragement to honor the early boundaries of my range of motion.  The slow movements felt deeply comfortable to me and I would wake up early to give myself plenty of time for the practice.  For over three years, I practiced Ho’omanamana for a minimum of 3 hours each morning.  To my surprise, I found it to be full of emotion.  Anger, sadness and fear would emerge unexpectedly as I moved towards different positions. I spent much of that time in tears, as layers of sadness, trapped in my tissues, came rising to the surface.  Most of the time, I had no idea why I was crying, but felt great relief emotionally as well as more and more freedom in my body.  After each session, I felt as if I had more ‘space’ to breathe, think, feel and move.   As it evolves, Ho’omanamana begins to include practices to develop strength, deeper flexibility and build Mana (life force energy). 

Like Yoga, this Ancient body of work approaches the moving body as a foundation for awareness to arise and for consciousness to flow more freely through all of us, structure included.   In the paradigm of Ancient Lomi Lomi, the body is recognized as a huge part of the subconscious mind, holding within it, every experience we were unable to ‘metabolize’ consciously.  As we are able to ‘let go’ and be guided by the wisdom of our sensations, we are shown various pathways, through the complexity of our being, which result in deep healing.  In this way, Ho’omanamana is like an ‘adaptogen’ — an herb which responds uniquely to each person’s particular needs.  One persons’ trajectory of healing from a car accident or a broken arm, will be very different from anothers’.  As we start listening on a cellular level, we realize that our own unique pathway of healing is already here, waiting for our open attention.  Our cellular consciousness knows how deeply to breathe,  which positions to hold, how quickly to move in any given moment, what emotions may need to be released,  what awarenesses need to be uncovered, etc. 

Listening and following, in this Ancient practice, gave me a potent and grounded pathway to access all aspects of my system, and promote a profound, and ever-deepening, sense of well-being.  I have found Ho’omanaamana to be, Like Yoga, a union of the vast dimensions of our being, allowing us to approach Life with more wholeness.  Mahalo to Kahu and all who came before him, for bringing this profound work to the modern world.

Published with Living Aloha Magazine, Maui, September 2016.

Ancient Principles to Free Stuckness

Is there any aspect of your life that is in a 'holding pattern', anywhere you just can't seem to make the next step?  Do you come to the brink of 'moving on' and find yourself backing up.....with all the good reasons why moving forward is just not a good idea?   Are you aware of mental or emotional patterns that seem to rise over and over again, keeping you in the same responses to life?  I think at some point in our lives, we all have felt stuck.  From large decisions like changing jobs, or moving to another city, to small daily tasks like getting around to cleaning out your 'junk drawer', blockages can sometimes seem to run our lives. 

Ancient Wisdom gives us new perspectives on how to unlock the patterns that keep us stuck.

1. Listen with new ears

Instead of falling into the familiar pattern of condemning our blockage, lack of motivation or 'stuckness', pause and listen to what you're really feeling.  Go into slow motion inside and notice what else is there besides your repetitive thoughts.  Let your resistance unfold itself and really listen to the nature of it.  You may feel things like heaviness, fear, fatigue, overwhelm, sadness or ......?

2.  Welcome the Unknown

Whatever you discover, even if it's an unfamiliar or undefinable feeling, see if you can bring it closer to you.  In other words, treat it like a small child of yours that has something to say.  Let whatever is bubbling up inside of you speak and welcome whatever is expressed. 

3.  Don't Judge

See if you can accept whatever arises as valid.  So often we discount parts of ourselves, or judge them as 'bad', 'wrong', undesirable or unacceptable.   The truth is that all parts of you belong to you and deserve a voice.  Our frustration, anger, sadness and pain all have the right to be heard.  The magic of allowing them is we then diffuse their power.  A recurring pattern can be seen simply as a part of us that is rising again and again to be heard.   If we can embrace, instead of pushing them away or down, they will no longer keep demanding recognition, and we will be free of the pattern!

4.  Stay in the Present Moment

See if you can stay simply here, now.   In doing so, you'll let your mind take a break from all the reasons why you can't move forward.  You've likely been using your mind to solve this problem, and it hasn't worked, or there wouldn't be a recurring pattern.  This Ancient pathway is not for your mind.  Keep coming back to this moment and what you're feeling right now. I know this is often easier said than done, however there is a super simple and easy way to do it:  Keep your attention on your body.  As you feel your feelings, notice the sensation of your breathing, your feet against the floor, the air on your skin, the saliva in your mouth, the beating of your heart........ Anytime you want to drift into the past or the future, come back to your sensations.  Your body is always here now.

5. Envoke 'Natural Order'

In this Paradigm, everything inside of you is part of your family.  As you listen to each aspect (each 'child') arise in you, be aware of who is listening.  The One who can hear all the children and listen to their woes with full attention, is 'The Head of the Household'.  This being is the grounding of your internal family, and reflects the Natural Order of the Family.  In all of Life there is a foundational, organizing principle, of which we are all expressions.  inside of us, the Head of the Household serves as the organizing principle for all of our thoughts, emotions & actions.  In evoking Natural Order, you allow the Head of the Household to emerge, and thereby ensure that none of the 'children' have taken over the whole being.  When this happens, the rest of us becomes lost in one focus.   For example, if we allow the child Anger to take over, there is no other choice with which to respond, except Anger.  When the Head of the Household is in charge and Anger arises, it can be felt & honored within the context of the whole family.  In this way, we expand the choices of how to respond.

6. Move

Once you have allowed your feelings underneath the stuckness to speak, and you have welcomed them without judgement, make a decision to take at least One Step towards completing your goal. If it can't be done right now, give yourself a timeline.  After this process of bringing closer what seems to be holding to you back, you may notice more freedom as you begin to move forward.  Taking actual steps may very well become easier.

7.  Make a plan

If it's a more complex area, like moving to another city. or finding another job, map out a list of tasks that need to be done, set aside specific times, and put them in your calendar.  Even if it's only one....just do it.  A wise man once said to me:  "A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing!"

8.  Celebrate!

No matter how small your steps, celebrate each one. Small steps add up.  They can lead to big steps, and even to quantum leaps.  Let yourself really feel what's true as you begin to move in places that have not been easy in the past.  Do your best to keep attention on the nature of your forward movement, as well what has actually been done.  Give yourself a pat on the back. Do a 'Happy Dance'!  You are coming into Harmony with more and more of your Infinite Self!

Finding a successful way to navigate our blockages helps us to discover and to keep unfolding our unique gifts.  There is some expression that each of us came to blossom into.....and keep blossoming!  I believe that each of our gifts is here to bring more beauty, compassion, healing and love to all the creatures of this Earth.  But it starts with us.  These gifts are pouring through us, exactly as we are.  These Ancient Principles give us ways to meet the reality of where we are now, and to uncover our gifts in the face of whatever is happening:  stuckness, fear, overwhelm, or tragedy.  Life can only get better as we are able to expand with whatever we meet.

Below, Jim Carrey offers inspiration on meeting our potential in his video Dream Up a Good Life.  May the Ancient Principles assist you on your way!  Enjoy!

Please feel free to post comments about how this article may have been helpful, or questions that it brings up in you!  To accelerate an embodied experience of coming back to your essential self, Register for one of our Residential Retreats held internationally.  See you somewhere in the world!

Awakening to Surrender

Photo:  Clarissa Koenig

What if
One day,
We wake up to realize
That we are not who we thought we were,
Nor who we wanted to be,
But who we are — unimaginable.

What if we wake to realize
That any definition of ourselves
Is limiting,
That we are made of The Limitless
The same Life we honor
In the Eagle, The Ocean, The Land
Is inside of us
Waiting
To be seen
To be heard
To inhabit us fully.

What if we could
Awaken
in Surrender To Life.

What if it didn't matter
Anymore
What I want,
But what Life wants
Through me?