Happy mid-February. This year has taken me much into the world of contemplation on living in line with the 8-fold path of Yoga. The deeper I get into my personal practice and into my weekly teachings, the desire to study and live in alignment with everything that I am teaching just continues to increase. I realize this is the power of intention and truly the power of just sheer absorption from books to life.
I'm reminded of my first spiritual teacher who would always say just expose yourself to as much as possible. It doesn't matter whether or not you understand it in that moment, eventually it will make sense to you...eventually you will begin to contemplate, and eventually your world and your mind opens up to the vast ocean of this universe that we live in.
As today is Mahashivratri--the night of Shiva, the Great God, it felt appropriate to share my first reflection on the 8-fold path of yoga.
I've felt a very overwhelming feeling and desire to want to simplify my life. Now, while I am nowhere near becoming a minimalist, as I have a lot of draw and attraction to material things (which is part of this reflection!), the desire to purge and keep what is useful only is crazy. Maybe it is the energy and momentum of the new year. Maybe it is this underlying desire to not have a lot of stuff, and maybe its just fatigue from cleaning and constantly tidying my house (real real truth there!), needless to say I've spent almost every weekend getting rid of things from my home that don't fill me and excite me. There is also this purity in having items that add some sort of excitement in my life. Now, I get this all sounds very Marie Kondo! But I promise it's not. But, the more I just think about this life and my purpose here, I realize that I want to be more and more and more intentional in everything. I want everything--the things I do and say and even have to be deliberate and meaningful to me.
So, I guess you can say that Marie Kondo was onto something. IDK. But, there is a gentleness and softness in wanting to be surrounded by things you love.
The niyamas of sauca or cleanliness starts from our surroundings. I'm reminded of what I tell my students that so often in this human form we have to start off easy. It's tougher to grasp the subtle if we can't wrangle and understand the gross and physical. Thus, my ability to be in cleanliness evokes cleanliness. My ability to be in purity invokes purity within me. My ability to go internal depends fully on what is happening on my external. This is where the tapas or the discipline really kicks in. There is a purifying of your whole being that starts with just simplifying. And all of this is caveated with not stripping the joy out of your life and the things that you bring you joy.
People talk about this idea of ruthless decluttering, and that is not something I adhere to. Be intentional. Be mindful. Be deliberate. There is still value in sentiment until it no longer feels a sentiment. There is value in that one jacket that you may where if it brings a smile to your face. Allow prana to guide you through this process if you too are being called to simplify.
The last thing I'll say on this, is that I vehemently believe also that homes shouldn't be museums. My intention and goal isn't to have an empty house that is stark and bare (and if that's your jam, then hey! that's cool!). I want my home to feel warm and cozy and showcase who my family is boldly and with no shame whatsoever. Finding that balance is truly the line that we are walking here.
When there is less to worry about externally, being able to still the mind and be with what is just becomes easier and easier and easier.
If you're interested in decluttering, minimalism, simplifying your home, I recommend the following accounts to draw some inspiration!
I hope you find the routines that bring a little more simplicity in your life, however that may manifest.
see you soon,