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Life Lessons from the Incredible Chinese Circus

Two days ago Ananta and I went to the circus. It was called El Increible Circo Chino, Los Niños de Oro de Beijing. It was her first time to go to the circus as a child, and my first time to go as a Mom…it was fun overall, but it was also an unexpected learning experience…

A&a @ the circus

Considering it was called “The Incredible Chinese Circus,” it was a little bit strange to see a beautiful blonde girl dancing in the air (telas) as the first act of the night… it was amazing all the same. I’ve seen better performances for free in the park right in front of our home, but I am always awestruck at how graceful those ladies are, despite the amount of strength and force they have to exert to be held up high in the air in such elegant poses…still smiling, toes pointed (or flexed, depending on what they’re doing), every part of their body activated so they can get to the next mid-air asana, in such a fluid manner. 

I don’t think the first time I saw a performance like that was as a child, but I’ve always been enchanted by the graceful acrobats I’ve seen as an adult, thinking…I wanna be able to do that someday. Once or twice I got free lessons from ex-neighbors who studied Artes Cirquenses (Circus Arts) in a school run by one of the original members of the Cirque du Soleil, but for one reason or another, I didn’t persevere.
I thought I did the whole shebang on circus night…I got us golden-side tickets, we ate cotton candy (another Ananta first) and a big bag of popcorn, got our picture taken, and nearly rode a pony (lil’A chickened out at the last minute though 🙂 ). I didn’t actually…because I was just regretting that I didn’t buy the picture they took of Ananta & I.
I clearly remember when I double-thought it though. “Should I?
My brain immediately shouted “No! It’s too expensive,” while my Heart faintly whispered “Do it! Even if it’s not the perfect picture, it will be a beautiful memento.” Now I’m like “I love you…but you’re an idiot. You just missed out on having a printed photograph (versus a digital file, like all the other pictures we now have) of your virgin-visit to the circus as mother&daughter, while Ananta was eating blue cotton candy for the first time, all because it cost $50pesos ($5usd).
I know, boo me for being a cheap-o…and I thought I went all out. :S
Another thing I was regretting was hesitating on a free invitation to see the circus again.
By the end of it, as Ananta and I were the last ones to leave the sala, the announcer came up to us and asked if we enjoyed the show. I said yes, mentioning Ananta has been to a telasclass once. I think I was really just deflecting my own amazement for that act. “O yeah?” He said, “Be my guest next time you want to come back”.
There again, was that moment of hesitation.
Paranoid/ego-centric-me was like “Holy shit, He’s flirting with you!” All I could do was smile shyly, say thank you, and try to leave right away. 
Ananta aero-dancin’ it

OMG! Have I really forgotten to Go All Out & Flirt Around Life??? When I was in college I used to think being that carefree and flirting were the fun-est things ever! (after going to gigs and rockin’ out to live music) It was harmless if you wanted it to be, or it could get wild and crazy. It made me feel so alive, and there was this living-on-the-edge feeling that required you to always be confident in every step of the way.

I have an idea about why things have changed since then…but if there’s anything that I got out of kicking myself in the ass for a couple of minutes last night, it’s that you should never forget to Go All Out and Flirt Around Life…it will only go as far as you want it to. (If it’s only a free ticket to the circus, then it’s a free ticket to the circus…if it’s one telas class versus training for real and actually learning, then it’s just the one class and nothing more).

Dance around Life, baby…and you can’t go wrong.

ab ab ab
Yesterday Ananta was asking me about what I liked most about the circus (I said the acrobats), and when I asked her in return, she said the tigers.
There were 3 Sumatran tigers. They were magnificent, but it was a pretty sad act. The medium-sized one was the one that struck me the most; it was the only one that still had it’s fangs. It didn’t look it was very happy to be in the circus, so while it obeyed the ringmaster’s commands (although not always right away), it did so with a defiant look – mouth wide open, fangs very visible, and fierce feline eyes.
The largest, strangely, was also the most obedient one. That one definitely didn’t have his fangs anymore – he opened his mouth a couple of times. Perhaps they took them out to tame him, which was heartbreaking…it was like he had re-signed himself to a life he didn’t want to live because he had no fangs anymore. (Well duh, if they ever put him back in the wild, which I doubt, how will he find food without them?!)
I’m not so sure if the smallest one had fangs or not, it never opened its mouth…perhaps because it’s been in the circus since it was a cub so it doesn’t really know what it’s like to be wild.

ab ab ab

Sometimes the greatest lessons you learn in life come to you when your heart breaks. I didn’t cry a river on circus night, in fact, I had a lot of fun. But while it was amazing to see the tigers so close, it also broke my heart. Witnessing their act reminded me to always trust your instincts (never EVER let them take your fangs away).
One more thing…don’t raise your cubs in a cage. I know it’s a jungle out there, but that’s where they should be to learn the ways of this wild, wild world…it’s the only way their tiger spirits shine through their eyes, even if they never get to know the jungle.

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Gatu-bella

Once upon a time, in the desert, I Fell In Love. In that journey I learned that Love is free, and Love is respect.
Later, with another, love was cruel and it hurt…but, the same one also gifted me with the kind that is Boundless and Knows No End.
Through the years I’ve learned that Love is passionate and about compassion.
It is tempered despite temptations.
Love is silent.
And sometimes, love drives you crazy you can’t stand it.
Pushkin, our feline friend, is in-Love.
There is this slender black cat that comes to visit him every night, and eats his food. He patiently waits for that pussy, purring for her, and when she finally comes he licks her chest and playfully bites at her neck.
Poor little guy. What he doesn’t know is that she probably does that to all the other cats in the block…let them nip at her in exchange for a bit of their kibble; and she has no plans of staying.
I feel so drawn to that beautiful black cat though.
One night she dropped by and from behind the balcony’s sliding glass door her big, light-yellow eyes shone through…it was like Love at first sight all over again.
Once I caught her inside the house rummaging through the trash. I’m sure that as soon as she heard my first step she was already heading for the door…by the time I got outside she was already running down the same staircase where I first saw Pushkin, hot and hurt, or so he seemed to me.
It started out with a little bit of Water.
I filled up a 5-gallon bottle cap and set it behind him as I rushed out to catch the afternoon bus. By the time I got home that night A&a had already taken him in.
I’ll confess.
The first night I left him outside the front door because I was annoyed he kept on scratching the Yoga mats while I burnt the midnight oil writing in my journal.
The next day he was gone.
When Ananta woke and I told her that the cat had left, she was heartbroken. I felt so bad when I saw that sad look on her face…and then all I could do was wish for it to come back.
A day later he did. And on his first official night home was when I saw the Black One.
Since then I’ve been back-and-forthing as to how I feel about having a cat.
He’s pretty damn smart…he goes potty in the shower.
(To litterbox or not to litterbox? That is the question)
The toughest one so far is dealing with how I feel about him on the bed. I think he pretty much knows he’s not supposed to hop on, after the million times I’ve pushed him off…he must’ve gotten it by now.
Or, for all I know he does anyway when I’m not looking, or when the kids let him…

I’m working on it though.
It’s the first time I’ve adopted a cat and I’m adapting…one thing I realized from a recent Love-challenge is that Pushkin is a Life after all, no less than the trees or the stars, or my daughter, whom I love without end.

Tonight I left food out for her, that pretty, black pussy that Pushkin purrs for at night.
As I caress his back, he falls asleep waiting; and when she finally comes I do not stir.
I sat silently as he watched her eat. Later, he let her come in…I wonder what other hokey-pokey happens when there are no voyeurs around.
Mmm…
I hope you get a little bit of lovin’ tonight, Pushkin. (So at least someone in this house will)
You’re free to choose whom to love and I respect that, because I do, at the end of the day – this one in particular; love you.
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how do i attain my purpose?

Ninth Moon: Solar Moon of Intention (March 7-April 3)
Totem animal: Jaguar
How do I attain my purpose?
So in the 13-moon calendar that I follow today is the last day of the 9th moon/month. It’s called the ninth Solar Moon of Intention and it always corresponds to Gregorian March 7th-Apirl 3rd. The totem animal is a Jaguar, and the “guide question” for the month is How do I attain my purpose?  
This was a very good question to ask/answer at this point in my life… because not too long ago I started to ACTIVELY ENGAGE my Work in the World.
Ok…let’s pause for a moment…because that sentence all of a sudden seemed very vague to me. Because now that I think about it; I’m not really sure when I started to do this “actively engaging” stuff…
Was it when I first had a vision of being the Mother of the Next Enlightened One (which extended on to thinking that every child born at this day and age could be the next Buddha/Jesus/Mohammed etc)?
Maybe it was when I became a Mother myself…
Was it when instead of pushing through with Yoga teacher training (YTT) I took the Agents of Conscious Evolution course offered by Barbara Marx Hubbard, one of the leading rEvolutionary thinkers alive at this time?
Or, was it when I did the first part of YTT, or when I completed it almost a year after I started?
I first thought it was when I was so breathless thinking about how to step into my new “Yoga Teacher shoes” (you don’t really use shoes in the shala J), that I decided to get help from a Life Purpose mentor.
But maybe…it was when I was around 6 years old that I said my ambition in life was to be a Saint. It kind of still is…Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a saint, right? (I was raised a Catholic)
And what of this “Work in the World?” What does that even mean??? Why the capital letters?
See…there was something that I didn’t put in the list of the last moon’s I BELIEVE IN list.
I believe that each Human alive at this time is here, on planet Earth, for a reason. Not many of us were actually planned by our parents, but it is no accident that we are all here. Each One.
There is Something in you that, when you were born into this world, at some later point in your life, needs to be born through you.
I’m not talking about having kids (although for me, being Ananta Malaya’s mom is an essential “ingredient” for my Something). I’m talking about a Life Project. A Legacy. Your Reason for Being. A Life Purpose. Your Unique and Essential Gift. A Cause. A Dream. Your Divine Role in the World.  A Soul Calling. Call It what you want…but for now I am calling it my Work in the World.
I’m not really sure how I came to use this term, but having been around people who really walk their talk as to their Life Purpose (that which they were born for, and that which they choose)…I see how their Soul Calling permeates EVERY part of their being – how they live & talk, what they eat & do, how they pray, and most importantly (& courageously), what they do for a living is (also the how they earn a living, but what really struck me is the what). This is what has been so inspiring to me.
I’m really lucky, you know. Somehow, in some way, I have come across and learned from world-class rEvolutionaries, successful and inspiring teachers, and most recently…a big-hearted mentor that just didn’t give up on me – I didn’t realize what kind of a commitment actively engaging my Work in the World would involve! (So even while I was coach-whoring it all over the place and I almost ended a wonderful working relationship…that person believed in Me, in my Dream, in my Unique & Essential Gift.)
I’m still not entirely certain what my Work in the World will involve (something about Natural Time? Yoga? Moms & kids?)…but that’s why I’m taking the second step in my mentoring process at the Medicine Tree Center. My hope is that we all find that person/community/mentor that will believe in us no matter what, so we can attain our Purpose, step by step, one day at a time.
How do I attain my Purpose?
1. Set clear intentions – Being the Solar Moon of Intention, I thought this should go first J
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself – Have the patience of a seed…trees don’t grow overnight, and neither will your Life Project!
3. Be proud of what you’ve done so far!
4. Do what needs to be done for the day
5. Le yourself be vulnerable to those closest to you
6. Honor your past and those that have walked with you on your journey, and look forward to the future, even if it is without (some of) them – last day of Medicine Circle round 1
7. Communicate –your thoughts, feelings, and most especially your Dream
8. Learn from others who are actually living their Work in the World – read this blogpost
9. Identify your 3MITs (Most Important To-dos) for the day, and pat yourself on the back when you get it all done J
10. Remember: ONE PROJECT AT A TIME – zoning in on finishing Creative Project #1: Making Mothers Visible Puerto Vallarta (MMV-PV)
11. Keep on working on your project (no S – singular!), even if it’s moving at a snail’s pace
12. Give yourself a break and enjoy your day off! – michelada de camaron, yo!J
13. Be financially responsible
14. Prize your efforts
15. Follow UP!
16. Meditate on the Light in you
17. Admit when you’re burnt-out and take steps to nurture yourself ❤ – a better version of this is: take care of yourself so you don’t get burn-out!
18. Get emotionally connected to your goals so they’re not just something to check off your To Do list – that was my take away from a session with Mommy Coach T
19. To generate excitement (yours and theirs), update others on your projects – after gaining momentum on MMV-PV, posted on its FB wall
20. Let others help you, eve in you don’t ask out right
21. Bask in the Moonlight – slept on my Yoga mat, under the light of Grandmother Moon…o yeah! J
22. Don’t be scared to take the second step – Heart Transmission received after Sacred Business Intensive Webinar #2
23. Let your Work in the World permeate your daily life – from the time you wake up, on the bus, during your day job (if you’re still not fully immersed in your Work in the World), and until the moment you sleep…
24. Talk about your Vision – even if it sounds crazy (being the Mother of the Next Enlightened One…hello?)…talking about your Vision keeps the fire in your Heart burning, and just might inspire those you’re talking to
25. Take note of the messages in your dreams – dreams aren’t just dreams…they’re messages from the Realm of Mystery
26. Share your experiences, aspirations & plans, and if you must cry while doing so, let the sea within you flow
27. Its unimportant if you don’t know what kind of Tree you’re growing, just keep on tending to the Seed of your Vision – your Work in the World starts will sprout out from the Seed of your Vision…it doesn’t matter if you don’t exactly know what your Humble Offering is…what matters is you cultivate a relationship with your Vision.
28. Know what already supports your Vision, identify where you need help…and take steps to get it! – saying yes to  Medicine Circle 2,yo!