And why I struggle with them
I love to consider the things that support the body, things that give it its shape like bones and hold it all together like the skin. I like to think that not only do they keep things in, they keep things out. Like a one way door such as the colon for instance: shit can get out, and in best cases, when the door is shut, it keeps shit from coming back in the wrong way. That's great!
There are many things that function this way in nature. The water flows downstream, until it is restrained, guided by the decline. The elements all have their restraints, the things that keep them being them or in line, to a degree. Water will never become fire, air, earth or ether. This is one of their restraints. Though they are affected by each other, they will never be other than what they are. A pot of a certain material will contain the elements, restrain them, so they can be used, viewed or altered.
And the Spirit!
Things function in our body-mind and spirit in particular ways, and though we tell ourselves there is no limit to what we can do or become, this is not a reality. The limit of the body- mind is real, and the spirit as it is attached to our frame functions in particular ways. What if one day the spirit just decided, "Enough, I'm done!" and left. The restraint of the body keeps the spirit contained.
So why do I struggle with restraints? I know that I need them, but they don't always allow for us to feel complete freedom, unrestrained and able to move about the "airplane cabin". It's like the ego. It can be very helpful to have the ego, but it can also get in the way. For example, the ego can provide us a means to see how we are in relation to things. If I am too heavy for a chair that I aim to sit in, I can be ware. However, because the ego wants to keep us safe, I might even tell myself that I am too heavy to sit in that chair when I am not.
Relationships, too, are restraints: they let things in and out. They are containers for growth, and love. They remind us who we are, what we said, what we like and don't like. Even what feels like a "hell naw!" in relationships allows us to follow the breadcrumbs back to how we can grow more, in love, if we choose. But relationships can also be restraints that make us act in accord with another, rather than with our true nature and Self.
Our relationship to ourselves, the Spirit, and to others keeps us moving in distinct ways, creating molds, until we do not. The only time we do not take shapes is when free of the body. Though these shapes may be organic and lovely, full of ease and grace, there are times when we crash, or clash, ting or bing.
When these forceful meetings happen we realize that we can not move through people, or make people what we want them to be like animation might make us believe possible. We move with or we move apart, and this provides us with another proper restraint. My internal space is not yours; your space is not mine, unless we allow it to be so. And then no matter how close we get, there will be the restraint of the precious soul. We can be inside of someone, but still not rupture their soul.
Use the restraint to paint your world into view
Oil pastels and watercolor on canvas
16 X 20 IN
Restraints can present us a space to call home in the body, for and in ourselves, where so much beautiful and deep work can be done for a time. This space in between where we come from and where we go to, without restraints, is unique and precious. It offers us a studio to paint our world into view.
Just today while receiving some healing touch, a scripture came to me: "seek first the kingdom and all these things will be given to you" (Luke 12:31). I used to think the kingdom was outside of me, but the way it was delivered during this session, it was clear that Spirit was calling me to go deeper within to find what I am looking for. The kingdom is within the restraint, and when we find it, we find the whole. When we dig deep enough, consistently enough, without wavering, more water can come in, Divine time, to fill the hole that we have created.
We can enjoy this in-between space when we realize it does not last and no matter how it looks, it adds to who we are. We take the time to paint when we connect with our impermanence and take a peek into how all the experiences give us more depth.
Because this space is unique, all kinds of lessons come to meet us here, to grow us here. Things we would rather not see or hold greet us from day to day. And as much as we would like to have control over all of our experiences, we can not.
One can not deny that we would at times like to throw off the shackles and dart for the highest hills of solitude when we feel this out of control-ness. It's that, or we want to punch someone in the face. This space in between does not gift us with certainty that all will be what we want or expect. This is yet another restraint that keeps us looking for the moment when we will know again, love again, and ultimately be free, again. The harsh realities we meet are not the end, but a temporary and necessary middle road.
We take the time to paint in this uncertain space because it helps us to make the best of the experience. It helps us make the house a home, a temple, a mosque, a living sanctuary. It helps us to see more of who we are. No matter how temporary, we are here to live, to grow Consciousness, to contribute our own color to the rainbow. We can not paint beauty into our space focused solely on the restraints as uncomfortable trappings, though at times that may be how they feel.
Restraints can also present us hard truths.
Our truth is fluid because We are the filter, a perspective. In which case, then it can be contained and when it is contained, it can only grow as big as its container. However, there is an Ultimate Truth, which is seen in action, through experience, Shakti that moves in and around and can not be contained, but witnessed and felt. Sometimes when we glimpse it, we are stunned by what we see. The real hard Truth is not meant to be held, so therefore why it is hard to behold, until we come back to the part of us that knows, that surrenders and allows things to be what they really are.
The edges are a means of protection as much as they are a means of care. We are being held and held together, all the time, so that we may have this experience. We don't always feel this consciously until the restraints remind us we don't want to stick our finger there, or ever again.
It can be easy to bump into furniture, or worse, when we do not pay attention. When we are not attentive to the edge, we can go over it, unconsciously, and wake to find ourselves falling into what feels like precarious situations, but yet ones that we have had a hand in creating.
Let yourself off the hook.
I have this image of a person with a sweater on being hooked to the back of door as it swings. Like a Three's Company skit where Jack somehow attaches himself as he tries to walk away. (If you are too young for that reference, here's for you kid : "Come and knock on our door// We've been waiting for you."
Not only do we live in the space between, we also have in-between moments. Moments when we are hooked to a particular restraint. I know this with regard to my health and diagnosis, going through the grief off loss with its waves. I know this with regard to coaching, or Yoga Wellness Plans or when I am in the middle of a Word Pic , or in the creation space before I actually put my pastel or paint down on the canvas to explore another vision. What about you? What are your in between moments?
It's OK to laugh and smile and have fun with all of this. Do you enjoy any of the restraints? Yes. Are they all easy? No. But some are. Even the Earth, Sun and Moon have restraints. They also have hard truths, though it appears that they really don't have a choice, like we do. How wonderful it is to be able to choose some things as we see them of value, helpful, and loving, if that is what we seek.
This Summer Solstice will be a good time for us to explore how we might find pleasure in the things that we are doing in between, and re-identify what the things in this moment are showing us that is a blissing about whatever restraint we are currently seeing. And take time to see and feel your shadow, too. The restraints that we no longer need must be seen and felt for them to fall to the wayside and be transmuted.
Some ideas on how to find your restraints, accept, and maybe even love them.
The breath fills the restraint of the body container. Take a deep breath in through the nose. Fill up as much as you can. Imagine you are breathing down into the body, like a ballon would fill up. Explore the pleasure of some deep breaths. Take them in an out through the nose, and then explore in through the nose and out through the mouth. What if you explore in through the mouth and out through the nose? What feels different about each filling? Can you explore breathing into the toes, feet, legs , pelvis, torso , neck and head, and within various places within each part of the body?
Thoughts move in and out as do memories and visions. When I started studying my dreams, I started to have more visions in my waking life. I started to see how my thoughts created only some of what I was seeing. I realized that some of the things coming in were not mine alone. But more importantly, I started to see what WAS really mine to hold, what would/ could be concretize(d). We are living an experience and we have an opportunity to see what arises and receive, and release, following what feels right in Spirit and in Truth. If we hold too tightly to what we think things should be or to the good as if it will never come again, we suffer. Let the thoughts, memories and visions (yours and others') come and go.
If we don't like the filter, we can find a shift in perspective. One thing that I am happy about is that when the day breaks, I am learning how to pick up myself. Some days it takes a lot of praying, breathwork and practice, but I am willing to see what is here now. We all can do this. Do your best to fall asleep in hope, hope for a better day tomorrow. Do what ever you have to do to find this most precious possibility, no matter how minor. At the very least tell yourself, with the help of the Almighty Creator of Worlds, "It will be better tomorrow" and be thankful that you are heard. Be thankful that you can rest the body restraint, and "God willing and the creak don't rise," as my dad says, be thankful you can try again tomorrow.
Give the restraints that are too hard to bare to the greatest LOVE power. Free yourself by giving what you can not bare away. I hold space for Christ here, for the Holy Spirit, for the Heavenly Father: the Holy Trinity, which is ONE. I welcome my angels and spirit guides to support me. When I open and close my hands, or shake it off, on harder days, when I pray that my burden may be light, I go here. Where do you go? Do you have a place outside of another human being to caste your cares? If not, now is the perfect time to meditate on what this is for you. Shift your focal point off of what you can do, and put it onto what IT can.
Consider spiritual text that you find to be of the Truth. All that I will ever write will be inspired. This is true about all text. But this does not discredit them or take away from their power. There is Truth in inspiration. Still, as we read inspired word, let us consider the source and their need to tell what is coming through. In yoga, the Yamas and Niyamas hold a special place in my heart. There are many interpretations of these 10 tenets that guide how one might be in righteous relationship to themself and others. The Bible does this for me, too. I find that of the many books of the Bible that I have read, I am shown a different me in relationship with Spirit and to other spirits. I know these are not the only places where Truth can be read. Be open to where this is for you.
We don't make it out of here with the body restraint. It is only for a time that we will have this container to fill. Recently, while on a Kundalini yoga immersion, this became clearer to me. I was on the stage demoing for one of my teacher's classes. I was appropriately nervous. This was not the first time I was to demo, but the first time I was to demo for him (in my waking life.)
I had had a dream sometime ago about demoing for him that left me smiling when I awoke. It was almost tangible. I knew at some point, I would be able to have that experience in the body, not just in the mind. As it was happening in my waking life, I realized the fabrications of the mind, how the dream differed from the actually experience, but they were also similar too, especially for one reason: Each time, I remember thinking, now is the time to be here, to smile, and enjoy this moment, whatever it will bring. Now is the time.
So we smile and do the work and challenge the body-mind, and we explore what it means to have a human experience as a spirit being. We would not be able to do, touch, hold all the things without the body. The mind can create many restraints, but it can only go so far in creating what the body can make a reality. Not only is the body-mind a restraint, it is also a place we get to call home. How fascinating that we get to fill these homes with our self. How fascinating that we get to wear them around, make love in them, eat in them, and have in-between moments with them. For a time, we get to show up as them as if they are all there is of us. Like a turtle, we get to hide inside and play, inside and out.
With my birthday approaching, June 28th, I am happy to show up for this 44th year in this body-mind restraint and play. It has been an interesting road to here, and I want to celebrate it with you. I will be teaching some donation classes to get the party started and to help us explore more of the fun, acceptance, and love that we can have in the body this season. Join me online/ in person for a class and let's set this summer season off using our restraints to smile, laugh, move and grow. What a gift we have been given!
Donation- Based Classes
Long Ek Ong Kars: This Friday 5:30-6:10 AM EST
Sunday Special: This Sunday 9:30- 11:00 AM EST
Sunday Restore and Realign 4:00-5:30 PM EST