I struggled and struggled with trying to write this month’s article. I had a topic in mind, and it just didn’t want to be written. My body and mind were tired. So I surrendered, and looked back at some older articles that spoke to me.
Funny that my eyes should land on Does It Ever Get Easier? What has become apparent to me lately is how hardI drive myself, relentlessly, never feeling that “it” is enough. Or that I am enough. So my practice right now is stopping (I’ve been through several levels of this since October), letting go, and allowing myself to be. There’s a lot of resistance to this (and it will be great material for that article I wanted to write!), and yet it feels like a deep key to awakening to something Greater.
As I prepare for my ordination in March as an Interfaith Minister, it feels as if the Divine is asking me to let go more, and discover what I’ve run from in the space of being. Do you feel called to explore that, too? Invite you to join me in this practice. Let go, allow, and sit still in your Beingness. See what arises, and embrace it. This month’s article may give you some inspiration.
Meanwhile, I’m taking a break from my radio show this month, but next month you’ll get to meet my mentor from East West Seminary, Rev. Dr. Katherine O’Connell, as we discuss the wondrous, transformative journey of Interfaith ministry and community – finding the authentic common group between our myriad spiritual journeys, and embracing them all. See the link on the right sidebar.
And note that I not only have my Meditation and Inspiration group, but I’m beginning a new Women’s Psychotherapy group called Sacred Journey.
– Event Calendar
– Awakening Self Radio Show Schedule
– Featured Article: Does It Ever Get Easier? by Connie Habash
– Spiritual Quotes
MIND-BODY ZONE YOGA PHILOSOPHY SERIES
Connie’s lectures and practices of Yoga Philosophy in the MBZ teacher training will be open to the public as a workshop!
Saturday, February 25th, 3-6pm – A Brief History of Yoga, Branches of Yoga, and introduction to Chapter 1 of the Yoga Sutras, $35
Join Connie in an exploration of the deeper spiritual and psychological aspects of yoga in her lectures on yoga philosophy at Mind-Body Zone! For more information or to register online see the MBZ website (click on Workshops).
SACRED JOURNEY Women’s Psychotherapy Group
with Connie Habash, MA, LMFT, begins in Spring, meeting every other Monday from 3:15-4:45.
An intimate sanctuary for women on the spiritual path who long to be deeply supported in healing, growth, and transformation. Find your authenticity, develop trust, learn to communicate with confidence and honesty, work through challenging emotions to discover your true, empowered Self within. This is a place to bring it all and know that you’re fully accepted and held in your unique spiritual and personal path.
$55 per session, minimum 4 month commitment. Limited to 4-6 participants. For more information and to schedule your initial meeting with Connie, please call 650-996-2649 or email me.
Yoga Teacher Training starts in March in Walnut Creek, CA
Connie teaches Sanskrit for Yoga teachers in this established training at the Yoga and Movement Center – Teachers in Walnut Creek with director Diane Valentine and Dennis Eagan. Guest teachers include Judith Lasater.
MEDITATION AND INSPIRATION!
Every Thursday, from 9:45-10:45am. (time slightly changed to accommodate commute traffic)
Come together in community for a special group to nurture your spiritual growth. Experience weekly renewal through meditation, breathwork, chanting, an inspirational message, sharing and discussion.
March schedule – 1st Thursday is Shamanic Journeying; after that we begin the 5 Niyamas, or Universal Spiritual Practices of Yoga.
LOCATION: SUBUD Spiritual Center, 330 Melville Ave (near the corner of Waverly), just off Embarcadero in Palo Alto. Come to the back of the house, upstairs. By Heartfelt donation.
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DOWNLOAD YOGA CLASSES AND INSPIRATION ON YOGI CHOCOLATE
One and a half hour classes available:
– The 5 Yamas, or Ethical Principles of yoga
– The 5 Niyamas, or Universal Spiritual Observances
– The 7 Chakras (energy centers)
30 minute meditation classes
Plus, recent workshops from the Mind-Body Zone Teacher Training.
For a donation of your choice, you or a friend can have inspiring yoga classes in your own home, anytime you like.
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Awakening Self Radio Show Schedule
Friday, March 2nd
Awakening Self Radio Show – guest Rev. Dr. Katherine O’Connell
Rev. Katherine has devoted her life to serving others, embracing all spiritual or religious traditions, through Interfaith Ministry. She is the director of East West Seminary, and also maintains a transformative psychotherapy practice. Discover what it means to be Interfaith, how to cultivate community between spiritual traditions, universal spiritual truths, and more. Call in with your questions or comments!
Check out the Awakening Self Radio Show archives to listen to over 25 inspiring shows!
Does It Ever Get Easier?
By Connie Habash
The sweat trickles down my temples, past my ears. I’m in Parsvakonasana, the side angle pose, breathing steadily and wondering when the teacher will tell us to come out. I wait, somewhat patiently. I know this is well within my ability to continue to hold this. But it takes so much work! After all these years of practice, doesn’t it ever get easier? When will I be able to hold these poses effortlessly? And for that matter, when will everything in my life finally just come together?
Sound familiar? We all have these thoughts, perhaps more often than not. Waiting and hoping for that day when everything will be easy. The ship has come in, the party is on, and we can simply kick back and relax.
HA! Life has other ideas, doesn’t it? It seems that something else is always around the corner – a new challenge, a different environment, more responsibility. From deep within, an awareness of a habit or way of thinking that no longer serves us bubbles up, and we have to deal with it. Or an old issue that we thought he had licked sneaks out from under the bed and wakes us. When is it all going to be done, and I can then be happy?
The truth is that life always brings us what helps us to grow. And growing is not always a pleasure. Just like in yoga, it requires us to stretch, to reach, and to become stronger within. We’re never “done” – at least, not until this life ends. Who knows what happens after that!
Part of what creates our frustration and suffering through the challenges of life is the belief that someday we’ll be done, and we won’t have to do all this work anymore. Retirement – for the soul, perhaps. We’ll have had enough therapy, we’ll have done all the yoga poses in every book, and we’ll have all the money and love we ever needed. Then life will be effortless and happy – or so we imagine.
I’m back on my yoga mat in Parsvakonasana. I continue to sweat. What if I could do this without sweating? What if I could hold this pose for 10 minutes, no problem? What then? We all know what happens when something is easy – we get bored. We fall asleep to ourselves, space out, and the mind starts its little trip somewhere far off from the yoga mat. That’s when the real challenge begins.
Even the most advanced yoga practitioners still sweat. There’s no yogi in the world that I know of that wouldn’t be able to find some pose that if they held it long enough, would bring up some challenge. What creates the transformation, though, is all in the mind. I could be in Parsvakonasana, dripping perspiration, legs trembling, and I could have a peaceful mind. I could fully accept that this is difficult. I could completely embrace that it’s unpleasant in this moment, and tiring. Just a few moments ago it felt great, and now it’s not.
The problem isn’t in how my experience changed – the problem that keeps me from feeling the ease and joy that I’d like to is that I somehow expect it NOT to change. I get frustrated when it does. I want it to be interesting and challenging, but not too challenging. In fact, not very challenging. I want it to be easy, and it’s not. And when it’s easy – if I were in child’s pose for 10 minutes – then I get frustrated because I’m “not doing anything.” Yeah, sure. Just take a look at what it’s doing to your mind.
I realize that the master yogis still sweat – because that’s what bodies do. But their minds totally embrace that. They revel in whatever arises. The pleasure and the pain. They push nothing away, and open to whatever life brings. They walk forward on their path, regardless of whether things flow effortlessly or they have a steep climb. It gets easier when we appreciate however it is.
It becomes easier when we don’t have attachment to whether things are enjoyable or unpleasant. We can practice walking into every situation with an even mind, neither holding onto pleasant experiences, nor pushing away the unpleasant, wishing they were other than they are. Patanjali called this vairagya – non-attachment, one of the keys to yoga practice. In actuality, it doesn’t become easier in the sense of what we think of as easy – no effort – but in the sense that we aren’t any longer putting up resistance to what is. We simply work with it. When we stop the internal fight about what we’re experiencing – whether we enjoy it or not – then an inner peace arises that makes any situation more possible to deal with.
I still have those poses that push all my buttons. And I know that I have the ability to find a sense of ease within me, somehow, if I let go of the likes and dislikes, the dualities of easy and difficult, fun or frustrating. Life is what it is, in every moment. This pose is what it is, right here and now. In Parsvakonasana, as I continue to remain there, I can smile inward at myself – at the struggle happening in my mind, and the burn in my thigh. I can stay in the pose, I can come out. Either way, I see the little dance that my thoughts do, and step back from them. It becomes easier when I stop trying to make it so.
Copyright © 2002, 2012 by Constance L. Habash
Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.
– Carl Jung
Enlightenment or awakening is not the creation of a new state of affairs but the recognition of what already is.
– Alan Watts
A thought can NEVER become enlightened. The only difference will be trading one thought that says, ” I am not enlightened” for another thought that says, “I am enlightened.” When enlightenment has actually occurred, there will be no thought present to claim it. Oh,the irony!
– Michael Jeffreys