i (almost) forgot i had a blog

One week turned into a month, then a couple months, and then…September!

It’s been my biggest ever blogging break. This is partly because, in the weeks after my last post, I’d had some heavy things on my mind and didn’t know how (or necessarily want) to share them in this space. Big Pharma and the depression epidemic. Broken sisterhood. Racism. The pitfalls of technology, primarily social media. To name a few.

I attempted to blog a few times, but the words felt stilted. Or preachy. Or too analytical. I found myself wanting to extract some meaning and positivity from my painful feelings, but that too didn’t feel right. I wrote about this being a time of necessary chaos, an unveiling of the collective shadow…but the words felt inauthentic.

ganesha blessings

I’m not feeling such intensity these days, and I now see that it was necessary to experience that heaviness without ‘spiritualizing’ it. While I do believe the darkness in humanity – the collective shadow – is being exposed, I’m not sure that all my long-beliefs, particularly about spirituality, still resonate. I’ve assumed a lot of things to be true for many years, particularly in regards to ascension and awakening, but I now seem to be in a place of…unknowing anything.

The summer has certainly been full of activity, another reason I haven’t written. I’ve been busy moving to a new home, living in a new city, starting a new job, and living with someone else for the first time in a very long time.

So much seemed to change at once, and with all the (continued) transition, I’ve often felt a lost connection with spirit. But is it lost, or changing in nature?

A couple of months ago, I was in a group setting where each of us was asked to share our personal story. Some of us spoke of defining moments and emotional pain experienced early in our lives. I found myself saying words I’d said many times before in other groups, and right here on this blog…and I realized how tired I was of telling that story.

It’s similar with my shifting spiritual beliefs. I’m in a space of definitions changing. I’m grateful for spiritual teachers and philosophies I’ve been exposed to, for the lectures and workshops I’ve attended, for the many books I’ve read. I have compassion for the inner child and the journey. I also acknowledge the emotional work I’ve done over the years in my spiritual search, releasing what’s felt like lifetimes of ancestral pain.

But perhaps it’s okay to let go just a little, and not overly fixate on the ‘why’ of things. To trust that I could never be disconnected from spirit, and to understand that releasing the story doesn’t mean I’m rejecting it.

What I do know is, I’m very glad I’ve written some words here, and that they feel right. 🙂

I’ve also meant to share my new Etsy page with my blogging friends. For the rest of September, I’m offering 25% off for WordPress’ers with coupon code WORDPRESS25. (Thank You, Ka!)

I am happy to have returned to my blog, and I wish you all a wonderful wrap to summer (or whatever season you’re in!).

full moon eclipse: lightening the load

A couple of weeks ago I received the results of an Ancestry DNA test I purchased earlier this summer. I was pretty sure the test would confirm I’m all Indian, but I was intrigued nonetheless. My family hasn’t actually lived in India for the past four generations, so it seemed possible that there could be a surprise or two!

The results estimated 95% South Asian DNA, the remaining 5% being a mix of Central Asian (2%), European (2%) and Native American (<1%). That last one is quite implausible, given that my family didn’t come to North America till the ’70s, but the test analysis does acknowledge that such trace percentages are likely due to chance.

Me, first day in India, 2010

Me, first day in India, 2010

Whatever the results or their accuracy, taking the test was yet another step in embracing my roots. As I wrote in my last post, this summer has been all about my ancestors. As I continue to read about the lives of Indian women, I see with more clarity and self-compassion why I’ve struggled with the things I have. It just makes sense. This has mostly to do with the denigration of the sacred feminine. Deep pain and trauma has been locked inside for generations…and no one’s had the key.

All this is somewhat hard to put into words; it’s largely an intuitive process. From the outside, my ancestors’ lives could not be more different from my own. It would appear that I have choice, freedom, and control that they could not imagine. But the internal programming does not change overnight. And clearing the ancient patterns held within my psyche has been my life’s work.

Having said that, there must be space for celebration. Life has always been so serious and I’m wanting to shift that. I think many of us on a spiritual path become so used to ‘the work’ that fun seems indulgent and frivolous – and unfamiliar.

Sensitive people especially can feel so responsible for clearing, healing, being accountable and in integrity. And while those are all good things, we also need to relax and acknowledge ourselves. (And let go of the gripping fear that as soon as we let down our guard, something horrible will happen.) The point of this heavy work is to lighten the load.

If my ancestors are watching me now…do they want me endlessly re-living their fears and traumas, their guilt and shame? I doubt it. I can feel them lovingly drumming their fingers. Okay…you’ve worked really hard. And we so appreciate it. You’ve done more than you know. Now please start having some fun. For all of us!

They want a new story: one of self-worth. They want me to take our rich history and do something even more beautiful with it. They want me to put my own creative twist on life, without approval-seeking or apology. They want me to stop seeing muck where it’s already been cleared. They’re prodding me to step out of my comfort zone of familiar old feelings, and stand on new ground. It’s safe here. You will not be abandoned. Trust us.

I am the living manifestation of my ancestors dreams and wishes. My life is not random; I am seen. The highest service to my ancestors (and to myself) is to continue to forgive and love, and enjoy life with gratitude. There is no greater gift to, and from, my lineage.

the summer of my ancestors

Well, we all know we’re living in intense times. It has been said that 2016 is the year of purification, but it feels more like the decade of purification.

A couple of months ago, I began a 40-day practice of Kirtan Kriya, a Kundalini Yoga meditation designed to clear subconscious patterns buried deep within the psyche. About halfway through my 40 days, I went off Facebook and most social media. I rediscovered my love of fiction, reading books mostly about Indian women and their historical and current lives in India and in the west. I’m obsessed with learning more. It seems this has become the summer of discovering my ancestry.

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As the first generation of my family born in the west, and very much steeped in western culture (aka a ‘coconut’), I’ve vacillated between rejecting my heritage and embracing its more western-approved aspects (e.g., yoga). My Indian ancestors have felt very distant, even non-existent. I haven’t known much about my female ancestors in particular…maybe because I never asked. I viewed them as probably repressed and somewhat backwards. Silent, and living in a less evolved land.

Now I can’t stop thinking about them. Who were these women? What were their lives like? What dreams, desires, and talents did they harbour? What did they suppress in themselves, in order to stay alive? Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam…I think about conquests and conversions. How did they feel about God? About caste and karma? Were feelings even acknowledged in a world of immovable roles and responsibilities? What brought them joy?

I can feel that I hold memories of being restrained, constrained, burned. I see where I’ve felt like a burden, not wanting to ask for too much or take up more than my ‘fair share’ of space…somehow apologizing for my existence. I can feel the bitter resentment of unlived desires. I can also feel the patriarchy and misogyny embedded in my own psyche. In this female, brown-skinned body, I see where I’ve idolized the white male.

I’ve written on this blog about the Divine Feminine rising. Truly embracing Her means owning how deeply we’ve denigrated Her. I’ve uncovered a new layer of this within myself. All I can do is sit with it.

‘Purification’ used to mean cleansing myself of everything I thought made me inferior. But I now view it as the inner and outer distillation of all that is not resonant with highest truth: love. And that means witnessing and experiencing all that is not love within ourselves, and in the world around us.

This entire process requires trusting my intuition and feelings. I do question if I’m making it all up. I doubt my role, if any, in the healing of my lineage. I wonder if ‘purification’ and ‘divine feminine’ are just more new age concepts that distract. I catch myself in spiritual shadow (superiority/inferiority) all the time. I don’t know what a woman’s life is like in present-day India; I don’t want to speak on anyone else’s behalf.

During my 40 days of Kirtan Kriya, I experienced some very dark and hopeless states. But I see now that the meditation did exactly what it was designed to do – bring to the surface what longed to be healed. Though it hasn’t been comfortable, it feels like what I’m here to do, and that brings me peace. I am very grateful for my opportunities to choose and to heal.

If we are in times of purification, then darkness and chaos will continually rise to the surface until every last corner is exposed. I don’t know what will become of humanity, but I know that right now, I must listen to the long lineage of voices rising from within. I’m trusting my feminine instincts on that.

from karma to dharma

Through completing the final session of my Kundalini Yoga teacher training program last weekend, it’s become clear that my views on karma have significantly changed these last few months. Karma used to have very negative connotations (mostly surrounding punishment), and my chronic thoughts about it hung over me like a heavy cloud.

In my very first training session last October, I was hesitant to wrap my hair in a white cloth. I knew many Kundalini Yogis wore turbans, and in all my years of practice, I never saw myself doing that. But after a few days, I began to question why I was so resistant. And, near the end of our five-day session, I wrapped my hair on the top of my head.

My beautiful training group. I'm on the right.

My beautiful training group. I’m on the right.

It was very emotional for me. As a child, I was desperate to hide the fact that I was Indian. I wanted nothing more than to be white. I did everything I could to blend in, which, being brown-skinned, never really worked.

My intense feelings of powerlessness and separation – of feeling inherently inferior in my brownness – had become, in my mind, my karma. I didn’t belong anywhere on this planet, and there was nothing I could do about it.

These past few months have taken me on a journey of discovering the jewels of my ancestry, and what it means to be a woman – an Indian woman – in this day and age. It has been one intense, beautiful roller coaster ride as I unearth emotions buried deep within me, and in my ancestral line. Planet Earth is reawakening to the Divine Feminine – we know this. What truths can I now speak, that my ancestors could not?

Wrapping my hair was symbolic; it marked a return to myself.

A new path is emerging, one my childhood self couldn’t see. I have renewed hope of living from the oneness of which I am a part. I understand that I can’t be separate, because there is no separation – no matter how convincing the illusion, the maya, appears. Of course, my ego has a hard time with this. It wants to stay separate…to believe I’m inferior or superior, but never the same.

Karma used to feel like a curse, a burden – but I now see it as a gift, in that I’m totally responsible for all my thoughts, actions, and reactions in this here-and-now. I can do my best to live from my highest truth and consciousness, and correct anything I feel needs correcting. That doesn’t mean I’m always successful or that I live in ‘love light bliss’ all the time. It means I do my best.

And instead of obsessing about karma, I can choose to live my dharma.

My dharma is my purpose. It is the guiding factor in my life. It remained elusive for many years, but I’m starting to see it now. It’s what I’ve been doing all along. My dharma is not a job or a business or a project or a baby or any ‘thing’ out there. It is within. It is transforming all those things I once hated about myself into sources of strength, beauty, and love – in service to all.

Words cannot express my gratitude for my teachers, friends, and the sacred Kundalini Yoga teachings. I bow in deep reverence. Sat Nam.

india is awakening within

Adjusting to ‘normal’ life after completing the first module of my Kundalini Yoga teacher training program has been…well, there are no words. And there are so many words. My whole being feels very full of insights, knowledge, understanding, and gratitude.

Being sequestered for five days in a house full of yogis, with daily meditations starting at 4am, physically challenging classes, and yes, a snoring roommate, put me out of my comfort zone in a big way. I embraced it all as gracefully as I could – though there were definitely a couple of clunky moments!

Me in India, in 2010

Me in India, in 2010

My Kundalini adventure is just beginning. I have three more modules to complete, plus daily homework of yoga, reading, and meditation till the program finishes in May 2016.

I’m seeing why it took the amount of time it did for me to get here. The seeds of this journey were planted over ten years ago, when I took my first Kundalini Yoga class and knew there was something very special about the technology. Even then I knew that this path couldn’t be pursued halfheartedly; it requires a level of commitment and discipline that I wasn’t prepared for until now. Actually, I still feel unprepared – but that’s a story of limitation I’m ready to break through.

I understand why I’ve spent so many years alone, exploring different teachings, and delving into my shadow and dark feelings. It’s all been preparation for a new way of being.

‘Surrender’ and ‘trust’ are recurring themes in the blogs I read. If humanity is indeed evolving in consciousness, we must let go of the idea that God/Universe/Source is out to get us. That is an old paradigm. We’re moving into the deep knowing that we are fundamentally good and not fundamentally flawed (as many traditional religions would have us believe). We’re much more than the duality we live in.

To surrender and trust means giving up the need to control every facet of our lives (or rather, releasing the illusion that that’s even possible). During our morning mediations, I felt so much tension in my face…clenched jaw, scrunched up eyes…the stress of thinking, worrying, and holding on. My body is so ready to let that all go.

Our beautiful teacher training room

Our beautiful teacher training room

We don’t need to try so hard; the universe remembers connections we’ve made and seeds we’ve planted. Last month I received an unexpected email from a former employer, asking if I’d be interested in writing a blog post for her spiritual travel company. For a time I’d worked as the company’s social media coordinator, and blogging was my favourite aspect of that role. I was very happy to have that opportunity arise once again.

I found myself writing about India. She is playing a very big role in my life right now, as I study the yogic teachings and feel the presence of my ancestors all around me. I’m discovering a part of myself that I buried a long time ago. India is awakening within.

Nothing is ever lost, if it’s in alignment with who we really are and what we love to do. Things are always cycling back to us in newer, more refined forms as we experience, learn, and clarify. It’s about shifting the power from the mind to the heart.

Time to head to my local Kundalini Yoga class – today’s homework! 🙂

Until next time,
Aleya

Here’s my guest post for Sacred Earth Journeys: http://www.sacredearthjourneys.ca/blog/indias-cosmic-winks-a-story-from-a-past-participant/.

a hot shadowy summer

I didn’t intend to take such a long hiatus from blogging, but it’s been that kind of summer. In my part of the world, it’s been unseasonably hot…forest fires are raging and we’ve had water restrictions for the first time since I can remember.

The weather patterns reflect what’s going on in the lives of many people I know. Powerful change – wanted or not – seems to be happening all around. What no longer works is burning right out of our experience. Personally, I feel like a completely different person since my last post, but it’s hard to explain just how. A new reality is opening up, but I don’t know what it looks like.

I am learning what it means to surrender, not just as a concept, but a practice. The theme of this summer has been: Do I really believe? Do I believe that Spirit (the Universe, God, whatever you want to call it) knows who I am, is supporting me, and actually wants me to be happy? I am seeing that I have never really trusted this to be true. And I am at a crossroads, where I can continue to doubt and attempt total control in my life, or go deeper into my relationship with Source.

Enjoying high tea, London-style. I forgot to stick my pinkie finger out!

Enjoying high tea, London-style. I forgot to stick my pinkie finger out!

I write these words from London, England. I’m travelling with my mother for a couple of weeks, visiting her side of the family, most of whom I’ve never met. I feel the seeds of this journey were planted several months ago, when I began to consciously explore my relationship with my ancestors, particularly my grandmother (my mother’s mother, who died when I was quite young). In just a few days, I’ve learned so much about family history and family members I didn’t know existed, much less felt a connection with.

Days after I arrive home from the UK, I will be moving to a nearby city and starting a new job. This was a relatively unexpected move, the logistics of which came together so swiftly that the universe must’ve conspired to ensure I couldn’t overthink it. Part of me questions my eternal restlessness, but I’m also intrigued at what lies ahead.

Several powerful experiences this summer include my Ayahuasca journey in June, attending a Teal Swan workshop in July and meeting some wonderfully kindred souls there, and reviving my dormant Kundalini Yoga practice. Kundalini Yoga always creates major change in my life when I start it up again! I can’t explain how it works (yet), only that it really, really does.

But by far the greatest transformation has come from continuing my own shadow work, sinking deeper into the memories, feelings, and judgments in my psyche and, as best I can, bringing understanding to those buried places. The summer heat has helped with this process, driving my irritation and frustration levels way up, making me uncomfortable…forcing me to face what’s underneath.

And a beautiful thing is happening. More and more I’m discovering my inner child, the joyful, exuberant little me who is feeling safer to come out of her shell (or maybe ‘prison’ is a better word). Being able to feel a growing love and compassion for her has been the greatest gift of this summer.

What’s next on the horizon? I’m envisioning a more relaxed pace of life in my new city, which hopefully includes beginning my Kundalini Yoga teacher training in the Fall. My vision is to incorporate the incredible healing powers of this ancient form of yoga into sacred circles, bringing women together in creating a new paradigm that embraces the Divine Feminine and Masculine on planet Earth. I feel ready to take this step, so we’ll see what transpires in the next few months!

I hope my WordPress friends have been navigating the changes of this intense summer with hope and trust. I know that it has been a very challenging year for many.

Happy Leo New Moon from the UK!

Aleya

 

my ancestors made me quit

The last few weeks have been full of activity and last weekend’s super full moon was the pinnacle of intensity!

For starters, I had my amazing international family in town and for nearly three weeks, we ate, drank, laughed, cried, and learned family stories (and secrets!) that spanned lifetimes in India, Africa, Europe, and North America.

Bird Family of Inner Light (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Bird Family of Inner Light (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

The amount of information I was given about my ancestors was extremely powerful and emotional…illuminating my own existence in the here and now. I can more clearly see my life as a product and continuation of those who came before me. And I have no doubt that these revelations had something to do with me quitting my job a few days ago.

Holy sh#t. I quit my job.

I’m still in a bit of a daze over that one. It’s no secret to some blogger friends that I haven’t exactly been happy in my current employment. In fact, I’d given my notice way back in 2013, but changed my mind at the last minute. I did the same thing this year! Instead of quitting outright, I asked for some tweaks to my position, hoping that would quell my dissatisfaction.

But last weekend, something happened. I knew without a doubt that it was time to leave my job for good. And the following Monday morning, I gave my notice.

I truly feel that learning so much about my ancestors somehow crystallized this decision. I felt so much of their pain, trauma, success, abundance, loss, and sacrifice in hearing their stories…and it made me realize how vital it is for me to create what I want in this lifetime. To know that ‘anything can happen’, yet not be passive and let life just happen to me. To not allow 3, 5, 15 years fly by in a job that’s been ‘comfortable’, but has dimmed my fire.

Family Reflections (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Family Reflections (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

In the months before my family’s visit, I’d been feeling a real curiousity about my ancestors. A deeper interest to know who they actually were, and what their lives were like.

Being the first generation born in the West, my ancestry was always something to be hidden or avoided in favour of Western culture – of white people. Only now am I really starting to feel my ancestors as people with real lives and feelings and hobbies and passions. People I’m still affected by.

To be honest, I’ve wondered mostly about the women. Who were they? What did they desire? Did they even allow themselves to desire, and did they know what that desire was?

But, as is often the case, it is the men’s stories I’ve heard – and they have something to teach me too. I’ve learned that these men were powerful creators who started several successful companies and businesses, ultimately losing everything when they were expelled from their home country in the 70s. (There’s a lot more to it than that…but it would require a whole book!)

I can’t help but feel my ancestors’ presence reminding me: All this strength is in YOU. This is your lineage…and we’re looking at YOU now! Where are you going to take us…what are you going to do on Planet Earth this time around?

Inner Strength Through Perseverence (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Inner Strength Through Perseverence (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Well…I seemed to have quit my job.

And nope, I don’t have another one lined up. I certainly don’t have six months of savings to live off of. I do have some ideas on what I’d like to pursue, but these seedlings may take some time to grow.

A foolish decision? Or a life-affirming one? Either way, there is no turning back now.

I must trust my intuition, and the universe at large. Now more than ever. There is nothing wrong with ‘playing it safe’, especially when you have others relying on you. But right now it is just me that I am responsible for. And I don’t want to spend one more minute doing things that don’t inspire or energize me, for fear that there is nothing better out there.

What is life going to look like at the end of summer? I don’t know. But I do know I’m getting ideas and this delicious feeling of ‘what if?’. What if I did that, and that turned into that, and that turned into that? I know things will be challenging – no illusions there – but I also know that listening to my body and intuition is my priority.

I’m ready for a new direction. And now it looks like I have no choice but to create one!