Rebuilding the Light

With International Women’s day this past March 8th there’s been a flood of articles on my Facebook feed in reference to feminism. Most of the articles have been thought provoking. Provoking me in terms of my personal past and relationships. The main topic all of these articles have brought to my mind has been the shaming of women. From body parts, to personal choices, and discussions of bodily functions. All the articles that I have read have been anything but flowery lofty ideas. Each article that I came across on my feed has been filled with the sound of a rumbling that comes right before the crack of thunder. So are we ready for the white hot blinding heat of the lightening that comes next? Well it’s coming.

I’ve been silent through the election. I’ve been silent through the Women’s March and Women’s International day. I’m reading. I’m reading everything that ya’ll post. I’m seeing everything. I know where your beliefs are at. And as I watch from the sidelines silently, I’m waiting. I’m waiting because I think that there is a long game coming in all of this. I also know that we are conditioned by our past, our family, our peers and we strive to adhere to the ‘social norms’ in our formative years. It’s really all about survival.

Survival? Well, I’m glad that you question me. See I’m a lot older than you think. A product of the 70’s &  80’s. This is a time where being severely bullied was seen by all as “character building”. But what everyone failed to realize is that there was a desensitization that was actually occurring. Whether conscious or unconscious, it kept us all in check. We followed the ‘social norms’ to the best of our ability to keep ourselves safe. Safety in numbers. We follow the rules and try not to get hurt.

It’s funny how you get older, you somehow find the language to articulate the experiences of growing up. Hindsight and all that good stuff. Just like thinking of a comeback two days later after the fact. So how can I let go of this baggage that holds me back and rebuild the light within myself.

I do know that it must begin with forgiveness of self, first. How? How do we forgive ourselves for not having the language to defend ourselves, stand up for ourselves when we knew something was off. Knowing that there was not something inherently wrong with us, but with the perceptions of the person on the other end dealing out the shame and judgement.

There is a book by Deborah Adele on the Yamas and the Niyamas. In this book she discusses “tracing it back”. I have been doing a lot of this since my news feed blew up with women’s rights, feminism and equality. My beliefs and conditioning has been brought to the forefront of my mind with shocking revelations and upsetting insights into my past. What I say and how I think is being traced back to my conditioning. And I now notice that things instilled into me as a child, whether it was conscious or unconscious, has undoubtedly conditioned me to have judgments about myself and others.

How can I learn new aspects instead of staying firmly packed into the belief system impressed upon me in my formative years? How can I escape these unconscious thoughts of what was taught to me as wrong and right? As I encounter my personal experiences of how I was wronged and who wronged me, blame and judgement, I am able to trace it all back. I have consciously traced it all back to what happened in the dynamics of family and peer groups that caused me to think the way that I do about my experiences. And it’s clear to me now that these conditioning’s and beliefs were formed earlier in my childhood than I had realized.

Flashes and revelations abound with regressed memories so painful that the anger and rage that I feel now as an adult has been all too consuming. So the light inside of me was diminished, it was taken away. My opportunity to believe in myself and feel supported for who I was had been judged harshly at the root level. My teacher Christina Sell had spoken about this light being diminished, “It is now our responsibility to rebuild this light within ourselves.“ I realize that as I feel this disharmony within me when something I perceive goes wrong or someone or something is to blame and I judge according to what I was brought up to believe.

Deborah Adele goes onto to say, “We learn at an early age to accept our family’s beliefs and way of doing things and to pattern ourselves to the cultural ‘norms’. These early conditioning’s continue to form and move deep inside us creating pieces of our identities. Add to that our reactions to our own life experiences and we become neatly wrapped in layers of packaging. When faced with disharmony, our tendency is to blame what is outside of us and then justify what we are thinking and feeling. If we are courageous enough to trace the disharmony back to ourselves, we can begin to unpack our boxes and open up to vast amounts of freedom that brings us closer to our true essence.”

And I want that. I want to unpack it all. I want to be closer to my truest essence. Free from self-harm and blame. Free from conditioning’s and judgments of myself for myself, and free from judgement and blame for others.

The dark deep pain of knowing now all the ways that we were wronged by the people that should have been supporting us and showing us the way, has been intensely overwhelming these last few days. The caretakers that should have been a beacon of light and love and leading by example, brought an immense amount of shame and judgement, just for being who we are. Making us feel as if there is something wrong with us for just being the person that we couldn’t help but be.

I’m ready to unpack those boxes. I’m ready to unpack them, look through them and throw them on the bright blaze of a bonfire. It is time for a revolution. The revolution must begin within ourselves. A revolution that will free us from our past. A revolution that will rebuild the light within ourselves and then shine that light for all the world to see. The revolution is coming. It’s coming with a brilliant flash that will light the way for ourselves and for others.


Mercury Retrograde -Sun Sign

Mercury Retrograde in Your Sun Sign!

For all my friends out there that are really only interested in how this Mercury Retrograde in Taurus will directly affect you per your sun sign, I have this for you! As we all know that Mercury in Retrograde can affect our travel and communication. So as a refresher here are some do’s and don’ts of Mercury Retrograde!

DO …

  1. Review all contracts and legal documents before signing.
  2. Pause and breathe before speaking and repeat yourself if necessary!
  3. Read all emails and documents before you send.
  4. Insure/track important mail and packages, since Mercury rules the postal system.
  5. Get your vehicles (or bikes) tuned up and be sure to pack an emergency roadside kit.
  6. Leave early for any travel and appointments, since Mercury can delay flights.
  7. Renew your commitments instead of making new ones.
  8. Focus on the prefix,re —which means to go backward — and renew, review, revamp, redecorate, et al.
  9. Plan reunions with old friends & loved ones, but prepare for possible mishaps!
  10. Expect to hear from/run into people from your past at the weirdest moments.
  11. Get sentimental. Reconnect with your roots and walk down memory lane.
  12. Practice forgiveness. Finish processing what’s unresolved so you can let it go.
  13. Confirm all dates, plans, meetings and appointments.
  14. Think of the retrograde as a quarterly review period, a chance to pause and finish what you’ve started during that timeframe.
  15. Back up your digital data (photos, contact lists and files) before the retrograde or ASAP, if it has already begun.

DON’T …

  1. Buy new vehicles, electronic equipment or gadgets (unless they come with a good return/repair policy).
  2. Sign contracts without a thorough review. Delay until Mercury turns direct if you can.
  3. Fly off the handle or jump to conclusions if someone misunderstands you.
  4. Run into the arms/bed of an ex without careful screening (Mercury reunions aren’t always meant to last).
  5. Shoot the messenger if someone from your past comes around.
  6. Put anything sketchy into an email or text (you could hit “Reply All” or send to the wrong person!).
  7. Leave late for flights or appointments.
  8. Start anything new before finishing what’s next on the to-do list.
  9. Lead people on, give mixed messages, or believe everything you hear (actions speak louder than words).
  10. Spread rumors, rant on social media or share unconfirmed information.
  11. Turn in sloppy or unchecked work, cut corners, or dash off hasty communications. Inspect to protect!

 

You can expect your mercury retrograde to vary per your sun sign:

 

Capricorn – Mercury will retrograde in your 5th house of love and children. Possible old loves will come back into your life to reconnect, also issues with children that may have been unresolved.

 

Aquarius – Mercury will retrograde in your 4th house of home. Possible to relocate back to a place you once lived, or issues with a lease or temporary living arrangements.

 

Pisces – Mercury will retrograde in your 3rd house of communication and transportation, possible delays and major miscommunications. Be clear and articulate in speaking.

 

Aries – Mercury will retrograde 2nd house of Earned Income, double check all paychecks and loans owed to you for possible short change.

 

Taurus – Mercury will retrograde in your house of Communication, electronics and old issues. Possible snafus with electronics and communication.

 

Gemini – Mercury will retrograde in your 12th house of Ideas (universally speaking), expect a secret to be revealed to you.

 

Cancer – Mercury will retrograde in your house of Friendships and connections, old friends can possibly connect you with a new opportunity.

 

Leo – Mercury will retrograde in your house of career. Possible problems with phone systems, electronics breaking down, emails go haywire, but also an old employer offering you a job.

 

Virgo – Mercury will retrograde in your 9th house affecting long distant trips so plan ahead, arrive early and check all means of transportation. As well it rules higher education, so possible delays in applications or deadlines.

 

Libra –  Mercury will retrograde in your 8th house of resources, taxes, credits and loans. Double check and correct any errors found on credit reports or loan documents.

 

Scorpio – Mercury will retrograde in your house of partnerships, so old issues that you thought were resolved will need to be worked out, or in your case re-worked out.

 

Sagittarius – Mercury will retrograde in your 6th house of work. Double check emails, texts and voice mails. You can easily send the wrong message, or it be taken the wrong way. Triple check your messages and what you want to convey to others.

 

 


The Tools that Yoga gave

I’ve been thinking a lot. As you may know I have down time. I’ve accomplished a goal and the past week I am starting to come down off of the high. My mind has been swimming. I have had students more and more confide in me about some of their life experiences.

I ask myself, “What would my teacher do?”. As in, if I were to ask my teacher how I should help, console, teach…etc. What would my teacher do? I’ve learned about more yoga in the past 5 years and should have something to show for it, so here it goes.

Here is a list of my tools when dealing with life and the situations that come up.

  • Long Game Vs. Short Game
  • Spiritual, Intellectual, Emotional, Physical
  • Yamas & Niyamas

The Long Game are all the things that you must do in order to stay in the game. The long game can be six months or the rest of your life depending on the circumstance. I’ve been doing lot’s of life review this last year and I can tell you from personal experience, I wish I could play the long game with short game plays. Most of the time the long game consists of me personally keeping my mouth shut and the tap of verbal diarrhea turned to the off switch.

When playing the long game the main thing to do is think from the standpoint of, “What do I need to do in order to remain in the game?”. Ruining relationships and burning bridges can get you kicked out of the game faster than you want to leave. To stay in the long game patience is key and not always easy. The waiting it out will make you stronger and more adept at playing the long game.

The short game is just that, it is fast. Moving fast, speaking without thinking and impatience are the ways of the short game. Questions to ask yourself…Is it worth it? Do I care? Am I hurting myself/others? By taking into consideration all the variables you may find that the long game may be in your best interest.

The spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical  aspects can be taken into account when resolving personal issues.  I was thinking of an issue recently. And thought to myself that instead of giving advice on the problem I could show how looking through these lenses may help.

Spiritual side of things. I have some super natural beliefs. And one of them is about spiritual vibration. If you are aligned with that thing, you will call it into being. Like attracts like and so on. So if it is something that you do not want to experience think about what you do want to experience in this human form. I can go on and on about expansive energy and big boundaries as spiritual beings, really in the end we are all one and all have had the same or similar experiences. Does it matter, as all is forgiven when we return to spirit…..well I think it matters, as you are here on Earth. But what is the spiritual side of the situation and how do you come from the spiritual standpoint when dealing with life’s stuff.

Intellectual is getting to the nitty gritty of the analytical aspect of what ever it is that you are going through or experiencing.  How did you come to your conclusion? What was the logic or reasoning used in what you think is going on or of what you did, or how you reacted….etc. Really breaking things down sometimes helps us diffuse the experience of mind fucking ourselves to death.

Emotional connecting to an experience can be good and bad. Sometimes we are called upon to be emotionally invested in the situation or experience because after all it does concern us. But do what extent do we allow ourselves to be emotionally invested?  It situation is different everyone’s experience will not be the same. But by not staying in an emotionally balanced placed can lead to playing by short game rules.

Physical aspects of the experience or situation can be encountered in several ways. By punishing ourselves for mistakes or worrying about things beyond our control can be detrimental to our own personal health. We all know this.  Also if you are having a physical relationship that has become apart of the experience or situation your dealing with, this can involve an infinite amount of variables. Personal physical attachments are more real than an addict with heroin. There are studies to show the amount of feel good hormones produced when you are engaged in physical encounters. Upsets in affairs of the heart on a physical level can drive the sane mad.

Yamas and Niyamas are like the Yogis Ten Commandments. How can you view the situation or experience that you are having through these lenses? Compassion/Non-Harming, Truthfulness, Nonstealing, Nonexcess, Nonpossessiveness, Purity, Contentment, Self-Discipline, Self-Study and Surrender.

Stay compassionate to yourself and others through this situation that you are experiencing. No one ever wins at the blame game. Be kind and gentle as everyone makes mistakes.

Be honest with yourself and with others in a way that is gentle and kind. Brutal honesty is not going to help you or others at this point. Take care with your words. Showing yourself kindness shows others that you can be kind to them.

Nonstealing in a situation takes thought. Are you stealing from others, from yourself? Are you stealing time? Energy? Experiences?

NonExcess can also be a life saver in conflicts. Are you taking drugs and alcohol to numb the pain? Are you obsessing? What ways are you over indulging that is making things worst?

Nonpossessiveness can be over thinking or obsessing about something that you just need to let go of. How can you let go? What are things that you can let go of that will help diffuse the intensity of the experience?

Purity is endless in it’s possibilities. How can we purely enter into resolution? Clear thinking, eating and drinking can help us in the way we deal with others and ourselves. The clearer the mind the quicker the resolution comes.

Find Contentment in the process of resolving your own problems. Know that this is a part of your life’s work and that this is where you are on the path. Be in the present with where you are at with this.

Self Discipline can keep you in the game. Self Discipline can make you into the person that you have always wanted to be. Learning refinement in resolution of personal problems is a skill that will take you far.

Self Study…..take a good long look at yourself and ask the hard questions. How am I responsible? Does this always happen to me? How have I participated in the contribution of what I am experiencing? What can I do to ensure that this doesn’t happen again? Why do I always do this? What is it about this that I find myself repeating?

Surrender yourself to the possibilities. Be open to participate in a way that is thoughtful and engaged. A resolution can come at anytime from outside of yourself. Know that anything is possible.

Anything is possible.

 

 

 


Transition

This last week I completed my Teacher Training and now I am a 500 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. So appropriate that I ended my training with a week on transitions. Not just asana transitions, but life’s transitions. How are we at Beginning’s, sustaining and ending’s? I’ve reviewed my life more this year than any other time in my life. In this year alone the up’s and down’s have been transforming and intense. I feel different, I see things differently and I have a different perspective on my life.

In the last year I have been through my spouse being severely injured. My car was totaled….that I had just completed payments on. I lost my job that I had been in for the last 16 years. And I have taught more yoga classes than I ever have. And through all of this I was in a 300 hour intensive Teacher Training course at the San Marcos School of Yoga.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been rough. The teacher training kept me focused. I was determined. I was not going to let life’s changes veer me off my course. I wanted to learn, change and grow. I have stretched far beyond my comfort zones.

So many emotions came up for me yesterday. It was truly cathartic. Yesterday brought closure to so many things that I had been through. My Teacher Christina Sell and Gioconda Parker in their recognition of my completion of the Intensive series helped me get the ending I wanted in so many things. It was a good ending. Filled with emotions that I could no longer contain. To be recognized and acknowledged by them was overwhelming. My heart burst and the joy was immense.

Finally I feel recognized for something good. So many times I teach, work and go about my business feeling as if I don’t count. That what I do doesn’t make any difference in the world. And to be recognized by teachers that I love and respect is what I have been longing for. I really needed this.

I have finally found my teachers. I have found a yoga home at San Marcos School of yoga. I have found my Yoga family with all of the yogis that I have come to know and love. I love my yoga family. I love all the people that I have spent time with at school.

Hearing about what others were going through made me feel that I had company along the journey that I was taking. So many up’s and down’s that life has handed to all of us. I am happy to not have been alone. I am grateful to have finally had the experience that I have been longing for my whole life.

For so long I have wanted to be in good company. I found that at San Marcos school of yoga. Everyone that I have spent time with there have been the most incredible, talented, competent and well educated people I have ever met. Every single time I have been I have been surrounded by excellence, highly trained and people who are at the top of their game. This alone forced me to stretch and grow far beyond what I knew I was capable of.

Not only did I learn from my teachers, I learned from my fellow yogis. I am so proud to have been with these people in my journey. So much laughter and joy. So much heart ache and pain. We’ve been through it all and bearing witness to each other’s growth. How incredibly rare and special this journey has been.

I truly feel as if the Universe supports me. The environment for learning was so conducive it was as if just by being in the room the teachings were being automatically transmitted into me. I’m thinking back on all the teachers that have participated.Christina Sell. Gioconda Parker. Manorma, Mary Young. Sam Rice. Highly intuitive, extremely knowledgeable, highly educated and completely amazing people. True Masters through and through.

I’m thinking about all the incredible yogis I spent time with. All of their amazing insights. All of their love and hugs. All the love and the laughter. All of the joy. The crying and the ‘fuck this shit’ moments. All of the great stories and sharings about students and yoga studios.

What a long journey. I traveled into some dark places within myself. Fear and anxiety sometimes took a hold of me to the point where I thought that I could not go any further. There was a destination I longed to reach. I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back. With all the bad there was so much good. This road could not be just simple and joyful in order for me to learn. This journey will never really be complete. I do feel I have reached a major milestone in my life. But I know that there will be other trainings. Nothing is planned as of yet, but I know that I will continue to learn and grow.

The teachings that I have received will change and evolve inside of me. I am forever changed by this experience. I’m not the same person I was when I started this training. I’m different. I can never return to the way things were. I wouldn’t want to.

So what is next? I’m done with training. I have no job (day job). I really don’t know what is going to happen. And I am o.k. with that. I do know that I love learning. I love my teachers. I love my fellow yogis at San Marcos School of Yoga. I’m happy to be home. I’m loving this day. I love that I’m in a huge transition in my life and that everything is up in the air.


August – Brahmacharya

August – Brahmacharya

Brahmacharya is Sanskrit and translates as moving in a ‘God like sense. I know not one person reading this woke and decided that they were going to move and act like God today. But there are many ways that the modern yogi can participate in brahmacharya without taking a vow of celibacy or renouncing all worldly pleasures. Moderation. Moderation is key in many of the different areas of our life.

Moderation can be practiced on many different levels and in many different areas of our lives. Eat too much Halloween candy and you get a tummy ache. Drink too much and get a hangover. Do too much yoga practice and you can become injured.

Over doing the things in life can also lead to burn out. Work too much? You will eventually need a real break. Over excess seems to ne the American way. There are many activities that can have attributes of gluttony. Shopping, entertainment and sex are just a few. But how can we move from excess to enough?

It is this moment of ‘just enough’ that we work at trying to recognize with in ourselves. Enough work. Enough shoes in our closet. Enough wine with dinner. Knowing when to say when and when enough is enough.

Not having the ability to connect with ourselves to gauge properly when enough is enough is an invitation to ourselves to start listening. We can take time to slow down and listen to ourselves when we’ve reached the point of excess. Finding ourselves sacred and the connection that we have with Divinity can help be that guiding light. We can stop and listen to ourselves about how to proceed in moving in a way that is moderate.

Being owned by something can lead us away from our intentions to be the best version of ourselves. And when we begin to recognize that sacred part of ourselves and listen to that guiding light we become better equipped and see we are no longer owned by excess of any one thing.

We can learn to practice seeing what is enough and making that our stopping point. Recognition that Divinity resides in all things can bring us to what is just enough for us in our lives.

Wishing you all Bright Blessings!

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July Newsletter – Niyamas

July Newsletter – Niyamas

Last days of July and we have hit some of the hottest days here in Houston. Looking at the Niyamas for the next 6 months, we can begin to turn inward, just as the days become shorter. Very in sync I would say. The Niyamas are about turning inward and looking at the self.

The Niyamas invite us to cleanse our mind body and thoughts. They invite us to fall in love with what we have going on in our lives. They encourage us to choose discipline and growth and to get to know the self better. And we are asked to pay attention to what life is asking of us.

The five Niyamas are purity, contentment, self-discipline, self study and surrender.In sanskrit they are known as Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya and Ishvara Pranidhana. As we study the Niyamas, we begin to move towards the interior of self.

In Iyengar’s Tree of Yoga, he likens the correspondence of the niyamas to the trunk of the tree. Saucha is the irrigation of the trunk, purifying the mind, body and soul so that all parts of the self live in harmony. Santosha is finding contentment and allowing the light to come in to be shed on all aspects of our lives. Tapas, better known as austerity can also be translated to burning desire. A burning desire to be cleansed and purified so the inner self can be illuminated. Svadhyaya study of the self, from the outer most self as in gross physical anatomy of our unique selves all the way to our most blissful states of our own spirit. Isvara-pranidhana, bhakti yoga, the devotional side of who we are. He states that when you reach a higher state of intelligence, that type of intelligence makes you lose your identity, and that’s when you become one with God because you surrender yourself to him.

Sending you all love and light as the days grow shorter and the cold nights bring us deeper into contemplative states to better know the niyamas.

Bright Blessings,

Melanie


June Newsletter – Let It Go!

June Newsletter- Apaigraha – Let it go!

Welcome to June! We are six months into the year, we are at the halfway point of 2015! This month we will be looking at Aparigraha – non-excess or non hoarding. Another way that this translates is to let it go.
In Iyengar’s a Light on Yoga, the passage speaks of Aparigraha in a non-hoarding way. To take more than what you need is like telling the Universe that you do not trust it to provide you with what you need. And to hoard can be interpreted as fear, fear of not having.

I am thankful and amazed at the timing of what I had planned to write on this month and the timing of recent events in my life. This month will really be about letting go and letting God, or trusting in the Universe for me. I had attended an intensive in April that was on contemplation. And I have been contemplating what I was going to write for two weeks now.

Every time something came bubbling up, instead of acting on that thing I have allowed it to unfold in a slow natural way. One of my teacher’s, Gioconda Parker, taught us about beginnings, sustaining and endings in the Contemplative Intensive. So I have been in contemplation about endings these last two weeks. How good am I at endings? How do I allow things to end? How can I let go?

On May 21st , after working 16 years for the same department in the Medical Center in Houston, my working relationship was ended. Initially, I was distraught. I cried a great deal, and then a sense of relief and liberation came over me. I was done and had been done for some time prior to the dissolution of my position. (I had done nothing wrong, restructuring, finances and other factors came into play for many of us sent on our way with severance packages on that day.)

I did think about what could I have done better, how could I have changed things. I couldn’t, there was nothing. Shoulding and coulding all over myself would not change my situation, as it never does when we could have, would have, should have. The fact is that my regular day job that was paying my bills and that is over and I need to figure out what I am going to do. How can I let go of the past so that I can be free to move into the future? What do I allow to come up for me so I can process the finality of this situation and move on?

I am not the only one suffering. During this time many have lost all during the floods these past weeks. And in that perspective of what is going on in Houston and other parts of Texas, my situation seems trivial and the only persons affected are me and my spouse. We have so much compared to others. So what now?

In this short desperately needed time off I have entered into contemplation, cooking and cleaning. I have taught classes at the gym and yoga studio. I have taught this past entire weekend at the 200-HR Teacher Training. I have been busy with school work from my 300-HR Teacher Training. I have meditated, practiced and journaled. I have played with the cats and enjoyed the weather and sunrises with coffee on my porch. It’s been real nice.

Yesterday evening I felt the time ticking knowing I can’t sustain this lifestyle of not working. I can’t have the things that I want without a job to pay for them. So I want, but can the things that I want be the things that I need. If so, how will the Universe provide? How can I let go and go with the natural flow of the Universe and allow this situation to unfold in a way that is better than what I can imagine for myself.How can I Inspire my students in ‘letting go’ all the while struggling to ‘let go and let God’ myself?

I do know that this situation has brought me the blessing of retreating. I really needed this time off. I really wanted this time off. I am grateful to have this time off. Surprisingly, I haven’t really been down about this at all. It almost seems as if something is at play here and I just don’t know what’s coming around the corner, and it feels like something good. I do look forward to the new experiences that this will bring me. As well I am happy for the time I need to figure out what I really want. I’m excited about the fresh, new and vital that will happen in the future.

I really wanted time to process this all before I shared. It’s hard to share when it’s fresh. I wanted to wait before I started the process of actively searching and speaking with others about opportunities. I feel like this experience has shown me how much I’ve matured in regards to how I am at endings. This ending I feel pretty good about, because I know the next beginning will be better.

My current schedule:

Available for fun, frivolity and yoga during the day!
Tuesday Night 7:30 PM Dynamic Fitness Pearland
Thursday Night 7:30 PM Dynamic Fitness Pearland
Saturday Joy Yoga Washington 7:30 AM, 9:00 AM
Sunday Joy Yoga Voss RD & Washington Ave 7:30 AM & 9:30 AM