Monday, July 20, 2015

I Commit to Discover The Presence In Every Moment

“where is your God in all of this?  You’re a yoga teacher you must go deeper… go deeper Ashley” my wise sponsor said to me yesterday.  You see I called her last night with tears streaming from my face… I knew somehow that I was stuck in “the old” and my connection to the present or any sense of peace seemed like the furthest thing in the world.  I’m struggling in my relationship… everything feels out of control, I am vulnerable and I hate it and something about how it’s unfolding today just doesn’t seem right or healthy or good.  I have turned into a child and nothing either of says or does can soothe this small part of me which has taken over and has made a tantrum of the weekend.  I need help so I contact my sponsor.  She tells me not to act on how I am feeling but I do it anyway and fall deeper into the misery of letting “little me” run my show.

 I do this thing where I make this other person my God, where I look for something or someone else outside of me to be… to be, to be present, to be some particular way, to act to think to say what I want them to say in order to be ok.  That’s not what I think I’m doing in the moment but it is so often revealed in the work we(my sponsor)do together that this IS my M.O… this IS my hell… Slowly, subtly I slide, without even knowing it, into this place where I have forgotten that the ONLY sustainable Source in my life is God.  If I am always looking to other people to source me they will always let me down.  What incredible pressure for these people to be in the role of my God.  So, I set out on this journey today… one that frightens the hell out of me.  I set out on the journey of turning toward myself and God only.  I ask myself… “what do I think?  what do I want?  How do I feel?  Am I happy?  What things contribute to my happiness?”  I have the day to be with me.  I am going to make it an adventure in the spirit.  I am going to self-care, self soothe, self nurture.  I am committed to discovering the fullness of God, of love, of life in my day.  God is everywhere present… God is all loving in every moment… today I want to KNOW this, to FEEL this, to EXPERIENCE my God.  Today I venture out in courtship of me and my Higher Power.  I sincerely wish you the gift of remembering God as your only source today.  There is indeed "Beauty or (God) in all things, we just have to look close enough!"  Big Love, Ashley

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Feed Your Faith

Gooood Sunday morning Sober Yogis!  Life is Good in Gratitude & Faith.

Recently I have bee  peeling back layers of “not feeling good enuogh”… one by one I have been addressing them with the simple power of being witness without taking action.  Living in Aspen I live at the epicenter for action.  I live in a culture full of dreamers going, full force, for their dream.  This is both inspiring and challenging.  There is  a particular group of women around my age who have really learned to harness and express their power, their message, their dharma.  To be frank - I get a liittllee bit JEALOUS sometimes… I feel a little left out sometimes and sometimes I sink right down into the pity pot of “poor me” depression.  It really is a depression because depression is life force, Prana, turned inward.  It’s that passion, that spark, being told no by the ego… no, they are already doing what you want to do, they have the money, the power, the wealth to accomplish it and they already have a visible platform to share the vision.  There it is, the voice of my ego and the resulting depression that comes with listening to that voice.  So, here’s how I know I have grown, usually right after the barrage of the above thoughts I experience the same situation as “a kick in the pants to get going on what it is I came here to be, do and have.  All of a sudden I remember that like snowflakes there are no two missions that are the same and instead of sitting there staring at them in dissapointment I realize this is my call to greatness.  So, I begin to ask the potent questions once again.  I begin to ask, God - what is your idea of my life?  What must I become in order to facilitate this vision?  What must I let go of to really step into it?  Ahhh, now I am centered in Truth once again.  It’s amazing how potent questions become the tool to shift and expand our perspective and therefore change our experience entirely.  Thank you for these beautiful women in my life, these beautiful teachers who represent a willingness to BE activated to their full potential, to live their dharma, to speak their Truth, to shine as brightly as possible.  So, I challenge you to see the “competition” as your inspiration.  I enourage you with such sincerity to STAY THE COURSE.  Do not abandon YOUR miSSION for any reason.  you are on the path, God is your guide, through the darkness we will learn to shine our lights - together - BRIGHTLY.  So much Love, A

Friday, July 10, 2015

Where would you have me Go? What would you have me Do? Who would you have me Be?

I AM that I Am that pours forth individually - un-divided in, through and as me.  When I sit quietly in meditation in an honest courtship of my Higher Power sometimes I sense so deeply the I AM presence stretching from Infinity and then gathering at this point in time called me. AWESOME & INCREDIBLE I know that although I am not my God, it is I who expresses through me.  So yes I want to know “where would YOU - GOD - this Presence of Infinite Love and Intelligence, where would YOU have me go, what would YOU have me do & who would YOU have me be?  With sincerity I seek to perceive these truths to the best of my ability from this finite and human place.  This program, this yoga, these adventures in nature have all been about the deepening and development of three relationships in life, 1st) My relationship with God, 2nd) My relationship with Myself & 3rd) My relationship with other human beings.  I speak of these as if they are separate when in Truth they are all the same but for all intents and purposes I will address them as three varied expressions of the same.  

You see, I’ve never been one who has been ok with mediocre and if you are reading this, if you are a seeker, if you have been bold enough to walk the courageous path of recovery than I think it is same to assume that you too simply won’t accept mediocre in this life.  So it goes that it is of the utmost interest to me to develop and experience relationships that are deep, dynamic, meaningful and forever expanding in the love and integrity that exists at their potential.   I long to taste God, to feel God, to hear God, to see God in all that I am, all that I do, all that I express.  I long to know myself, to know how to nurture me when the world feels hard and dark, to be able to nurture and hold a loving space for myself, to wrap my arms around me and touch my own face with the tenderness that I would touch a lover.  As a result of these I want to be a VITAL and loving whole in each and every relationship I engage in.  I want to be the lover and the friend that sits with you in such a powerful place of connection with God that you feel like the only, and the most magnificent one in the world.  Maybe just maybe this is a part of the dynamic conversation that I am having with God - maybe this is the beginning of God’s response to these three potent questions that I begin my day with.  The sweetest thing is knowing that if I stay open, if I pause to listen throughout the day… I will stay engaged in this dynamic relationship, this dynamic conversation with my Higher Power.   Are you willing to ask these potent questions?  Don't ask if you don't want to know... if you wish to stay small and keep those oh so stinky and comfortable agreements with mediocrity.  My suggestion is you get after it - be about it and ask... Oh, sweet God, where would you have me go?  What would you have me do?  Who would you have me be?  Go with Greatness!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rise Above the Fear of Being Wrong

 and dive in to your community.  The fear is just the block the ego is trying to play between you and your creativity.... you and your community...
Good July morning to all of you powerful people on the auspicious path of yoga and recovery!  At Wanderlust an international yoga festival held here in Aspen last week it was refreshing to find others in our tribe representing, speaking and holding a visible space for recovery in the yoga world.  I love that although almost every conversation with a “normie”  reveals albeit with varying levels of compassion and love, very little true understanding of the journey of alcoholism/addiction that the stigma of being an addict/alcoholic is softening before our eyes.   I am thrilled to be a part of such a pivotal time in history and to witness the deliverance of basic human rights to all people no matter their sexual orientation or any other possibly differentiating factor.  That being said it’s not only vital but it feels so good to stick together on the spiritual path of recovery which I believe is un-paralleled.  How lucky are we??

It has been so long since I have written…. my apologies for my absence.  I guess there was some part of me that felt I needed to “earn the right to write” and moreover the right to once again share my insights on the path of yoga and recovery.  It’s been just under 15 months since my relapse and my passion for recovery is as grounded, powerful and inspired as ever!  This has been a year chalk full of growth, adventure, finding true layers of me in the still quiet moments and facing feelings of depression that I thought might never end.  At the end of the day I am writing and sponsoring two fabulous women today purely as a result this incredible program!  The program infused with yoga and adventure have led to the activation of a deeper level of confidence in my connection with Source and Creativity than I ever before in this lifetime.  My sponsor often talks about how we can’t trust our thinking and self can’t see self and the stupid cliche that we can’t do this alone fit snugly into these concepts that I resisted so heavily when I arrived full of ego, believing I had a true sense of confidence and faith.  15 months later I will tell you that through the examination of the fluctuations of my mind in the form of resentments and fears have been the breaking down process that has truly created the space for the breakthrough.    The breakdown has been no good without the key element of contrary action.  Contrary action being the doorway to the new.  I am clear that I could NEVER be where I am today without the powerful guidance of my sponsor, the gift of sponsoring and finally realizing that YOU are my tribe and this is where I belong.  I Am Grateful to be SOBER

Sunday, April 13, 2014

With Rigorous Honesty I Surrender

We fall and we get back up again.  Yes, after almost three years of sobriety I fell... I took my will back, my disease took over and I began to believe that I would be ok to have a drink again.  That drink led me to the depths of my disease in a few very short hours.  It only took one night to realize more clearly than ever that I have an allergy of the mind and body.  My relapse lasted one day and beneath my ego's desire to use it to keep me out there, it has turned out to be an incredible gift of deeper surrender and a stronger awareness of my own disease process.

Today, with the help of my loving sponsor and an incredible sobriety community, I am 18 days clean and sober once again. 18 days seems to pale in comparison to the almost three years that I had but somehow each of these 18 days feels like gold to me and I value my sobriety like never before.  There is a new level of surrender which is actually so refreshing and I get this funny feeling that there is whole new level of opportunities and gifts that live at this level of surrender.  It's like I decided to play mercy with alcohol just taunting the disease to see if it's real and if I have it.  Mercy I cry out and once again I have surrendered.  This week someone about my age from this small town where I live died of a heroin overdose and all of a sudden any shame that was associated with my relapse faded into sheer gratitude for being alive.  I have learned to reframe relapse as a symptom of sickness and not a sign of being bad.  I am not a bad person, I am a sick person and as long as I keep coming back I am on the road of recovery.

Being new in recovery again I am filled with tons of unbridled emotion and yesterday I was reminded of what in an incredibly sacred place my yoga mat is.  Like a magic carpet I can take all of my fear, all of my sadness, all of my desire to be anywhere but in the moment that I am in, to my mat and somehow I always come away feeling much more grounded yet uplifted.  This is a powerful tool for these early days.

So, I bask today in letting go of what I know that I don't know and I live in that sweet spot of surrender.  I find my freedom and my bliss right here where I am standing.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Breathe Light Into the Old & Be Transformed

So, as I become more familiar with my character defenses, thanks to Baron Baptiste, my sponsors and anyone I have ever dated…. Which reminds me of something someone said after the meeting this morning, he said “relationships are like putting miracle grow onto my character defects.”  Oh my goodness, lol… that’s the funniest thing I have heard in a while and soooo true… so anyways, as I become more familiar or aware of my character defects I am finding that I can now begin to examine them a little more closely.  As I do this I am beginning to discover a few things about my little defeses…. A.) they worked for me at some time in my life and I just forgot to take them off when they stopped working, B.)  I get to keep em if I want to continue to see through the lense that they create and keep acting them out until I’m ready to heal them, C.) they are sneaky little buggers and can often be visible to everyone but me.  So today, I get to pray to be shown those things that I don’t know that I need to know for the full expression of my wholeness.  But the question that Baron posed and that I love and one that is not easy to answer IS, what is the payoff that I get from keeping my defenses.  For example, what do I get from being Right… besides the fact that being right stimulates the same area of the brain as alcohol and drugs do giving me both the high and the low that they did, it also allows me to be justified in cutting people out of my life and doing things my way.  This realization took me several days to arrive upon and only after asking myself, the universe and God what the payoff is that I get from being right.  So be gentle with yourself, but take one or two of your character defenses and ask yourself, what is the payoff that you get from living in these ways.  Feel free to share with your sponsor, at a meeting or on my page.  Together let’s breathe light into those old ways of being and shine a new light as a result.  May your sobriety and your practice be deep and rich with inquiry.  Love Out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Turn Breakdowns Into Breakthroughs

Gooood morning sober yogi’s around the globe.  Well, I just had quite the sobering experience at the Baptiste Level 1 yoga teacher training in Sedona, AZ.  All I can say is “wow.”  Ok, so I have more to say on the matter… but still, wow!  I did not know what to expect going into the experience and now I am blown away by the incredible gifts that were born in a week packed full of emotional, spiritual and physical growth.  Our schedule looked a little something like this, 6:45am – breakfast, 8:30am – meditation for an hour or two, 10ish-yoga for 3-4 hours, 1:30ish – lunch, 3ish – “chair session”, 5:00ish – snack, 6:00ish - 2-3 hours of yoga, 9pm – dinner, 10:30 – chair session, 12:30-1am’ish – bedtime(phew)!  I’m amazed first of all that this girl who likes to be in bed no later than 9pm had the capacity to endure and eventually thrive on such a schedule.  The fact is we were eating clean and living clean and it’s amazing how much energy is freed up to flow, hint hint(**if you’re passed the stages of early sobriety where anything goes – perhaps now is the time to start to court the idea of eating and living clean ;) More importantly, we were exploring our boundaries and pushing passed them.  In this way, we were discovering new possibility in our life.  How often do we cruise through life uninterested in going anywhere near the edge of our comfort zone and therefore unengaged with new possibility?  Baron Baptiste(world famous yoga teacher, leader, and writer) was secretly dedicated to, sometimes gently and sometimes not so gently, nudging  us toward the discovery of the blind spots within our consciousness, otherwise known as the places that we play small.  It became apparent very quickly that he was dedicated to creating crisis(which simply means crossroads) for us, so that we would have the opportunity to turn a breakdown into a breakthrough.   Let me tell you, I discovered a few…in fact I have a whole new list of step 6 character defenses – 1.) the need to be right 2.) the need to know & charmingly, 3.) the concern for looking good.  I am aware of these now and each time they arise I take the opportunity to let them go.  This is a truly liberating process of revelation and recovery. In the coming days I will share more in depth the details, revelations and breakthroughs of my experience at this life changing training.  For now though, I want to encourage you to develop the awareness that any breakdown that is happening in your life has by it’s nature,  the potential for a breakthrough. If you’re in the rare experience of cruising along without a single breakdown in your life, then chose a place where you feel stuck in your life and commit yourself to a breakthrough in this area.  In the next week, we will explore this process.  Happy Breakthrough’s today yogi’s, on and off your mat!  Big Love! A