Tag Archives: divinity

…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,




All Hail

So let’s talk about today being International Women’s Day…one day out of the year, 100 years after its inception, to stand back and really acknowledge the role that women play in today’s society as a whole, and, on a more personal level, in each of our individual lives. And as much as I appreciate that we have a day out of our calendars to give us that nudge we so often need to step out of our minute-to-minute goings-on and really look at the impact that women have on our lives, let me just say that every day is Women’s Day, as far as I’m concerned, as I’ll tell you why…

Women are the glue that holds society together. Women are the pillars of strength that give boys the strength to be men. Women are the sources of compassion, of focus, of determination, of inspiration, of insight, of stamina, of humour, of love. They are also the complete opposite of all those aforementioned attributes. Women are everything. And it’s about time that we, the humans populating this planet, recognize that.

For millenia, women have been forced to be labelled as one thing – virgin, whore, wife, mother, bitch, witch, matriarch, daughter, sister, etc…what started as an acknowledgement and recognition of the divine nature of woman quickly became a rush to suppress that omnipotent magnificence. By men. Because men understood the power that women possessed…the power to give life, the power to give insight, the power to rule, the power to communicate. And speaking with a tinge of generalization here, I know that the pattern we have seen throughout history is man’s struggle for power. To exert power over others, to be the biggest, the best, the most influential. And so the tearing down of the female as the divine began. And we’re still suffering the fallout.

Women all over the world are being treated like second-class citizens, even sub-humanly in many cases. Because they’re women. Being raped, tortured…mentally, physically, sexually abused. Because they’re women. Because they are seen as the physically inferior sex. Because they bleed menstrually. Because they cry. Because, because, because. And I’ve had enough. You want to know what women are? Then look around you. They are everything. They are good, bad, ugly, beautiful, funny, mean, smart, selfish, compassionate…the list is endless. They are the same as us men in all those respects. They are never one thing. They are all things.

The women in my family have always been the personification of stability and support. My grandmother, Lillian Berlin, taught me to walk with my head held high, not staring at the ground in front of me. She taught me to sit up straight and look people in the eye. She taught me to ask for what I wanted, understanding that no one would do it for me. And then her daughter, my mother, Bonnie Levinson, taught me what I pass onto my students: the necessity for laughter. She continues to teach me that if we can’t laugh through the difficulties that life offers up, then we’ll get crushed by them. It was through this lesson that I first became aware of the effects of the breath on the body in moments of stress or tension. And the rest, they say, is herstory 😉

On this incredible day, I would like to reach out to all women…to let you know that I see you. I acknowledge your divinity, that I understand that you are the glue that holds communities, families, and society together. I also acknowledge that from very early in your lives, you have been conditioned to believe that you are inferior. That you need to starve yourselves to be good enough. That you need to throw your slap on (your makeup) in order to be presentable. That you need to squeeze into contour-shaping undergarments to be worthy of those around you. That. Is. All. Bullshit. Do not fall prey to the Stockholm Syndrome where you start believing and sympathizing with all of that. You are smarter, more capable, more beautiful, more intuitive, and monumentally stronger than you even know, all because you’ve been thrown a lifetime of distractions to make sure your focus never squarely lands on your own power. It’s time to let go of what you’ve been told and to tap into what you know is true. Know that you are the foundation behind people like myself, who strive to be examples of strength and resilience, all because of the examples I was presented with. Understand that human nature seems to be prone to destroying what becomes too powerful, too divine, and so understand that those that do not acknowledge how wonderful you all are are afraid of handing that power over to you…and that speaks only about them, not about you. Walk with your head held high, wearing whatever you want, whenever you want, working at whatever you feel is right for you. If you are raising children, understand that you are working harder than anyone in an office building, anyone in a hospital, anyone in a bank, anyone anywhere doing anything. You are doing the hardest job there is. And you are an inspiration to everyone.

So let this Women’s Day be your opportunity to let go of all that has previously weighed you down. Tap into the greatness that the female of the species possesses. Understand that anyone in your life that isn’t recognizing the blinding divinity and beauty that stems from you needs to be re-educated. You are already more than you ever thought you could be, and not just today. Every day.

I’m going to call my mother 🙂