“This is why you came to Bali,” Mark said, looking directly into my eyes, in that all seeing way he has. Piercing, but kind. This is what heals your heart.
We were moving and breathing. Yoga, yes, but not the kind you usually do with fast music and breathless, sometimes mindless postures where the focus is on cool flows and unique transitions.
This was deep, deep breathing. The breath envelops the movement. Kramas, almost like Kundalini kriyas, repetitive movements, where the breath is the boss and you breathe so much and so deep you almost get light headed.
But the peace that follows. Oh the peace. This is what heals your heart.
Mark Whitwell studied directly under Krishnamacharya, known as the father of modern yoga. I’m not familiar with Mark’s work, but heard of him through my teacher, who also studied under Krishnamacharya.
Mark happened to be giving a workshop on the heart of yoga while I’m in Bali, and excited, hoping for a spiritual, heart-opening experience, I went.
I’ve been feeling blah lately.
Yes, I’m following my dreams. Yes, my life is superficially awesome. But the stress and tension of working hard to build my business had caught up with me.
I was taking time off, barely working, but no amount of rest seemed to replenish my spirit.
A few oracle cards told me,”Sometimes you need something deeper than rest.” You need new experiences to reinvigorate your spirit. To break the pattern and rekindle your excitement for life.
It wasn’t the best time. My husband just started a new business. We moved and our couch wouldn’t fit into the condo, so we had to buy a new one. (Thank you Universe! I hated that couch.)
But in my heart, I knew. I needed to go.
I felt deep within, to keep expanding, to return to the flow of life, I needed to travel.
Bali, here I come.
Since arriving here, I’ve noticed how future-focused I’d become.
My chatterbox mind never shutting up, always planning and feeling like everything will fall apart if I don’t have it all figured out.
Fear. Doubt. Pressure.
It’s a slow release.
I’ve silenced my mind with hours of gongs and chimes and Tibetan bowls. Meditated deeply. And prayed for my heart to open and heal. Prayed for reconnection. This is what heals your heart.
There are so many healers here, and I do have an appointment for a traditional Balinese ceremony, but I’m always skeptical of healers.
I feel like the intention underneath of it is, “fix me,” when we all have the power to heal ourselves.
Love is what heals your heart.
To honor where we’re living in doubt, fear or disconnection, and return to the breath, the heart, the seat of love.
Mark talked to us for hours about how the divine is in everything. The godliness in us and others isn’t only the so-called good things, but it’s the so-called bad things, too.
We’re all manifestations of something so vast and huge that the only way you can begin to comprehend it is by entering the vast universe within. The universe of silence.
We all spend our lives trying to fix things.
I finally escaped the self-help world and learned to love myself instead of help myself, but eventually fell into the personal development world, which can be more of the same.
There’s nothing wrong with desiring to work toward goals, or even make shifts in order to create more of what you want in life.
Goals give your life direction and meaning. And there’s nothing wrong working on your mind to think more positively or with more gratitude and love.
But true transformation isn’t in the mind. It’s beyond the mind.
It’s connecting to silence and the feeling of something so vast and deep within that it’s not explainable. The experience of infinity.
It’s about shifting your energy, or rather removing whatever hindrances exist to experience the vastness of peace within.
This is what heals your heart.
In the worst cases, personal development or “self-help” — God, I hate that word — turns into a violation of self.
An energy of, “you’re not good enough, and we must adjust you in order to be good enough. Good enough to achieve, to have, do and be what you desire.”
Even when things like energetic blocks come up, which I do fully believe in, the only real block is the block to love. And it’s not like we need to rid ourselves of these blocks, but instead love them.
The problem is that often the intention and energy behind this feels very different. It feels like, “I have this block, and I’m not good enough, and therefore I must fix myself to be worthy of what it is I desire.”
That’s why it’s important to have a solid spiritual practice. This keeps you grounded, rooted in yourself and your truth and your own relationship with the divine.
A spiritual practice heals your heart.
Something Mark talked about a lot was the idea of intimacy. Of using the spiritual practice of yoga to connect with ourselves, our lives and the universe, on and off the mat.
To not recognize only the good, or to escape our worldly responsibilities, but to fully engage with them and find the divine in all — even what we consider negative.
The highest responsibility is a daily yoga practice, he said.
Even more than meditation because with this daily practice, entering into the state of meditation becomes effortless. It naturally arises.
Indeed, after practice ended, I sunk into a deep savasana, one of those glorious ones where you’re almost asleep, but it’s a very deep cosmic rest, similar to yoga Nidra.
This made me remember one of my basic tenets to life — we don’t have to try so hard.
As soon as you try, you’ve removed the possibility for receiving because you’ve created separation. Our highest job is to create optimal conditions for thriving by cultivating the soil of our souls.
In good soil, beautiful flowers naturally grow with little effort.
Like with happiness. We don’t have to try to feel happy or force ourselves to feel things we don’t actually feel.
The more effort there is, the less success results.
It’s about creating conditions, both internal and out. We can have a spiritual practice, exercise, fill our lives with things that bring us joy, and also embrace all that is.
Because where there is an embrace, there is love, and where there is love, there is peace.
Under these conditions, happiness becomes natural. Effortless. Easy.
Or even success. Yes, I deeply desire my blog to be a success.
I deeply desire monetary success and social recognition. I won’t hang my happiness on this, but it’s something I want and I choose not to release all my desires. I have a vision and it fuels me.
But I don’t need to try to make this happen. Where there is effort, there is no success.
Where there is tension behind effort, there is double and fear.
Instead, it’s about creating the conditions. Connecting to a sense of trust. This heals your heart.
It’s about showing up every day and sharing my heart. Connecting with you, my dear reader and possibly client.
Creating offerings from my soul and giving them to the world. Knowing that if you like what I have to say, you’ll naturally desire to learn in a deeper way and experience more robust transformation.
This is how you create change. By making the result inevitable through planting the right seeds.
What do you think? What heals your heart? I’d love to hear. Comment below and let me know.
All the love,
p.s. Meditation is one of the most powerful practices you can establish to connect with yourself and find deep peace. I have a beautiful meditation course that will help you start a practice that feels good and nurturing Check it out here.
Learn to love your crazy with a powerful meditation.
Release negative emotions and connect to your heart!