Autumn Equinox Blessings




Hello dear ones.


As we arrive on this cross quarter part of the year I am hoping you are finding ways in which you can slow down from the fullness of Summer and turn a little more inwards as we are now in the harvest season. Our ancestors would harvest our crops and prepare for the longer nights and there is a way we can do this internally also.


For me, this means saying “no” more. I pluck back my activities, I begin to roast root vegetables, make bone broths, fire up my practice and rituals even more religiously, especially an Ayurvedic ritual called Dinacharya. This is a practice where upon rising-you drink hot lemon water, neti-pot, dry-brush your skin, abhyanga (which is oiling your body for your constitution), rinsing your eyes with rose water, tongue-scraping, and somewhere in there you find the old fashion ritual of brushing your teeth. Seems like a lot, yeah? I promise you, it’s worth it. The amount of time we can practice this practice of self-love, your whole being will thank you. You will begin to feel a shift in your being.


Humans, being part of nature and having both light and shadow as our nature, we must learn to embrace this constant polarity within. Autumn is the season of Vata dosha-the subtle energy that governs movement. Literally translated as “wind,” vata is air and ether and is dry. It comes in bursts. It moves and changes direction. It is often cold. Vata rises in Autumn, and when it does, it can leave you feeling worn out, brittle, and susceptible to illness. If you’re experiencing dry skin, achy joints, restless- fitful sleep, erratic thinking, anxiety, insecurity, loneliness-these are all common symptoms of excess Vata in the system.


This season, I will admit that I have been feeling extra anxious and loneliness. I found myself yet again in probably my deepest Samskara. Samskaras are impressions. Recollections, or psychological imprints.


My deepest impression is when my Dad left my mother when I was 5. It shook my world. Since my earliest memories, I remember my throat getting a lump in it, I couldn’t speak and all I could do was cry. He was my everything. Daddy’s girl. Within my history of relationships, I have had some successful relationships, or let’s say growth, but I have always found myself with either addicts or avoidant types of some sort. Someone I could take care of. I’ve realized that my biggest addiction is love addiction. My Samskara=abandonment. We are not victims to our stories, although I fell in it hard with this last lover I was with. You see, he lives 3000 miles. My friend who lives in the same building as him expressed to me to stay away from him. Not only that, but he admittedly told me he was a commitment phobe on our second date. My whole nervous system said “danger,” and yet I still decided to enter, because he was sweet, charming, good looking, a talented musician, a fire fighter, and wanted to practice yoga? I thought to myself, this will just be a fling. Then the oxytocin kicked in. The thrill of of the chase. Always trying to win back the first impression of the masculine presence. Or maybe he would be the hero that might save me from my own abandonment. Honestly, I didn’t think anything would stem from it. But then I found out he had the same name and same birthday as my ex that I lived with over 12 years ago. Coincidence? No, samskaras and karma. It was yet another opportunity to see what I have learned in the school of earth. After him coming out to visit me and many conversations of how he is not ready for what I have to offer, we finally had closure a few weeks ago. I decided to rip the band-aid off and let that wound bleed. Which is painful, which brings me to maybe another fall and winter alone. I once again, abandoned myself. My love addiction would get a hit of euphoria every time I heard from him, and every time I didn’t- the most excruciating painful withdrawal.


The last 4 relationships all had a similar theme. The first, a sex addict. The second, also a sex- addict who ended his life, the 3rd an avoidant-attachment who travelled full time for work and had invited me to visit him in Mexico and told me out of all the women he had dated, I was the one he could go deepest with. We made plans for me to come down to Mexico and then bailed on me for someone else. Remembering Maya Angelou’s quote, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time,” I told myself, after the 3rd, I would listen from the beginning. Now here was the 4th. Here was my test and I decided to give this Samskara one more ride. Abandonment-my samskara, my story, my shadow, my biggest asura (demon). This one took me down, I hit rock bottom. In conjunction with a dear friend who recently died in a plane crash, I myself, had feelings of wanting to end my life. The grief was so raw. Everywhere we turn we see some relationship is ending, someone’s parent is sick or dying, and life is just plain messy and raw. In sanskrit there is a term Parinamavada which means, constant change. This constant change is mostly why we feel anxiety.


I’m writing this in hopes of not to depress you, but in complete transparency that I am 100% human, and anxiety and depression are no strangers to me. Although I don’t believe in mistakes, I believe it’s growth….I do make mistakes, I fall and sometimes that fall plummets so far down the abyss that it’s hard to see a way out, and then grace comes in and picks me up and I find my way again. When I healed my addictions to alcohol and drugs that I believed to be my biggest demons, I just needed to dig a little deeper and see what else was there that I was actually running from. Our biggest wounds can be our biggest allies, we transmute them into wisdom. We set all that is not serving us into the fire of this practice and with this comes discernment and we can shine a light on these shadowy parts of oursleves. We must destroy before we create. This is when our Samskaras can dissolve. The first step is simply awareness around it. From the darkness, we get all the nutrients there and we grow. So no matter what is up for you, if you are up or down, feeling expansive or contracted, know that this is all part of the whole. In this time of great balance of light and dark and as we move towards winter solstice, my prayer for you and all of us is that we move towards our wholeness and balance.

I also have made a pact with my soul, that I will truly listen deeply from the beginning and say no to anyone or anything that is not in alignment with my deepest purpose here on earth. I will only say yes to someone who has the same vision to thrive and grow together. 


What is your samskara? What are you willing to turn towards and make friends with? What are you willing to dissolve? As we move towards the darkest part of the year, how can we reflect on the past, recapitulate all that has come before and turn that into wisdom. 

You are not alone, we are in this together, and we are stronger together. This is why we build sangha (community). We help to hold each other accountable. This is why we do these rituals, to stay strong and fortify ourselves from this wild ride that we are all on. Also, through this process I have continued to get energy healings to help get my power back. Please inquire within on these healing modalities that I am able to offer now.

There is still space for Cuba and Morocco. Retreats are profound ways to unplug and really nourish the self.

See you in the classroom or somewhere in between.


All my love,


Erika


#erikavangemeren

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