Today was my last day of guided sadhana... it might also be the last sadhana led by my teacher Zaz Occhiline, which makes me sad, because I adore his guidance... but I'm also happy for him. He'll get to practice sadhana on his own now and it's been a long time for him, since he's always guiding students... He deserves a nice long break from holding space for others.
Still... I felt sadness as soon as he told me this was it... I felt a sense of separation and heartbreak and a little fear... he has been my teacher for so long and now I am basically on my own. The thought originally scared me... and so I thought about it some more... and meditated on it... and came up with the following idea which has helped me deal with the heartbreak and sense of separation and fear of losing my yoga practice or taking steps back without his yearly guidance... instead of moving forward. I've often practiced sadhana with him as a way of "checking in", "resetting" etc... I guess I worried that I would forget how to do that... or to even remember to do it without a schedule set in stone by him.
Anyways, I think the following moment of clarity is also fitting for February... since February is also the month of love and many of you have probably experienced heartbreak and a sense of separation as well, although probably not exactly in the way I just did. I hope this thought of mine helps you feel more comfortable with it...
I've developed the idea that I/You can't really experience connection if I/You don't also have the sense of separation... Heartbreak is part of the human condition - if it comes off the table, so does love itself. Vulnerability is what makes life worth living; without it we'd lack meaning and purpose.
*sigh.... 30 days of rising before the sun rises... practicing yoga, pranayama, mediation for hours and hours... Will I continue this daily practice? I don't know. I think so... for a while longer at least. I hope to continue on this trajectory throughout the year; throughout my life. You never know though. Everything changes. Throughout the years of my yoga practice... sometimes I might go months without one downward dog in my life... and then I come back to my mat and I think, "Wow... why did I ever leave you?" Lately, those moments and lulls in my practice have come further and further apart, so I think that maybe this time, I might just stay with it... forever. But who knows, right? I guess the point is that everything is temporary and it's important to not feel guilt or attachment for ending my sadhana, when I do, but to instead feel present and grateful for every second I have on this planet. Every moment is sacred. No matter how I spend it.
I've learned so much from this years sadhana. I wish I could explain or share everything that I have learned and experienced. This time it was so different. Every single blessed moment sank into my pores and into my heart. I feel so nourished and loved and loving. It's amazing really... what 30 days of self love, nourishing and yoga discipline can do. I feel stronger than I've ever felt. Happier. Whole. Loving. Content. Peaceful. Grateful. SO GRATEFUL. I feel like I'm definitely still walking down my dharmic path... living my destiny... with presence and grace.
I applied for a vipassana mediation course today at the Dhamma Maṇḍa, also known as the Northern California Vipassana Center, and means "the essence of Dhamma" in Pali. I'm on the wait list... I'm very excited. Why am I doing it? Like I said... to continue with this trajectory... to learn and experience and share. :) It makes me happy just thinking about it.
I want to share a passage with you that a student at 7 Centers (David) shared with me today. It's so beautiful. I am grateful to him for bringing it into my life:
I am the Mountain,
great and beautiful in strength,
presence, and form.
No matter how high I am to peak,
I realize and accept the truth
of my own inevitable erosion.
Better to find Joy in my ascension
than to rush the nature of a process
that shall ultimately see my return
to where I have already once begun.
- David Sinogui
Love is the essence of our life. I have written this blog with love, and I offer it to you, dear reader, with the hope that the suggestions offered here will become a vital part of your self-healing and continued well-being. ~ Ashley