thoughts from my 18 year old self

newtrees

“I come to thee in the dawn and the moment of dusk. Giving of my grasp, my cheek, the yearnings & call of my heart; deep and all loving, searching for grace. There is not space enough to hold all of thee and yet I wish for you to dwell in the folds of me. Can my heart hold out for such joy? Will my desire fade while I have breath still in me?”

– Shelley Adelle

Six Lessons Since New Years: EJ

thefells

I received a very polite email from an editor of a prestigious online lifestyle magazine twice over as many months—I had been in the past honored with publication.

It’s been a long while since I had committed anything to paper—in part to a life deliberately led and a removal from extraneous duties. Selfish really, this time I have spent in what seems like a digital respite.

What did I learn, you ask?

Biological Destiny: The term used by an English Department head who has a great head of hair and a smile that says, “I’ve really enjoyed my life.” Suddenly, I see my bits and breasts in a whole new light. I’m not sure how I feel about this entirely, but I will say that for me, the idea of what a woman is if she chooses not to have children is at once both liberating and misogynistic…I think.

Archiving Photos: This has given me the opportunity to reflect, via image, on what has occurred over the last ten years of my life. I got to tell ya, pretty fucking epic—and better than I would have imagined for myself. (Which gets me to wondering if there is something to that whole, “manifest destiny” thing, cause if so, I shouldtotally aim higher.)

Body Image: Everyone’s is distorted. Mostly.

Value of Life: My Grandmother Keta died. I was able to go home over the last holiday (the first in many years) and say goodbye to a pivotal woman in my life. That she happened to share the same blood seems odd to many of my Metropolitan friends, since we all moved to the city “to escape our past” and “find something more.” My views of this particular relative have always been one of great esteem. I miss her and I wonder now of the space after this life. I’m not sure what I make of the veil—I’m not even sure how exhaustive I believe the Koshas are.

Self-employment is intense: Many things at once. Brightly colored. Refreshing, challenging, rewarding, hysterical, deeply humbling, nurturing, clarifying and refining; At times even annoying. In a word: epic.

Perceptions Shift: With the start of a new relationship, a new business offering, a diversifying of time and activities, I have been stretched all the way to my limits (and more than a few times past them) yet I’m feeling the most invigorated and connected I’ve ever felt in my life. I am not sure I’m doing anything particularly well, but the way at which I attend to the majority of my life is in a state that I can be proud of. It is mostly deliberate. I do leave room for surprises. I could maybe laugh more. I’m still breathing and smiling earnestly!

I once was in the bookstore in Columbus Circle and stood in front of a Karen Armstrong book. There was a quote of hers that grabbed me—I yearned for the feeling that inhabited her words but I didn’t yet understand how focused once must be or the design of life that would sustain what she described. Something to the effect of living a life in which we share the revelations of our personal journey—she may have used the word meditations. It had a lot to do with the Golden Rule.

Over the past few months, I have labored willingly in the pursuit of life lived in harmony. One sought to embody the feeling of her great message that my soul only seems to comprehend. Is that what they mean by dharma? So far, so good.

I can always crack out and obsess over a few details that seem to slip my reach, but all in all I am satisfied. Contented. I am not sure where I am headed, but I do have a few irons in the fire.

I would like to think I will become more punctual all around—I wonder if there is some missing scheduling gene that artists and creative are spared from. I hope that if that is true that I have just enough to keep me in the good graces of others.

I am very grateful for all I have…for all that is.

So, back to the mat and into Agni sar in Utkatasana—it’s all I have been prescribed by my teachers, in addition to laughter and water.

Like I said, so far, so good.

 

(original publication on Elephant Journal)

The Year Of Pearls

It’s The Year Of Pearls: A Eulogy

(originally written for Elephant Journal)

Wisdom, puppies, jewels. These are the pearls that have made there way into my life and have come to a convergence a little over 90 days into the new year.

Pearl the puppy belongs to a super cute supplanted urbane couple. They are smart, funny, motivated, and are super hero’s on a mission to save the world (and earn titles of best honest awesome couple of the century). This particular Pearl, their very new and sweet puppy, is a bursting ball of energy that is not quiet contained; or civilized, but entirely irresistible and it’s a good thing too cause you’d kick her in the teeth if she wasn’t so damn cute. An object lesson in surrender and patience that only these two friends of mine are fit for.

The baubles are set in gold and in leather. Separately they make up a strand for my wrist constructed and gifted to me by a woman of the community who is the picture of bright and warm. The other is in a band of gold on my hand procured as an engagement ring for my sweet dear, piss funny, sometimes lush, studied, extremely curious, well-read and peaceful Grandma Keta.

“Hey Gran, It’s Shelley! Hey Shelley, It’s Grandma!” (insert smiley face across the phone line here) These are the words we shared each time I called, ever since I can remember.

Today she died.

Transitioned after a full and long life filled with many hardships and many joys. I was fortunate enough to say goodbye this Christmas. Per my mothers request I ventured home to Texas for a family holiday. This, a first, in many many years. The task was clear. Say Goodbye.

I did. We laughed and talked about boys. We shared a meal and opened gifts. There was cake. I received silk scarves, a pearl ring, a necklace that reads “Live, Love Laugh” and the instructions to “Have A Good Life.” Pretty much sums it up. Have A Good Life.

I Say Thank You Grandma.

ketaxmas12Such a wise and wonderful thing to bestow. I am such a fortunate soul to have been blessed by knowing and experiencing you. Bright, ever practical, imaginative, sweet, honest, kind. I am bowled over in awe and your ability to go with the flow, leave room for all of my questions, to live a full life where you experienced so much. I remember the stories of Singapore and your deep affection for books. Only once did you ever chide me for cussing and it was that time I did it just to get under my mothers skin.

“Use your words well, Shelley.”

I’m thinking of you today, Gran; I dropped off my teacher at the airport after a long workshop weekend. It came as no surprise that the news of your passing comes on the day I have set aside now to think on all that has happened. So many threads are coming together and I think I understand now more of this thing we call Life.

Tantra, my teacher tells me is a custom that is expansive, backed by experience and should bring an increased sense of Joy to my life. There is a payoff you see, in my understanding so far, to ones spiritual journey.

You taught me the same thing:

Investigate. Read. Look at the roses and the hummingbirds. Enjoy the sun in the sky. The written word has power and value. Take it all in stride.

As I sit and ponder, I come to realize that an exuberance of life can be seen in a puppy, the ring on my hand, and the familiar yet no longer accessible voice of a woman I love.

Tantra has taught me that there is Beauty in everything.

I salute you, Grandma, for showing me a way. I am thankful for this new understanding and I am excited to see what your transitioning energy has made space for next!

Spring Break Sweet Thoughts

natarajfire

Two Roses Fragrant, Understated, Elegant.

Tender and Fearless. Take time to smell the roses. Be not in haste this life. Take heed of Beauty and Simple Pleasures.

 ~

Tithe to all who ask.

Say Yes.

 ~

Time, Talent, & Treasure.

All Possess Power

Be not greedy and ask for all three.

RIP Gran

 

 

Dear Gran.

gran&me 

It feels like there is a lot to sift through that is weighted in many shades and hues. Death and Transition.

 

All of my memories of us were shared and I wish I would have asked you to tell me more about who you were in the times I was not present.  Between your birth and mine.

 

One important, significant and life shaping quality that I learned from you is this:

There is Room for it All.

Expansive and Evolving, Rooted in Faith, Practiced Un-Self-Consciously, Shared & Apparent by Example, Righteous; Joyful. Any concept of Life, God, and its’ meaning and relationship to a higher purpose for me, through you, is one enriched by these qualities.

 

I am in Awe.

There is little more that I can say.

I love you & thanks.

 

- shelley 

Questions Of Discipline

*written for and published on Elephant Journal

shellriver

Every moment is a choice to show up and a choice to reconfigure even if all our participation just creates a firestorm within.

I secured entrance to my first college concert by pretending to be British.

From some radio station in Houston with a bored DJ who was entertained by me enough one night after an hour or so on the phone with my tongue clipping and put-on giggles, I, “the girl from Herefordshire,” “won” the tickets.

Collective Soul was the headliner and Eve 6 opened for them. I drank illegally procured alcohol, caught a guitar pick (in my memory, at least) and had the time of my life with my roommate of the semester, Shannon. That was the year that I was “choking on the rind and the lack thereof would leave me empty inside” while a honey-faced girl posed as record art. I slept through most of that semester.

I was thinking of that album cover today in meditation. I sat in the morning calm and remembered…

It’s as if I have turned a great corner in life. I feel like an exploded beehive. As if some intruder killed the queen and the leftover pieces of me have evacuated at great velocity in many directions.

For example: the swarm of blondes that accosted me last weekend and reminded me that not all groups of women are inherently warm and nurturing, especially those lacking breeding, cultivation or grace. There was extreme clarity and beauty in that experience: great revelation of and gratitude for the women of my life sprang forth along with the memory of my uninhibited youth, when I was screaming and writhing in a daytime mosh pit, beer-soaked and blissed out of my mind…

Some meditations are like that for me.

Rumbling around in my head are seemingly disconnected ideas and current experiences, which then leap out into a coherent relevant meme and throttle me, as if they are being shaken by an overwhelmed mother imploring with her animated face for me to Please. Be. Silent!!

So I listen, absorbing the things people say to me, along with the rumbling deep within that bag of potato chips I have been forcing myself to leave on the shelf all week. Hoping a message from the Universe will come forth that will offer me a knowing of which direction to turn and where to rebuild, having since come far past that corner I turned a few months back.

With great curiosity, I reboot. I sit. I choose to meditate. I listen.

They say discipline’s a choice.

I’ve heard it said that it is prudent to follow one’s instinct and then dive into the choices we make with haste. Imperative, in fact, to jump in head first, or we will most certainly run off course due to inclement weather and unexpected delays.

Actually, I am not confident that that is a statement of truth backed by experience. The inverse may also be true. I am, after all, still listening…

Trying to practice what is preached, I have been wondering where the answer is in yoga to all of these feelings and emotions that arrive in the act of living, and in breathing the toxins out in Downward-Facing Dog. What’s the point, I wonder in meditation, in reflecting on the choices I have made so far?

We tell our students that there is stability in the practice and a balance that can be found in the breath. We tell them, essentially, to go inside and all the answers will be there…or the absence of the need to know will be there…that beyond all the confusion and electrical storms of images that leap out of our hips and hamstrings there is stillness and clarity.

We say that within an earnest practice there is a gift of discernment, and that the understandings we will take away from our diligent efforts will trickle out into our lives off the mat following a trajectory of improvement. That there is a prize in all this “practice.”

Is this claim full of shit?

All I’ve been learning on the mat is that it is hard for me to make the choice to be there. It does not for me feel like much of a payoff to bother to show up and work on my transitions in Surya Namaskara.

Most days, when I dare consider that the practice could be more than just the postures, I am overcome with a desire to burn my mat and my certification and to close the doors of my sweet studio in order to run far far away, where there are no crystal bowls or prayer flags or smiling benevolent Ganesh statues staring at me while I sit secretly embarrassed and indifferent.

It is hard to show up and be with myself outside a tempest of labels (owner; teacher; tether; friend; sister; inspiration; daughter; responsible, sturdy, fun, woman; lover; wordsmith) and to just smile from my guts as I so often instruct others to do…to turn that instructor voice off along with the critic, and breathe deep into my unlabeled self with trust and tenderness.

I can be so very hard on myself, and then incredibly flippant, and while all of that is occurring, while the sweat is dripping down my nose and my wrists are screaming for Balasana, while my knees are turning cranky and annoyed with lotus, while my body and my mind are raging in conflict…all I wish for in these moments is to expatriate myself from what feels like a bondage.

Is it my body or my mind that holds me hostage? Where the hell is my prize? I feel ungrateful and confused as I stare gently ahead while cultivating bhanda.

Screw this yoga, I think!

While I sit and breathe and reflect, I find that I’m not convinced that this path we are on is worth it, or even efficient. Just as when I once left the Church in the midst of personal reflection and revelation, I find that I am again inclined to believe that the foundation we have set our lives upon is just a crumbling relic of ancient myths and that there is no magic in yoga. There are no answers, or peace, or stability, or illumination.

What kind of student am I, I wonder?  What kind of teacher? Sat Nam. SatNam. (Whispered, whimpered—sat nam.)

Although skeptical, I continue to be disciplined in my meditation and practice in spite of the discomfort and in the midst of grand (irrational?) emotional responses.

My teacher tells me, “It is every moment a choice to show up and a choice to reconfigure even if all our participation just creates a firestorm within.”

“Don’t ignore that tapas,” she says.

I have trust in my teacher and faith that she believes in what she is teaching me…so I make a commitment that I shall continue to show up. I shall participate actively and consciously and hope to hell that I am not a big fuckup of an example. Though I am not convinced it is all worth it, there is not enough evidence to the contrary for me to actually throw in the towel, walk away, leave it all behind.

There are so many things I do not know, and yet what I do know is that I yearn to be steady. Is it a childish desire, I wonder? Can I be sensitive to those parts of myself that are still tossing around in the air, having not yet settled back onto the canvas of my life, sticky from honeycomb, fragmented and fragile?

That’s the art part of it, I guess.  To be courageous and sensitive, to resist the urge to use my weakness and revelations of mind against my body.

That is how I reboot. I wake up every day, and in the morning calm I remember…

The Scars Of Love…

*The Scars Of Love and Midnight Sex

Written for and Published on Elephant Journal August 16th, 2012

There is a void in my heart.

A void that was once filled with the sound of you calling the touch of your hand the warmth of your smile; the sound of your breath cuddled close and sleeping. It tastes like chicory coffee and old spice, and smells of dusted bricks and ducks.

My mind knows this is for the best. At least I think so since you clearly do not love me. Not enough.

Ouch.

To spend any more time with a friend who cares not would be an abuse of the spirit and my spirit deserves to be unbound and illuminated.

Those words you said tearfully next to me holding and pleading. It was not easy for you I can see that now, to walk away. An intimate and honest talk. Perhaps it was an act of love after all to set me free as the clichés are apt to say. Why let me live in that illusion any longer?

Tribesmen reach out to me to check in and my answer both flat and calm says, “I’m okay.” It is a half-truth though for I am so many other things too. This feeling of rejection in the pit of my stomach is the worst of it.

Abandonment is heavy and cold and causes me, at times, to crawl into bed curtains drawn and blankets wrapped tight much to the chagrin of others. That’s just today though. Yesterday I was freshly shaved and clothed in a spunky dress jumping on a trampoline laughing, spirits high. It is a roller coaster with unexpected turns and traps that cause my breath to catch in awe.

Love.

I still believe in it, crave it, share it, extol it. It is a garden that must be tended together or it withers and rots. It requires as much attention as the other hundred things on your to do lists. It requires passionate involvement. It requires a commitment to the relationship however involved two people determine to make it. It requires more than you were willing to give.

My loved ones offer up congratulations and words of support for they all see a bigger and brighter version of me emerging. Bolder than I ever was with you.

She feels sexy and chaotic prone to tequila soaked naked swims on the beach. Just the kind of thing you could never abide with your traditional temperament and your sturdy demeanor.

I know I should not have traded so much of her in for the always kind and considerate woman I became with you but she too—the me with you—was happy and calm and enjoyed so much of your gentle experience. The she with you reminds me of that calm and sweet farm girl I once was with dreams of rocking chairs and family vacations. I recognize now that you grounded me and were nostalgic of my past.

There is more that I want however. This unleashed minx in my body only thinks about cheese plates and bubbles and trysts with birds that are human that will take me for a ride on the air…yes, light like air is what I crave. Playfulness.

To be fair nothing much in my day to day has changed. I am free now on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings and I get to muse over where I will go this year for the holidays. I don’t eat as much sushi and I certainly don’t spend my evenings in front of your television. I prevent myself from the habit of flirtatious texts that once peppered your cell phone and I have packed away the jewelry the photos and the gifts. I purchased fresh flowers for my mantel and signed a lease on a new apartment that does not look straight into your office building and one that does not have the memories of you in its walls.

Grieving the loss of this girl I knew myself to be and yet hopeful of the woman I am becoming is the silver lining in it all. That is the blessing I believe, the constant becoming of who we are.

 

It is true that we were not matched in this belief, this ever evolving and introspective lifestyle. This is not the first time in history that a man and a woman have outgrown each other because of such things.

My yoga practice has taught me to breathe into the discomfort and investigate my reactions. It is a blessing now to know that this dissolution is for the best. A blessing to realize I have no ill will toward you. Blissful to understand that I wish for you happiness and that it is no longer my responsibility to support you in that endeavor. Clean as it can be. Severed. No longer attached.

I am fortunate in friendship though you have resigned as my best. I am fortunate in business and in health. I am grateful for the time we spent together and I try not to dwell on its ending for too long. There are so many things I wish to say and write and will in fact do so in private.

No need to air out the dirty laundry. My mother raised me a lady in this way. No need to create more discomfort when the gracious thing to do is to just move on.

Toward the future I look: though the path is filled with smoke and haze I have faith that the clearing will find me soon. I will glow like a Katy Perry song appropriately sexed and shining heart centered. I am safe and I am loved. I deserve to be loved extravagantly!

~

Editor: Seychelles Pitton

Photo by SLR Jester

Corporate Kumbaya: The Destruction Of Yoga

The list of Corporations that offer Yoga is extensive, as is the list of employees of corporations that take yoga classes for a variety of reasons.  Stress Management of course being a close second to tight abs & firm butt.

What would you say if I told you that I’ve made over one hundred grand a year from teaching privates to such corporate clients and this is in addition to the income from on site corporate classes and the hundreds of people who walk through the doors of my studio each week who earn a paycheck from a Fortune 500 Mega Company?

What would you say if you knew that I am one of thousands of teachers across the country who directly benefit from this arrangement and relationships just like it?  Or that I am not alone in my six figure asana induced income and am in fact at the bottom of the revenue barrel compared to most of my peers. Would my income be justified as long as I tithe a proper percentage a month to church and would the church accept my heathen dollars anyway?

What would you say if I admitted that if I can get this blog post picked up and featured on a national website it might drive enough traffic to sell more product, get a sponsor, book more retreats, or get more “likes” and “pluses” and in order to accomplish that goal I’ve thought for days about an appropriate yet salacious enough title to do just that. Once a teacher applies the tools of business to their yoga do they loose their street cred and get lumped into the “bad for us” category like the 1%? Do you agree with those who argue that once we apply the tools of business it is no longer Yoga at all that we are trading in?

Would you still turn up your nose at McDonald’s or Walmart if you knew they funded the opening of a yoga studio in your town?  Would you still be snide about the addiction to overpriced Starbucks coffee if you knew that there are teachers who work there part time in order to spread the 8 Limbed Gospel?  Or answer me this, is it only “bad corporations” that are on the enemy combatant list?  What about all those corporations with “legitimate” ties to yoga, are they safe and honorable and worthy?

If I piss you off will you call me the enemy and if so, for what…participating or whistle blowing?

Yoga Is Not Black & White

According to Vegasshot.com, the list of corporate clients that offer onsite and retreat yoga include MTV Networks, IBM, AT&T, Nike, HBO, Forbes, Apple, PepsiCo, General Electric, and Chase Manhattan Bank.  Certainly not exhaustive as it is well know that Google and Random House both offer opportunities for employees to enjoy the benefits of the practice, though it is also true that the world wide recession has pinched the fat off of some of these so called “luxury” offerings.

With the global trend of yoga having grown far from its traditional roots morphing into a western phenomenon it is hard to escape the onslaught of criticism about the practice, its participants, and its superstars. It is almost expected to read something on Huffington Post each week on how Yoga in the West is either ruining the practice or being taken over by corporate greed as its’ tools are exploited in order to turn a greater profit by increasing worker satisfaction and productivity.  Tisk tisk we say in Lotus Pose; tisk tisk.

Written by individuals both within and outside the industry who stand to gain from such criticism there is a tide of fundamentalism or worse, censorship, within our community.  Even event writer and goddess Chelsea Roff is guilty of lambasting students for getting together to pray with their bodies…or at minimum for being hoodwinked (God Bless their souls.) Instead of giving all their money to charity they decided to do some downward dog together and this just was not good enough for this talented blogger.  Was it really just a point of semantics that she takes note with? Party vs Fundraiser. Charity vs Corporate Greed. Or is there something deeper that rubs such purists the wrong way?

Far from the only one questioning the motives of others, it has become trendy to fling negativity to those who are not upholding some Yoga Standard Rules For Engagement. Is there a list of approved ways in which to teach yoga and make money that I am unaware of?  Perhaps I didn’t get the correct Yoga Alliance 200 hour certification… Perhaps it’s making money at all in the vicinity of an OM that has not been guru pre approved that grabs the attention of such nay sayers.

Does anyone else take issue with those who participate in or at the fringe of our industry, making part of their living by using emotions like scarcity and moralism to demonize those who somehow don’t fill the “proper” mold?  And tell me why we even care about the opinions of those who are not even participating as teachers or students but take it upon themselves to write about us like critics who go to theatre and look for anything to trash because they flunked out of techniques class or sucked at classical delivery.

With all do respect I will agree with Ms. Roff that many events like the recent one in Central Park are in fact for the direct benefit of an already established community rather than creating space for newbies. This, along with her list of worthy charities are the few points in her most recent article that I can admire but I don’t agree with the idea that by choosing to spend money on an event as yoga practitioners we are somehow not living up to a moral code of ethics or practicing what we preach properly.  Trust me, thousands of yogis every day move and breath and meditate and by doing so we are in fact changing the world one sun salutation at a time.

I wonder why otherwise intelligent commentators and participants alike are more interested in the Art of War over The Middle Path.

When did yoga become yours and not mine?  When did you decide that the way I practice, or the way they practice, is not okay since it does not conform with the way you practice?  When did your ego take over and convince you that my Vinyasa Blend is not as good as your Ashtanga or Kundalini or Anusara or that yoga in a gym is less “yoga” than the yoga on an Ashram or in India. Oh shit, don’t say Anusara Shelley.  Hush, don’t rock that sex cult boat!

Get A Grip!

Where are our spokespersons?  Where are the teachers and bloggers who instead of tearing the community apart are working diligently day in and day out to share and create sacred space for students who are in deep need and searching for a place to reflect, ground, change, and grow?

Where?  I will tell you where.

They are in every studio across this country and many across the world.  They have families, pay their bills, raise children, and sometimes raise hell. Some are crunchy granola vegan and some drink beer on Thursdays and do street yoga after. Call up any studio in America or talk any teacher and tell them you want to bring yoga to your office and see how many of them tell you to keep your money.  I dare you.  They won’t and they shouldn’t because Yoga belongs to each and every person who chooses to spend time in the practice and damn it somebody might just have a revelation on their mat that could have an outstanding and world wide impact.  I mean just the other day I had to decide yoga vs stab my neighbors forever barking dog and if I had had the chance to fly to Wanderlust to prevent the murder instead of practicing in my apartment I would have done so and felt justified.

Yoga is splendid and malleable and the definition is evolving (unlike the definition for mullet which we can all agree only applies to those with an Ache Breaky Heart)

Yoga is many things to many people and the second we all stop beating each other down and get back to the mat, the second we stop vilifying those pesky corporations for all our problems and see how they generate great interest in the practice (among other noble endeavors) and fund some of the most sensational national gatherings, the second we admit that even our most beloved teachers are themselves owners of corporate entities that do incredibly positive work, the second we admit that there is nothing honorable about poverty and that it’s a good thing to be able to make a living while creating positive change, the second we all stop and take a deep breath we will be rewarded with a long exhale that will purify the toxins of our collective shame & contempt and remind us in the ecstasy of the out breath that we are in a relationship.  Let us forgive those who’ve trespassed against us. Let us not be led into temptation.  Let us no longer be murderers of the spirit of others or adulterers of our own.  Let us step back to the top of the mat in Tadasana close our eyes inhale and remember…“there is no I or you.”

We are too close to be blinded to our symbiosis.  We must refuse to be sidetracked from the great work at hand. We must strive to be more, to be better, to be ourselves with compassion and focus. With our Drishti set we can once again walk toward Liberation.

Yoga means Union people so let’s get together around anywhere you can think of to move and breath and get in touch with that mysterious power that connects us one to another. Let us not be ashamed of ourselves and of those who are successful and have abundance. Let us stop focusing on all we think is twisted or wrong in the way others choose to live and preach instead a message of reformation just as my homeboy did. Let us be reminded of the great access we have to the Divine light within.

The enemy is not on K street, the Hill, in a Boardroom or at The White House.  The enemy is not in the Middle East or in some field in Africa.  True there are many dark forces that walk in these places, but so called Corporate Kumbaya is not the problem.  Conquer the enemy of your heart first.  Be non violent and compassionate and see where that leads….even if it is to a place on a mat next to thousands of others sponsored by Kashi and clothed in threads made by Lululemon.

Party On Garth!

***

p.s..  In order to keep out of “noble poverty” I would be happy to read you this post over the phone for $29.95 tax included. with love, @shelleyadelle

Yogi On Life Support

Desolate, Tired, Full of Anxiety.  Yogi is Sick.

Sick Yogi thinks a lot, works a lot, and has an abundance of energy for her tribe at her expense; light and love for her students, her lover, her family.  Yogi is not Self Centered.  Thus, Dis-Ease creeps in.  Like a lobster in a pot water gets hot, slowly, until the instant it is boiling and there is no time for escape…if you are a lobster.  Thankfully yogi is no lobster.

A balance is required even in the yoga industry, the wellness industry, even in the midst of no industry there is a requirement for personal balance and responsibility.  There is a requirement for sustenance physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.  Yogi needs filled up, especially on days when yogi feels very un sexy.

More yoga is not going to cut it.  Complementary stimulation is required.

There are plenty of signs in our students that there is something to attend to on the mat.  We give them postures and breathing, we give and give and give.  Even our most seasoned practitioners and teachers breakdown because of this one way sieve.  Explosions on our face, weight gain from stress and choices to use cheese and bread (aka beer) to manage said stress, itchy skin, sleepless nights, lack of libido, fantasies of car accidents that would leave us unable to go in and teach one more damn class to a room full of bright eyed students….OY.

“There is a room in my heart, made of glass, crystal clear, resonant, fragile, luminescent, vibrational…It houses ether and space, spiritual substance and yet un tapped layers of strength.  Agility resides here, textures of compassion & devotional threads tethered to the Atman here they dance. Tears and steam are absorbed here. Jewels of my most Lovable/Loving Self meditate here.”

Yogi went to New York City for healing.

To some the idea of healing in a place like NYC is laughable.  For yogi, this is the place she feels passionate, loved, there is space to be alone yet not lonely, there are friends who understand backstory, there are nooks and crannies of memories; there are expressions of her faces on each street corner, individual yet humanity vibrant and breathing in the sun.

Two classes a day, walks in the park, a motorcycle ride, late night apartment music festivals, conversations with strangers about things that matter, cafe beverages with space to observe and breathe in the context of her past.  Access to art, culture, stimulation that is random and un biased, an ability to let a subway track spark reignite the fires deep within.

Yogi Felt Inspired.

Beauty exists when the spirit is uplifted.  Infinity exists between the facets of our ego; within the duality resides It’s Self. At minimum we must embody total compassion (for our self and others); this creates the fertile environment by which all things flourish.

In the midst of revelation yogi acknowledges there can coexist a knowing and a feeling of disbelief. An intimate conversation with the divine inside reminds yogi to concentrate on the plumb line, the sacred energies from root to crown.  Internal and External, Multidimensional.

We are the creators of our matrix and shedding of our skin is transformational and necessary.  Self awareness and propulsion are powerful so we must be deliberate in our trajectory.  Once we settle into the body we connect with what is subtle; knowledge alone is not enough, we must then do something.  Move, act, create, shine, dance, sing, move and meditate or choose to do nothing.  Once we turn our “should’s” into “wants” propulsion sets in. Be not afraid of your desires just strive not to be bound by them.  See the brilliant illusions that they are, stunning like stained glass.  It’s these choices that distinguish a wilting violet from the powerful protectress.

It’s not the prettiest or the brightest that succeed, truly succeed.  It is the bravest. It does no good to undertake these practices (yoga or pilgrimage) if you don’t intend to do anything with the information you will glean from them.

A bright personality is attractive.  A yogi who inspires others to feel deeply is the teacher I have been searching for, she is the teacher I most wish to be.

To Feel, To Love, To Be Loved.

It is not the rational and tidy, it is not the white picket fence, it is not spreadsheets and charts, it is not what society muses as safe; it is passion and sweat, it is salty air and skin, it is noises that are uncontrollable and deeply resonant.  It is not one foot in front of the other in line and on time, it is not an orgasm predictable on a single trajectory climbing towards its’ end; it is a life lived as a dancing sprite on fire and laughing, spiritually centered intertwined with the blessings of experience; maddening .  It is combustable yet rooted.  It is expressive in word, thought, action.

Even the oceans calm and controlled ebb & flow betrays our trust with violent storms that reorganize our perspective.  It is not manufactured drama that I seek but what is real, elegant, grounded, powerful; What is attractive to me in this life is the LIFE. Who’s Interested? Yogi needs some Life Support.

Why I Quit Yoga

Though the disciplines of posture, breathing, diet, and mental concentration seem to produce an experience of enlightenment & illumination, I have decided instead I rather be a full time spy.

In my top secret non-yogi life I am a sniper.  Also, I work for the “agency” and like Claire Danes in Homeland I am a beautiful bundle of contradictions that include great puzzle solving skills, hot make out sessions with enemies I have fallen in love with, and a proclivity toward self medication.

Growing up on a farm in Texas was the perfect training ground for a special agent ninja such as myself.  I had to surmount the critical views of the conservative south and endure strength training against boys in boots who would gladly help you haul hay in order to take a roll in it by nights end. Armed with a rifle and the first amendment I was proficient in target practice both armed and psychological. This training proved invaluable as my duties with the agency required a transition to NYC as an actress (the perfect cover really) before moving to a small beachside town on a mission of sexual revolution…aka, yoga. Because everybody knows yoga is really a sex cult.

In this secret life of a southern femme fetal the story starts something like this…

***

She can remember most of them by name. A few even their last. Mostly she can bring them into view if she can remember where they were or how they smelled. There were few things to do in the country. She never saw herself as a country wife with saddles in the bedroom and horseshoes on the kitchen cabinets. She tried rodeo, show cattle, and judged everything from livestock to grass. Anything to fit into her environment. She was in every club, played all the sports, and knew all the latest gossip.

People always told her things because she made them believe they could trust her.

She could do most ranch work, wield a saw, and ride horseback. Still she was terribly unsatisfied. This is when the agency first took notice of her. People always interested her. Families, houses, their jobs and friends. She wanted to know what made each of them tick.

Men adored her. Young men. Old men. Married men. Only one ever pulled away from her. He pulled her drunk into the loft of a barn, kissed her and riled her up, pinned her down and stopped. “Tell me what you want,” he said. This was the only time she was caught unaware. He was a brilliant secret agent. She would remember him always.

They all tasted different. She remembers how each of them dressed and how they liked to kiss. Some where terrible, some aggressive, some were plain and boring and she considered it a waste of energy. She asked one of them once “if he was in yet.” He was almost finished.

She knew each of their goals, their secrets, their dreams. She knew they simply craved attention and were searching for something beyond themselves. She recognized this was a useful tool that could be leveraged. Some simply flung their bodies over her as they quenched their passionate thirst unaware that her mission included destroying some of them. A few came back for seconds. She learned to suck a man with stealth precision. She would stop short of providing satisfaction on occasion because they deserved it for not providing critical nationally important information.

She detested being underestimated. She listened to what they wanted, she listened, she improved. She could look at a man and make him feel wanted. She knows when to speak and how to squirm. She knows when to giggle and gasp, when to say harder, and when to catch her breath. She was an actor. By now she had become An Agent. She took advantage of their desires in order to serve the greater good. Her country would always count on her secret sacrifices.

***

These memories wash over me in my silent contemplations as do many more from years on assignment in the city.  I have been fortunate enough to stop several terrorist attacks and there were only two near misses that led to unfortunate heartbreak.  All in all there have been few times that I have forgotten myself and slipped back into the “love & light” mantra of the yogis or have been glamored by the sexual undertones and promises of the practice. Because everybody knows yoga is really a sex cult.

Thankfully my handlers in Washington remind me that the yogi wolf in sheep’s clothing is just an act that I had better remember not to get sidetracked from the real mission at hand.  Nobody can actually be that loving after all.  They help me from traveling too far down into the yoga rabbit hole where I might actually start believing in all that self help enlightenment malarky.

Yes, today the sky is blue and the wind whips through my hair as I polish my weapons and await my next mission.  I am far too powerful, too well trained to sit around a yoga studio and pretend to care anymore so hear me loud and clear: I quit yoga.

My sights are set and by the time you hear me, if in fact you ever do, I will have already placed a well aimed bullet in the target of my choice.  There is no use running my sweet yogis. I am a much better aim than you think & I’ve got the ninja skills to prove it!

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