Northern California: Threads
Enlightenment can be experienced in fleeting moments. It is sudden awareness. It can be viewed as your mind making connections of accumulated information that you have gathered throughout life’s twists and turns. Obstacles don’t necessarily make sense in the moment, but if your path is truthful, in time, all of the randomness will appear woven together like a beautiful tapestry. Enlightenment is a process of building trust with yourself. When you make choices that are in line with your “higher self” or a universal principle (dharma), enlightenment is always possible.
This sort of awakening can feel blissful, but it can also be the catalyst for an arduous process of peeling back deep internal layers. Have you ever had an unexpected realization and then almost immediately after it spiraled as your mind made tiny connections of its relevance throughout your life? I’ll explain this process with my own personal example. My visit to Los Angeles reflected back to me my struggle with codependency. At that moment I was proud of myself for recognizing it's presence in my life. I foolishly thought it would resolve itself simply by just becoming aware of it. Sometimes that is how enlightenment works! However, if a behavior has become a pattern it can be a much longer process of unraveling. Since leaving LA I have been making these small connections and have become increasingly more aware of how codependency is showing up in my life.
Over the last month, we set up home in the tiny town of Nice, which is located centrally in Northern California. Nice is home to the biggest and oldest lake in California. It gives off real Ozark vibes, but if you’ve never been to the Ozark’s or seen the show (watch it) I’ll paint a picture: overgrown landscaping, a peaceful lake with little boat traffic, a mix of locals, summer vacationer’s and perhaps even some light drug trafficking. Our cottage was located on the lake where rolling mountains met the waters edge in the distance. We landed on this destination because it was a midpoint between other areas that we hoped to visit like San Francisco and Redwoods National Park.
Before we made the decision to stay in Nice, I was straightforward with Brandon about my concerns over living in such a remote place for a month. I was brought back to our visit to New Mexico and the initial struggle I had with being isolated. Even though I wanted Brandon to be aware of my concerns, ultimately I did not want my fear to dictate our travel plans. Personal growth is something that I am actively seeking from this year of traveling and it was important for me to prove to myself that I could stand firmly on my own.
I was able to lean into the first few days with ease. As hoped, it felt like a stay-cation full of sun and relaxation. That faded as Brandon began his first official work week and I was left with a lot of space. The voice of insecurity turned up. For the better portion of our time in Nice I found myself held tightly in the clutches of grief. I needed attention and connection, but rather than reaching out for help I self-isolated and got angry. For what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was probably a week or two, I was filled with resentment. Even though I was thinking irrationally, I did notice that the way I was perceiving resentment was new. Looking back, resentment was always there, but it was misplaced. This new way of viewing resentment was an encounter with enlightenment.
What I learned is that throughout this year I’ve been collecting information about myself. I’ve been self-reflecting and processing, but up until this point haven’t really been putting anything different into action. Had I not experienced dissociation in New Mexico, I never would’ve learned how to find connection with myself on my own. If the waves of San Diego had not taught me how to bring fluidity into this year, I would’ve forced the journey rather than allowing it to flow naturally. Through embracing feelings and motion, the intensity of Los Angeles energized my ability to identify my own desires, wants and needs. In Nice, the feelings of resentment were stemming from the fact that I was not allowing myself to receive love and support while I change.
Because I share so much on this platform it might seem like I don’t have a problem expressing my needs, but I do. I have wonderful friends and family, all who would drop anything if I needed them. I never want to be a burden, so I hold back from reaching out because I want to be respectful of others' energy. The truth is what I am going through this year requires me to ask for support. I have the most responsibility in making sure I am communicating how and when I need to be supported. In order to receive love, I need to show myself love, humility and compassion first.
This blog post is composed of many threads. Our visit to Nice was composed of many threads. My journey throughout this year has been composed of many threads. All of these threads are weaving together to form a tapestry. While growth is happening, I know that there are still unraveled threads that need bringing together. I also know that the rest of this process begins with me communicating more clearly. Since communication is not something that comes naturally, trust has to become a bigger part of the picture. I don’t know how people will react when I stand up for myself a little more defiantly. Will I even be able to hold strong? I’m unsure if people will actually be able to share the mental load when I am feeling low. Will I even be able to take the risk and ask for help? Do I even know how to ask for help? These are questions whose answers I cannot know for certain, but I can learn to trust.
Just a week or so ago I was having a conversation with Brandon about how intimidating writing this blog has been. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to even start the writing process because I feel drained by the communication. In that same discussion I faced another moment of enlightenment. Even though the process is exhausting, through communication and continuing to write this blog I am changing. If I see the evolution in this outlet, with the same effort, I can trust that evolution will happen in other areas of my life too.
After all, making connections is yoga.
This month’s class is a gentle flow inspired by self love and is intended to create space in the hips, shoulders and chest. A set of yoga blocks and a blanket will be a great addition to your flow for added support. One of my yoga teachers talks about “bringing your friends with you to class.” Your friends could be an actual person, a favorite crystal, essential oil, a photograph of a loved one, a trinket or even a journal. To help tap into the energy of class, invite someone or something else into your space with you that you love.
PS. The video cuts in 3 minutes into my little intro chat (which I outline above). This process is really teaching me how to let go of perfection. Enjoy!