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I am leaving on my first summer retreat to Greece on Monday morning. Seeking the light and beauty of the Greek Islands with fifteen adventurous souls willing to seek higher ground. I am always open for the unexpected and feel that the opportunity to travel offers a profound opening for magic to unfold. Travel is not necessarily only an outer experience where the senses get an abundance of new awakenings; the travel I seek also nourishes my inner landscape and awakens my deeper soul’s need to grow.

This is been a difficult time in our world, and the past year has exhausted my spirit. It is so easy to be distracted and project outward with reactive emotions. To hold the space of opposites is a very important tool of yoga, and looking inward is the only way to have clarity when we are navigating our outer landscape. Polarity is everywhere, and I am saddened that dialogue and listening are being replaced with sound bites. The angry tension of confusion that what we think is right is wrong, and what we think is truth is not.

When we refuse to hold the light on both, we loose our balance and project from memory into future. I struggle with getting out of my anger when I feel gaslighted with what I hold as a moral compass. I grew up in the rebellion of the 70s, and my entire life has been to see the world with possibility and freedom. I believe in women, the power of voice, and the integrity to have one.

I have to remind myself to come back to my physical breath and witness how I am contributing to this disharmony with my thoughts. I will not lose my voice, but I can change my tone. I can inspire harmony within my thoughts and go to the opposite.

In the yoga sutra 2.33: Vitrka-Badhane Pratipaksa-Bhavanam, when we are bound by negative thoughts, the opposite thought should be cultivated. Rather than in indulging or rationalizing negative thoughts, Patanjali prescribes direct action, the cultivation of reframing the mind into a new thought.

These teachings tell us we have no idea of what someone is experiencing until we can put ourselves in someones else’s shoes. To walk in their shoes is to get out of our own way. If there is fear, cultivate courage or confidence. Where there is doubt, cultivate an inner confidence of knowing truth. Where there is hatred, cultivate compassion and kindness. 

We can extend ourselves beyond our typical ways of approaching things. Learn by doing and make effort to move beyond our normal habit of thought. We must be willing to risk being awkward and uncomfortable when moving into a new way of handling a situation.

Perhaps sit and listen to someone that sees differently. In my own family, I am at times a lone pioneer in seeing outside the box. Growing is my soul desire, but living my best self means sometimes I am just wrong in my thinking! I have found myself moving into judgement. 

At other times, I find my moral compass is strongly activated to speak and act in kindness, but I refuse any collusion towards bullying, defending or shaming those that proceed to put me into a box. Name calling is harsh, and it hurts. I will try and listen and be present, that is my yoga practice.

I hope that as the heat of summer continues to warm our sweet planet, we can find a way to cool the agitation of our differences and meet at a place of balance, holding onto the conscious awareness that life is only a pair of opposites.  As life is only pairs: sun and moon, light and dark, inner and outer, small self and the greater self, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and inhale and exhale. In its pure state of being, life is wholeness.

When we hold this awareness, as the mind moves deeper into a state of yoga, we find an inner state of balance. Yoga is tools for seeking balance. Please look inside and appreciate the grace of the present moment to respond as loving and compassionate listeners as we proceed forward in love.

May this summer bring sweet opportunities for travel, not only to distance lands, but into the vast inner landscape of our true selves. Let's be willing to keep growing and extending the olive branch of forgiveness. Let go of resistance, fear, and live in peace. Happy summer!!

Love and light,

Laura Jane