There is a place inside you called the Magic Dojo.
It’s a very special place. A sacred space.
You were born with this Dojo right inside your heart. There is nothing you need to do to earn the right to visit. You know how I’m often calling you a Spark of the Divine? Well, this is where that spark lives… right there in the Magic Dojo of your heart.
Meet Dojo Birdie, the Ass Kicker of Light.
I affectionately call my spark, ‘Dojo Birdie, the Ass Kicker of Light.’
I love Dojo Birdie because she can hold powerfully in her center and she’s not easily pushed over or knocked down. She knows why she’s in the Dojo and she doesn’t forget. She’s not an Ass Kicker of Light because she’s unkind to others or causes harm, she is fierce in the way she holds the line for herself and others.
Dojo Birdie knows how to get me back home to center after a time of spinning. All I ever have to do is call on her. Doesn’t matter if it’s been moments or hours or even days… I just close my eyes, place a hand on my heart, take a deep breath and I am there with her again in the Magic Dojo.
It does take a willingness on my part.
Am I willing to trade my upset for peace? Am I willing to offer up my fear in exchange for love? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Sometimes it all feels like too much and it seems easier to check out than to check myself into the Dojo. In my book, this is all okay.
Even in the forgetting, there is a practice which is being remembered.
If you’re reading this and you realize you aren’t always willing or you’re scared or you just don’t always recognize that you’re lost in the weeds it’s totally okay. This is a practice not a perfect. It doesn’t make you undeserving or bad or even a sinner. You never were, you never could be, and I still love you no matter what.
Your essential spark is the same no matter where you are in the process of forgetting and remembering.
Your Dojo, Your Rules
I have heard the stories about the One Right Way of doing things.
I know the promise I feel in my belly when someone gets all preachy-preachy about there being this one right way but you have to remember that they are talking about their one right way, not yours. You have to practice with this because some people can preach really LOUD and BIG! They may have a large following and it can feel very confusing to be swimming in the other direction.
Your Dojo, your rules.
I sometimes like to visit the Dojo in my hammock with Winston the Wonder Dog.
Often we visit in our jammies. Shhhh… don’t tell Winston he isn’t wearing any!
Did I mention there are cookies in my Dojo?
I resisted the Dojo for the longest time.
I was afraid.
I wasn’t ready.
I was sure something bad would happen.
I thought part of me would die off and then who would I be without THAT?! How would I stay married? Would I still have friends?
Maybe I’d reach some kind of Nirvana and would leave my body and get “stuck” way out in the stratosphere somehow unable to return.
So far so good…
Some of the stuff I feared has happened. Parts have definitely fallen away. Sometimes there are hard realizations which ultimately ask me to choose a new way of doing things. Or I realize I need to stand up for myself, set a better boundary.
There are plenty of moments when I realize that I am not ready to go any further than this too. Moments when the gap feels too wide. I don’t want to give up this or that, I don’t agree with this or that, the teaching is too big or too far and I am beginning to worry the next step is for me to take off for the desert to eat bugs. It’s totally fine to go no further.
The wisdom in my Dojo says: It’s ok. Nobody asked you to do that anyway. You are perfect and holy and loved exactly as you are. If you would just remember this, so much of your suffering could be avoided.
My Dojo, my rules.
We do not need to suffer in order to feel joy
Oh, the list of things I have done in the name of becoming “saved.” Long list.
Looking back I see that each time I set out on this thing or that, I was beginning with a point of view that said I was not okay. It was really never about my seeking deeper connection with myself or even one with the Divine.
It was always about fixing what was wrong with me.
I could tell you about my 108 Sun Salutation practice where I’d catch my mind chanting, Eff You! Eff You! in time with the movements.
Or ALL of the ones involving Jesus and my securing the one true Ticket to Heaven.
Most of these stories crack me up now but it would be more honest to tell you that some of these still make me feel very sad and a little bit embarrassed. When I am ready, I will tell you.
Today the story I am thinking about is my stay in the Ashram.
I should tell you that most of my suffering came from pushing myself before I was ready. It came from ignoring how I was feeling and deciding with my puny mind that I could DO THIS!!!!!
It has less to do with the ashram or the practices.
So I went to an ashram.
I stayed there for a much longer time than I was prepared to handle.
I still follow some of the practices today, I still follow the teacher. It wasn’t about that.
It was that this was a time when I was sure that my salvation could be found in donning a turban, taking a vow of silence, fasting and doing lots and lots of poses. I failed to see that these acts alone could not make the transformation happen. This was at a time in my spiritual development when all of this was going down like a big fat belly smacker. I wasn’t ready. It was an ego journey and the peace I clung to was fakey-fakey.
It was well before I was receiving help for myself from someone who had my back and would have questioned my reasoning…
During my stay at the ashram, enemas were delivered to our rooms which we were to self-administer. This was part of the healing plan which went along with the fasting. I may or may not have done these.
One day – and during a stretch of days when everyone was to be in silence – I witnessed a man attempting to explain to an ashram employee that the end of his enema tube had become firmly lodged up his butt. His gesticulating seemed to suggest that no matter what he had tried, the tube would not come out.
The woman handed him a banana and sent him away. Somehow the banana would make everything right. Only it didn’t for him – he told me so on the way back to the airport several days later – but that scene sure helped me wake up. I realized what kind of stupid thing I had been doing to myself, going there seeking my salvation… putting myself through all of this in the name of, “This Should Be Good For Me.”
I had been banging around that ashram, most of my time spent avoiding certain practices or getting away from the weirdos or just trying to kill time. I was that person who smuggled a portable DVD player into the ashram so I could watch (ha you cannot make this stuff up!) Keeping Up Appearances. And each night, even though I wasn’t supposed to, I walked the distance to a payphone and called #1 husband to complain.
I just was not ready. It’s not that the place, or the people, or the teachings were bad or wrong. It’s that I wasn’t ready. And I also went there on a faulty premise. I believed there was something wrong with me.
I am grateful to see this now. Sometimes there is no other way to develop deep compassion for ourselves without such hard experiences which we ourselves create.
There would be more “adventures” like this before I realized it didn’t take a wilderness retreat to contact the Divine.
Anything which causes further suffering, even in the name of healing, is not helpful to you.
There is a gentler way. You can sit in your own Magic Dojo and contact your own inner Dojo Birdie, Ass Kicker of Light. You can begin to practice visiting your Dojo right now, here is a little journey I recorded for you.
You were born with your very own Magic Dojo and there is nothing you need to do to earn the right to visit. You just need to remember that it’s there. You don’t need to earn your way there. You don’t need to be forgiven in order to get there. You just need to choose to visit.
Rock it like you mean it,