Go Ahead, Provoke Me!

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Go Ahead, Provoke Me!

“Over time invite and create ever more provocative situations to deliberately trigger the psyche to be disturbed, to be challenged, to feel perhaps overwhelmed in order to strengthen your capacity to remain in the witness.  It’s easy to be peaceful when there’s not provocation. It’s not so easy where there is. Welcome to marriage. Welcome to children. Welcome to your life. Those provocations that are happening externally, are only reflections of our inner lack of clarity, lack of resolution. So, the yogi works internally.” ~Yogarupa Rod Stryker
(Moon & Sun Vinyasa: Mastering the Mind, Awakening the Vital Force, Nov. 15, 2013)

40 Day Journey: 40 Steps For Growth & Inner Freedom
Day 1: August 5, 2014

Trikonasana in marsh sunrise

Sometimes the biggest battle is getting out the door and onto the mat. The early morning dewy marsh air amply rewarded my effort. – Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary 8:30am

Utthita Trikonasana : Extended Triangle Pose
(oo-TEE-tah trik cone-NAHS-anna)
utthita = extended; tri = three, kona = angle

“The three angles (tri konas in Sanskrit) of a triangle make it one of the stronger and most stable shapes in nature…The triangle pose represents many sacred trinities in our world, such as the trinity of earth, space and heavens or that of birth, life and death. Trikonasana also symbolizes the three gunas, or qualities, that compose our bodies and minds.” (p. 36) Alanna Kaivalya & Arjuna van der Kooij, Myths of the Asanas: The Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition.)

As I was riding my bike to the studio to teach my morning Hatha Flow Class, I was listening to a workshop lecture I attended last year with Yogarupa Rod Stryker. The day before I had been momentarily deeply disturbed by some personal family drama with my son’s father. It was this disturbance that inspired me to proactively choose to take intentional steps in the direction of my own personal growth.

When life is comfortable and free from challenges, it is easy to get complacent in my personal practice and neglect my continued commitment to inner growth. This summer has been far from easy. Life has provided me so many delicious opportunities and reminders to not only return to the grounded space of calm that can view my life from a place of tranquility but also to notice, question and work with the mirror that my external circumstances are providing me. Tantric philosophy states that there is nothing outside my body that does not exist within my body. There is nothing within me that does not exist externally in the world. If I take the view that what is happening in my body is a mirror for what is happening in my life, than I can also see that what is happening in my life is a reflection of what is happening in my psyche. 

Back to my bike ride…

I had just finished a sweet early morning solo yoga practice at the Arcata Marsh and was arriving  at Om Shala Yoga 15 minutes early to meditate before teaching. As I crossed the front door I saw two of my students arriving on bikes and being verbally and physically threatened by a large gentleman who had left his truck in the middle of the street to get out and scream at them over some perceived right-of way indiscretion. This gentleman returned to his truck only to stop and get out 3 more times all the while threatening physical violence and property damage and warning them that he will “remember what their bikes look like.” At that moment I hear Rod Stryker in my ear saying “It’s easy to be peaceful when there’s no provocation.”

We all get provoked. How we handle it at any given moment is our yoga, is the practice of inner asana or posture. Life is challenging. Suffering is a noble truth. The yogi works from within. Regardless of whatever swirling mass of chaos or raucous celebration is present in our lives at any given moment – our ability to drop into the witness is directly proportional to our experience of grounded, calm, ever-present spaciousness and awareness.

I came into the world on fire. I seek not to drown my fire but instead to stabilize and create a pitim (or hearth) for that fire in the sacred temple of my body at the center of my belly. Practicing trikonasana is a way to physically plant our feet firmly in the earth and our awareness in the present moment while opening our hearts to the vastness within us alongside the support of the universe. The top hand reaching to the sky is a reminder to reach into the highest aspects within us as we connect our material self with the broader consciousness of the entire cosmos. The triangle is a messenger that no matter the pressures behind us or in front of us, we can plug into the inherent stability within and reconnect with the truth and beauty that we are.

Provocation is child’s play.
I say bring it on.
It’s just a training camp for the experience of inner divinity.

Just for today, how can you use whatever is provoking you to take one small step back home to yourself?


I’m on a 40 Day Journey for personal growth. I’m taking baby steps. One. At. A. Time. Read more about it and join me here.

 

I want to come from love.

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What I am focused on is how I want to show up for whatever lessons life provides me.

How do I want to show up in the Universe?

I want to be in love. I want to come from love. I want to be receptive and open to whatever life throws my way. I want to come from compassion and forgiveness. I trust that whatever life delivers me is both for my growth and pruning. I don’t seek to out-picture how I DO want to learn lessons because I choose not to use my mind to tell the dancing, singing, ever-expanding, pulsing force of living love how to bring me back home to me. So many of life’s richest lessons have come in a vehicle I would never have chosen (like being one of two women sharing a pregnancy with the father of my child at the same time) but have brought me so fully into the strength, tenderness and evolution of my own heart. (Lelainya– I am so glad you’re my soul sister!)

For me, to do so would be dropping into that place of egocentric thinking that layers judgment onto what is with the assessment of good, bad, better, worse, best. My aim is to open wide and soften into whatever life offers me. What is most paramount is trust and just showing up with presence for whatever hapens
as.
it.
arrives.

When I stated “I don’t need to learn these lessons like this in the future (listen up universe! I’m receptive already! I’m receptive! hehe!) but thank you for this opportunity now.” I am really affirming, ”Ok – I surrender. I get it. Thank you. I trust you. I love you. I surrender.“ It is more about aligning my will with the will of the entire sacred cosmos of which I am a part. I see the perfection and beauty in the dynamic interactions that accompany relationship and lived experience. I didn’t come here to realize myself sitting alone in mediation. (But boy, does meditation help!) I came here to see, touch, taste, smell – experience fully in the sacred vessel of my body.

From that place of absolute spaciousness and limitless freedom that is ever present from within – I say “yes!” and “thank you.” I will remain open and receptive.

~ artemisia shine

Radiance Sutras – Sutra 26

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aorta There is a place in the heart where everything meets. Go there if you want to find me. Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there. Are you there?Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart. Give yourself to it with total abandon, listen to the song that is always resonating there.Quiet ecstasy is there — and a steady, regal sense of resting in a perfect spot.Once you know the way the nature of attention will call you to return, again and again, and be saturated with knowing, “I belong here, I am at home here.”From sutra 26 of The Radiance Sutras translated by Lorin Roche hṛdyākāśe nilīnākṣaḥ padmasampuṭamadhyagaḥ | ananyacetāḥ subhage paraṃ saubhāgyam āpnuyāt || 49 || hridaya akaashe nileen aakshah padma samputa madhyagah ananya chetaah subhage param saubhaag-yam aapnu-yaat (for Stephen.)

Shots Of Awe

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Awe: by Jason Silva

Take a moment to remember that child-like quality of wonder that lives in you.  When’s the last time you let awe out to play?  Check out this short (0:2:45) inspiring video by Jason Silva on awe.

If you love this (as I did) you can subscribe to Jason’s weekly Shots of Awe: where science, philosophy, and inspiration collide.

awe-struck

Transcript of video:

Awe: “an experience of such perceptual vastness you literally have to reconfigure your mental models of the world to assimilate it.”

So I think a lot about the contrast between banality and wonder,
between disengagement and radiant ecstasy,
between being unaffected by the here and now,
and being absolutely ravished emotionally by it.
And I think one of the problems for human beings is mental habits.

Once we create a comfort zone, we rarely step outside of that comfort zone, but the consequence of that is a phenomenon known hedonic adaptation.

Over stimulation to the same kind of thing, the same stimuli again and again and again renders said stimuli invisible. Your brain has already mapped it in it’s own head and you no longer literally have to be engaged by that. We have eyes, yet see naught, ears that hear naught and hearts that neither feel nor understand.

There’s a great book called The Wondering Brain*.
It says that one of the ways that we elicit wonder is by scrambling the self temporarily so that the world can seep in.

You know Henry Miller says, “even a blade of grass when given proper attention becomes an infinitely magnificent world in itself.”** You know, Darwin said “attention, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.“

That’s what rapture is.
That’s what illumination is.
That’s what that sort of infinite comprehending awe that human beings love so much. And so how we do that? How do we mess with our perceptual apparatus in order to have the kind of emotional and esthetic experience from life that we render most meaningful? ‘Cause we all know those moments are there. Those are the moments that will make final cut.

Only in these moments, we experience afresh, the hardly bearable ecstasy of direct energy exploding on our nerve endings.This is the
rhapsodic,
ecstatic,
bursting forth of awe that expands our perceptual parameters beyond all previous limits, and we literally  have to reconfigure our mental models of the world in order to assimilate the beauty of that download!

That is what it means to be inspired! The Greek root of the term means “to breath in.” (aaaaahhhhh!)To take-it-in!

We fit the universe through our brains and it comes out in the form of nothing less than poetry. We have a responsibility to awe.

* Bulkeley, Kelly. The Wondering Brain: Thinking about Religion with and beyond Cognitive Neuroscience. New York: Routledge, 2005. Print.

** Miller, Henry. Henry Miller on Writing. [New York]: New Directions, 1964. 37. Print.

*** Darwin, Charles. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. New York: D. Appleton, 1886. 278. Print.

Rod Stryker on Tradition

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Eight Pearls of Wisdom from Rod Stryker’s Tradition Talk

Rod Stryker shares some compelling and controversial thoughts on the role of lineage and tradition in the study and practice of yoga. Below are eight peals of wisdom I gathered from the 1 hour dharma talk.  Watch the video below to gather your own favorite insights!

  • yoga is waking to the essence of being, the essence of life – the hight of becoming
  • you can do asana and not be established in yoga and you can be in yoga and not do asana…
  • asana is the adjunct, a tool that we use to achieve a greater freedom but we can have the freedom without the asana
  • you can only go so far as the quality of the thing you’re paying attention to
  • if you have that hunger then do the work of getting ready – when you are prepared the teacher will come
  • mentor-ship is an extraordinary model based on mutual love and respect
  • your teacher’s job is to turn you to your inner guru to give you the boat to get to the island that is your teacher
  • for those of us who have been practicing yoga for a while, we can’t ultimately reach the destination if we’re practicing in a one dimensional way

Enjoy the video!
Love!
~ artemisia shine

To schedule a private yoga session contact Artemisia Shine at 707.234.5411 or [email protected] / www.artemisiashine.com

p.s. Also check out this sweet short video “Is Tantra a Religion?” from Rod Stryker’s teacher and founder of The Himalayan Institute, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD – “Find freedom in the world, not freedom from the world.”

Is Tantra a Religion? from Himalayan Institute on Vimeo.

Taking a moment to answer a few questions received from facebook and Twitter, Pandit Tigunait discusses some interesting topics, such as:

  • Is tantra a religion?
  • What is tantra?
  • How does yoga intersect with tantra, and how does tantra differ from yoga?
  • What advice do you (Panditji) have for yoga practitioners interested in studying authentic tantra?
  • What do you (Panditji) mean when you say: “Find freedom in the world, not freedom from the world”?

If you are interested in learning more about the Living Tantra Series, visit http://www.LivingTantra.com

____________________________________________

Tradition: Modern Yoga’s Missing Treasure or Obsolete Relic?
Rod Stryker at the Wanderlust Festival Speakeasy – Colorado 2012

Source: Wanderlust Festival You Tube Channel Rod Stryker • March 2013

Published on Mar 11, 2013

The sacred teachings of yoga have thrived from time immemorial thanks entirely on lineage—-the unique relationship between master and student. Yet, modern yoga is practically devoid of it. Why was this ancient paradigm for study considered so precious? Moreover, can the most elevated understanding of yoga (in the modern age) be realized without it?

Join Rod Stryker as he explores the concept of “Tradition: Modern Yoga’s Missing Treasure or Obsolete Relic?” at the Wanderlust Festival Speakeasy in Colorado 2012.

Rod Stryker is the founder of ParaYoga and the author of The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom. Rod is widely recognized as one of the West’s leading authorities on yoga, Tantra, and meditation. His teaching weaves a profound breadth of knowledge and experience, along with his unique ability to make the deepest of the ancient teachings accessible to students of all levels. Rod has taught for more than 30 years and leads retreats, workshops, and ParaYoga Master trainings worldwide.

For more information on Rod, you can visit his website athttp://www.parayoga.com/. You can also dig deeper on his writings by exploring his book “The Four Desires” or his meditation CD’s, “Meditations for Life” and “Relax into Greatness”, available in his online store here: http://parayoga.com/store/. Follow Rod on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/RodStryker and keep up with his tweets here: https://twitter.com/RodStryker108.

Wanderlust Festival is also endebted to Hay House (http://www.hayhouse.com) who helped us realize the entire 2012 Speakeasy Lecture Series across all four festivals (Stratton, VT in June 2012; Copper Mountain, CO in July; Squaw Valley, CA in late July; and Whistler, BC, Canada in August). With Hay House’s amazing roster of speakers (which you can witness in person at their incredible “I Can Do It” events), it’s no wonder that they helped elevate the conversation at Wanderlust’s Speakeasy this summer. We encourage you to stay tuned to the Hay House FB feed to make sure you know the next time one of their authors is speaking near you (https://www.facebook.com/hayhouse).

Speakeasy Series Realized in co-operation with Hay House
Speakeasy Video Production by C3 Presents & Greenheart Creative
Speakeasy Series produced by Karina Mackenzie
Makeup services provided by Dr. Hauschka
Music in introduction by MC Yogi “Sita Ram”
Motion Graphics by Victoria Nece

Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Come Alive!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

In the past five months my heart has been roaring during my wakefulness, composing sonnets in my sleep, whispering sweet encouragement when I tremble and serenading me each time I meditate.  That’s my heart for yah. She’s pretty wild, courageous, optimistic and deep. Working with people in the arena of personal wellness and healing feels like a big full body “YES!” I know with every cell in my being that this is my life’s work.

Still, there’s this sharp prattling creature of a mind full of fear, shame, hesitation, financial insecurities and a healthy dose of occasional self-doubt. What if you don’t find what I offer worthwhile? Every time she comes to gnaw at my dreams and undermine my efforts I call her a slew of names. Nothing I couldn’t say in a studio full of 5-year old yogis – just naming what she is: “thinking.” Thinking, self-doubt, anger, fear, resentment, insecurity…  I’ve been whittling her claws down calling her by name and although she still sinks her teeth in from time to time, lately she isn’t making any serious flesh wounds.

This month I am embarking on a journey of becoming a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Practitioner. Over the next ten months I will be travelling to Canada and Vermont to attend a host of intensives. Even as I write this I have no clue how I’m going to get to British Columbia in less than 10 days. To throw in an extra measure of awesomeness, days after my first PRYT training, I am registered to study with my favorite teacher, Chrisandra Fox Walker, in her 60 hour Tantra Yoga Immersion in San Francisco. My vehicle registration is expired and I’ve got a boot on my car that just ate up my plane ticket funds. I’m not certain how I’ll pay for gas, I don’t know where I’m going to sleep, I’m not sure how I’ll navigate the trainings after that… What I do know is that I believe deeply in the work and I hear the small deep tenor of my heart singing a resounding “Yes!”  Over, and over, “Yes!”

This week has been a great opportunity to practice equanimity, faith, and creativity. This is my yoga. All I have to do is listen in for guidance and show up with all of me: fear and courage in tow. These minor obstacles are a magical invitation to reaffirm my commitment to my path. I live to reveal whatever it is that dims my heart’s shine.

So – here I go! I’m on a mission to put myself out of a day job and unlock deeper avenues of healing in my community and myself.  Yes! Thank you all for your support!

~ artemisia shine

From Artemisia Shine’s March 2013 Newsletter: Issue # 01