Wow, I don’t know about you, but every time I read the news or hear about what is going on, I feel very concerned. There are things we can’t ignore- the vulnerability of our planet, institutions that we hold dear, and human lives. Things can change in a minute, and there is a lot of suffering in the world. But something that became clear on my recent trip to Oaxaca is that now, more than ever, we need to let the light inside us grow and shine out, and that won’t happen if we focus on fear. We need, instead, to focus on what we can do in this moment to stay inspired and connected and to uplift others.
The theme of our trip was how to face this challenging time, with huge events like earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and a suffering world mirroring a tempestuous political climate stricken by conflict and polarized viewpoints while letting the light inside us shine out into the darkness and finding joy and a playful spirit so that we could truly appreciate our many blessings.
To cultivate that light, we have to transform fear and deepen our connection to the natural elements. We need to protect ourselves from negativity. In natural rhythms and ancient cultures we can find wisdom about facing obstacles and being with change. We can learn to sink into our body and to trust, to rest in cycles and in the flow. Too often we stay caught up in our heads, trying to figure things out, and thinking our way into a state of anxiety. We want to explain the unexplainable instead of appreciating the wonder. The brain thinks but the heart knows, so allowing the heart to lead, and relaxing into the place where intuition can emerge is the surest way to allow fear to dissipate and the light of love to lead the way.
We can allow our minds to quiet and calm and to connect to the natural wisdom of our being, the combined resources of our body/mind/spirit, which holds many answers. Our mind wants to control events while our being can surrender to what is and allow things to unfold in their natural order. Our mind tends to look to the past and the future and is familiar with regret and anticipation while our being knows that the present moment is our power and our grace.
Sometimes we just need to light a candle, or take a deep breath and notice the world around us, in this very moment. Being as loving as we can to the people around us is hugely helpful, as forgiveness and acceptance keep us appreciating the gifts of the present. Turning our attention to gratitude can relieve pain and distress. Maintaining relationships with people who inspire and encourage us and who appreciate us as we are is a huge support for being the best we can be. Remember that we are connected, through spirit, to all the people we care about and those who care about us, despite physical distance; we are always supported and never alone. Practice mindfulness, spend time in nature, and just dance, sing, and laugh- joy is the best medicine there is! And sometimes we need something unexpected to awaken a part of ourselves that needs to shine.
In Oaxaca, we lay on the wet earth and let the imprint of our body reveal our soul map. Laying there in the soft warm mud, being held by the earth, and feeling the deep stillness wasn’t easy, it wasn’t totally comfortable, but ultimately we had an amazing, transformative experience. And a part of ourselves had been revealed through the earth. Later, warming ourselves by the fire on that dark jungle night, we could laugh like wild children, knowing we had faced our fears and really connected to the earth and each other. We did something totally out of the ordinary and received so much from being present.
Each moment of discomfort can be a moment of empowerment. It can be so very freeing, to not worry so much about having things a certain way, to not be held back by fear, but just to let go and be present in the moment, and let your wild self out, let your light shine!
There are many familiar fears that can hold us back, I know them all, we used to be very friendly. I know to lay them on the altar of the earth so that they can be transformed. Light them so that they rise as smoke, beseeching heaven, asking unseen powers to assist. Let them fall back as soft rain to nurture the earth ready for a new growth of fresh ideas.
We learned so much in Oaxaca, we practiced shining our light and feeling it grow. We learned to be huge, huge enough to hold the suffering of many, huge enough to not be distracted by the temptations of fear, anger and despair, huge enough to offer love. Mostly we learned that this is a magic place and a powerful journey, and we were glad we came. And we really laughed a lot.
There are many ways to cultivate mindfulness and many ways to find joy, even in dark times. It is important to have a community of support. Thank you for being a part of mine. Let me know how you are doing. And I invite you to join me on my next trip to Oaxaca- Feb 21-Mar 2, with a three-day add on at the beach, Mar 2-5.
With love and light