Seeding My Dreams

“When we become aware that we are telling ourselves stories, we begin to have a choice about what stories we are telling, and that is the true beginning of authoring our own existence. Rut or river, these strategies of our imagination tell us who we are, what our purpose is, and how we connect, or don’t, to the whole. “ Markova

IMG_1586

I flirt with the idea, of telling my story…I waver back and forth with “what do I write today” out of not wanting to sound like a victim, or preachy or in process. However I am realizing to the utmost degree that my voice is the instrument for my experiences, and if I am to be playful and joyous, All of mySelf needs to be expressed. And how does that look? How would that feel?

I am on the threshold of discovering, finally…with EYES OPEN WIDE…my purpose. I feel that I have found the right seed and noticed and honored the Divine potential of this seed to truly be nourished and cared for by mySelf.. to sprout and grow… mySelf… fully. I have been tangled in confusion (at least that is the story I have been telling myself) concerning my path and purpose in life. For years I just didn’t know, and yet was somehow guided to study at a School for Women’s Sacred Arts and Midwifery…and then to herbal studies, plant spirit medicine (Soma-studies), and yoga. I have studied with the best of the best…masters of the fields…close to them as well as in conferences and workshops. My heart is telling me that there is a way to blend them all in a manner that is woven, integrated, whole and beautiful. That my unique integration is a reflection of who I am inside, and how I share this with the world. So of course, with some Divine Intelligence and support from the Cosmos, this winter I have dedicated to that integration of all of my external passions to see what is brightest within me.

I am on a great track. The fuzz is getting clearer, things that I had attached to that are not serving me are falling away (some due to their time being over with me, some I have grown out of, and others I realized I was tangled in someone else’s dharma (uh-co-dependency anyone?!) The next step is to notice what I do love...and how I do want to spend my life…the stories that I tell mySelf no longer scraped up from the dregs of lack but birthed from the wellspring of abundance and joy. 

The words that come clearly now are Sacred Feminine. Sacred Flow. Yoga Ceremony. Devi Puja. Herbal Rituals. Soma Healing. Ojas Building. Nourishing the Womb. Sacred Space. Yogini Shakti. Yoni Shakti. No longer turning the other way or pushing aside my dreams for something else (waiting for the right time, more studies, more clarity, more money, more need in the world for my gifts, more courage…!?)  Im seeding now….seeding my dreams to birth mySelf into the world. JAI MA!!

Big Shifts

I feel an expansiveness happening now…big shifts that are challenging me to live my fullest, biggest brightest self. A recent experience that had the most profound effect on me, in my work and my life path happened over Easter weekend at a military base in Fort Bliss, Texas. We were to play a show for children whose parents (soldiers) had been deployed. After dealing with so many obstacles (I am surprised we even made it to Texas) my family and I got on stage and rocked the best show ever. Instead of feeling anxiety and trepidation, I felt as if some part of me expanded and connected to everything and everyone around me. I experienced yoga. Union. Throughout the show I felt a complete merging….with the audience, the feel of my voice as I sang, the energy of my body as I danced, the love of my family on the stage and the support of All the Energy that surrounded us. This feeling lasted for weeks.

I am still doing sacred healing work-Devi Puja ceremonies with women, processing plants for my Vital Yogi Herbals, hosting full moon gatherings with beautiful souls (including a rising posse of 11 year old yoginis) and (this fall) co-facilitating a very special Women’s healing retreat in the Amazon. I’m still on the path of healer/teacher..

But interesting doors have opened and I feel for the first time, my worlds (yoga, the healing arts and music) merging and flowering into something totally unexpected.  I am now not only on stage with my family, traveling to various regions, but also working behind the scenes. This is such important work right now because it enables me to offer more support to the ones I love as we reach far and wide into the world. I am now adding manage and book shows to my list of ‘To Dos’ and it is wonderful. I get to help connect our band (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo) to festivals, theaters, community resource centers, art councils, parks, schools, libraries–you name it.  I stepped in because all the arrows pointed me to do so, even though previously I had different views of the work I needed to be doing…and What A Blessing!! I couldn’t have created this if I had tried..I only had to Open to Grace.

So due to my fierce dedication to practice and a willingness to live my highest potential I feel I am burning through my limitations and new doors are opening. My world is expanding to connect to more hearts and it is so powerfully fulfilling to my soul.

I felt the call to share this. Perhaps you are also going through major life transitions or are standing at a crossroads, wondering if you should take a leap. If so, I would love to hear from you…and all I gotta say is…practice trust. practice listening to your heart. Open to the possibility of getting BIG and LIVING. Until then…my gratitude for our connection, for our being alive now and this amazing work that we get to do together. With a ton of gratitude, Brooke.

AppalachianLakshmi

Rock Solid Steady..What?!

After coming back from India I am watching my life flow in vacillating waves of excitement & growth  to old patterns of ‘ick, blah and overwhelm’ resurfacing to be faced. The past few days I have been getting a bit more insight around this, due to a practice around sthira (steadiness).

In my world &  in my family life, there is so much vata/pitta (movement and creativity). There is a patterned tendency for my family to flow by the whims of desire, each day, each week taking us on a new journey-whether on tour to play across the country or just at home running around. It is fun and awesome and also…distracting and destabilizing. Too many artists in one household!! I am feeling a definite need to have stability and steadiness. To not only create structure but have the discipline to follow the structure. I see that as much as I try to change my outside world though, nothing sticks. I fall into the same patterns of busy and overwhelm. Its my mental focus that needs adjusting. It is my mind that needs to become organized and steady.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.14, he talks about the discipline of practice as threefold: practice consistently, for a long time and with devotion or reverence. I like it.

As our home is our sanctuary, this same discipline is needed. We have chores for the family and even an artistically drawn up board (thanks Cactus!) on the wall to put the gold stars on when we finish them. However many spots remain empty, either forgetting to add the stars or forgetting to do the chores! We need the discipline to do them regularly, for a long time and with love. Just like sutra 1.14. The ‘with love’ brings in the devotion towards cleaning which not only invites love into the home but is a gentle reminder that chores are awesome because it feels good to have a clean and organized home!

On the mat, stability is found by stabilizing the waves of breath (the inhalations smooth and equal to the exhalations). Jerky, arrhythmic streams reveal subconscious and unconscious tendencies of the mind.To be conscious of the breath and to shape the breath as we move gives us an opportunity to dismantle the old patterns that we may easily fall into. Just by being aware, by steadying the body/mind, we are shown our patterns through the lens of the breath.

So for the next few weeks I affirm to cultivate steadiness…in my home, in my life and in my breath. And will see what happens next!

 bootsatshrine

 

Healing Our Relationships

Ooh baby, it is time. We are being called to action–to notice the patterns & grooves that we have become stuck in and really look at the way we live. It is becoming a sore point that the wounds we carry-whether from our own past or cultural wounds-are the underlying seeds of a blame game and it is really time to wake up, feel and heal.

At a very basic level, our relationships need to be redefined. One topic I have been noticing arising with my clients and students is the understanding of and relationship to the masculine and feminine-what they mean and what roles they play in our lives. In Yoga & Tantric Philosophy there are symbols to help us understand these energies.

Solar, or masculine energy is perceived as power, drive, motivation, structure and externally oriented. It is the radiance of the sun, luminous and strong. Masculine energy is also represented as Shiva, the steadiness of presence and awareness to act instead of react. It is the container or vessel that guides and holds the power (Shakti) to flow through.

In the Tantric view feminine energy is the force of creation (Shakti) a power that is both wild, chaotic and free. Feminine energy or qualities are also symbolized by the moon, which is luminous, ever changing, reflective and internal.

At the very core of yoga philosophy is the union of these two energies. This brings us not only into balance, but perfection…a soul perfection of total bliss and harmony. It is this balance that is necessary to heal our relationships to ourselves and to others. Whether or not one follows the philosophy of yoga, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this is a problem in our society that needs to be tended to.We can begin by reflecting on the differences and similarities of masculine & feminine energies. Looking more closely at what it means to be a woman or a man and the roles we play unconsciously vs. consciously will help broaden our minds and break us out of old trends.

Our society has groomed the man to be the powerful provider and the woman to be the passive nurturer. But looking at the ancient symbols of how these energies are defined and related, (sun/moon, shiva/shakti) it is not that cut and dry. Masculine energy can be peaceful and present. Feminine energy can be a force for change.

What needs to be recognized is that both are powerful and both are needed. Both are necessary within an individual, within a household, within a culture and balanced in the world. When one is overtaking the other (masculine in patriarchal society, feminine in matriarchal society) we create an imbalance that blocks us from health, peace and true wisdom. Too much power of either distorts and magnifies the mind into separation and confusion. What is needed is to recognize and heal the wounds first so that the distortions melt away, the blaming ceases, separation decreases. Then we can truly see the forces of energy and play with them instead of being played by them.

Our relationships are trying to teach us this very valuable lesson, which is at the core of why we are here. As either a man or a woman, the energies of masculine and feminine pulse through us and teach us how to relate to our own personal nature and all beings. The awareness that is a result of the healthy unification of both leads to respect and clear communication- necessary for a relationship to thrive. With respect we see the power in the other as equal. Healthy relationships are like bamboo, strong when needed, bendable when necessary…but not breakable.

So how can we learn to live together as a family? How can we work together amiably and equally? How can we share our resources with insight and sustainability? Lets redefine our terms so they make sense to us in our personal worldview. Lets blur the lines a bit so we can see better.

We can explore these ideas through self reflection and practice. Plants are also valuable teachers and guides, such as working in the psycho-spiritual realm with flower essences. Flower essences wake us up to new ways of seeing and are gentle yet powerful allies in healing and transforming the mind-stuff and negative belief systems.

Some questions to reflect on: who are you blaming? are you playing a victim? are you handing over your power due to an old construct or pattern? where in your life can you reclaim your power, your inner guidance and wisdom? what is your view of the masculine, of the feminine? do you tend to see the masculine/feminine labels in the best or worst light and what are you going to do about it?

Remember that our relationships are our biggest mirrors. Each relationship we are in is a teaching, a lesson. Being in a trapped relationship means you are in a trapped in an old paradigm or belief -which starts inside, not outside of you. Get rid of the old and bring in the new. This is Spring cleansing!

 

 krishnaboy

 

 

Messages in Dreams

“We are seeking the missing parts of ourselves, our own identity, our roots.” Panditji

It has been over two years since I dreamed of this Pilgrimage to India, to the convergence of the 3 sacred rivers, to the Great spiritual gathering called the Kumbha Mela and Khajuraho, an ancient Tantric City.

On the night of New Year’s Eve 2010, I dreamed I was at the feet of my teacher’s teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait as he lectured to me. I knew in my dream that I was being downloaded important information, so I focused with full intention, trying my best to be a sponge. There was an effervescent quality as if time and space were suspended and the highest of truths was being administered. No words stuck out, no fancy stories or intimate details were being explained. I was absorbing a transmission beyond language. After forever, I was given a basket of offerings or samagri and prepared to go somewhere with a group of people. These actions felt sacred and important. At the time I was clueless about the pilgrimage to India that Panditji was preparing for us (and preparing us for).

A few months later I happened to mention my dream to a Parayogi friend while en route to our yoga training in Mexico. She told me of the plans Panditji had been making for us-a pilgrimage to The Kumbha Mela in a few years. I was both excited and bummed, because is seemed that even if i could save the money I would have a hard time convincing my family. It felt indulgent on the practical level, since I had been floating around doing trainings/retreats for the past few years but compelling on the spiritual level.

Only weeks after returning from Mexico, I visited the Himalayan Institute for the first time. I had been studying their Live In Tantra program (which is still available online), but this was my first experience of meeting the yogis behind the scene. I immediately fell in love with my new spiritual home. It is a humble place rich with the teachings of Tantra, Yoga and Ayurveda, as well as hosts a spectrum of really cool people. That visit I was initiated deeper into the heart of Sri Vidya Tantra and as I brought my daughter with me, she too received her own kind of initiation.

Very present and bubbly with joy, Panditji and his wife Meera were on their way to the lecture. My daughter Saki and her little friend Zinnia asked Panditji to please bless their malas. Saki had to run upstairs to get hers and it blew my mind that Panditji patiently waited for her (his lecture was about to begin) as we all stood and listened to her footsteps thump thumping up the stairs, down the hallway and then back to us minutes later. He smiled big as he blessed her mala, thanked me for bringing my child to the ashram & proceeded into the lecture hall to teach to hundreds of people. Looking peacefully over the audience, he talked about the moment’s story of the little girls who wanted him to bless their malas and how thankful he was that people brought their children to the Institute. As a mama I glowed with appreciation. Children can often be perceived as cumbersome in spiritual places and yet he and Meera made us feel completely welcome, at home. Panditji then proceeded to talk about dreams and messages in dreams. He talked about as yoga practitioners, there are actually ways we can receive guidance in our dreams, a way to ‘check in’ to see how our practices are supporting our life. The understanding I received from what Panditji spoke about was that these kinds of dreams (unlike ordinary dreams) often contain wisdom beyond our intellect and speak directly our soul. They are the dreams that ‘move us’ because they teach from the Ultimate Reality, often giving us answers before we have asked the question.

So mouth catching uber flies, I was pretty much sold. The lecture after that seemed to even shake up my molecules and awaken me to depths of understanding life, nature and myself. I knew that this was my community & my spiritual home & felt the stirring that it was indeed important for me to get my butt to India.

I became a devoted student of the Himalayan Institute after that first visit, which truly accelerated my life and my practice. I lived the concept of trustful surrender, which happens when one feels the support of something greater and guides the seeker to unimaginable places.

And so In June of 2012, through a series of dreams and meditations I was guided to move my family to California. By September my (amazingly willing) family drove across the country to land in a perfect school and beautiful house in Grass Valley, California. We wondered together…what’s next. The potency of the mystical has always superseded my material life experience, but for the first time ever I felt connected, supported and guided by the sages-not just going on whims.

I also found out that the mission of the Himalayan Institute’s pilgrimage had a purpose higher than my own, which seemed to justify the final pieces. We were as a group, to bring the ‘fruits of our practice’ to initiate a Tantric shrine and to help seed light, goodness and the sacred into the consciousness of the human race by becoming in turn, filled with this light. Wow.

I finally got my ticket, knowing that India would be a pivotal point for me and my family. I prayed that this pilgrimage would give me the strength, clarity and guidance to fulfill my purpose in the world…which I was still confused about. So as I packed and prepared, I set my intentions and on January 18, 2013, with a copy of the Devi Mahatmyam (to better understand this Divine Ma) and Swami Rama’s The Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita (to figure out my dharma) I left home, bound to find my path.