Focus of the Month: December 2018

Pictured: The reclining Buddha represents being in the world on the horizontal plane yet not agitated by it. He is completely awake, aware and at ease.

Svaha: In Stillness We Meet

A Vritti Detox for Humans Being At hOMe Within

Svaha, literally translated as “purely spoken”, “letting it go into the fire/of the deity of fire itself,” denotes an ending to any phase or cycle. Svaha places emphasis on provoking or attracting resolve and the merge towards elucidated Truth. Svaha is the celebration of dead ends and a mind’s disturbance released. This word is commonly spoken during fire ceremonies, as fire signifies transformation and evolution. It can remind us to let go of anything that is not supporting our inner unity and co-existence towards growth, be it fear, depression, blame, judgement, pain, suffering, fear of old age, sickness, poverty, unworthiness, or loss, just to name a few—and throw them into the fire.

Check out Michelle’s recorded version of Yoga Sutra 1.2

PYS 1:2 Yogash Chitta Vritti Nirodahah; Yoga (Union to the Self), is the Cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, or, in Stillness, we meet the Self.

Vritti: Mental Wave, Mind Motion/Whirlpool, Mind Disturbance

  “Someone once asked the Buddha skeptically, “What have you gained through meditation?” The Buddha replied, “Nothing at all, but let me tell you what I lost: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana.” Eknath Easwaran, Dhammapada

Recently I’ve had a very close family member that is entering a life cycle of serious physical pain and decline of health. Each thing that they love is seemingly getting taken away from them. They are aging. Their physical freedom and the joys that go along with them seem to be diminishing. I’ve watched my close family member go into severe bouts of depression, resentment and anger, guilt and regret. It’s difficult for them to access positivity for too long, as it’s often met again by pain, unfairness and pointlessness in the quiet moments, which are increasing.

It’s been a very important and uncomfortable learning process for me, caring for this person. Often those who are entering the later years of life in our culture are disregarded and ignored. They’re treated as out of date, unimportant, expired, or a nuisance, and become too much of a mirror to the inevitable frightening fate of us all, the places we are terrified to look at when all goes silent.

In synchronicity to natural cycles, this year, I too set out on a quest to purposely go on what I call a “Vritti/ Mind Habit Detox.” Many things had dismantled in a small portion of a community I knew, coincidentally much was changing in my family too, and so I aligned with it in a total SVAHA ceremonial embrace. I got rid of numerous material things that I owned, moved into a more simple home, I stopped drinking alcohol altogether, reduced shopping, lessened the pull towards newsfeeds/others’ opinions, emptied my inbox subscriptions, stopped the fads, cut cords with obsessiveness, nixed the Netflix addictions, worked less, trained less, traveled less, said yes less, said no a lot more. In time, I questioned the true intent and purpose of many relationships. I sat down, shut up, renounced blame, gripped to nothing, unplugged, and made things simple so I could question my values, which is all that I am really in charge of. I must say now that this has been one of the most transformational, freeing, empowering and INNER-taining years of my life. I feel 10 years younger, more clear, stable and less triggered, persuaded or co-dependent to any “thing.”

In Ayurveda (the natural medicine of Yoga), in what’s called “the forest dweller stage,” it’s said that the 5 senses tend to slowly decline and lessen as nature’s way of turning our compass inward, preparing us to go back hOMe and back Up as we ready ourselves to leave this body. This year, inner activism has become my most important inside job. In entrainment, I felt this transmission affecting my family member quite naturally, being with instead of telling them anything.

Without filler, many of us feel uneasy. There is an obvious fear in many of us once it gets quiet and the lights go out. My family member has felt somewhat infantilized, bound, helpless, bored, frustrated and afraid. So many things have now run their course or cannot be accessed for them anymore. It’s been very hard on them, as they’ve never considered stillness or needing less a priority. They were taught more was a win. This is the embodiment of Svaha. Less is more. We can deny it or think we can prolong it, which create more Vrittis, but a letting go process is coming just the same, for us all.

Pro-active silence will speak to us if we listen. Anesthetized, do you try to escape it? Do you look at your phone? At what others are doing? Is more ever enough? More importance, more attention, more opinions, more emails, more work, more likes? Have you created any personal boundaries to these things? These are all ripples in an initially calm lake. They are neither good nor bad in and of themselves, but they are indeed all Vrittis, which can lend towards whirlwinds of fluctuations with the potential to makes things very complicated.

Dynamics are certainly a part of this material world yet the wisdom of making the complex simple requires experience of our center. Complication can pull us further from our center whereas being uncomfortable to what hid it can often magnetize us back to it. We don’t meet each other in complication. We only meet our Vrittis’. When we meet in stillness, our Higher Self is happy to no longer put up with a false version of us, where our purpose is far less effective, off the mark or absent all together. “If we are chaotic on the inside we will fundamentally be unable to alter the chaos on the outside. We are not liberated by a bursting out but by a gentle melting in.” –Marianne Williamson.

In the winter season, we are meant to slow down, refrain, reflect and appreciate our company. There could be a way to reduce gracefully and gratefully. This last month of the year, I challenge you to be careful replacing what truly offers you more, as you are indeed heir to the world that you give all of your energy to. I challenge you to deeply investigate the things you subscribe to and ask the prophetic question: if you had to give it all up, would you still be ok? What would remain after offering to the fire? “To save the world we must have a plan, but no plan will work unless we meditate.” The Dalai Lama. Svaha!

As ceremonies are for our personal growth and never for show, I challenge you to not take inventory on nor monitor anyone but yourself and to keep your eyes on your own paper. Fire, the element present when we renounce into “Svaha,” asks for honesty. It’s like a witness with no personal motive. Whether
you discover you are awake or asleep, the Divine, illumined like the fire, loves you just the same. There is no judgement to growing. You can say Svaha to where you are underdeveloped. I’ve never found a true detox to be a total party nor easy, but it has always been valuable and simple in effect. These psychological detoxes do thin the imprints from which to then better receive the most meta-stable of all guidance. There is a realm that lies behind it all we all too often forget.

So let’s dig in. A healed mind heals actions. All vehicles need fuel no matter what vehicle they are in. Your stillness is a win for us all. Your happiness means more happiness is accessible to us all. Your sincerity and undistracted gaze, just like you would gaze at a campfire in a forest, attracts profundity. An internal gaze means you are no longer looking all over the place horizontally to gain, blame, avoid, change, point, control or destroy. Stillness is a place we can all meet, near or far, in any diverse form, alive or no longer in body. Just like a fire’s direction, which goes up, stillness is our unified vertical connection to Spirit, which can never be separated. It’s pointing to the point. I will meet you there! In stillness, we all meet together.

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I will meet you there. And when we lay down in that grass, all thought will pass.” Rumi

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but yourself can free your mind.” Bob Marley
Going in, you are less likely to forget we are all Divinely made. A healthy mind knows that temporary value may have no value. Doing doesn’t necessarily mean we go anywhere. It is in stillness that we recognize an invaluable, emancipated spirit beyond needing attention or letting things get our attention so easily. Going in, you realize you have nothing to lose. “I never lose. I either win, or I learn.” Nelson Mandela

This entire month, let’s call back our energy and harness our potent focus together into a mutual, interconnected win of lucid, powerful Self-reliance. IN your practice (off and on the mat), activate meditational moods with longer held poses, seated meditations, yoga nidra, yin yoga, restorative yoga, sound therapy, longer shavasanas, ritual, resonant music, mantra, breathing exercises, making conscious art, writing, reflecting, reading, candle gazing, fire gazing, being in nature, walking slowly, eating slowly, cleaning slowly, uplifting speech, less idle socializing or chatting, listening, less multi-tasking (even while we do yoga), and Being in silence alone or with a loved one.

Is your practice working for you? This month, question it. An effective practice will reveal to you the source of your suffering. If the same suffering keeps reoccurring it is time to question your method. Awareness ultimately cannot be learned nor taught. It is uncovered from how it became compromised. It can be everything that we do, in the superficial to the very essence of all forms. Claiming single-pointedness is a daily re-membering back to wholeness. Doing and knowing doesn’t mean we are embodying the teachings. In our practices, we can align instead of direct. In or out, on your mat or off is no different. There is no this and that when we realize we are not separate.

This is the revolution of your mind, free of it being compromised by emotional instability, craving for a high, justification or blame and then crashing into helplessness. Remain humble enough this month to hear the voice that tells you who you are and what to do and then do it. What each of us is to do is not for anyone else to determine. It is not asked of you to be anything different from what you really are since you are the champion of the world. (thank you Freddie Mercury of Queen for reminding us.)

“All things are valuable or valueless, worthy or not of beings sought out, desirable, or not worth the slightest effort to attain. Choosing then becomes easy because of this.” A Course in Miracles

True “Seeing into”, called “Darshan”, comes with the reduction of the Vrittis. It is where vision is no longer avoidant nor neglectful. It is where we “see” before we “do”. Remember, stillness is not just on the meditation cushion. Request the eternal to be with you and your responsibilities. Tend to your duties. As “yoga” also means “to integrate,” it is your very life. With Self-control and energy economy, there is a way to be in the world while in a meditational mood. With equanimity, let stillness be a reset button instead of a total shut down. Awareness is in the world but it is not of the world. May we all consciously connect to awareness and request eternity in contrast to any unsubstantial, exhausting and totally confusing mirage.

A youthful mind is a healthy mind in Ayurveda, which means to not so easily be shaken by disturbance, fatigued quickly. Called “biological aging” versus “linear aging” and the comparison of biocentrism versus anthropism, the health and biological age of all humans drastically varies due to our inherent access to happiness, lifestyle choices, self versus Self gratifications, diet, sleep patterns, mental stability, adaptability and independence from environmental, emotional, or external factors. A connection to Spirit will always reveal levels of vigor (or lack of) that are independent, untouchable, internal and eternal when we tap into the Source. Unconditional happiness, even underneath extreme and trying conditions, is a sign of being well-nourished on a Soul level. The real fountain of “youth” is inhabiting a mind that is not tired yet well-guarded in the stillness of the Divine.

The most important power you have is the ability to change your own mind. My personal and most important “ambition” and priority this year has been undoing the need for outside validation to the worth of my existence. I realized really nothing (no “thing”) can make me happy or important. I have found myself less willing to compromise my reservoir. With Soul durability, we can all absorb a few physical losses, which can be initially painful, knowing all the while we will always be ok. The past died when the sun went down last night. “Adapt, adjust and accommodate.” Swami Sivananda

The Indweller, a place we can all meet, hides nothing, avoids nothing, ignores nothing and gains nothing. We also act! Yet, we also no longer find acceptable what is valueless and meaningless. As the indweller, we pause in discernment as to what is yours to take on. You simply can’t do it all nor are meant to. Happiness is a conscientious effort to work with whatever you’re currently “doing” and turn the doing into being. Whatever you are doing right now is what you are meant to be doing. It’s never the circumstance we’re in. It’s how we respond to it.

Contentment cannot be intellectualized. It is a practice. Even 5 minutes of stillness every day sets the tone for your Soul to speak to you all day about more aligned choices you could make. Conscious stillness is a decision to no longer replace what truly offers us more. You also do not so easily fall victim to the hype. “Only what you are not giving could be lacking in any situation.” A Course in Miracles

In Ayurveda, excessive motion, the opposite of stillness, is the key to a compromised immune system and rapid decline of health. As the natural medicine of yoga saying goes “the faster you move, the faster you die.” With initial vulnerability, I’ve worked with allowing my cup to be half empty rather than full. When I pause instead of project or point, I’ve noticed that the Divine has better ideas than I think I do. Haven’t you? I don’t really desire to know it all. It kills the gift of mystery. I’ve found it isn’t really all that fulfilling.

Projections and excessive motion bring along with them the temptation to avoid our own personal work, short comings and grievances altogether. Vrittis can lead to addiction, sickness, delusion, restlessness, unsteadiness, reactivity, mental instability, avoidance, sleeplessness, exhaustion, spiked cortisol levels, a jacked up nervous system, shot adrenals, achy joints, unhealthy digestion, poor diet choices, attack, abusiveness, shaming, depression and violence. It can begin with something as innocent as multi-tasking, ignoring where we are in pain or under-developed within, doing all that we can to avoid it. Be careful making temporary “bargains” that tarnish the Truth into something ambiguous & inevitably costly or unsatisfying. “With too much projection and motion, you deny the things you already have, believing they are not there.” A Course In Miracles

There is one voice inside of us that is energized, clear, and simple, yet often not heard. Just as loud does not necessarily mean strong or smart, simple or quiet does not mean easy or lacking in depth and intelligence. Hype is hype. It’s often our history repeating itself. New ways of being come from an original mind, not a reactive one, which produces more of the same. Without any noise reduction practices we are easily persuaded by what is disproportionate and disempowering. More Vritti’s/ripples then arise.

Since the goal of yoga is Yoga, there is One inner voice that is the worthiest of all voices to pursue. It’s ingenious, authentic and not typical. In equal vision and a balanced mind, with both precision and compassion, we distinguish between what is everything from what is no-thing. “Be still and Ye shall know.” 23rd Psalm

Consuming comes in many forms. It can cloak and diminish the worth of being at home within our own bodies. Do you too give all of your power away to the object you focus on? A healthy home has walls. It is where we go to recuperate, rest and process, free of distractions. Walls are personal boundaries. A home must also have doors and windows from which to See. This is the coming back out into the world with the conviction of a fresh perspective and pivotal new day. This is your rite to claim with just as much certainty as the sun that rises every morning.

Heaven begins within. Sit in it. Take personal IN-ventory. You have everything. What more do you need? Words don’t always have to be spoken. Let’s make stillness cool again. There is a great and gentle treasure within the hOMe of all beings. No one has more or less of this treasure. With the wisdom to daily and consistently access both our intelligence and care as our Highest priority, changelessness is there. I too am practicing as to meet you there.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to see and found all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Marianne Williamson

“We are all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass

Below is a creative list of ideas if you wish to be inspired by our month of stillness. I too have worked on this and will continue to, gladly narrowing down my own ignorances into the Light, so that my actions are offered from a place of Wholeness. My Mother listened to this song a lot when I was young. I am reminded of it’s sentiment: “Let it be… whisper words of wisdom, Let it Be.” The Beatles.

“Let it be” reminds me of Svaha and of stillness. I’ve grown to love it. It embodies an accountable, mature resolve and gentle ease of being. Oh, and me and my family member, we sit in the garden under the trees with hot tea, letting one another be, happier & more illumined to one another’s striking company than ever before without all that static “stuff” interfering. Let us ALL be still a moment and go hOMe within.There is a place we can all meet.

“You cannot give anything you have not received.” A Course in Miracles

Svaha and Namaste, Swan Michelle

YOUR Vritti Detox for Human BEINGS

If you would like to go further…. this portion is unique. It is a daily workbook of assignments outside of the focus of the month essay and a list of daily recipes in stillness to gain nothing at all but the identity of the indweller of Divinity (kind of a big deal!). In natural medicine, it is unhealthy to separate Spirit from matter since separation and motion form disease. These are recipes towards gentleness and carefulness. Take more time if you need. There is no rush. This next portion is a unique INteractive approach in celebration of travailing, strategically withdrawing and processing. There is no goal, nothing to win and no way in which you will fail since you are already Divine. Embrace the mystery.

(* Read 1 per day. Do not jump ahead. Read in order. Be committed!)

A Vritti Detox for Human’s Being At hOMe Within

Day 1: Breathe.                                                                                                                                                  Breathe with the pulse, strength and structure of the earth with a full yogi 3-part breath. Exhale upper chest, lower and abdomen release. Bring particular awareness to dropping the diaphragm. Well rooted in the breath and pelvis settled, appreciate still, silent moments. Relish the non-events, the space between the breaths, as something that doesn’t need changing, already charged with Divine Wisdom. Breathe deep when you begin to feel triggered or uneasy. Take in all that is simple, just as the breath is. Notice the fabric of all things breathing together, always expanding, always contracting. Inhale. Exhale. Nature is here to remind you how to breathe. Pause every hour or so to be certain you are breathing consciously, with awareness, throughout this day.

Day 2. Pause.
Be available instead of occupied or rushing off today. Make room in your mental calendar for spontaneity and the Divine plan. When you are about to add more to your list, pause and question it. Once we strive to be full, we may never be full enough, left with an increasing appetite for more. Can things ever be enough? Will anyone or thing ever meet up to our grand expectations? Pause for a moment and consider what you are grateful for instead of pushing inadequacy or craving more onto other beings or things. Choose to uplift them today instead of diminishing them. Offer them well wishes, both satiated and complete. Write down what you are grateful for.
“No one can escape from illusions unless they look at them.” A Course in Miracles

Day 3: Pray.
Say this out loud, repeating it 3 times:
“I ask for rest today. For quietness. For lucidity and spontaneity of Spirit. To be unshaken and in resolve. I ask for peace and stillness in the midst of any world turmoil born of clashing dreams. I ask that I seek sorrow and danger less. I ask that through any storm or strife, misery or pain, past loss or death, that my mind is clear, aware and at ease. Today, I move onward to certainty. I rest in the Divine. Today I allow my mind to rest. I release burdens, anxiety, fear of the future and past regrets. Time does not touch me. In timelessness I rest. My mind is no longer tired. The world is born again each time I take rest. Hope is reborn and energy is restored. A stream of energy begins to flow again through my body. Today my steps are lightened and fluid. Today, I will be faithful to my rest, faithful to trust, forgetting no one, and bringing everyone into the boundless circle of my peace, the holy place where I rest. Today our rest is complete. Time is not the guardian of what I give today. I am timeless. In a restful mind, I remind others of their resting place. Inhale. Exhale. I rest in God.”
Based off A Course in Miracles Workbook Lesson 109

Day 4: Listen.
Listen to what brings your mind to proper tonality. Silence is very telling. Open the ears. Tune in. Turn off the radio and the TV. Be present to recognize inner richness. How you are thinking makes you stronger or weaker. Subtle impressions are trying to make their way in all the time. Remember a filter. Prioritize harmony before you are forced into dissonant collapse or exhaustion. Reducing may take great strength. Hear with courage and honesty on your part as you admit what doesn’t work. It may seem strikingly quiet. Today, listen purposefully.

Day 5: Prioritize.
Invest in doing inner inventory. Discern energy economy. Prioritizing is a pivot back to peace. If something isn’t working, take it off the to-do list. Rebalance your predominately yang, external and dutiful life with yin, which is the Divine feminine. When your inner system is agitated, your world is, and quality wanes. The Divine feminine is ever powerful, magnetic, nurturing and caring. When you inner system is in calm, called homeostasis, you are in concert with the Universe. Make a list of the most pressing responsibilities of the day, what supports your purpose, and what is deeply satisfying to the Soul. Do only those things today. Drop the temptation to multi-task. Highlight compassion. Be sure to serve another besides yourself.

Day 6: Reduce.
Ask yourself what you are investing in. Some choices may be prolific yet draining or energetically expensive. Some may have already run their course. They are no more, yet you still grasp to their last remnants, indebted. There are many things to now let go of. Not everything is for you. Note what has come to a close. Cut cords. Invite freedom to all beings. Especially the ones you may still hold in contempt. Resent only brings a greater insatiable restlessness and noise. Let contempt go. Let more go.
“Accumulation or having more does not mean you are more. You are already enough.” Marianne Williamson.

Day 7: Resolve.
Say no to some things today, in and out. Honor boundaries: yours and others’. See the true worth of everything that you think, say and do. Check IN instead of checking out. It is time to return to your originality and what you are here on this planet to offer. It is ok to say no without emotion binding. A cloudy, tentative, wavering mind cannot hold wisdom. Saying no is not selfish. When there is resolve there is no problem. Be committed to your wisdom. My grandfather’s mantra that he’d say every Christmas was, “It’s just not my rodeo.” Some things must pass. Inhale let. Exhale go.

Day 8: Befriend Your Soul (instead of drama).
Too much inner motion, (the “vrittis”) can leave you susceptible to making poor choices and thriving off of or believing in drama as though it had some purpose. Does your drama feel like your purpose? This can continue into the night with sleeplessness and yet again in the day with sickness. The world does not revolve around your drama nor you. Befriend your Soul! Picture you are a Soul today. How does a Soul speak to others? How does it see others? Your top priority must be deeper to receive uninterrupted advice from your Soul. Inner stillness is not impulsive or drawn out. It doesn’t send long text messages. It is poignant and refined. It’s spontaneous and resolved. Look to your Soul for the answer now with wonder, awe and appreciation for all that you’ve been through. You’ve made it this far!
“Rest in God and befriend your Soul.” Yogi Bhajan

Day 9: Meditate.
There is a pop culture allure and addiction program of “manyness.” Is it catching your eye? Magnetize towards the meta-stable instead of noise addiction. Tune in to the radio station of your intuitive faculty and turn off the other channels. Apply inner activism, not escapism. Being at home within your own being is the result of looking into everything that frightens you. It’s an inside job. Spontaneous joy does not carry the burden of the world on its shoulders as its fuel. Sit in it. Commit to a longer meditation today of 20 minutes. You must trust your mind for your work to be truly effective and well received by others. A small disturbance is no different than a large one.
“The faster you move, the faster you age and die.” Dr. Marc Halpern.

Day 10: Examine.
Your experiences are your teachings. It has all been placed there for a reason. It is not personal. We must do more than just know of freedom. Inner examination can be prevention for escalation. Going inward gives us the wisdom to see into and beyond appearances and offense all together. It requires more than education. Feel it! We share something wondrous! Be determined to witness the original Cause. Is “in” and “out,” “near” or “far” any different? Decide who you really are and how that will interact in the world. What’s inside is the message you are sending on the outside.

Day 11: Experience Your Teachings.
All of us have this inner work to do. It is why we are here in this lifetime. Bring your meditation into your life. The practice of taking shelter within your Soul is not to ignore and forget the outside hardships and take a bubble bath with a glass of wine, calling it yoga. Uncomfortable stress is healthy for us. Yoga asana shows us this. It is unhealthy distress, when held in the body, that is not life affirming. Be uncomfortable at times. It is Self-inquiry. It is about asking yourself if you are certain you belief everything you have seen, studied, heard, been told by others, thought or experienced is Truth. When you check in and question it, you are no longer controllable or on auto-pilot. You are then free to choose instead of being a victim! What practices allow for some discomfort for you? Do them today. You can withstand it. You’re inherent nature is invulnerable. It is only gripped ego identification that is vulnerable.

Day 12: Release
Those Vrittis (motions) can turn into habits, a gripped identity, personality and our constitutional make up, even shaping our next lifetime. Vrittis are ripples of unsettled obscuration that are trying to hold. They can’t be trusted. This is why projections steps are mixed, restless, shaky, unsteady, ungrounded and uncertain. When things feel dramatic, need justifying, push, appear shiny, alluring, complex, exaggerated, tiring and unsolvable, Vrittis have appeared. An inner stillness is the only time we could uncover something from what something seemingly appeared to be. It is the creative potential. Be loyal to any release. Inhale let. Exhale go. Let it go. Let it grow. Surrender.
“You lose it if you talk about it.” Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

Day 13: Refrain.
We do not have to engage in everything. Pick something you are addicted to and don’t engage in it today, be it blame, social media, being busy, sugar, shopping or tequila. Discipline can bring greater freedom. Although you are free to, it might be wise to consider whether saying everything you think is wise. Response, the Inner calm’s result’s, are exemplified by effortless Self-confidence. True Self confidence has no need to react, prove, consume, persuade or force anything.

Day 14: Inspire.
Inner stillness brings IN-spiration. When ignited, charged with hope, uplifted and effective, far beyond preference/aversion or the way you’ve always done it before, you’ve invoked inspiration. It’s sky-like. Look around less for a bit. Look up. Spirt unveils inspiration. It is only in stillness that we recognize Divine intervention, creativity and ingenuity. Ponder new and original art projects, places to go and ways to serve.
“Beings against evil doesn’t make you good. Tonight I was against it and then I was evil myself.”
Islands in the Stream by Earnest Hemingway

Day 15: Simplify.
Simplicity contributes and adds to life. It does not further contaminate life. It provides a type of light and insight that hides nothing and makes true vision possible. Subtle and transparent, inner stillness does not twist appearances. It welcomes the Truth exactly how it is. Emphasize “process” instead of the Western expediency and demand of “give it to me now.” Impatience can appear aggressive. Rest in your Soul. Notice where you get impatient with others. Nature is in process. Today, be with every mundane act that you do and make it sacred. Clean as though it were a spiritual practice. Choose to drive less. Make less of a carbon footprint. Consider doing a cleanse, be it food, social media or silence for the day. Magnetize towards the simple as though it were completely miraculous.

Day 16: Slow Down.
How can you expect to keep driving your car at a fast speed and then suddenly slam on the brakes and instantly feel clear, at ease, at peace, and non-reactive? Allow for the dignity of a gradual awakening of yourself and others. This has substance. Ponder ways in which you tend to react. Reactivity is not pro-activity. Train your wisdom mind to slow down so that you carefully respond. Be with your experience. In our constitutional make-ups, none of us move at the same pace. A wise response will become clear to you in the right time and place. If it’s not clear, that’s your answer. It’s mixed. The entire Universe resides within you. There is no need to push, expect, scream, fight nor hurry its discovery since it is all right there. Journal creative responses instead of ego programmed reactions.

“Although you can not control all of the events that happen to you, you can decide to not be reduced by them.” I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Day 17: Revelation.
The Truth is within you. There is nothing to gain. When you change, everything changes around you. Revelation is an active miracle, and so eliminate “trying” from your vocabulary today. In a rite of passage and purification, it will come. Be observant of where you tend to waste, take or accumulate. This is different from being receptive. You do not need anything else to embellish or define you. There is nothing to change, add or manipulate to keep things in your favor. Look for the signs today!
“If you get the message, hang up the phone.” Alan Watts

Day 18: Vision.
Ask for vision and for Divine light to be shed on all shadows. Offer up each shadow or time you missed the mark to the Divine with great forgiveness. You are simply coming back to an awareness that always was and always is. You are complete. Stillness reduces our tendency to project inadequacy unto other people and things which is truly just a masked calling out to the inadequacy we feel about ourselves. Instead of pushing our shadow onto others, respect the relationships you have in your life as your greatest gifts. The Vedas state we are all Divine, Eternal Beings. In stillness, recognize the Divine was never absent. The Divine is within you. Each time the struggle appears, look at it, and let it go. Offer it back to its Source. “Truth will correct all errors in your mind.” A Course in Miracles

“You have very little moral persuasive power with people who feel your underling contempt.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

Day 19: Peace of Mind is Waiting There
Listen to this song: Within You Without You by George Harrison

“We were talking about the space between us all
And the people, who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion.
Never glimpse the truth, then it’s far too late when they pass away
We were talking, about the love we all could share
When we find it, to try our best to hold it there, with our love
With our love we could save the world, if they only knew
Try to realize it’s all within yourself, no-one else can make you change
And to see you’re really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you
We were talking, about the love that’s gone so cold
And the people who gain the world and lose their soul
They don’t know, they can’t see, are you one of them?
When you’ve seen beyond yourself
Then you may find peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we’re all one
And life flows on within you and without you.

Day 20: Being It.
Listen to the Audio Book: Marianne Williamson: Letting Go & Becoming

“Yin is the becoming of a principle’s embodiment. It is about facing, feeling and letting go. There is no more I will be happy when…..” Marianne Williamson

Day 21: Ritual.
For Winter Solstice, December 21, light candles, turn off artificial lighting, reduce, refrain, and meditate under the stars and moon outside. Have a small fire ceremony and celebrate the ease of accepting the mystical mystery of not knowing everything. You are one of those stars in this vast constellation. You are the birthplace of all stillness from which miracles arose. Accept this, and the means in which to serve others will be very clear to you. Ask that light to be shed. Practice purposeful silence (Mauna) for a portion of this day and all throughout the evening. At its dusk, chant SVAHA loudly and move on to a new dawn.

Teacher Resources, Notes and Books:

• Regulate. Do things at the same time each day. Get up slowly upon waking. Do not rush.
• Get up at the same time each morning
• Remain quiet in the morning
• Look to the morning sun
• Have less stimulus in the home. Tidy it up and keep it clean
• Pratyahara- Reduce the sensory input or apply one sense at a time
• Pranayama- breathing exercises
• Restorative Yoga
• Yin Yoga
• Tai Chi
• Longer Shavasanas (don’t fall asleep!)
• Reiki
• Eat meals with no television, cell phones or computers
• Eat at the same times each day
• Eat slowly
• Do not look at your phone when someone speaks to you
• Talk less
• Read
• Write
• Shop less
• Make Art
• Drink hot tea and look out the window.
• Align with the sun and moon
• Do what the animals are doing
• Listen instead of preparing for your response
• Listen to music without talking
• Reduce multi-tasking
• Prioritize your yoga practices
• Have no more than 5-7 things per day on your to-do list
• Chant Mantra
• Pray each day
• Retreat each day
• Commune with nature
• Ask Spirit for guidance before responding to questionable circumstances, emails, texts or conversations anywhere
• Read uplifting dharma 10 minutes every morning (The Inner Stillness Recipes Below)
• Let go of the past and what is no more
• Be in each moment or task fully
• Simplify. Donate things to Goodwill.
• Offer gifts to others less fortunate than you.
• Reduce clutter, repurpose, recycle, do not waste
• Turn off artificial lighting at night.
• Turn off computers 1-2 hours before bed
• Yoga Nidra- conscious lying down practices to activate the Theta state
• Use natural fire sources for light
• Go to bed around 10pm
• Go to bed at the same time each night
• Sleep slightly longer in the winter
• Do prayers and healthy rituals before sleeping
• Take a medicinal bath broth before bed & apply Abhyangha
• Pray for answers while asleep, so that you are not asleep while awake.

• Sympathetic Nervous System, related to fight or flight, releases
• Parasympathetic Nervous System, related to calm, activates
• Vegas nerve, related to parasympathetic nervous system, creates calm
• Hormones balance, giving more energy
• Glucose and cortisol release & adrenals are tonified
• Rest and digest activates, as sent a message from the Parasympathetic
• Respiration slows down
• Circulation makes it way to all extremities, where in the sympathetic, it only goes to the vital organs for survival
• Heart rate drops
• Blood pressure decreases
• Muscle tension decreases
• Nervousness decreases
• Pupils go more inward
• Blood sugar decreases
• Stress hormones decrease
• Reproductive hormones balance

Audio CD Marianne Williamson: Letting Go & Becoming
A Course in Miracles Workbook
Dr. Marc Halpern: Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda


For Winter Solstice, it is traditional to sing The Gayatri Mantra, calling upon the effulgence of Divine Light that illumines all realms.
Om Bhur Buvat Swaha Tat Savatur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayat

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras…. 1:2

Chant Svaha often


George Harrison: Within You/Without You
The Beatles: Let It Be
Gayatri Mantra by Swan Michelle off Mantra; Bridges To The Heart
Gate Gate by Keith Porteous off Mantra; Bridges To The Heart
Forest Dwellers by Bhakti Caravan
Brian Eno: Music For Airports
Voice of the Esraj by Benjy Wertheimer
Nina Simone: Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Redemption Song: Bob Marley
Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band: Unity
Yoga Nidra CD by Swan Michelle available off of iTunes

Spoken word from Letting Go and Becoming by Marianne Williamson in Shavasana while teaching


Written by Michelle Baker
December, 2018