On Scandals & Alignment

Ok, I admit it- I've been pretty absent all summer. When I came to my site last week and realized it had been months since my last post, I was shocked. How could that happen?

So I sat to reflect and journey on this 30 days of writing, I had to ask myself: what HAVE I been doing the past few months?

It all begins in February actually, and a chain of events since then that led to what I am going to refer to as a little 'Introvert Vacation'- meaning, a need to go back to my Introvert roots and feel out some things happening in my own life, so that I could better serve all of you {and myself as well}.

Back in February, I attended a meditation retreat with my primary teacher. I don't talk much about my studies or what I do on retreats, but this one was a turning point in my own healing and path in many ways, and thus I feel needs to finally be shared.

I {was} enrolled at the time in an advanced course of study that was providing me with some very deep, esoteric meditation practices in the Tantric lineage. A day before I left for this retreat, a scandal rocked the yoga world. A scandal that led to the fall of one of the most popular schools of yoga.  A lot of people in the community turned on each other, people's intentions were put into question, morality and ethics became a theme, and feelings of sadness, grief and anger struck the entire yoga community.

I myself was not directly in this sub-community, or kula, though through my advanced studies in meditation with many who were, I was inadvertently thrown into the midst of it, willing or not. I was on retreat with several people involved, some who had been named or were close to those named, and many who were holding witness to their teacher, or guru, being shamed in the public and having to ask themselves where their allegiance stood.

All the while, we were in silence. Yet I could hear the tears of the hearts of those around me, the grief that overtook them as they sat in silence asking who their teacher really is, and how to get through such a scandal. I could hear the grief of my own teacher, who was holding space for all of us, and also having to face some truths about his own student who he had guided for years. I held an awkward position of being there for my own growth and healing, yet being one of the only participants at this retreat not having studied with this individual. Thus, I felt more an observer on others' paths. My experience here was to later influence some major decisions I made this summer, of which I'll tell you shortly.

In the same breath, I experienced some deep healing on my own part on that mountain in the desert. I experienced the moment of death of a past life in a meditation- the killing, a bright light, a going to the other side, and a rebirth that was both magnificent and terrible at the same time. I tell you all these things because I want you to know the truth of what sometimes happens when embarking on healing and deep practices. It was not the first time I'd had such experiences, and it certainly will not be my last.

But this time was different. This time, I felt utterly alone.  I had no one there to guide me, as it happened when I was on my own in my room. I was in silence for the week, so I had no one to speak with to put it in context. I experienced being murdered by my best friend in the vision, and so I felt all of the emotions of betrayal and hurt that I had experienced so many times in this life, magnified in intensity and illuminating one of my major patterns in life. And thus, I left the retreat feeling like I had no support. Like all of the people I knew, all the constructs of my life, all the support systems I had in place and friendships I had and teachers to guide me had suddenly vanished. Like it was all a bad dream, and I was left to be by myself, permanently.

And for weeks, months even, this feeling lingered. But I came home from the retreat and launched this new site and the Radiance Revolution. My creativity was soaring, business was booming, I felt my life so full in so many exciting ways. Yet in the back of my mind, I couldn't get this experience of death out of my head, and the connection to when it happened and why it happened lingered with me. After about a month, I pulled back on my daily practices, no longer wanting to do them anymore- feeling they were too much. Perhaps too fast too soon. Perhaps needing to just slow down. I began meditating just once a day instead of twice, and ceased chanting for a while to let things simmer. I began to see things in a new light, and I wasn't sure if I liked what I saw.

In the meantime, the scandal I was witnessing was getting nastier by the day. Again, I felt an observer, but I knew that I was being forced to witness it to question my own practices, and how deep in the world of Tantra and yoga I wanted to dive. I want to clarify too- this isn't the Tantra of the books and websites you see about sex. Though many claim it is and is one of the central arguments of the scandal in question. So with each new New York Times expose and other media writings, I asked myself again and again if I was truly in alignment anymore with what I was studying and practicing. Or if maybe I just needed to take a big step back to see everything with fresh eyes and decide where to walk from there.

To be clear, at no time had I ever questioned the integrity of my own meditation teacher. Never. And I still don't. I still think he is one of the most genuine, loving, clear and open individuals I have ever had the honor to meet.

But the philosophy and practices started to slowly wear on me, to become a burden and... almost a shame to be associated with. I dove deeply into an Introverted period of time, not wanting to write anything or speak with anyone about any of this, for I wanted to figure out what my heart wanted without the influence of others. But even in my 'Introvert Vacation' I couldn't get a clear answer, either from my own heart or others, of what it really is, and what it is we are working towards besides higher states of consciousness and Freedom- but at what cost? But as I wrote in my post last week, the Freedom was becoming more elusive and felt more burdened than anything, and in some ways with the strictness of the practices, just like with asana, I was feeling trapped.

So with no clear answers and desperately seeking Freedom, in the beginning of June, I decided to take a break. I dropped out of my program for the time being- or rather, I've taken 'a break' of an undetermined time. I spent the summer working with all of you on your healing while in sessions, while in my free time, working on my own by turning inwards & evaluating what am I in Alignment with- what philosophies and practices make my own heart sing, and how could I share then with all of you?

And I'll admit, I still don't have all of  the answers. I don't yet know if I will go back to my stronger meditation practices or return to my program, or move onto something completely different. I am drawn to a more Feminine style of practice, but what that looks like I don't yet know. I did take 3 weeks off from meditating altogether as an experiment, and I felt horrible- agitated and anxious. So I am back to a basic practice, once a day, 20 minutes. Just like how I started all those years ago.

It feels good to be starting back at the beginning. Like it's a fresh start, and this time I am going in consciously and slowly, at my own pace, and taking each additional step deeper to the rhythm of my own heart. In alignment with who I am, drenched in my Freedom of standing on my own two feet and Trusting they know where to lead me.