Tag Archives: connection

A Prayer for A New Year

IMG_5331On the cusp of the new calendar year, we ask that we be guided to clarity as often as possible, so that we can see events, people and circumstances for what they are and not what we think they should be.

We ask for presence of mind so that we can remember to love, as often and as fiercely as possible, so that we can know and express ourselves to be energy born of love and incomprehensible wisdom.

We expect that “bad” things will happen, and ask that we remember to love in these dark hours while also remembering that they are simply hours, not eons.

We ask for the presence of mind to think for ourselves, to not succumb to the banality of evil, to expectation, to division, to the tsunami of stupid that continues to wash over humanity and keep people greedy, silent, ignorant, afraid, asleep and blind to truth.

In the knowledge that not everything will go according to the plans we imagine for ourselves and the world we live in, we ask for the certainty of knowing that we will always end up where we are meant to be, regardless of whether we would have chosen it for ourselves.

We set an intention to invoke truth and authenticity into every possible moment so that we can show up in the world with our own individual voice and expression, in full knowledge that the world is waiting and starving for it.

We go forward into this new year with the knowledge that beneath the realm of appearance and separateness there is an undeniable current of unity that connect us all. We pray for the well-being and safety of everything and everyone in the knowledge that what happens to one of us happens to all of us.

We ask that we be blessed with the presence of others who reflect back to us truth, empathy, inspiration and cohesion and we set the intention of emanating all of these things for the reflection to occur.

We offer our existences up as offerings so that we may be used as channels to bring light into a world of encroaching darkness, healing to those suffering and connection through cooperation and collaboration to those muted by loneliness and isolation.

We move forward into this coming year as bearers of light and ask for the strength to see that light and allow it to refocus and re-centre ourselves as an example for others, especially when we are faced with our own battles.

Let this year be the one that changes everything. Let love obliterate everything else. May all of us be blessed with happiness, health, compassion, peace and understanding.

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Maya

The illusion is that we are separate.
The illusion is that we are alone.
The illusion is that we are powerless.
The illusion is that we are the physical bodies we see reflected back to us.
The illusion is that our things define our worth.
The illusion is that we can’t.
The illusion is that we shouldn’t.
The illusion is that we don’t deserve.
The illusion is that everything we can see, smell, taste, hear and touch is all the exists.
The illusion is that there’s no illusion.

The illusion is fear. Pure and simple.

Our work in this life is to recognize the many facets and appearances of the illusion, to call it out when it insidiously gets the better of us so that we can see past the illusion to the meaning, the symbolism, the connection swirling below all that trickery. We will be tested repeatedly until we can see past what triggers the selfishness of the ego to the lessons begging to be learned. That is when and where true freedom begins. Past the constraints, the insecurities, the second-guessing and the fear.

Look past the obvious until you can see exactly why you are presented with the lessons you’re presented with. Keep doing it, especially when you get pushed to extremes.

The illusion will set you free once you can identify it as illusion.

All The Single Ladies (and Fellas)

I’d like to speak to my single friends out there.

I know single life. Despite being in a long-term relationship, I remember all too well what being single was like. People shocked at why I was single, trying to fix me up with who they considered like-minded suitors, and occasionally eyeing me up with a look that insinuated that perhaps there was something about me that they didn’t know about that was at the root of my “single” status, a built-in personality quirk, a relationship-assassin, if you will.

By the way, the fact that the term “single” even exists is just one example of the fuck-wittery that keeps us isolated and apart from each other. We are all single, even when we’re coupled. We are born single. We die single. We spend time with others, in some cases intensely and in close quarters. But don’t fool yourself. We are always one person alone with our thoughts, hopes, fears, battles and dreams.

I remember when I was single for longer than I wanted to or expected to be, I started to become my own enemy: that person who eyed me up suspiciously with that look that suggested that I might be my own worst relationship saboteur. I started to consider that I might actually be unworthy of coupling, that there actually might be something unloveable and intolerable about myself that was causing my single-ness. And I strongly suspect that some of you out there might be nursing similar suspicions about yourself.

Let me offer you this: there’s nothing wrong with you. There’s everything right about you. You are not your body. That means that your self-esteem shouldn’t be based on your bust size or the size of your penis, that your hair colour or height are actually irrelevant. Yes, we live in a moment where the Kardashians are celebrated, when the vacuous and the vapid have captured the collective attention. Don’t get caught up in the tsunami of stupid. Be better than that, because you are.

The truth? You are energy. That energy keeps you as a living human being in a body that allows you to move forward into the world with purpose and intention. It provides you with the ability to alleviate suffering, beginning with your own. It allows you to recognize that same energy in everything in existence. That energy is everything you need it to be: peaceful, capable of loving, capable of being compassionate, allowing you to handle whatever life throws at you and continue to move forward. The more you buy into the literal interpretation of life and the appearance of things, the longer you’ll suffer by thinking you’re worthless and harming your body to make it look the way you think it should to finally be appreciated. All to not be single.

The illusion that we’re presented with is that regardless of being single or coupled, we are separate from each other and everything in existence, and that simply isn’t true. We all exist. We’re all here. Together. Shouldn’t that speak louder than anything else? And yet we continue to assist in the construction of the walls that keep us isolated and alone, refusing to see past the illusion of otherness.

Celebrate your singularity. Fuck labels. Being in a relationship may give off the illusion of acceptability (and conformity), but it doesn’t mean anything. It just means that how you were on your own is now shared with someone else, potentially magnified and reflected back to you. Yes, relationships have the potential to bring us to a higher stratosphere, closer to light and further from bleakness. But they also have the potential to knock us to our knees struggling to breathe. How we are with ourselves is how we’ll be with others. It’s really that basic.

So…if you’re single and struggling, stop. Look past your inherited sense of isolation and ask yourself what you’re supposed to learn from this precious time you have to yourself. Do your work. Find stillness and happiness alone. Get your hands dirty and bring your shadows into the light. It’s only then that you’ll be able to sustain a relationship worthy of your expectations. Respect yourself and start to grasp just how miraculous you are as an energetic being in the most perfect packaging you ever could have hoped for. Work from there. And don’t ever settle for a physical body whose energy isn’t the one that will elevate yours. It’s a waste of time, and time is not renewable.

Just wanted to get that out there for all of you who can’t handle the questions, stares, insinuations and awkward wedding interactions. Hope it landed with some of you.

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…Then We Took Berlin

imageI’m lying on the bed in the hotel room in Berlin that’s been home for the last 9 days, sun streaming through the window pane, bathing me in a sunbeam that only my pup Willow could truly appreciate as much as I’m doing right now. I’m feeling reflective, as I always am at the tail end of the yoga trips I hold. The last of our bunch left this morning, and as everyone slowly trickled onward to wherever their next destination was, I started to feel that pang again. I feel it every time a retreat ends, but the sensation is not solely relegated to these specific trips we take.

I know how blessed I am. I experience moments of connection and brilliance and pure, undeniable light on a daily basis. Every now and then one moment in particular occurs and elicits a high in my brain and my body that could easily instigate an addiction in the attempt to relive it, and I feel such connection and awe that I’m stunned into a state of muteness. And as measurable as the high is, the withdrawal from it as it recedes is equally as stunning. From eating a meal that redefines taste and texture to spending time with people who reflect truth and life amongst and between one another, from connection through a sexual experience to simply standing in one geographical location which emanates an energy that undeniably reconnects us to something bigger than ourselves, I believe these moments are miracles. I believe that they are literally moments where the veil that separates us from the source of the energy that animates our bodies falls away. These are peeks into the divine, into the source of all things, into comfort and light and peace and ease. So it’s no surprise that watching the passing of these moments like tendrils of grass in a running stream can be remarkably traumatic.

Through my so-far limited understanding of Kashmir Shaivism, I have gleaned that we as human beings are simply an extension of divinity, but in contracted form. The energy we typically attribute as being god or god-like is the same energy that sparks us into consciousness and motivates us into the world, and that energy is a ray of divinity contracted into the human shell. From my own observations, when I experience moments of connection so pure that their withdrawal from the present moment leaves an ache of absence and sadness, I understand that I am grieving, on some level, for the yank back into contracted form. After the light there is darkness. And I find that incredibly fascinating.

I understand that nothing ends without something brilliantly beautiful being born of it, but I think that what I’ve stumbled on in my philosophical musings is that thing that binds people together initially as they couple, that bonds a parent to his or her child, that is the source of an addict’s endless and relentless pursuit and that we are all, ultimately, seeking. We go through this life seeking connection…undeniable moments that push the boundaries of what it feels like to be alive, hopeful and happy. When we experience them, we’re brought down to our knees in the presence of such timeless wisdom and beauty. And when we start to contract back to our natural human state, that ache starts to present itself again. Post coitum omne animalium triste est, indeed!

I believe it’s our responsibility to constantly bring ourselves back to perspective and focus so we can experience these moments when they are available to us. I also feel like it’s my responsibility to share with you all when they occur as reminders to keep slugging through the mundane until you get there, because you will. I’m also, at this point in my studies and life, awake enough to be able to see the experiencing and passing of these moments from a place of awareness and distance so that their regression doesn’t leave me traumatized.

With that said,  I miss our group 🙂 With all the personalities and backgrounds, our Berlin 2014 gang left their imprint on this beautiful city, and I know that they’re now leaving wisps of the energy we shared here in their wake as they hop around the globe. I couldn’t have more love for them, for this city or for the gratitude I feel being able to create these events and give people the space to experience moments of pure and unadulterated bliss.

I’ll leave the city tomorrow with a heart so full of wonder and love it might just burst. Life is beautiful and dark and moving and silent and chaotic. It’s everything I could ever have hoped for and dreamed about, while at the same time never being enough. And so I choose to simply be in the eye of all that vritti activity.

With love from Berlin,

Bxx

 

The Wolves in Sheep’s Yoga Pants

lululemonThey say that any publicity is good publicity, and it seems like this past week is no exception for Lululemon. In an interview for Bloomberg TV, Lulu founder Chip Wilson was responding to issues with the pilling of some of the company’s women’s yoga pants when he said, “There’s always been pilling. The thing is that women will wear seatbelts that don’t work [with the pants], or they’ll wear a purse that doesn’t work, or quite frankly some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for it.” The media jumped all over this, as did what seems to be the entire yoga community. The media’s behaviour is never going to change, because they emphasize what serves to draw in viewers, readers, and hits to their websites. I’ve got a message for the global yoga community, however, and I want you to pay attention.

I don’t know Chip. I’ve never met him, and I may never. My relationship to him is irrelevant. The fact is, he’s a guy. A human being. And every single one of you reading this has said something at one point or another in your life that, if recorded and turned into a sound byte to be replayed over and over again, would make you look pretty stupid/insensitive/selfish/callous, etc… I’m not going to defend what Chip said, because it sounds pretty hard core. However, I understand what he was trying to say. I’ve gained and lost weight throughout my lifetime, and I know what it means for my jeans to feel tight on me when the weight I’ve gained on my thighs causes the fabric between them to start to wear away from the friction of them rubbing together. If the president of Levi’s came out and said that some people just don’t have the right body type to wear the jeans, insinuating that I’m the cause of the wearing away of the fabric, I’d be pissed off as well. I’d resent not having the head of the company fess up to the fabric itself not being resilient enough to handle my body type. But as Wilson says earlier on in the same interview that very few people have stopped to listen to in its entirety, “The thing is when you push technology…we are a technology company, and when you push technology that’s not like software, an actual physical product, there’s a thousand things that could go wrong on a technical fabric. It’s almost impossible to build a quality control case for each one of those combinations.”

The work Lululemon is doing with clothes and technical fabrics is always a work in progress. I know this because I have sat down with designers and buyers to discuss existing issues with the clothes and what could be done to improve the quality, wearability, design and durability of the products. Chip admits to having made mistakes in the past, and his choice of words relating to the pilling issue may just be the latest one he’ll make. But it won’t be the last one. You know why? Because the guy is human and he’s doing his best, just like every single one of you were the last time you fucked up in public and had the reflection of your words or actions mirrored back to you by the people around you.

The fact of the matter is this, yogis: we should know better. We should know better than to start spreading hate and judgement all over the internet because we feel wrong done by. Every single second of every single yoga or meditation practice we’ve ever chosen to spend our time and energy on was intended to teach us that connection is our goal. We are being divided and separated by our governments, by lobbyists, and by heads of companies that have something to gain by making us feel less than, and if Chip and Lululemon fall into that category for you as an individual, then so be it. But hold on a second – every single thing we’ve learned from the yoga teachers and teachings is meant to be applied between stimulus and response. We get riled up by something, and…HANG ON…how are we going to react? How do we want to impact the world? We’re supposed to know better. What promotes unity and evolution when faced with the threat of separation? Throwing judgement and venom around or doing every thing you possibly can to do your part to make sure it doesn’t happen again? For those of you who have gone off on a downward spiral of self-indignation and anger, did you take a moment to write a letter to Lululemon’s team in Vancouver or to a store manager in your community to suggest that the issue of the fabric should be looked at again as the strive to produce technological fabrics that work with all bodies evolves? Did you decide to give Chip a break by remembering when you too said something that might offend and focus on what good Lululemon has done so far in its evolution as a community-driven company?

I’ve already written about what Lululemon means to me and how this company has been by my side as I’ve found my feet and worked harder than I’ve ever worked before at bringing connection back to the world. You can find those posts here, here, here, here & here. The team at Lululemon has sent me flowers to congratulate me on the evolution of my career. They have invested in my well-being so that I can continue to effect change in the lives of others. They have helped me get teaching gigs at major international yoga festivals, and they are holding a special event to help launch and promote The Examined Life, a book I diligently and painstakingly worked on for over 18 months. They have and continue to be my family, and if your brother made an off-the-cuff comment on TV and the world turned on him to beat the crap out of him, you’d get defensive as well.

The fact of the matter is this: Chip has created an incredible company. Nothing is ever one thing, and there will always be growing pains, so those of you who are content listing every bump in the road that Lulu has endured to post online and stir up the tsunami of anger can continue on. But you’re missing the point entirely and just contributing to separation. We should be coming together as a community to help Lulu get over this bump and be better for it instead of trying to tear them down. I’ve written about this in the book – we build up the people and companies that we find revolutionary and in keeping with how we want the world to be, but when those same people show the slightest hint of humanity, we tear them down and set fire to them. It’s time to grow up and ask if we’re pulling our community down or contributing to its growth and long-term well-being with our thoughts, words and actions.

You may not agree with my thoughts and opinion, and that’s how it should be. I’m as much of a work in progress as Chip and Lululemon are. I’m as much of a work in progress as you are. Let’s do what we can to make things work for everyone, ensuring that we create the space in which anyone is allowed to fall and fuck up, knowing that they will have support and helping hands to stand back up with. No one gets it right on the first attempt, but to try and shoot everyone down who tried something new would ensure that we stay stuck and stagnant, and my entire career is based on moving forwards and re-instating connection. Don’t get distracted from what you seek long-term, and make it your mission to see that become reality no matter what you have to give. Stand up and contribute instead of branding those who display the slightest shred of humanity with a scarlet letter. We know better, so let’s apply what we know.

From Paros to Paris Pt 3

imageThe first rain to fall in 6 months has passed through Paros over the last 3 hours and has left a warm,  blustery wind in its wake. We’re halfway through this retreat, and we are surrounded by beauty. The landscape here is absolutely divine. The shades of blue that are everywhere, from the sky to the ocean, are indescribable and inimitable. The food is literally overflowing with fullness, richness, tastiness…a veritable multi sensory experience. The kindness from the locals is exemplary, something we should all be aligning ourselves with. These people give. Of spirit, of time, of food, of comfort and of kindness, these people are givers. We are surrounded by light and beauty and each other, and the bonding amongst the members of this group and the people who have welcomed us to this hotel is intensifying daily.

We will have a day-long boat tour of Antiparos tomorrow, during which we’ll stop at various beaches and take an hour to practice asana on one of them. I’m seeing, once again, how overflowing with all the things that truly matter these retreats are. I’m seeing, once again, how they leave each one of us imprinted with the experience that collectively enjoying everything that life has to offer. As all of you who have come on retreat with me are aware of, these events stay with you vividly, the images and memories of which never fade in vibrancy. Each time I realize the power of these retreats, I find myself floored by the position I have come to be in. I work hard to make my life and the life of others full and rich and complete and full of abundance. And when I accomplish what I set out to, it leaves me silent. And stunned. And grateful.

If I died this minute, I would have a smile on my face and peace in my heart. I can’t begin to express the magnitude of how humbled I am to find myself, after years of dedication and perseverance, in the position where I’m affecting the lives and happiness of others. Hopefully these words are a good start.

Sending light from Greece…

 

Whistler While I Work Pt.2

WhistlerI’m sitting on the bus that will soon depart for Vancouver International Airport as i make my way back home to Montreal, and I’m literally vibrating from the experiences I’ve had over the last 4 days. The energy coursing through me was so intense last night that I couldn’t fall asleep for hours, and woke up exceptionally early ready to get up, senses alert in anticipation of the events that would close out my stint on the faculty of the Wanderlust Whistler Yoga Festival.

My time here has been densely packed with moments that have woken me to the reality of this cross-section of my life: I have more of an impact on people than I was aware of. I am known by many more people than I was aware of. I am better at what I do than I was aware of. My future is blindingly brighter and bigger than I ever could have imagined.

I have always worked hard in this career, knowing that it was actually less of a job and more of my raison-d’être. I put my blood, sweat, intention, honour, and tears into what I do, and I have always hoped that I would be fortunate enough to reach people on a grand scale. That hope is now being realized.

What have I learned from this incredible, game/life-changing weekend? I’ve learned that my tendency to second-guess myself, which on one hand helps keep me grounded and focused on creating the best space possible for those who need it, also has kept me from seeing the sheer scope and immensity of how effectively I connect with people, and where in the world those people are. I’ve learned that the success that seems to be blossoming from this epicenter of honourable intention embodies endless possibilities lying in wait for me. I’ve learned that my goal of helping people live better lives and heal by shifting their perspectives and focusing on that which serves to unite us is being realized, and that I am already connecting to people on a global scale. I’ve learned that my intention is growing with the possibilities that have suddenly become illuminated to me.

I’ve met incredible people this weekend, people I had previously held in the highest of esteem, and held at a level above where I considered myself to be. These people embraced me during my stay here, reminding me that we’re always level with each other, and that we are all living a communal existence of light-bearing, especially into the darkest of times and places.

My bus is on the move now, so I’ll wrap it up here. I’m coming home a changed man. Galvanized, refocused, and feeling more confident than ever that the road that my dharma continues to lead me on is where I was meant to be, and where my life’s work will continue to unfold. To all of you who are thinking, “I TOLD you so!”, I’m grateful that you’ve given me the time to catch up to what you were already conscious of.

Onwards and upwards 🙂