Tuesday, 24 January 2012

bone tinglingly juicy!

baba yaga calls my name
(mixed media shadow box)

well howdy lovely human (and huwoman) beings...tuesdays new moon has reminded us to continue to be with the hush of winter...if, like me, you have found yourself a seesawing between the 'right then, lets get on with this busy-ness of life, rubbing my hands with glee' and the 'oh my, cant i just stay snuggled up in my cave just a lil bit longer..pleeaase!??' then you are not alone

there's something about january that, post all the new year and seasonal festive delights, feels soberingly 'normal', a kinda resigned sighing of 'back to real life'!..and yet, be gentle with those strides out into the big wide world, as we are still hanging out in the time of winter

ah yes...breathe out a breath of relief...its ok to take time to peer into the bright lights of the big city again...to be in the hustle n bustle of lifes rolling, and then to scamper back into the comfort of the duvet..to begin in dreaming and wondering how to take steps, and then put down the action plan and let the imagination roam for an hour or two hazily and daisily!

the dreamtime of the year is extremely important for all levels of our being..reclaiming the rest our body's need...landing the emotional body after the heightened roller coaster of the end of year partying and family whirl...reflecting on our wishes and intentions for the year ahead...having the space and time to listen, to really listen in to the whispers and calling that lies deep in our bones

ahh! our bones! our skeletal framework that hangs our body in place and gives form for our dance in the world...in mind-body energetics our bones are the oldest part of our physical being, holding our deepest memories, stories of our past, and the impressions carried through the ancestor line...they also remind us of the deepest 'knowing' we hold in our body...its no coincidence that we use the expression 'i feel it in my bones'!

i have become a lil curious (translate as 'obsessive') about bones recently, resulting in a cornucopia of creative ideas to get my teeth and blood into
(ok, maybe i am also feeling inspired about all the elemental parts of the body, those 'earthy' aspects of our physicality!)...how exciting!...and the first port of call? to the goddesses of old...older than crone...bone goddesses carry the thread of winters shifts and magic...reminding us of the continual death and rebirth cycles of life....like kali or hecate..terrifying visions, these creatures are wild...wild because they offer the knowledge of transformation, shedding, surrendering and the initiation from one way of living to another...all the quests that heroes undertake and which we, as a whole, are curiously intrigued by, include a perilous mission often facing 'death' in some manner

and so this week i have been getting to know the old bone goddess of russian and eastern europe folklore, baba yaga..no, this is no reference to that tasty aubergine dish familiar to middle eastern cuisine!...baba yaga is known as a formidable and quite frightful force, flying around in her cauldron shaped like a mortar and pestle...she lives in a hut created from the bones of human beans, that dances on crazy chicken legs!...she takes no prisoners and through her seemingly impossible tasks, reunites us once again to the 'knowing' we all hold within...our ancient bone wisdom...that lights our light and shines our fire so goddamn brightly and fiercely that all that denies our spirits path is burned away to ashes!..hallelulah!!

so my lovelies..listen to your bones..check in with them regularly...feel their yearnings..and honour their direction...our bones carry the juice to light up and fuel our intentions for the year ahead...prepare the way to take your warrior(ess) steps out into the beauty of this crazy wild world!!....and be patient, oh yes, patient, as we continue to honour the wisdom of the dark time of the year!..maybe if we are lucky (or blessed), the glow of our bones will lead us majestically out into the light of the world very soon xxx

Monday, 9 January 2012

little step by little step

happy new year dear ones and welcome to 2012...the year of possibilities, of love, of taking steps into the unknown, and of living each moment with passion, creativity, delight and a sprinkling of 'ooh la la!' (well..these are my wishes for the year ahead :-) !)

so we are at this time again when the year ahead beckons invitingly with its blank pages, the images we draw, paint, scribble and invoke as yet to become clear..a little like those magic markers we used to play with in our childhood years!

and just as we crawl outta bed on the new side of the year, our lists of intentions become once more of pleading importance for our future self..maybe this year we will change this behaviour, maybe this year we will let go effortlessly, maybe this year, just like that, we will step into a brand new 'me'

and yet, as the fog of the festive season begins to lift, and the reality of another monday morning dawns, all is the same, and nothing has magically shifted in the wee hour of the witch (which apparently is between 4 and 5 a.m.!)


but before you sigh in resignation and the wonder of whether next year will bring about the seemingly impossible lets take heart and seek a lil deeper understanding from mister patanjali himself (the 'father' of modern yoga, and the scribe of the yoga sutras)...and lets start at the very beginning of the 8 fold noble path of yoga...

in brief, patanjali likened the different practices of yoga, to a tree, with each branch neither more or less important to another...these 8 'limbs', are: yama (worldly observances), niyama (self observances), asana (postures), pranayama (control of energy, prana, through the breath), pratyahara (drawing inwards away from the outward sensory experiences), dharana (concentration on a chosen object), dhyana (meditation, or total absorption with that object) and samadhi (a state of oneness, or, enlightenment).

most of western yoga, and i say this with equal concern as well as respect, chooses to concentrate on asana, or postures, as the 'main' aspect of yoga practice, and yet patanjali hardly offers much guidance in this area..however, for the purposes of this post, i want to focus curiousity on the first limb, yama.

'yama' is often descibed as a 'restraint of...' certain behaviours..almost a list of should nots...the 5 yamas mentioned in the sutras are: non-harming, non-lying, non-stealing, non-abuse of our sexual energy, and non-grasping....yet why does he not just say 'be kind, be truthful etc...'?...surely thats what he means?

and yet, it is precisely the wording of this list that shows us exactly how we can work with these 'intentions', for that is what they feel to me to represent...intentions..just like what we all make at the beginning of every new year...with all the wishing in our hearts and bones to be kind, to be honest, to be living in a state of graceful flow, we are simply human, and to jump from one way of behaving straight into another does not bode well, and ususally does not last long...so what patanjali suggests, and im so with him on this one, is to take one lil step by lil step at a time...so instead of suddenly becoming the most honest person in all of manchester, for instance, start the practice of non-harming gently....

first, we need to notice each time we go to 'harm' either ourselves, or each other, through our thoughts and words and actions...we need to begin by cultivating the witness aspect of the self, to observe when we 'fall down' into that particular habit pattern..we may still do so for a long time, but we start to notice this more...and then comes a time when we realise we have a choice, either we react in the old way, or we can choose, just in that moment, to respond differently...each time we do so we start to create a new pattern, one more in line with our hearts and higher self...

its not enough just to quickly change behaviour...most of the time it isnt the actual 'behaviuor' we need to address, but the underlying reason for doing it in the first place...perhaps, as we appraoch each choice with awareness, we may find that underneath, we meet our loneliness, or hatred, or sadness...normal human emotions, but ones we chose to cover over long ago with those exact patterns we want to change

i realise i have written a goddamn essay here, and those of you still reading i offer gratitude for your interest in these words...before i sign off though, something else about the word 'yama'...Yama is also in hindu mythology, the god of death....and it is exactly this dying of our ego patterns that happens when we begin to practice the yamas...as we slowly and gently shed the leaves, and maybe one day the root of certain habits, we are transformed and more energy becomes available to us.

so, be gentle with yourself..have compassion for your journey, and remember, lil step by lil step is the way.

blessings, love and joy to you