(Not So) Great Expectations

Expectations are premeditated grievances.

This was a quote my friend Chris heard from his yoga teacher’s boyfriend (now husband).

At the time-I thought it was deep and insightful-but I also thought I’d advanced far enough in my yoga practice to transcend this pitfall (insert over-blown yoga-teacher ego here).

awakening-shakti-640_0Lately, I’ve been reading “Awakening Shakti“-this amazing book by Sally Kempton on “The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga”

And, it has all the usuals- Lakshmi the Goddess of Abundance and GoodFortune,  Parvati the Goddess of Sacred Marriage, Sita the Goddess of Devotion-and so on.  And, within that, all the lessons of the goddesses being all pure and beautiful and all that goddess shit!

But, lately I’ve not been feeling serene and harmonious at all.  I’m struggling with training for a half-marathon and having to deal with an ever changing body that can no longer just wake up and run 13 miles like it’s NOTHING.  A body that I expect to be up to the task for any physical challenge that I give to it (even if I’m not being so nice to it)

Also,I’ve been suffering from discouragement over a business idea that has been my baby for the past year.  Despite a lot of hard work and good intentions- I had to let my vision of the ‘perfect thing’ go!  And, in the process suffering the loss of trust and friendship that I’d naively believed in.

Serene Goddess my ass!!!

I needed something stronger-someone to help me handle the situation at hand with strength and dignity because all that was coming up for me were surly, sour emotions.

Expectations are premeditated grievances.

Then I found my lesson.  Dhumavati-the Goddess of Disappointment and Letting Go.  A few chapters after Kali (the Goddess of Revolution)- Dhumavati is a multilayered teacher.  Her name means ‘the smoky one’ or ‘the widow’ and she holds a sword, a torch, a spear and a skull bowl among other things (remember- Indian Goddesses have 6 hands)

Probably the best Western comparison is the witch.Dhumvari

Not so pretty is she?

But, within Dhumavati lies a very important lesson.

She is the teacher that reminds us that we are still worthy of love whether we are in a season of success or failure.  That our Shadow side is as spiritual and holy as our most beautiful Parvati side.

It’s the gorgeous release, the opening into emptiness that doesn’t give a shit.  

It’s the old lady who wears bright red lipstick a leopard coat and sky-high gold boots (this lady actually exists on Polk Street!!)  It’s Johnny Cash singing his songs even as he’s dying and old and not on key.  It’s the Burner who works all year at an art piece that no one but them understands……yet they work and put their time in anyway.

This is the Goddess who has loved and lost, succeeded and failed, who has been young and beautiful and able but who is now old and still bad ass.

It’s the FREEDOM of having tried and failed despite best efforts.  The confidence that comes after you realize that image and ego are just barriers to seeing our true power and beauty.

It’s the realization that Chuck Palahniuk was RIGHT when he said in ‘Fight Club’

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.” 

So-my lesson right now isn’t soft and beautiful.  It’s the lesson of finding grace in those places of disappointment.  It’s celebrating loss and failure and obstacles in my path and recognizing that none of those define me.  It’s releasing the vision of myself as a Lakshmi or Sita or Parvati all of the time.

Expectations are premeditated grievances.

It took the death of the ego to finally understand…….

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