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a simple reflection on a complicated subject
by Sudha Allitt 2/11/18
The Divine Feminine is many things... She is the inherent creativity and compassion that flows through all of creation and that we carry in ourselves as people regardless of our sex/gender. All people have the influence of the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine inside of them. The masculine is logical. The feminine is associated with curves and is often illogical (not to be misunderstood as unintelligent as She is Genius). The masculine is stable. The feminine is often associated with flexibility and mobility (here meaning mental, emotional, etc. not so much physical although maybe). The masculine is hard and has rigid boundaries. The feminine is the opposite of those things. When we look at a patriarchal society, a society influenced mostly by the masculine, we are saying the feminine aspects of ourselves, our culture, our laws, our approach to life take a back seat to the masculine aspects. Logic becomes more valued than creativity. Defensiveness becomes more valued than vulnerability and accessibility. Rigidity becomes more valued than fluidity. Blame is more highly valued than compassion. Hate and distrust are more highly valued than love. Chaos and complexity is more highly valued than peace and simplicity. In spirituality, as it is stated in many traditions, especially Yoga, the Divine Mother embodies and is the essence of these feminine qualities. Although in truth she embodies all qualities, but that is a longer conversation. To be brief, Her application of strength is more aligned with power whereas the masculine application of strength is more in line with force. (Great read: Power vs. Force). So is the Divine Feminine an entity? Yes and No. It depends on what you need from Her and how you choose to see Her. She is called by many names: Durga, Kali, Mary, Hecate, Luna, Earth, Diana, and many many others. She is the Mother of the Universe, She is the Cosmic Consciousness, the Essence of Nature, the power that exists in and around all things everywhere, She is change, She is also compassionate discipline. She is many things. She is all things. She is Love and Compassion and Clarity. Clarity... such a great conversation.
HOW CAN WE EMBRACE HER SACREDNESS?
To embrace the Divine Feminine is to practice compassion, be open to your own creative self and expressing that in the way that brings you joy, balance and peace. To embrace is to rethink where you may be rigid in life and try on a different approach, perhaps one that is more flexible and that allows for the bigger picture to be seen. If you are too flexible already then to embrace the Divine Feminine would be to work on clarity, and acceptance while remaining committed to your own self empowerment work. There are so many things a person can do, but it starts with something as simple as answering the question "what is working, what is not" or "what in my life is harmful, what is not" and then acting and intending to re-establish balance where necessary, to minimize harm where possible and as much as possible. You could stop there, with lifestyle and a focus on greater joy, peace and self integration. You can take it to the next level and actively cultivate a sacred relationship through prayer, mantra, ritual, and perspective. As a child I loved to pray to Mary. That was the start of my relationship with the Divine Mother. Now I call Her by many names: Shakti, Durga, Kali, Mary... it all depends on what I feel I need to rebalance on a given day and to awaken a sense of my self that is empowered, strong, and ok to be me, BUT which is also of meaningful service to others, to those who are struggling. Swami Sivananda said "be good, do good" That would also be a great place to start.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW HER?
To know Her "feels" joyful, peaceful, sorrowful, full, empty, exhilarating, inspiring, lonely, complete... it runs the gamut of emotions. It is not happy happy giggly smiles all the time. It is sometimes tumultuous and disconcerting. At other times it is radiant and full of beauty. There is nothing that is not Her. At all times, knowing Her carries a REVERENCE and a HUMBLE HONORING. She opens ours minds to seeing the play of the imbalanced ego and the suffering it can cause. She also opens us to recognize the beauty. Kinda like when you see a butterfly breaking free from its cocoon, or when you watch the stars in the sky with awe... You know something destructive had to happen in order to produce something so very beautiful.
The "feeling" is, as She is, quite diverse and continues in its evolution toward a high level of unconditional acceptance.
If you would like to learn more about the Divine Feminine and are ever in our area stop by. Sudha has been practicing Her Bhakti (devotion) and studying and living Her wisdom for over 30 years and teaches on the subject regularly. Sudha also has several recorded satsangs (spiritual teachings) recorded free here: https://www.youtube.com/user/kulakamalayoga
Blessings of Peace & Abundant Joy. Jai Ma.
(by Sudha Allitt 4/9/2017)
today I embark on a journey
no amount of thinking it over provides refuge
only surrender to Divine Love can do that
not the silly love that requires only some part of you
rather an immensity that requires all of you
yes, obstacles are abundant
sun, moon, rain, snow, heat, cold, day, night
no matter no fear no doubt
i will be sheltered by Your Light
a path becomes clear as you walk it
a day becomes lived as you live it
a truth becomes known as you embrace it
you do not need to become
you simply are
the reason a path exists
you are the journey
each footstep is placed softly
every breath breathed slowly
it is you i walk upon
it is you i sing to
it is you i cry to
it is you i journey to
it is you who heals the broken-ness of hearts
calling us all home
always & in every moment
om shanti shanti shanti
What is it to be poor? To be impoverished? Most would answer that to be impoverished means to make less than the state accepted level of income each year ~ to live below the poverty line. Some would say to be unable to meet one's basic wants and needs. Most answers would have to do with money. There is however an even more important kind of poverty: spiritual poverty. Spiritual poverty is embellished by and also leads to suffering. It is a depleting cycle. Spiritual poverty is based in a lack of faith. Lack of faith is produced when we focus on the 'negative' ~ inviting the seed of doubt to set in the fertile soil of our hearts and take sprout. Fed & strengthened by negative thoughts, actions, environments, and circumstances, this seed produces a strangling vine that cuts off the circulation of positivity and leaves only a very constricted space where dreams can not flourish, knowledge can not be embraced and patience is near if not completely absent. After all, who can be patient when it feels like the life is being squeezed out of them? We can rectify spiritual poverty much more easily than we can financial poverty because financially we are constantly at the whim of institutions and individuals who sell us on the idea that money and their opinions about it have some real power over us, when in fact money and its institutions are false and imaginary. While we have some ability to move way from such institutions it is hard to find somewhere on this earth where they don't 'exist' and there are even laws in place to try and force the masses to conform to such ways of thinking ~ they are called tax codes, etc. Alternatively, spiritual poverty is rectified through internal awareness. It is truly not a complicated matter at all. To become spiritually wealthy stop all actions, thoughts and endeavors that steal your spiritual wealth. Stop listening to negativity. Stop taking part in negative actions that hurt yourself and others. Choose to care. Choose to be compassionate. Choose to serve humanity and the world. Choose peace. Stand beyond the reach of the opinions of others in any circumstances that don't serve your peace. Don't be swayed by their fears or by your own fears. You may lose a few friends along the way to reestablishing your spiritual wealth and people may judge you harshly out of jealously and fear but eventually you will realize that those people are simply not serving your journey any longer, other than through the opportunity to part ways gracefully and with great compassion. We talk about how the political economic system is failing horribly and we work to change that system ~ yet we neglect our spiritual economy, when in fact that is the one that matters more... and it is the one we can actually affect to our own Self Realization. Lokah Samasthah Sukhino Bhavantu. May all beings be happy and free from suffering.
#newyearseve #welcome2017 #goodbye2016
by Sudha Allitt 12/31/16
THE MORNING IS FULL OF WONDER
it is a pleasure to awaken each day
to open my eyes to a world of potential
to leave behind the sleepiness
eight hours lost to a process
recombining mental attitudes and stories
paces that must be paced
impressions that could be lifted
or left alone to simmer relentlessly
in a cup of ecstasy or a sea of suffering
where do we go when we sleep
how far away
how far gone
beyond but not past returning
obviously not a one-way journey
the mind is boggled as we return
to the same problem
on a different day
on a morning so full
of other possibilities
most of which have escaped us
in our own ignorance
and yet this morning so full of wonder
it draws me from my restlessness
into millions of alternate universes
where it is not so impossible
for suffering to end
happiness to begin
& spirit to be free
morning is the gift of possibility
mysteries that only time and intention will unravel
awaken with the intention to know the mystery
awaken to the wonder
(by Sudha Allitt 9/24/2016)
the breeze wafts its way through moments
scents carried on molecules with no boundaries
flavors of ice cream melt into a single pool
gelatinized perspectives wiggle and wobble
morphing into the oddest shapes
formed or formless
it is all the same
steal the face but never the spirit
suffering souls see limits
limitlessness is beyond the realm of soul
beyond the eyes
beyond the senses
it moves into a nether region
too full to describe
too empty to understand
so I will sit and watch as ice cream melts
as fireflies flicker
as the dough rises
and the rain falls
because there is no difference
between the miracle of birth
and the messiness of death
time is a relentless wanderer
pointing in too many directions
mapquest is just
too obvious &
doubt brings wreckless havoc
but faith is timelessly vigilant
graced in love
where do you go
when you know
this is the Truth?
C-IAYT ~ What it means to be recognized.
(by Sudha Allitt 9/8/16)
I am honored to say that I am officially a C-IAYT.
C-IAYT is a newly available designation for Yoga Therapists available via application and documented experience, through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).
I have been working as a Yoga Therapist for nearly nine years. One would think, and many have said as much, that I don't "need" the credential behind my name. My work speaks for itself. However, my reflection is this: When I began this service and this work, most organizations and agencies had no idea what I was talking about when I said Yoga or what good the practices of Yoga could bring about. A few took a chance anyway and signed me on as a Yoga Therapist for their clientele. The proof was in the pudding as they say and the work I was doing began to build its own reputation.
Person after person, child after child, community after community, hospital after hospital, school after school... The adults and the children I served stated that things were improving. Sometimes a lot, sometimes just a bit, but change was happening and they were noticing. Their lives seemed better, their health more robust, they said they were happier, and suffering less. Sometimes the change was dramatic, sometimes just a small seed was planted, which I lovingly accepted I may never see take sprout. I have complete faith it will eventually though and I tell them so. I have faith in them and I have faith in Yoga. Simply put, I am honored to be of service to people, to all beings, to the healing of this planet and her inhabitants.
I learned a lot on this journey and it wasn't always easy. There were no in-roads in my area (New Jersey). I had to speak in front of Executive Boards of hospitals and "prove" my validity via available research. I had to answer their questions and address their doubts. There was no credentialing organization (IAYT was here then but they were not yet playing this fuller role). It would have supported my work greatly had the benefit of credentialing from a trustworthy, member driven and socially valuable organization been available.
Mind you I enjoyed every meeting. I LOVE to talk about Yoga. But realistically, there is something very valuable in having a like-minded community behind you, supporting you and providing a broader validation of the work. I personally do not "need" validation, but others do. Clients do, doctors do, PT's do, counselors do, schools do, not every one, but many. It helps them feel more at ease with what we offer. It allows them to trust a little differently, with a little more certainty.
I may not "need" the credential but I am glad it is there.
So thank you IAYT, for recognizing my work and the work of Yoga Therapists everywhere. I am relieved and happy to know a good organization is walking alongside us, and in a way that will support and nurture the work of this amazing community.
So my reflection on this credentialing process, and the process of accreditation of our 870 hour Professional Yoga Therapy program (also IAYT), is that IAYT is doing tremendous work on behalf of our Yoga Therapy community. They are working to ensure that Yoga Therapy is recognized and accepted as a significant wellness modality with the ability to support health, healing and recovery, and at times even the curing of individuals living with illness and experiencing suffering. So I am honored. I am humbled. I am happy to place "C-IAYT" behind my name as a meaningful credential reflective of the work and dedication that has been and that continues to be.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti.
Click the above link and take a virtual tour of the ashram. A cool way to check us out before arriving. Impressive photography & videography. Many thanks and much love to VEER for their amazing gift to the ashram.
(by Sudha Allitt 6/28/16)
Don't use words to harm.
Don't use words that promote harm.
Don't use words that trigger fear.
Understand your choice of words
can hit harder than your fist.
Be full in knowing you know little to nothing
of the depth of the pain of yourself.
How could you possibly know
the pain of another?
Don't use words that further avoid that knowing.
Be humble and soft.
Be healing for the world.
Be like peace.