Tag Archives: awareness

Becoming friends with the darkness

I woke up  this morning in a pool of potential. I was surrounded by the guardians of fear, shame and unworthiness. My friends Brett Dennan, Natalie Merchant and of course Dave {Matthews that is} were on the outside looking in. They sang to me their songs of hope and encouragement. They tried to protect me by sharing their darkness to help me tease out my own light.

Somehow my ego got loose in a big way. Now how could that happen? I do as I have been told by the wise ones: I practice yoga, I meditate, I help others, I give to animal shelters. What more do I need to do to be set free from this feeling? This morning my ego decided that I am the only person that has ever felt this way. The only human who hasn’t lived up to the dreams and ideas that fill the heart and mind. My ego chose to rule this day. The battle ensued. Loneliness and heartache quickly closed the gap between my deeper knowledge and this momentary void. They shut me off from my gratitude and opened the flood gates of emptiness. Tears flowed like cheap champagne at a high school reunion as the pity party began.

I want so much from Life. There are some things that I will never have now. Those things have left big holes in the fabric of my Life. My ego is fighting to keep those spaces open, to keep me feeling empty. Life always finds a way to weave in beauty. I know that the exposures will be woven back together and the threads used will be made of the most sublime moments. That the final tapestry will be one of infinite beauty and quality. I know this. Yet still my ego wages this mighty war.                                                                                        IMG_5652

And so I sit.

I put my butt on my cushion and I begin again.

I breath. I think. I plan. I feel that awful emptiness.

I begin again.

I will sit with this feeling. I will dance with this feeling. It’s a tricky little number where I never really know who is leading and who is following…

I cannot escape it. We will become friends. It will take practice. It will feel familiar and then it will feel foreign. Feelings come and go. We get cut , we get bruised and yet we heal. Again and again.

I also know that I am not alone in this skirmish and this is why ego will not win this holy war. I believe we all face these moments.

If you are a believer please share your thoughts……….

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Starting Over

It seems like now is the time!

I started this blog several years ago. A whole lot of water has gone under the bridge. I have learned a little bit more about people, life, yoga…My dear friend Daniel is constantly reminding me that I will be a ballerina forever, so I think it’s time I look seriously at yoga thru the lens of who I really am: a ballerina, an artist, a seeker, a spirit junkie….just plain old me. No different from you or anyone else. Here’s my journey.

It’s my dance thru life, one step at a time and sometimes, well quite a lot of times, with 2 left feet 😉

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Here’s how it all started:

I dropped into an Iyengar class in the People’s Republic of Cambridge. We did a pose for a while and then we would lie down to rest and see how it felt, ugh, I was 20 yrs old & I didn’t want to lie down and think about how I felt I wanted to keep going and going and going. And so I kept going as a professional ballerina with Boston Ballet. For 17 years my life was about being thin looking in the mirror & measuring myself against others, basically judgement with a large dose of self judgement. Despite that or because of that dancing was its own spiritual journey. 20160417 - Yoga Masala-70I was living every little girls dream but still searching for something more. When I turned 35 I quit. And it was not long after that I stumbled into my first hot vinyasa class. It was love at first savasana!!  Finally I had found something that focused my attention and challenged me physically. When I moved back home in 2007 there was great Anusara studio, but no great vinyasa and definitely no hot vinyasa! As my life  and my marriage began to unravel, my teacher Rolf Gates did what he lovingly refers to as “I commanded Kyra to open a studio”
So here I am… I had no idea that I would ever quit my “real” job to teach yoga, but I did! What I have come to realize is that this “job” of running the studio has always felt like home even in some of its most uncomfortable moments. I had no idea how much it would help me grow as a teacher but more importantly as a person. It has cemented in me the power of love. We can do anything we choose as long as we do it with love and do the loving thing. I love yoga with all of my heart. I love every person that walks thru the door that is brave enough to step on their mat. I love them for their courage. Some days it’s beautiful and easy and others it totally sucks. And each trip on the mat I remember what I have forgotten, love. Only love is real .

 


Creating Connection

Hi, my name is Kyra. I am 10.3 pounds over weight. I am addicted to all forms of social media. I am also addicted to yoga, Green and Black’s 85% dark chocolate and to micromanaging every emotion. I am single and hate it, but its better than sacrificing personal growth and communication for empty companionship.  I avoid my Mother because she always asks me to brush my hair. I realized just last week that I have something to share, that I have lived and worked and always followed my heart even into the darkest of places. I am ashamed that I think so little of myself.

So here’s the solution:

Since the death of my Father, I have had a really hard time holding it together. I’ve spent many hours alone, sad and feeling terrible for not appreciating how long I did have him. In my grief, I beat myself up about wanting more of him. He was 91! He lived an amazing life, but I want more.  Then I feel bad for feeling bad.

Immediately after he died, I got on my yoga mat looking for comfort. I am forever grateful for my teachers and students who let me slip in and slip out of classes. They gave me space to be as raw as I needed to be without interruption. But, I needed more. I am so blessed to have Rolf Gates as a dear friend, an amazing teacher and a true mentor. He called often to check in with me after Dad died. Many times I would see his call coming in and cry because of his kindness yet I couldn’t bring myself to answer the phone.

He mentioned a meditation retreat and it felt like the right answer. Sun, silence, yoga and someone else to do the cooking and cleaning. An escape to paradise but with a noble purpose. Just before I left, my dear sweet Haley mentioned reading Brene Brown “The Gifts of Imperfection.” I’ve been a fan for years. We watch her TED talk in my teacher trainings. Recently I had even seen her Super Soul Sunday talk on trust. It was powerful stuff. Watch it here

I don’t even think Haley had finished reading the book before I swiped it out of her hands and hit the road to the airport. I started it on the plane. Yes!!! This was just what I needed. On both legs of my flight there was no one sitting next to me. The old me would have been delighted! The new me felt like the Universe was conspiring against me to force me out of my shell. I was really craving connection!! I wanted to share with someone anyone. I wanted to practice connecting before I got home so I wouldn’t screw it up and you know embarrass myself (sound familiar)?

I have realized that I am sick and tired of carrying around this image of perfection. Yes, I am blonde (or used to be..). Yes, I can be thinner than average(but not now). Yes, I was a ballerina. Yes. Yes. Yes. But how about the fact that I have so little value for who I am and what experience I carry in my whole being?  There are days that I cannot possibly think of one kind word to say about myself. And then there is my shame and fear of being found a phony. How about owning my story and sharing it? How about using all of the work that I have done throughout my life to help others feel more at ease in their own skin? How about, as my dear friend Nadia said one day long long ago “Let us see you cry. Stop pretending. Be real.”

I have spent the last week contemplating how to create connection. The conclusion I’ve come to is this: I cannot waste anymore of my life and energy hiding. It’s time to love myself with all my warts and wrinkles and open up to the real joy that is found in connection. I am running a year of creating connection on my Instagram. I would love for you to join me in connecting and sharing anything that moves you.

So here goes:                                                                                                                                                  Hi, my name is Kyra. I am 10.3 pounds over weight. I am addicted to all forms of social media. I am also addicted to yoga, Green and Black’s 85% dark chocolate and to micromanaging every emotion. I am single and hate it, but will never sacrifice myself again. I avoid my Mother because she always asks me to brush my hair. I realized just last week that I have something to share, that I have lived and worked and always followed my heart even into the darkest of places. My spirit animal is a sea turtle. I love all the people that practice yoga with me. They are brave and fearless. I experience real joy when they move on to other cities. My heart breaks a little when they leave but then grows bigger. It hurts but its a good hurt, like growing pains. I also talk too much………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Do the One Thing

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My New Years intention has been to do just one thing at a time. As a Mother that is next to impossible. Throw on top of that owning a business with 2 locations, having children in 2 different schools with 2 different start times, an 89 year old Mother in mourning and one crazy beagle/pit mix! Oh yeah, and I’m single!

When my Father died, I became paralyzed as did all of us. There was this emptiness that pervaded everything. Where there were phone calls and text messages about this diagnosis and that doctors appointment there was silence. In the space of one breath we all had more time on our hands. I personally didn’t know what to do. It took me by surprise. I had not planned on it being so final and I am a planner. In the days and weeks immediately after he left us, I could only do the one thing. I was no where near able to teach. To guide others into a felt experience that is meant to be healing was off the table. All I could do was put clothes in the wash, make a cup of tea and hug everyone who stumbled onto my path. That was it.

As New Years approached, I realized that in my stunned and slow existence, my one thing at a time actually felt good. There was a sense of accomplishment because something was getting done and yet there was no anxiety swirling around me about needing to get it ALL done. In this semi concious state, less was most certainly more. It made sense. I was enjoying the small victories. I got dressed! I washed my hair! I folded laundry!

My Father spoiled all of us with his time. He always took the time to talk to us about anything we needed. When I was younger I used to say “I don’t want to talk about it now.” Of course now all I can think of is how much I would give for one more conversation. As I got older I would spend hours talking to him about politics, the value of a good liberal arts education, religion and dreams. I can’t thank him enough for the steadiness of his listening ear and open heart. As the dialysis strip mined his body our conversations lagged. He was exhausted after each skirmish with Fresenius. He could only do one thing at at time and he did it with his whole being. Some days we talked, others he slept. He did what he needed to do, one thing at a time.

As a ballerina I danced with my whole heart. To honor my Father and everyone in my life, I intend to continue this practice. This way of being. When we do the one thing we are committing to the moment and connecting to ourselves and others with our whole hearts. Since Life is one big beautiful dance, it’s time for me to start dancing again. Dancing with my whole heart.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the beauty and challenges of doing one thing at a time….


The Heart

The heart is the muscle that runs the whole organism. It beats, we beat. It stops, we stop. Is that why we use the shape of the heart to equate love? Is it because love is the “heartbeat” of life? Is it that without love we have no life, no breath, no way to live?

There are many types of love. I love them all. My precious daughters whose smiles, innocent remarks and hugs slay me. The love I have for my brothers who are forever surprising me as our relationships unfold with age. My Mother, my sweet little Mother who’s devotion to my Father was and is the greatest love I have ever witnessed. My friends whose love I feel across oceans and continents and their uncanny knack of knowing despite distance and years just when to reach out that hand to hold.

 

I loved a man recently.We seemed to have it all. Same age, children, passionate about work, creative, intellectual, respectful, devoted, worldly and between us enough scars and warts to humble us both. When my Father died my world was shattered and I ran. First I begged then I ran. I begged for arms to circle the God awful hole that was in my heart. When that didn’t work I pushed him away. He saw it and tried to stop it but I was already onto the next dance. I needed to feel my way into being me without my Father. I needed to heal. I needed all the love I could gather from the corners of the earth to hold me up. I needed the huge tapestry woven from the old friends compassion to hold me together until I could hold myself. The love I felt from so many people was the nourishment I needed. It gave me strength to grow roots into the soil of my new world.

Sitting by the shore I see repeatedly with imperfect precision the oceans unwavering love of the sand. The waves return again and again. Each time just a little different from the last. A dance like no other. A dance of steadfast commitment.

 

 

As a ballerina I was always changing roles. Just when something got comfortable it was on to the next. Our repetoire was ever changing and it was often years before we were given another chance at the same role. It seems I love that way too. Just when things get comfortable, I fall apart. I push them away. In lasting relationships you can’t do that. My friends, my brothers and my parents all managed to be like the ocean. Returning again and again. When my heart is heavy and sad I run to the ocean for its steady beat. Maybe I need to dive in………

What is love? How do you define love? Where does it begin and where does it end? How does it start? And does it ever really end? Would you share your thoughts on love?

 


Healing

It has been exactly 41 days since my sweet Father put on his wings and flew away. The world feels so empty and lonely. It’s strange I know, but everything he ever touched feels lifeless and cold right now. Even me. I feel as though I am here, but not here. Like everyone, I long for that last conversation. That last I love you. That long goodbye.

I have been reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead and it is helping put things in perspective for me. A little. In my own selfish need for him to stay alive, I forgot that he was dealing with a little bit of his own personal hell. How would you feel if you heard the words that there was an end in sight? We all glamorize and dramatize what we would do. The trips we’d take, the people we would forgive, the grand gestures we’d make. In truth though, I think it is much much simpler. Yes, we would love up all those we love. Give hugs and kisses and I love you’s and thank you’s. The bigger question to ponder becomes really about “me.”

How would you feel if you were told this is it. If it were me, how would I feel knowing the end was there? Looming like a distant wave that will come, sooner than later, to shore and crash leaving nothing in its wake because it is all dissolved and swallowed up by the vastness of the ever changing. The truth is, that this is it. Any moment could be my last and what am I doing with the few precious moments I have?

 

Me and Dad

Now and again I have these “ah ha” moments that whisper to me of the big as hell space that is within and without. The heaven above, around and inside of me and each one of us. I am so busy grasping to this life that I am eternally fearful of the next. What would you do if you were handed that sentence?

In hindsight, I think I did it all wrong. I kept hoping and trying to have conversations with my Father about he felt about dying. We never had a single one. I never told him of my fear of life without him. I wanted him to tell me how he was feeling and all he wanted was to feel all the love of his family. He gave up his independence to be dialyzed 3 days a week so he could feel our love. So he could bask in the love and togetherness his illness created. As he got weaker, we got stronger and we didn’t even know it but he did.

I had a year and almost 2 months to say everything and I didn’t. My fear of death paralyzed me. He had a year to absorb the love and support of his children and beloved Mary. He had a year to look death in the face and say not yet. It took him that long to be ready for the great journey home. I hope in some small measure our love gave him the strength to wear those wings with pride.

My lesson in this: My Father always listened to everyone. He always put others first. I know this big cold empty hole in my life will never be filled, but it can be the fertile ground from which compassion can grow. His life and legacy can be the soil that feeds the bodhisattva in me. The one whose arms are open for all to find kindness. My fears have kept me selfish. His death has unlocked my heart.

I love you. I miss you. Thank you.

 


I am wrong (alot)

I discovered something interesting. It’s nothing new, but it’s the steadfast practice of yoga and meditation that has created this new “awareness” for me.

Whenever I let my ego out of the gate first, well, I am wrong. Yep. Plain and simple. The epiphany came to me as I was brushing my teeth tonight. I have this horrible shameful secret. I am so insecure that when I am faced with new situations, new people, or just about anything that makes me feel uncomfortable, I pre-judge and I am always wrong. Somehow my ego thinks that everyone is out to get me. Me. Me. Me and only me. Right? Because that is how big my small self feels it is. Can any of you relate to this? When someone approaches me about something that my ego isn’t prepared for, the moat fills, the gates draw down fast and the archers are ready in the turrets. I cannot possibly deign to help you or anyone else until I know all the facts. Let’s not forget that before I can consider answering, I must have time to contemplate the outcome for me. Me.

I keep having this theme run over and over in my Life. I am always wrong in my prejudgement. The person rarely if ever has it in for me. What could have been simple gets turned into an epic the likes of the Twilight Saga. Wasted time, wasted energy and “bad seeds” that will take a lot of good seeds to stop from germinating. One would think that after all these years I would get it. I don’t. I keep sitting on my cushion. I keep practicing my yoga. I keep teaching yoga. I keep on because that is what I must do. I have to learn this strange dance I have choreographed and change the beginning. The end is always better than my small self could have imagined. It’s time for me to start with the first step. As they say in the ballet world, “it’s how you start and how you finish.” What happens in between the audience will forget if you don’t start strong and finish solid. I love to dance. It is in my blood and bones (and bunions). It’s my passion. What I need to learn is that passion is fueled by love. What would happen if in all those ego-driven moments I went back to love………. after all that is what dancing is actually that’s what Life is.