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Yogic Sleep and Cleaning out the Basement

When I was doing some spring cleaning, I came across something I wrote just after I had moved to Crested Butte. I had totally forgotten about it but when I opened it, I was amazed at how relevant my thoughts were then and are now. This week I have found myself returning to these words and remembering the feelings I felt when I was exploring the thoughts you’re about to read. I think of these lyrics “Everything we’ll ever need is deep inside of our limitless beings. We struggle and we fight ’cause it feels good to wonder why our lives are happening.” As I re-read my words from a year ago, I strongly believe that these lyrics are true. Just somehow along this path of day-to-day living we drift into distraction and can become disconnected with this voice and identity we possess deep down inside of us.

I analyzed this further and realized that what was happening here was that for the first time in a long time, I had finally removed myself from a situation for long enough to begin to feel my own life. I became an observer, I became objectified to the past and future and for small moments in time, became capable of focusing on what is considered to be now. In those short windows of time I found myself gravitating to people, places, ideas wholeheartedly whereas before I would only allow in small doses. Small doses because I would then become distracted by other visions, ideas and plans. I would be distracted by the things I wanted to happen or see happen {insert another quote I reference often; “Please protect me from the things that I want.”} and distractions from the past.

The distractions; probably a result of my life path, which I pride myself on my integrity and originality, hasn’t been the easiest road to walk. In searching for ways to move forward I have repeatedly abandoned ideas, experiences, interpretations that I once believed in. In that, I had to do a lot of pretending to let go and persuading myself that I have moved on (not just relationship stuff), forgotten, and attempting to forgive in order to feel as if I was and could live a normal life again. I spent months, if not years over analyzing un-reconcilable activities, insecurities, and fears. I repeatedly entered into many cycles of the same frightening, self-derogating conversations. Furthermore, because all of the above stated, was not just that simple. Furthermore, was the evaluation and unawareness (though evolving) of my unawareness.

I won’t speak for anyone but myself but I probably couldn’t be convinced that many people can live like this and live happy, fulfilling lives. There are just too many chances and triggers to be unforgiving, to judge, to hold grudges, to hurt, to cause pain, to re-live, to prove, to escape, to flee, to fight, to battle, and much more. Thankfully, there is a part of me that cannot be crushed, persuaded, manipulated or challenged. Thankfully, I am resilient. Thankfully, I believe so intensely that my life is beautiful, and thankfully, I believe that I am the power that gets to say how this story goes. That being said, I was at least smart enough to start looking around for answers, explorations that would help me make some sense of this journey. As I write that I realize that statement isn’t really honest, more honestly- I was looking for opportunities to be myself, to live presently, to feel alive but my OWN, original sense of alive.

One day, I finished trail running and went to town for a coffee. I read a sign about a yoga workshop with CARIN LOCKHART that could help remove “sanskaras” or karma from my life. My interpretation of those karmas, are the things we keep down in our mental “basements”; fears, experiences, scars, evidence that would tie me/us/people to stagnation. Stagnation; happens when you have all the proof you need to stay put, to continue to fear, to continue to be in a cycle. I don’t know why or what but something about that workshop resonated with me. The workshop described participating in a yogic sleep. A deeply conscious way to remove obstacles of your past to enable you to move consciously forward. I remembered thinking, “Finally, a connection!” and thought this yogic sleep might be able to help me make some changes. I had become aware that I had been living a certain way. I realized it wasn’t healthy for me but I did not know how to get out of it. This opportunity resonated because I knew from my own recent experience that deeply “diving in,” trying to solve, trying to reconcile was not getting me anywhere. I can’t remember many things from the yogic sleep but I remember feeling as if a cycle within me had broken. I didn’t know why or how, but I felt a certain peace with the way things had gone, enough peace to let go of the things that I was trying to continuously manage. I knew this because after that class I was faced with some mental/emotional prodding and triggers that I had grown accustomed to responded to out of fear but at the moment I felt I had more freedom and control over my own life experience that those attempts couldn’t penetrate my thoughts. I felt the cycle was over.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the yogic sleep, was learning about myself and my tendencies. A while back I wrote a note to myself about how I was in a place in my life when I said “I can’t” more than I could said “I can.” Well, while yogic “sleeping” I got really cold. I knew I had a blanket behind my head and I could take the blanket to cover myself but I was afraid of disrupting the process, or making too much noise, etc. The fear of “losing the practice” flashed through my mind but I quickly said, “No I can do this,” grabbed the blanket, covered up and resumed right away. It was beautiful, to be in a dream state and feel a shift …a simple shift where I would say YES I can! Yes you can! This has changed how I rock climb or mountain bike, every time I approach the crux or a technical section, I hear a warning “be careful, you might not be able to do this” and now, I gratefully and consciously retort with, “but I think I can!”

I can’t say my efforts to let go of something or my efforts in general were a success. I didn’t win the battle I waged against myself but instead I saw myself outside of that story and like I said before had a chance to be an observer. I realized the immense amount of time and effort I was wasting living in what felt like a black hole. I noticed that I hadn’t felt like ‘me’ for a long time and I felt inspired to channel that energy differently, apply my efforts directly into healing, and into a holism, a whole being, that was wiser and more capable than ever before. This began a long journey of learning to process and look deeper. It has also opened the doors to a whole, beautiful network of people that are here to help processing those deeply rooted emotions and responses. I am so grateful that I attended Carin’s workshop- it has forever changed my life.