I sat today in reflection with Serena Olsen practioner of Inner Dance about the experience of living in NYC while on my path of finding clarity and connection to a sacred calling working with and through spirit. New York has been difficult to root myself fully here- my spirit often feels exhausted, my heart often feels heavy and my mind often feels like it does not have the capacity to hold all the thoughts feel like they are racing. And yet I remain in New York because something inside me repeats the messages that “You are here for a reason. You need to be here. You belong here and have important work to do here.” I breathe through these messages with understanding despite the difficulties I have faced in my time here.
Serena and I reflected on the construction of New York City and how it makes work with spirit so much more difficult. This is a place where the constructs are ever vertical, layering, building upon building because a majority of the vertical has already been covered. New York destroys memories with each construction, and these are raised vertically more and more with “success” in the monetary/capitalistic sense of what that is.
Just the same the notions of goals, purpose and path are all vertically driven, to better you must be better than the other- competition and hierarchical structures are the way we are taught to function. There is very few spaces where we are looking to be in communal exchange and see the benefit of self being connected to the benefit of all others. The way we move is with the intention to move toward our “success”- and NY’s choices are rooted in just that- we say “Yes” when we feel achievement and success will be welcomed. We say “No” when the possibility of failure is present.
And when we feel what has been constructed is not worth consuming or is no longer with the flow of the popular, the current, the mass appeal we build over it. We layer over what was once there. The ancestral land has a building built upon it and then that building begins as possibly a family owned shop, then becomes a start-up, then becomes a condo and a high rise and so on. Layering over and over erasing memories of what was once there. And the land continues to absorb the destruction, it holds all these memories, and we choose not to listen to its pain-we forget it’s messages and the way it holds foundational roots of ancestral knowledge and spirit.
I see this being similar to why living with a goal of connecting to spirit is so difficult here. The same layering is happening to our beings. We layer over our wonder the conditioning, the conformity, the fears cloud the ancestral roots of our spirit that experiences with wonder that embraces all as same as self, that allows us gratitude and understanding of the importance of all beings and things in a place of service to each other. Layer after layer we become what someone, what the constructions around us, tell us we need to be. From childhood we are being taught in these metropolis environments to build upon the raw, wild and free self, ever in wonder- into individuals who are driven by “achievement” and constantly avoiding “failure”- based on conditions and standards that are made up, that are false.
The journey I have been walking to go deeper and deeper, to lift the veils, the masks, the layers- to reveal the memories, the roots of knowledge that connects us to ancestor and spirit I feel is never ending and the more that I accept and say yes to that uncovering, the more I feel alone. I have experienced many of my relationships in the city end in a way where we experience deep rooted moments of spirit exchange, of healing and looking at traumas and wounds and then following that experience there is lack of investment to go deeper, to do more delayering, to uncover the roots and ancestral, spirit knowledge that has been built over and often destroyed. The deeper I have gone, the more fear and ego have persisted in their attempts to stop me- the messages that say “Don’t continue in that path, you are crazy, naive, unreasonable, you will end up poor, outcasted, be reprimanded, disregarded.” “The material and physical recognitions, the acclaim, the fortune are what we all want- the liberty to live fully only comes with investment in what has been constructed, there is no use in trying to have else.” Its everywhere I walk.
Today I traveled through 14th St from 8th Ave to Union Square and I saw these messages everywhere and I heard the messages to enter stores, to be dressed in the latest apparels, to indulge myself in costly foods and treats, and even passing stores that were feeding the “metaphysical” were fully commodified- people paying to have more knowledge and more relics that connect them to spirit. The more we layer, the more we show our status of knowing, of having more material items, more means of luxurious living, having more knowledge, having more spirit. All the ego screaming at me. I tried to balance all the chatter that was speaking to what Serena described as seemingly an investment in the Crown and Root Chakra- the want to Achieve in the form of the Physical, but all that is in-between is being neglected and unbalanced. This creates the need for Financial Wellness to be a part of the balance of Mind, Body and Spiritually being well.
And so in a place like NYC when we make decisions about what we want to create, who we want to grow with, what experiences we want to invest in, we are lead by these notions of achievement, notions of what you will gain that is going to feed the physical/material/ financial wealth of your being, and in a way that will serve your “success” and being “recognized” for it. And when things are limited to only a few, we want it even more, because it greatest achievement to have what others do not, and cannot have. I see all these creations that reflect human progress and advancement and we are not all given the opportunity or capability of accessing it, because that would not serve these constructions that have been created. Could you imagine a world where everything that was created was accessible to every person? How rich the human experience would be, how we could advance and grow and create so much more with collective, unified elevation and evolution, where no one is left to suffer not having what others have, what only a limited, elite, “successful” have worked to “achieve”?
When we begin hearing the messages beneath all of these constructs, the deep under the buildings, in the ancestral land type of knowledge that says “What you are letting lead you are constructions, buildings, illusions, and you can build something else, something that serves us all,” it creates disruption and it is frightening and it feels like there are not enough who will follow in that- that are willing to abandon the constructs and create something new- and something inside of you says- “Maybe I’m not willing either.” And thus it continues. And is the reason I know I have had to release many relationships in my life, because I cannot accept that this world that has been created based on patriarchy, capitalism, hierarchical structures, guilt, shame, fear is the ONLY one that we can live in. I see, hear and feel past all these things the further I say “YES” to the path of spirit and ancestor speaking to me- when I listen to the trees, to the water, to the skies, when I listen deeper to the longing in people I meet to have a world that is invested in every individual’s belonging and elevation and ability to just live- and live well. A world that is invested in every person being given the right to food, shelter, and living life fulfilled- where every creation made by human innovation and progress is meant to be utilized by everyone and is meant to last because it is not just being constructed to feed constructions that value one persons ability to live fuller over millions and billions of others.
I’m searching for community in this, in particular in the Pilipino community, but here in this city, it is so difficult to find the circles that are willing to say “YES” to the deconstruction, the delayering, the deepening of the listening and seeing that feels so unknown, to the invitations to not live in the constructions of division, of competition, of the want to achieve above the other. I’m searching for you to exchange with me in this, in this city. I believe that is why I stay. Because I believe that this place needs more individuals inviting us to listen to spirit.
I have been cultivating my self practices for healing daily and have been seeking spaces to grow community that are in NYC, that I don’t have to feel so distant from, that will ground me in my path and elevate my existence as I become my greatest self and that I can exchange with in return, I’m still here because I believe in the possibility. I am here. I am listening. I invite you to listen and exchange and learn and practice with me.
Thank you Serena for reflecting with me. This obviously is still being unpacked. And is continuously something I am struggling through. I am always open for communication, I am always searching for shared experiences and shared opportunities to overstand.
Sunday, October 16, 2016 is the one of the last days of Serena’s visit offering Inner Dance experience in NYC this run before headed to the Bay Area, West Coast and then possibly returning back to the Philippines. Don’t let cost turn you away, she is offering discounts for all to be able to attend. Remembering it is all energy exchange.
I am currently working on bringing others who I have exchanged with from across the globe to teach us their spiritual and ancestral practices rooted in Pilipino cultural learning. All are always welcome, the invitations are continually meant to bring us closer to each other in a way where we can see beyond a world that has been constructed. I hope to continue peeling past the layers.