It’s my birthday today.  I am 52 and just this year, I am learning how to grow up.  It sounds funny to be this age and to finally be growing up but I am grateful that I even have that opportunity in this life.  To learn how to take accountability for myself on every level.  Many people never do. My mother never got that opportunity.  She died of cancer when I was 21 with I believe, a lot of regrets around this. 

Last summer I came the the point where I felt like I had had enough. I was done living inside of patterns that kept repeating themselves in my life. I was working on and committed to some personal development with a teacher and became radically clear that I was no longer willing tolerate the feelings of anger and disappointment that I felt inside.  They were running the show and my life was showing me where it was time to take accountability for my actions and start cleaning ups my messes.  It was hard.  Really hard.  I wanted to blame my husband, my kids…anything but myself.  I wanted to feel sorry for my situation and pout with my bottom lip way out.  How could I be where I was. But that never seemed to work out in the past.  The only choice was to take a good hard look at where I was stuck and to give that immature, little angry bitch a voice.  To express with a full on fit, screaming and yelling at the world, how life had wronged me. How could I be here after all the “spiritual work” I have done was the big question? I was a good person I thought.  Well, through the guidance of some very wise teachers I was able to see it all.  None of the downward dogs or chanting or mediating or praying to the Goddess was ever going to get me out of this one.  I had to get down on my knees and do the dirty work of looking at where I was deferring accountability over and over and over again.  Running from one thing to the next seeking some kind of refuge outside myself but not dealing with the feelings I had inside of pain, rage and injustice.

Today I am 52 years old.  I am waking up to myself, and all that I am now.  Yes I am kind, compassionate, loving and innocent. I also have anger, doubt and fear. I am human after all. Today I am more authentic and real about who I am and it feels really good. I’m a little bruised and tender but none the less, waking up. Sometimes I do feel like a newborn in this adult body. I am learning what it means to be a woman not just a little girl in a woman’s body.  Growing up is not what I thought it would be.  I never had many roles models for that in my life.  Not even many of my “spiritual” teachers.  Many of them are showing where they are just human too. Most of us are taught that being a grown up looks like being successful, owning a house, having children and starting a family or simply having some authority over something or someone.  It is all that but the part we forget about is learning how to grow up emotionally and take responsibility for how we feel, what we say, how we treat others, the actions we take or don’t take that create the outcomes in our lives. 

Yes I know, it’s all in there in the spiritual teachings.  Be kind to others and speak with integrity.  Blah, blah, blah. I was a master at spiritual bypassing.  It all sounds beautiful and blissful until you actually take the teachings and apply them to your everyday life, especially to the people that trigger you the most.  That is the real work. We all have our blind spots. Mine was big and that is why I’m convinced we need accountability people in our lives. People who can call us out and show us where we are not taking accountability. I am kind of terrified of my teacher on may levels cause I know he sees it all only because he’s done this work for himself.  But as they say when the students is ready, the teacher appears.  I also consider my closest girlfriends, my husband and my kids my teachers in this life. And of course more and more, I trust the teacher within.

I had this thought today of giving away all my yoga and self help books, my buddhas and dieties and letting go of all my stones and crystals.  It’s still just an idea. I’m not sure I’d actually do it. They have all been great teachers for me and yet, I don’t feel the need for them in the same way anymore.  I trust they are all within me and always will be. 

It’s my birthday today.  I am 52 and just this year, I am learning how to grow up.  It sounds funny to be this age and to finally be growing up but I am grateful that I even have that opportunity in this life.  To learn how to take accountability for myself on every level.  Many people never do. My mother never got that opportunity.  She died of cancer when I was 21 with I believe, a lot of regrets around this. 

Last summer I came the the point where I felt like I had had enough. I was done living inside of patterns that kept repeating themselves in my life. I was working on and committed to some personal development with a teacher and became radically clear that I was no longer willing tolerate the feelings of anger and disappointment that I felt inside.  They were running the show and my life was showing me where it was time to take accountability for my actions and start cleaning ups my messes.  It was hard.  Really hard.  I wanted to blame my husband, my kids…anything but myself.  I wanted to feel sorry for my situation and pout with my bottom lip way out.  How could I be where I was. But that never seemed to work out in the past.  The only choice was to take a good hard look at where I was stuck and to give that immature, little angry bitch a voice.  To express with a full on fit, screaming and yelling at the world, how life had wronged me. How could I be here after all the “spiritual work” I have done was the big question? I was a good person I thought.  Well, through the guidance of some very wise teachers I was able to see it all.  None of the downward dogs or chanting or mediating or praying to the Goddess was ever going to get me out of this one.  I had to get down on my knees and do the dirty work of looking at where I was deferring accountability over and over and over again.  Running from one thing to the next seeking some kind of refuge outside myself but not dealing with the feelings I had inside of pain, rage and injustice.

Today I am 52 years old.  I am waking up to myself, and all that I am.  Yes I am kind, compassionate and innocent. I have also had these feelings of anger, doubt and fear running in the background. Today I am more authentic and real and it feels darn good. I’m a little bruised and tender but none the less, waking up. Sometimes I do feel like a newborn in this adult body. I am learning what it means to be a woman not a little girl.  Growing up is not what I thought it would be.  I never really had any roles models for that in my life.  Not even many of my teachers.  Most of us are taught that being a grown up looks like being successful, owning a house, having children and starting a family.  It is all that but the part we forget about is learning how to grow up emotionally and take responsibility for how we feel, what we say, how we treat others, the actions we take or don’t take that create outcomes in our lives. 

Yes I know, it’s all in there in the spiritual teachings.  Be kind to others and speak with integrity.  Blah, blah, blah. I was a master at spiritual bypassing.  It all sounds beautiful and blissful until you actually take the teachings and apply them to your everyday life, especially to the people that trigger you the most.  We all have our blind spots. Mine was big and that is why I’m convinced we need accountability people in our lives. People who can call us out and show us where we are not taking accountability. I am kind of terrified of my teacher on may levels cause I know he sees it all.  But as they say when the students is ready, the teacher appears.  I also consider my closest girlfriends, my husband and my kids my teachers. And of course the teacher within us all.

I had this thought today of giving away all my yoga and self help books, my buddhas and dieties and letting go of all my stones and crystals.  It’s still just an idea. I’m not sure I’d actually do it. They have all been great teachers for me and yet, I don’t feel the need for them in the same way anymore.  I trust they are all within me. 

I would start to fill my home with gorgeous flowers and beautiful art that speaks to my life today. I would write and sing with my true voice and create my life from this moment on.  And so it is!!

October 18-31st 2020 with Alison Litchfield and Roxanna Smith

Enlightened Tours

Join me in Bali this fall for a 200 hour yoga teacher training with Yoga East+West!  For more information please go here:

yogaeastwest.com

Interestingly, I love change and transitions. I always feel a sense of release and flow when there is change in the air. As old structures both in myself and on a bigger scale die away, there is a sense of free falling. I’m not an adrenaline junkie by any means but I do love the aspect of freedom from conditioned ways of being.

A friend of mine recently shared this Trungpa Rinpoche quote:

“The bad news is, you are falling. The good news is, there is nowhere to land.”

In my experience, when I dive deeper into the practice of letting go of old patterns and structures, the fear of free falling does arise. Scary as it may seem, I have found it is where the juice is. It’s the place that is full of choice and possibility. Let’s be real here. Old structures are dissolving all over the place. Personally,

I am hearing an inner voice is surging out and shouting to me loud and clear, “It’s time to come out and play Alison; Dance, sing, write and voice all the creativity you’ve been stuffing. You know, the stuff that brings you alive, that feeds your souls journey to evolve. Try something radically new and different!”

I know it well because when I’m in the flow of it, my whole body radiates with life force.

We have been taught in so many ways to find stability, safety and some idea certainty that makes us feel okay. We try to create stability structures even in our minds. Though it makes us feel safe, it also makes us stuck and very limited.

A teacher of mine, Douglas Brooks, once stated and I know it to be true for me, “the only certainty we really know is death, the rest is possibility.” If we can embrace uncertainty, we are not stuck. We can live in a world of opportunity and how we chose to engage is up to us. Bummer is, we don’t get off easy here as humans. We have to work with the challenge, the rubbing, churning and shedding of old ways that bring us to a new way of being.

This is why I love yoga so much. It takes us to our edges and rubs the places we are stuck. Now, we can get in out yoga patterns too and get stuck there which is why I love to mix things up. Lately I have been going to Kundalini classes as well as Yin, rather than my usual Vinyasa/Ashtanga practice. It gives me new perpectives, opens different channels of possibility.

I love to play with choosing to let go of the way I clutch and cling to safety and welcome a new way. I feel as through I’m continuously opening to this sense of free falling to what’s next and seeing there is always more and nothing all at once. It feels like the truest sense of the word freedom embodied. Every moment becomes a choice to cling or let go. Some moments require tremendous courage and power, others are asking for softening and surrender.

So as humans, how do we keep letting go of that which we cling to? How can you lean into the place that scares you straight and feel the darkness of the unknown holding you at the boundary of your own freedom. For me it’s to keep leaning into my body, into my yoga as I walk on the earth, feeling and sensing gravity. It’s in the beautiful and challenging moments of mothering my kids and the tending to love in all of my relationships. How do we let go and free fall into our pain and discomfort, our emotions including anger and frustration only to find it is all just energy and it’s the clinging to the story that sticks us.

If you want to take your yoga practice to a deeper level or any spiritual practice, play with reaching into that discomfort, the very place in which you come face to face with you’re edges and become fully aware.

In that very moment, choose something different—anything—and just see what happens.

In my own experience this is the free falling, where the most profound transformation occurs and we each have the power within us to make that choice.

 

I’m back in Boulder from a 5 month whirlwind of an adventure out to Southern California with my husband and 2 boys. I have not left Boulder for that long since my trip to India back in 1997. When I went to India, I knew what to expect to some degree. All my friends who had gone had shared with me how India will strip you down and crack you open. This trip however was not so predictable. I thought we’d be moving to warm, sunny Malibu for a chill winter by the ocean. It wasn’t quite that. It was rainy, windy, foggy and chilly much of the time. There was failure, disappointment and plenty of chaos. Nothing of what we expected. I had to surrender like never before.

 

Living by the ocean can be tumultuous. Unlike Boulder, everything is always in motion. You have to learn how to surf even if it is just metaphorically. Whenever we tried to find the stable ground it wasn’t there. It was unpredictable, flexing and changing all the time. We hit rock bottom at times, getting caught in the waves, tumbling and scraping along the sandy bottom of the sea. There is a way in which you come out of those moments wasted and tumbled but stronger and more resilient because of it. It reminds me of a line from David Whyte’s poem “Working Together”: “We shape ourselves to fit the world and by the world are shaped again.” My daily practice became about tuning into my inner compass and navigating center amidst the movement.

 

I feel shaped in a beautiful new way. I am more myself than ever. It’s as though the ocean cleared away lifetimes of old patterns that got in the way of being the contribution that I’m here to be. I am no longer running or searching for something else. My life is not perfect but I know my power as a woman on this planet at this time. I have a clear vision of my soul’s purpose. It’s May 18th and it’s snowing outside. Nothing is predictable anymore and there’s nothing to hold onto from the past. On some crazy level I am coming to peace with the uncertainty of life and from there asking the universe, “What do I want to dream in??”