On Wednesday I laid down on the shiatsu mat and cried.  My dear friend Kel curled up in front of me and held my hand and my shiatsu teacher, Nini, held my back.  I cried deep and hard. I let the waves roll though me with a ferocity that I dare not share. The whales of grief were there at the back of my throat coming from this bottomless well of dark clear black water engulfing my chest… the infinity of pain I have felt all of my life waiting there in a deep pool, but held by the pit of my throat, as if a slippery round peach pit caught forever there, a plug at the root of my tongue caught in a cramp where it connects to my heart.  

A daring leak… not all the way… but oh how good did it feel to let them hold me and let them see what was inside. It felt good to feel the pain. For the first time in a very long time, I was held.

They quietly held me, for an hour. Wave after wave. They didn’t try to fix me, didn’t try to get me to see things differently, didn’t try to stop me from crying, or cheer me up.  They silently sat with me and sat with their own grief as if mine had unlocked their their own wells of clear deep black water, just by being there. 

Shades of Gray and Shackles of Self Preservation:
Our Belief: Its good to be happy and bad to be sad.

I feel like a knot that had the ends tugged loose and the whole knot started to come loose… the places where the ropes were permanently dented and crinkled from the tightness… coming loose… Like a plant that lifted up my leaves and said… Look!  This is what is under here.  I let them see me and in doing that… I let go of a shell… a shell of “non-feeling” a shell of protection against pain… that was, unknowingly, also protecting me against pleasure… Life had stopped being so beautiful…my body didn’t feel that good so I didn’t want to dance… didn’t want to go out, didn’t want to cuddle, didn’t want to paint… things that used to bring pleasure had turned to shades of gray.  I wasn’t feeling. I was afraid to be sad, afraid to be a sad person with all that pain. there was no way to feel anything without feeling all that pain, so I had stopped feeling, stopped being vulnerable.  

Skinny Dipping:

On Thursday I went for a hike with a soul sister, we arrived at a lake and I jumped in. Everything about the water was incredible except the annoying swimming suit… I looked at her and from under my shades of gray and shackles of self-preservation and told her I could hardly stand my suit and was thinking about taking it off… then I just did it.  Feeling had come back… I dove under and it was like soaking in a lake of nettle tea… that nourishing.

Nisargadatta on Pain:

Questioner: Pain is not acceptable.
Maharaj: “Why not? did you ever try? Do you ever try? Do try and you will find, in pain, a joy which pleasure cannot yield. For the simple reason that acceptance of pain takes you much deeper than pleasure does. the personal self by it’s very nature is constantly pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain.  The ending of this pattern is the ending of the self.  The ending of the self with its desires and fears enables you to return to your real nature–the source of all happiness and peace.  The perennial desire for pleasure is the reflection of the timeless harmony within.  It is an observable fact that one becomes self-conscious only when caught in the conflict between pleasure and pain; which demands choice and decision.  It is this clash between desire and fear that causes anger which is the great destroyer of sanity in life.  When pain is accepted for what it is, a lesson and a warning and deeply looked into and heeded, the separation between pain and pleasure breaks down, both become experience–painful when resisted, joyful when accepted.”

The Absence of Story: A Yoga Sequence for Vulnerability
You are not any story you have ever told yourself about yourself. What you are, is the absence of story. That is why the Buddha said there is no self. 

Inspiration: Anahata Chakra
“The ideal situation for really understanding another is not so much how a person reacts to extreme stress, but rather how he or she suffers the vulnerability of falling in love.” 
– Aldo Carotenuto

Sutra 111.35: hradaye cittasamvit
By samyama on the region of the heart, the yogi acquires a thorough knowledge of the contents and tendencies of consciousness. 

“The citadel of purusa is the heart.  It is anahata cakra, the seat of pure knowledge as well as of consciousness.  By Samyama a yogi can become aware of consciousness and of true, pure knowledge.  He learns to unfold and tap the source of his being and identify with the supreme.”
– B.K.S. Iyengar

In this sequence we will be doing hip openers. Hip openers often bring up a lot of grief, self judgment, anger, and deep uncomfortable emotions. Have a willingness to feel everything without putting any narrative or story to it that will stop you from having feelings, any story that will make you feel less vulnerable.   Let go of control, let go of demanding anything on the moment, and be completely with the unknown.  AND keep your chest open, shoulders down the back, and heart lifted through it all.  Watch when you pull back against the vulnerability and move the heart to the back of your chest.

Adyashanti says: “most people believe that when you dig down to the deepest, deepest level of human emotional make up, the primary emotion that keeps human beings separated is fear. I haven’t found that to be true. I find that the core issue that keeps human beings experiencing themselves a separate is a desire and will to control. Fear arises when you think you have no control. Or you become afraid when you realize you have no control but haven’t got given up the desire for control.”

And on letting go:
“There is a very simple secret to being happy. Just let go of your demand on this moment. Anytime you have a demand on the moment to give you something or remove something, there is suffering. Your demands keep you chained to the dream state of the condition mind. The problem is that when there is a demand, u completely miss what is now… It is as if you start chasing the jewel that is in your own pocket and insist you are a beggar. When you stop insisting and put your hand back in your pocket, you realize there’s such fullness now, and the fullness doesn’t come as a result of anything.”

Yoga Sequence:

  1. Supta Badda Konasana
  2. Down Dog – Handstand – Pinchamayurasana – Uttanasana x 3
  3. Tadasana
  4. Surya Namaskar A
  5. Trikonasana
  6. Vira 2
  7. Utthitah Parsvakonasana
  8. Ardha Chandrasana
  9. Parsvottanasana
  10. Parivritta Trikonasana
  11. Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana
  12. Vira 1
  13. Vira 3
  14. Supta Padangusthasana 1, 2, 3 and Figure 4
  15. Janu Sirsasana
  16. Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana
  17. Ardha Badda Padma Paschimottanasana
  18. Setu Bandha
  19. Jathara (twist)
  20. Savasana with bolster under knees… completely relaxed sacrum