Life keeps getting more and more complex. Doesn’t it? We become more layered. There’s more to deal with, more responsibilities, more on our plates. We are more deeply invested in things. We are tangled up and woven in to other lives more intensely. We become more grounded in who we are. But our tendency to become more rigid increases. Our foundation is seemingly more solid. But there’s also more loss. The ground beneath us threatens to shake more violently than ever before. There’s more to love and more to grieve. We’re more skilled at working through our shit. But the piles of shit just keep on growing.
We build structures to support our living. And then we live to support those structures.
We learn to adapt, to cultivate more fluidity – we have to in order to survive. And we simultaneously deal with more blockages, stuckness, and obstacles.
Sukkot started with the Full Moon last Sunday. It’s a harvest holiday that lasts a week, a gratitude festival, and is one of the three pilgrimage holidays in the Jewish calendar.
Sukkot are the huts that Jewish people lived in during their forty years of wondering through the desert after exiting Egypt and escaping slavery.
The impermanence of those structures is an invitation to breakthrough rigidity and embrace change, to breakdown habits and ways of thinking that keep us stuck, so that we can move through the landscape of our lives more fluidly. But they are still structures – because we do need to create a sense of stability in order to thrive.
The earth beneath our feet is solid and reliable, and it also keeps changing as we journey through our lives – deserts, mountains, valleys, and forests.
With the roof of the Sukkah being made of tree branches or reeds, we can see the phases of the moon, the twinkle of stars, and the map of the infinite – mysterious and predictable at once. We are called into the openness of the vast sky, reminded of the expansive aspects of our nature, and turned towards an ever shifting reality that repeats itself in patterns that can be traced and tracked.
One of the core traditions of Sukkot is to invite guests to share a meal with under that roof of impermanence. Celebrating the holiday is only as meaningful as you graciously host others in your space.
You know that Rumi poem, The Guest House?
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
It’s so spot on!
We gotta learn to receive the whole of what life has in store for us. To honor every phase. To taste every flavor. We have to make space for the entire range of our human experience. And to be gracious hosts as we welcome each and every one.
Our state of being isn’t permanent – nor should it be. There are fluctuations. We come in phases like the moon. We move in seasons like the earth. We change like the night sky. We are made of waves and transitions. There’s flex. There are colors and textures and nuances to life. Which is why we look to create structures – for stability and safety within a volatile world.
But I always raise my eyebrow at the second Yoga Sutra of Patanjali (and the whole point of the text, really) – “Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Nirodhah – Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuation of consciousness.” The popular aspects of most spiritual teaching, which is that the goal of the practice is to reach some state of Bliss or Enlightenment – an unchanging state of ecstasy – just doesn’t speak to the complexity of life. Nor does it respect the gift of life itself.
But I digress.
What I do find appealing and empowering is that we can open the doors to our house or our sukkah – the doorways of our heart and minds – and as we welcome each and every visitor, we can also call for the guests that we wish to host. We can invoke the presence of what we are inspired to emanate. We can take actions to generate more of who we want to be.
So what are you calling in? What do you wish to generate from within you this season? What desires will you feed at the table of your life?
Hey, let’s do a quick little practice together right now:
Soften your eyes and turn to your breath for a moment. Bring each hand into Prithivi Mudra – thumb to ring finger.
1) Inhale deeply. Hold the breath for a moment. Exhale with the mantra Hrim (the Bija Mantra of the earth, and of the goddess Lalita, who is the embodiment of desire) – out loud, as a whisper, or silently.
HRIM to receive what is moving through you – the truth of your experience right this moment – the way the earth receives everything and all.
Welcome, respect, receive, and allow for your feelings to be what they are.
2) Inhale deeply. Hold the breath for a moment. Exhale Hrim.
HRIM to create a strong, yet flexible structure that can uphold life with all its twists and turns – solid and grounded like the earth.
Strengthen your vessel, ground yourself, and remember your power.
3) Inhale deeply. Hold the breath for a moment. Exhale Hrim.
HRIM to call in to your life what you desire, dream, and wish for, and to bring forth from within you what you want to become.
Evoke your most wanted and needed qualities, and create your life – one breath at a time.
How does it feel – to give yourself a moment to welcome the whole of you, to strengthen yourself, and to remember to keep creating the YOU you want to be?
You can sprinkle this quick, little practice throughout the day, to help keep the guest house that you are clear, welcoming, strong, and creative.
Now, in the comments below, please share – what are you calling in to your life right now? What do you want to fill your house/vessel/body/mind/heart with? What do you want to bring forth from within you?
I can’t wait to read your comments.
Thank you for reading and sharing. I appreciate you so much!