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The heart of internal work.

We need to see the beauty in things again.
When we wake, we need to hear the birds outside our window and see the sun shine light on the darkness that came in the night.
When we look in the mirror, we need to see ourselves clearly through the fog of self-judgement.
When we go about our day, we need to remember to watch for positivity in the shadows of our bright differences.
When we come home, we need to appreciate who and what we have.
And when we go to bed, we need to remind ourselves that tomorrow is not a given and one day we will not wake to have a chance to do it all again.
We need to see the beauty in things again.  Try to remember, each and every day.

I share this as we move through one of the darkest times of the year; both in terms of light and in terms of spirit.  Statistics show that the third week of January is the suicide peak of the year.  These days the most common disease we face is that of mental illness, so much so that I cannot think of a single person whom I know intimately that has not gone through bouts with it at one point or another.  It is so prevalent, yet eerily untalked about; often medicated instead of dealt with at the root.  And so, I’m posting this to participate in Bell Let’s Talk Day.

Acknowledging these struggles and wanting to do something to alleviate it, for the past couple years I have been a part of efforts to help people take care of themselves amidst their own individual struggles – from teaching a workshop to strangers at a yoga festival last year to leading an intimate workshop with 25 returning students in a tattoo parlour just up the street from my home the other day.  Contrary to the rather glossy forms of learning meditative practices these days, the real work is done quietly each and every day before the sun rises; in a dedicated practice of turning the gaze inward and slowly moving along the continuum of gross to subtle to work with mental states.  The following photos were created to visually illustrate the latter.

This piece of writing and this set of photographs are of a personal nature to me.  As both a teacher and life-long student of the meditative practice, I aim to cut through the fog of disillusion that rises in the mind to see the world more clearly…to see the beauty in things again.

Self-care is so important.  However you do it, the important thing is that you do it.

Candlelit mediation - jnana mudra

Jnana mudra: the traditional gesture of wisdom.

Meditation - shadow self

Through stillness and focused awareness we are able to peer into the shadows of our minds and work with whatever we find there.

Yoga drishti - focus

Despite physical movement, the heart of meditative process (which includes yoga and the asana that is popularized these days) is 100% internal: first the moral and ethical principles, then the training of the mind with focused action of the physical body, and then working at the mental level.  We cannot skip the process and jump into dealing with mental states.  First, we need to train the mind.

Savasana - practicing death - drishti image

Rest is as important as action; each supporting the other as its opposite.  The important thing is that we are fully committed to being there in one or the other.

February 7, 2017 - 5:09 pm

Allison Storseth - I wholeheartedly enjoyed this piece. It’s easy to get into a rut of sadness and anger… a cycle I feel I have been falling into repeatedly lately. Thanks for the fantastic reminder to be grateful for all we have everyday

February 8, 2017 - 10:59 am

David - I’m glad you enjoyed it Ally. I hear you and you’re not alone. Keep your head up my friend!

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