Is Anything Actually Ours?

One of the fundamental principles of a yoga lifestyle is ‘aparigraha’ which means ‘non-grasping’ or ‘non-coveting’.  Even those of us not on a spiritual path have heard about the trappings of the ego and how the pursuit of ‘non-attachment’ can lead to an existence free from the ups and downs triggered by fluctuations in our external environment. Someone living from a place of ego (most of us) will likely experience elation when we are complimented and devastation when we are betrayed. We may feel satisfied with ourselves when we complete a task…then when that wears off, we go looking for the next thing to validate us and make us feel whole.
From a spiritual perspective, this constant seeking – or as the Vipassana Buddhists refer to as the endless cycle of ‘craving/aversion’ is what keeps us from being truly free. I try to practice ‘aparigraha’ as often as I can. I’m not very good at it, but when I find myself grasping at something, it gives me an opportunity to see myself more clearly and to see where there is work that needs to be done.
I had an experience a few years ago that powerfully demonstrated how external circumstances trigger emotional highs and lows. I was listening to a radio show and there was a contest: Call in and if they pull your birth month from a hat, you win $1000. If they then pull your actual birthdate, you win $10 000. I have never called in to a radio show, but somehow felt like today was my lucky day. The line was free and it rang! My heart started thumping as I imagined what I would do with my winnings. Suddenly, I heard the D.J greet someone on to the show. It wasn’t I hung up. I listened. After exchanging pleasantries, they pulled the month. April, My birth month. I instantly felt robbed of $1000! Next they pulled the date: the 20th. My jaw dropped. That is my birthday! I had just missed out on $10 000! It was fascinating for me to witness my reaction to this, My nervous system went haywire and feelings of disbelief and injustice washed over me. I marvelled at how it felt so real that I had just ‘lost’ something that essentially was never mine and never even existed! I was the same person I was a few minutes earlier only now I somehow felt like I had less! Nothing is really ours. We don’t actually ‘own’ anything whether it be a stack of money, a yoga posture or a relationship. We certainly don’t get to take any of our possessions with us to the grave! All we have is this moment and our breath. We are all abundant, we are all whole. Possessions come and go but they do not add or subtract from our essence, our inherent completeness.
I relayed this story to my mom and she, ever the optimist, exclaimed delightedly ‘Do you know what this means?! This means you are ‘this close’ to incredible luck and fortune! It’s just around the corner!’. And when I look within, it is in fact, already here.

Appreciating “the struggle”

WRUS #52 Michael is joined by owner of De La Sol Yoga, Katie McClelland and her husband Andre Grandbois who owns his own martial arts gym, Ouroboros BJJ. Together they discuss being mindful, appreciating “the struggle” and different ways we can impact and inspire youth. For more on Katie, Andre and their practises follow their journey on Instagram @andregrandbois, @Ouroborosjj, @katiedelasol & @delasolyoga

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Wake Up!

Many of us are familiar with the experience of waking up to the fact that our lives are no longer working the way we have set them up. Sometimes this is due to a shift occurring inside ourselves over time, and sometimes it is part of the larger shift that is currently affecting all humanity.

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Positively change the way you feel about yourself

I have been giving public talks lately on the topic of practicing self-acceptance and self-love in one’s life. One of the quickest and most effective ways to positively change the way you feel about yourself and the way you present yourself to the world is to STOP GIVING A VOICE TO YOUR NEGATIVE SELF TALK. Getting rid of the negative thoughts? That is a much taller task! The repetitive derogatory thoughts we say to ourselves can be deeply ingrained patterns. In yoga philosophy, any type of repetitive thought pattern is called a ‘samskara’. Much like the needle on a record that gets stuck and skips on the same spot, over and over again, a samskara is a thought or neural pathway, that repeats itself until it gets stronger and stronger. We must use the practice of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to pick up the needle on the record and start it on a new track. By not speaking negatively about ourselves, we start to weaken that neural pathway we have created. When we complain to our friends about how stupid, fat, clumsy, awkward and inferior we are, we channel potent energy in that direction and manifest those perceived negative qualities as our reality. If we can learn to internalize the negative self-talk, some of the energy around these thoughts starts to dissipate and weaken. Soon, we find we aren’t critiquing ourselves internally as often as we used to. Soon, we start to step into a new way of being in the world. We begin to become the person we were always meant to be.

I do slip up, but try to get back on track immediately. This simple commitment has made an immeasurable difference in my self-esteem and self-worth. I am with you!