Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: March 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Work in Progress

Check out the latest in Work in Progress on my new web page:

go to Music/Love & Other Miracles. . . the hukam part two is ready!

Self-Loathing Run Riot

In recovery we have a phrase that is used a lot: "self-will run riot". This week it feels more like Self-Loathing Run Riot. I'm meeting my future in-laws next week, which has something to do with my rising anxiety level. But it's also just the nature of being in the polarity known as relationship. I take everything that is good and right in the world and thrust it outward onto the other person. They quickly become a Saint and I become--well, you understand.

But last night I heard something that I really needed to hear. "I refuse to let anything get in the way of me and my Self." And I realized that I was allowing my insecurity, my unresolved shame, and my self-loathing to stand between me and the "sunlight of the spirit"--between me and my higher self. The tone in my friend's voice, the defiance, the courage to stand up to those voices in her head saying she wasn't enough inspired me to do the same. If you haven't listened to the lecture in my last post--do! It's so powerful and from such a different perspective than we yogis, but nonetheless, beautiful and contemplative and profound.

Now that I'm in touch with my shame, it seems to be rearing it's ugly head a lot...but that's just what happens when something is on its way out. It goes out kicking and screaming. But today, at least I'm not kicking and screaming at myself. I'm calm and content--even if I eat too many cookies today!

Monday, March 26, 2012

I am enough

Here's a wonderful lecture that speaks to the issue of shame that I wrote about recently. Dr. Brown speaks to the idea much more eloquently than I can. May we all be so brave as to be ourselves--and to be willing to connect:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Great Undo

In the land of producers, the God of All creative ideas is the Great Undo--smile. Working on my newest album the past couple of weeks, the Great Undo has been my greatest ally and friend. You have an idea but you're not quite sure it will fly in the overall context of the song but you want to hear it before you decide. . . so you call upon the Great Undo to go back to the original and start over if it doesn't work out. Most of the time they do, but it's always nice to know the Great Undo is there, ready to let you start all over again.

Is this a metaphor for life? In golf there's the mulligan, in writing there's the backspace, in so much of our lives we give ourselves an opportunity to do-over, and yet at the same time we're so hard on ourselves if we don't do it right the first time? Why? We want perfection. We long for it because it's already a part of our nature. We are pure, unbroken, whole--from the very beginning--and instead of recognizing that within ourselves all along, we place it outside ourselves and spend our lives longing for the perfection that we are. It's a strange duality; but it's also that separation that allows us to long for God--even if it's simply longing for ourselves.
That longing is what defines the path of Sikh Dharma. We don't want or need it to be fulfilled for it is the longing itself that stirs the heart and creates the passion for God, for infinity, for merger. Once it's fulfilled, it is the end--and there is no beginning or end to longing. It is infinite as God is infinite. And the creativity that lies in the mistakes is the juice of life; they go hand-in-hand with longing. It's what keeps us going back into the studio, going back to the drawing board, going back to the practice field--the passion, the longing for perfection. If we found it, what then would we do?

Life continues on because of the mistakes, because of the longing. Don't shortchange yourself. Enjoy the mistakes and lean on the Great Undo--because sometimes you just might get it right the first time.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Shame & Blame Game

I was asked last week how to get rid of shame and realized that the only real tools I knew of were from my experience in recovery. As I meditated on how to speak to my experience, I of course was faced with the shame that remains in my life. Before recovery, I never really experienced shame--at least not that I was willing to own or cop to. I was brazen, defiant even, in defense of myself and who I perceived myself to be. There was no room for shame. But now, my identity has softened over the years, and I am confronted--and comforted--by a loving partner in my life, whatever shame that remains is coming to the surface to be healed and released. This woman's question was simply a catalyst.

As I lay in bed crying last night, and woke up crying this morning, and continued crying throughout my sadhana, I kept asking, What is shame? What are its origins? Internal or external? And how does it relate to blame? And how can I change it? As usual, Kundalini Yoga inspired something very true and very transformative in me. Ask and you will receive, as the saying goes.

As I confronted the nature of shame, I realized that shame and blame go hand in hand. A vicious cycle that repeats itself continually until you stop the blame and accept responsibility. As long as I blame others or myself for my life and its circumstances, I will experience shame. Acceptance is the key to shifting the energy and transforming shame into positive action.

I also recognized that the source of shame is often pre-language. We are scolded as children, or made to feel separate from in some way, and because we can't fight back, we can't defend ourselves, we blame ourselves and we experience shame. And some of us are actively shamed by our families, probably because they were shamed as children, too. An unbroken cycle of pain that can only end when we decide to stop it for our Self.

Finally, I recognized that I don't need to know the source of my shame. That's the beauty of this path. I don't have to find the answer mentally or logically, I simply need to change the experience. I need to turn that stick that I'm beating myself with into a sword. I need to turn my energy forward and use that sword to cut down all my fears, all my anxieties, all my self-doubt. I need to be fearless and recognize that my nature is infinite. The moment I'm in shame, I've lost the game of life, which is my infinite identity, my nature as a co-creator with God, my capacity to create and enjoy the life of my own imagination.

Shame and blame lock us into a cycle of negative thinking that drowns out the still voice that is love. Turn the stick into a sword. Meditate on your power. Forgive yourself forever thinking yourself less than what you truly are. And cut down all the negative self-talk, fear, and self-loathing that limits your experience of your Self. This is the way we win the shame-blame game. Fateh!

Monday, March 05, 2012

the mystery

I've been telling the story of my recent engagement a lot over the past few days. And no one, not even those outside of this path, has said to me--"that sounds crazy"--when, if it were me listening to this story, that's the first thing I would say! It makes me feel that somehow this thing that has happened to me is bigger than just me and my fiance; it represents an archetypal desire within people to follow their heart, to live beyond the rational, logical world to dwell in the mystery.

Women in general are supposed to "keep their mystery" but I've never really known what that meant. In the course of navigating myself through this new relationship, I'm beginning to get a taste of what it might mean. I can't reveal everything; not because he "can't take it" but rather because in exposing everything, I would lose something greater than all of it put together. As women we have to keep something, just a little something, for ourselves. This glowing ember of self is what keeps our flame of creativity lit. We can always return to its warmth and we can always look to it to rejuvenate and rebuild our self when the world outside grows too raucous and demanding. It is this quiet, still flame that is the mystery in each of us--the source of creation.

And it is this same mystery that I call "living in the flow", sahaj, hukam, there are a hundred words for this experience that is essentially surrender of my own will to what is--which is always a mystery. Can we explain why we're breathing in this moment? Can we explain tragedy? Or bliss? Can we explain the miracle that is a baby's skin? or the touch of a lover? Can we explain the joy we feel when we smell damp sage on a desert morning? or the sound of the ocean? The mystery is all around us, all the time; but when something extraordinary happens, somehow we feel that we're experiencing the mystery for the very first time.

Awaken to the mystery. Surrender to what is. And listen deeply to your heart. You might just hear a song of tomorrow. . . .