Mend with Love

"As within, so without". I am harping on this phrase a lot now because our world is a mirror. How we are treating ourselves is a reflection of how we treat each other and the earth. Being demanding, greedy, grasping for more, wanting - all of these are imbalances that start within. "I should be doing more. If only I had this or that then I could be happy and whole." Ect. If we can't be compassionate, kind and accepting with ourselves, how can we do that for the earth? So I wanted to share a few thoughts and videos that have been helping me to reconnect with compassion for my heart this winter.

Yamas are the first limb of the eight limbs of Yoga and they are the "restraints" practiced by a yogi. They inform how we interact with the world around us. The first Yama is Ahimsa, which means non-violence or non-harming. It can be interpreted as:

"not physically harming others, ourselves, or nature; not thinking negative thoughts about others or ourselves; and making sure that what we do and how we do it is done in harmony, rather than causing harm." - ekhartyoga

This is the principle which inspired me to create clothing for myself that I could wear practicing yoga that embody that first principle. So naturally, I check back in with this principle to be sure it is still guiding me in life as in business.

I recently was practicing a class that my mom shared with me from Yoga International taught by Luke Ketterhagen. He prompted me to think of Ahimsa this way. When we feel harmed, we bring the energy of harm into the world. So in order to approach Ahimsa, I must ask myself, "What in me has been harmed? In what way(s) do I feel harmed?" If there is no harm in our heart, then we can bring non-harm into the world. And then I'm thinking, well, who in this world doesn't feel harmed? If you don't, that's AWESOME!! You're ready to practice ahimsa. But for the rest of us, we got some medin' to do.

The simple pause and acknowledgement of harm that exists in our heart is liberating. It means that we are no longer merged with it. As Tara Brach says, when you can see it, you're no longer in it. She encourages a practice she has coined RAIN. An acronym that stands for Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Nurture. Here is a wonderful guided RAIN meditation with her.

Tara Brach is an incredible teacher. She is a better guide at mending the heart than I am, so I am just going to site what I learned from this talk that she just so happened to give this winter on "Repairing our Hearts".

It should come as no surprise that we have an aversion to not being ok. We want for everything to be peachy all the time. I know I was raised to be strong and if you're talking about something that is wrong in life, you might just be "airing your dirty laundry." So when I ask myself "what harm exists in me?" It's no wonder that my first thought is, "nothing! all good here :) Go on about your business." It's a bit of a defense mechanism. Defense against my own knowing of what is wrong. Because when something is in fact wrong, we very quickly determine that it means that something is wrong with us. (Paraphrasing Tara) We go from experience of pain, very quickly to a judgement of it (this is bad), and in a flash connect that judgement to a judgement about our self (I'm bad). But as Tara reminds us, we need not shoot ourselves with that second arrow. The experience of harm or pain is just that - pain (the first arrow). The story we tell ourself about the pain - that creates the extended suffering (that's the second arrow).

"Pain and loss are inevitable. Suffering is optional."

RAIN is a way of interrupting the cycle of self-shaming or blaming. When we Recognize that we are telling ourself a story like, "I'm a failure because ______ " the recognition stops it in its tracks. Accepting, we say yes to the experience rather than trying to change it. Because as she says, "Any moment of wanting life different is suffering." Investigating is spending a little time to get to the root of the experience. And Nurturing is anything that calms your heart and brings you back into love, back into your true nature.

I recommend watching Tara Brach's videos and employing her RAIN technique in your life. If you are participating in the Mend Eco Challenge, this is an especially good place to begin. Because "As within, so without." To usher in a new era, we must be inhabiting this clear quality of love and awareness.

In keeping with this energy of love, I am releasing garments dyed in avocado skins and pits, a lovely soft pink. Pink resonates with the heart chakra (Anahata), which is concerned with the heart and lungs and movement of lifeforce energy (prana). It is a color of caring and tenderness like that of the mother archetype. When you wear these garments (dyed only using food waste!) remind yourself to touch your heart and ignite unconditional love in all that you do (and don't do).