Nivartatwam (Go where you are not).
Bhagvan Shankaracharya of Jyotir Mat
1.Go where you are not. These words have been the vibration of my every step this past year. I’ve learned – in ways big, brash and messy as well as in soft, small and subtle – that my soul is an expanding container. I only find refuge when I stop seeking safety. My guides have peeled back my sticky eyelids to show me that unless I am regularly swimming in discomfort, I won’t feel whole. That might sound ridiculous or crazy. It may be. I may be. But all it really means is that my medicine is sourced by consciously creating, seeking, tasting, smelling, the places that I don’t know, whether they be outward or inward. As above so below. I have a soul contract in this life to be of service to liberation through intimacy, genuineness and interconnectivity; that place where I’m not so sure where I end and the air begins. When I go far enough I notice that endings and beginnings cease to be words that hold value. I go into the spaces where I don’t know what to say, what to do, how to act. I’ve found these risks are the most expedient and interesting way to get to any sort of truth or authenticity – to play in the places where no strategy is allowed, the places where anything that is not me has long since disappeared. This is the miracle space. And it doesn’t just belong to me. It belongs to all of us. I’ll take you there if you like. It’s only by going outside of what we already know that we will find the clarity and energy we seek. It’s where the love pulse beats strong. We feel the shape of the medicine in our bodies, find its texture in this moment, hear its voice in our own. We stop looking for something else. Life begins to reveal itself when we stop chasing it. 2. As a willing participant in this experiment of my life, I’ve committed to being in full play, to open to the lotus bloom and respond accordingly. When grief came this past Spring (as essentially every structure of career, body and relationship came crashing down) I entered it fully. I allowed it to scrub me of resistance. I walked in its unknown and multiphasic landscape. I’d feel my eyes flutter open each morning, briefly, before the grief tsunami would crash in again. Then came the moment when I realized it wasn’t attempting to drown me, but to wash away everything that was now extra. Grief opened me in the way that only grief can. It taught me, all over again, the boon of running right into the fire, instead of away from it. It cleansed me of gangrene energy that I had forgotten to return to the Earth. It held my hand in the dark, even when I was the dark. Even when it was the dark. 3. As it does, the initiation of grief was the birthplace of new life. It led me to deserted forests where I received new transmissions on letting go. I learned how, just like we flush our shit down the toilet, never to consider where it goes or what happens to it, we can fool ourselves into thinking we let go into nothing. There’s something rich and powerful though, that emerges when we recognize that we release into something, we empty of pain and it is received by an intelligence every bit as loving, powerful and intelligent as you. So often we shuffle around, lightly bumping into one another, feeling so profoundly unsupported. When we begin to notice that everything comes from somewhere, lives in us and then moves to something else, we experience a deeper sense of refuge. Everything has a lineage and in this moment you are it. What you let go is let go into something. It is let go into the Earth. She holds it, digests it, breaks it down into elemental wisdom. She turns it into new life, just as she does with the excrement of our bodies and our bodies themselves once we release them back to her. She is our ancestor and we are Hers. 4. Nivartatwam, go where you are not. In reaching into the space just beyond my fingertips, in leaning in to the barbwire fences of my own heart, I’ve found what most have forgotten: that there’s something deeper. That there is more to you than your personality and trying to be something special. You’ve always been special. You’ve always been of value. That was never on the table or up for debate. Now is the time to explore all those possibilities you’ve held on the other side of the fence, all the whole claiming there’s nothing to see over there. Recently, I was on a tiny island devoted by the Maya to the Goddess Ixchel. She is a birth/death goddess, a water vessel turned upside down, a dancing rainbow with a snake twisted around Her arm. She is a Jaguar, a Grandmother. She weaves the world into being. As I practiced yoga one day on her island belly, I rolled over onto my right shoulder, encountering a stabbing pain. I was aware of how my whole body tensed and braced in reaction. In the grip of pain, I began to weep. Not because of the pain sensation, but because I could feel in my body how connected everything is, how one part screams and everything else feels it. It’s not different between you and me. Whether I know it cognitively or not, I feel your pain and you feel mine. It is not my pain or yours, but a shared thing experienced by each. I decided in that moment to relax everything that I could around that pain, and instead of freaking out, instead of labeling the muscle or joint or condition, I made the decision to bless. I called on every part of my being to bless the part of me feeling the pain. And the pain began to give way. As the grip softened through my body it became waves of bliss. I heard the voice of Ixchel, “What I weave is my whole life. My story is complete. I omit nothing. I turn my face from nothing, because all is my creation. There is no separation.” As my family and I spent the remainder of our days on the island, we blessed Her and She blessed us back. In ceremony, in play, in rainbows and in dreams we became the expression of Her medicine. 4. What might happen for you if you simply begin to notice, where am I not? Where have I been living a half-life? Where have I been holding back? Where have I been unwilling? Go where you are not. You presence is needed, Beloved Child of the Universe. All of life is waiting for you. Image from Jenna Holmes