by Karen Mehringer
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
Surrounded by royal blue water extending beyond the horizon in all directions, no land in sight, I gaze at the path of diamonds dancing on the ocean's surface. The sun radiating on my skin feels like a warm cashmere sweater. It is August 19, 1998, and I am on my first ocean passage of a life-transforming journey, a journey leading to a more authentic and purposeful life.
My journey to living a more authentic and purposeful life began in Seattle, Washington, where I lived with my husband, John. Unfulfilled with our lifestyle of working full time, coming home tired, and crashing in front of the TV with little energy left to pursue our passions, our souls cried out, There must be more to life!
Craving more adventure and fulfillment, we began taking sailing lessons, an activity we both felt passionate about. Spending time on the ocean enlivened our spirits, causing us to dream and see that there were other possibilities for living. As our interest in sailing grew, we read magazines and books about it. Stories about couples who cruised around the world, slowing down to take time out from their modern lifestyles, inspired us. One book in particular, Maiden Voyage, by Tania Aebi, described her adventures at the age of eighteen as the first American woman and youngest person to circumnavigate the world. Discussions ensued. If these people could do it, why couldn't we?
We began looking into options. One was crewing boats. For a minimal amount of money, we could crew on someone else's boat and gain valuable experience while also traveling. As crew, we would share the responsibilities of navigating, helming the boat on scheduled watches, cleaning, and cooking meals. After applying for a couple of positions, we decided on a forty-six-foot sailboat in the process of circumnavigating the world. We would join it on its second leg, cruising from Fiji to Singapore for a six-month period, visiting the countries of Vanuatu, Australia, and Indonesia along the way.
After renting out our house and taking a one-year leave of absence from our employment, we up-anchored and left Seattle on June 1, 1998. Before meeting the boat, we went on a road trip for three weeks, camping out as we explored several different states. Driving east on I-90 through the Cascade Mountains, the sky was bright blue and sunny, the pine needles on the evergreens glistened, and a feeling of summer was in the air. My heart felt lighter and lighter the farther we traveled from the hustle of civilization and our old life. Gratitude welled within me for our choice to live adventurously and break out of the confines of our own limiting beliefs about how life should be lived. At last, we were free to follow our hearts and begin anew.
Are you following your heart? Are you living the life of your dreams? In order to live the life of our dreams, we need to take time out to reflect on who we are and what makes us feel alive inside.
Within each of us there is a powerful vital life force energy that resides. Like a raging river, this vital energy needs a channel to flow and be fully expressed. When we allow it to move through us, for example with our writing, artwork, or music…by expressing our passions, we allow the river of the divine to flow through us. When in the flow, we are in the present moment. Our spirits come alive; we feel at peace and can experience great joy and bliss. When we resist or block the flow of this creative energy, we experience constriction that causes us to feel anxious, physically ill, and spiritually disconnected from our source of love, joy, and abundance. Like a river being blocked by a dam, the water has no where to go and thus builds up more and more pressure.
At the beginning of the year, I created a New Year's intention for 2009. It is: "To be an open channel for the divine flow of creation and expression." Near my computer, I have a beautiful altar card with a colorful picture of a Dancing Fire Goddess, the Goddess of Expression. The card says:
"O Dancing Fire Goddess! Teach me to set myself free,
To create, to move to dance, to be!"
What is your soul's passion? What is your unique expression? Have you given yourself permission to freely express who you are without limitation? If not, try these exercises to assist you with engaging more fully in your passions:
- Sit down with your journal or note book and begin the page with, "I feel most alive when…" Write non-stop, without lifting your pen from the paper, for at least five minutes. Then, take the items that have emerged and create a list of your passions.
- Next, evaluate how often you engage in each passion on your list. Ask yourself, "If I were to make more of a commitment to the expression of my passions, what might that look like?" Journal for clarity. For example, I recently joined a Writer's Success Group to assist me with making my writing more of a priority. I now have weekly and monthly goals and a forum for accountability.
- Now, meditate for five to ten minutes and visualize yourself engaged in your passions. What do you see? What are you doing? How does it feel to express your self more fully? Allow the feelings that have emerged such as freedom and joy to anchor into every cell of your being. See the energy of these feelings as a color or light to help with the visualization.
- Pick a symbol or representation of your passions. For example, if the feeling that came up during your meditation is that of freedom, then a picture of an eagle soaring might be a wonderful representation. Since I love dancing, the altar card of a Dancing Fire Goddess is inspiring to me. Find something that resonates deeply with your soul and place it where you will see it frequently. For example, you might place it as the background on your computer desktop or at your altar or both.
By allowing the divine flow of creation to express through us freely and abundantly, we feel more alive inside. Our actions are inspired from the depths of who we are and we are able to live the life of our deepest dreams!
"The more willing you are to surrender to the energy within you, the more power can flow through you."
—Shakti Gawain, author of Creative Visualization
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2009. All rights reserved.
"Life happens. Life in the flow."
We learn over time that nobody can solve our problems, but someone can guide you how to solve the problem. You may receive guidance through a teacher, a guru or even strangers that you run into every day. As we practice yoga we learn that the more we know, the less we truly know. Every day I am reminded how much I truly do not know; a very humbling experience.
Yoga teaches me to be present. To just live for being and enjoying life as it is right NOW. Not ten minutes from now, no five days ago, but right now. We are taught to get out of our heads, to release worries and fears of the past or the future and to only live for this very moment. Presence.
"Lead me from untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light." ~ Buddha
Through yoga we are reminded that we do have a dark side as well as a light side. We are not to repress the dark side, but embrace that side of our Self. We are the yin and the yang. We ultimately cleanse the dark stuff we hold inside. We shine the light on this. We must make friends with dark side. Both positive and negative balance out the whole. Daily practice refines and improves our inner vision to see our Self more clearly. We no longer need to run from fears. Face them and say I'm not running from you anymore. So much is in our heads, so much dark is only in our heads, self-doubt judgment betrayal. Yoga grounds the body so that the light and dark sides of ourselves become clear. So much is truly untrue. But as we diligently practice we are able to find the middle ground and walk our centered balanced line in life. We gain balance in centered lightheartedness. We can have harmony in both light and dark.
"Yoga tells us that the world is actually a projection of our own thoughts and we can modify our inner world to manifest into our outer world. When our inside realm is at peace and in harmony, our outer world shines this projection back at us." ~ David, Jiva Mukti Yoga co-founder
Yoga is observation.
We can observe our world and see what part that is in us is begin reflected back to us. We can then see what part of us needs modification or adjustment in order to have our outer reality reflect back to us the peace, happiness and love we so greatly desire and deserve.
Yoga is already inside of you. Happiness is there. Yoga helps you peel away the onion layers to get to the core. To freedom. The deepest Divine connection to the Ultimate Light Source.
Come out of wanting and back into acceptance and Joy. A yogi or yogini can turn any situation into bliss. That is a yogi. Yoga is being now. Ultimate yoga is meditation. Just BE.
Yoga is love.
"Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls." ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Through a dedicated practice of all forms of yoga we can participate in the world with a sense of freedom, unaffected from trauma, depression, anger, etc. The freedom is balance in both.
Maggie Anderson is a Yoga & Spiritual Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master Instructor, Soul Coach®, Past Life Coach, Magnified Healing® Master Teacher and Angelights Messenger. She is the author of How I Found My True Inner Peace and Divine Embrace. You can contact Maggie at SpiritualCompassConnection.com.
"Follow Your Bliss. It's Your Spiritual Compass."