Ida & Pingala

Ancient Tantric (Hindu) texts speak of Ida and Pingala, Ida being the left side of the body that represents the moon and feminine energy, while Pingala is the right side of the body and represents the sun and masculine energy. (St. Francis of the Christianity referred to the sun and moon as “Brother Sun”, and “Sister Moon”.) This is a gross simplification of the idea, but simple often does the trick.

Upcoming events in my life are causing me to reflect on some sweet and difficult memories from the past 5 years (give or take), and I like to use this idea of Ida & Pingala– energies of Brother Sun and Sister Moon–as a sift for reflecting on different kinds of moments.

Exhibiting or acting out of masculine energy has nothing to do with the state of being male. Just so, demonstrating moon or feminine qualities or behavior is unrelated to being female. These are energies of the spiritual world, beheld only from a spiritual posture, and the spiritual being knows not the polarities of gender (that we get caught up in physically).

The Ida moments of my life relate to times of rest, rejuvenation, renewal, and cleansing. Most nights over the past 5 years I spent alone, or in a house with people from whom I felt disconnected. Channeling my Ida energy, I often played a worship song, hymn, or lullaby on my phone, as I held it close to my breast and cried myself to sleep. It was Ida energy that brought a smile to my face the first time I held a brand new baby in my arms at the hospital. Ida energy has compelled me to stay in bed or in the back yard when culture’s roar of masculine hurry would have had me run my weekend away in the exhaust of traffic and retail stores. Ida energy is meditating and meditating again when anxiety resurfaces like acid in the throat. Ida energy is unhurried, balanced, and essential to thrive.

In vibrant contrast, Pingala speaks to high energy action, standing ground, pushing through challenges and rising in the face of insurmountable odds. Pingala is our energetic radiance, the wise channeling of muscular, robust energy (in balance with the rest and surrender of Ida). When I put my foot in the dirt and decided that I would take steps to spend my life with the man I love, no matter the wait required, I channeled Pingala. Placing copies of Bible passages to read at the end of each lap I swam in order to strengthen body and mind was fierce utilization of Pingala. This energy led me in discipline (Tapas, in yogic thought) when I started using a timer to create space between bites of food in order to liberate myself from eating to nourish a wounded soul instead of the body that could best tell me what to eat and how to eat it. Pingala energy is strong, creative, and ground-breaking.

The funny thing is, both energies piss people off. And a healthy balance of both? Prepare for boundary conflict, my friend. We often do not find ourselves worthy of one or the other, or we naturally gravitate towards cultivating one and neglecting the other. Unfortunately, when we deprive ourselves of one or the other, we often resent our neighbors for having a healthy balance, or for tipping towards our weaker side. Working with these energies, we may be judged, we may find ourselves sitting in judgment of others. Either way, they are ideas as gorgeous as Brother Sun and Sister Moon in the sky above us, integral parts of our Divine selves.

In remembering, I give thanks. In giving thanks, I remember Who I Am.

Love,

 

Lydia Nomad

 

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What Makes a Good Life?

Breathing, sitting, meditating, taking long Saturday naps. These are hazardous exercises, my friends. How so? Well, participate in this rebellion and one finds oneself asking alarming questions such as, Do I Like My Job?, Do The People In My Life Encourage Me?, Am I Working Too Hard?, How Long Has It Been Since I Sat Down to a Good Meal With Friends, or What Makes a Good Life?

The last question is delicious: What Makes a Good Life? What. Makes. A. Good. Life. It is a question that comes from deep in the girdle of ones being. Try and prescribe what the thinking mind calls “good” for life without consulting the body, mind, heart, and spirit, and end up with a schedule bursting at the seams, and yourself in the role of consumer. A prescription is unnecessary. Just listen. The travails and dead ends of every day are speaking into what makes and does not make your life good.

I write these words because My Life and I have been discussing this Good Life topic lately. Now in a full time position, but still working out part time commitments, and cultivating ethical habits at home (gardening/composting/recycling/actually cleaning stuff), I say to you, LIFE IS REAL BRUH. It is taxing, exhausting, and calling me to live from that girdle of being, and not settle for anything short of my Sat Nam (true self). Settling or compromising part of myself leads–as yet without fail–to frustration, internal conflict, and eventual disconnection from one or more of my core values (for help to identify your core values, click here). Those frustrations are redemption disguised for they catalyze this holy question: What Makes a Good Life?

 

 

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Raw & Real, Earth redeems us by calling our muchness to surface.

Friends, I say. Friends faces around a bonfire or dinner table, simultaneously remembering and creating. Hours on the couch with a kitten or cat, I declare, make a life gooooood. Legs curled under me and a soft blanket with a Madeleine L’Engle novel in hand. The smell of incense and the sensation of fingertips pressed into a sticky mat, hips rising in Adho Muka Svanasana. Meditation makes a Good Life, and the practice of Pranayama (channeling the inherent inner Life Force via breathing exercises). Vegan food, bought from ethical sources. Long conversations or silent walks around a lake. Toes on dirt, shovel playing with the layered compost pile. Throwing dry leaves into the air and watching them fall like glitter. Travel travel travel. Live music or listening to a song on Spotify that makes me weep as I hold my phone against my chest before I fall asleep. Exploration of the natural world is undoubtedly a pillar of a Good Life. Taking time to greet my own wide smile in the mirror before and after the day. Talking to young people about their authentic feelings and perceptions. Touching the skin of people who are old enough to wear it like soft cloth. Looking at baby hands and feet as they kick and learn to grab.

 

 

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You, Little One, make this a Good Life.

 

Sometimes not doing an activity, not making a commitment, or even cancelling one that is already made, is the path to a Good Life. Turning off the television or current video playing on your phone ALWAYS leads to better life. These practices and experiences, sacred and most often simple, in addition to removal of that which lowers the quality of my life’s essence (TV, videos, too much work, “obligatory” social events), I have found to make A Good Life.

Ask and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. ~Jesus, our precious Jesus

Amen. Shanti.

Lydia Nomad