Kali is the dance of creation and destruction:
one cannot be without the other.
In choosing one and rejecting the other, she appears
as a fragmented sense of self and world.
Day 5 was Sunday. I woke up, lit a candle at Kali's altar, and read this email about creation and destruction, grief, and these two demon kings Shumbha and Nishumbha, who symbolize arrogance and self-doubt/unworthiness within our consciousness.
I really loved the way "demons" were defined in this email, as "rejected parts of ourselves." And in my practice of self-inquiry and dialogue with these demon kings that morning, what I discovered was that although they differ in many ways, what's similar is that both of them want a rest, and they both need to be loved and to feel safe and secure enough to relax and let go, to just shut their mouths and chill. And they need to know they are lovable just as they are.
It reminded me of this:
When I felt complete with that practice, I went to Ecstatic Dance. A beloved community member/poetess/healer/friend/teacher/dancer/beautiful-soul had just recently passed away. And the air was thick with grief. I recalled the poem shared in the morning's email:
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
if it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
I felt into my own grief, my grief over many losses, mostly recent, some old. And I danced with this grief and those demon kings. I acknowledged destruction and death as part of creation and life. I left dance feeling pretty good. Feeling a sense of oneness and acceptance with all that is.
But then I went to do a move-out inspection at a condo I own, and when I discovered that my tenant, who was breaking her lease early, not only failed to clean the place, but also scratched up the floor, I lost it. If only I'd lost it in an angry, empowered type of way. But no. Instead I lost it, as in I felt distraught and disoriented, disappointed, and stressed out.
That night I went home and re-lit the candle I'd started burning for Kali in the morning. The first 4 days I'd always let the candle burn all the way down. But Sunday morning, I had to leave home before it was done. So i lit this candle again, sat at the altar, started chanting kreem, kreem kreem, om kreem kalika-yai namaha, but I wasn't feeling it. I stood up, walked away, leaving the candle burning, and out of my mouth came these words as a song: Burn, burn, burn away, anything that's no longer serving me."
As I walked through my house taking care of various things, like the dishes and getting ready for bed, these words continued to be sung through me over and over and over again.
Burn, burn, burn away, Anything that's no longer serving me.
I went to bed feeling pissed off, but in a peaceful way, excited to see what gets burned away.
So I'll leave you with these questions:
What parts of yourself are you rejecting?
What's no longer serving you that needs to be burned away?
It's official. I've started. 108 days of yoga. 108 days all in a row. Yoga every day for 108 days. Haven't regularly practiced yoga in over a year. But I'm doing this. And it started today.
The best I ever felt in my body was when I was attending yoga classes at least 4 times a week. It's been a long time since I was in that routine. And over the past few months in particular, my body has been crying out, yearning for it, begging for it, whispering in the mornings: "yoga. you need to get back into yoga." And I kept saying, "yeah, yeah, I know, I know," but never doing anything about it. Until now.
Thanks to someone I met a few weeks ago-- let's call him my yoga angel-- who recommended this Ultimate Yogi Program with Travis Eliot. A few days later, I ordered it as a birthday gift to myself. And I chose today as the start date. This means, if I did my math right, I'll complete the 108 days on December 30. Feels like a good way to close out this year and prepare for a new one. Feels like a good way to take care of myself and be the healthiest and happiest I can be.
So last night I set the stage: I unrolled my mat. Put a block next to it. I rolled out the cart with my tv/dvd-player. And this morning, I rolled out of bed and onto the mat. Popped in the first DVD, the one for Day 1. Got into the flow. And it felt like coming home.
I smiled. I cried. And a few times I even roared; the twists are what brought those out, and it felt like Kali working her magic.... It felt good to let whatever emotions and sounds come out that needed to move through me as my body delighted in moving and stretching again in these familiar ways.
I'm not sure how much I'll be sharing "from the mat" over these 108 days. But considering I'm also in the midst of a 21-day Kali Ma Sadhana, I have a feeling some insights will be had and will wish to be spoken and shared here. Time will tell though; it always does....
Until next time, I'll just ask you this: What's something your body has been asking you for, that you haven't been giving it? What can you start doing that will make your body say, "thank you! thank you for loving me."? And when will you begin? Then mark your calendar. Commit. And enjoy.....
I woke up to an email from Chameli & The Awakening Women team, with today's practices and was pleasantly not surprised to see that today's practices were heavily focused on wants.
Over the past month or so, I'd been getting more practice than ever in clarifying and asking for what I want, especially in difficult situations. From requesting an face-to-face breakup do-over to stating my terms for allowing an early lease termination, I have been on a roll.
And to top it off, yesterday a hypnotherapy session ended up revealing a need to focus on knowing that not only can I ask for what I want, but guess what! ....I can get it. ;)
And it's true; pretty much everything I've asked for lately, I have received.
So this morning I sat at my altar for Kali again. I lit a candle. I chanted. I stood up and energetically rinsed myself in Bhairavi Kali's fire. And I asked, "what do you want for me?"
Freedom, flow, openness. I want you to step into your magnificence.
I want you to have all you want,
to stop holding back,
to stop playing small.
"Bhairavi, what do you want for me?" I asked again.
I want love, passion, and pleasure for you.
An abundance of peace, ease, and joy,
As well as rage, sorrow, and wild storms.
Bhairavi, what do you want for me?
I want you to hold yourself in the highest regard and treat yourself like the queen that you are.
I want you to drop the veils of separation and illusion.
I want you to be fierce in your pursuit of Truth and in telling it like it is, no holds barred.
Bhairavi, what do you want for me?
I want you to stop with the nonsense, the distractions, the time sucks and energy drains.
I want your focus laser sharp; you have important work to do.
I want your energy clean and strong.
I want you to trust yourself, especially when it comes to walking away.
Bhairavi, what do you want for me?
I want an end to anything that's stopping you.
I want you to fly.
I want you to roar.
I want you to remember, and do, what you came here for.
As I went through my day, I felt a sense of strength and this fiery energy within me. A few things happened that pissed me off or threatened to stress me out, but I kept my cool as this fire burned inside. I knew the right path, the right words and actions to take. I also continued asking for what I want and even landed myself a new meditation teaching gig! All in all, today was a pretty amazing day. Thank you, Bhairavi, for wanting what you want for me.
My conversation with Bhairavi this morning set the stage for tonight's self-inquiry and Sankalpa Shakti activation. But it's late. And I'm tired. So perhaps more on Sankalpa another time....
So much has fallen apart over the past month. Let's see what else....
Been feeling fed up lately with all that's out of alignment in myself, in others, in this world.
I call on Kali to not only help me see the Truth, but to speak it. And not only to speak it, but to act on it.
Off with their heads! Including my own.... Away with anything that's getting in the way.
It's time to step into something bigger and better than ever before. It's time to destroy and to create.
I am ready.
Today is the first day of a 21 day journey. And the timing couldn't be more perfect. Two days after a painful breakup, I saw an ad on Facebook for a 21 Day Kali Ma Sadhana with Chameli Devi & the Global Yogini Circle that would be starting a few weeks later. Usually I take some time to consider whether or not to sign up for something, especially when I've already declared that "I will not be signing up for anything in September!" ;) But Kali was calling. She has been for some time now, especially over the past couple of years. And anytime I ignore her call, or continue with anything or anyone that's out of alignment with the Truth of who I am and what I want, there's hell to pay.
So rather than avoid, deny, or put it off for another day, I decided to sign up , to dive right in. To face it all. So bring it on, Kali Ma, bring it on.
I've been preparing for you, apparently. I woke up to an email with the assignment for this day 1: create an altar. I learned that red and black are your colors. I smiled. Three walls of my bedroom are black. And one curtain is red. I sleep in your altar every night; I just didn't know it until now.
But still I created a sacred little space and an altar just for Kali during these 21 days. And then I lit a candle and recited Om kreem kalika-yai namaha (I bow my head to Mother Kali, Destroyer of Illusion.) over and over until I noticed something strange and started to cry. At first my voice was strong and stable. But then it got quieter and quieter, as if I were losing my voice. But it hadn't even been very long. So what was happening? Perhaps I was being silenced.
What do you want me to do? I asked through my tears.
I saw an image of Kali, eyes wide, reaching for her sword. I felt a sense of rage and then heard a response, "Don't ask me what to do; you know very well what to do."
And it's true. I know deep down, always, what's true and what's right. And yet my thoughts sometimes get in the way, try to convince me otherwise.
It's time for that to change. So, off with my head! And into my body, into my heart, into my soul I go.
That's all for now. I love the thought of sharing about this experience, in writing, each day. But I make no promises. Time will tell. It always does....
And in the spirit of Kali, two questions for you to consider: What needs to be destroyed, or has already fallen apart, in your life? And how can you be loving to yourself, and feel loved and supported by others, during difficult times of change?
And if you're interested in Kali, meditation, or anything I write, you also might enjoy this blog entry from April 2014: http://rebeccacliogould.blogspot.com/2014/04/adventures-in-meditating-devoured-by.html
Back in January I was selected as an inspirational, independent woman, to be interviewed by Angelina Zimmerman of Effervescent International! Topics include confidence, independence, life lessons, and self-love. You can watch the video at https://youtu.be/K2oo5RUcJC0 or here in this blog entry. I've also included a transcript below. Enjoy!
Transcript of Interview:
Angelina: Welcome to Ms Independent TV. I’m talking with Rebecca Clio Gould from Seattle in Washington. Welcome, Rebecca.
Rebecca: Thank you. Hi.
Angelina: Hi. It’s good to have you with us. I just wanted to talk a little bit about some of the incredible things that you’ve been doing. So in 2005, you dropped out of law school. What happened there?
Rebecca: Well, I had finished 1 year of law school, and I was doing an externship for a judge, and I was also in the middle of a failing marriage. And I remember one day, being in the judge’s chambers, doing a bunch of research and thinking, “this is not what I want with my life.” I just felt like I was on a conveyor belt. I did well my first year of law school, and I knew that if I just kept doing what I needed to do, I could get a good job. But it just felt, like a said, a conveyor belt, and I wanted off.
Angelina: Fair enough, fair enough. I’m sure a lot of people could relate to that. So after law school, you moved to Sedona, Arizona to find yourself, and then you moved to California to study Asian Healing Arts and Healing with Whole Foods. Tell us a little bit about that time.
Rebecca: Well it’s interesting because I had been really interested in alternative healing and specifically healing with whole foods before I ever went to law school. I even thought I’d go to that program later on. Most people go to law school and think they’re going to work for a long time with that degree. But I had actually planned to only work for a few years and then go to this program. And part of that had to do with what was going on with my marriage and needing to be in Seattle.
So when I left law school, I knew I might end up going to the healing arts program, but first I needed a little bit of time to just go away. And I went to Arizona and did a bunch of writing and crystal harvesting, like looking for crystals and rocks out in nature, and just had a bit of healing time.
Angelina: Beautiful, beautiful. And what I found really interesting as well, you’re part ofCCFL Global Academy as a Sacred Energy Exchange Specialist. What does that exactly mean?
Rebecca: That’s a great question. So that’s a relatively new part of my life. The CCFL Global Academy, that stands for Creating Champions For Life, and it’s primarily for parents, but really anybody can join. There’s a lot of great content. But basically the founders of it contacted me saying that they wanted me to come on as their Sacred Energy Exchange Specialist, knowing not only that I was teaching Qigong, which is all about energy , but also studying to become a Sexual Awakening for Women Facilitator, so also getting more into sacred sexuality too.
Angelina: Wow, that’s beautiful. Absolutely lovely. Ok, so let’s talk about being an independent woman. What was that moment in your life when you felt like you were really coming into your own, really living your life as an independent woman? When would you say that was?
Rebecca: Great question. When I first thought about the independent woman question, I actually thought of something that my parents told me about when I was a little kid. When I was just 2 or 3, I said, “you’re not the boss of me!” So I always had this kind of independent streak and didn’t want people to tell me what to do. And I think in terms of growing up and becoming an independent woman, I’m thinking when I left law school. When I left my marriage and left law school, I really had to go out on my own and figure out how I wanted to live my life based on what was really best for me, and learning how I could make my life be the way I wanted it to and being on my own. And not just being on my own in terms of being divorced, but also having independent thought. Not being too influenced by the main stream or social conditioning. And I really looked a lot at my programming or social conditioning over the years.
Angelina: Yeah, that’s a really good point. It’s so easy for us to be conditioned by what’s in the media, what society expects of us. So how would you describe the journey so far in terms of being able to reach your independence, being an independent woman? How would you describe it?
Rebecca: I’d describe it as a bit of a roller coaster, actually. There have been ups and downs and all arounds. There have been things that have been exhilarating and things that have been scary. I’ve often said that my life has taken a lot of detours, but I’ve recognized that those detours are actually the path. So, you know, there’s been a lot of trial and error, and just recognizing that it’s all part of my learning and growth process. Times of feeling really excited and confident, and times of feeling like “What am I doing?” or “I don’t know how to do this.” But always continuing, always moving forward.
Angelina: Excellent. Would you say you’re always a confident person? Or when do you feel most confident in your life?
Rebecca: Like I just said, there are times that I don’t feel confident, to be totally honest. I mean I’d love to say I’m confident all the time, but I’m human and I do get setbacks. I do feel like in general I am a confident person though, in the big picture, most of the time, and I feel my most confident when I’m, first of all, taking good care of myself, when I feel my best whether it’s confidence or other positive feelings. And then the other time that I really feel confident is when I’m teaching, when I’m teaching qigong or meditation. And more recently I’ve been leading these sacred sexuality classes, leading women’s groups. And I really feel confident that I’m doing what I’m here to do, and it feels really good.
Angelina: Yes, and nothing feels better, does it? When you’re living your inspired mission, so to speak.
Angelina: You kept bringing up about the teaching of Sexual Awakening for Women. What is that? Just to give the audience an understanding.
Rebecca: The words “Sexual Awakening for Women” that’s actually the name of a book, and program, that my teacher wrote, and leads. Shakti Malan. She’s a teacher based in South Africa and California too. So Sexual Awakening for Women is her book, and then she put together a facilitator training too. And I enrolled in that. And it’s really about empowering women to deepen their connection with their own body, their own femininity, their own sexuality. And for me, personally, I just feel really dedicated to helping women move through any feelings fear or shame or inhibition, to feel fully alive and to feel safe and more comfortable being a woman and being a sexual being in the world too.
Angelina: What would you say has been your biggest lesson in life?
Rebecca: Hmm, I’ve had such a sort of non-traditional life, and it’s been so full of growth that it’s really hard to pinpoint 1 lesson. But one of the things that comes to mind that was kind of like a catalyst for a lot of it is the car accident I was in as a teenager and just learning about how everything that I go through in life is teaching me and making me a better person, and all the growth and resilience too. So to just learn how to go with the ups and downs of life. And kind of related to that is learning about self love and how to open the heart and live a happier, more joyful life.
Angelina: Yeah, that’s beautiful, Rebecca, definitely. Getting on to the topic of self love. How old were you when you got to that point, when you felt like you loved yourself whole heartedly?
Rebecca: I love this topic, because it was after my divorce. A year after, I actually discovered this amazing qigong practice that I now teach, and it’s all about opening the Heart and unconditional Love, and it’s called Sheng Zhen, which means Unconditional Love. And so that practice actually really helped me recognize the ways in which my heart had been closed and I wasn’t loving myself fully. And so it’s been now like 9 years that I’ve been very dedicated to living with an open heart and loving myself more, and it’s been a huge part of my life. And I feel like even when I have times of not feeling confident or going through a rough time, I always know in my core that I love myself and that I just need to amp up the self-love practices or self-love vibes.
Angelina: Beautiful. So in what ways do you demonstrate self love? Do you do that daily? Is it a daily practice for you?
Rebecca: Ideally the qigong practice is done daily. Sometimes I don’t practice the movements every day, but there is not one day that goes by that I don’t think about Sheng Zhen. It’s more than a movement practice; it’s really a philosophy, a way of life of living with an open heart. So every day I’m practicing Sheng Zhen. I’m always thinking about loving myself and how I can love myself more. And in terms of how I demonstrate it, I am very committed to my self-care routine. I have a list of stuff that I do. I feel my best if I do this stuff every day, so its really a priority.
Angelina: Yeah, that’s wonderful. I think sometimes we get so busy it’s not a priority; people are trying to juggle family, career and other commitments, and they put that one last unfortunately, and it weighs you down and you don’t’ feel like yourself at all. So it’s great that you put that as a priority in your life. So what advice do you have for our beautiful viewers watching today, to become an inspired and independent woman? What’s your tips?
Rebecca: My tips are, I was just writing about this today. Feeling your feelings is one of the main things I tell people to do. We have all these things that come up in life and all these emotions, and to feel empowered and inspired in life, we have to have this energy flowing freely in us, and when we try to suppress our emotions or deny them, it creates energy stagnation, so that’s one big tip that I usually give, to feel your feelings. And then prioritizing self care. I think that’s really important too. And I’m trying to think if there’s something else. That’s such a good question. I think self love and acceptance is really key, and that kind of goes along with feeling your feelings, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Face your fears. Face your shame. Ask for help. Oh, learn how to receive help too. I think a lot of women have a really hard time asking for help. I used to have a hard time with it, but I’ve learned how, and now I love to receive. And to lighten up and have fun too. Not to be too serious. And I think the final thing too is to implement-- we all have inner masculine and inner feminine, so to implement masculine support structures in your life so that your feminine side can actually feel safe and supported to work its magic.
Angelina: I love it I love it. Thanks so much for your time this morning. It’s been lovely talking to you.
Rebecca: Yeah, it’s been such a pleasure.
Yesterday I sent the following email to the members of my Living Turned On! Meetup Group:
Hello, Turned On & Alive Beings! I'm so excited that in less than 2 weeks Marcia Baczynski will be back in Seattle offering 3 amazing events! Sexy Games on Friday the 13th, Asking for What you Want on Saturday the 14th, and Deep Desire on Sunday the 15th. Last time Marcia was in town, I attended Asking for What You Want, and I highly recommend it. This time around, I'm looking forward to seeing what Sexy Games and Deep Desire are all about. ;) If you're interested in any of these, or all of these, be sure to sign up via the registration links; RSVP'ing on Meetup will not secure your spot! And check out this video about Deep Desire; it's gonna be good! http://vimeo.com/askingforwhatyouwant/dd
Now, why am I sharing this with you?
First of all, because if you're in Seattle, I encourage you to check out these events.
Second, and actually the primary inspiration, because of the questions I posed in the subject line: What do you desire? Do you even know?? Big questions, right? Right. And they make me want to ask you another question: Did you have a clear and immediate answer? And another question: Did you tense up and/or stop breathing, or did your heart skip a beat or thump extra loud, when you read those words: What do you desire?? And do you even know??
If these questions excite and delight you, awesome! If they freak you out a little or stump you, be gentle with yourself. Take a deep breath. For some people, the answers aren't clear and/or the word "desire" is triggering, and that's ok. Just be aware of it. And know that there's nothing wrong with not knowing or being out of touch with your desires. And there's nothing wrong with desire itself; it's attachment to the outcome that is problematic. Desire though, getting clear on what it is you deeply desire, and stating it in writing and/or out loud-- that's where the magic happens.
So, what do you desire? It's important to consider this, to clarify it for yourself: take some time right now, or schedule it in to your calendar. At least 10 minutes. A quiet place. A private space. Drop into your body. Listen to your body; listen to your Heart. Explore your desires. And write them into being.
And if you want help clarifying your desires and/or support in coming up with, and sticking to, action plans to move in the direction of your dreams, I am here for you. All you need to do is ask.
For years I've felt like what I could best describe as "a woman on the verge." So close, but not quite there.
On the verge of what though? Not quite where?
I don't know.
Or do I?
On the verge of take off, of full expression, of fully stepping into myself as a woman, as well as into my passion and purpose. And now, that's what I'm doing. It's a process though. So I still sometimes feel that anticipation and anxiety, and impatience, of being just on the verge...
So yesterday, during an Akashic records consultation, when I asked why I've been feeling so abnormally tired lately, what I was told didn't surprise me.
I won't share all that was said, but the most striking thing was that it's because I'm right in the middle of a take off, like an airplane taking off. Ah, yes. As soon as I heard those words, I heard those other words: woman on the verge.
And then something was said about how for a while I may have been feeling sort of wobbly, or shakey, or ungrounded. Yes. "You know the feeling of how during takeoff it just feels intense. You're very aware of every emotion. And theoretically, takeoff is probably the most dangerous part of a flight. It's a time when everyone and everything is adjusting to this new, higher way of being."
Yes; that made sense too. And it all goes along with "feeling on the verge."
The verge is an edge or a border, and in addition to pushing my edges over the past several years, I've often had this feeling, this image, of standing on the edge of a cliff. Not to jump off to my death, but to take off in flight.
The thing is, to fly, something has to die. Many somethings have had to die over the years to lighten my load so that I could take flight. And in some ways I could see how metaphorically jumping off of that cliff, down into an abyss, is the only step left to take. So maybe this image of standing on the cliff actually is an invitation to jump and fall. It's time to kill off and release anything still holding me back or weighing me down.
No more excuses. No more distractions.
It's time to leap.
It's time to fly.
People often see me as a bubble of joy, and often times I am! But I wasn't always like this. As a child, before kindergarten, yes. But after that? No. So below is a letter I wrote a few years ago, my partial Sheng Zhen story; it's just the beginning....
I must tell you that this qigong and meditation, these Sheng Zhen practices, changed my life.
I know that is a strong statement to make, but it’s true. Before attending my first workshop with Master Li Junfeng in 2006, I had sort of a dark cloud hanging over me. Maybe because of my car accident as a teenager. Maybe because of a divorce. Or being picked on in grade school for being overweight and having speech impediments and frizzy hair. Most likely a combination of those and other factors contributed to those dark clouds, leaving me feeling down and low energy a lot of the time. I was also self-conscious. A bit shy. Not one of those bubbly, glowing, happy people.
And I didn’t know much about qigong, certainly nothing about Sheng Zhen. In fact, I thought I probably wouldn’t like it, that it would be too serious and uncomfortable. But at that first workshop, I was pleasantly surprised.
The movements were graceful and fluid, and accompanied by inspirational, poetic contemplations. It felt like a meditation in motion. And I loved that we were not only being encouraged to smile and even laugh, but also encouraged to play and have fun with the movements! I felt something shift in me, a letting go, and an opening. A Heart-opening.
I knew from that day on that I wanted to continue this practice and also share it with others. I started practicing regularly along with a DVD, and within just a few weeks, I was one of those happy, glowing, bubbly people. I couldn’t believe it! But it was true. I also noticed that I was more grounded and calm AND that I wanted to dance, be more social, really LIVE and share with others more. My relationships improved. I worried less, and I enjoyed life more. I had more confidence and felt better in my body than I had in years. All of this thanks to cultivating a compassionate and open Heart through Sheng Zhen.
So I got on the fast track to becoming teacher, and it’s been such a pleasure to share these practices with others and to hear their stories, whether of just simply enjoying it or having some big transformational experience with it. Sheng Zhen certainly has touched the lives of many. And through my own personal practice, teaching others, and working so closely with Master Li, Sheng Zhen continues to be a blessing and a joy in my life, as well as a touchstone.
That’s all for now.
Rebecca Clio Gould is a Certified Sheng Zhen Teacher and Holistic Wellness Coach. Her specialties include self-love, embodied joy, women's sexuality, spirituality, surgery preparation, and trauma recovery. She is also a Supreme Science Qigong Instructor, Essence vs Form Coach, and Award-winning Author of "The Multi-Orgasmic Diet: Embrace Your Sexual Energy and Awaken Your Senses for a Healthier, Happier, Sexier You."