Sunday, June 2, 2013

Life's Purpose, No Pressure

I’m pretty sure I was going to write a great story.  Or a great poem.  Or something.  I can’t remember.  I only know it was going to be great.

They say that before our soul incarnates it has a great purpose, a plan with focus.  Then the soul enters the body and the body enters the world and all but vapor-like traces of this great purpose are forgotten.  And so life is a process of remembering what we once knew but have long since forgotten. 

I can barely remember where I put my car keys so you can imagine my angst regarding remembering my life’s purpose.

As my dear friend Julie says, “Doesn’t remembering your LIFE’S PURPOSE just feel so BIG?  LIFE’S PURPOSE.  Geez.  It’s like on one hand how could you miss it and on the other where the heck is it?”  

When I imagine that my purpose is a “thing” or a “great creation” I really feel the burden of “finding” it.  Actually, let me rephrase.  For many years I experienced straight-up anxiety brought on by the whole ‘remembering your purpose’ perspective.  I felt like I was chronically missing something. “Oh my god...did I miss the bus to my purpose?  Am I anywhere near finding my purpose?  Did I take a wrong turn?  Am I close?  Not close?  Marco?  Pollo?  Marco?  Pollo?  Help a sister out!“

It only took about 10 years of living with this low grade anxiety and self-imposed spiritual pressure to recognize that living in a state of constant ‘seeking’ was unsustainable for my nervous system and my overall enjoyment of LIFE!  Looking for my purpose was definitely making it difficult to experience contentment here and now.  

So...(not that this was an over night process) I re-framed LIFE’S PURPOSE from some THING that I had to remember to my moment-to-moment WAY OF BEING. 

Exploring purpose as a WAY OF BEING immediately invited me into the present...again and again.  Now instead of asking ‘where’s my Purpose’, I ask myself ‘how am I experiencing, expressing, receiving, letting go, enjoying, resisting, embracing, denying’ this moment’.  These are my questions of BEING. 

My way of being is something I can adjust, steer, and gauge unlike playing hide-and-seek with this mysterious PURPOSE-I-LOST thing.  Oh the pressure.

What the world needs that I can bring is a PRESENT HEART, a present listener, a kind and honest wife, mother and friend who has CREATED space in her body/mind to BE PRESENT while changing diapers and while changing careers, to be fully attentive while nursing the baby and comforting a friend in turmoil. 

It is in the simplicity of being fully present that I experience 'greatness'.  

Recently I met a man waiting for his wife and daughter outside of the yoga studio.  He shared these simple words with me, “Perhaps one of the greatest factors informing your life will be whether or not you know that you are enough.”  

I can not understate the ease that has come from letting go of the story that I had to find something that wasn’t already here!

Right now.  We are enough.  Just as we are.  We are enough.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Birth is a miraculous play
of blood and bones, energy and breath.
Set on the stage of our body,
birth resounds in songs of
prayer and profanity.

Nothing can prepare us for it.
Everything has already prepared us for it.

Birth invites us to make peace with pain.
By enduring this particular pain
we draw pure love from the mystery to our loving arms.

Birth takes us to the precipice of
our life as we have known it.
Dance on that windy cliff.
Dance your most primal and powerful dance
to the rhythm of each contraction.

Roll your hips and scream.
Undulate and moan.
Breathe and spit fire and,
above all else,
Lose yourself in the pain.
Curl your toes around the cliff's edge.
Then jump.

In an instant all that you have known will be no more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tap Dancing and Domesticity

Some women don’t have to think about making the bed, tidying up, or lighting a smelly candle to to enhance the mood in their home.  They don’t have to say aloud to themselves, “Wipe down the counter after you prep dinner“ or “Hang up your dress after taking it off.” 

I do have to say these things to myself.  A lot.  And the acts of tidying, organizing, folding and sweeping are truly a revolutionary ways of engaging daily life.  Until now it's fair to say that I have avoided domesticity.

Before leaving the states my life was lived outside of my house where I was always on the go as an entreprenuer-yoga-teacher-type woman.  I also lived a lot of my life within the creative space of my heart and head, dreaming up ‘what’s next’, writing curriculum, expressing myself on the page and in the classroom.  I didn’t give our house much thought.  Honestly, our house was more of a “crash ‘n launch pad” than a “home sweet home”.

With a baby on the way I’ve had to train myself into new habits.  Habits that involve domestic organization, putting things back where I found them, cleaning up after myself in real time.  It’s like everything they taught me in kindergarten only I’m 33 and I have to make my own snacks.

Perhaps I avoided domesticity in the past because it reminded me of that happy-but-miserable 1950’s housewife.  Or perhaps it was the driving focus on career that steered my attention away from the home space.  Or maybe, regardless of any images of ‘domesticated women’ and their silent suffering or my focus on 'career', it’s just that my mind has never been that interested in external order, cleanliness, organization or smelly candles.

My mind prefers to play with philosophy, psychology, and the subjects of emotional intelligence, behavioral sciences and self-awareness.  None of those subjects you can touch or see or smell.  My mind has always played more in the abstract world of feelings and with non-material plains of existence.

Until now...until a very not-abstract baby started growing in my very not-abstract uterus. 

Suddenly all the things I can touch and feel and smell are standing front and center while philosophic reflections and entrepreneurial aims take back seat. 

After sharing these thoughts with my mother she told me about a conversation she had had with her mother-in-law, Mimi, just after marrying my father.  My mother was feeling uncertain about all things “wife” and “home” and “mother-to-be”.

In response to my mother's concerns Mimi replied, “Oh, Honey, don’t you worry.  All I knew how to do when I got married and had kids was tap dance.” 

Friday, April 27, 2012

On the Horizon...

One of the greatest gifts of pregnancy has been my increased capacity to sit still.  Sitting still has never been a strong suit - not even after practicing yoga for 12 years.  My father always said that I have two speeds:  really fast and off.

Now, 20 pounds heavier than my normal weight and using most of my energy for growing a human in my womb, I find that I have very little interest in hiking 6 kms in dry sand every morning to get a good workout.   Instead I’m sweetly content to walk 1/2 km to my favorite shady spot, sit down and watch the changing shapes of ocean waves breaking repetitiously, sounding off like a giant liquid metronome.

This stillness has introduced me to previously unseen details:  the way our seven-year-old black lab’s ears flop forward when he digs contentedly in the sand, making him look like a four-month old puppy again;   the way the morning clouds move across the sky reminiscent of giant airborne downy swan feathers;   the sharp line of the distant horizon that appears so concrete from here, but, like the elusive end of the rainbow, will never be touched.
My eyes linger on the horizon.  I’m reminded of the phrase, “as above, so below”, a phrase that acknowledges two aspects of Creation, the un-manifest and the manifest.  The horizon then represents that most unique point of existence where the formless and the formed merge.  My Trantrika teacher calls this meeting point maya.

Unlike the classical definition of maya, which suggests that maya means ‘illusion’ (as in the manifest world is an illusive projection of Consciousness as compared to the 'real' world of pure Consciousness or God), the Trantrikas suggest that the world of form is teaming with just as much Consciousness as the unmanifest world.  Tantrikas suggest that the manifest world is not at all illusion at all but rather a denser version of a Consciousness that manifests in infinite forms.  Therefore maya, the horizon between the unmanifest and manifest worlds, is not described as the point where 'illusion' begins, but rather as a magic mirror, the thin line veil, that makes visible to our human senses the embodiment of God.

Seems so perfect to remember this as our birth approaches.  After all what clearer way for the Divine to manifest than through birth and new life? 

Monday, January 23, 2012

What We Focus on is Directly Related to Who Become

(The following 'purposeful outcry' was inspired by an online 'push' from Miranda Pleasant, founder of Origin Magazine, after a conversation regarding 'body image' lit up Facebook.)

What we focus on is directly related to who become. This is why I suggest that every woman who has been silently or overtly attacked or diminished exclusively for her shape and size simply, loudly and with total joy REBEL!

REBEL against the very idea that we must be so many inches wide or tall. REBEL against the very idea that we should have a certain silhouettes or thickness of hair or sizes of breasts. REBEL against the notion that we or our mothers or our daughters need be different to be loved. REBEL against the notion that only until you 'change' can you be of value.

For these thoughts are like chains to the soul. A mind that focuses on not being enough will lose the gift her luminosity - the very seat of power in a woman.


Release the unattainable images. Open to the beauty that is here and now, the beauty that is you!


Start by seeing and sharing the beauty you see in others. The gift of the feminine is how she is animated from the inside out (not how she looks from the outside). Notice the gifts, the expressions of service and kindness, movement, dance, laughter in your sisters and your female tribe. Observe and share the beauty you see! What you focus on is what you become.

Liberate yourself from the influence of a male-dominated media system. That system is designed to sell, sell, sell in a country that places so-called "economics" above health, vitality, and the very planet that supports us. Unleash yourself from the unattainable images that peak out of every billboard, magazine and T.V. station.

As the bumper sticker says, "Kill Your Television."

Revive your rebel & save your soul.

Let our rebellion be a celebration of WHAT IS! Our hips, our thighs, our vitality, our sheer strength of a woman raised in a free nation! Be free! Think freely! See yourself as a very force of Divine Intelligence. Promote discussions! Celebrate other women doing the same thing.

It's time to shift the conversation from "body image" to the SOUND OF YOUR SOUL SINGING! Change the focus from form to feel! We can throw our heads back and laugh and start a new conversation.

This is coming from a former bulimic who healed her self through the practice of YOGA, MEDITATION and AUTHENTIC SELF-EXPRESSION.

1) The yoga provided a consistent outlet to fully feel the gift of my body and my breath.
2) The meditation revealed the constant chatter of my hyper-active mind, and offered tools to guide it to its natural, loving cadence.
3) Authentic self expression gave my mind (my beautiful strong mind) a new focus and an opportunity to practice fearlessness and to listen and share my soul’s song.

This is also coming from a woman who is nearly 3 months pregnant, watching her belly and breast swell like sweet rolling hills. Our bodies are designed to change, like seasons change. We are such intelligent creatures - let the focus be on the miracle of our being and nothing less.

Who was it that said that it is the women of the western world who save the whole planet?

Let's place the focus of our minds consciously in life-affirming soil.

REBEL in love...for Love.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Love is the Ultimate Rebel

Written on the “Save the Date” announcement for my friends’ wedding is a quote from the crazy-wisdom author, Tom Robbins.

“Love is the ultimate Rebel.”

Love rebels against the way we want Love to be. We want Love to feel like a Care-Bear caught in a freeze-frame, perpetually happy, always smiling. We want Love to feel like the ‘Big Win’ every time. We expect Love to be short lines at the DMV and effortless orgasms at will. It should be well-behaved, but not too predictable. And it should be the life of the party, but not stay out too late.

But, Loves rebels against the very ideas we have about Love. Love is the pain you feel that demands you change course, ‘keep seeking’ and not give up. Love is the suffering that precedes deep personal evolution. Love is the regret you feel that encourages higher more conscious actions in the future. Love is the loss that directs us into cherishing all that we still have. Love is that insatiable yearning that moves us forward and prevents us from becoming stagnant. Love reveals itself in the darkest moments of our life, as the darkness itself.

A while back my teacher said to me, “Lauran, don’t confuse ‘Love’ with something you are going to ‘like’ OR with your personal preferences OR with something that will wake you up gently like your grandma used to. Love is gonna kick your ass, Girl. Love is not here to make you comfortable. Love is here to help you GROW!”

I repeat: Love is here to help us grow.

Love rebels against the weakness in our minds and that’s the revolution that leads to growth. When the mind says, “I can’t”. Love says, “It’s not about you.” When the mind says, “I gotta stop.” Love says, “Keep on.” When the minds say, “That’s impossible.” Love says, “Let me show you the way.” When the mind thinks ‘It’s all about me’, Love says, ‘It’s all about we’.

The growth that love inspires is an expansion of our self to include others. Getting outside of our selfish comfort zone, showing up fully present for another person, engaging relationships with as much concern for the other's heart as we have for our own is totally non-conformist.

It is a maverick move to set down our ‘old rusty me-centered’ ways in exchange for ‘inclusive’ being. It’s totally rebellious to forgive your lover in the middle of an argument. It’s revolutionary to direct the power of your Love into the sole purpose of serving others moment after moment, day after day.

Now what does all this have to do with marriage?

Oh, right. Everything

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lay Your Body Down

We left San Jose, Costa Rica, one month ago and now live in a small jungle town on the Pacific Coast. Here the gravel roads meander without a trace of straight lines, the internet comes and goes with the whim of a feral cat and the powdered-sugar beaches stretch for miles without interruption.

Where the jungle meets the beach, insects, birds and howler monkeys dominate the sound-scape. The fastest my body moves is determined by the speed of my mountain bike petal strokes. I keep track of time by counting the number of waves that roll under my surf board as the ocean and I slowly get acquainted. And at night millions of tiny diamonds shine without inhibition while giant sea turtles lay what will one day be the next generation of ocean elders.

Here the over-relied-upon machine of my mind comes to rest. Any feeble attempts to “make sense of...”, "assess" or "figure out" this great Mystery of Life are dwarfed by the sheer majesty of the endless blue horizon.

How much time do you spend meandering the inner-landscape of your thinking mind? Judging, critiquing, assessing?

Are you willing to experience more of the outer landscape of Nature’s beauty and less of the inner-landscape of your thinking mind?

Make a date with the Earth. Lay your body down. With your back on Her belly feel Her and
let Her feel you.