Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual. . . . Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis.
I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer, nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
it is waking that understands sleep and not sleep that understands waking
I was taken aback when I read this in C.S. Lewis’ book, Perelandra, the other night. I re-read the sentence, again and again for a few minutes and thought about it.
Really, it is true that when we are in a state of dreaming or sleeping or even ignorance, we have no idea. When we make mistakes, we don’t know that’s what we’re actually doing before doing it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t do it.
And so it would be foolish to look back to a time when we were ignorant and made a mistake, harbouring guilt for something we were unaware of. I do that. I want so very much to be discerning and humble and enthusiastic and generous that sometimes I forget that I am human. That I am allowed to make mistakes; it’s part of my nature.
It’s also very easy to get frustrated with someone that is being ignorant or making a mistake in our perspective. Who do we think we are – judging what someone else should be doing? We have no idea what they’re thinking and feeling and what they went through before performing that action. We can think that we do know, but really we are always only guessing. It’s not our responsibility to take inventory of what ‘good’ or ‘bad’ things people are doing.
Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s rook, when your own doorstep is unclean.
And so here lies another lesson. Cut yourself (yes you, and me, and everyone) some slack. Be understanding and empathetic. This is what I am focusing on.
We can only get in touch
with our own source of intuition and wisdom
when we no longer depend upon others’ opinions
for our sense of identity or worth;
we all tend to worship something;
the question is
will we worship the god of opinion,
or the god of our heart?
A few days ago I read a chapter about intuition in Millman’s book The Life You Were Born to Live: A Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose. At the time, I was going through a difficult separation with my partner. I faced a challenging decision and I was extremely confused. The chapter hit something in my core. It was so relevant to the situation I found myself in.
Millman made an interesting observation about people that have a frail sense of identity and that lack the confidence to allow themselves to blossom, unapologetically. I am like that. I may seem very confident most of the time, but I actually have a really hard time not letting myself be affected by the opinions of important people in my life, especially family members. There are periods of my life where my perception of what they expected me to do completely ruled me. And in allowing that I lost the confidence to be myself.
So anyways, I found myself in a similar situation where I could not tell if my family’s opinions should be a determining factor in the decision I had to make or not, and I was simply perplexed. I could not make any sense of my emotions or thoughts and simply wanted to escape it all in order to find myself again. I was litteraly a maelstrom.
We access intuition by allowing our heart-felt feelings to link up with and unlock higher mechanisms within our holistic, intuitive right brain. When we make this connection, the combination of feeling and intuition accesses whatever wisdom we need.
When I read this, things were simplified. I just need to connect with my heart. The heart always knows. The feeling I get in my gut about any situation is always right; I had just lost sight of it in the midst of everyone else’s opinions and feelings. I was trying to mitigate everything, but I forgot myself in the process.
Another lesson learned. Never lose sight of what my heart is saying. It’s the only one that knows where it’s going.
I found this book in my grandma’s basement a month ago. I was skeptical when I read the title – The Life You Were Born to Live: a Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose – as I already have my own philosophy of life and I know what my purpose here is. Regardless, something within compelled me to take it and read it, so I did. And I am so grateful.
Opening the book I had no idea it was going to be based on Numerology. Before reading Millman’s take on it I had some knowledge of the system but didn’t give much credit to it. Kind of like astrology. I can see what makes both systems appealing, and some things I can identify with, but I’m not a fervent follower of anything but my own realizations. Thus, the skepticism prevailed.
As I was looking through different life paths, reading things here and there about my friends and close ones, something hit me. Everyone has a different path. Different purposes. Different battles, different issues and obstacles. Different successes and achievements. It seems obvious now, but the realization was intense. I could not bring myself to read the entirety of different life paths; I could not find anything relatable in there. It talked about successes that I have never experienced, and discussed hurdles that I could not even fathom struggling with.
on the mountain path of personnal evolution, as we work to fulfill our life purpose, we engage in a creative struggle with negative or undevelopped tendencies related to our life purpose.
We all have a different purpose. Different lived experiences. Different processes to get to where we’re going. This whole time, I had been talking about my path as if I had figured out The Path. As if I knew what Life is all about and that everyone had to go through the same struggles that I went through. That everyone had to gather the same pieces of wisdom that I did. Then how could any conversation have been interesting? I learn so much from my interactions with others; I certainly wouldn’t learn as much if we were all going the same way and following the same trail.
My ignorance leeched in my behaviours, and my partner often told me that I had a condescending way of talking about the way things are. It hurt to acknowledge, but it hurt more to think of the people that might have felt insignificant because of me. As if their struggles weren’t relevant.
This is a good lesson learned, and I am so grateful for this book to have made its appearance in my life, as things do. It’s quite an interesting volume; I definitely recommend it if you’re keen on examining your most intense defilements. Somethings are difficult to acknowledge, but being frank with ourselves is necessary to evolve. As Millman says, “even though we may begin down in the swamp, we eventually rise to the heavens.” (p.13)
A knower of Truth
travels without leaving a trace
speaks without causing harm
gives without keeping an account
The door he shuts, though having no lock,
cannot be opened
The knot he ties, though using no cord,
cannot be undone
The Sage is always on the side of virtue
so everyone around him prospers
He is always on the side of truth
so everything around him is fulfilled
The path of the Sage is called
“The Path of Illumination”
He who gives himself to his path
is like a block of wood
that gives itself to the chisel –
Cut by cut it is honed to perfection
Only a student who gives himself
can receive the master’s gift
If you think otherwise,
despite your knowledge, you have blundered
Giving and receiving are one
This is called,
“The great wonder”
“The essential mystery”
“The very heart of all that is true”
Lao Tzu, translated by Jonathan Star
It’s been a bit more than a year since I’ve come back to this space, and I am really excited about revisiting. I am thinking of writing consistently again, sharing my adventures and thoughts since I am now off into the world once more. Some of you are new to this newsletter; some of you have been here with me while I was doing my yoga teacher training; most importantly we’re all here, sharing this space of questions, learnings, growth, and opportunities. Thank you. I will be writing in English, as this is the language that is most common amongst my friends and family. I apologize if you feel disconcerted; please feel free to also respond in French (I’m not fluent enough in Hindi yet!), and we can continue our conversation in that language.
I have recently finished a work contract, feeding almost 120 families through weekly baskets of vegetables produced in harmony with the land. The season was amazing. I learned more than I could ever dream of; about farming, about people, about myself and what I want. I learned about relationships and healthy food and good life habits. I made friends that have become family and that I know will be there for me throughout my lifetime.
Last Friday I embarked on my most recent journey, driving from Ontario in Canada to Washington in the United-States. You know how I am; I drove 13 hours the first day, 18 hours the second and another 13 hours on the last day. I was intensely focused and determined; I would only stop to refuel my car, eating little and barely drinking water. The music fueled me, and I basically meditated the whole time.
I first drove through a snowstorm, bad road conditions and backed up traffic because of snow-plows. It was stressful but exhilarating, hence exhausting. I then drove through the prairies and felt heart-wrenching sadness and frustration at the endless sea of monoculture fields. I thought “This is not agriculture. This is exploitation.” I cannot even begin to imagine the number of pesticides and herbicides that are being sprayed on this 2000 km expanse of grains. The sickness that it brings to people. The sickness and death that it brings to the land. Now that the season has come to an end, most of this land consists of bare, exposed soil, and I could almost hear the scarce biodiversity of the soil screaming for help, slowly dying from the wrath of the elements. This re-ignites my passion to regenerate land, heal the earth and its people.
Passing through the Canadian Rockies found me with tearful eyes, in awe of such grandiose beauty. It’s extravagant, really. The mountains, the winds, the birds, the goats, and the horses… everything coming together in such majesty. They call me, the mountains. I can feel my body vibrating in response to it. I don’t know how I will ever be able to leave this place.
There was the desert, too. In Idaho and in eastern Washington. Interestingly haunting, beautiful desolation. Rolling hills with bare grass or low-lying bushes that stretch to the horizon. I was parched simply by looking out the window.
And finally, the coastal forest. Oh so splendid. The 60 to 70 feet high conifers, the ferns and mosses ondulating in the misty mountains. This is my home base, for now. I’m living in a small cabin overlooking the sea, with my partner, Michael. We are reunited after spending three months apart, excited to embark on a new journey together. First, as always, comes the re-alignment, the transparency, and the understanding. Relationships take a lot of work, but with the right intentions, they are so rewarding.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what wholesome health means… Not only is it comprised of feeding your body healthy food, but it’s also about feeding your mind healthy, empowering information. Being out in nature and exercising. Let’s not forget the soul here either; mindfulness and acceptance are HUGE. But one of the most important concepts that I think is missing in our society is creativity. We all have the capacity to be ingenious, to take two ‘things’ and create something completely different out of them. That’s what makes us human. That’s what distinguishes us from other animals. It’s part of who we are as a species and it breaks my heart to see the ‘norm’ being so disconnected from that co-creative reality. *for the adventurous ones I would love to hear your reflections on taking up a new creative pastime, let me know what you’re thinking*
This is it for now. I am spending my time writing, reading, and painting; hopeful to continue selling my art somehow. (hey, let me know if that interests you!) I’m also running around in the forest and jumping amongst the tree carcasses on the beach while writing poetry.
And now, the most exciting part – is you! How are all of you lovely people? And what sort of projects, thoughts, and questions have you been up to? I am looking forward to connecting and re-connecting again soon.
Love and Light,
Have you ever been offended because of something someone else said? Or sad? Or felt judged by the look in their eyes? Maybe you’ve felt indignation within yourself just by the way they’ve behaved or interacted with other people. We go through it all. These feelings and impressions come to us from our learned behavioral patterns that protected us as children. Defense mechanisms.
Of course it’s easier to avoid those people altogether, but by doing so you are actually limiting yourself.
The principle of energy conservation is one of the most basic laws of our Universe. Nothing is ever created or destroyed; everything is flow. And it’s flowing in a certain direction. It doesn’t matter if it has a destination or not. The point is that Nature, flow, the Universe, God – with no regard for the barriers that language may pose in speaking of That/It/He/She – works with ultimate efficiency. It never wastes any energy whatsoever in its process of becoming.
Then how could anyone or anything be at the wrong place at the wrong time, let alone experience anything of no use?
Every. Single. Interaction.
Every. Single. Experience. That we’ve had up to this moment has made us into who we are at that point and will serve us in the future. Every person that we’ve met has been on our path to teach us something that will be essential for us to accomplish our mission.
There’s no need to avoid anything or anyone. It’s all there for a reason. We just need to have faith in the certainty that the Universe is perfect. We might not see all the pieces of it now, but it might all come together later. It might also not. We must have courage to face our faults and work with them. The Universe provides opportunities for us to practice that.
Sometimes I sit in meditation, overwhelmed by an emotion. Usually it stems from my ingrained triggers, the ones that I repeatedly work with in my everyday life. At times I get pieces of insights into those triggers and it’s awesome – a part of them dissolves. There is newfound space. It is that space that enables me to notice the behavioral pattern before reacting to it, thus permitting me to choose an intentional action.
Other times I sit there completely overwhelmed, wanting to scream; to cry; to crawl out of my skin; to smash my face on the floor; or to get up and climb right in to bed to forget the world (and myself). These are the moments where exercing equanimity is most important. To observe the feeling and where it comes from. To resist moving. To detach oneself.
Clearly this is easier said than done. Tonight when I was struggling with emotion I realized that I wasn’t focusing on my bodily sensations, as the Vipassana technique teaches. I was engulfed in my fury. So I brought myself back to my elbow, which is where I was at before the anger started. The tingling sensations associated with my experience of scanning familiarily arose once more and a paradoxical thought came: “oh sensation. I may be a whirlwind of colours and thoughts and emotions; but sensation is always there, tingling away.”
This thought strikes me as comical and paradoxical now – though it wasn’t at the time – certainly because Goenkaji’s teachings are based on the changing nature of mind and matter. He repeatedly emphasizes that everything is constantly changing; arising and passing away; especially sensation. In that moment where I experienced agitation of the mind, sensation seemed permanent to me. A familiar feeling to go back to. To rely on when everything else is chaos. That is part of why I find comfort in meditation.