The Yoga of Lauryn Hill

Lately Lauryn Hill has been in my head:  playing on my iPod, in emails from friends and (sadly) in the news.

Even in my yoga class, my amazing teacher played something off of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill which took me back.

Lauryn was a poet, a strong female with deep lyrics and I felt like each lyric was spoken just to me.

At the time of this album-Miseducation-, I was in a male-dominanted profession-working with engineers and IT-types.  The guys had whisky in their desk drawers and the girls were told to wear skirts more often.  It was like “Mad Men’ -but with worse fashion. Surrounded by this roomful of men, luckily, I had my co-worker Angela to constantly reminded me of the power of the feminine.

We bonded in this environment and became close friends.  We’d drive around in my convertible (the one I bought when I ended my engagement) and really celebrated being women-blasting songs like DOO WOP:

“Girlfriend, let me break it down for you again

You know I only say because I’m truly genuine

Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem”

Angela was the embodiment of divine beauty: a bad-ass Italian chick who channeled Durga and Annabella Sciorra.

She and I worked for a misogynist.  The man sat me in his office and offered to pay for breast augmentation vs. paying me the bonus I’d earned.  I’d never experienced being treated this way so I fought him head on to no avail.

While I wasted my time trying to go toe-to-toe with him, Angela would sweetly skirt around him and get her way.  He was none the wiser, she wasted little energy in getting what she wanted.  He knew not to mess with her, not because she would yell back at him-but she would calmly remind him how to treat a lady.

For me, a former tomboy raised mostly by my dad and grandmother, it was my first appreciation of being feminine yet strong.

Lauryn Hill was much the same-

More powerful than two Cleopatras

Bomb graffitti on the tomb of Nefertiti

Recently, played in my yoga class, the irony wasn’t lost on me.

I’ve been over-worked and focusing more on my Shiva- “Get it done!” side.  We all have this side-the guys and girls among us.  It’s the powerful masculine energy that creates change but needs to be tempered by the soft feminine side we all have.

Lately, my Shakti, my Divine Feminine has suffered.  I’ve forgotten this side is just as powerful as the Shiva aspect-sometimes even more.

This power is so strong the Dalai Lama made the following statement:

“The world will be saved by the western woman,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009 proclaiming himself a feminist. Essentially he meant that through feminine values we could save the world. By coming back to compassion which underpins all of his teachings, we can save ourselves and the world.

So now,  as I’m letting that beautiful feminine force override my business side, I’m reminded of the strong women in my world.

All the more appropriate that it would take a reminder from a force like Lauryn Hill to remind me both in yoga and in life:

My world it moves so fast today
The past it seems so far away
And I squeeze it so tight, I can’t breathe
And every time I try to be
What someone has thought of me
So caught up, I wasn’t able to acheive
But deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny
I look at my environment
And wonder where the fire went
What happened to everything we used to be
I hear so many cry for help
Searching outside of themselves
Now I know His strength is within me
And deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny
And deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny

Now, thanks to Lauryn and Angela-I feel comfortable putting on the lipstick and skirt and dropping the armor and using the strength of the Shakti-the Divine Feminine energy.  And, admittedly, I blast The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill while doing so….

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