I’m finally settled in Española, New Mexico. Since I got here, I’ve been feeling the daily support of the community and the medicine power of wild animals, expansive mountains, sunflowers, jujubes, and even an apple orchard. There’s an organic symbiosis of myself and the environment that speaks to me about the fragility of life as it shows in our daily practice.
When leaving California two months ago, I didn’t think I would be so blessed. I moved because I wanted to practice Kundalini Yoga and Meditation in community at the “Mother Ashram” in New Mexico and I wanted to dive deep in Sikh Dharma, the ethical foundations of my spiritual discipline. When I got here, I felt that I was leaving my past behind as if in a dream, walking into a hologram of a new higher vision of myself.
The Adi Shakti, the primal force symbol of creation, was guiding me in visions. I could feel my heart was aligned with the fearless, creative energies, calling in a peaceful vision of the future, one that is sustainable and inclusive, not just for the planet but also for myself. And before I knew it, I was packing and moving to New Mexico. I was able to confirm, through my calling, there was no greater force next to God than our creativity and feminine grace, and no greater joy than joining a group sadhana through three hours of praying, yoga, and chanting every day.
The environment also welcomed me with a few surprises. I encountered a red snake, the power symbol of women’s knowledge and healing in most traditions–shedding skin layers and helping to shed the EGO–and I rescued a juvenile hummingbird right in my backyard. The fragility of his body taught me to stand still at the center, while also traveling the four directions. As women, we are the containers, the space holders and shape-shifters in these times, when large-scale changes are happening all around us. The burning of the Amazon Forest is one of them, and like those ancient goddesses and priestesses when healing the wounded and bringing peace to the weary, I felt call to answer and took him to the Widlife Refuge. Miraculously, it survived and it filled my day with its medicine–of love and their awareness of the four directions.
Exploring the ancestral land of Native Americans all over New Mexico, I’ve enjoyed the abundance of apples, jujubes and sunflowers that grow everywhere, and I’ve have gained more mindfulness of nature and my own body, watching how the summer is giving way to the fall, my practice also changing from one day to the next, one week and month to the next. And as I fortify my body and my mind with daily yoga sets and lots of breath work and mantras passed from generation to generation, from thousand of years of yogi knowledge, I am more ready to embrace what’s there, in the present moment, awaiting for me to discover.
My move in the midst of environmental changes (the fires in California and the Amazon) also reminded me of the vestal virgins who protected the sacred flame in the Roman temples, and who took celibate vows and prayed in oracles for political security. Every morning, Iv’e been holding space for the suffering of the world through my practice, and even though it feels full, it’s also liberating and my worry finds a natural, organic balm in prayers sent to the Earth and Sky.
I remembered about the role of women in chaotic times in ancient legends from the Caribbean, when in a Yoruba legend, the male Gods excluded Goddess Ochun from their plan of populating the Earth. She made every woman barren.
Fertility was restored when the Orishas made Her the guardian of family and creativity. In response, She asserted her voice as a powerful paradigm shape shifter, navigating the feminine and masculine energies and restoring balance.
These past few days, I’ve also been noticing how my Inner moon centers–the hairline, eyebrows, cheeks, earlobes, lips, earlobes, breasts, navel, clitoris, vagina and inner thighs–are all constantly changing, influenced by the planets orbiting next to Earth. The New Moon in Leo this month was on the waxing curve, embracing and taking in new virtues, open to creativity and transformation all the way to the Full Moon in Virgo, getting us ready to shed what no longer serves us–emotions outbursts, negativity, and tension.
As we celebrate Yogi Bhajan’s birthday this month and the Ashram is full of people, classes and events, I feel gratitude in my heart for his courage to answer the mandate of his teacher, Guru Ram Das, to bring YOGA to the West, so that we could experience a bit of this science and lifestyle from the East. That is what the word YOGA means, union with infinity, when we feel completely aligned with the NOW, reflecting our SOUL back to us.
The more I deep into my practice, the more I feel at home in my heart.
Atma Chanan Kaur