If this were a year like all the ones before, I would open the February blog post with, “This month we celebrate fourteen years of community at 401 N. West Street.” I would proceed to go on and on about how the blue came to be, and what we have collectively created and accomplished in the past year. Full of emotion and gratitude, I would talk about the goodness and greatness experienced in those four walls and the enormous contributions made by all involved to create a yoga home for thousands of students since we opened back in 2007. But this was not a year like all the ones before.… Read the rest
Tapas: austerity, discipline, fire, the heat necessary for birth or transformation. To practice tapas is to intentionally put ourselves into discomfort in the service of our own growth and transformation. Decidedly not the delicious Spanish snacks. Tapas is the intentional practice of getting out of our comfort zones to be stretched; to consciously step into the fire which creates change. This might sound crazy when the outside world already has us in a pressure cooker, but if it’s true “as within, so without,” the discord, unrest and anger we see at every turn must also have root within us. We need to put it in the fire.… Read the rest
By the time you are reading this, I will be in India. It is my fourth visit to the subcontinent, and somewhat like the other trips, it just kind of happened. Over the course of several short weeks in the fall of 2018, I had a number of people ask- completely out of the blue- when I was taking a group to India, and that when I did, they were in. Clearly the plan was out there, I just hadn’t heard about it yet. Synchronicity, divine timing and spirit commingled, and I was again swept (with excitement and anxiety in equal measure) into a pilgrimage beyond my own making.… Read the rest
Whether it came from my family of origin or was part of my soul’s original blueprint, I’ve spent most of my life grappling with being okay with not knowing. The fact that there is so much we don’t know, can’t possibly know, can’t plan or prepare for was just unacceptable to me for a long, long time. In my twenties, I really believed that I did, in fact, know. In my thirties, I found out that there was a whole lot missing from my field of view. By the time I got to my forties, I’d come to terms with the flow of life and her wise, yet unpredictable ways- or so I thought.… Read the rest
Do your practice. All is coming.
by Jill Sockman
This came through my inbox this morning: “On the path of transformation, you will experience acceptance, which entails accepting your own inner condition exactly as it is, without reacting to it or defending against it.” Also in the inbox, from a different source: “You can have all good things – wealth, friends, kindness, love to give and love to receive – once you have learned not to be blinded by them, learned to escape from disappointment, and from repugnance at the idea that things are not as you want them to be.”… Read the rest
It is what it is
by Jill Sockman
About a week ago, a friend came for a visit. We were talking about life, change, perspective. She reminded me of a of a Zen proverb I’d heard long ago and since forgotten.
The story is of an old farmer in a remote village in China. He was the only man in the whole area who was given a horse to help work the fields.
“This is good!” said the neighbors.
“Maybe good, maybe bad,” replied the farmer, “It just is.”
One day, the horse got free and ran away.
“This is bad!”… Read the rest
Cultivating faith and devotion
by Jill Sockman
By the time you read this, I’ll be far from Raleigh, having just arrived to Varanasi — arguably one of the most chaotic cities I know. Hopefully by now I’m over the jet lag, and presumably I’m inundated and awestruck by the complete overwhelm and sensory overload that is India. This will be my third trip to the subcontinent, and I’m not yet sure if it’s three strikes you’re out or third time’s a charm. Mmmm. Neti Neti says the knowing Self — not this, and not that.
My preparations for this pilgrimage have been extensive — making the arrangements and gathering the things needed for a journey of this kind; trying to complete any and all undone tasks that they not clutter my mind or my desk while I am gone; loosening my grip on expectation and attachment; deepening and steadying my practice.… Read the rest
What’s Next? on your journey to truly thriving
by Jill Sockman
A couple of times each year, I offer a three-day intensive called What’s Next? It’s an opportunity to take a look at who you are when you’re truly thriving, what’s holding you back from being that person more of the time, and what’s the next step you need to take to be more in alignment with your passion and purpose in life. As we finish out 2015, when better to pause and consider What’s Next? for 2016?
I love this work, and am due for a refresher, so before the clock strikes midnight on 12/31, I’ll be taking a little extra time to get quiet and reflect on a few questions.… Read the rest
Your natural state of joy
When was the last time you reveled in a big belly laugh? When something was tears-running-down-your-face can’t-breathe funny? It always feels so good! And it truly is wonderful medicine.
For some of us, it just doesn’t happen often enough. We live in a culture that values hard work and seriousness, and that’s a familiar place for me. Yes, I’ve reaped many benefits from that place. I also envy people who have what seems to be more balance — you know, the fun people! Maybe they know a secret I’m just now catching onto — The Natural State of a Human Being is Joy!… Read the rest
by Jill Sockman
Choices. We are confronted with them constantly, from the minutiae of day-to-day existence to the overwhelming life and death decisions which become pivotal moments in our lives. It’s a privilege to have so much freedom — so many choices. What time to wake up, how to spend the morning hours before work begins, what to eat, how/if to exercise the body, brain, spirit. Pressing choices about health — our own or a loved one, significant professional changes, relationship decisions and everything in between. Who is doing all this deciding?
As adults, the obvious answer is “I am!”… Read the rest