There will be no blog post for the 7th.

There with be no blog post for the 8th.

The last two days were pure MAGICK, and in this way I will hold for them eternal space.

Apotheosis

I am blessed. I am blessing.

I am a part of a global family, a universal tribe made up of men and women across this globe who speak different languages, have different cultures and yet, express and experience the same true divine love. It is this love that connects us, regardless of understanding. It is this love that has ultimately brought us across all time, space and history to the grand intersection of NOW.

I do not know them, I know them. They permeate my being with their essences and I feel for them with complete abandon and liberation. I can tell them anything. I have told them everything.

Secrets I thought I would take to my grave, I gave confessed, to strangers – and I have been generously accepted, supported and truly, powerfully loved. That is Apotheosis.

It is an enchanting example of how people are taking back their responsibility. The exact opposite of ignoring the ugly things and letting your fears control your perceived reality. This is, as the fam calls it, “facing your resistance.”

This is power.

This is magick.

This is truth.

Recognizing Fear

Yes, see it. See it so clearly you understand it enough to reconstruct what it means for you. Rearrange the way you think about fear, yes, actually change what it means to your inherent cognition.

Yes, that clearly. That intensely and vigorously. Embrace even, and most especially, the parts that you least want to discover, confront and accept.

Look your demons square in their eyes and ask their name with the commanding authority of your divine birthright.

Look your demons square in their eyes and ask their name with the commanding authority of your divine birthright. Watch their monstrous features soften as you realize you were never tormented by them, you have been tortured by your fear of them.

Dare to create a new reality for yourself in which you don’t have to slay your dragons.

Dare to create a new reality for yourself in which you don’t have to slay your dragons. Allow your dragons the opportunity to teach you.

Pain is inevitable. We must grow and adapt, which requires change and that can feel abrasive – especially if we have been practicing resistance for our whole lives, like most of us have.

But what if the dragons have divine messages and we must but learn their way of communicating to unlock the secrets and freedom our hearts have always longed for? What if monsters are beautiful, scared and lonely? What if everything we are afraid to know isn’t actually what we’re afraid of?

Image Source: Unknown (Internet)

Could it be possible to choose our pain wisely instead of simply accept the victimization we inflict upon ourselves? Can we challenge our discomforts and develope the discipline for pursuing universal optimization and the devotion of personal mastery?

What if the only thing we have to fear really, truly is fear itself and the way it robs from our happiness by distorting our perceptions of reality?

Choosing Love

It’s not easy.

It’s not simple.

It will take our whole lives.

But expansion of love is our universal destiny.

We are all divinity learning to love itself, and all we actually “have to do” is decide that we do love ourselves. That we love every last bit of our naturally subversive, gloriously imperfect and infinitely fragmented divine Self.

Acting on radical acceptance. Demanding revolutionary honesty. Accepting that all progress starts with the infinitesimal fragment that is you, me, or any specified “identity” but that it is always going to ripple out and consequently effect the whole of divine Source. This is the essence of true morality and ethics: making the responsibility of blessing your own.

This is the essence of true morality and ethics: making the responsibility of blessing your own.

We are both separate and unified. Both “I” and the “other.” We must make a choice to sacrifice the temptations of ego and fear conciousness and allow the “I” to live in service of the “other” in order to truly integrate wholeness.

We will always be tempted to be “self-ish,” masquerading as mutations and manipulations of the pure divine Source, but we always have the choice to choose true divine love – the choice to see beyond the limits of our conditions, ego and fear and embrace with all powerful grace the totality of existence, which does include even these “selves,” the “others” and yes, even our “demons” and “monsters.”

Image Source: Unknown (Internet)

Searching for some inspiration, I shuffled through the prompts in a journaling app. There were a few I felt no spark from, but I knew when I found the one. “What does personal development and growth mean to you?”

After all, this blog is called Optimal Mastery. It’s obvious I’m invested in progress, but I haven’t actually talked about what that means to me on the blog yet. Well, here it goes!

Optimal = better than perfect

I’ve been obsessed with the idea of optimization for years now. Ever since taking philosophy classes in college, I’ve wanted to learn more and more that allows me to live better and better. Sustainability, cooperation, appreciation – things that amplify blessings and benefits get my heart racing.

I don’t want to just own any home. I want to own a home with a negative carbon footprint, that’s completely off-grid and self-sustaining long term.

I don’t want to just do any work. I want to write, publish and create from around the world, on my own time, and still live more luxuriously than most.

I don’t want to be just any human. I want to be a person who’s learning and exploring each and every day. Someone who serves others, honors herself and invests in her convictions. Optimization, to me, means never giving up on my own personal best.

Mastery = getting personal

Mastery is the “how to my why.” Essentially, I believe optimization can only be achieved through personal mastery. Self-control, discipline, but also awareness, patience and compassion are all a part of it.

By committing to oneself, to master oneself, one commits to becoming both their own student as well as teacher. It requires life long recommitments too.

Optimization isn’t a static goal, and neither is the tool of mastery. It is ever fluid, its disciplines and devotions ever fluctuating, flowing and reforming as it is informed again and again through the awareness of presence.

A Lifelong Dedication to Refinement

In all, Optimal Mastery means I will never stop learning, growing and evolving. It doesnt mean I must be perfect. It doesn’t even mean I believe perfection exists. It does mean I’ll always be asking myself the hard questions.

I want to live a full and complete life. I want to leave it all “out there.” I want to test my limits, prove my strengths and develop my weaknesses past my comforts, conditions or excuses. I want to live my life on purpose and create intentional meaning.

So that’s what personal development means to me. That’s why my daily blog is called Optimal Mastery. That’s how you all got to be so lucky as to witness the messy art of my growing.

Showing up for the Yin yoga class my sister teaches at our local wellness center last night, I was cheerfully greeted by one of my Kundalini teachers at the front desk. “Oh Mayry! I’m so glad you’re here, it’s so good to see you!” Her smile was so big her eyes scrunched together to make room.

Now, this isn’t uncommon for the vibes at Taspens, but last night was also special because I had just officially registered for the Kundalini teacher training course they will be offering in the fall. I beamed right back at her, filled with joy and excitement for being a part of this incredible local tribe.

I was a bit early for the Yin class and began some light conversation. The owner of Taspens and a woman I consider a personal guru of mine joined in as well. She also teaches Kundalini and was excited to let me know a few of my next steps.

“I’ll schedule a call with the teacher for you, to discuss a few things,” she said, and then went on to mention the mandatory Saturday Sadhana practices during the course and signing the code of conduct at the end to get our certification. I nodded along in agreement, smiling.

Suddenly, my attention shifted though, “the code is essentially a commitment to the yogic lifestyle. So, trying for a vegetarian diet, abstaining from drugs…” Right there, “uh oh,” I thought as I shifted uneasily on my feet.

Honoring My Truth

I have been leaning vegetarian for the last dozen years but, no drugs? Given that I just found my hag stone after my plant medicine retreat in June and, according to my own personal beliefs, have thus been officially called to the Shamanic path, I worried this might actually be a problem.

“So…” I started, interrupting the flow of chatter between the teachers, “if I were unable to sign the code because I’ve been called to the Shamanic path, would I still be able to take the course?” I asked, nervously.

Shamanism is a part of my path for sure, but I’ve also been called to Kundalini. Not being able to reconcile the too seemed completely wrong – Pachamama had come to me through Ayahuasca AND through Kundalini, how could they be opposed?

“Yes,” both teachers exclaimed, looking at me and then each other, then back at me. They started, “and it’s just about trying your best, we understand some people have to eat meat for medical reasons… Maybe just try it for 40 days, you might be surprised…”

I cut in again, “I have no problem with the diet, it’s just that… I am called to the utilization of ‘drugs’ on a ceremonial basis for medicinal and religious purposes.” They seemed to finally understand what I meant now, their eyes widening to fully ingest what I was saying. “Oh, no, well – he just wants to get everything out in the open up front so there are no suprises when it’s time to sign the code… But, you will talk to him so you can mention that. If at the end you don’t sign, that will always be your choice to make.” My guru finished, half-smiling.

The big smile returned to my face and both teachers responded with large smiles blooming across theirs as well. “Okay awesome,” I sighed, relieved.

Embracing the Unknown

Now, some may wonder, “what’s the point of taking Kundalini teacher training if you know you won’t be able to get certified?!” And honestly, I don’t blame them.

In this world of achievement laden “value,” it would seem I am setting out to rob myself. After all, the certification is the reason for undergoing any professional training, is it not? Well, I suppose it’s not for me.

Some might say I should just lie, or withhold the truth, sign the code anyway. Others might tell me I need to really consider the code and whether I truly feel called to both of these seemingly “contradictory” paths, or even something to the tune of “perhaps your plant medicine experiences are behind you and this is the next step in your development?” To be sure, I’ve thought all these things for myself already too.

But, I cannot lie. Fundamentally, my commitment to authenticity and truth is what has aligned me with my path, and subsequently both of these paths too. And undoubtedly, I feel beyond called to both of them, I am already connected and intertwined with them spiritually. Finally, given the parts that plant medicine has played in my past, I cannot in good consciousness banish all plant medicines from my life in the future – regardless of how well meaning my intention is in doing so.

No, the mental gymnastics to be done here are not to rectify me to the norm – it’s the opposite. I will be a Kundalini Shaman and I will learn to walk this line with grace and appreciation.

Letting Mayryanna Bloom

Somehow it all seems better suited anyway… I’m not just a guru, I’m a Rockstar Guru. I’m not just a yogi, I’m a Rebel Yogi. I’m not just a Shaman, I’m an Modern Eclectic Pagan Medicine Woman who researches and utilizes a variety of ancient spiritual healing modalities to live my authentically powerful life to the fullest – all without shame, malice or discontentment.

I don’t need a certificate. I will proudly slap “Unofficial” to the front of my teacher title and gratefully explain my why to everyone who cares.

This “inconvenient truth” will not detract from me at all, no. This will only empower me more. By allowing myself unpopular distinctions, I will emerge unparalleled.

By allowing myself unpopular distinctions, I will emerge unparalleled.

So, after some careful reflections and considerations, I’m even more excited to study Kundalini now! Certification shmertification – nothing compares to a soul that fully embraces its fate, inconveniences and all (shout out to Nietzsche for his concept of Amor Fati). I am simply grateful for the opportunity to learn, to grow and to further become this gloriously inglorious woman: Mayryanna.

I pulled the card

not knowing

just desperate

seeking the answers to unasked questions

Lotus guru

Blooming

like dance

Smiling as she colorfully unfurls

I didn’t feel it then

the weight

of petals

pulling themselves delicately apart

It’s hard work

being gentle

letting go

unraveling to reveal hidden glories

Happening silently

frustratingly

bit by bit

until nothing is left but undoing

Thrusting vulnerability

exposing

inviting

giving all to possibilities

Spreading wide open

expanding

exploding

willing to fall completely apart

And watching myself fall

bit by bit

beautiful peices

collapsing back into myself

An act of violence

this blooming

this undoing

itself cannot be undone

Yet these dead petals

decaying

become more

feeding the blooms of tomorrows

The house is quiet, only the sound of grandma’s oxygen compressor and the restless shifts of sleeping puppies punctuate the stillness. The overcast sky has overcome midsummer heat and a cool breeze wafts through the open front door, spun about the living room by the ceiling fans, tickling my skin at every bare side. Grandma is feeling well, things are calm, and the energy meanders about on the low end, right between “sleepy siesta” and “reading in a hammock.”

This is my harvest.

Appreciating Peace

I’m not exactly opposed to chaos, in fact, at one time in my life a therapist told me “you can be addicted to anything, even chaos,” in attempt to wake me up to my patterns of poor choices back then. I didn’t get it then, but it’s become obvious as time and life’s lessons have wore on.

I have all the markers of an intelligent person: I cuss, do drugs, stay up late and seek other novel experiences. I travel internationally solo, my #1 bucket list item is “swim with sharks,” and I’ve taken myself far past my own expectations and boundaries again and again. Yet, as of late, all I have wanted is a bit of peace.

Actually, I’ve been craving it, deeply. All my efforts to “full speed ahead” in July were thwarted by reality and I spectacularly failed every last expectation and standard I had idealized for myself at the start of the month. So here I am, beginning a new month and even a new phase of the year’s wheel, hesitant to make another attempt at idealistic grandeur for the upcoming month. Though my intuition and awareness are making it hard not to get excited anyway…

Closing a Chapter

Lammas is a Pagan Sabbat, or holiday, and serves for celebrating harvest as the long days of summer begin to dwindle. There are 4 yearly Sabbats including Lammas (Aug. 1st), Samhain (Oct. 31st), Imbolc (Feb. 1st) and Beltane (May 1st). Each Sabbat falls at a midpoint between the Equinoxes and Solstices, and carries its own seasonal/archetypal energy.

The focus on harvest is an interesting one, because it allows for taking inventory. In this way, Lammas invites us to review what we’ve planted and how we’ve sown those seeds since Beltane. Personally, since May, I feel I’ve been caught in a whirlwind.

So much has happened in just 3 short months and they feel markedly halved. From May through the first half of June I was on dieta, preparing and then participating in a spiritual retreat and largely feeling centered, focused and excited. Mid June through the end of July however, were marked by stress, uncertainty and groundlessness. I am grateful for it all.

Despite my tireless devotion, nothing I did before my retreat was “enough” for me. I felt like I was simultaneously the donkey and the carrot, trying to manipulate my development and attention to the “perfect” degrees in order to activate to upmost potentiality of my spiritual experiences. I struggled to remain in my beingness, fighting my addiction to doership at every angle.

Since my retreat, coming home to grandma being ill, I have been unable to maintain strict control over my experiences, feelings or thoughts, and have largely been caught up in the moments as they’ve happened. I’ve been wading through turbulent waters, barely keeping my head up, let alone maintaining “good form.” Yet, I’ve also still managed to study, write, edit, contribute, encourage, connect, love, meditate, practice yoga, share myself and otherwise be authentically me in spite of it all.

The juxtaposition of these reflections is illuminating.

From The Universe has Your Back (card deck), by Gabrielle Bernstein

Beginning Anew

I’m not going to set standards for my organic spiritual disposition. I am this person who studies astrology, philosophy, yoga and practices meditation, development and awareness – regardless of whether or not I make it a “daily task.” I am a writer, editor, collaborator, contributor, consultant, healer, teacher and coach – regardless of how/when/why these things all get done. I’m not these things because of anything I do, I am these things, period.

This is my harvest: I get to be me. In the stillness and quiet, as well as in the chaos and noise. I am Mayryanna. I am a blessing. I am blessed. All the rest doesn’t matter.

So yes, I’m excited. I’m excited to accept where I’m at, appreciate myself and explore the ever-expanding heights and depths of my consciousness. I will certainly be fighting old habits – for some reason I love planning even more than doing lol – but it’s a lesson I feel fortunate to be learning.

May you all have a blessed, reflective and illuminating harvest as well!