Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Healing in Confrontation

Aikido Wrist lock

Aikido: welcoming an attack, face the confrontation and choose the path of peace

On Saturday as Sensei and I worked on Shomen Uchi Nikajo Osae Ni, I found myself moving to the side when he attacked. I tensed up expecting having to put up a fight. After a year and a half of Aikido training, my body still reacted in an aggressive way. I wanted to distract him and take him off balance as soon as we made contact. I did not wish to face the expected confrontation. I wanted to move on and ignore the strike.

Yes, I often avoided confrontations.

As I spoke my concern to Sensei, he suggested that whenever a strike comes my way, I speak the words “thank you” to uke and allow the true gratitude to sink into my body. I tired. The words were forced and felt inauthentic. “Why should I thank someone who is about to attack me?” I asked myself. Logically I knew I am truly thankful for life’s little needle pricks that often ended up healing me in someway yet instinctually I cannot instantaneously be thankful for the expected attack. Instinctually I wanted to put up a fight or run away. Instinctually I cannot embrace the strike aimed to harm me. And instinctually I reacted instead of asking my body to act with clear choice based on connection toward a peaceful resolution.

I found more hidden aggression and manipulation within my body as the weekend progressed. I started to recognize how often I avoided confrontation in order to remain in the illusion of safety. I noticed most of times I distracted an expected attack hoping to avoid confrontation instead of courageously heading into a peaceful resolution. I realized I’ve always manipulated the situation so I can remain nice and agreeable instead of dealing with the facts.

As my tears started to dribble down my cheeks, I felt the impact of avoidance – with so much wasted drama and energy. Sometimes I have hidden from facing confrontation by running away from opportunities. Other times I avoided confrontation by half heartedly agreeing with untruth while manipulating it to conform instead of sinking deeper into my core truth. Recently, as my mother disagreed with my choices and started to create emotional drama to guilt trip me into submission, I did not remain strong in my core. Instead of saying no to her unconscious manipulation, I acted out what she wanted in order to make her happy – I avoided speaking my truth. In the end, so much of my energy was channeled into counter manipulations and I felt exhausted in the process while losing my own integrity.

I couldn’t help but think can saying “thank you” to an expected attack really help me in life. Can a peaceful resolution really result from the willingness and gratitude to connect to an attacker? In my gut I know the answer is yes as I have seen it over and over again – yet I still question if this concept is as reliable as gravity itself. Can Aikido truly be the tool that could transform the aggressive consciousness of our instinctual nature and bring us into harmony?

The body says yes.

May 24, 2010 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What is Love?

Red Rose

What is Love? Our ability to love and be loved is an indicator of spiritual maturity.

“Can you help me with my homework?” Jennifer walked up to me after Aikido class, “I need to write a paper on Love.”

I nearly laughed. With all the people in class she picked me.

“It is a hard topic and we can’t use a dictionary.” She seemed lost.

I put aside everything else I had in my hands and started to read and revise what she had already started. Her paper seemed superficial and confused. Her definition of love had elements of heartwarming and suicidal thoughts in the same sentence as well as feelings of comfort and jealousy intertwined. Suddenly I couldn’t help but wonder these feelings toward love are not only unique to a confused teenager but they are general views of what love actually feels like to us all.

Do you fear love or are you empowered by love? Do you juggle with mixed feelings of what love is supposed to be? Do you allow yourself to be inspired by love?

As I travel deeper into my spiritual journey, love has become an integral part of life. Pure love is the only way to live. What does love feel like to me? Here are just a few memorable stops I made along the road of love.

November 10th, 2008: “Love relaxes me – I feel softness in my body, steadiness in my heart, and openness in my being.  Love feels cozy, sweet and soft.  Love is tender, courageous and everlasting.  Love is yummy. Love feels like the most powerful yet gentle penetrating energy that transcends boundaries of body, mind and spirit.  It hugs me securely to merge with the bubbling joy of the universe.  Love lifts me up when I’m down, love waits for me when I retreat, and love amplifies my joy to share with the world. Love is a journey – a journey of learning to be, learning to accept, learning to allow, learning to embrace, and learning to love. If anything can be the miraculous healer – it would be love.”

November 17th, 2008: “As I walked out, the sunset glowed on my face while the ocean splashed against the rocky shoreline.   The salty sea air smelled like a symphony.  I smiled into the wind and thanked the love emerging from all corners of the universe.  The gratitude tickled me with a rush of energy that penetrated directly into the center of my being. I was naked –without defense.  I was free – without judgment. I was loved – without condition.”

November 24th, 2008: “I felt myself relaxing, allowing, and just being.  We are still connected and his right hand is somehow still under the grip of my tiny fingers.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I smiled and he relaxed even more.  I can sense the love and compassion glowing through his relaxed yet focused energy.  Somehow it felt intimate, foreign and scary.  I had to quickly retreat myself from his gaze. He allowed. I thought perhaps I am made of glass.  I may look and feel strong but I am truly fragile and can be easily shattered.  Perhaps that is too just okay.  Who knows what treasures I can find after the glass shatters.”

December 8th, 2008: “He always looks at me tenderly with such depth of love and compassion.  I feel so safe, sweet and peaceful when gazing into his eyes.  I am no longer afraid.”

January 7th, 2009: “Of all the people I know, mom has infinite patience. She was present with me, listened to me and shared my experience.  She didn’t analyze me or direct the conversation her way.  She simply just shared her attention and allowed me to express myself. I felt the overwhelming joy penetrating my body and knew that I was loved.  She never tells me how much she cares but she simply does.  She never preaches the ten keys to happiness but she simply is.  She never brags about how much we need to listen to each other but she simply listens.  There’s so much grace in such simplicity of being – not controlling, judging or demonstrating. Love is a state of being – neither a need to be showy nor an addiction to be in control.  Love simply is.”

January 29th, 2009: “He sees my resistance.  He sees my vulnerability.  He sees my indecisiveness.  He sees my fear.  He sees me. His energy was direct and forceful.  I found myself searching for a place to hide. The nearest shelter was miles away. Great! I am caught – with my mask off and nowhere to hide. I hate feeling so naked in front of him.  He sees through me and I have no choice but to show my vulnerabilities. Scary as it is, I know this is the next step of my spiritual journey – learning to love and be loved.”

March 11th, 2009: “He smiled and said, ‘I wish for your wish to come true.’ I felt overwhelmed with awe and didn’t know what to say. How could anyone be this selfless in such a simply way? I have never heard of such a wish and certainly would have never thought of it myself. Just looking at him I would have never guessed the purity of his heart underneath all the testosterone driven boyish charm. The amount of love he exuded became unbearable. I jumped up and hugged him tightly. His wish was not just sweet, it was breathtaking, heartwarming and divinely profound.”

May 31, 2009: “As I cried my tears wishing that unconditional love is more than just a myth, I couldn’t help but notice that I have longed for unconditional love. Maybe there’s somewhere deep inside of me that never believed it is humanly possible. Can we truly accept ourselves for who we are… Is there such a thing as conditional love?”

June 13th, 2009: “The way he mops the floor, the way he high-fives me, the way he accepts my imperfections, the way he draws happy faces on the sand, and the way he opens up to me as we gazed into the stars… Such simple yet profound gestures have somehow inspired my tears and connected to my core. Today I felt awakened and understood by the pureness of his authenticity. I was safe in a strange land. Somehow I found my doorway home.”

August 1st, 2009: “As I gazed onto my own face in the mirror, I noticed how smooth my skin has become. Bathing in a sense of appreciation and awe, I remembered how hopeless I was 3 years ago after nearly 100 stitches on my face. I look and feel more brilliant than ever. Unlike how I saw myself in the past with endless criticism and harshness, I now see myself as an angelic creation of God. The way my body healed itself is nothing less than a miracle. Even my scars are beautiful. The me I see in the mirror is the same me three years ago yet the way I see me is no longer the way I saw me. I’ve allowed more loved to flow in and flow through my life. I now love my scars and my imperfections as a part of me, a part of my defining character, a part of my journey. My journey is beautiful, it tells a story and it speaks the truth.”

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, love | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dance With the Flow

Why is Hula dancing so seductive to the soul?

According to one Hawaiian legend Laka – goddess of the hula, gave birth to the dance of the soul on the island of Moloka’i. The fiery emotional natural of the goddess is expressed through every movement within the dance, allowing the body to communicate passion, to capture a tale, and to sink deeply into the harmony of nature. As women, we long for a chance to express ourselves deeply and be penetrated by the forces of nature. Today, I finally got the opportunity to express the side of me through hula as I danced to the waves.

Feeling energized and spiritually uplifted, I wondered why hula was such an awakening experience for me. It is said that hula was often done in conjunction with rituals of temples and for deities. Every movement is sacred – like a form of a prayer, offering homage to the goddess and gods alike with tales from the soul. Hula was also danced for pleasure, with deeply felt emotions surfacing with each note. The wasmana (life force) in the music and lyrics as well as the precision of the performance in harmony with the wave-like movements all contributed to a sacred continuum connecting us to nature and to the divine.

Laka is also referred to as the goddess of love. The plants of the forests were served as offering to Laka – allowing her the life force to sustain spiritual energy to expand into greater love. The ki plant in particular is considered sacred, possessing potent life force, it was used for protection as well as bringing love and power. The goddess energy was expressed through the emotions of fiery passion, the light and darkness of love, the every changing movement of the fire and the waves.

Within the movements of hula, emotions were felt deeply as we moved our bodies to the lyrics, to the music of nature, and to the goddess within. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to attend my boyfriend’s grandmother’s 90th birthday today. I feel even more blessed to have touched upon a spiritual nature deep within the Hawaiian culture. I danced to the waves. I danced with the flow. And the pleasure lasted.

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Inner Growth | , , , , , | 3 Comments