Mostly written on September 2, 2016....been sitting in my drafts folder....but watching "Embrace" Monday night reminded me to get back to it, to finish it, and share it.
Bleh! I feel sick to my stomach again, and angry, just thinking about it. And maybe I "shouldn't" be publishing this since I'm also in the process of trying to get magazines to feature my upcoming book, The Multi-Orgasmic Diet. But I have to speak to this.
Last night I went to Half Priced Books to look through some magazines. I had two intentions: 1) find some magazines with images and words I'd like to use for a vision board; and 2) do some research to see which magazines I might want to submit articles to and/or which magazines would be more or less likely to feature my book.
And what I saw was disgusting. Magazine after magazine, page after page, of photo-shopped images of women in poses and with facial expressions that are clearly trying to send a message of what sexy should look like. And they're not even real. And even in a mag that had a feature on the beauty of plus-sized women (and don't even get me started on how the term "plus size" is problematic), the ads on other pages sent another message: you need to lose weight. You need to buy this. You need to buy that. You need to look like this. You need to look like that......if you want to be happy. if you want to be healthy. if you want to be sexy.
And it's fucked up. So many women are being brainwashed into thinking they need something outside of themselves, or need to be or look different. It's totally damaging.
This is actually exactly why those magazines should feature my book, but also why they might not be willing to.... They make their money off of this bullshit.
You see, my book tells women that they are good enough as they are and to ignore the media standards of healthy, happy, and sexy. We all know how many businesses would be hurt by women loving and accepting themselves more, so I imagine mainstream magazines might not be so thrilled about the message I'm sending.
It's going to take a lot more than my book, though. Those magazines need to change, especially the ones that claim to be for the benefit of women, for the health of women. Jesus, I even saw a yoga magazine that is clearly perpetuating the problem. It's sad. And it angers me. And I just need to say that. So there you go. And I'm done. For now....
I've started it again. Some of you may remember that I did this last Fall, too. I've also stared making YouTube videos. So in terms of what I have to say about Day 1 of The Ultimate Yogi this time around, you can find it by watching the video. ;) As for this blog, I have some writing coming soon....
This morning I was expressing some gratitude and love for having one more day to live, one more day to be alive. And it reminded me of a friend who feels like he's running out of time. Does each day feel like one less day, rather than one more day, to him? I don't know. I haven't asked, until now.
And I'm asking myself too, because although today I'm finding the gift in having one more day (and usually I feel this way), yesterday was a different story. Yesterday I was feeling a strong sense of time pressure and time moving too fast. This was primarily related to my book coming out in less than 2 months. I feel like there's so much more behind-the-scenes type of work to do. I was feeling like I'm behind. But are we every really behind? Aren't we always right where we need to be? Even if where we need to be is realizing we need to do things differently?
It's all in the mind. Our perception. Our attitude. Our beliefs. The thoughts we think. Do you wake up feeling happy to have another day? Or do you feel crappy about being one day closer to death? Do you feel one day closer to your dreams coming true? Or is it just another day of feeling further away?
Of course each day is one day closer to death. But death is a natural part of life. And because time is running out, all the more reason to enjoy and make the most out of each day, each moment, as much as possible. Can you make the most out of your time here without feeling pressure to do so? Or without feeling pressure for it to look a certain way? Can you find the joy in the simplest of things along the way to your bigger dreams?
There is no such thing as a waste of time. Again, that perception is all in the mind. Even those things that feel like a waste are giving you some sort of experience or information. What you choose to do with it--and how you choose to feel about it--that's up to you. Sometimes we need to course correct. Sometimes we need to surrender and accept. Can't we always benefit when we surrender and accept? Isn't it just force and resistance, and attachments, that cause our pain?
I think so. But beware of trying to force feeling good or resist feeling your so-called negative feelings. It's important to allow-- but perhaps that's part of the surrender. Allow your negative thoughts and feelings, without agenda to release them or do away with them. But consciously choose to put more focus on the positives, on what's going right rather than what feels so wrong. This may be challenging at first. But as they say, awareness is the first step. So start with just being more aware.
And speaking of awareness, I'm aware that this post could go off, and go deep, into so many directions. But it's time to wrap it up.
The main point here is this: Do you view today as one more day, or one less day? Which of those two options feel better to you? Which brings a feeling of peace and contentment?
If you're addicted to negativity and suffering, or simply feel stuck in it, then it might actually feel more comfortable to you when thinking about having one less day. Thinking of today as one more day, in a good way, may not ring true to you yet. It might even feel agitating. And that's okay. You can start simply by intending to see today as a gift. Not demanding it from yourself, or from life, but just allowing for the possibility. And remember that each day is one more day to practice. ;)
Every single day of your life truly is an opportunity and a gift.
© 2016 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
For the past two nights, I've dreamed of fire. The first night, it was a wild fire. And it was headed straight for the house I was in. This house was in the woods. It was my parents' house. Not their house in waking life. Another house. And there was a wild fire headed straight for it. But nobody seemed to notice or care, except for me. And just when I put my foot down and said we had to leave, as I looked out the window and saw the flames approaching and shadows of trees, just as it seemed we were too late and the house would soon be engulfed by flames, the fire went away. Changed direction. Or died down. Disappeared. And we were safe.
I woke up thinking this must be significant. I never dream of fire. I never dream of fire, and yet it happened again last night.
Last night I dreamed of fire in the heating ducts of a mansion that I was in. And again, it seemed it was up to me to do something about it. It seemed there was some threat, some danger. But in the end, nothing bad happened. Everything was ok.
It's interesting to me that one night the fire was big and out of control, and the next night it was more contained. And in both dreams I was concerned and trying to take action, but in the end, it turned out no action was needed. Nothing burned up. No damage. No harm.
And then I end up on a phone call with one of my teachers, Shakti Malan, and the main point of today's lesson is about just being with the contraction without feeling the need to take action. Committing to awareness and the expansion of consciousness.
[sigh of relief] I take a deep breath.
And then I go online and see this reference to fire, and once again a reminder to pause:
When your emotional world is on fire and you are burning for resolution… pause, touch the earth, and slow way, way down. Set aside the demand for relief, for just a moment, and cut into the hardwired sense of urgency. Something is emerging out of the unseen, dark rich soil of the body, longing to come back into the vastness. See clearly whether it must be shifted, transformed, or healed… for now.
Depending on the unique configuration of your early history – and the specific nature of the relational field around you – you learned to care for yourself by employing one of two strategies. In the face of surging vulnerabilities, you learned to deny, repress, or shut down – or, to react quickly to resolve the burning, scrambling and spinning out toward the world and toward others to regulate the intensity for you.
While it may be tempting to pathologize these early strategies, seen with eyes wide open, they are revealed to have been intelligent, creative, and necessary at the time, to prevent overwhelm and disintegration in the tender brain and raw nervous system of a sensitive little one, who was utterly dependent on the holding field of others.
But here you are now. It is 10, 20, 30, 40 years later – and the same feelings, emotions, and sensations are erupting. The neural pathways of repression and relief are alive and well. The fragrances of fight/ flight/ freeze are inviting you into the old grooves of denial and acting out. The long-lost pieces and the orphaned vulnerabilities are still looking for you, yearning to be allowed back home into spacious being.
And you are here. Now. With capacities you once did not have. With awareness, with compassion, and with loving presence, you can rewire the pattern of self-abandonment with the radical groove of presence, of self-care, and of kindness. You no longer need to abandon yourself with the ancient strategies of repression and relief, but to update your holy nervous system with the commitment to staying close, to practicing intimacy, and to the sacred process of metabolization by love.
But please remember that this new groove is of the unknown, it is unprecedented, and will take practice to implement. It is the neural channel of love, emerging out of the unseen to reorganize the entire known world.
No matter what is surging now in the inner and outer landscape – no matter how invalid or unworkable your present experience appears to be – you are in the perfect place to begin. You can just start right here and right now. And ignite a revolution.
~ Matt Licata
There is so much more I could write about my internal state and external world over the past few days and how it related to these dreams and these messages, but it doesn't matter. The point here is about pausing. About not feeling the frenzy that can be brought on by the fire of transformation. About being present and still enough to hear what is a true call to action rather than a fear-induced attempt to deny, change, or otherwise control things.
So, my dear reader, what can you take away with you from this? Do you need to pause too? Do you need to slow down? Touch the ground? Be quiet and still enough to listen to your Heart? Patient enough to allow the natural evolution and unfolding of whatever process you are in? Trust and faith that you'll be ok, that you are safe?
And as always, I welcome your comments and questions below or via email.....
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
A few days ago, I saw Jesus. Not in the clouds. Not in a water stain. Not in a piece of burnt toast. Not in a dream. Not as some crazy guy walking down the street. I just saw him come to me during meditation. I saw him within my mind's eye. I felt his presence. And this wasn't the first time.
In fact, the first time I ever asked for help while meditating, it was Jesus who came. This surprised me, since I'd never really been down with Jesus-- until then. In that moment, I let go of all my conditioning and judgments, all my preconceived notions and ignorance. Christianity and churches had always made me feel uncomfortable, and I had hardened myself to that, and so also to Jesus.
I remember crying a little that day, a few years ago, as I softened in his presence, so grateful for his assistance during that meditation despite my cold shoulder over the years. At the same moment I wanted to apologize, I knew there was no need to. Shhhhhh. It's ok.... All was forgiven.
I opened up to what I knew deep down now Jesus was really all about-- not Christianity, not organized religion. But Love. Peace. Harmony. Oneness. Divinity. Ascension.....
So, yes, I saw Jesus the other day, and I wasn't the only one. I was at a 4-day Sheng Zhen workshop with Master Li Junfeng, and one of the main forms we were focusing on was Heart Mind as One; these standing movements and poetic contemplations had come through as messages from Jesus. Several forms within Sheng Zhen were gifted by various avatars, such as Jesus, Kuan Yin, and Hanuman to name a few. But this has nothing to do with religion. You can be any religion or no religion to practice Sheng Zhen.
During group meditation at these workshops with Master Li, the qi is so strong. The energy of Love is so strong. It's not uncommon for at least some of us to see, feel, or hear one or more of these avatars visiting us. But it probably sounds strange to others. It's not something I usually talk about, at least not when it comes to Jesus.
Why is that? I've had no hesitation to share about my experiences with Kali, other than that sometimes it's just hard to put into words. But the thought of saying, "I saw Jesus" or "Jesus told me...." still felt uncomfortable. Until now. Well, maybe there's a little teeny tiny ounce of hesitation. But it won't win out here.
I'm not crazy. I'm not religious. I'm just a highly spiritual person who is also deeply grounded, sharing my experiences. And the more I open up as a clear channel, the more I meditate, the more I burn through blockages and restrictions, the deeper I go, the higher I fly, and the easier it becomes to share these things with others. And to see what further insights and questions arise through this process of writing it out and sharing with others. So on that note, I'm curious:
Is there someone or something about which you have strong, negative opinions? Someone or something you hate? Someone or something to which you have a strong aversion? Someone or something to which you've closed off your Heart?
Sometimes there's a very good reason if your answer is yes. We don't have to like everyone or everything, that's for sure; I certainly don't. But are your facts straight? Is the contraction misguided or based on a misunderstanding? Is it based on fear? Fear of the unknown or fear of getting hurt?
And what are your thoughts about this situation? What do you say about it? Your thoughts and words have power. Are your thoughts and words about others, or yourself, a form of hatred? A form of violence?
Perhaps it's time to identify what judgments, assumptions, and/or stories are creating negativity and contraction in your life. In some cases, you just might find you can soften and open and even connect to the pure energy of Love, even if there remains a dislike. Even if there remains a need for physical distance in order to maintain healthy boundaries and to honor your preferences and intuition.
In Sheng Zhen we talk about using Love to dissolve hatred and separation. This is very important. Not only to your well-being, but to the well-being of all and to the planet.
If you need help tapping into this energy of Love, if you yearn to live a loving life with an open Heart, a life where you feel more peace and learn to "become rooted in the bliss at the core," Sheng Zhen Gong can help. If you'd like to learn, just ask.
And I'll leave you with that. For now....
Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
When you're ready, it's easy. When you're ready, there's no question. No making up judgments, assumptions, or stories as to why not to.... It just feels right.
Although this could apply to so many things in life, these are the words I heard in my head a couple of nights ago while voraciously reading Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy.
I'd purchased this book by Georg Feuerstein on a whim a few months ago. I was at Half Priced Books, and it caught my attention. I knew I'd only really been skimming the surface over the past couple of years-- sure I'd been diving deep with my Sexual Awakening for Women studies (and teachings) and some other workshops and readings here and there-- but what about the foundation and origins of Tantra? I'd pretty much skipped right over that.
I knew there was much more to Tantra, and it was time for me learn what exactly that "more" was.
And yet it wasn't. It wasn't time for me. Each time I picked up this book, I could never get into it. I'd read a page or two or three or four here or there. But it didn't grab me. It felt too dense or technical or dry or something. Something that made it feel difficult to read. I even started thinking I didn't like the author, didn't like his writing style.
But now? Now I know I just wasn't ready. It just wasn't time. Almost. But not quite.
Now I am loving this book. I feel that it's so easy to read. So fascinating. So digestible. So right for me right now.
And this brings me back to timing and readiness. Imagine if I had tried to force myself to read this sooner and when it wasn't feeling right. I probably wouldn't have gotten nearly as much out of it. Would've gone in one eye and out the other. And it certainly wouldn't have been as enjoyable. It would have felt more like some sort of obligation or something I should do because blah blah blah.
But instead, I didn't force it. I remained open to the possibility that at some point in time I'd read this book. But I wasn't attached to the when or even to it happening at all. And then? One day it finally happened. Right timing. Resonance. Ease. Flow.
It feels so delightful now, and all because I had let go. I had let go and remained open. And when I was ready, it all worked out.
I want to remember this. I want to remember this anytime, in any situation, where impatience or force or pressure, where trying to micromanage or control an outcome or timing, are wreaking havoc-- and they always do. I want to remember this.
And now some questions for you:
What in your life do you feel you might be trying to force?
Are you willing to just let go?
Ooooh, and this makes me think of a related topic-- the topic of getting over the resistance to getting into a daily practice. This has come up with friends, clients, and students a lot lately. What's the difference between discipline and force? Perhaps it's that feeling of devotion I wrote about the other day? Perhaps it's a question of alignment? Please feel free to comment below, or email me at email@example.com. I'd love to see your thoughts.
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
My eyes are heavy and starting to close. Perhaps I'll let them, as I continue to type. Perhaps that's the best way to get this written. This is my third attempt today....
This is my third attempt to share more about yesterday's quadruple dose of meditation. This is my attempt to tell you how the day progressed. How I progressed. How I was struck with divine inspiration. Filled with an easy air of devotion that fueled me, propelled me into an 11pm yin yoga practice followed by my 2nd round of an SRF guided meditation on Peace, before drifting off to sleep. And the insights that came to me throughout the night and in the morning....
But sometimes it's hard to put into words. Or the moment passes. The moments pass. They're gone. Does it even matter any more? Does sharing it here, or elsewhere, do any good? Does it help anyone? Does it help me? Does it drive it in? Make it more real?
Yes. No. Maybe so.
Maybe I'll just have to break it down like this, provide a little structure for what feels so formless:
1. I woke up, rolled out of bed, opened up my iPad, clicked "play" on the SRF Peace meditation. I'd done this the previous morning too. What was different this time? It was easier to focus my gaze upward to my third eye, but couldn't consistently hold it there. And I kept seeing an image of Yogananda, a black and white image, and I don't remember seeing it in a book, in a movie, or online. He was sitting on some steps outside, his hair about shoulder length or maybe a little longer. Seeing him helped me focus, helped me relax.
2. I taught a Union of Three Hearts meditation class a couple hours later. And when I asked the students if they had any intentions for this meditation, they all said Peace. I smiled and then weaved the theme of peace in and out throughout the Sheng Zhen meditation, inspired and guided by my earlier morning practice.
And then? Then I spent the next several hours not feeling at peace. I spent the next several hours in some sort of time warp in which nothing was accomplished. And that's not even true. I did do some things other than stare into space. But the feeling I had was that it wasn't enough, that I should be doing more, that if I'm not going to do something "productive" such as working on my book or my business, then the least I can do is meditate, practice Sheng Zhen, or take it to the yoga mat. What is this resistance to doing? What is this attachment to doing? Is it my ego getting upset with me over this non-doing? Or is it my soul?
3. A bath and a long talk with a good friend helped me release these and other annoying thoughts in my head, including thoughts about isolation and loneliness on this path that I'm on, as well as questions about if I am spreading myself too thin with the various practices and studies calling to me now.... And then a few students showed up for a 7pm Union of Three Hearts meditation at my house.
The previous week, there had been a request for the room to be darker, so we tried that. And I don't know if it was the darkness, or the state I was already in, but I dropped deeper into my own meditation than normal while teaching. Usually when I teach, I enter into the Sheng Zhen state, a meditative state, but rarely this deeply. I kept my eyes closed for more of the time than usual, only opening them to check the time a few times instead of also to periodically scan the room and see what's happening for my students; this time I just felt into the field. I could see without looking. And truth is, I could always see without looking, but I didn't always trust it, and so I would look too... But now I know. Now I trust....
As for my own meditation experience while teaching, I felt the qi building up strong in my dantian. I felt the qi traveling up and down in the zhong mai between the dantian and niwuan. And then when the qi remained in the niwuan, this is where I went in the deepest.
I saw the cosmos within my head, within my consciousness. It didn't feel like the qi had expanded out and beyond and like I'd traveled out or merged with some cosmos "out there." No. This was inside of me. This felt contained and yet vast. And instead of pulling myself out of there, as I sometimes do when teaching, I simply relaxed into it, opened my mouth, and said, Allow yourself to get lost... in the blackness,... in this pure consciousness, or something like that.
It was awesome. I felt at peace again. I felt grounded. I felt relaxed but also energized.
4. But not too long after my students left, I went back to contemplating whether or not I have "too many" practices (and from different schools of thought). I read something online that made this less of an issue, something that helped me get out of my head and back into my deep knowing. Rather than quote it here, this is my own translation and elaboration:
If you are in alignment with the practices to which you've committed, if you know they bring you closer to God (Source, Spirit, whatever you want to call it) and in doing so bring you Peace and Joy, then you will gladly wake up earlier to do them; you will easily, and with pleasure, find the time for them in your day rather than feeling overwhelmed, over-committed, or too lazy or tired for practices and related studies.
And instead of just being words of some sort of abstract concept or "should," this time it was like a wake up call. Literally. I'd been fighting off sleepiness most of the evening. And although I felt awake right after Union of Three Hearts, I had come back down and was contemplating sleep instead of a late night yoga practice and another round of meditation.
But suddenly I had a burst of energy and a feeling of needing to sit and meditate again. Not "needing" in a way of "shoulding" on myself, but needing to because I felt a strong love for this practice and a deep knowing that meditating right before bed would be good for me. So I started cleaning my room to prepare the temple, so to speak. And as I cleaned my room, I noticed my body crying out, yearning for me to spend some time on the mat. I'd skipped yoga the previous day. And the day before that, I had cut my practice ridiculously short. So although it was nearly 11pm, and I am NOT a night owl, I found myself back out in my living room for a Yin Yoga practice.
I felt truly and joyfully devoted. I felt fueled by this pure love and devotion. And it felt amazing. So easy to drop into the poses and rest into it so late at night. And knowing that next I would get to sit and meditate? Yes, please.
5. So back to the SRF Peace meditation....
This time, this third time, was even easier. And several times when I brought my attention back to my 3rd eye if my attention had wandered, especially if not picturing it as a blue circle with a star in it (the image described on SRF's site), but instead just seeing more of an actual eye there, I felt little jolts of energy pass through my spine.
I also saw that same image of Yogananda from the morning, but this time in sepia instead of black and white. An image of an old Chinese sage came in a few times too. And then I was surrounded; in my room I felt the presence of deities and avatars from all these various traditions. I was not alone. This was especially significant in that earlier in the day, I'd been noticing a lot of feelings and thoughts regarding loneliness, and specifically the words I'd heard from others so many times regarding spiritual path: "It's a lonely path."
Part of me wants to say Bullshit. You are never alone. And the more you meditate and feel this sense of connection to the divine and a sense of Oneness with all, the less lonely you will feel. But.... There's a "but" here that is too much of a tangent to get into right now. So perhaps I'll return to this topic another time....
For now, I just want to wrap up this longer-than-usual blog post by saying that I woke up a couple of times in the night with some deep insights that weren't just thought in my head, but felt in my body. Deeper understandings about being part of the cosmos and about "not being your body." This statement "you are not your body" has actually often bothered me a lot over the years, but last night it didn't. Last night I got it on a different level. And getting that resulted in some insights about desire. Attachment. Suffering. Peace. All that good stuff.
I want to write more about this "not your body" thing and what followed from there. But I make no promises. We'll just wait and see if inspiration comes for a follow-up post....
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
This morning, and yesterday morning, I started my day with seated meditation. But not my usual Sheng Zhen meditation, not Union of Three Hearts..... No, this was something else.....
I've been reading, or more like devouring, Autobiography of a Yogi over the past couple of weeks. I grew up seeing this book in my house, in my dad's study, the cover rather than the spine facing out, displaying Yogananda's beautiful, androgynous face and kind, penetrative gaze. I was always drawn to it, and thought he looked familiar, like family. Was I related to him?
Despite this feeling of connection and all of my spiritual studies over the years, I never felt compelled to read this book. Until now. Thanks to a friend who came more fully into my life after several weeks of a voice inside whispering, Yoga. That's what you need.
And that's what I got. First with a recommendation of The Ultimate Yogi to get back on the mat, and then to read Autobiography of a Yogi. I'm only on page 175 or so of 550, but so far, all of the gems contained within feel familiar to me. And it feels peacefully exciting, like coming home, and like, Yes, I get it. And of course I'm reading this now; I need these reminders, and in this form....
So yesterday I watched the videos about meditation on the Self-Realization Fellowship website, and then experienced my first SRF meditation by following along to a 15-minute guided meditation on Peace. This morning I also chose Peace. And it was already easier the 2nd time around.
One of the main differences in this style of meditation and the meditation with which I'm familiar is focusing your gaze upward to the third eye. I do have some experience with this, but it is not part of Union of Three Hearts, which has been my primary seated meditation form for years. So yesterday morning, I found this challenging. I wasn't straining, but it felt strange. I also had to be more mindful of sitting totally still, rather than allowing some gentle movements in to help my body relax-- this was made easier though thanks to a relaxation technique shared in the beginning of the guided recording. And I realize now, as I write that that I don't want to get into the details here of how this meditation differs-- I'm too new to it anyway to accurately describe.... Best to go straight to the source.
So this post is just a little background, as reference, along with the links to check this out on your own, in case you're curious as I share more about my experiences with SRF guided meditations over time....
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
This morning as I sat down to meditate, this went through my mind prior to emptying my mind:
What if depression and anxiety are the soul's outcries for change? The alarm signal that you're out of alignment? The call to come into greater alignment with what's truly best for you? To walk the talk? For your thoughts, words, and actions to be in sync and in the interest of your greatest good? Yes. These are not even questions. These are Truths.
And it's true. I know that when I feel depressed or anxious, it's because something is out of alignment in my life. In my inner being. In the way I'm walking through this world. Perhaps it's something I'm doing; perhaps it's something I'm not doing. All I know is that tools like Sheng Zhen and meditation, on a DAILY BASIS, are what get me back into the flow and prevent me from falling out as frequently or as severely.
There are several reasons for this, but the one that comes to mind right now is specific to Sheng Zhen. Sheng Zhen focuses on opening the Heart. And when the Heart is open, the so-called "negative emotions" can flow through your system without getting stuck. They can flow through the Heart and be transmuted, transformed, into the pure energy of Love.
Another reason that comes to mind right now is the sense of connection I feel, both to myself and to the Universe, during these practices. I feel held and supported by the Qi and Love energies that are all around me and inside of me. I relax into that and feel at peace. I feel clear. Answers come whether I consciously ask the questions or not; right actions come more effortlessly. The path becomes clear. I know which steps to take and in which direction. I remember my child-like nature, my innocence, my purity of Heart. And then I forget everything. I connect with a sense of Oneness. I merge with everything and dissolve into nothingness.
There is freedom within the nothingness. There is contentment there. There is liberation. There's a simultaneous recognition of my smallness as well as my vastness that short circuits my brain, in a very good way. Sometimes the excitement and bliss that come take me right back out of it and into my egoic self. And that's ok. It's a process. It's a practice. A practice best done daily.
What practice do you already have in your toolbox? Or would you like to learn a new one? If you'd like some guidance, just ask. You can also simply start with as little as 5 minutes of just sitting and focusing on your breath; anytime your mind wonders, just come back to your breath.
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?
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."