Tag Archives: life lessons

The Examined Life with Bram Levinson Podcast

I am extremely happy to announce the launch of The Examined Life with Bram Levinson Podcast! Episodes will include lectures, interviews, occasional rants, and whatever else I feel like sharing with the world that deal with everything from spirituality to the most mundane aspects of this experience of life. Sit back, relax, and enjoy what has already been recorded, and what is yet to come. To access the Podcast page, click on the image below!

 

Advertisements

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.

IMG_0042-2.JPG

The Examined Life Book Release

imageI was going to wait until I got back from Europe to announce this, but I just can’t wait any longer…I’ve got something to share with you.

I’ve been working for over a year and a half on a book originally based on my blog, and then on the workshop I’ve been giving for years called The Examined Life. All the time and focus put into it, all the effort and vision, is now coming to fruition with the release of the final product, a book that I’m insanely proud to self publish and to put my name on.

The Examined Life is a work of love and dedication. It asks the questions that we all ask ourselves from time to time, but rarely answer completely before moving onto the next distraction. In addition to asking these questions, it offers tools to digest and process them so that we can let them steep and integrate into how we live so that their answers manifest organically. It allows us to assess where we are, where we want to be, and what lies in the space between the two. It begs us to find our voice, to find something to believe in, and to find the words necessary to speak our truth. This book is a call to the now, to the present moment, all in the hope that it will spark a fire in the mind of the reader to examine the quality of life being led. It offers route markers and pathways to making whatever changes are necessary to increase happiness, contentment and quality of life. It’s about living the lives we’ve always dreamed of, but potentially never thought possible.

I’ve spent more hours than I can count writing, re-writing, editing, editing, editing….ok, you get the gist of what I’m trying to say. The book was written in Canada, England, The Netherlands and Germany, and has taken form in its own time while giving me the opportunity to put down in words what I believe matters to us all. It’s been an incredibly illuminating, frustrating, challenging and rewarding process from beginning to end and it’s only because I’m surrounded by incredible people that I pushed (and was pushed) harder than I thought possible to produce this work. I believe that it succeeds in communicating exactly what I wanted it to in regards to the lives we lead and our roles in them, and it does so in keeping with my voice.

I will hold the book launch for The Examined Life at the studio I call home, Centre Luna Yoga, at 231 Saint-Paul West, suite 200 on Friday, November 8 from 19h30-20h30. I’ll introduce the book, do a short reading and then celebrate with you all with wine and vegan treats. I’d like to invite you all to be a part of this milestone event in my career and in my life. Come help me celebrate the culmination of so many hours of hard work and determination…after all, none of it means anything if I don’t have anyone around me to celebrate with 😉

Pre-registration via the Luna website here.

I hope to see you all there!

Bram

Winding Down

I’ve just lay down on the couch with the winter storm wind howling past the windows of my flat and my dog curled up asleep against my legs. Today marks the end of in-class teaching for me for 2012, and the past few days I’ve felt this post taking form in my mind. Now feels like the right time to get it all down and attach the symbology of words to it.

This year has proven to be another massive opportunity for growth and learning, and as each year passes, I realize that that is what’s constantly available to us: the opportunity to view all that occurs in our lifetime as catalysts for growth and change. I do my best to ensure that every class I teach, every student I mentor, and every word I speak or write conveys certain things to those with whom my path crosses: that yoga is a big toolbox that provides us with what we need to live life fully, passionately, with full awareness and presence of mind…that we have the choice as to how we approach and end up living this life we’ve been blessed with…that how and where we find ourselves is exactly how and where we need to be to accomplish and fulfill our goals and dharma. We are each here for a reason – you are not reading this by accident, and you are not alive in this moment in time haphazardly. We each have a mission to carry out, and I believe that mine is to bring people together by waking them up to what matters on a fundamental, heartfelt level.

20121222-171342.jpgWith that said, I would get nothing communicated or expressed if no one thought me worthy of their time and attention. I’ve expressed my gratitude to students before, but this year has brought me to a place where simple gratitude pales in comparison to how I feel about those of you who encourage me to keep teaching, typing, and barreling onwards.

To those of you who have come to my classes, I thank you. To those of you who have joined me on retreats, I thank you. To those of you who have participated in the workshops and teacher training I’ve given, I thank you. To those of you who have followed my blog and taken the time to read my words, I thank you. To those of you who have taken any of my insight to heart and let it guide you closer to a place of truth and light, I thank you. To those of you who have laughed with me, I thank you. To those of you who have let down your guard and shared your stories, your suffering, your hopes and your journeys, I thank you. To those of you who have trusted me enough to come to me when it mattered, I thank you. To those of you who have taught me when you had no idea you were doing so, I thank you. To those of you whom I’ve disappointed and had enough respect and love for me to let me know the error of my ways, I thank you. To those of you who have let me assist in your healing, I thank you. To those of you who have shared your energy with me, I thank you. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and will never stop doing so.

To my teachers who have provided me space in their spheres of wisdom, namely Joan Ruvinsky, Jennifer Maagandans, Mark Darby, Kelly McGrath, Sharon Gannon, and David Life, I thank you. With my head bowed in humility and my heart open to learning, I thank you.

My path has been and continues to be blessed with messengers and bearers of light, and my hope is that in attempting to do them justice by passing on the wisdom bestowed upon them by their teachers, I can reflect and project that light as brightly and brilliantly as they do.

Without them, and without you all, I would merely be speaking words into empty space.

With love and heartfelt gratitude for you all, I wish you the brightest, happiest and healthiest of holidays. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey, and we’ll see where it takes us in 2013!

The Beat Goes On

As 2011 comes to a close, elements of the Hindu mythology workshop I gave this year keep creeping up int my thoughts, and I find myself listening for the drum beats of Lord Shiva…wondering if the passage of one year constitutes enough time to merit a beat. It is said that with each beat of his drum the death and rebirth of another age comes to pass, and as much as 2011 has been a year of growth and fruition of our efforts (for many of us), all the kineticism and daily events that have brought us everywhere we’ve been and that have shown us everything we’ve seen are all but a tiny blip on the radar. As we all, to varying degrees, look back on everything that 2011 has shown us, all we’ve learned about ourselves and the path we forge (or follow, depending on your beliefs), let’s remember some things, and commit to bringing these things with us into 2012:

1) We are never simply one thing. We are many things to many people, and many things in the image that we hold of ourselves. The root of all these things is a collective energy that itself is timeless, limitless and impossible to define. Let yourselves remember that to see yourselves as your bodies, your careers, your religious beliefs, your failures and successes, your fears, hopes and paranoia is to limit yourselves. To buy into any or all of these things is to give the ego validity to continue to seek out what it is ravenous for, which in turn validates all that is superficial and that serves as a distraction from truth. None of it matters.

2) There is room for everyone. In a world where the human population has just surpassed 7 billion people, it is easy to believe that we need to make ourselves smaller, to be less visible and to speak in quieter tones. We are encouraged to be small by the powers that be online and in our society. Forget all that. Speak up. Step forward. Raise your voice and make sure you’re heard. Take all the space you find yourself blessed with. Be expansive. It is possible to do all these things and still leave as minimal an impact on this earth as possible. Seek out how you will do this.

3) The space between how we see ourselves and the image we project to others needs to diminish. Let people see the real you. The path of truth is there for all those committed to an existence steeped in authenticity. There is no need to project anything other than what and who you are. The sooner we are all more honest about what we are living, the sooner we will be able to understand that we share more than we’d like to admit.

4) The people in your lives are there for a reason. Allow yourselves to be honest with them. Communicate with them. Allow yourselves to share with them the things that you’re proud of as well as that which shames you. Let them in.

5) One aspect of being human is suffering. Buddhism states that life IS suffering. The Yoga Sutras and many of the Hindu Mythological tales exist to show us that the sooner we get past that fact that we suffer and actually start doing something about it, the closer we move to a state of Yoga, of oneness. Don’t be afraid to suffer, and don’t be afraid to let that suffering be seen. To explore the depths of suffering is necessary to be able to fully comprehend how startlingly beautiful the joyous moments of life are. Welcome everything as an opportunity to know more and be greater than you ever thought possible.

6) Teach. Pass on what you’ve learned. Pass on your mistakes. Pass on your successes. They are not who you are. They are to hold up as a marker of humanity and the human condition. Make sure those around you are learning from you and paying attention. We are all messengers, here to make visible that which has always been here but which is veiled.

7) Love. Everyone. Equally. Everyone.

Thank you all for your presence in my life. All the best of health, love and truth in 2012 to you all, and keep your ears open for that drumbeat…♥