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.

It’s rare, actually, it’s even quite difficult to escape expectations. Every day, as soon as we wake up, we hit the ground running with expectations. Even before consciousness, there is the expectation that one will wake up by a certain time in order to do certain things by other certain times…..

I’m sick of it.

It feels completely unnatural to me to have my entire life planned out. I’m a glutton for surprises, the unplanned and the moments that could never be planned. I don’t want to have expectations of every second of my life because then I miss out on what the moments have to offer for themselves.

It feels completely unnatural to me to have my entire life planned out.

The Sanctity of Nothingness

Perhaps some will say that I’m a fool, that nothing would be accomplished without making plans and setting expectations – but is that true? The wind doesn’t make plans to blow the weather through the plains, the mountains don’t have expectations of breaking apart the storm, and the people can’t even have expectations that it will rain wherever they happen to be (though we certainly try our best to).

A cougar may hunt, and even have great techniques that land its pray almost 100% of the time, but it doesn’t have the expectation that it will make a kill “at 5pm, every third Thursday.” It doesn’t require that it’s to groomed itself before it goes hunting. It doesn’t “have to” bring back a huge elk for a dinner party it doesn’t really want to have but feels obligated to host anyway…

We’ve wrapped ourselves up so tight in meaning we can’t even make sense of it any more.

No, we humans are the fools. We’ve wrapped ourselves up so tight in meaning we can’t even make sense of it any more. We are so desperate for validation and justification of our existence that we sacrifice authentic living for conditioned expectations.

Here’s my point: the cougar goes on living it’s great cougar life without schedules, tasks and expectations – what would a human life look like if it did the same? Arguably, some expectations and plans are beneficial, e.i. brushing your teeth, wearing clothes and having a fulfilling life – but are they really the means to getting these things?

Perhaps the good life is recognizing that you have a good life.

Perhaps the key to a good life isn’t painstakingly designing every detail and moment to match up with external and internal standards you have to struggle and suffer to achieve… Perhaps the good life is recognizing that you have a good life.

Reevaluating Motivation

If I only brush my teeth out of obligation to the expectations of my society or conditioning, I’m missing out. However, if I brush my teeth because I’m actively aware of my life, my body, how good it all is, my gratitude for my teeth and my ability to keep them healthy, the task becomes a celebration. It’s in this way that expectations steal from us: they make the completion or acquisition of an experience or trait more important that the experience or trait itself.

Imagine for a moment a different world, one where people operate from genuine need or desire rather than expectation. Imagine if the normal was to wake up when you feel rested rather than when you “have to” in order to be “on time.” Imagine exploring your days rather than planning them. Imagine allowing for life’s spontaneous joy and peace to bless you when you least expect it… Seems so wonderful, and so alien.

Well, that’s what I’m doing today.

Reinventing my Success

I’ve been laying in bed for hours. I woke up on my own at about 7, but I’ve been reading and writing since then without finding reason to move. My kitties are cuddling me. My lover is trying to make plans to see me today… and I am just doing nothing.

Two fluffy kitties, one comfy bed and all the time in the world…

I told him he could come by as long as he didn’t have any expectations, explaining my current desire for void, and he told me to let him know when I feel like making plans.

Right now, I have some loose ideas about how the day might go. I have desire to clean my space, and it needs it too. I also feel some curiosity and creativity bubbling up, so perhaps some study and work will get done, but I can’t say for sure what or when. I was inspired to write this blog and that’s as far as I’ve gotten. No plans.

I’m hungry, but not for my usual, easy-to-grab-and-go breakfast smoothie… No, today I’ll make myself some pancakes, for brunch now I guess… And I’ll eat them slow.

I’m also feeling like some self-care… It’s been a while since I’ve had a ritual bath. Maybe I’ll make a custom face mask and deep condition my hair too. I guess I’ll see!

Lover wants to go for a hike and forage mushrooms, which does sound fun. So perhaps once I’ve eaten, straightened up my space, and pampered myself a bit I’ll join him… He also said he would just bring me dinner later if I like though, so we’ll see how things go…

Regardless of what I do today, I’m already happy. In this way, I’ve succeeded even before I’ve begun.

Regardless of what I do today, I’m already happy. In this way, I’ve succeeded even before I’ve begun.

Offering Renewed Perspective

The reality is, I won’t get everything done today. The reality is, I never do. With or without plans, LIFE IS FULL! That’s why there is always more – it’s not because we don’t do enough, it’s because we could never do it all, even in a million lifetimes.

Still, even without my plans, I will accomplish stuff today. Accomplishments are a part of life, we simply can’t avoid doing things entirely. We can however, make the act of doing things something we needlessly stress over.

So, I’m done. I’m hereby relinquishing my expectations. I’m letting go of all the “shoulds,” “coulds” and “woulds” to embrace what is, regardless of what that means I am. At least in accepting myself and my reality I can make decisions that are informed by truth, even if it’s just the basic truths of desire and need.

No more sacrificing authenticity for expectations.

No more sacrificing authenticity for expectations. No more artfully designing the distance between myself and “good enough.” I declair myself FREE! Free to be me, free to have bad days and to have really surprisingly good ones too. Free to exist grateful for who I am rather than punished for who I “could be.”

Here’s to wishing the same for all of you. Blessed be!

My left thigh is tingling and warm

from soft kitten purrs, as loud as they are gentle

He refused to “say cheese” though

The room is cold, here in the basement

as well as quiet, dark and spacious

I can remember when this entire space

was filled floor to ceiling with miscellaneous

I feel connected to it in remarkable ways

And that’s just the basement –

My current home is remarkable

Home

I feel home

Everything feels like home right now

What a difference a few years makes…

I used to be in a bad marriage

I used to be a chronic enabler

I used to recklessly abhor myself

Just years ago…

Don’t get me wrong, and if you read my blog you know

Things aren’t perfect…

They truly are better than perfect

This is why

My unalome/wanderlust mashup tattoo

That is to say, what it represents

They joy of the journey

Remembering to appreciate, even the bad

Even when life is chaos and you can’t breathe

If anything, that got me here

At least from that self-deprecating behavior of my past

But it does go deeper

To a time before I new how to be happy

And only grace got me through that

Om, beloved Divine, quest of my heart

Thank you, thank you, thank you my sweet, sweet loves – my beloveds – my sweet love, my beloved, my endlessly cherished One

In all the ways my devotion has blossomed

I have been endlessly blessed

And if I had not strayed into the depths of hopelessness

Would I have ever known the true heights of bliss

The path to glory is fraught with dangers and distractions; sureties are luxuries that often must be bought at the expense of truth. What though is worth more? The confidence and strength of hard-won experience, or the comfort of waiting for an easy way that will never come?

Heroes are forged in battles, and not only the battles that find them. Heroes set out to find the “monsters” that will otherwise destroy peace and jeopardize love, in order to fulfill their destiny or die trying – that’s what sets them apart, that’s what distinguishes their journey from all the rest – they fully reject a life that sacrifices the soul for security.

Perhaps they don’t know how they will feed or shelter themselves along the way, but they go anyway. Perhaps they don’t have the right weapons, perhaps they live far from the threat, perhaps they could find several reasons why it would make more sense for them to just hope for the best and stay at home – but they go anyway.

A hero’s journey is one that defies logic, challenges rationality and tests grace, but that’s exactly what makes them great: by stepping out of the line of “right,” they place themselves in the midst of the void: the space in which nothing exists but every possibility. It is not their own might or power that makes them heroes, but rather, it is their acceptance of fortune, their faith in divine power and their calling to more that allows this greatness to manifest.

By stepping outside of reality’s guarantees, they create the space in which glory and miracles can manifest. True greatness doesn’t fit inside comfort, it must be invoked in spaces of possibility’s uncontained magnitude.

So, do you dare?

“Huuuecckkeghhh-ughhh… HUUUECKKEGHHH!” My whole body shakes as I purge violently into my bucket. There’s nothing in my stomach anymore, the Aya has moved through my system and I’m just emitting bile now. My mouth tastes sour and bitter but I can’t drink water yet… Everytime I open my eyes I feel dizzy and ungrounded by their inability to focus as infinite geometric fractals take over my surroundings. “Thank you mama… thank you.”

The House of Masters – Imiloa Institute, Costa Rica

With eyes closed, falling back onto my sweat-soaked mattress next to more than 30 other friends (who were just strangers days ago) on the yoga deck in the Costa Rican jungle, I begin to undergo visuals of exponentially greater intensity and depth once more. I’ve been journeying for what seems like days, but really only an hour or two had passed. I am transported beyond the boundaries of my perception, into the space of existence where the overwhelming unity of Source converges and separation completely dissolves. Pachamama revealing the intricacies of her boundless power and love in every variety of expression.

Image Credit: Fuego Brew Co., Dominical Costa Rica

This is our second Ayahuasca ceremony on this retreat and it had been nothing like my first experience last year or my experience during this week’s first ceremony. My intention this time was “expansiveness” and oh did I recieved it fully. Laying there, feeling as though every cell in my body were vibrating, I pondered drinking a second cup of the medicine – though even the thought made me feel as if I might die.

“This,” I thought, “this I how I conquer fear…” Preparing myself to accept the challenge whilst Pachamama soothingly comforted me in the back of my mind, “you can drink if you want, but you don’t have to,” I knew, the answers to my intention laid just beyond this fear. I had to push my limit and drink again.

Image Credit: Fuego Brew Co., Dominical Costa Rica

The second cup was gritty, filled with remnants of the holy vine. I braced myself add I returned to my mattress… But nothing happened. I felt better – actually, I felt amazing.

I would still be journeying for about 4 more hours, and it would remain full of psychedelic wonder and more purging, but I was able to regain some grace. I felt strong. I felt proud.

I would under go a series of “downloads” the rest of the night, receiving divine messages about my life, my purpose and my path. My future became clear. My past, my excuses and my fears now all obsolete.

During the night I would visit my loved ones, both alive and dead, to express my gratitude, love and even my grief. “It is an honor to mourn you,” would become a mantra as I kissed the faces of friends and family who had long gone. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” falling evermore from my tongue.

I kissed monsters and communed with the goddess in her ever-changing forms. My heart was opened to the endless expanses of possibility and I gained new appreciation for the spaces of infinity and creation that are Pachamama’s domain. I experienced true, unbridled and uncontained power, drinking deep of endless glories.

It was so hard.

It was so ugly.

It was so divine.

It was so beautiful.

I wish for a world where everyone understands that discomfort is the price of legendary. And fear is just growth coming to get you.

~ Robin S. Sharma