Today is my LA anniversary. Two years ago today, I hopped a plane from Chicago and moved to LA. I look back on the last two years and while it’s all very vivid, it seems like a life time ago. I like to honor and celebrate such occasions as a reflection of the growth and learning that has occurred and who I’ve evolved into as a result of such experiences. My life today looks incredibly different then last year.
Last year at this time, my parents came to visit in celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary and I was still reeling from having the most challenging year of my life. I had moved to LA with such expectations and hopes and what I imagined life would be like and I was questioning if I belonged here, If I should go back to Chicago and how life had turned out so very differently then I had anticipated. I was out of work (having been laid off earlier in the year), trying to start a new business with a course I had created and very much in a state of fear and survival without any idea of how to move beyond that state. 2011 was a year of much loss…loss of job, of income, of a baby nephew and of letting go…of what I had expected life would be like, of my life in Chicago, of many aspects of myself.
The last few years have marked the most important journey of my life…the journey into self. I went deep into the abyss and having made the trip, I now see that to be the light, one must be willing to experience their own darkness. And all of the loss was necessary to remove many distractions so that I could take the trip. Looking back, I am incredibly grateful for that time, for it has brought me to the moment of now, to a deep connection to self and Source and all that I am creating.
I experienced and confronted many fears, many deep, dark thoughts about myself, about my perspective on the world and how my life had “turned out”, my failures, my sadness, grief and loneliness. I went to some extremely uncomfortable places in a very transparent way, for I lost all sense of trying to look good or perfect or having it all together. Somehow any pretense just seemed inauthentic. I wasn’t OK. Life was not OK for me at all during that time. It was dark and ugly and scary. Every day I woke up in fear and went to bed with the same experience. And I had no idea how or if it would turn out. I only knew that my bank account was dwindling, money was coming out but not much was going in and I couldn’t see a way out of this, not by myself anyway. And being someone who prided themselves in being in control and also being quite the know it all, not being able to envision a way out of my situation and being in such a place of uncertainty, freaked me out.
What I most learned over the last year is to let go, to understand that I’m not in control and to think I can control anything is delusional. I learned patience and to trust and to connect with the Divine in ways that I never imagined. My love for Spirit and the spiritual path is so strong and continues to expand every day. I’ve learned that there is a Divine plan for all of our greater good, even if we can’t see it, that failure is part of the path to success. I learned compassion, acceptance, forgiveness and love. I learned to love myself unconditionally and the deeper my love and devotion for Spirit grew, so did my love of self. Most of all, I learned that we can not truly love another until we learn to love ourselves.
My access to all of that was through the physical body. I was working out at the gym six days a week and got really burnt out. Something kept calling me to start doing yoga. But I was seeking a spiritual connection through a yoga practice and I didn’t even know it that existed. I then serendipitously discovered Kundalini Yoga last October. What spoke to me about Kundalini over other yoga disciplines is that it’s intention is to raise awareness through breathing and specific poses to raise consciousness and connect to the Divine. The movements, breathing and meditation, activates the nervous system and serves as a way to quiet the mind and create a connection to self.
I coincidentally live near two of the best Kundalini Yoga studios here in LA and continued my practice on and off throughout the fall until I was sidelined by a car accident in January of this year. That moment of impact ended up being a transformative experience. I started going to a chiropractor who specializes in Network Spinal Analysis, in which gentle precise touches to the spine cues the brain to create new patterns. I not only started healing, it unlocked the Kundalini energy that was lying dormant at the base of the spine and caused an intense spiritual awakening and elevation of consciousness.
What I was experiencing was so intense, I didn’t have the understanding or language to fully articulate what was happening. I knew that things were shifting, that I was changing and seeing life in an entirely different way and it didn’t feel safe to share my experience with people. I retreated inward and allowed myself to go deep into what I was experiencing, building a protective cocoon around myself and creating some distance between me and others. The experience seemed in many ways too precious to share and I also didn’t know who would be able to understand the experience. Resuming my yoga practice further awakened me, as I learned to tame my monkey mind.
Through my yoga practice, I connected even deeper to self and Spirit and this knowingness started to return. Remembering who I was…beyond the ego. I think we are all born knowing who we are and experiencing a connection to the Divine. Our environment, culture, upbringing tells us otherwise and we stop trusting that inner compass. One day during meditation, I heard that inner voice of wisdom whisper to me, “Trust, the answer can be found within.” It is in going deep inside ourselves that we can experience that wisdom and intuition and learn to distinguish the difference between the voice of ego and the voice of Spirit.
As I listen more to that voice, to be guided by it and follow the fascination, it’s been leading me down some interesting paths. I’ve learned to move away from situations that are a struggle or a challenge and doors that are closed (they are closed for a reason) and towards things that are in the flow of life. When a situation becomes a struggle, that’s usually a good indication to me that it might be a good idea to move away from it, that perhaps it’s not for the greater good. For example, after seeking work for over a year, a succession of events happened that quickly resulted in me landing the consulting project I have. I’m so happy with my work situation. The company is great, I work with intelligent, kind, collaborative people and every day, I get to add value and contribute by doing what I do best, creating relationships, solving problems, causing change and effectively managing communication to produce results.
That inner voice of guidance also led me to embark on a six month Kundalini Yoga Teacher training that I just started this weekend at one of my yoga studios. A year ago, I had never even heard of Kundalini Yoga, but following the fascination of where I was being led took me on that journey. As I sat in the course this weekend, with 40 other yogis it all became clear to me…this isn’t about being trained to teach yoga….this is the curriculum for my training as a spiritual teacher. I will share more about the weekend, my journey through teacher training and about the principles and history of Kundalini Yoga in future blogs.
Almost five years ago on my 40th birthday, I asked Spirit what would be possible if my life were bigger then me, if I was living in service to something. That question led me on the journey to the here and now. I was coming to LA for a global communications course every two months for about a year and each time, I felt this pull…something beckoning me here. At first I ignored it and then the voice got louder. During the last weekend of my course, I had the opportunity to speak to the group…all 250 of them…from different countries, different religions, different life experiences. I opened my mouth and impacted each person in the room. It was then I saw my life’s purpose…to inspire and empower others to awaken to who they are and why they are here through using my voice, as a channel for a message for change.
While I didn’t understand at the time what that all meant, I knew that I needed to move to Los Angeles because my teachers were here. And five months later, I was living here. And then the life I knew unraveled. And I discovered that when you are being called to something, whether, you choose it or not your life will radically disrupt itself to lead you down the path you are to follow. I’ve also started meeting other people with similar awakenings and our experiences were quite similar. When your destiny is calling you forward, the life you have known will often fall apart and you will experience much loss to wake you up, to have you answer the phone. The longer you wait to pick up the phone and answer the call, the more disruption, the greater the loss and the higher the cost. Until you surrender and let go, listen and enter into the Divine flow, allowing yourself to follow the fascination of where you are being led. For you see, freedom isn’t free. You must pay a price to enter into a state of freedom.
Each moment, each experience over the last year (and the previous few years) has led me to here, to this moment. Having cleared much away, my work can now begin. I’m now prepared to listen and at an elevated energetic frequency to be able to hear the teachings I’m learning in my studies, so that I may in turn teach others.
While I have vision and idea of where this will all lead, I don’t now how this will all unfold or how long it will take to get there. And for the first time in my life, I’m not concerned about the uncertainty or feel this need to know. I’m perfectly OK being in this moment and trusting that my inner compass and connection to the Divine will lead the way. In the mean time, I’ll be right here right now happily living my life, being grateful for the gift of every breath and being in the wonderment of all of it.
(A Kundalini Yoga mantra that means Truth is my identity)