Why is it that my fairies lose one wing? I am drawn to fairies, to angels, to butterflies, to wings. Wings that raise us up into the air. Wings that enable us to fly.
I have many fairies, statues that I buy in beautiful stores usually when I travel.
And it dawned on me that for one reason or the other, one of my fairies wings would eventually get knocked off, broken off, chipped off. My rooms are decorated with one wing fairies.
When I buy them now I almost wait to see when and how the wing will be broken. It is almost an expectation now.
Yet, there is this part of me that hopes that this time the fairy’s wing will stay. With this one it will stay.
The fairies that I buy represent me. Every broken wing represents me struggling in life to become whole, to become free. To become as Marley said “emancipated from mental slavery” .
My fairies wings have become a barometer of my spiritual growth. They ask the question. Am I still drowning in my fears or am I becoming enlightened? Am l loving myself and accepting myself more and more or am I still doubting, still criticizing?
I watch the fairy on my mantle piece. Will she make it? Will she fly?
I watch…… waiting. My fairy has become a communication with the unknown, that speaks to me at so many levels. That niggling pain, a strange sensation on my “left” upper back where my wing was broken. Can it mend? Can I mend it?
Have I begun to really master my fears in life?
The beautiful fairy sits looking at me with a beautiful smile, a loving smile. With her broken wing she is authentic, she is real, she is compassion, she is kindness.
When will my fairies keep both wings? When will my fairy be able to fly?
Here I am at 3 a.m. in the morning writing. Waking up feeling a constriction in my chest. Feeling fear. She waits patiently………..
When teaching my yoga class last night I started the class with a chat about preferences. About the importance of witnessing the mind that resides in the land of “I like this or I don’t like this”. The mind that runs a running commentary about how things need to be, so that I am happy not sad. The mind that projects out a set of conditions for my peace of mind.
As long as I have a mind that splits my reality into two lanes, the one that feels good and the one that feels bad I will never have those two wings. My fairy will remain grounded.
When I step on my yoga mat I tell my class that this yoga mat is a metaphor for life. That it is the swimming pool that we come to, we come to it every Monday night to learn to swim in waters that don’t really exist.
We come to it because we are in fear that we will drown. We come to it so that we will eventually have moments of clarity when we can rest in the realization that we can’t drown, that there is no water, that our spirit never dies.
But this body, this two by four of flesh and blood is hard wired to survive because it knows that it will eventually take that final exhalation and it scares us literally to death.
We walk through this miraculous journey of life scared literally to death.
And when that final moment comes in whatever way it comes we have no choice but to let go. Our body demands it. Our body dies.
At the end of a yoga class most people welcome “shavasana”. They welcome the “corpse pose”, they have acted, they have done, they have created and they release into it and we fall asleep to wake up again.
What if we could approach our death like corpse pose? Full of integrity, full of surrender, full of peace.
Yoga is the art of living and the art of dying.
So I ask myself? I ask you? Are we going to live our life scared of all the possible bad things that could happen to us, to our family?
I say to my yoga students. When we move into a posture we need to witness ourselves. Witness our mind of preference right there on the yoga mat.
Are we comparing ourselves with others to the right and left? Are we feeling less than because the person next to us flows into a forward bend touching their toes effortlessly as we struggle to barely get our index finger to touch the ground. And even when the teacher says bend your knees so that you can connect your fingers to the ground your mind of preference says “your knees should be straight”. Your mind says you should be more flexible. Yoga is for flexible people and you are not flexible. You are not good enough.
This plastic rectangular yoga mat can teach so much about why we don’t love ourselves.
About why we don’t fly with two wings.
Sometimes we arrive on our yoga mat and we expect a certain type of class. We stand there and judge the teacher. She or he needs to perform in the way that we want them to perform. We have some expectation. We want a strong class, we want a soft class, we want a fast class, we want a slow class, we want music, we don’t want music, we want yin, we want ashtanga, we want ……., ........., ..........,
And while we move, our mind moves from one judgement to the other.
Can we fire this judge and hire the witness? Can we watch our mind? Can we unhook from the mind?
Through Patanjali’s limbs of focus, through concentration, through breath, through meditation, through self study, pratyahara, we begin to surrender, to accept, to love.
We wake up to the fact that our mind is not who we are. That our identification with our mind is what creates our fear, that our mind takes our fear and breaks it up into different emotions. Guilt, anger, jealousy, frustration because things, dam it! Things are not the way you want them to be.
It dawned on me, right there on that yoga mat, that ahhhh moment came, when I realized that the mind is not the person in charge of me, it is a tool that I have to think with, to translate the input from my five senses into awareness, and through wisdom, this awareness can bring us that needed sense of safety, of security, so that we can relax and enjoy our life.
The mind is not my master. It is my servant. It is here to serve me, not to control me, not to lead me, it is a tool, a tool for thinking, for reasoning. And then the Buddhi mind is born. Born right there on your yoga mat. The wisdom mind takes the lead.
A mind that is left to think without awareness becomes anxiety. An anxious mind is a starving mind. Run by avoidance, aversion, wants and desires.
Trying to change people, trying to change circumstances, trying to change things, trying to change life because its always better, its always greener on the other side.
My ahaha moment last night on the yoga mat occurred when I got another perspective on loving myself.
I came to the realization that my fairy will never have two wings if I don’t love her just as she is. .
If I don’t accept things just as they are. Every time I judge a situation, I am judging myself, I am criticizing myself, I am criticizing my creator. I am criticizing life. It is not that we don’t have problems and challenges it is how we view them. It is what it is. It is what we make it.
From a place of love, of self love, of compassion, of humility, of acceptance, of surrender we can fly, we can finally act and be in an unencumbered way.
I become empowered to stop the comparison of myself, the judgement of myself. The judgment of others, who are mirrors of aspects of me that I don’t want to see. Every judgement, a mirror reflecting back me. A shadow me.
And if I keep comparing myself, if I keep judging myself, if I keep criticizing myself, I will become so blind that my fairy can at best make a few leaps into the air.
A few leaps where she feels, where she tastes the freedom but where the law of gravity brings her back down to earth over and over again.
The law of gravity that connects her to the living, breathing planet from which her body was formed, from which her mind was formed and into which her spirit settled at that moment of birth.
If you want to really fire the judge and hire the witness. If you want to be able to observe your mind and fly it from the cockpit, then you have to realize that you are not the plane.
The external masculine part of you that is driven to succeed, driven to measure up, driven to survive, needs now to be flown by awareness, by that part of you that knows that you have nothing to fear.
You are ok. You are beautiful. You are divinity in a human body. That the creatress has made you and you have every right to be here in your splendor, in your magnificence, like a leaf in the wind, like a fish in the sea, like a mountain that rises out and extends up into the heavens.
And when you watch yourself falling apart because you are sick, because your loved one is sick, because a relationship didn’t work out, because you messed up, because you spoke harshly, because a person who you love didn’t love you back, because, because …………and you can, go ahead, finish this sentence with your story.
Starving, we walk around, starving for only the good things in life, trembling at the possibility of bad things. Trembling at the possibility that our children will feel the same pain that we feel.
What is the way out of this dilemma?
Louise Hay would say never pass a mirror without looking in it and say “I love you”.
So when you get on that yoga mat, whatever shows up, you observe, you watch and you love yourself and you relax into what is - as it is.
You drop the “I” of “I am” and you enter into the “am-ness” of existence.
You peel that onion away, and you love your ever changing body and you comfort your mind of doubt, your mind of fear, your mind of comparison, your mind of envy, your mind of “I am not good enough”.
And you breathe, yes you breathe, for prana is the doorway to the divine.
Yoga is about leaping, and leaping, and diving and soaring and trusting.
It starts with the realization that all these experiences that make up our life, the good and the bad can leave us quivering on land but when we move from form to formless. When we move from one posture on our yoga mat to another posture. We embrace the beginning and ending of each posture like a new day. And we appreciate the easy and the hard. We appreciate the ups and the downs. And we recognize that every down gives us humility, gives us empathy, gives us the drive to comfort and to serve others in need. Because we know their fears, because we have trembled too.
And then we can know all of that and still shrug into that second wing. All is well - just as it is.
This awareness might happen in the middle of downward dog, it might be in a twist, it might be in child’s pose. The wings are growing. Unfolding.
In spite of our attachments to everything being okay according to our expectation, we can now watch our children fall, we can now watch our leaders take power fed by greed, we can now watch our planet cripple with our unsatiated hunger for more.
We can watch and breathe.
And we know, if I can be a fairy with two wings, if I can fly with two wings, then my life becomes an offering to the divine force that created me, the divine force that created me to be interdependent with all that is.
We must first fill our love cup, fill it up high, so that when we exhale on the yoga mat of life, we are not sending toxins into the environment we are sending love, we are sending life, we are sending hope.
Whatever challenges you are facing, your family is facing, the world is facing, we will solve them by flying high, high enough to see that all the things we thought were important, the things that created revenge, anger, violence are a super highway to more fear, to more anger, to more destruction.
When you wake up in the middle of the night, as I have done as I write this, as I tremble with my own fears, I remind myself that my fairy is meant to have two wings.
I feel her now, I see her now, her wing is revealed, I shrug her into place, the day awakens around me. The birds are singing, the cocks are crowing, the day is dawning.
My fairy has two wings.