Dear Living Room Yogis,

The New Year is always a reflective time for me, and this year is no different.  Here is what I learned in 2023:

  1. We are living in a time of widespread activation of the pain-body.  Eckhart Tolle in his book, A New Earth:  Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, describes the pain-body as a “semiautonomous energy-form” made up of emotions that is living within most humans.  It is fed by painful experiences, negative thinking, drama in relationships, addiction to unhappiness, and a tendency to want others to feel as miserable as you are.  This pain-body activation was awakened by our shared trauma of COVID, losses of loved ones, prolonged period of living in fear, social isolation, dishonesty from leaders and media, political unrest, decreased human rights, racial and religious hate, and ongoing violence.  Barry and I are committed to bringing the global pain body toward dormancy through building community and connection, healing herbs and food, yoga, and kindness more than ever before.
  2. Due to trauma and activation of the pain-body, many people are barely keeping it together.  I have learned that before I give someone a piece of my mind, consider that they may truly be doing the best they can.  I strive to be as kind as humanly possible in EVERY interaction, resisting the compulsion to act out of my own activated pain body.  Otherwise, I will feed into the other person’s pain body, and the cycle perpetuates.
  3. I MUST be consistent in my own practices to reduce my pain body so that I can better contribute to the healing of our world through my interactions with others.  It is easy to be reactive, so having enough yoga and meditation in the bank through consistent practice enables a pregnant pause in which the kindest response can be rendered. 
  4. Our life purpose may have nothing to do with how we make money – It can be as simple as being ABSOLUTELY PRESENT in all our interactions.  Eckhart Tolle writes: “When you meet with people… give them your fullest attention.  You are no longer there primarily as a person, but as a field of awareness, of alert Presence.  The original reason for interacting with the other person – buying or selling something, requesting or giving information, and so on – now becomes secondary.” Imagine how healing and soothing carrying out this purpose can be for you, the other person, and for the world at large as you transform one interaction at a time.  
  5. “Look to your dharma.  Do it full out!  Let Go of the Fruits.  Turn it over to God.” These lessons from the Bhagavad Gita and expounded upon by Stephen Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life are ones Barry and I turn to again and again when we devolve into grasping and striving (which never feels good).  It allows us to use our gifts with joy and purpose, regardless of the outcome.  Yes, that feels better….
  6. Be specific in what you are asking for.  Last year my vision board was very concrete.  I asked for things needed for the house and got them.  I also asked for “enough.”  We certainly had “enough” but we are feeling a bit house poor and in debt.  Perhaps “more than enough” or “debt free” might have been more on target?   As I create my vision board for 2024, I am being VERY MINDFUL of these specifics…. 
  7. Change is slow. Consider this poem from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.

"I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost .... I am hopeless.

It isn't my fault.

It takes for ever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don't see it.

I fall again.

I can't believe I am in the same place.

But it isn't my fault.

it still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in .... it's a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

May yoga and meditation help you "walk down another street in 2024".  Barry and I are here to use our gifts to help you.  Here we go….

Stacy

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