Tag: perspective

Embracing the Power of “And”

Today’s world. Not many would argue it’s bizarre. It seems that everyone is trying so hard to distinguish themselves today. We are in an instagram “look at me” revolution.

It seems to me, we’ve been glorifying our differences for far too long, and that it is contributing to our breakdown. Granted there are populations, mostly oppressed for centuries, who still need to be empowered through difference. But in a more encompassing “we’re all human” way, I think there’s a point at which individuation becomes self-obsession.

For example, today, I came across a post in which someone claimed that everybody who isn’t, according to her, “trauma-informed”, is just spiritual bypassing. She went on to recommend certain teachers, many of which I myself sometimes take inspiration from. I didn’t have a problem with her message, in general. There’s no question (well, apparently there IS a question if people still have to bring it up in the first place) that we cannot forego our shadow work and expect to healed.

But there’s another side to that story. “Trauma-informed” can often turn into “victim-enabling”. When we coddle the psychologies of those who have suffered and tip-toe around true responsibility with things like “trigger warnings”, we’re still not doing any favors. That too is a trap as “trappy” as any that will freeze us on our path by spiritually bypassing. It is ironic, is it not, that without fail, the very thing we see in others is always pointing to what we fail to see in ourselves.

Both of these “sides” are valid. Both. It’s not either/or. It’s and. But what is more relevant is “what serves the person NOW?”

Some people aren’t ready to dig into their shadows. (Just take a look around.) Others just need to wallow in their wounds for awhile. (Again, just take a look around). And that’s okay too. But hopefully, at some point, that will be outgrown and something deeper and truer will take hold. What I’ve found, is that people who tend to get stuck in the fear/trauma cycle tend to think those that have moved through it have done so by bypassing. It’s a projection. That’s not to say that spiritual bypassing doesn’t exist. Of course it does. It’s everywhere…even in some very unexpected places. Nor does it imply that victims don’t exist or are the result of their own choices. I too cringe when I hear the spiritually brainwashed claim, “They chose that.” “They” the person, certainly did NOT, even if some more intelligent, higher dimension soul did, and pointing that out is useless and hurtful.

I think as healers, yoga teachers, counselors, guides, lightworkers, we all need to be aware and far more sensitive to the fact that we may resonate with certain messages at certain times and that not everyone can or should join us there. We don’t have to make others wrong to make ourselves right, wise, or enlightened. For a simple example, some people want yoga to be a purely physical instagram challenge. Others want to focus on the embodiment aspects of yoga. Some want to break down movement into more functional use. It’s ALL brilliant! It suits who it suits. We need to remain cognizant of the fact that truths are relative. If we happen to have done a lot of work and can embrace a higher truth, it is essential we not forget what it was like before we could. I personally admit to failing in this arena for most of my life. I often transcended by exclusion instead of inclusion.

But this isn’t just about the various paths that are available. Embracing the “and” also applies to our own inner experiences. I can be totally sad and crying my eyes out AND be grateful for my life. I can absolutely hate myself AND be tender and compassionate toward myself. I can dislike someone AND wish them well. I can detest how someone else lives AND encourage them to live it fully.

I can listen to someone on one side of the political arena and say “you have a point” and turn around and listen to someone on the other side of the arena and say, “you have a point too!”

So in summary, when we can open ourselves to paradox, to dancing when we’re miserable, laughing when we’re grieving, loving when we’re hating, deeper truths are revealed. When we can allow others to be who they are where they are with what they are, we free ourselves to move beyond. To me, that is way more important that being right or different or popular or even visible.

It’s time to start embracing the power of “and”.



Peace, Joy, Love

For a long time, the question, “What do you want?” would fill me with angst. I never knew what to answer. I always had a sense that if I did, I would be forever limiting myself and excluding something important. In a way, that was true because my perspective itself was limited to things I wanted to be, achieve, do or have.


Photo by Stuart Davies Used with Permission

Now I realize it never was meant to be a trick question. I just needed a broader perspective.

I’ve been asking myself the “what do you want” question a lot lately. What do I really want? And the answer is so simple, it’s astonishing. I want three things. With these three things, I’m assured a happy life. What are they?


I want to be peaceful. What does that mean? What does peace look like? Firstly, it requires acceptance of what is. I can’t be fighting against reality and wanting things to be other than how they are. I have to learn to be with what is, no matter what. It doesn’t mean I can’t take action to change something, but I have to let go of expectations and outcomes. Secondly, it means I have to cultivate peacefulness inside myself. I cannot afford to harbor ill-will toward another. If I do, I will lose the thing I most want out of life. I have to be willing to choose peace over being right or justified. I have to choose peace over thoughts that would instead bring me disharmony.


I want joy in my life. To be joyful, I have to appreciate life. Luckily, there’s so much to appreciate: color, fresh air, sunlight, flowers, trees, clouds, rain, animals, art… I also have to allow myself to create and be spontaneous. There’s no room for inhibition in joy. Joy is a natural spring that must be allowed to bubble up and express itself. There’s no room for holding back in fear. Joy is exhuberance. It’s playfulness. It’s willingness. Joy opens itself up to life and says, “Yes!” Joy if full of gratitude and generosity. Joy tries new things and isn’t afraid of being a little silly.


I want to live a loving life. I want to be more loving toward not only others but myself. What does that mean? It means I have to be willing to feel all of my feelings. It means I have to respect others for who they are. It means I have to exercise forgiveness on a daily basis. To be move loving, I have to remove all the barriers I’ve built up to love. It means I have to reexamine my beliefs about love. It means I have to be vulnerable and gentle when I want to protect and defend. Love is compassionate and open. There is room for everyone and everything. Love even has room for fear, but love has the wisdom to know that fear has no real power.

This is all I want out of life. With these three things, I have everything. So, it doesn’t matter how they arrive or what they look like. Whatever manifests, and regardless of what doesn’t, I’d have it all.

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