Happy Holy Dayze

Gift giving is on everyone’s mind. A corporate driven, consumption-based holiday season is in full swing. But beyond the re-branding of Starbucks holiday cups and the repetitive holiday music flooding malls – what feeds the holiday season? The easy answer for me is that the holidays are fueled by retailers pushing gift ideas and pressuring humans to become consumers.

However, before this post continues in that direction, I want to take a step back and say: Hey! It feels good to give. So think again, what feeds the holiday season? Well, a lot of it really is the joy of making others happy. The pleasure of giving can be more fulfilling than receiving.

We live in a society filled with obsessive compulsive consumption disorder (OCCD – yes, I just made this up). Living in a First World, capitalist society there exists an interesting paradox: the emphasis on being independent and individual through consumption. All year long we are focusing on what we want, who we are and what are our priorities. This leaves our ego fired with Self. We feed our ego with ideas of Self, and we feed our Self with “stuff” (hence OCCD). We are stuffed!! It feels really good to empty.  It feels really good to give.

I recently read an interview with Manju Jois, son of Sri K Pattabhi Jois, Ashatanga Yoga Guru. Manju Jois, coming from India, was noting the large number of yoga teachers in the west. He said, “Everybody wants to be a teacher,” for Manju Jois this is not a good thing. Yet, in another light we can see Westerners are feeling a need to practice yoga to empty and let go. Many practitioners then want to share the teachings in order to feel fulfilled – in order to give the beautiful gift they’ve been given.

Capitalist society trains us to consume; but after being fed so much, we need to offer up our hearts, our coping mechanisms, our breath, our Self.

Often I hear people say the best thing they ever did was have a child or get married. We like to care for others. We take pleasure in watching loved ones enjoy life. We are (mostly) made up of love, and so much of love is generosity of spirit. Holidays are corporate driven – but they are fueled with our love for giving.

This holiday season, I won’t be gifting. I will be re-gifting. Re-packing bags of my kindly used “stuff” and giving it to friends, colleagues and family. This offering of my “stuff” will lighten my Self and seeing others smile will feel really good! Enjoy your holidays, whatever you celebrate, however you celebrate it!

Love is bound with Anxiety.
Undone with Generosity!

 

Peace and Seasonal Blessings,

Lauryn Elan Z xox

 

Going through a transition?

“I am just going through a transition.”

Do you notice yourself using this phrase?  Do you notice others using this phrase in conversation?

“I am just going through a transition” is a modern excuse for not feeling present/ knowing exactly what one wants. The thing is, you are and will always be going through a transition. The only constant in the world is change.

I recently had the opportunity to study Tantric philosophy and meditation with Christopher Tompkins. Tompkins discussed many heavy philosophical ideas. What hit me most was not his enlightening discussions on spirituality, materialism or ancient India, but his simple notes on modern-day dilemmas. For example: more people die on Monday morning of heart attacks than any other time – and this statistic is drastic across nations. What does this mean? That many people rather physically collapse than face another work week? The stress we induce on ourselves breaks us not just mentally or emotionally, but physically.

The routine of a society with capitalist values and structure leads us to think we must continue on a cycle of stress and consumption (work.earn.buy.work). Life is made up of cycles. Some cycles are natural (seasons, plant growth, moons etc..), while others are constructed by societies. When we stray from our natural cycles—that is our natural rhythm—our whole Self is compromised. We are constantly struggling to keep up with ourselves, our society and our peers. We don’t feel present, because these forced routines detach us from our bodies. Our society emphasizes the importance of brain intelligence, but what about heart intelligence? As soon as the rhythm of my heart gets ahead or behind the rhythm of my mind – I lose ground. Even worse, what if you don’t even sense the rhythm of your heart, your breath or your pulse? This is physical detachment. The detachment of ourselves from ourselves leads to confusion of purpose and lack of presence.

So, when will this transition end so you can finally land on your feet again? Never.  But there are coping mechanisms. Meditation, pranayama (breath) and yoga are practices I identify with. Scan your body and note – but do not judge all the feelings – let go/breathe into points of stress. When you are sitting in traffic and make your automatic right turn at the gas station on your drive to work, take a deep breath, follow your breath around that turn. Feel the tires roll over the Earth (magical right!? ; )). At your desk note your posture, release your jaw, keep your heart open (physically and metaphorically!). I know these practices may seem silly and small – but overtime they become your habits and your habits become your character! I don’t know about you, but every Sunday night before a work week I can feel my nervous system kick in and if I don’t tap into my breath and ground myself physically, I will react, physically.

This is more than just flakey yogi chatter – this is physics! Breathe and Savour. Hey, you know what else helps me center myself? POETRY…

This means the world to me!

The vibrations we release
The world comes to be
The vibrations we receive
It’s physics, its physical

Your bass notes
Your voice notes
The vibrations you put out
Your symphony
It is conducted

– c o n d u c t i n g –

 You
        The Conductor
It is physics 

Off the high hat – Ghana’s highlife
Off the highway – he holds a sign
It says “smile”
I change my face around
It’s physical 

We get in fistfights
It bleeds
Give into motion
Sweat beads

The vibrations you receive
The life you’ll live
Its physics
Get physical

: )

Peace and Love in the Flow,

Lauryn Elan Z  xo

Meditating in Massachusetts

Since my last post – on summer travels – I’ve been on a little journey myself. I drove with my younger brother to go see a Phish  concert in Saratoga Springs (a stunning outdoor concert venue in upstate New York). From there I took off to Kripalu – a meditation sanctuary in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Its been totally relaxing and the food is incredible! Here are some pictures… and of course, a playful poem for yogis and beings alike.

berkshires

the view from Kirpalu

self-trust

Amen.

 

shiva and lauryn

My teacher Shiva Rea on the left and me.

food

Quinoa crust veggie pizza and seaweed fry

lauryn on water

5am meditation

Looking forward is easier upside-down
Gravity proves myself extraordinary
As I see the things – I see – and differently
Full-leaved branches hold weight of aged brown trunks
The world’s frown is smiling
Ceilings’ exclusive to my toes
Power flows: inside-n-up
Blood pumps stronger than regular
Against the odds, I work, together
My feet fly!
My mind stays grounded.
The Earth balances on my head
Offering new perspective

Love and Krishna!

Lauryn Elan Z xo

lez