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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Salty


Today while I was being tossed like plankton against the oncoming waves of the Pacific, a board under my belly, a storm on the horizon, I was once again introduced to the physical presence of that great Power who repeatedly (with great certainty) tells me, “Lauran, my dear, you are NOT in charge.”

Gotcha. Splash...gurgle...No, really! Gotcha!

I can’t control the ocean. I can only master the art of using the its power to generate a deeper experience of my aliveness.

A similar lesson arises in regards to my emotions. At times I’d like to think that I have total control over these waves, but - noooooope - I am not the source of their undulations.

I think back during a time when I was grieving the tragic murder of dear childhood friend. Grief just took me...way under, like today’s stormy waves. It didn’t matter how much I prayed for the sorrow to end or how much I wished the pain to stop. Grief receded when it was ready to recede and not on my watch.

This leads me to a deep interest in the process of becoming more skillful as I navigate the uncontrollable powers that bring on intense waves of emotion. Daily in my own life and in the lives of friends and students I see the way emotions toss us hither-tither, knock the metaphorical boards from under us and hold us beneath the surface in the dark with salty brains and burning eyes.

So my meditations currently are: how can we become more skillful with the power that sources our emotions? How can we, knowing that we are not in control, grow into graceful “emotional surfers”. How can we learn to harness the power of grief, sadness, bliss, lust, joy, frustration, anger, delight for the ultimate goal of deepening our vitality, creative processes, relationships and service in the world?

After all, every surf session thus far - even the most laborious and taxing - have awakened me to what it means to really be alive: the good, the bad, and the salty!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wrestling the Alligator til We Find God in His Teeth and Tail

Conversations and practices that inspire people to experience themselves as the Divine-embodied may very well be the planet’s next Saving Grace. I recognize that globally people are awakening to the experience of the body (and all of Life) as a projection of the Divine and the Divine as Ultimate Benevolence. This awakening may very well be the perfect remedy for so many present-day ailments.

When one person steps into the Light, others remember and can embody their own God-ness as well. When one person recognizes in every circumstance the opportunity to dance with the Divine, then others can too see that even personal suffering can be the perfect escort to the Light. This knowledge frees people of the illusion that pain and suffering are bad or wrong and reveals instead that each moment is ripe with God, with Truth, with Beauty.

I share this after months of wrestling a great alligator of isolation and loneliness, sadness and depression while living in a Latin third-world city with a language barrier, no job and a fiance who travels often. However, long ago I decided that I would wrestle all of life's alligators with courage til I found God in their teeth and tails, until I found God in the darkness and hurt.

This seems to be tremendous part of my path at this point: refusing to back down until I am once again joined with the Lightness of Being that comes from living consciously with Grace.

When we stand in the knowledge that every second holds within it the perfect chemistry for Divine Union, then we become seekers of God in everything. Life - all it’s colors, shapes and forms - transforms into a giant game of hide and seek. Where is God here? Where is Grace there?

This is one way to Open to Grace: invite Grace to reveal Herself in ALL things, not just the obvious happy ones (like puppies and kittens and sunset walks on the beach).

Seeking and finding Grace in all things frees us from being trapped in the past or from fantasizing about futures yet to be known. When we are committed to knowing God through all things then we immediately arrive Here and NOW. Here and NOW we can receive the Grace that has always been holding us up, that has always been our very essence.

Our freedom can at once become a great service to others. And their freedom becomes a great service back to us and to all people.


video

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bouncing After They Fall

KA-BOOM!

at once
this loneliness exploded
into thunder
reverberating off
the face of my heart

6 months in a foreign land

self expression
has been reduced to
hola” and “adios
fucking pleasantries

don’t focus on the dark
says the soft voice of a distant sun

but i am obsessed with my storm
i only watch one channel -
my inner-bad-weather channel

okay, then focus on the darkness,
but know that you’re suffering
at your own hands


get out! get out!
go play in the actual rain
revel in actual thunder
be blinded by actual lightening -
not this head-made fantasy shit

my circling clouds
have become my habit

and then my black dog
in a tornado of crazy joy
with the enthusiasm of creature
absent of an inner-bad-weather channel
tosses a crushed plastic bottle
up in the air
to himself
and catches it

and tosses it
and catches it

again and again
his body bouncing
like raindrops
when they meet the earth

bouncing after they fall

bouncing after they fall

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Mind (When She is Well-Behaved)

She’s a child-like ‘old soul’.
Her definition of Power is Love.
She will not follow blindly.
She will follow beauty.
She succeeds in academic settings.
She thrives in nature.
She’s not that good at spelling.
She’s really good at ‘meaning’.
She’d rather evolve than be right.
She’s down for the challenge.
She loves a good question more than a good answer.
She’s also loves sun bathing at Barton Springs while the sun graces her chest and navel.
She loves to learn through touch, music, movement and breathing.
In fact, she learns best through these vehicles.
She’s a Truth-chaser often tumbling down the metaphorical rabbit hole, cascading into inner worlds, exploring new-found lands and drinking tea with the interesting characters she meets.
She pays attention and takes a lot of notes.
She’s been kneaded by loving hands who knew how to “work her” just right and let her to rise.
She’s fearless when it comes to expressing herself. This sometimes gets her in trouble.
She’s not a fan of confrontation, but she’ll stand her ground.
She’s almost always down for “talking it out”.
She’s willing to call out her own bullshit.
She’s communicates with kindness.
She is willing to forgive.
She feels safe to cry.
She loves to laugh.

She has quirks too:
sometimes thinks she’s fat, even though she’s not
sometimes she gets crazy angry in traffic - a sort of turrets effect
sometimes she gets real hard on herself for not yet saving all the children in africa and for other ‘human shortcomings’.

She is inspired by people who have symbiotic relationships with Forces greater than themselves.
She is inspired by just about everything Nature gives birth too.

She walks the tightrope, balancing between two poles: Humanity and Divinity.

She enjoys the company of people who are smarter than her.
She has yet to get enthusiastic about math...but she’s not a quitter.
She can spend hours with poetry in one hand and her dog, Lizzy, in the other.
She’s listens for Grace.
She listens to Grace.
She’ll always listen, eventually.

The World Comes From Us

Three months ago...

“The world does not come at us. The world comes from us.”

Like an old childhood lullaby, I instantly remembered these words when I heard them. They were not news to me. I had heard these words for years from the voice within my heart.

Most recently I have been holding those words up to the reality of living in a third world country. And not just a third world country, but a third world city. And not just a third world city, but the largest third world city in this country.

Ah, San Jose, Costa Rica.

In San Jose there are people who make a living by risking their life helping you back-out of your parking space into oncoming traffic. God bless them - really, please bless them, God. There are people here who make a living collecting other people's garbage and reselling it on the sidewalk - old broken toy phones, half-used packages of stained napkins, batteries (used, of course), electronic cords for missing electronic devices, etc.

Here both sides of the economic spectrum are well represented: the ricos and the povres. The ricos live in houses surrounded by large cement walls adorned with barbed wire and the povres live in houses surrounded by thin metal bars adorned with barbed wire. There’s a saying here, “The one thing the rich and poor have in common is that they both live imprisoned in their homes while the criminal run ‘free’ in the streets.”

So how do I - in this third world city - implement this deep knowing that ‘the world does not come at me...the world comes from me’?

Because the truth is that a lot of fear has also been coming from me lately.

The fear has been brought on by not being able to speak Spanish, not being able to drive without envisioning the worst or not being able to walk alone at night or make my way to the other side of the city or avoid the dagger-like male gaze or avoid the toxic fumes of every passing truck or express myself authentically to anyone but Evan.

It seems the more fear that comes from me, the scarier the world becomes.

It’s a tremendously uncomfortable feeling to go from existing is a relative state of ‘fearlessness’ in Austin to feeling cloaked (from within and without) in a heavy dark veil of fear. Fear, which could also be discussed as ‘insecurity’, uproots any and all ability to rest, relax, trust, have faith, be calm or be quiet. And, as a yoga teacher, I long ago began making my living and building my life upon my ability to rest, relax, trust, have faith and be calm and quiet.

Who am I if I am in fear? Or rather where did ‘I’ (the one who once lived without fear) go? And where did my old free-of-suffocating-fear reality go? Are my fears legitimate and not to be downplayed or are my fears giving rise to the growing disdain and discomfort in the world o' San Jose? Is it me? Is it my environment? Is it both? Am I creating my own reality? Is my reality creating me to be a fearful person?

Today...

Some months have passed since the largest of my fears were gobbling up my light. During that time I began to learn Spanish. I knew nothing of Spanish before moving to Costa Rica. Nada. No-thing. Not a lick. So along with learning the language came the ability to once again express myself. Granted I can not express myself ‘profoundly’ or ‘poetically’ as I did in the states - but I can express bits and pieces of heart, parts that have not seen the light of days for months.

Interestingly, as soon as I began to express myself everything in my world changed before my eyes. The world does not come at me. The world comes from me.

It’s not that the city suddenly became clean or crime-free or that the men became any less macho or that the buses gave off any less black smoke, no, it’s that I was no longer imprisoned by my inability to communicate. I was no longer trapped behind a verbal cement wall decorated with barbed wire. I was no longer imprisoned by my inability to express myself through the medium of my art - language.

In the same moment that my inner light was finally able to once again shine out through the gift of language and communication - in Spanish - the big dirty city ceased to be so big and dirty. Instead the city of San Jose became the home of many dear friends and fellow teachers, the place where I was brought to my knees with humility for anyone who ever moved to a foreign country and couldn’t speak the language, the perfect contrast to the comfortable passivity that so many of us get stuck in at certain times in our lives.

So does the world come at us or from us? What are your thoughts?

Deep Humble Love.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Look and Listen

Have you ever heard a moth dream of being more than brown?
Or the honeysuckle demand rent from the butterfly?

Have you ever heard a tree bad mouth a mountain?
Or a bird sing, “For $100k the sky can be yours!”?

Have you ever seen a river run for tighter thighs?
Or a beaver constructing an investment fund?

Have you ever heard a hummingbird tweet,
"Hey! Hey! It’s all about me!"

Or a cloud complain that it will soon be gone?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

She Wears 'Woman'


She wear 'Woman'
like I wear my pajamas,
comfortable in her hips
comfortable in her breasts.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

One of my favorites...

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS
~ By Portia Nelson

I.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost . . . I am helpless
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

II.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place,
but it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . it’s a habit.
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V.
I walk down another street.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sunshine and Sadness

A waterfall down my face
Evan's cheek against mine
"My sunshine is all backed-up"
He touches his heart to mine

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Letter to a Stranger

Dear Cyber-Stranger,

After viewing one of my online yoga videos you wrote: "Sweetie, though you look sexy on tape, you better come down to earth now. Stop playing with your dolls and your imaginary friends. Hinduism is a joke and God is not real."

While reading your words I experienced pain - at first my own pain and then yours. So I took you 'in' and held you in my Heart. I sat with you for quite some time.

At first it was challenging. My hurt feelings returned and then receded, returned and receded, again and again. I felt your hurt do the same.

I prayed to recognize myself in you. I prayed to recognize you in myself.

At times I felt violence towards you even though I do not know you. Please forgive me for this. Did you intend to hurt me with your words? I forgive you for that.

I wondered if you are often angry? If your heart has been broken by a lover? By a parent? By the circumstances of your birth? This world can feel so cruel and the pain unbearable. I have been hurt too. I have had my heart broken. I have also broken my own heart.

Part of me told me not to waste my time with you. And another part whispered, "You have everything to gain by inviting him into your Heart."

I prayed for healing for us both.

I prayed that I might recognize your Light.


I bowed to the place in you where Love is boundless.

I celebrated the part of you who chooses actions that heal instead of hurt.


May the eyes of our Hearts be open.


Deep peace to you,


Lauran

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dearest Grace,

I know I have a purpose here
and I know that purpose is great.

I just don't know exactly
what that purpose is yet.

So until I know exactly
what I'm supposed to do,
I'll just Love.

I know I'm good at Loving.

Maybe through my Loving
I'll find what it is I'm to do.

Maybe in my doing of Love
I'll find my purpose.

Or maybe I'll just be Love
and let the "Being of Love"
be purpose enough.

I'm open to suggestions.

Amen.

~Lauran Janes, 2002

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Before True or False

Hurry! Hurry!
Let’s take our hands
off the safety bar and ride
this roller coaster.

Let’s tell our brains
to take back seat and let
our spiritual instincts
navigate this place.

Let’s lick the far reaches
of our imaginations and
dive to the underbellies
of our psyches.

Let’s howl at the moon.
Let’s celebrate our fears.
Let’s laugh at all the shit
we hate and embrace
our scars, abuse, and pain.

Let’s re-examine
the infinite beauty
in this finite world:
the way the fuzzy-bellied brown spider
spins his silken matrix between
the star-shaped Sweetgum leaves;
the way he waits patiently, unmoving,
for the blind busy bee to crash
into his sticky web.

Oh, how I relate to that fucking busy bee.

Oh how I strive to be that eight legged Zen master.

Let’s be the Zen masters we once were.
The children we once were before
True or False questions, The Brady Bunch,
straight edges, and school desks warped
our perfect miracles selves.

Let’s fight like hell
(play like hell)
to take back the wonder-filled
beings we once were.
We still are.

Let’s ride this crazy ride
‘til we’re all out
of quarters, then let’s hot wire
the damn thing
and ride it some more…
’til our britches are rubbed thin
and our asses cry for mercy.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

~Lauran Janes, 2006

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year...12 days after New Year!


Our dear friends Drew and Jillian came to visit us is Nosara, Costa Rica over the holiday.

We did some serious frolicking, beach hiking and surfing (who am I kidding, I 'surf' 18" waves). We body-checked waves, danced in the kitchen, collected sea shells and got weak-kneed over every magical sunset. Basically we were all 5 years old again.

Drew and Evan have been dear friends for many years. Their last adventure was a three month journey through Asia just before Evan and I started dating. Drew’s animated style reminds me of a giant wind-up toy who playfully chases his own shadow until nightfall all while spewing rivers of colorful, rarely-considered, fun-to-argue philosophies. He’s a ball of positive energy.

Jillian is equally radiant with the most loving warm blue eyes. For the last four years she has been a nanny for a wealthy Austin couple and, let me tell you, Mary Poppins has nothing on this woman! The family flew Jillian and Drew to Costa Rica to help with the kids over the Christmas holiday.

Together Jill and Drew took the kids up and down the 'Rich Coast'. They visited an African animal sanctuary, national parks, volcanoes and - the kids favorite - Bouncy Land. Bouncy Land is an inflatable amusement park that stretches in stripes of yellow and red for acres and acres. Think National Park meets McDonald’s-Bouncy-Toy.

As they approached the park the two little girls (4 yrs and 6 yrs) began panting and squealing, pressing their wide-eyed faces against the car windows. They cocked their piggy tails sideways, drooling in momentary disbelief of this bouncy dream-come-true.

“Their joy was uncontrollable,” said Jillian. “They were literally convulsing in rapid waves of ecstasy.”

Drew imitated the little girls body language, reminding me of how our pups look when they catch a sniff of the local p-a-r-k from the back seat of our car...joy literally attacks them from the inside just before they erupt into unstoppable fury bullets of enthusiasm.

May your New Year cause you too to convulse in rapid waves of ecstasy & to erupt into unstoppable bullets of enthusiasm.

Here’s to 2011! Go Life!