Spirituality

Mini and Mighty Miracles

This morning as I got ready for vinyasa, I was looking at myself in my floor length mirror, as usual, trying not to notice any perceived physical flaws. I knew I was craving yoga and the dose of self-esteem I always receive when completing a practice. I was heading out early, thinking I wouldn’t see anyone I knew, so I didn’t do anything extra (as basic as they come for a Sunday morning). I actually had some eyeliner smudge still under my eye--a classy, and classic look, if I’ve ever seen one.

 

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Per usual, I got there about 20 minutes ahead of time. I like to meditate, stretch and claim my queen spot at the top of the class. My practice has gotten so much stronger in the last few months as I’ve focused back internally. I haven’t thought of him much lately, but sometimes when I’m in this studio, his image flashes in my head. We used to practice here together. I brought him here. ‘Breathe it out’ I said,‘*Put your crown on, he belongs to the past and that is where I bless him and ask him to stay.”

As I continue to stretch I turn my head to the right and unexpectedly meet his eyes, just briefly. It was as if the mere memory of our past had materialized him into the room. He shoots me an obligatory half smile and I automatically turn my head in the other direction. “Fuck,” I mouth silently to myself. I haven’t laid eyes on him in almost 6 months. He puts his mat behind mine, a little to the right. ‘There is the whole big, empty room,’ I think, ‘and he is posting up right there?’ Breathe, I say. Breathe, send love and release.

I went inward, asking for my strength to be present, asking for my spirit to be powerful and for my guides to be vigilant. I felt a space clear around me and I sat up, looked myself hard in the eyes and silently repeated my mantra, “I love you Nikki”. It was in that moment, as I allowed my eyes to land on his mat for a split second, that I realized what a shift had occurred inside me. I didn’t feel anxiety or sadness; not longing or anger. Like a person who existed only in your dreams; a hazy memory, just out of reach as the sun begins to rise. I can remember loving you and knowing you, yet as we share this physical space, I feel no surge of that now.

I had anticipated when we would run into one another, as exes inevitably do; I would've looked gorgeous, perfect, and preferably, would have a total fox with me. I would’ve felt vindicated, pity and complete closure. The Universe plotted otherwise. We collided where we first met, on our mats; how poetic.

I was stripped down, sweaty, vulnerable and alone. No defenses at my ready. And, I felt as if I was standing in my complete power in that moment.  Everytime I lifted my head throughout that hour, I looked myself directly in the eyes and held a steady gaze. It was better than I imagined, because he started to fade into the backdrop. I stopped seeing him, or even feeling his presence. I remember once he had told me that the goal after a break up is to feel absolutely nothing for your ex, then you know you’ve “won”. I don’t care much about winning or how I feel towards him; what I do care about is what I experience when I meet my own eyes in the mirror. And by the end of class, I had a ridiculously giddy smile on my face. I was completely free.

I had prayed for a miracle to untether me from him. Today was the day that I was able to graciously realize that my prayer had been answered. I sent up so much gratitude during savasana for this gift. I sent him love and I sent myself love.

When I was in the middle of that hurricane, I couldn’t have imagined a day where I would’ve experienced this and yet here I am. A Course in Miracles teaches us that “...forgiveness is the only gift I give because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give, I give myself”. I have repeated and practiced daily forgiveness and giving it to God. Turns out that this actually works. I have forgiven myself for the transgressions I committed against my spirit and I have atoned for those. He just happens to be a byproduct of that forgiveness and I am happy about that.

Our final chapter had been written and the closure that I thought I needed was just waiting for me to pick it up (like spiritual dry-cleaning). The Universe had conspired enough for today, and as we rolled up our mats and made our exit, I felt calmness in my heart. There was no drama and no gestures. I hardly noticed him getting up to leave. My focus was on me, on the joy I felt rising in my body. Miracles do happen, I thought. Everyday and in the slightest of moments. Just keep your eyes up and your heart open, and mini and mighty, they will appear. They are meant for all of us.

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*’Put your crown on’ is an adaptation of a quote from James Baldwin “Our crown has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it”

 

Interested in learning more about "A Course in Miracles"? Click the link below to learn more about my upcoming book club!

 

 

Mindfulness Musings and Rose Haze

Place: Aster Cafe

Time: Twilight, early summer 2018

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I’m straight Carrie Bradshaw’ing- drinking a glass of wine, alone at a street bistro, observing foot traffic and having an inner monologue about it. Feeling contemplative and in a twinkly haze from a glass of rose and the damp, liquid heat of summer coming in quickly. 

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There is a table of young 20-something women to my left. As I eavesdrop I place them at 22- just about to graduate college. One woman is beautifully dramatic and effusive in telling her friend that she had a successful interview as another one shares that she wants to move to LA to pursue acting, promptly pulling out her phone to share her reel. I’m definitely pushing some energetic boundaries right now as I get sucked into listening about another of the women’s boy troubles (also, feeling like an effective creep as I unsuspectingly listen while wearing earpods).

I have a knowing half smile listening to these women share their excitement for their futures, wondering, that if in a past life there was a 34 year old listening to 22 year old me? Having excitement and curiosity about what life experiences I was anticipating; having her own reminiscent moment about her 20’s. Sort of like nesting Russian dolls of nostalgia.

Sitting at 22, thinking I had a plan for life and having no idea what twists and turns were meant for me. What growth. What surprises. What love. What relationships. What careers. What losses. What spirit. What perspective. All I saw was possibility and the linear wins that mean the most to a young woman; a job, a boyfriend, friends, a life that all laid ahead. I had no clue that I was on a journey of shedding adolescent layers in favor of spiritual lessons and laws. 

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At any given point on your path, at any given age, do you wear that knowing smile for the younger women at the table next to you, but not for yourself? It’s as if we have the ability to have wisdom and compassion for the twists and turns we’ve already traversed but not for the ones we are traversing.

How do we apply the beauty and depths of our stories to our current reality? The answer is simple; these young women to my left have reminded me that everything lies in the now. The silliness. The dreams. The love. The friendships. The challenges. The wins. The fear. The opportunities. It’s all happening in this very moment. There is no way to predict the future, or change our past. We are not defined by either of these, yet we chain ourselves to that fallacy.

Our anxieties and fears as adults are a result of us leaving the present moment. This happens every day and there is nothing to judge when you notice it. Simply bringing yourself back to NOW (where everything that belongs to you is).

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Below are 5 simple tips for practicing mindfulness and allowing yourself to return to the magic of the current moment:

  1. Look at your hand. Hold your hand out in front of you and study it for a few moments. Look at the lines and nails and jewelry that adorns it. Breathe in this moment. Breathe into your hand. Allow yourself to be present in studying a tangible part of your physical being.

  2. Practice Triangle Breathing: Breathe in for 7 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and release it for 7 counts. Repeat this until you feel yourself returning to the present moment. Give gratitude for this breath.

  3. Earthing: take your shoes off and stand on the grassy earth. Feel the blades of grass on the soles of your feet, feel the coolness or dampness of the ground beneath you. Breathe into gratitude for your connection to Gaia, our Great Mother Earth, and all she provides for us. She is our great connector; our only constant. That’s magic baby.

  4. Find a crystal that you connect with (I like rose quartz or opalite for this). There is no right or wrong way to do this, but only to follow your inner knowing (as they say ‘the crystal chooses you’). Hold this gem in your hand and squeeze it; feel the energy it emits and allow it to become your only focus for several breaths. Allow it to ground you into the here and now.

  5. Engage your other senses: utilize essential oils, an ice cube, a cup of hot tea to summon your spirit into now. Breathe into your senses.  Allow it to fill your entire physical body and then beyond. This is mindfulness when you slow down; you can almost feel the clock tick a bit slower when you breathe in deeply and let your senses be stimulated and awakened.


I drifted back into my present moment: sitting at Aster Cafe, the sun a bit lower, my glass a bit emptier, yet filled with gratitude and blessed ideas. I buy my 22 year old inspirators a round of drinks quietly and tell the waiter to give them my thanks. I was lovingly reminded that all we are given is this; this moment holds the promise of the next, but not a guarantee. When we allow ourselves to open our eyes, breathe into our physical and spiritual bodies we are almost instantly gifted the ability to broaden our borders and welcome in more. Mindfulness is not a fad; it is our infinite superpower.
 

With Much Love Always,

Nik