Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Got Yoga?

Yoga means to unite - to unite our mind, our body, and our spirit so we can function from our peak potential. Isha Yoga has now brought this ancient yogic practice holistically to our doorstep. Sadhguru is leading this world-wide transformation to liberate the individuals to self-realization. http://www.innerengineering.com

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.” – Albert Einstein, 1954

Albert Einstein was a yogi, like the Buddha.

What then is really yoga?

In the recent years yoga has commercialized into a non-stopable exercise fever across the world. When you ask the average person walking down the street what yoga is, he will probably tell you it is an exercise routine he himself practices twice a week in his work gym. Ask another, she will probably show you on the spot how well she can do the downward dog. I too teach various yoga poses in my morning aikido class as a part of an exercise routine. So is this it? Yoga helps us to slim down?

According to wikipedia – “Yoga refers to traditional physical, mental and spiritual disciplines, originating in ancient India, whose goal is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.” Yoga Journal covers yoga poses, yoga lifestyle, health through yoga, yoga wisdom, yoga community, yoga conferences and yoga videos. I have personally practiced power yoga, ashtanga yoga, hatha yoga,bikram yoga before stepping into Isha Yoga.

Yoga means yoke, to join, or to become a union. In the physical forms of yoga practice, we learn to integrate our mind into the physical posture. Later we learn to draw our breath to become one with the mind and the posture. The goal in yoga is to become one. Beginners can learn to have one mind instead of a conflicting mind. Then move onto using the mind with the body and the breath to become one complete harmonious being. Advanced yogis can take one step further, once we are in harmony within ourselves, we can then experience the oneness with other individuals and nature around us. Lots of different yoga studios around town will offer you the beginning courses into yoga – learning from poses to breathe to calming the mind. However some of us still desire to experience a deepened practice beyond the superficial. We long to experience the oneness spiritual teachers throughout the ages have spoken of, we long to experience being in union with All That Is. This is where Isha Yoga comes in.

Isha Yoga means yoga of the divine – being in union with the divine. My personal experience has just been such. After practicing various physical yoga forms for more than 10 years, poses no longer fulfilled me. I was able to experience a few hours of mental calmness through the physical exercises but I did not have any spiritual gain. The optical delusion of separateness mentioned in Einstein’s quote was constantly a part of my reality. I felt alone even when I was with friends. I felt unhappy even when I visited the most beautiful places. I wanted more out of life and my personal and professional achievements no longer sustained my desires. Three years ago a friend introduced me to Isha Yoga. I was skeptical. I didn’t like the idea of having a guru or worship a white bearded man who seemed so distant. January 2009, I was feelings so despondent from life I decided to take a leap of faith and see what this Isha Yoga is all about. After my Inner Engineering classes ended, I felt a new sense of acceptance of myself and everything around me. I felt lighter day after day. As I continued my practice day after day, my female emotional storms would normally take me into deep depression are no longer bothering me on such profound levels. As if I could watch my own drama from the audience, I was able to gain much perspective and regain my calmness quickly. No doubt I still experience ups and downs but the dramas in life no longer controlled my life. I felt lighter and lighter day after day…

After my second class BSP, I was finally able to feel complete oneness with everyone and everything. I no longer judged gurus and I felt a sense of affection toward myself, nature and individuals I called strangers. I opened up. All That Is was me, and I am a part of the experience within the universe. I was a fractal microcosm within the macrocosm. I was high in bliss. And that was the first time I completely understood Albert Einstein’s quote “A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space… Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” And I felt the Truth in his words as tears of appreciation streamed down my face when I gazed upon Sadhguru.

Remember – “if your happiness and your wellbeing is not subject to anybody or anything, only then are you free. Otherwise whether you are in a prison or walking outside on the street, you still are a prisoner within yourself.”

Today as I share my Isha Yoga experience with you, I hope you will find within yourself the curiosity to explore – to explore a deepened yoga experience, to explore a beautiful life, and to explore your peak potential.

June 14, 2011 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Self Realization, World Transformation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Let the Tears Flow

Me, exposed

"Tears sometimes cleanse the heart and ready it for deeper love." - Bob Luckin (Artist, Co-Director at Spiritual Enrichment Center, Sr. Minister at International Centers for Spiritual Living)

“Crying is for Wimps.” So I was told. But they didn’t tell me where to put my anger, my sadness and my sorrow…  I hurt. My body, my mind, my emotions… Sometimes I felt as if my chest was caving in and I must run away before my heart explodes. Other times I wish I had a strong man to hold me in his arms and tell me everything will be alright. This time I could not run nor use a man to rescue me. This time I am alone.

So I cried. Loud. I screamed out my sorrows from the depth of me. I saw my tortured soul burning in the sea of agony. Her pain ran into the dark abyss. I wanted to pull her out but didn’t know how. So I cried… The waves of hailing tears went on and on… And the end was nowhere near.

I cried for my heartbreak, I cried for not being good enough, I cried for my fears, I cried for my neediness, I cried for my physical pain, I cried for my inability to love freely, I cried for my suppressed feelings, I cried for my failures, I cried for my longings, I cried for my disappointments, I cried for stepping into potholes, I cried for being unkind, I cried for always getting myself into storms of emotions, I cried for my loneliness, I cried for misunderstandings, I cried for hurting the ones I love, I cried for my confusion, I cried for my desires, I cried…

I asked myself if feelings were wrong. Yet how could something so natural and so raw be wrong? If it weren’t wrong then why can’t I show it freely? If I can feel so much hard twisted suppressed pain within me then do you feel the same pain? If I have spent so many years suppressing my true feelings then do you suppress them too? If I only smile to the world and secretly lock away my truth do you do the same? If we all suffer then who is going to rescue us from descending deeper into the abyss? Why do we have such violent feelings? Why can’t I stop crying? … Analyzing my pain only brought up more self-inflected misery. So I discarded my intellect, peeled off my cloth, laid on my back and watched the tears flow.

Naked. Exposed. Raw. This is me. The uncut version.

I feel deeply. I love passionately. I sense intensely. This is me. The truthful version.

I pretended I didn’t care. I acted I didn’t bleed. I toughed it out to demonstrate I am doing just fine. But I am not. That is not me. You only saw the mask and thought that was the real me.

I cried for all the untruth I showed to you, I cried for all the rejected feelings within me, I cried for all the masks I wore, I cried for all the egoic games I played, I cried for alienating you, I cried for the old wounds that still hunt me, I cried for the hope that someday I can show you how deeply I love, I cried for the longing to express my truth, I cried for us and the freedom within reach…

Two days of tears. Two days of storms. Wind. Thunder. Hail. I am still here, somehow standing calmly within the storm. No need to run. No need to hide. The ice melting. A smile softening into the tears. My heart is beating. Regardless of the storm, I am calm. I am here. I am free.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Self Realization, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Importance of Being Humble

"Who needs thorns when you have meek?"

"Who needs thorns when you have meek? See Beauty born...from Darkest Deep." - SanctusSilva

I’ve always thought strength was demonstrated through un-yeilding boldness. Having had a successful life in my 20s, I resorted to getting things done by my uninhibited determination. I stepped on toes. I made people cry. I was relentlessly running toward the finish line while knocking over anyone stood in my way. Of course I celebrated every win. And I didn’t care if I treated people as means to an end. I thought I was so smart and so tough that even life had to yield to me.

Oh boy, was I wrong…

Life offered me several chances to breakdown my pride and come back to earth.

Years later, I now find joy in humility. Today I choose the path of being humble.

“In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your piece of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not exist.” – Thomas Merton

The word humility refers to the quality o being humble, which stems from the Latin words humilis and humus and is also related to the Greek word chamai meaning “earthy, be on the ground.” We often confuse humbleness with being inferior. Today I invite you to examine the meaning of “modest and unpretentious.” To me, humility is a quality of true understanding of suffering. Bestselling author Caroline Myss in her book Entering the Castle explains that being humiliated by someone can activate our shadow side that foster feelings of vengeance or resentment. By maintaining an attitude of humbleness we can then transcend to the level of healthy detachment to feel the feelings of our shadow side yet still be liberated from the urge of shadow actions. Like a lotus flower, we can experience the pain of growth stemmed from a bed of mud yet still radiate love as we bloom. A lotus flower endured the pain of becoming yet it chooses to maintain its un-competing soft modesty. By gazing upon a lotus flower you might discover the grace of humility with expressions such as: understanding, endurance, resilience, compassion, patience, wisdom, forgiveness, gratitude, etc.

I knew of a man who was filled with pride. He was not balanced. One day another car took the parking space we waited for, he nearly pulled out a gun. The smallest disagreement can set him off into a nuclear explosion. He pretended to be a peaceful man while secretly lived in emotional turmoil. He had to dress up in suit and tie to maintain an image. If someone made a humorous remark at his expense he would threaten to inflict physical pain on one’s family. Nevertheless he always told me that he is a peaceful man and I had to agree or else… I also know a meek man who is filled with compassion. He is grounded in his integrity. The day he was deeply wounded he chose to walk away. He did not have to had the last word. He wore t-shirts from fifteen years ago without any sense of shame. Humility gave him the strength to help the one who injured him. He is never too prideful to say sorry. He walks through life with his chest forward and shoulders relaxed. And he always greets people with a sincere smile.

Looking at these two examples I wonder who can bring-forth peace on earth…

If you too choose to walk the path of humbleness we can embark our journey with one another. Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves to remove the blocks of being humble as suggested by Caroline.
1) How does fear of being humiliated control your life?
2) When have you been humiliated?
3) How have you humiliated others?
4) List ten positive and ten negative associations with humility.
5) Why being humble is difficult for you?

I gained much perspective by working through these questions. I also gaze upon paintings of blooming lotuses to remind myself the beautiful of soft modesty. Today I choose the path of being humble. Thank you for sharing your journey with me as I leave you with this quote from a true master Bruce Lee – the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Choices, Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, World Transformation | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Secretly Longing for You

Yellow Flowers with Fractal background

Let me be your flower... "Veil of a Goddess" fractal background copyright http://www.FloLi.com

I long for a touch, a glance, a smile

from you

I open my mouth

craving your lips pressing against mine

taste of sweet honey

lingering, penetrating

into me

rip me to pieces and bring me to whole

Oh my only desire is to be a part of you

Let me be your flower

To nourish those who gaze upon us

Let me burn in the arms of your passion

Let go of this life and soar with wings

I shall drop my veil let go my intellect

Silently, just be with you

Hold me, librate me, take me to be yours

Forever…

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, love, poetry | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Womb of Sukhavati

Womb of Sukhavati

Embryonic Sukhavati

Sukhavati: the place of bliss, Fractal art work by Flo Li, copyright 2010 http://www.FloLi.com

.
You gave your life for her illumination
A spine as strong as your mother’s ego
Lotus graced tiny fingers and tiny toes
Eyes soft as Buddha’s pose
Little one, you gave up your life in lieu your mother arose
.
You told her not whip for your pain
You came to love her til the snow melted and the flowers grew
You came to give her a glimpse of what the future holds
You showed her two paths leading into the distant woods
You came as the well-paved path yet she must refute the olds
.
You knew your life was a brief cherry blossom kiss
Coming from the womb of Goddess you soared with her glow
A life not to be grieved but be tasted like Kyoto’s first snow
Winds of glory blew you to fulfill the universe’s flow
Moments of warmth and dances of light entered her heart to grow
.
You came to teach your mother the impermanence of all things
Through your physical dissolution her spiritual freedom afloat
“Ma vie n’est pas lament for the dead but a celebration note”
As the blankets of snow melted away the cherry blossoms awoke
You kissed the lips of infinite bliss and united with the bosom to Goddess aglow.

 

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Choices, Death & Rebirth, poetry | , , , , | 2 Comments

Ending is a New Beginning

Ikkyu-san

Ikkyu-san was one of my first childhood loves - bashful smile, shaved head, and mischievously intelligent

An Iranian father was asked by a handsome rich doctor for his daughter’s hand in marriage. He thought it was a great idea given his daughter would live a good life with this well-mannered doctor but she said, “papa, a nice man is not enough, there are certain characteristics of him I do not care for.”

The Iranian father gave me the same advice learned from his daughter as he kindly asked for the reasons of my recent breakup. “He is a nice man but trust me everything happens for a reason. You are still young. You never know, the next man might be the one.”

A silent drop of tear snuck out as I tensed up my body to hold in my breath. I didn’t want him to see how torn I really am.

I guess I have been searching for the one since I was six years old. The moment that seven year old monk blushed as he saw the six year curious girl from the corner of his eyes during meditation, she fell in love. This six year old girl did not know of love but she was certain she wanted to spend more time with him. She was fond of him and in a silly way she felt as if only he could understand her. Soon enough she was heartbroken when he did everything he could to avoid her presence.

After 26 years I can still see the little monk’s bashful smile, shaved head, and slightly off-white robe.

Later that year as I turned seven years old I immersed myself into Ikkyu-San – the Japanese anime where Ikkyu is a little boy with a bashful smile, shaved head and a white gi who trained to be a monk at Ankokuji Temple in Japan. He is famous of being mischievous and a known troublemaker. He is extremely smart, which always helped him to get out of all sorts of sticky situations and won battles over those who are bigger and stronger. The way he pushed the mop in front of him as he ran across the endless meditation hall during his daily cleaning ritual captured the depth of my heart. I found myself choked up with tear and not knowing the reasons why.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always secretly held a longing to find the one who can once again touch the depth of my soul like Ikkyu did. Regardless the various ways I have kept my past boyfriends at an arm’s length, I couldn’t help but wonder if “he is the one” each time I fall in love. My recent ex is a dark Hawaiian surfer I met last summer. He is well-mannered and nurturing. Each time I woke up next to his smile I questioned myself if he is the one I choose to be with for the rest of my life. He wanted our fairy tale fantasy like relationship to last forever but I wasn’t sure. Some men make good boyfriends and others make good husbands. He was certainly the best boyfriend I’ve ever had but as I’m beginning to realize that my deepest desire is to be married with children, I didn’t think our lifestyles would coincide with one another. There are some characteristics of him that others might embrace but I would rather shy away from. In a way, I’m glad things have taken its natural course to end abruptly.

Looking into the living room where we shared many heart opening moments, I allowed the tears rush out as I feel the weight of such heavy murky emptiness. I am once again on my own. It feels sad yet hopeful. It is time. It is time to move on. Goodbye love. And hello life once again. The traveler walks on.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Choices, Death & Rebirth, Inner Growth | , , , , , , , | 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

Laughing Enlightenment


Amorsinlimites by Tania Alcala

I can see now! (Amorsinlimites by Tania Alcala, copyright)

Laughing Enlightenment

Awakened amid somber night.
Burst of joy!
Incessant smile…
Laughing OUT LOUD!

“I get it!”
It did not come through logic,
But emerged through the murkiness of the night.

” I did it!”
Ah… How the cosmos shifted around to show me my way
That I am a powerful creator.
Darkness turns into sparks of light.
Laugh!

I pretended to be a helpless actress,
Forgetting my role as the script writer.
Laugh!

How hilarious this whole thing is,
How immersed this whole lie was,
How pretentious this whole world lives!
Laugh!

It was I who created my life,
It was I who shifted reality,
It was I who choose to match an easier frequency…
Laugh!

Such sophisticated yet simple intricacies,
Such illusive yet genuine connections,
Such subtle yet profound beauty.

I – was dormant,
Now awakened.
LAUGHING!!!

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, poetry, Self Realization | , , , | 3 Comments

Becoming a butterfly

ending a caterpillar - begins a butterfly

ending a caterpillar - begins a butterfly

Last night I posted the following quote on facebook, many have replied and one really touched my heart.

 

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”                                                                                              –  Richard Bach

 

Message from my good friend Lisa,

 

For the past 3 years, the butterflies come to my home.  There’s a live caterpillar making it’s cocoon on my front door right now!

 

This morning I stepped over a dead caterpillar on my stairs who gave up before he made it all the way to my balcony to dangle with the rest of the cocoons and emerge with wings.  I thought- how sad to give up so soon before becoming a butterfly.  If he only knew the miracle that was just around the corner he might have kept going…

 

XO

Lisa M. van Es
Divine Commerce, LLC
CEO and Founder

 

I want to thank everyone for following my blog as we are all becoming butterflies in our own unique way.  It is a vulnerable but courageous process.  Only through this rebirth we could truly experience our divine radiance that has always been within us.  May we fly together, paint the world together, and enjoy love together.

 

Namaste

 

 

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Inner Growth | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Doctor

Dr. Humes' Compassion

Dr. Humes' Compassion

Dr. Humes stayed with me for hours prior to my surgery.  He paced up and down hastily and did the best to entertain me.

He faked a smile and went on to tell me a vivid story when he injured his spine… The pain came fast like lightning and yet completely unexpectedly…  I trusted him…  I felt safe with him because he is not just a doctor but he was also a patient – who has personally experienced pain in his past…  I could see the agony in his eyes when he scanned my body…  He was not just doing his job but he was actually genuinely concerned for me…

I thought to myself that I was extremely blessed to be in his care.  This must have been the arrangement of Divine Love…  I am in bliss…

The eye specialist finally spoke and told me blandly that my left eye might be permanently blind…

Dr. Humes walked in dressed in his blue surgical gown and leaned in to ask if he can remove a piece of skin behind my ear to patch the other broken areas on my face…

The anesthesiologist masked me and told me that he would hypnotize me with his charm.  He’s a cutie and I was totally out counting down from 100 to 95…

May 6, 2006 Posted by | Death & Rebirth | , , , | Leave a comment