Category Archives: love

Love until all we are is love…

If we are to reach real people in this world… we shall go from love to love and peace to peace until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering. — Gandhi

Is the whole world simply longing for peace and love? How do we go about covering the world with peace and love? Should it start with each individual? If each person had a strong sense of love and peace in the world within them than surely this, in turn, would create a different world around them.

Let’s start small big with you and me. Let’s do something to claim our peace and love today. Things we can do:

1. Read inspiring quotes like this one:

My love, he is here inside. He does not leave, He doesn’t need to arrive. — Mirabai.

Know that you never have to go far to feel love. All you have to do is go within.

2-6. Sing. Dance. Sweat. Laugh. Be creative.

7. Write:

I want a peace poem to exist within the spaces between our breath. I want our love to merge into a living breathing artform and our insides to vibrate sonnet-like love. I want to love until all we are is love…

I want to tag the moon and have it play chase with me all night. Imagine what the moon must feel like: majestic velvet expansiveness.  I want to be that. I want to lean into the moon, the trees, the beauty surrounding me and find out their secret. How are you happy? Why are you glowing when there is so much loss all around you and embedding you? Maybe they would whisper back, it’s simple, my love. Let go and love.


 

8. Release something holding you back: judgments, fears, emotions, the past.

I’ve learned that even when I feel sad, I don’t have to become sad.

Honor who you are in each moment. Be aware of how you feel but know that your emotions, fears, and judgments are not you. Emotions are meant to fluctuate and change. Observe them, recognize them, validate them, and then let them go. Meditation is the best tool to use to develop this process of awareness and surrendering.

If you would like to learn more about this, check out an enlightening article by Sally Kempton about letting go of sadness.

9. Pay yourself compliments often. Treat yourself to something you love whether that’s silence, a sports game, music, dessert, company, nature… Reward yourself every day with little things for the little things are in actuality the big things.

10. Practice Yoga. To truly embrace love, we need to know that sometimes, most of the time actually, our heart needs to lead the way. We need to trust that our heart is strong enough to stay open in the face of love as well as the opposites of love. You cannot protect yourself from fear/rejection/hate/abandonment without protecting yourself from love too. We think we’re safer by closing up when, in reality, the more open we are, the less we suffer. That is because being open indicates the practice of letting go and letting go is love.

If I’m feeling blocked and want to create the space to open up a part of me that is closed, I’ll come onto my mat and come into either a supported setu bandha sarvanagasana/bridge pose (block under my sacrum) or a supported matsyasana/fish pose (block long ways between my shoulder blades and another block under the bottom of my head; option: not to have the block under the head if no neck issues) and breathe through the space where I feel closed. A mantra you can use is a beautiful one I saw on @GaneshBaba’s twitter page: “Breathe in abundance; breathe out surrender.”

11. Help others.

–lissa

top photo: by ilsebatten.

bottom photo by risquillo.

What is YIOM?

Advertisements

Manifest Your Life


I went to a Manifest Your Life yoga workshop in New York City with Jennifer Pastiloff, a phenomenal Los Angeles-based yoga teacher. I first discovered Jennifer after reading her moving article about fear in Elephant Journal.

I have had few yoga experiences that felt as complete as this workshop. It was the perfect blend of guidance and independence, meditation and asana, and humor and intensity. It’s rare that I find a class where we do pranayama exercises, inversions, meditation, arm balances, twists, back bends, and flow and truly go deep within ourselves. Jennifer created a class of love and safety where it was okay to fall and fly. She encouraged us not to take ourselves too seriously and said we had to laugh if we fell out of a pose. She helped us to align our body and our thoughts.

What do you want to manifest in your life? JP asked. Get a piece of paper and write down one, ten, or twenty things you want to manifest. Be as specific as possible.

I wrote down seven words to describe what I want to manifest: whole, love, courage, acceptance, abundance, authenticity, and peace. I want to be a loving and open person no matter my circumstances; I feel like everything else will fall into place in my life if I have those two things.

Give voice to your dreams. Be in a feeling of that which you wish to receive. Thank the universe in advance for what you are manifesting. — JP

What do you think of when you think of faith? — JP

I feel faith:

when I am one with myself

when I fully embrace the present moment

when I stop judging and start feeling

when I let go of my fears and worries and believe in life; believe that my life will unravel just as it should without my controls or worries

when I embrace my love for me,

when I feel how connected we all are,

when I love, when I hurt, when I laugh, when I find the freedom in being.

What do you think of when you think of doubt? When you start thinking about doubt, what starts to show up in your thoughts and your life?– JP

I think of the fearful, guarded person I used to be. I worry can I ever be fully free of that person? I think of the chronically depressed, negative person I used to be. I worry do I really deserve to feel this happy?

I need to claim my power and let go of the past and fully embrace myself and my life. I am not my past. I am not my future. I am this present moment, this present breath, and I am capable of anything in this present space.

I want to live to my fullest, love to my deepest, and breathe to my freest.

When you ask yourself what you want to manifest, ask yourself does it feel natural?– JP If you’re dreaming of being a professional football player, do you actually have the age, anatomy, and determination needed to make this happen? Be realistic but don’t let your self-doubts keep you from going after your dreams.

When we were in savasana, Jennifer read Marianne Williamson’s gorgeous text about self-actualization.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

I felt tears come to my eyes as I felt fully embraced by my worth, my light, my love, my talent. The words Who are you not to be? kept ringing in my head. I’m tired of playing small. I’m tired of hiding myself to make others comfortable. I’m tired of holding on to the person I used to be. I want to live. I want to love. I want to be.

–lissa

top photo by ojaipatrick.

bottom photo by monbikke.

What is YIOM?


Undefine your fears

“I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

–Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, Dune

***


For most of my life, I lived in a world of fear and shame that left me paralyzingly shy. Shyness was the gate of emptiness I could not close. For years, I did not believe that anyone would love me for me because of my shyness. It seemed like people only liked me in those moments when I broke out of my shyness because then they did not have to face something that made them uncomfortable — the sadness and shame that was so obvious in me that they desperately wanted to avoid in themselves.

I became talented in pretending to be who people wanted me to be. My observation skills were so strong from my shyness that I could very easily mirror people and be their perfect companion. It was perfect except for three things: I was not happy, I was not myself, and living an inauthentic life is exhausting.

I clung to the idea that people loving me was the key to my happiness.  I made filling my life with people my occupation. It took me a long time to recognize that only I could fill all the empty spaces inside of me by being myself and loving myself unconditionally. I realized I was the love I was seeking.

One of the things I am most proud of in my life is this journey from shame and self-hate to my current path of self-love and kindness. I went within and faced myself and my demons. Instead of judging, I loved. Instead of condemning, I breathed. I have been able to push pass my fears so deeply that I can stand in front of a room and teach yoga. I can push past my ego and my past and be there for others to perhaps help them undefine some of their fears. Me, the girl who could not even blow out her birthday cake without crying and hiding behind my mother’s skirt.

***

We must travel in the direction of our fears. — John Berryman.

Rather than avoiding the things that make us uncomfortable or afraid, we need to delve right into them because they are the changemakers in our lives. Resisting them will only strengthen the impact that they have in our lives and we will remain stuck, our past dictating our future.

Go within and truly ask yourself what does your fear stem from? Understanding the source of your fears will help you to slowly unravel them. Take small steps towards doing things that frighten you every day. Often, fear is a perspective rather than a reality. Fearlessness is a muscle that needs to be strengthened everyday. Find comfort in things that fill you with fearlessness and love. For me, I found that comfort in writing, loving kindness meditation, and heart opening poses and inversions.

My affirmation to myself: I am enough. I am love.

–lissa

top photo by *Zephyrance – don’t wake me up..

bottom photo by Fixed Image.


you, me and sadness. two or three

elle, can we go out tonight  just the two of us? phoenix asked.

what do you mean it’s always just us, i said.

no. it’s you, me, and sadness.

and what makes you think it’s my sadness?

well, he pauses, it’s simple. i don’t feel sad when i am with you.


photo  by ArminBxl.

his lips burst into the kind of smile that temporarily short circuits the electricity within me; i tilt my lips against his to see if a wave of sparks could rinse between the two of us. my fingers arc to explore the curves of his stillness. they are such traitors. they love to touch him — this six foot five and a half (you must get that exactly right or you will be saltily corrected) almost three hundred pound magnificent man. my fingers don’t touch me that way. they dig and pick in their jittery desire to keep up with my frenetic heart. i’ll have wide-open spaces where my face used to be because of them… and he won’t even care, he’ll just push my fingers away like always and kiss each line in my hand until my anxiety rushes out of my ears and all i hear are the lyrics of his soft breathing.

i’ll just reach for the on off switch i keep in my jean pocket, i say.

you don’t have to.

i squish sadness into my intestines and hope that my digestive system will work like a car wash and scrub all my darkness away. but sadness isn’t water soluble; it always creeps back into my irises to show me pictures of all that i am not.

i am. i am. i am. i flash happy pictures in my mind to make it a war. i am. i am, i tell the sadness. sometimes, i close my eyes when i am with him and do this. i’ve even jumped up and down and done a semi-circle to make my point clear. yeah, i know — completely not sane. how do you explain that other than to laugh and blame it on the wine?

you are sentastic, i finally say.

sentastic? a complete sentence.

no, sensational and fantastic.

ahh. you know i hate when you do that, he says, but of course he doesn’t mean it — the grimace on his face is centimeters away from being a smile. i once told him that i make up words to describe him because normal, regular words don’t do him justice.  i rubbed my thumb against the back of my neck to give myself a thumbs up sign for that one.

we sit in a happy silence until i ask what do you want to do tonight?

i’m not sure, he says, looking around.

i really mean it, i say, about sadness.

i know, he says, but of course he doesn’t really believe me. he thinks i’m in love with sadness. he said it to me once when he thought i was still asleep, followed by i wish-i wish — and then silence. what does he wish for? do i even want to know?

his fingers find my funny spot and some of the water i’m drinking follows my giggles and slips onto my chin. you are the reason they invented the adult bib, he says and the wrinkles by his eyes soften.

thanks a lot, i say in mock hurt, and push him away. we sit in silence for some time watching the flickering colors on the television. i wish we could sneak into the screen. i could be clair and he could be cliff; we would have a team of writers in charge of making us brilliantly funny each day — no sadness allowed. we would sit in the kitchen with our charming children after a long day and make brownies together.

i look over at him, suddenly nervous — he’s said that when i get quiet, that’s when the sadness starts to emanate. where do you go? go somewhere different or stay here with me.

–lissa


a pumpkin robot (another letter i’ll never send)

dear k:

photo  by wottheduk.
i think i am a robot.

not the shiny high tech kind that a brainy person could build from scratch and program with enough happiness and frivolity to make billions of people happy. or the sexy, intriguing kind that writers like to ponder in their poetry. but a listless, lifeless, often redundant robot with limbs so heavy that sometimes it hurts to walk — if i’m lucky. but i am not lucky or shiny or sexy. i am merely a pumpkin robot. my insides stream out and color the ground a gentle orange; i am so empty that i wonder if i am dead.

i eatsleepwork but all from behind a trusty window. the days are so similar that i forget if it is monday or thursday. have you left me yet or am i still convincing myself that one day you won’t be angry and lash me with it? i could have loved you something wonderful.

i like to press my face against the glass and feel coldness push itself into my cheeks. if i wait long enough maybe my brown cheeks will turn a lush, soft pink like a baby. maybe i could start all over. it’s not like i have anything left.

i write the words save me into the foggy glass. i used to try to save everyone. i dreamed all the world needed was love to heal. people don’t want love though. they want food. they want their amputated leg to stop hurting. they want to erase the images of  gun shots and bombs that stripped their family, country apart. what can you and your stupid love do for me, they shout. i whimper and flatten myself against the ground — my pumpkin iron arms the only thing holding me together.

sometimes, i think there’s another pumpkin robot out there (maybe even you). i talk to him or her rather than to god — my soul is damned anyway. i know you’re out there, i whisper to her. the words you have to be float into the thick quiet.  roam the world with me. i know a perfect spot for dreaming where it never grows cold, the air smells like vanilla and honey, and you don’t have to wear shoes. the grass tickles your feet and you’re happy. you’re happy and it’s not a war to stay that way — it’s intermingled in each breath in and each laugh out.

come with me. we can paint our dreams in bright yellow and purple hues and string them together with band aids and the little bit of love we can muster from our rusty parts. we can fly away on them and never look back.

— lissa.


maybe love and fear are just streams of consciousness.

some people can’t love at all because of fear. i’ve met most of them and foolishly loved them all. this piece isn’t about that but that would make for an interesting line to some other story i may write some day.

Photobucket

photo by garry.

***

i am scared.

it keeps me awake some nights. my heart beats so fast i have to let it loose. i breathe tiny baby breaths that don’t go anywhere and stare at the ceiling wondering if this will be the night that i lose my mind. some times i’m flooded with fear.  other times i magically disconnect; i am all alone in a tiny box and i can see fear on the other side waiting for me. if each fear is attached to a thought, if i don’t feed them, if i could just stop thinking, would they go away and let me live a lovingly zombielike existence? i would love to be a zombie for a few years.

is fear something inherently part of being a human that keeps things from being too easy? maybe some people don’t get scared at all. they label fear as stress and thrive from it.

maybe i should love fear. i should make it chocolate chip pancakes and sing it lullabies. we should do things i always wanted to do like sleep in a dirt field with nothing but stars and crickets everywhere, think about the future and not drown in the vastness of it, be myself, confront my childhood, move across country, and read my poems aloud to strangers.

the poetry reading — it wouldn’t have to be a performance. i could read despite my shaking limbs and sweaty armpits. it won’t matter if my voice quivers or if i look at the floor for half of the reading. there will be that moment when i leave my body and enter the spirit of the piece when they see the essence of me in poem form. i will touch them. i will breathe the gentle fire that burns inside of me and dare them not to feel me. then, i will walk back to my seat, take a deep breath, and feel the self-love spread through me and chase away the fear.

–lissa


blender


photo by meg greer.

***

“i put your pancreas in the blender,” oliver said. “it spurted red colors so dark, they almost seemed blueish brown.”

“how could you do something so important without me?” i asked. “you’re not an artist. you’re nearly color blind. you never see what i see.”

it was an impossible conversation. “you have to see it,” he said.

he walked me to the kitchen like you would walk someone who had only just learned to walk. each step was uncertain like i was carrying the weight of an elephant in my calf. wasn’t this how being with him felt — heavy, inescapable? i swayed against him in the doorway, afraid to look, gentle back and forth whispers against the wall of his chest. for a moment, i lost myself in the movement and imagined for a moment that i was a young tree flirting with the wind instead of a middle-aged woman in a hospital talking to her dead lover.

forget i told you that part. i don’t need your pity. you don’t want to hear about the cells in my pancreas. i know i don’t. the sneaky little creeps that keep growing and spreading so silently that you would think they were the perfect house guests. you would invite them over for tea and sit and laugh with them until you realized they never left. they were the ones you felt beside you at night who stole your sleep as they dug their heels into your stomach and back.

oliver died of cancer too. damnit. i said too. “you’re still alive,” i whisper to myself, wrapping my arms around my body in the biggest hug i can muster. despite the years and miles between our diagnoses, the doctors used the same words to describe our cancer: unexplainable and unfortunate. did they all meet in a conference once a year that taught them words to use to convey compassion? why didn’t the words reach the blank look in their eyes? why is a woman who treated her body like a temple in the same situation as a man who smoked for twenty years?

oliver smelled like bubble gum and tobacco. can you believe that there was a time when i used to try to drown myself in that smell? when i thought i wouldn’t be able to live without being able to bury my face into his chest so deep that i all i could breathe was him. every single part of me loved him so much. if my toes could have clung to him, they would have.

somehow though my life got better without him. having my own air to breathe, my own scent to create, my own days to plan, built steps towards an inner peace that blossomed into a warm fire inside me that made me whole.

why is it then that now when the end is almost near, oliver is back crowding my every thought? instead of hearing the man coughing in the room next to mine, i’m with oliver again and we’re in our tiny brick kitchen in brooklyn.

“here,” he says, showing me the blender with a boyish grin. his eyes look sunken, his cheeks so thin, and his teeth are a stained dark brown. do we die frozen in our essence? this was the way oliver would have looked if you had turned him inside out. why had i lost so much of myself in this lifeless man?

and what about you, pancreas, i thought, staring into the blender. it didn’t look like the indomitable villain i had imagined. it seemed harmless torn apart into tiny little shreds. i felt a crazy impulse to kiss each strip and spread forgiveness with the warmth of my lips.

my blood was just as disappointing as my pancreas. it didn’t look bluebrown. it was a very dull red. i expected vivid ketchup colors just yearning to be scattered onto a canvas. i expected to feel different, lighter. shouldn’t the voids have raced out of my body without the vampire organ there to chase away the moments of hope each deep breath in and out brought?

“aren’t you happy?” oliver asked, stirring me out of my thoughts.

“yes, baby. thank you,” i said and brushed a kiss against his temple. “i have to do this alone though.” slowly, i walk away and my steps don’t feel like elephants at all, more like breathless butterfly flutters. my bed doesn’t feel like a hospital bed but like a hammock swaying in each breath of life. i don’t feel unexplainable or unfortunate. i feel alive, even if it’s just for each moment and i’m okay with that because each moment is all we ever really have.

–lissa