in the flow: days nine to eleven

new tattoo

our challenge continues as promised! three poems from me and three poems from selena inspired by our time meditating. enjoy! xoxo

 in the flow with oprah & deepak

days:

nine, ten, & eleven

centering thoughts:

my life energy is bringing me pleasure, my life energy organizes life effortlessly, & my life energy is love

sanskrit mantras:

om rakini namaha – ‘i activate my happiness’ * om lakini namaha – ‘i activate my power’ * om kakini namaha – ‘ i activate my love’

~*~

charly

(these poems have also been posted on my blog, charly writes)

for day nine

 

my mind is too noisy for this message,

for the mantra, and the meaning.

my mind moves from thought to thought,

to the to-do and the not-quite done.

my mind has no room for this today,

no room for stillness and quiet.

.

and yet i still sit, silently hoping

somewhere there is a hole, a space

where this message can sneak in,

where the mantra can softly repeat

until the mind gives in and receives it.

.

this message, this mantra, my mind

does not want to hear is one we all need.

it is one some of us need to fight for.

it is one some of us feel more easily than others.

this mantra, this message, reminds us that

happiness, our happiness and pleasure,

can come from within, from our own energy

and grace.

.

which is why my mind does not want to hear it

today, and not tomorrow, because she rather

not work on the inside, rather not listen and feel

what is already within. my mind yells over

the mantra, the message.

she doesn’t want the extra work.

.

but i still hear it. softly.

like a heartbeat. steady.

and one day, i know,

my mind will let go and listen.

 

~*~

for day ten

 

sometimes the mind has other plans,

other mantras it would like to place

on repeat and though you sit in silence

and try to use the words given, your mind

finds others. in the moment, you may not know

why the mind has chosen to overrule itself

why your silence should be interrupted by

these words, this message, but you listen anyway.

 

today i sat, breathed, and closed my eyes.

today was about power.

activating the strength,

the powerful energy that exists

inside. and today i closed my eyes

and began to repeat the mantra given

and soon,

very soon,

my mind had other plans.

 

breathe. love. write. it whispered.

that is where the power lies inside.

in breathing.

in loving.

in writing.

breathe. love. write.

breathe. love. write.

 

~*~

for day eleven

 

lover, lay down with me so we can close our eyes

and see the stars that grace us with their presence.

lover, lay down with me so we can see the green

that surrounds us, proof of other loves in other times.

lover, lay down with me so i can feel your warmth

and energy next to my own, so i can watch it grow.

 

lover, you may not know me

or maybe you know me too well

lover, you may be outside me

or maybe you’ve been inside all along

lover, we may never kiss

but our words may mingle and our energies

may caress each other.

 

lover, lay down with me

and let me love you as

i love myself.

 

~*~

selena

 

A Pleasure to Be Peeled

 

Waxy skin, dimpled

bright in the sun

 

Cool to the touch,

in cupped hands, kissing a nose

Turn it over, find the groove, scoop a nail beneath.

 

A spray of mist whispering delight

only partly revealed.

 

Unfurl the peel, uncovering slivers

from whole to parts.

 

Flesh covered in a newborn’s sheath,

fibrous white finery

 

Its cleaves beckon, encouraging community.

Half for you,

a piece for her,

a peace for me.

 

Plump crescents sheathed in gossamer skin

that daintily give way

to the summery gush

 

Liquid sunlight transforms me

into a universe lit from within.

 

Life giving, life sustaining

a world unto its own

 

~*~

 

Big Bang

 

Stars collide

and the seeds of us all are planted.

 

Elements are born,

fused, formed and recreated.

 

Within me resides this power.

I breathe stardust,

beam sunlight.

 

Let us shine

with the strength of our birthright.

 

~*~

 

“This is love.”

 

Enjoyment

Affection

Appreciation

Gratitude

Personal attraction

Romance

 

A warm, caring smile

A connected, inspired joy

A gentle, subtle relief

A filling, nourishing power

A light, sweet laughter

Two heady, entwined, flames

 

The sweetness of airy laughter

The warmth of a caring smile

The subtlety of gentle relief

The creative energy that fills and nourishes

The inspiration in a joyful moment with a kindred spirit

The heady perfume of two flames entwined

 

on coughing and connecting

spring

sometimes i feel like i am at war with nature.

okay, the word “war” is pretty strong, but really it feels like a battle.

for instance, i’ve been coughing for a month. one month. i’ve had two colds, both of which have since gone away, but the cough is still here. you know why? nature.

i’m allergic to nature.

weed pollen, tree pollen, grass pollen. among other things… like dust. the strongest is tree pollen. specifically birch, but really my body doesn’t discriminate. it also doesn’t discriminate when it comes to how it responds. itchy eyes, itchy throat, sneezing, coughing, headaches, etc. it loves them all. my favorite is when i lose my voice because i’ve decided to dust my home on a spring day, or because i’ve turned on my fan and all dust combines with the pollen that has come through the window, or because my dog, who i am allergic to as well, decides to sit his butt on my lap and he is covered in pollen because he decided he was a dog and went for a run in the grass…

sitting outside in spring is pretty much the worst thing i can do. but i decide to go one step further and run in the spring, for miles at a time.

oh and i have mild asthma. so, to be fair, that is part of it too.

but really…nature and i shouldn’t be friends.

and yet we are. and yet i can’t help but look at a tree in bloom and want to sit underneath it. and yet i can’t help wanting to go for a long run along the river on a beautiful spring day. and yet i can’t help wishing i could be outside all day, every day in spring and summer. i can’t help it.

because nature is just so freaking beautiful.

because surrounded by fresh air, i feel light.

because the calmest i’ve felt in life has been when i’ve been surrounded by nature…be it in mountains of nicaragua, lake atitlán in guatemala, on top of an inactive volcano in scotland, along the charles river in boston, or in the middle of rittenhouse square in philly…

i’m acutely aware of this connection these days. i know that i want to connect to nature on a daily basis, or rather i want to acknowledge the connection i already know exists. i know i eventually want a home that shows and celebrates this connection. i know i am moving more toward these things each and every day.

and i also know that i’m not as “green” as i want or should be. i know that hypocrisy is inherent in this connection. i know i make decisions everyday that threaten this connection.

so this earth day, i’m making a promise to begin honoring this connection a little more each day. through the coughs and the sneezes, through the fight i experience with nature each day, i promise.

in the flow: a new week, a new flow

this week, selena and i are changing it up a bit as promised. we won’t be posting here daily (though you may see posts from just me from time to time). we’ll post three times this week (monday, thursday, and sunday) and instead writing of a little “journal entry” post-meditation, we’ll be writing poetry after each meditation. i love this as it gives me a chance to link my 365 days of writing project with this in the flow project. today you’ll get one poem from each of us and on thursday and sunday, you’ll get three from each of us. perfect! xo, charly

 

in the flow project with oprah & deepak

day eight: activating security

centering thought: my life energy protects and secures me.

sanskrit mantra: om dakini namaha – ‘i activate my stability’

~*~

selena

This morning begins the poetry week of our challenge, and I found myself wanting to put the cart before the horse. I read a beautiful quote from legendary modern dancer Alvin Ailey, and wanted to sit down and paint pictures inspired by his words.

Then I remembered what the challenge is all about.

So I listened to Oprah and Deepak instead.

I was so excited to hear that they will be spiraling back into the chakras to take the exploration from “finding” to “activating”. I’m ready for this! I look forward to going deeper and continuing on this journey with all of you.

May it be so.

Namaste.

-Selena La’Chelle

 

Transformation

 

Take a deep breath.

Pack it all in, tightly held.

Contained fear.

Two straws

fill two balloons.

Hold it all in, a moment in time.

 

Deflating balloons are forever changed, stretched.

 

Two pumps turn the wheel.

A perfect circle, even.

A ride to be taken.

 

Turn the wheel.

Start the momentum, then watch it roll.

 

Don’t have faith.

Just know.

 

charly

a poem for day eight of finding your flow and for day one hundred and eleven of 365 days of writing…

.

.

grow roots, i whisper to my students.

grow roots down through your feet

so you can grow taller, so you can grow stronger

so you can sway from side to side but not fall.

.

i whisper this to my students and feel myself

pressing my feet into the ground.

i feel the floor with my toes and let the energy

rise from my toes to the top of my head.

.

stay planted, i say silently to myself, feel your own roots.

teach yourself just as you teach others.

.

but it can be hard to be rooted, grounded, in a

world that seems to be obsessed with movement

through space and time zones, to be obsessed with never

staying in one place for long, with never letting your feet hit the floor.

.

grow roots, i whisper to my students and myself.

see how stability comes from breath, strength,

and connection with the ground, connection with the self.

grow roots, i whisper, and stay awhile.

in the flow: day seven

in the flow with oprah & deepak

day seven: finding consciousness

centering thought: my consciousness is universal consciousness

sanskrit mantra: sahasrara im – ‘i am pure awareness’

 

charly

i have often explained the following to friends, family, and strangers:

it is in yoga class, often in the middle of a sun salutation, when the whole class is moving together, that i breathe in and understand the idea that we are all one. in that moment, on my mat, as i breathe and move, i understand that we–meaning people, animals, nature, etc.–are all connected to each other. and when i feel that, when that concept becomes so crazy clear in my mind, i feel nothing but peace. contentment.

like it all makes sense. all of this crazy world makes sense…okay, fine, it makes more sense…there are still some aspects that befuddled the crap out of me.

unfortunately that feeling slips away just as soon as it arrives.

i haven’t learned how to allow that feeling stay, that understanding settle in.

of course, as i sat on the pillow to begin meditation today, i hoped that feeling would slip back in.

and, alas, it did not.

instead i found my mind moving faster than usual with lists of all the things i needed to do that i haven’t done. things i feel that i am failing at. things i don’t want to do but have to do. it was frustrating to say the least. here i was, supposedly meditating on how we are all one…here i was supposedly “open[ing] to the light within, [so i could] connect to the divine light that illuminates our soul, awakening us to our real Self, and the light that connects all things. [So that i could] find that we are one light connected to all light, universal connection, and consciousness.” and instead i was focusing on myself. my light. my very personal me me me light that doesn’t feel like it is anywhere close to my soul and real Self.

bahumbug.

i know this all takes time. it takes sitting and meditating over time. it takes cultivating a life that supports that light and vision over time. it takes time and practice (and if there is any lesson i am supposed to learn these next few years, i have a feeling it is this one). which, of course, this week (and the next two) is all about. practicing sitting for meditation. day after day. so we can see the growth and change this practice allows for.

so yay for one week being done! i’m excited to see where i’ll be this time next week.

 

selena

WE DID IT! SEVEN CONSECUTIVE DAYS!

Now that that’s out of my system, let’s get back to business.

This morning I did my practice out of order again, showering and getting dressed before settling into (not-quite-even-half) lotus to meditate. Perhaps in part as a result, I was full of energy as I repeated “Sahasrara Im” in my mind. I wanted to envision myself with a beam of light through my crown in a tower of bright white reaching into the sky, in company with the lights of all of those around the world meditating with me at that very moment…

…but I was just too antsy.

Instead of feeling myself full of peaceful, uniting, Divine energy, all I could think about was my body screaming out for movement. I haven’t danced or practiced yoga since Monday, and I just kept picturing a bunch of fun inversions that I wanted to try against the walls adjacent to the doorframe in the guestroom where I’m staying. (At one point my fingers spread like a leaping cat, almost involuntarily anticipating a headstand!)

“Sahasrara Im, Sahasrara Im, Sahasrara Im.”

When I heard the bell signaling it was time to bring today’s meditation to a close, I wondered if I should jump right up and try those darned handstands that were inviting me out to play.

But I didn’t.

I chose to continue as usual, folding onto my knees to recite my own mantra:

I am intricately connected to the Divine.

Her light filters through my crown, radiates down my spine, and fills me.

Our spirits entwine, our souls become one, She is with me, and I am never alone.

Gracias por acompañarme, querida Diosa.

Then I gave thanks in prayer.

And then, finally, I was calm.

If only for a moment, without looking for it, I felt exactly what I had intentionally, if unsuccessfully, sought: I was settled into the light that connects me to the Divine.

Just like that.

Now I feel that underlying excitement bubbling up again, but it’s different this time. Right I feel as though that sense of calm is my base, and my excitement is what is ephemeral.

And for me, this is what meditation is all about.

Namaste.

Congratulations on completing Week One, Everybody!

Sincerely,

Selena La’Chelle

in the flow: day six

in the flow with oprah & deepak

day six: finding wisdom

centering thought: my wisdom is within.

sanskrit mantra: om – ‘i am wisdom’

~*~

selena

The wisdom of the Divine is within.

It flows as free and deep as an ocean in the night,

as abundant as the midnight sky shining upon its surface.

I allow the rushing currents of my thoughts and emotions to flow to a calm,

and experience Her guidance, which we call ‘intuition’.

Gracias por ser mi guía, querida Diosa.

Last night I switched time zones, landing on the East Coast to visit family for a few days, which meant that I awoke after the sunrise, yet earlier than usual. Not having brought my zafu, yoga mat, or prayer rug (which usually cushion my hard floors at home), I tossed a pillow from the bed onto the carpet of the guest bedroom floor.

And I sat.

The first thing I thought about was a suggestion I’d recently heard about seated meditation. The speaker said that keeping your knees higher than your crossed legs tends to be more comfortable. I ignored the fact that I was already comfortable, and tried to find the prescribed arrangement, but after shifting into several distinct positions, I realized I simply was too close to the ground for it.

So, I just sat-and listened.

This morning Deepak suggested we use our breath in a very specific practice, using the inhalation to become present, and the exhalation to recite a long “Om”. When I’m not living it up in a ChOprah challenge, I usually use the Headspace programs of Andy Puddicomb, which uses the breath differently. At first Andy suggests counting up to ten, inhaling the odd numbers, exhaling the evens. In later guided meditations he asks us to slow it down, focusing just on the exhalations, counting to five. For the last five days I’d been counting while inhaling, and adding Deepak’s syllable on the exhalation, repeating it a couple of times in quick succession, like his demonstration.

Inhale: One.

Exhale: Ram. Ram. Ram.

Inhale: Two.

Exhale: Ram. Ram. Ram.

Today as I inhaled I watched, envisioning my breath filling me vertically up to my third eye chakra, and noticing where my breath moved or felt tight. As I exhaled I watched that place sink down or relax with “Om” settling like a feather drifting to the ground. At the bottom of my exhalation I heard a clear voice in my head gently introduce the number, up to five, and began the cycle again. I felt much more focused today-despite what came up.

And what came up was surprising.

The thoughts that visited me today were all very familiar, but not ones I would expect to come while focusing on intuition. One of my bad habits of late has been preemptively fighting battles. I imagine myself having to fight with those in charge in order to get what I deem my fair due, and I go through elaborate conversations in my mind-none of which ever come to fruition. I find myself getting worked up often. while I’m getting ready for work, but here I was on vacation-meditating-and up popped these imagined power struggles from work!

So I decided to reframe them.

What does my intuition tell me about these battles? I already know that they generate-rather than relieve-my stress, but what else is there I should learn about them? If my focus today is on intuition, and this is what came up, what might that mean? Trying not to do too much thinking while actually meditating, I only thought one thing: fear.

Then I remembered how Oprah told us that fear is what happens when we aren’t connected to our true selves.

So today I want to stay in touch with my intuition, and when I feel myself getting worked up I’m going to try to pause, step back the way Deepak suggested, and see if I can watch it pass.

Because fear always passes.

Anger always passes.

But love, peace, and truth remain.

May it be so.

Namaste.

-Selena La’Chelle

 

charly

if you’ve read my blog over the past six months or so, you’ve probably read a blog post or two about how i didn’t follow my gut for years. that i completely ignored my gut and tried to solely figure things out by figuring out “what made the most sense”. usually “what made the most sense” was whatever seemed easiest and the most complacent. usually it was what kept everything the same, at the status quo.

you probably read a blog post or two about how i did that and now, and now!, in the past six months or so, i’ve been trying to do the exact opposite. i’ve been trying to listen to my gut, trying to follow it wholeheartedly.

gut is just another word for wisdom in this case.

for years i wasn’t following my inner wisdom…really for one simple reason: i didn’t think i had inner wisdom. instead, i thought i had an inner gremlin who had no idea what she was talking about. so i ignored her demands, her suggestions, her silent pleas to please listen and acknowledge her. i ignored her advice and moved forward into situations and circumstances that ended poorly, left me unhappy, or were otherwise lame in some manner.

funny…i couldn’t really ignore her nodding and whispering, i told ya so.

funny…how we can listen to the criticism but not the guidance.

but inner wisdom works even when we aren’t tapped into her energy. she finds another way through, another way to lead. and eventually, i found myself where i was supposed to be–open and ready.

that doesn’t mean i always listen to that wisdom. on the contrary. it takes work to listen. to keep my ears and heart open so that i can hear the wisdom and take it in. there is still a voice in the back of my head that claims my inner wisdom is rubbish even though everything in my heart and soul says otherwise.

still, i know from these past six months that i wouldn’t be here, right here, if it weren’t for inner wisdom.

inner wisdom has gotten me to this moment: sitting on my computer, pup by my feet, boyfriend across the room, feeling tired because of the yoga class i took and the other one that i taught today, and yet feeling centered because i just sat and (attempted) to meditate. inner wisdom placed me here and i find myself wondering where she will lead me next.

as i sit here writing, i find myself breathing deeply and setting an intention:

i am committed to staying open, to listening, and to believing i hold wisdom within.

i am committed.

i am practicing.

i am listening.

 

in the flow: day five

in the flow with oprah & deepak

day five: finding expression

centering thought: my truth and creativity are within.

sanskrit mantra: ham – ‘i am creativity’

 ~*~

charly

earlier this week, i talked about my yellow phase. yellow, the color of the third chakra, the seat of power and individuation. well, when my yellow phase faded away along with my sense of power and autonomy, i slipped right into blue.

blue. the color of the throat chakra. the fifth chakra. the one associated with creativity, voice, and expression.

when i started learning about the chakras, it made complete sense that over the past few years i may have been “stuck” or “working through” this chakra. at the beginning of this phase, i was trying to find and create a place of my own, where i could be creative and express myself. it was throughout the phase that i returned to my first love, writing, and decided to commit myself to it in a new and serious way. it was in this phase that i found myself rebuilding and learning to trust my voice. trying to really understand the concept that my truth and creativity are within. trying to understand that if someone doesn’t understand my truth, it doesn’t always mean that my truth is “wrong”. it can mean i haven’t found the right words, that i haven’t tapped into my power to support my expression, or that, well, the person misunderstanding may not ever understand–and that’s okay.

these are lessons i am continuing to learn these days. which is why i’m not surprised that i still find myself drawn to blue.

yesterday, i went out to lunch with a friend of mine and we discussed how we are introverts and the good things and bad things we experience because of it. we discussed how our proclivity toward silence often causes people to jump on our opinions more forcefully when and if we do speak up. and often, because we rather stay quiet more often than not, we find ourselves not speaking up at all or shrinking away from expressing our truth in full.

i added that often this reaction from people caused me to question my thoughts, my voice, my expression. i allowed this reaction to deny my creativity, my truth. i may have been coming to this blog frequently to express myself, but in everyday life i, more often than thought, chose quiet instead.

deepak chopra mentioned in the meditation today that it takes energy to block the flow, to block expression and in many ways, i think i am tired from all the energy expended trying to block it all. so i’m trying to continue working, opening up. trusting that my truth and creativity are there, here, within. trusting my voice to express myself and my beliefs without shying away from them.

this, as is everything, is a process.

a work in progress.

 

selena

What’s not to love about Fridays, right? Since I started learning about the chakras I’ve added a few more reasons, because Fridays I dedicate to the throat chakra, which is all about today’s topic: creative and honest expression.

Here is the mantra-in-progress I’ve been sculpting over the years:

“I am as open as the Great Blue Sky.

I am capable of honest, creative expression, able to reveal the innermost truths of my mind, body, and spirit through

speech, song, and the written word;

poetry an prose;

gesture, movement, and dance;

through deeds,

through actions,

through energy.

May the best of my being-Divinity itself-be that which I give to the world.”

As I’ve been sharing my personal mantras with all of you this week some unexpected things have happened. I’ve never really shared them with anyone, which has made me nervous for a host of reasons. Mixing part of my favorite novel (The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant) and an explanation I once heard an actress give about her own religious practice, somewhere in my mind there is a superstition claiming that a person only shares her personal mantras upon her deathbed. I don’t think I ever wanted to believe there was any truth to that superstition. My anxiety about sharing my mantras is as quotidian as most of my fears-and, in fact, is just another manifestation of the same one that follows me into many aspects of life: the fear of being judged and deemed unworthy.

One thing I didn’t expect before writing my mantras was that they would appear as poetry. In elementary school it was easy to have confidence in my skill as a writer (growing up in California during The Self-Esteem Movement, there were even ribbons and certificates for last place, and recognition as “honorable mention”), and in middle and high school I even thought was as lame a gift as a superhero whose power is “hyper-empathy”.

So I abandoned it.

And I lost it.

And I wondered if I’d ever get it back.

In graduate school I wrote a choreo-play, in an attempt to regain a connection to my ability to paint pictures with words, while adding on my recently developing skills in dance, and the old cliché about valuing something when it’s too late mocked me. Unlike another cliché, writing isn’t like riding a bike: it evolves. I think the best writers have brought their skill along with them like an appendage, expanding and contracting along with their growing bodies and minds. Although I may not have left writing by the wayside for long, it was long enough to feel like we were childhood friends reunited as adults, not sure if our new selves would get along as well as we did in our former existences.

But I’ve decided to be brave.

And so, I’m here.

Writing. Sharing. Attempting to reclaim and express my innermost truths to myself and with the world, simultaneously.

There was so much in what Oprah and Deepak shared today that touched my heart, but it was the last line that I will carry with me today. Deepak concisely reminded me why the action that became the namesake of this project, the act of finding our flow, is a venture worthy of our faith and energy:

“In this flow you can accept and honor yourself for who you are.”

-Deepak Chopra

 May it be so.

Namaste.

-Selena La’Chelle

in the flow: day four

love

in the flow with oprah & deepak

day four: finding love

centering thought: my love and compassion are within.

sanskrit mantra: vam – ‘i am love’

 

selena

This morning I was moved by Oprah’s assertion that love is the opposite of anger, and Deepak’s suggestion to treat our own harsh judgments and trespasses against ourselves as though they only as significant as a small faux pas made by a beloved houseguest.

I am one of those people who, under certain circumstances, others might perceive as a perfectionist. I am the kind of person who knows how to be patient with others, but can be heartbreakingly judgmental with myself. However, one of the reasons I chose to develop my meditation practice was because I noticed that judgmental streak beginning to bleed out into the world as well. I noticed where my first wrinkles were developing: across my forehead and around my mouth. No: it wasn’t from lots of surprises and smiles, but rather from wide-eyed expressions of “Are you kidding me?” and scowls of “Ugh. Really?” At barely thirty years of age I no longer felt wise beyond my years, as my grandma once described me, but simply grumpy beyond them instead. Somehow, when I wasn’t watching, I’d started to become bitter.

I started focusing more on meditation and less on asana, and began studying the other branches of yoga as well. I began looking into the yamas and niyamas, as well as studying the foundations of Buddhism, because I felt like something was missing. It was as though I no longer trusted myself and my connection to the Divine that had been awakened by asana practice. I sought guidance from without, rather than within, for the first time in years.

But then I started meditating.

And my inner guide revealed herself once more.

If you’ve ever attempted to meditate you’ve probably played The Thought Game.

“The Thought Game”, you ask?

You know what I mean: like Julia Roberts’ depiction of Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, who, eyes closed, sits on her cushion telling herself not to think, then thinking about meditating, then thinking about carving out a space in her home to meditate once she leaves the ashram, then thinking a whole bunch of time must have elapsed (when, in fact it had only been a few seconds). You know, The Thought Game.

Well, one day I was playing The Thought Game, and something I’d half-understood while listening to one of my Buddhist podcasts happened: I really was able to see myself thinking. It was like a space opened up, like I saw two versions of myself: the one whose thoughts were spinning out of control like a child playing a game of make-believe, but that “me” turned around for moment and saw a wiser version of herself simply beaming a warm smile at her.

And the thoughts stopped.

Just for a second, mind you, but they stopped.

Then they started up again (of course), but when that busy version of myself paused to look back again, she felt herself in the glow of the nonjudgmental version of my/herself once more. And I was at peace.

This experience happened a few times more when I practiced, then went away. Now I think about it in a lot of ways: sure, it was probably just another round of The Thought Game itself, but there more to it than that. I don’t think it was actually God watching me, but it was something akin to it. It was as though I was able to identify with my most loving and wisest part of myself, rather than identifying with my mind, the place from which I usually experience the world, the part I say is “me”. Most importantly, I knew that that wiser version was the real me, the me that is waiting for the rest of me to settle into.

When I was in college my biggest fear was to become a self-serving addition to the world. In graduate school my therapist told me I would never be selfish, that I wouldn’t let it happen. I wanted so much to believe her, to make it true, and so I created a mantra for Thursdays, honoring the heart chakra, that goes something like this:

 

“I am loving and beloved.

The essence of my being never has and never will be selfish,

for the essence of my being is Divinity itself.”

I finish it with a prayer for those in need:

“May the homeless receive safe, comfortable shelter.

May the hungry receive nutritious, satisfying meals.

May the thirsty receive clean, replenishing drink.

May the mentally ill find clarity and peace.

May the physically ill receive effective, affordable treatment that leaves them better than they began-by their own standards.

May the spiritually ill feel the love of the Divine infused in the self, in the connection to others, in all of life and the universe itself.

Namaste.”

Today I will strive to be gentle with myself, smiling from the place of my wiser, nonjudgmental me. When I hear myself saying those self-effacing things we tend say so casually, I will smile as I do with young children who err, knowing they have so much to learn-and loving them for it.

May it be so.

-Selena La’Chelle

 

charly

like yesterday’s, today’s meditation was set-up differently. instead of walking back to my apartment for it, i decided to try meditating at my boyfriend’s apartment. as we plan to move in together in the fall, i know eventually i will have to find a calm, quiet meditation routine in a home that has both us and a dog (or two). so i set up shop right by his lovely great big windows. i put a pillow down, turned to let him know i was starting, smiled, and pressed play.

as soon as the meditation was starting, i heard the pit-pat of paws. it is not unusual for george, my pup, to come and sniff me during a meditation. i am sure it is a bit strange for him to see me on the ground, not really moving or responding to him. so i welcome the sniffs, the soft grumbles, and the eventual plop i feel as he relaxes beside me. so today i smiled when i heard him and then took a deep breath to relax and let go.

but that wasn’t the end of it…

squeak! squeak…squeak…squeak!

george had one of his squeak toys with him. and he was squeaking it. over and over again. not only that, he was hitting the toy up against me. george wanted to play. i smiled and didn’t move. i took a deep breath and tried to let thoughts go.

squeak. squeak. squeak.

george dropped the toy on my hand, which was palm up to receive energy and love. i placed the toy in my lap and returned my hand to its position.

this didn’t make george happy.

so he started grumbling. loudly. i could feel him trying to figure out the best way to climb over me and to the toy. so eventually, still with my eyes closed, i placed the toy to the side of me and tried to return to my meditation.

george must have thought we were playing because he grabbed the toy and started squeaking it. again. he dropped it on me. again. when i didn’t move, he went, grabbed another squeak toy, and did it again. at this point, my boyfriend tried to get george to stop. i heard him walk over, pick george up, and return to the couch.

and for a moment it was quiet. i took a deep breath in and settled back into the meditation.

but, of course, it was too good to be true. a few moments later, george jumped down off the couch and barked as he ran back toward me.

i smiled, didn’t move, and just breathed deeply. about a minute later, george calmed. i felt him plop down nearby with no squeak toy in his mouth and i tried my best to center myself for the rest of the meditation.

all of the above was probably only three to four minutes in length, but of course it affected the rest of the meditation….and not in the way i expected.

love. this meditation was really about connecting to the sense of love that we hold within. we are all love. our true nature is love. this meditation was about connecting to the love of self and in self.

at first i was worried that i wasn’t getting it. that all the love i was feeling was outwardly focused…or connected.

because i felt love shoot through me as george squeaked his toy. i wasn’t annoyed. i wasn’t frustrated. i was filled with love for this little thing who has no idea what i was doing. i was filled with love when my boyfriend tried his best to calm george so that i could meditate in peace. i was filled with love when everything settled around me.

but then i was filled with doubt. toward the end of meditation, despite my best efforts to keep my mind clear, i thought of several situations that had frustrated me in the past few weeks. all of them left me feeling unappreciated and, well, unloved.

and i smiled to myself. reaching this point was, in some ways, inevitable. it gave me the chance to breathe, let go, and return to the mantra. vam. vam. i am love. i am love.

no need to feel unloved because i am love. no need to feel unloved because i have all the love i need inside. no need to feel unloved because i am surrounded by love.

when the meditation ended, i turned to my boyfriend and we smiled. “i took pictures,” he said.

georgemed