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Rebirth is the new Death..

April 11, 2012

Every time I think of Ana Forrest, I remember how she has broken me apart. She has unearthed every one of my emotions in a 3-hour class. over and over. Suffice to say, because of her brutal honesty and nitpicky tactics, I am a stronger woman and teacher.

Her first book, Fierce Medicine, an autobiography of her life and her yoga method (Forrest Yoga) left me a little uneasy because of the unveiled honesty about her life-its horrors and brutality. My heart shunned her storytelling as I wasn’t ready to face the horror that I had been going through in my own personal life. In fact, I really guarded myself against her teachings when I last saw her in February. (my compassionate voice says-Carolyn, you were deep in some heavy shit and weren’t ready to unload at that point, it’s ok).

Without fail, it has always been a woman calling me on my shit while peering into my Spirit. At the time, I was very intimidated by what I was holding onto and needed some long-term therapy-not just a sob session in Ana’s 3 day intensive. I thought I could be happy and fine and I sort of was. The trauma comes up once in a while for grieving and to keep me questioning everything. Until now, I had no idea how scared I was to see her because I was content living in avoidance..

I digress…

I love Ana. She is tender, she is wrinkly and she exudes feline power. There is no way to hide from her demands that you release your cloak of armour and be true. True in your words. True in your relationships.

In a sporadic moment of insanity, I want to share something personal that I extracted from her book, Fierce Medicine. This is the Death Meditation exercise.

I recently led a group through this exercise and they found it very disturbing. Granted, you have to imagine you will be dead in 12 hours and then answer various questions about regret, unfinished communications and then come to what really makes you content in this life and what matters most..? Of course when you’re in the shits and you feel like you’re dying, it’s uncomfortable. But when you wake up, you are aware, you are lighter, you are forgiven.

** Consider: if you knew that in twelve hours, you would be dead, what would you do now, for these last twelve hours of your life? Feel the Death of your hopes and dreams. ..what are your regrets? What were the promises you made to yourself or your loved ones that you can no longer keep because your time is over?

I wasn’t nice enough to those I felt competitive against.
I didn’t travel to every country.
I didn’t bake for friends for no reason at all.
I didn’t massage momo enough.
I wasn’t spontaneous enough – new crazy work ideas, dancing all night long, could have laughed more, could have learned more. Work is overrated.
I didn’t visit people who were sick or dying.
I didn’t try new ways to move my body, new ways to sing.
I was too hard on myself, too hard on everyone.
 
** What are your unfinished communications? What did you want to say or write to your loved ones? To the people who touched your heart…or who broke it?
 
Dear ____, I think I’m breaking the pattern. I’m changing how a Budgell acts in a partnership.
Dear____, I’m so glad you made it and that you stayed so strong for us, even though I resented you and sometimes still do. You are so strong.
Dear ____, I want you to get help. I want you to stay calm under pressure and to be a great man.
Dear ____, You created a destructive ground for my future relationships. You were unsteady and unstable so you couldn’t see how impressionable and vulnerable I was.
Dear ____, You destroyed me, you ganged up and it truly hardened me and put me at odds against women for my whole life.
Dear ___, your stubbornness is hilarious and not unlike my own. You have made me a better and more independent woman.
Dear ____, You put me on a cleaner path.
 
** What have you been lying to yourself about? What are all the ways you’ve sabotaged yourself? ….can you finally recognize what you have in your life that should have died long ago?
 
By thinking I’m better or smarter than someone.
By thinking life can be better this way or that way.
Why focus on the future? Just do it now, really, if I were to die tomorrow? This would all be bullshit. This physical practice of yoga doesn’t matter, but, HOW WILL I BE REMEMBERED?
 
** What in your life needs to break off and die so you can live freely for your last few hours?
 
Holding grudges and judgments against myself.
Doubting the decisions I have made in the past.
Condemning the decision I have made in the past.
Caring about what others think of me.
Worrying about money.
Mistrust. Entirely. Go away.
 
** Can you make a Warrior’s Choice to choose the life you most deeply desire? Make that choice. Let Death take out what you are ready to be free of. Now, as you breathe new life back into your heart, What are the dreams that you are willing to invest your life in now? What matters most to you? 
 
Enjoying the sunrise.
Being kind to all beings.
Being patient.
Not worrying if I’m late.
Not worrying if I’m sad.
Living in THIS moment.
Spending time with others.
Travelling.
Staying committed to friendships.
Being a helpful daughter.
Finishing my work and important tasks completely.
Helping people when they ask.
Listening to my heart and then helping some people, when they don’t ask.
 
(all ** questions adapted from Fierce Medicine, Ana T Forrest)
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