Spiritual Manifesto

We walked to the west side studio to stake claim to my prizes. I had never been to this location so I was stoked to finally see it. When we arrived, I gave Quinn the hard glare to suggest she better not move an inch while I was inside. I walked in and told the young lady my name and that I received an email from Sheila that I had won The Humble Warrior giveaway.

With as little fanfare and hype as can possibly be imagined, the young lady reached under the counter and handed me four envelopes in a cute, little, recyclable bag.  I wanted to ask a dozen questions, but I knew not to ask any.  I thanked the girl and went back out the swinging glass doors. Dog and me walked home, prizes in hand.

Envelope One was from The Chaminade Resort & Spa.  I opened it up and there was a short, hand written letter on letter-head from a guy named Trevor.  It basically said call or email ASAP to schedule a convenient time to meet and sign the six month agreement.

Envelope Two was from Divinitree.  Again, a hand written letter, and again on letter-head.  It was another Congratulations and a receipt for a six month unlimited at any of their three locations.

Envelope Three was a small beige envelope w/ what appeared to be the letters AA written on front.  Inside was a business card from a lady named Annette Aberneal with a little note that said, “Hey there Mr. winner. Let’s have a chat Wednesday this week, late morning, say 11:30?  My cell# is on my card.”

Envelope Four contained an anonymous type-written letter that struck a chord or two.  I read it a number of times.  Aside from wishing I had written this beautiful piece, I was super extra curious who had written the piece, and equally as curious how and why it ended up in my goody bag. It read:

My dear proud brother,

I know why you’ve always struggled to truly, fully love every woman you’ve ever wanted to truly, fully love.

I know why every romance you’ve ever indulged in for more than a sweet, fleeting moment soon threatened to overwhelm you.

I know why you still sometimes feel the urge to run from the burdens of relationship toward the promise of freedom in quiet, faraway hills where no woman will ever find you—and why you may be tempted to stay there forever.

I also know why you always return to her…and why you always will.
Because you’re not just merely a man; you’re a goddamn warrior for Love.

Deep in the marrow of your masculine core, you know you didn’t come here to play safe and pass time, simply scoring goals and notches on your bed post, or making money and fragile monuments to your pride.

Hell, no.

You came here to throw down with life, to get bloody and muddy earth all over your soul, as you charge gallantly each day beyond the edges of your hard-earned comfort zone.

You are wise, ancient stardust sculpted into mighty earth come alive. You are a volcano with a hot molten heart at your core, risen to offer your authentic love even in the face of forces that would overwhelm lesser men.

I know what’s been asked of you in this lifetime isn’t easy.

But if you’re ready to claim your birthright as a King amongst Kings, a heart-centered warrior-protector of the planet and all things true and good and beautiful, then it’s time you learn how to love a wild woman in her deliciously untamable fullness.

And you are ready to love all of her, because you’re a goddamn warrior.

I know your fathers and brothers and schoolyard playmates warned you to be wary of her. Through stern faces masking an ignorance they dare not confess, they insisted that the emotions and tears and unpredictable extremes of a feminine heart have no place in the productive, rational world of a “real man.”

Either flee or subdue the unpredictable heart of any woman in your midst, they cautioned, lest her raw power snap all your straight lines, ruin your portfolio and mercilessly break your fragile grip on sanity.

But you don’t buy that bullshit anymore.

Oh, I know you still tremble at the thought of her fiery Kali spirit unleashed like a hurricane in your world. You’ve been gutted and wrecked countless times by awful perversions of love. Too many women in their own fear and immaturity have assigned you the Mission Impossible task of making them happy and then tried to hang you when you failed.

Your psyche has been so badly burnt you can barely imagine anymore the woman who would inspire your devotion.

Fortunately, my good man, all that agony was just warrior boot camp.

Every chaotic, heart-wrenching love affair only served to bleed out the immature and wounded parts of you that would otherwise overthrow your Kingly heart.

You didn’t know it, but life has been preparing you for what’s about to happen: your unconditional surrender to a dazzling love that will sweep through you like a wildfire at dawn.

When she arrives, this love will finally teach you how to breathe through your heart down your spine and into your balls so you can stand full and courageous before the fire-breathing dragons life will never stop sending at you.

Naturally, your woman will train you with your own dragons, the ones still lurking in your shadows. She will know exactly where to find them and which spells turn them against you. She’ll delight in casting those spells, too, but only because she revels in watching you, with hungry, primal eyes, claim your mastery.

For that’s her greatest gift to you: mastery in devotion to love.
She will send those dragons after you whenever she doubts your commitment—not your commitment to her little tyrant ego’s selfish demands. No, she’s done her deep inner work enough to know we didn’t come to serve that scavenger dog.

It’s your commitment to love’s will that she wants to trust deeply. That’s the only way she’ll know you won’t abandon her and run for the hills when her own dragons get loose and try to set your hair on fire.

Oh, it’s gonna be spectacular, my brother!

For this journey of devotion is your awakening to the massive truth of who you already are: love, itself!

So give up once and for all using women’s healing energy to fill the goddess-size hole that ages of patriarchy ripped out of your heart.

Stop trying to shrink women into cute, manageable little pets who ask so little of you, and who you can easily love and accept. That just turns them into not enough for your daring soul, anyway.

You don’t need some passive sex-toy with an off-switch that you keep in the closet. You need a spirited sorceress singing shaman songs beside you as you sharpen your sword for battle, because you’re a goddamn warrior, after all.

You’re ready for the sacred quest to love all of her.

She will serve you well on this journey, for this one likes to run with the wild things. She will shine like bright starlight in your eyes and dance like fire to light your way home to your true self.

But it’s only her courage to offer you the fullness of her feminine soul, from her rage to her radiance, that will truly help you navigate deeper into the mystical realms of devotion. No timid woman will ever do for a true warrior.

Your muse is looking for you, my brother, and she’ll probably show up all smiley and sweet-scented. But make no mistake: she will be the best teacher of unconditional love you have ever known.

I suggest you leave your armor behind for this quest. Protecting yourself will only keep away what you most deeply desire, anyway.
Learning to love all of her will require you leave everything behind, actually, except your own authentic heart.

For she’s aching for nothing less than your true authentic heart to step up and boldly claim the untold treasures buried deep within her own.

YumYum

I had to alter our 5am walk. The normal way was putting Quinnie toe to toe with a skunk which was putting me toe to toe with worse. So we adjusted. Animal didn’t like it and tried as hard as heady dogs can try to get things back to the way they were, and I just kept telling her that the old way isn’t always the best way.

It was always Albrights Donuts. Small black coffee, no lid, w/ sleeve, buck fifty.  I usually paid with change. If there wasn’t anybody tending the counter, or even if there was, I would just put all the coin on the glass counter-top and say YumYum. Fact is, Albrights is on a legitimate street corner, and i don’t trust Quinn outside by herself for too long.  Too much sketch lurks at this hour, and she is not perfect. She has giant ears, and tweaks on things from time to time. Certain critters. Certain sounds. Certain homeless.

So we were now walking a slightly different way to get our coffee. Next to an unpopular fireplace showroom, I noticed a discreet little yoga studio for the first time. It was still pitch black.  A flickering candle of some sort was lighting up the lobby at this Divinitree Yoga studio. There were numerous flyers taped on the window. One in particular caught my eye. It was a giveaway they were calling the Humble Warrior Giveaway. There was of course a picture of somebody doing an incredible Humble Warrior pose, and the giveaway prizes were to die for.

It read: In 100 words or less, tell us why it is that you practice yoga. That simple. 100 words or less, why yoga.

The winner was to receive a six month pass at Divinitree, a six month spa and fitness membership at the exclusive Chaminade in Santa Cruz, PLUS a free inclusion in a three-week Yoga Training scheduled for spring 2016.  Wow!

There wasn’t too much small print either. The deadline to submit the entry was in five days. All entries needed to be received via email. Of course you had to be affiliated with this particular studio. The winner was to be announced on Friday, October 16th. I think that was about it.

The next day I joined this yoga studio. I had been meaning to surrender to yoga anyway, so I bought a two month unlimited pass. Therefore, just about the time my two month membership expiration would come due, that would also be about the time they were going to announce the winner to the giveaway.  Timing is clearly everything.

I now was a brand new yoga student.  I suppose I had done my share of Bikram in the past, and other forms of bending. This time though, I just knew deep down that this was going to be the breakthrough effort and the very beginning of a spiritual practice that was sure to reawaken me and prove that I am actually still alive.

But first thing was first.  The Giveaway.  I had four days to get my entry in, and I thought a lot about it. Do I use all 100 words? Do I use no words? Should I be funny? Should I be sad? Do I tell them that I have entered this contest just for the incredible prizes? Decisions.

Why do I practice Yoga? By Aaron Lubell

How’s it going? I’m a new student. I’m that guy without a smile. The guy drinking from the half empty glass. I appear to resemble a guy that has been unfavorably pigeon holed.  Do you know the term?  Well I do, and the aftermath has me feeling so raw and insecure that sometimes I am too emotional to even come out of Child’s Pose. But this is NOT who I truly am, and that is why I practice yoga.

For the next seven weeks, I made a point of getting to one class per day. If I felt too tired, I went to class. If I was too sad, I went to class. If it was too hot or too cold, I went to class. When I didn’t want to go to class, I went anyway.

On Friday, October 16, after the Hatha Flow class with Rosanne, Yogi Tom pulled me aside and asked if I had submitted an entry for that one giveaway. I told him I had forgotten all about it, but that YES, I did submit an entry. He reminded me that today was the day they were announcing a winner.  We made small talk, and he said he would see me on Monday for practice.

When I got back to the space I now call home, I checked my email. There was something in my inbox from Divinitree.

Dear Aaron, We received 93 entries for The Humble Waririor Giveaway, and your entry was chosen as the winning entry. Congratulations!! We are holding your prizes at our Westside Location. Please fly out of your pigeon hole and come see us tomorrow if you can. Yay!!  Again, congratulations. Namaste, Sheila

IMG_1150   IMG_1151

Pigeon Holed

He read her note.

One line stood out.

*

He read her next note.

The same line stood out.

Her third note was sickening.

And there was that same line again.

*

He wasn’t being called stupid, fat, or ugly.

He wasn’t being called a liar or Jew Boy.

He was being told worse.