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All posts for the month December, 2012

Yule Video Playlist

Published December 21, 2012 by ireneglasse

I’m a musician, so I tend to associate everything with music.  Today, our world begins its turn toward the light, and we begin to spiral back out from our inner journeys.   Here are songs that inspire feelings of light and renewal within me.  Maybe you’ll like some of them, too 🙂

First, MC Yogi’s ‘Sun Light’.

 

Matisyahu’s ‘Live Like a Warrior’.  Which has somehow become my personal theme song over the past 6 months or so.

 

Florence + The Machine’s ‘Shake It Out.’

 

An oldie but a goodie–Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’

 

And, because it always makes me smile: FREE HUGS.

 

Lastly, because dancing it out is the BEST way to shake off the dark of winter, Where the Hell is Matt?

 

A very Blessed Yule to you!!  May the returning light bring joy, love and happiness to us all!

Perfect Expression

Published December 13, 2012 by ireneglasse

For Pagans, the darker side of the year is a time for internal work–for choosing a battle, digging in, and working your way through.  The combination of myth cycles, sunlight and weather that keeps us indoors serves as grease for the wheels, if you let it.  This year, I’m working on Perfectionism.  I have an ideal inside my head of what my life is supposed to be like–what I should look like, how I should act, what I should do.  And when I fall short of that ideal, I wrestle with a lot of guilt.  The guilt feeds into my anxiety disorder.  I redouble my efforts, this time stressed and anxious, and ultimately manage to screw myself up.  I end up getting sick, overextended, neurotic…it’s an ugly cycle.  And it goes on almost constantly.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ways to overcome my Perfectionism.  I’ve been working on self-acceptance, on the idea of ‘enough.’  That I do enough, have enough, am enough.  This evening I’m doing a releasing ritual with my wonderful working partner to further this cause.  I’ll be creating a new mala for use in prayer and yoga practice.

Yoga practice.  So many ideas come together here.  The one that really crystallized for me this past week was the idea of Perfect Expression.  A phrase often uttered by instructors at my studio is ‘Find your perfect expression.’  By that, they mean to listen to your body when you’re working on a pose.  To find out where you, personally, need to physically be, what you need to cultivate.  Not to worry about reaching the peak of that pose–Perfect Execution–but what is exactly right for your body in that moment.

For example, I have tight hamstrings.  I’m extremely strong, but not very flexible.  It seems to run in the family–we have very dense muscles and tissues that keep mobility a little pinned down.  So, for me, the Perfect Expression of Downward Facing Dog means my heels don’t touch the floor.  Yet I still get as much out of that pose as someone whose heels do touch–i.e. a great hamstring stretch/shoulder opener/lower back expansion.  That slight difference in execution becomes meaningless since the beauty and benefit to the body are equal.  Even if, 20 years from now, my heels still don’t touch in Down-dog, it will still be the Perfect Expression of the pose for me.

Perhaps there is a Perfect Expression of the Self as well.  We all have an ideal we strive for, whether given to us by our family, the media, our culture as a whole or some combination of those sources.  That ideal is Perfect Execution–beauty, health, wealth, a stable, loving relationship, enough time to help those in need, clean house, nice cars, etc, etc.  A perfectly executed life.  Yet the same way all our bodies are different, our minds and lives are different, too.  We have tight hamstrings, bad shoulders, trick wrists.  We accumulate little dings and dents along the way and must modify that Perfect Execution to fit the needs and limits of our unique, individual self.

And perhaps that modification is Perfect.  Perfect for us in that moment.  Perfect for our reality.  Perfect for the soul, the personality, the life we lead.  Perfectly expressed for who we are.  That expression doesn’t look like the ‘peak pose’ of the life we imagine–it doesn’t look like the ideal inside our head.  But the resemblance is unmistakable.  Although the images aren’t identical, we still cultivate the root of that ideal.  We reach toward it.  And that Perfect Expression is exactly where we need to be.

So I haven’t saved the world yet.  I haven’t completely balanced house-work-music-health-life.  I haven’t figured out the Mysteries of the Universe.

And it’s Perfect.  The things I think of as flaws, as failings, are just modifications.  I have tight hamstrings.  I have an anxiety disorder.  I modify Downward Facing Dog.  I modify my life.  And the beauty and benefit of those modifications are the same within me as Perfect Execution would be.  I do not feel guilt in my yoga practice.  I don’t beat myself up for not being able to flawlessly move through Standing Twisting Triangle.  Instead, I find that place within me that benefits most from the energy of that pose and I breathe into it.

Perfect Expression.

As in yoga, so in life.  As within, so without.  As above, so below.

A blessed New Moon to you, and to your Perfect Expression.

 

Ending a cycle

Published December 5, 2012 by ireneglasse

In the myths of the cultures we sprang from, new light is on its way.  The days are short and the nights long; the cold keeps us indoors and it’s all too easy to fall into brooding and retrospect.  The wheel of the year is winding down, turning toward its end.  And though we throw wide the East Gate soon to let in new light, that time is not yet here.

This space of darkness and reflection has its own value.  With each year, we gather to ourselves more memories, more experiences, more feelings.  Some joyous, some sad.  We learn, we grow, we change.  And as we fill the pages of this year’s book, the sorrows and challenges can weigh heavy on our spirit.

The last new moon of the year is fast approaching.  It falls on Thursday, December 13th, this year.  Why is that important?  The transition of darkness to light in the lunar cycle is a good time for releasing.  As the final cycle of its kind of 2012, this upcoming new moon offers us a unique opportunity.

What do you carry that no longer serves?  What injuries have you taken on this year?  What relationships have become toxic?  You have a chance to release those dark pieces into the endless night and begin the coming year with a blank slate.

This can be as simple as offering up your burdens in prayer, writing them on a piece of paper and setting that paper alight, or performing a full-fledged releasing ritual.  You can take this opportunity to purify your home, releasing the gathered energies of the last year.  You can also use this new moon to further your work on changes already underway.

I am working on releasing guilt.  I struggle with feelings that I am not good enough, that I don’t do enough, help enough, work hard enough.  I fight against my humanity and the finite nature of my time and energy.  I beat myself up for not meeting the unrealistic ideal I carry within me.  And I am trying to change that behavior.  As part of my own releasing, I will be getting a tattoo that symbolizes allowing my true nature, imperfections and all, to be what it is without self-punishment.

There is a Navajo word, ‘hozro’ that translates, roughly, to ‘moving with the current flow of energy.’  Rather than struggle in this season, allow the energetic current to carry you.  You can travel this river into the night and back out again.  You can release the burdens you no longer wish to carry into those dark waters and turn to face the dawn lighter and more ready for the adventures to come.

May the flow find you, may it bear you up, and may it carry us all into the light of the coming year renewed.