Boomerang

I am back in my hometown of Sicamous after being away for fifteen years. I originally left to go to school and then stuck around after I started working. I had lots of adventures while living away but when my landlords decided in their wisdom to kick my roommate and me out so that they could put their daughter into our place, I decided that it was time to pull back away from my life in Kelowna.

So, I am back home with my parents and working remotely for my job. It’s nice having a quiet place to work. I have a nice desk and computer to work on and the constant company of Dexter, my dog. He’s loving being out here in the countryside. He’s got so much more room to run around and there are people around him all the time. He doesn’t have the hours of loneliness that he had when I worked out of the office.

I finally have stable ground by which to stand on in order to continue on with my schooling. I had planned on going back this fall for classes but this move ended up being a bit more costly than had thought it would. It took three truckloads, one large trailer, and about five full carloads to get me moved. The longer you stay in one place, the more stuff you collect. I ended up with a lot of stuff to deal with after being in Kelowna for fifteen years. I don’t intend to pick up any more stuff while I am settled in Sicamous, I don’t really need it.

I have been settled in for a week now and it’s a little strange still being back. I had never intended on returning here but here I am. It was blazing hot yesterday and so I drove to Silver Sands Beach Park just to take a quick dip in the lake. I haven’t been able to enjoy this summer at all since this whole movement started. It was the first time I feel the freedom to enjoy myself.

The term “boomerang” in regards to children who move home after living away, has been used in a negative way. I can understand why since there’s a huge stigma attached to moving back in with your parents once you have been on your own for a while. It’s seen as a “failure”, like you can’t make it on your own. Yeah, I can’t make it on my own and I didn’t have any support from my network in Kelowna who could help me because most of them are in a similar situation. So instead of making my life harder and stressing me out more, I pulled back to a place of safety and if you think for one moment that I regret this, you couldn’t be more wrong.

I knew that change was coming for me for a while now and I just needed a catalyst that I could not control to make it happen. I had been planning on joining the RCMP in the coming year but that changed once I completed my research on it. I won’t be joining as an officer but my goal is still to join them as a civilian. Once I get enough saved up, I will be returning to the UBC-O to complete the archeology training that I didn’t get to do when I was in school. I already have a degree so everything that I take from here on out will just be adding to that degree. The end game is to continue living at home, commute to school, and work part-time on the weekends.

In the meantime, I am paying off my car and settling into a more quiet life. Well, quiet enough for someone who enjoys going on road trips and camping.

Moving Update

After much thought and planning, I will being moving back into my family home and I will be working remotely. It all came down to a matter of numbers and cost of living. To be frank, Kelowna is just to damn expensive to live in. The rent is insane, the utilities are outrageously expensive in West Kelowna, and the traffic is getting to be a headache.

By moving home, I will be able to reduce my cost of living to a fraction of what I have been paying in Kelowna that last eight years. This will give me the ability to drop more into my monthly payments on my car to get it paid off faster. I only have 2.5 years left on it on my current payments, which I can then drop to a year if I double my current payments.

Working from home will also drop my others costs. I will no longer need to pay the extra insures for to and from work, I won’t need to pay the gas for commuting. Not to mention it will cut down on my habit of eating out at lunch. I can reduce my phone plan since I will have a landline with a good long distance plan. There only one major utility to pay for.

I moved to Kelowna in the fall of 2003 and I have been here since. I had been feeling like Kelowna is getting to be too expensive for a long time now but my job didn’t have the option to go remote before. We only recently started offering it and while I was resistance to the idea of moving home due to the stigma attached to it, I am actually looking forward to getting out of Kelowna for a while.

It’s going to be a bit of a major lifestyle change for me, going back to living a little more remote and not in a urban setting. Working from home will be the first major change. I am working with my parents to set up a special room in our house for an office for me. They have been busy getting it cleaned up and painted. Considering that it hasn’t been painted since we built the place in 1986, it’s long overdue for a renovation. This move gave us the excuse to do it.

The second major change will be the shift from independent living to living with my family again. I have been so used to doing everything on my own for so long that it will be nice to be a part of a team again. As much as I enjoyed living with friends, there wasn’t the same sense of responsibility with my friends as there is with family. Taking care of a house is a lot of work and it takes a team effort. It would have been different if I had lived alone and making my own mess but when you have more than one person, it takes everyone to do that part.

There is some strange anxiety over this move. I am going to be downsizing my belongings that I have needed to keep a whole household but I will be moving into a much larger space. It’s kind of nice getting rid of the things I no longer need but I will miss having my own space. I don’t know what my future will be or how things are going to play out.

A change in the wind

For all my best laid plans for 2018, they all just got a serious blow. I was issued a end of tenancy from my landlords because they want to move their daughter into our place. They said that they looked for a different place for her for September but couldn’t find anything. Of course they couldn’t, there won’t be any places up for September until at least July or August.

Kelowna is a hell of a town for trying to find a decent place to live for a decent rent. I love my current place and and I have been there for six years now. I am very upset to be moved out because of this. I have three months to find a unicorn of a new place to live.

That all being said, I have a backup plan. I just happen to work for a company that has the ability for me to work remotely. If I can secure a remote position, even just for a short time, it will allow me to move back in with my family in Sicamous. While I am there, I can put more focus on paying off my debt and help my parents out while I am there.

While I will definitely try to find a place in Kelowna, I no longer need to stress about not having a roof over my head or having to find a place for Dexter, my dog. This is a good place to move forward from.

So, if you are one of my old friends from Sicamous, this is a heads up! You might be seeing me around again and I would very much like to touch base with you.

Summer Fiction Challenge

Summer is here!

For me that means busy weekends filled with camping, going to the lake, and having friends over for beers and BBQ.

This summer, I wanted to try out a special challenge. You see, I have been working on this idea for a story for years and I figure, I will try writing a section of the story each week during the summer. Kind of like how you have TV shows that update weekly, I am going to try this.

I already have a tone of work done for it but I want to try and share the writing process with you and get live feedback about the characters and story.

Welcome to town of Shady Cove!

It’s a normal town with normal small town problems. The town also hides a dark secret. Everyone knows, you don’t take your boat out in the mist and you don’t go swimming during a full moon.

 

Nature Connection

Understanding our biology as humans is incredibly important to me. Our bodies are our best teachers in how we connect to our environments. Recent studies show that our bodies are not as equipped to handle the daily stresses we have been putting them into in our new technological and developed age. It’s starting to manifest in symptoms of mental illness such as anxiety.

These days, a doctor will try to subscribe to you a pill to cure your mental illness and treat the symptoms of it rather than trying to figure out what is causing the illness at the root. Now, this is not to discredit some of the more serious mental illnesses that are caused by chemical and hormonal imbalances which do require some more advanced medical help. That being said, those serious mental illnesses still need a deeper level of therapy and understanding in order to cope with them.

I do not have a diagnosed mental illness but I can recognise that I have the symptoms of anxiety and depression. I have seen varying degrees of these symptoms in others and can place myself on a scale of sorts. There are times when I don’t want to leave my house because my will to do so is just not there. Then there are days when all I want to do is be around people, talk with them, and socialize. I am thankful that I am starting to recognize my patterns.

I have been doing some reflecting on where I grew up and what kind of a life I lived in my formative years. I lived out in the countryside and a fairly remote area of my hometown. I spent a lot of time on my own keeping myself company. This is where I developed a very active imagination and a knack for storytelling. The upside to this lifestyle was that I feel very at home with myself and moreover, when I am out in nature. I cannot tell you how many hours I spent outdoors growing up.

Whenever life got too stressful, I would take a walk and sit down by the river that was only a mile away from my home. I would take my dog for protection and that’s it. Somethings don’t change, I still go out into nature with my dog when I need to ground myself. These days, I tend to go to a dog park so that my dog can run around while I sit and meditate. There’s a great one next to a creek just on the outside of town.

Sometimes, all I need is to just sit outside on my patio in order to ground myself after a long stressful day at work. Just sitting and watching my dog play in the backyard or listening to the breeze through the wind chimes is enough for me to feel more relaxed. I will miss being able to do that once winter settles in. Granted, if I wanted to fire up my propane fire pit, I can do that and enjoy the warmth of the fire while listening to the stillness that snow brings.

It’s spring now and the long dark of winter is over. It was a hard winter for me and my dog. We didn’t get outside very much because it was too cold. I managed to escape the worst of winter and go on a trip to Hawai’i with my family. It was nice to get out of the wet and damp for a while. The last few months have been hard though, trying to get out of the slump of winter and a rainy spring.

Today, it was warm enough for me to pull out one of my dresses to wear. I knew that it was a bit of a gamble because of how quickly the weather can change in the spring. I have been able to go outside without a long sleeve shirt or a jacket the past new days. I look forward to getting out to my favorite hiking locations this week to enjoy being out in nature again. I want to reclaim for the areas that I missed due to my depression last spring and summer. I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to go swimming in the lake!

Being the Witness While in Customer Service

I have been reading “The Untethered Soul” by Mickey Singer lately and he talks about being the Witness and noticing things. As the Witness, you notice and let go and while working in customer service, I am blown away by the amount of negativity that gets passed my way each day.

For the most past, the negativity is not directed at me specifically but I am the filter it needs to pass through on its way to the appropriate location. Being that filter is exhausting when I don’t let it pass through me. I am a sensitive person by my nature, I have only learned to build up resistance to it as a defense mechanism. I am learning now that those defenses take a lot more energy out of me than they protect me from.

I am trying a couple of things this week to try and learn to sit with the negativity that gets blown my way. The first is to notice each time a feeling or reaction is stirred up in me. Once I notice it, I am giving it a name like: guilt, fear, insecurity, shame, anger, disgust, humor, pain, joy. For the time being, I have only been noticing the more negative emotions and feelings but it’s been helpful to label them. By labeling the feelings, I am able to bring myself back up into my higher brain functions which keeps me out of the stress response lower brain functions.

After I have labeled the emotional response, I take in a large breath and say: “Let it pass through me,” and imagine the feeling to disappear on the exhale. Sometimes this takes more than a few breaths in order to feel the emotions pass. It’s been helpful to try this and believe me, I see and listen to a lot of unnecessary negative feedback during a shift. It’s part of the job but the trick is letting the feelings it brings up in me go.

This could honestly be a game changer for me in many aspects of my life. Even just now, I saw a black VW golf drive down the highway, the car driven by my ex and it brought up all kinds of stuff and I just labeled all the feelings: regret, pain, abandonment, hurt, betrayal and took a deep breath and allowed the feelings to pass through me. I don’t know that I would have noticed it if it hadn’t been an example in the Untethered Soul as a trigger. Of course, thinking back on it now – every time I see a black VW golf of a certain generation, I get all kinds of feelings. Now I have something to use to help me get passed those feelings.

Being in customer service may give me the best amount of experience I need in order to master this practice. It’s too bad that it took me two years to really “get” the practice and understand it. I mean, it’s one thing to be told this is what you can do and it’s another to understand how I can put that into practice. It might be that I needed someone else to explain to me how to use the tools because for some reason when my teachers tried to explain it, I wasn’t grasping the how-to. “Ride the wave,” they would say but I still get the feeling of what the wave was and now after reading “The Untethered Soul” by Mickey Singer and listening to videos from Carrie-Anne Moss on her Annapurna Living site, I am starting to get it. “These are the deep practices,” my teachers would say and yes they are but I know now that when I was learning them, I wasn’t ready to put them into application and practice.

Sādhana

Sādhana in Sanskrit literally translates to, “A means of accomplishing something.” It is the term given to basically any spiritual exercise, physical or otherwise. Sādhana can be your asana practice, your meditation practice, your dialogues with colleagues, your spiritual writings, prayers, trance work, dancing, whatever you want it to be.

I haven’t thought much about Sādhana in a long time and since migrating my yoga blog post to my new website, I am getting a chance to read over my older posts. I wrote this one about Sādhana journaling over a year ago and I would like to expand upon it now that I have had some shifts take place in my own life. To be honest, I haven’t spent a lot of time in understanding the deeper meaning of Sādhana or my yoga practice in the last few months. I have been too focused on getting my feet back under me and figuring where to go next. Logically, I know that my Sādhana would have helped me but I was too much in my lower brain to even get that far.

I am not teaching yoga at the moment, at least not to anyone but myself. I am my own teacher right now and believe me, I am enough of a student for myself. I have been reviewing my text books, drawing on new inspirations, and making new connections that I didn’t get the first time around.

When I was in my yoga teacher training, my teachers had us do a journaling exercise at the end of each of our own Sādhana practices. It was a way for us to keep track of any changes or shifts in our practice.

As a yoga practitioner, it’s easy to forgot any progress you may have made in your previous practice. Here are a few journaling props that my teachers gave us to help keep track of own Sādhana:

How long did you practice for? Was that enough time or did you feel like you needed more?
Did you have an intention set before your practice and what did you want to focus on? (Intentions can be anything from focusing on your breath, achieving a peek pose, finding your edge, mindfulness of details, etc.)
Did you have any areas of tightness in your body? Did you feel any energy blocks?
Did you feel areas of your body open up more? Where did you feel energy moving?
Did you come across any challenges in your practice?
Were there any experiences that you would like to take with you and apply it to your time off the mat?

You can use these questions to help improve your yoga Sādhana time both in your home or if you are taking regular classes. I recommend that you keep a journal with you for when you finish your practice and write down what you experience before you lose it. I would also recommend that you journal how you are feeling before you start your Sādhana.

While my first experience with Sādhana was in regards to my daily yoga practice, I have tried to bring Sādhana into my great spiritual practice which includes journal writing, meditation, and asana. I would say that those three practices are the pillars of my spiritual practice and that they are my Sādhana.

I am an avid journaler and I love the process of putting ink onto paper and getting my thoughts, feelings, and emotions out where I can see them. Over the summer, I did a lot of journaling in a special journal that I made myself to help be process the grief, anger, and hurt I was feeling. Once those feelings had passed and I let them go, I went over those pages again but this time I pasted over them with messages of love and release. In a sense, I was doing my Sādhana through my journaling.

I am not great at doing a daily journal and I have a hard time keeping up with things like: Write ten things you are grateful for today. As promising as a gratitude list is, I find it doesn’t work for me. I end up repeating the same things everyday and it looks more like a shopping list to me. I can certainly pick one thing a day and for someone like me who has trouble finding things to be grateful for, it might be that I should stick to one until I feel like I have more than one.

My journal practice is more of a weekly practice or when I need it. Sometimes I journal daily and other times it’s once a week or every two weeks. I am not exactly regimented with anything that I do. I also keep a bullet journal to help keep me focused on the tasks, events, and activities I would like to complete. I use the bullet journal to help me set intentions for the week, month, and year. I try to keep one journal a year and I am currently working on my fifth one. However, I only started using the bullet journal method just over a year and a half ago.

My meditation practice is spotty at best. While I have been a bit more regular with it as of lately, I have not been traditionally good at keeping it regular. I had opted for distractions such as internet time, watching movies, or reading books to keep me occupied. As of late, I have been trying a timer of five minutes a day to sit and meditate at my altar. I have been using some of the elements that I am learning about in the book “The Untethered Soul” by Mickey Singer, a book that was referenced a great deal during my yoga teacher training. It’s been challenging but I have already felt a bit of a shift.

As for my yoga practice… Well, that’s been basically not happening for months now. Not since I got back from vacation. I can make all the excuses I want in the world but I know the truth of the matter. I haven’t felt like getting down onto my mat. I want to but that’s not enough. Wanting to do something is never enough, I need to actually do it. As of late, I have been able to get to the gym on a regular basis and that’s been helping my body but it’s not my body that needs help now, it’s my body and spirit.

I don’t mind being open about the state of my Sādhana and where I am today. It’s my hope that by sharing my experience, that I might inspire someone else in their own Sādhana and help them move forward. Sādhana is a practice and by definition is not perfect.

Radiohead: OK Computer

I remember when my brother brought home a copy of OK Computer by Radiohead. For someone like me, who was basically musically illiterate at the age of 13, I didn’t realize the impact this album would have on the music industry. I can remember bringing it to my technology class (yeah, we used to have those) and listening to it while I worked on my Excel sheets and thinking how futuristic it sounded. Maybe if I had been into Bowie sooner, I would have seen the influence in OK Computer but to me, it sounded new and exciting.

OK Computer became the soundtrack to my high school career. It was hidden in the movies and TV shows that I was watching. It was mentioned on Much Music as maybe the closest thing to a masterpiece in our time. I suppose it had cascading effects in the wake of the departed Kurt Cobain. Listening to the album now as an adult, I can appreciate it more than I did as a teenager. From the poetry in the lyrics to the composition to the arrangement of the music. The production of the album still holds up as one of the better albums that came out of the late ‘90s.

There aren’t many albums that stand out in my memory as impactful as OK Computer. I often wonder what I would have been like had I not fallen into the trap of gross pop music in my mid-teens. I managed to pull out of it by my late teens to take on musical wonders like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. It’s not as though I didn’t have access to all the classic rock my heart could handle, my father kept all his records while other people were getting rid of their vinyl at the time.

There’s been a resurgence in ‘90s culture in our society. I don’t know if it’s our rocky political climate or just the circular nature of fashion, but I see kids wearing what I wore as a teen coming back into style. I am not surprised that 90s shows like the X-Files are being picked up again and catching people’s attention. It’s of no surprise that OK Computer was a mix of influences of Jazz and Noam Chomsky. Known for his political writings, Chomsky brings attention to details in our society that our governments would rather us not look at.

If you have not had a chance to sit down and listen to OK Computer yet, I suggest that you do so. Not only is the album a piece of musical history but it will live on as a record of artistic integrity in an era of music when sales were more important than the art.

 

The Red Pill

There are very few films that I can say with any certainty that changed my life, The Matrix is one of those films. I was sixteen when The Matrix came out in May of 1999, at the same time as Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. I didn’t actually get to see The Matrix in the theater because I was a lame person back then and I only had money to see one film, so obviously, I went to see Star Wars. It didn’t take the internet long to react to the Matrix though and as soon as it was on video, I was all over it. I even managed to talk my local video store into giving me the movie promo poster when they were done with it; I still have it framed on my wall today.

It was the first film I actually read the screenplay for and I used to have the Matrix code as my screensaver for years. When the second and third films came out, I was there opening night for both. I remember that I cried the first time I watched Trinity die. Her death in the story took me by surprise because I desperately wanted her and Neo to have a happy ending after all they had been through.

More than enough articles, books, and Masters thesis papers have been written about the Matrix in the last 19 years. Since the films have so much philosophy and classic storytelling aspects in them, they make for the perfect case study. Moreover, the films were groundbreaking in their development of new filming techniques and technology. You can see elements of the Matrix films in every film that came out from 1999 onward. From the development of the bullet time camera to the rigs used in the fighting sequences, you can see their use in films like Lord of the Rings, the Underworld series, and Avatar – a groundbreaking film in its own right.

The story of the Matrix is a perfect example Joseph Campbell’s analysis of the “Hero’s Journey”. You have Thomas Anderson, who by day is your average Joe working in a tech company but by night, he’s an elite hacker going by the name of Neo, dispensing codes and information out to the highest bidder. Already, you have a character who is setup to go on an adventure and ready to break the rules. Enter the mysterious white rabbit, Trinity, who leads Neo to exactly who he’s been looking for, Morpheus, and the answer to the question: What is the Matrix?

Not only does Neo find out what the Matrix is, he finds out he’s the “Chosen One” and he’s going to save what’s left of humanity from their persecution from the AI Machines. Neo does not believe this is true, he goes so far as to seek answers from an Oracle to confirm that he is not “The One”. After nearly losing all of his friends and mentor, Neo accepts that he is “The One” and saves Morpheus and himself.

Eventually, Neo’s journey leads him to not only saving humanity for the machines but the machines from one of their own, Agent Smith, who became a copy virus which nearly destroyed the Matrix but also 01, the capital city of the machines. Had Agent Smith continued to expand, he would have taken over all of machines and destroyed the world. All that would have been left would have been Agent Smith and even then he would have died because he would not have had an energy source because he would have killed all of the humans in the process.

The deeper philosophies of the film were lost on my as a teenager, I was too wrapped up in the basic plot. Even now, I can’t tell you exactly what it was the drew me into the story. I know it wasn’t the love story or the hero’s journey. It might have been the puzzle of how the machines were able to exert so much control over the humans or all the questions the first film left initially unanswered. Eventually, with the release of the Animatrix as a precursor to the follow up films, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, I finally learned the history behind the war between the machines and humans and how humans eventually became the subjects of the machines.

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The Matrix is a warning of what we could end up doing to ourselves if we don’t take better care of ourselves, each other, our world, and our eventual development of artificial intelligence. I have no doubt that humans will one day give birth to artificial intelligence and we will have to face the question of what it means to be real, to be alive. We have already become so dependent on mechanization, it’s not so far of a reach to develop a new “slave labor” force out of machines. After that, it’s just a slippery slope to the world of Blade Runner and self-aware artificial organisms.

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“You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth.” – Morpheus

In my university philosophy class, my professor announced to the room, “By taking this class, you are choosing to take the Red Pill”. Those words have stuck with me because I actually think by going to University, I was choosing the Red Pill because once my eyes were open to the realities of our society, they could not be closed again. Even if I wanted to try to feign ignorance of my knowledge of how our society functions and just “go with it”, I can’t. I have been rebelling against the machine that is modern western society since I took my first step into the university.

Everyone, at some level is given the choice to “wake up” or willfully continue to stay asleep to the truth of our reality, our society, and the greater workings of the universe. There’s lots of things that have been developed to keep us asleep; things like the media, consumerism, and distractions like Facebook or video games. They are all there to keep you from realizing your full potential and keep you separated from others. Even the internet, what could be used as a place to free our minds is being used to trap us and control us further.

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The Matrix itself is a metaphor for the illusion of our world. If our minds were jacked into a sophisticated interactive virtual environment like that of the Matrix, we too would not know the difference between real and virtual. In a similar view, the ‘real’ is also an illusion created by our minds and in some spiritualities, we can transcend this reality to see the universe for what it truly is – energy.

If you want a real world example of the Matrix, the internet is a good place to start. With unlimited access to basically any information you want or could ever want to know, we should be able to use that for the benefit of all humanity. Instead, it’s being used to spy on other nations, influence the out come of major democratic events such as the US election and Brexit. More over, it’s being used to create new world markets and currencies which should in theory be a benefit for the economy but in reality, it’s causing new black markets to pop up and off set the value of what should be more stable currencies. More over, mobile devices and access to the internet pretty much from anywhere is creating a dependency on this information to the point where it becomes impossible to work without it.

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Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

It really wasn’t until after I had finished up my yoga teacher training that I really got the concept of “There is no spoon,” and its significance in regards to transcendence. A simple statement yet incredibly profound. To break it down to its most simplest core, there is no spoon, there is no body – everything is just energy, matter, and density. You are the witness and everything around us is an illusion. There is no spoon and the Matrix isn’t real. This always made me wonder if the “real world” in the films was actually real or if Neo was actually real or is he just another construct?

The films ended with me wondering how things are going to proceed now that the war between machines and humanity is over, or at least paused. Zak Penn, the writer behind the screenplay for Ready Player One and co-writer of The Avengers, announced that he’s in works with Warner Bros to create a new story to add to The Matrix saga. I am a little nervous about this since it’s not going to be worked on by the Wachowskis. I genuinely feel like Penn will not be able to do it justice simply because he’s not one of the original creators and doesn’t have the same philosophical mind that they have. While he’s good at what he does, I don’t think he’s going to have the depth that The Matrix deserves. It’s not about what actors you pick or the technology your invent, it’s about the play between the deeper message and storytelling.

Will I go see a continuation of The Matrix? If it has Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, or Carrie-Anne Moss in it – yes, yes, I will go see it. Because, if it has any of those actors in it, the story continues and maybe I will get my happy ending after all.

When You Can’t Breathe

I haven’t written about yoga or meditation in a long time, not since before I shutdown my old yoga website and moved it over to claradmunro.com. To start things off, I haven’t been doing a lot of yoga or meditation lately. For whatever reason, I just can’t seem to get down onto my mat. This weekend, I had been hoping to start up my practice again and of course, I got sick. Not the kind of sick where you toss your cookies, no, the head cold kind of sick where your throat burns like it’s being stabbed with a thousand knives. Then your system clogs right up and then you can’t breathe.

When you can’t breathe, you get light headed because your brain isn’t getting the oxygen it needs to sustain itself. For someone who is a deep breather like myself, I find that I can barely concentrate when I can’t breathe properly. Point of fact, I can’t do much of anything when I can’t breathe properly. This is why I would rather death with a flu than a head cold any day of the week.

So, instead of taking some time to work on my yoga and meditation practice this weekend, I started doing some research and inspiration seeking. I found a website called Annapurna Living – which is partially run by the Kundalini practitioner, Carrie-Anne Moss (you might remember her from such epic films like The Matrix). BC born, Burnaby home-girl, Carrie-Anne Moss created Annapurna Living as a way for her to share her Kundalini teachings and help other mothers bring balance back into their personal lives and families.

I come from a Kripalu background, which is a Tantric/Kundalini tradition but not labeled exclusively Kundalini. Kripalu and Kundalini are both what are called “House holder” traditions and have been modified for our current age to allow these ancient practices to be accessible to everyone. The basics of yoga and meditation are not hard to do and with a little shifting in mindset I should be able to incorporate them into my daily lifestyle. I learned how to do this during my yoga teacher training but I didn’t put it into daily practice.

I made a pretty big mistake when I was doing my yoga teacher training, I got into a relationship with another person. That relationship moved way too fast, way too soon. All the while, I was doing the deeply personal work during my training and I barely had enough space for myself, let alone take on someone else’s work. I didn’t know how to handle myself and thus, I couldn’t handle his stuff too. The truth of the matter is, I wasn’t ready to be the supporting kind of person my partner needed me to be and he wasn’t ready to be the supportive person I needed him to be. I can admit now that the whole relationship was just wrong and it brought back into focus how much I don’t know how to deal with personal relationships in long term and how much work I need to do on myself.

To come back to Annapurna Living for a moment, I have been watching some of the back videos on their YouTube page and there was a video on Having Empathy for Those Who Hurt Us.

I wish that I had watched this video a year or two ago when things were starting to boil up for me in regards to feeling like I was being taken advantage of during my relationship. Not that I think my relationship would have ended up in any other way other than the way it did because we just were not meant to be together. After the relationship ended, so the did the friendship. He doesn’t talk to me anymore and I haven’t made the effort to speak to him. I kept my distance from him because I didn’t want to continue the behavior of care-taking that I had been doing during our time together.

What I have taken from that learning experience, I have brought forward into my living arrangements with my roommate. I have stopped expecting anything of her. I take care of place I live in because I want to, not because I expect her to do the same kind of work that I do. She is not me and I can’t hold her to my level of expectations for myself. We have reached a balance in our living relationship as a result of that switch in my mindset. I like that place we are in right now and I want to continue to live there. I also want our place to be clean and open for visitors. With three hairy pets, I know that means cleaning the floors and furniture a little more often than once a month or even once a day.

Checking my expectations at the door when I enter into any conversation or interaction with other people is challenging. Even checking expectations of myself is hard enough. Learning that expectations are just another way we cause ourselves suffering has been a brutal lesson and my ego certainly hasn’t enjoyed learning it. Yoga isn’t just about the physical practice of the asana, it’s about bringing the principles into your everyday life that you can breathe with ease. Letting go of attachments to things like expectations is part of my everyday yoga practice. Go figure that it was a case of not being able to breathe due to illness that brought me the realization I needed to more forward with other aspects of my life.

~Clara