Lost Lake Whistler - water barely above freezing. It feels so wrong and also so right.
I've committed to plunge daily.
I'm immersing in the outrageous to remember what it is to be human. That's a thing I like to do. By facing the very unpleasant, I recognize that it's actually quite fine. When I step into the terrifying cold, I get to experience eternal okayness. My body and soul confirm that I am alive and well.
Then I feel impervious! I celebrate that I have the agency to choose.
Life is more than a series of good moments and bad ones. Being truly alive means having a wonderful openness to what is beyond that. Let's go there.
A month ago I made a decision to stop pretending. I was in a very dark place and I needed to fish myself out. I had been pushing away the reality that my relationship was failing, and I was hiding from the pain that it obviously wasn't going where I wanted it to go.
Somehow, I left.
It was very sad. But it was right.
I'm committed to getting back to living with honest, down-to-earth joy. And I'm willing to take care of myself first, even when it means letting go of something that I love. I'm slowly reconnecting with the quiet wisdom my body eternally whispers. I'm remembering what it means to listen, and to feel.
I am willing to go through this pain because I know that it's unavoidable. Pain is a fair emotion on the spectrum of my life. And I want to hit that spectrum at every angle and in every colour.
Onwards. With headlamps and clear light. With hashtags for clarity, presence and truth.
RETREAT July 6-8 in the Sea to Sky Retreat Centre - Living from Love
FREE MOVEMENT WORKSHOP May 5th Whistler on feeling your inner joy
SOBER SUMMITS May 26th hiking for the fun of it in Whistler WANDERLUST Aug 2-6 in Whistler - for Prancing Your Heart Out
BLACK ROCK CITY Aug 26- Sept 2 - Free Movement and Lifing so Hard
Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself: 'Is it true?'
At the second gate, ask yourself: 'Is it necessary?'
At the third gate, ask yourself: 'Is it kind?'"
Speech is more powerful than simply getting a point across. It connects us with other humans and forges a relationship between ourselves and the outside world. So speak truth. Be kind. And share what is necessary.
Keeping my foot out of my mouth today, and hopefully every day.
I used to think my life would be easier – better – if I could touch my toes. “When I can touch my toes, man, things are going to be different.” I’d get starry-eyed just thinking about it.
Unconsciously, lots of us think like this: Life will be better when I can do "x." (Have you?) But this belief is straight delusion. Totally insane.
It suggests that flexible humans contain more worth than inflexible ones. It suggests that people with tight hamstrings are bad.
That is plain crazy. We should ban toe-touching.
But seriously, have you ever caught yourself wishing for more flexibility? “Touching my toes” can become a psychological shorthand for “being a better human.” And doing yoga can become a trick to improve oneself.
Spoiler alert: Yoga does not exist to make you a better human.
Yoga exists to remind you that you are simply living. Within the swirling drama of life there is a calm, still space. Through yoga, you connect your mind with a peaceful, vital state of being. You discover that your life source is enormous - and it's the same as everyone else's. That's yoga.
So if you come to yoga to touch your toes, you may work and strain and push. Then one day you'll finally touch your toes … and nothing will happen. Zero! No celebration, no streamers, no enlightenment. Just your hands on your toes. And the same unchanged state of being as before.
So, come to life to be as you are. Come to stop struggling on outward goals. You are not an eternal struggle of inadequacy glazed in wistful aspirations.
You are here. Now.
If you locate self-worth in your hamstrings, you block actual fulfillment. Instead, cast inwards your choice to be happy and sentence yourself to satisfaction of eternal adequacy.
Free your hamstrings; free your self. Stop trying to touch your toes.
Are you making an improvement project out of yourself (and others)? Do you do yoga to make yourself more special?
If you have tied your self-worth to your body project, change your mind today. Come to yoga to accept yourself as you are. Witness the still steady space within you, and witness the world meeting it. That’s it. This is it.
While you’re at it, recognize the silliness of contorting your body in silence with a room full of strangers. Enjoy every second.
You've heard that there are 8 limbs of yoga. They are serious and useful: poses, breath work, self study, focus, meditation, external observances, internal observances, and bliss.
The 9th limb, I propose, is prancing.
Here's why: 'yoga' means 'union.' Simply, yoga unites you with your highest self, which feels like bliss and peace. Therefore any activity which leads to self-peace is a kind of yoga.
The holy grail of yoga is knowing all is well, and feeling deep peace. I want to tell you that you can get all that goodness from prancing, too.
Prancing, I've found, slows down my mind just like in a yoga class. It gives me the same self-awareness and simple joy as all the other 8 limbs. This time, it's fun!
(Prancing Photo by Matt Walker atop Skywalk Trail in Whistler.)
So, what is Prancing?
Like yoga, prancing is a tool for simple self-peace – but this time it's all about unregulated movement.
Prancing is Free Movement. It's a committment to move in unlimited freedom! You might start slow and loosy-goosey, then move fast and erratic. Sometimes prancing might be flowy like skipping, and other times robotic or stiff. Sometimes it’s all of those things; sometimes it’s not moving at all.
Simply put, Prancing or Free Movement asks you to do exactly what your body wants to do, even though your mind kinda thinks you shouldn’t.
You move beyond unconscious rules and habitual ambulating to express physically the fact that you are free to do whatever you want. (Because you are!)
However you do it, prancing ex-presses pent-up everything, resulting in surprising stillness and total freedom. Bliss. Samadhi. Yoga.
Did you know that Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you? Yes, you. Diligent yogi, at your exact physical level, Black Diamond Yoga is all yours. And it's fun.
Let me explain. Black Diamond Power Yoga is an advanced class that I teach Friday evening at White Gold Yoga. It's called "Black Diamond" after the steepest and most challenging ski slopes on nearby Whistler Mountain. As the name suggests, the class is stimulating and the progression is steep. And like the slopes, it's invigorating and inspiring.
To me, a snow-loving Whistler resident, it seems obvious that "Black Diamond" translates to "wow fun." So I was surprised when recently a friend approached me to inquire if she "could attend the class." She was recovering from back trauma and was nervous that she might be unwelcome or in over her head. It seemed that she felt less than "good enough" at yoga to join.
So I'd like to set the record straight. Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you. If you are willing to step into that room at 5:30pm on a Friday, you are welcome. Because there's no such thing as "good enough at yoga." Your interest in attending and being challenged and stimulated is requirement enough. Period.
I offer you stimulating postures and a challenging physical experience. It is at no time my place to judge your ability level good or bad, right or wrong. Plainly, I have no interest in evaluating whether you are "good enough" to be there. More pertinently, do you want to inspire yourself? And is an Advanced Power Yoga class a tool that will serve that goal for you?
Are you dying to express yourself through creative and dynamic movement? Do you love the satisfaction of a rigorous sweat? And are you willing to burst open the boundaries around what's possible for you? To learn practical tools for new physical abilities and deeper personal knowledge? To broaden the spectrum of your options and set higher the bar of possibility in your life? And to discover how to be compassionate with yourself as you diligently work towards goals?
If you answered "a lot" and "yes," then Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you.
Move off-piste, move into your deeper self.
Please join us. We'll be waiting.
Below is the correspondence between Super E and I, in which I explain why she should come to Black Diamond Yoga. The same message applies to you and every willing yogi.