The Experimental Warrior

Jessica Magnin

I preface this piece with a HUGE heartfelt thank you for your words of love and support. By sharing bits of my intimate path with you, there have been, in response, countless stories of your hardships that have profoundly touched me. Thank you for opening your hearts with courage and sharing your personal stories and feelings with me. Without knowing it, we have created a ”human connection of sensitive souls. ” I am grateful for your authentic self-disclosure and hope that this is just the beginning.

I aspire to inspire. This has been my calling since I was a little girl.  From the age of eleven and with the help of my mom who left a pencil and paper by my bed,  I began recording my dreams which soon became inspirations for my poems. I used my daily experiences and feelings as context to colour my writings and much later, the juice to infuse my teachings. Each life experience went in, was digested, sometimes giving me a belly ache and indigestion and then, came out in the form of words. I’ve never doubted that there would be a shortage of things to write about because life is always happening. This was the beginning of my journey. I became fascinated by human behaviour, the ways in which life unfolds and most of all, curious about how I participate in this dance. Finally, it became an invitation to LOOK attentively at my life rather than bury my head in the sand, especially when things knocked me off my centre. 

Within a lifetime, you will experience hardship. These ‘’challenges’’ are part of what makes up this thing called LIFE and contribute to your evolution.  I once read that it is not WHAT happens to you that causes your dissatisfaction or unhappiness but how you let your hardships affect you. Here’s the lowdown.  Life is either happening TO you or FOR you. If you choose to see life as something that happens to you you will helplessly be hit, one wave after another until life becomes one big tsunami. If you choose, and again it is a choice, to see life as happening for you hardships become offerings. It takes great humility to witness life as a precious gift and believe that each experience is unfolding FOR your evolution, interpreting it for what it is, a miraculous, ever-evolving journey.  From this perspective, you can make the changes that are within your power, learn to accept what is beyond, and apply your innate wisdom and humbleness to recognise the difference. 

Although they do not define us, our stories and hardships shape and forge who we have become. They become our guides, our faithful teachers, our life messengers from above that point us exactly where we need to be for our necessary growth. My stories and challenges are the precious gems that have granted me the foundation and the material to fulfil my calling, inspiring me to teach, share and continue to grow.  I don’t pretend to hold the key to ”your path” or have the ability to tell you what direction you must take for your optimal transformation, but I do know that your stories can be transcended into golden opportunities for your soul’s evolution. With that said, there is one thing that you must know. The only way for healing transformation to occur is by walking THROUGH, not around, your hardships. Walking through means leaning into those very awkward, uncomfortable feelings that normally send you running for cover.  

Your hardships ask you to step into the eye of the storm and witness without judgement how they make you feel and where your blind-spots are located. They ask you to see your resistance and your go-to for instant gratification intended to appease the discomfort. They ask you to face your fears with kindness. They ask you to forgive and make amends. They ask you to listen and extend loving attention and understanding for yourself. They ask you to be patient and stay put. They ask you to trust that the treasures will be revealed.

 Deep in the trenches of those places that make you feel out of sorts, you meet a very different you. The raw authentic one that has been waiting to have a voice. Sometimes you need to stay put a little longer than comfortable, and sometimes that feels like an eternity. You might notice how eager you are to rush the process of healing and return to normalcy but growth takes time. In waiting, you might be gifted -and yes, it is a gift to see your ways of numbing and deflecting- the urge to throw in the towel and grab the quick-fix-instant-gratification-thing (we all have our own) that makes everything rosy again; but remember, it doesn’t work that way. 

There are two paths- the path of comfort and the path of growth.  Both paths are intertwined with seeing life happening TO you or FOR you and ultimately the choice is in your hands. 

When I see life happening TO me I feel small, fragile, victimised and angry at life. Disconnected from my centre, fear fogs my mind and I spiral. I shut down, my heart and body contract, and I numb which creates more fear inside. I lose confidence in life and myself and feel very alone like I am the only person on this planet living this challenge. Severed from my soul, I want to dig a deep hole and disappear. 

Here’s the thing. As a reality check, you rarely allow yourselves to FEEl this far because it’s counter-intuitive to feel yuckiness on this level. Before the feelings sets in, you are already numbing yourselves with your go-to, be it TV, sports, alcohol, yoga, food, drugs, telephone; the list is too long but anything that makes you feel good and forget the discomfort. But there is always the morning-after when you wake to a mental mess, take a quick look in the mirror and know that despite your attempts to make the pain go away, it’s still there beckoning your attention. Depressed by this thought, you get busy and try to forget until it shows up once again on your doorstep. Paradoxically, this is the path of comfort, that keeps you stuck in this cycle and eventually creates a groove and maybe your grave.  

 When hardships appear on my path and obstacles stop me in my tracks, I began by asking myself, ”Is this experience happening to me or for me?”  This question sets the stage for how this experience will affect me.  I ask, ”How can I fully welcome this experience- neither good nor bad- as just an experience? What’s coming up for me- resistance, fear, sadness, doubt, anger, a memory of the past?  Where do I feel this in my body?  How can I step fully into this discomfort with fear and resistance? What can I change? Where can I surrender and what can I accept? What can I integrate and what can I transcend? 

When I see life happening for me life becomes a magical playground, full of opportunities to dance with what is playing out and eventually evolve. I co-participate with what crosses my path and know that in each moment I can practice truth and transcendence. When life gives me lemons, I do my best to make lemonade. When I see my challenges happening for me, I call upon my inner strength and resilience that crack my heart wide open with tenderness and vulnerability. My hardships humble me and make me wiser. They empower me to be accountable and responsible for my life and my attitude. They strengthen my bond with the Universe and enhance my trust in life. Sometimes there are a lot of emotions yet they become my barometer and guide me to where my attention is needed. My self-confidence shines as I honour my souls’ desire for truth and transformation. There is a tender kinship for myself that seeds love and empathy for my heart and the heart of others. I am grateful to be alive and for these opportunities to meet my soul. I have noticed that my awareness and intuition are heightened and creative juices flow. These are the gifts and so many more that await you if you should choose the path of growth. This is the path of the experimental warrior, the one who steps into the flames, sees through the story and hardship for the gold. Fear and doubt may well co-exist on this path and this is part of the terrain.  

They say, the more personal the more universal. For those of who question which path I have taken, rest assured that I am all for the growth. My personal experiences when shared, become universal and are an invitation for you to look inside and witness how you can transform your hardships and stories into opportunities for greater understanding and growth rather than be burdened by their weight 

May my words touch you

awaken your sleepy heart

inspire you to look inside and Feel what is there without shutting your eyes.

May my words be an invitation

to step into your hardships with coeur-age

invite you to look through your stories and see the gold.

May they create a chain reaction of authentic sharing and community

and may my words remind you that you are 

a spiritual being living a very human experience and

ultimately, we are in this together. 

Flirting with Death

Flirting with Death
Jessica Magnin
I’ve been lost in thought these past few days and haven’t been able to pause nor alter the direction of their spiral. There has been a lot of white noise and mind spinning without reprieve. To be honest, my thoughts haven’t been very friendly nor very up-lifting. Outside we are blessed with an abundance of light from this breathtaking weather yet inside, it’s rather dark. I am doing the best I can to welcome my thoughts and make space for these unwanted visitors, but the truth is, I want them to go home NOW and leave me alone.

There has been a lot of melancholy, a sense of deep sadness for our planet and how we have collectively taken it for granted, sadness for all the lost souls that are clinging onto whatever they can for solace, sadness for those that are losing their jobs and livelihood and deep sadness for the disconnection that so many feel including me. Maybe all this sadness is MY sadness for all those moments that I have taken for granted our Mother Earth, the times I have struggled with finding myself, sadness in the uncertainty of my future livelihood and the sadness I’ve felt when disconnected from my Spirit. There’s a deep sense of loss, death of what was. I am trying to be a good hostess and entertain the probability that these unwelcomed visitors are instrumental in understanding the bigger picture. I am trying to make room for them and allow them to stay as long as they may without hurrying their departure, but it is hard.

In a very small window of time, death has come to visit. I flirted with my mortality just a few weeks ago when I suddenly haemorrhaged, emptying my body of more than half its blood supply. This left me in the hands of life and death. It was almost surreal and still is to contemplate one’s death when simultaneously the woman in the hospital bed next to mine was experiencing her very own intimate relationship with death. In the terminal phase of her battle with cancer, she quietly requested the doctors to unplug the tubes and stop all meds so that she could greet death in peace. At night, the presence of death kept us company as we both fought to find our sleep.

From my hospital bed, I watched via FaceTime, my mother take her final breaths until there was utter stillness. Her stillness was earthed and yet absent. It was the first time I had seen a corpse, a body emptied of Spirit and breath. It was disturbing and yet peaceful. I know she left her body before her body left her. It felt strangely inhuman to accompany my mother digitally and yet there was no other option.

Since that tiny window of time, death has preoccupied many of my sleepless nights and inhabited my dreams. I am not particularly afraid of dying and cognitively know that it is part of living and yet, that is my head speaking out loud. Inside there is another reality that has summoned up a deep-seated melancholy that sleeps inside me since childhood.

As I sit with this very old melancholic feeling, a memory comes to mind. My parents are sipping their morning coffee whilst reading the headlines of the daily news. I’m peeling the thick skin of a grapefruit from our garden whilst catching a glimpse of very adult black and white images of slain corpses laying on the dirk somewhere off in a place called Vietnam. I remember seeing a full spread of graphic illustrations of nuclear bombs comparing which countries would survive whilst others would perish. It was highly X-rated and seemed too big for little girls. I don’t remember feeling fear that we would vanish in a mushroom cloud but I do remember feeling very sad, that kind of sadness that doesn’t go away.

This old archaic melancholy that has been summoned today is the once again recognition that life is so fragile and so are we. I think I understood this undeniable truth as a little girl. Underneath the melancholy is the surrendering of all resistance and the acceptance of my mortality. In theory, after the death of our parents, we are next in line. We don’t like to talk much about death and any talk is considered morbid. We are conditioned to skirt around this tabooed subject and prefer to throw rainbows and unicorns into our conversations rather than accepting the inevitable truth. Talking about death is uncomfortably disturbing because it ignites our deepest fear of the unknown. And yet, not talking about it doesn’t make it go away. It is always lingering in the background waiting for us to give it some attention so that we can begin living without wasting time.

Healing isn’t found in pasting love and compassion on everything. These elements come thereafter. The true healing comes from hanging out long enough, much longer than feels comfortable, in the depths of the murky waters where the lotus is born. Being conscious not to rush the process no matter how long it takes, I agree to sit in the mud and let the healing unfold. It is in these waters I see the raw acceptance of my fragility and ultimately my mortality. My days are limited and time is ticking. Death, as much as life, walk side by side.

Meditation for Single-Pointed Awareness

I have lost track of the days even the months. The last time I looked at a calendar or opened my agenda (a compulsive behaviour B.C-19) was the 28th of February to be exact. The days and weeks have meshed together. Time has expanded and yet is slipping through my fingers like tiny grains of sand, filling the hourglass of life. This past month has blurred by. A lot has happened. These times are not normal and yet necessary for our maturity and growth on an individual and collective level.

Each of us has a personal Covid path and to recognise which path is yours, you must get still and stop all movement. When in the crux of big change our natural go-to is to meet and ”assist” change with more movement instead of letting it unfold. Out of fear we cling to what was by doing more of what was and thus resisting the process, the change that is instrumental for our evolution. We are unable to witness our doing because we are scurrying about, here and there, attempting to hold on to before. Maybe it is time to stop and slow down?

My absence as a teacher has been a conscious one and possibly an invitation for you to choose differently too. Teaching is my dharma; there is no doubt. I am here to serve, and yet, in these very unusual times, I am drawn to retrieve my outward presence. It may appear to you that I have abandoned you or jumped ship because I have not joined the masses in posting yoga classes on-line and that I can understand.

I would like to show up for you and yet, not this way. Every ounce of my being is calling me to show you that this ”time” can be different than what we have previously known and done. It is your time, a unique opportunity to slow down and contract instead of expanding. This is your time to hone your energy inward instead of deflecting outward. Can you become interested and curious about what is In there rather than getting distracted by what is Out there?

Lockdown means creating single-pointed (Drishti) awareness which you have been practising through asana, so you’ve got this and it is time to apply what you already know. Sensory overload is our normalcy, this is all we have known. Are we not distracting ourselves with the same stuff as we did before Covid-19? Remember, where your eyes go, energy flows. Soften your gaze, bring it inward. Push the pause bottom.

These times are begging us to try something potently different. If you want to meet change and transformation you must do things differently or you remain where you were. The stillness allows you to see the dust, the dust on your shelves, in your heart, in your mind, and your body. Let’s not lose this opportunity to radically enhance the essential. For most of us, there are no more excuses. The deep inner work is to slow down enough to see and take inventory. What is essential and growth encouraging? What lifts you? What saps your energy?

How I have decided to show up is through writing in hopes that it will ignite your inner spark of insight to reflect. I encourage your thoughts and reflections that can be sent privately or under my posts so that we can create Satsang, a sacred gathering of collective sharing. I would like to equally share some meditations to assist you in your journey inward.

May your journey be safe. May your journey be peaceful. May your journey be insightful. May your journey be authentic. ❤️⭐️

Easy Meditation for Single-Pointed Awareness 🧘‍♂️
Required – 2 stones or objects of your choice. A quiet space. A comfortable seat- a chair or a cushion.…/meditation-for-single-pointed-awar…

This simple yet powerful meditation is designed to create single-pointed awareness, which is called Drishti in the practice of yoga. This state induces a spacious yet focused mind allowing for greater presence and your intuitive voice to be heard. You can self-tailor the practice to fit your needs by either lengthening or shortening the time of the meditation, the ratio of your breath ( I used an in-breath of 6 counts and an out-breath of 6 of the same) and replacing the stones with personal objects that speak to you. I love stones so I am naturally drawn to their energy.

This meditation can be done seated in a chair or on a cushion as long as you are comfortably placed. Remember that meditation is a practice and not something to be attained or acquired. There is no perfection in meditation and nowhere to go. Enjoy the process and if today was filled with many visiting thoughts, notice and make that ok. Just keep returning to the practice, to the breath, steady and constant and you will begin to experience a shift. It takes time and devotion and a regular practice cultivates this shift.
I prefer to practice early in the morning before the world becomes busy. I find it easier to receive the gifts of stillness in the early hours. Find a time that works for you and make that time your daily time. Know that 10 minutes daily is preferential than 30 minutes one day and nothing the next. Be consistent and patient. There are no short cuts in meditation, no fast track path, but continual practise day in and day out even if you feel frustrated by a hyper agitated mind. It is just a practice, so we practice. Wishing you a beautiful journey as I send you love and serenity. 💕

The Reality of What Is

First, I want to apologise for my absence and for not writing sooner. Nothing, not even yoga can fully prepare us for life’s challenging moments. With this said, these moments, even if they are unfamiliarly disturbing, they are the threads that make up what is called LIFE. It might not be how You see it, but with no mistake, this is life. One of the pearls of wisdom that yoga has gifted is the humbling embracing of what is.

Things happen and sometimes they seem to build up to some insurmontable mountain. Know that each one of us has the inner strength that might not look like a pushing or fighting, but an inner quiet strength to weather this storm.

For me personally, it has been a sequence of challenging moments- a life threatening health issue that lead to a hospital stay, the passing of my mother and the pandemic that we are collectively facing not just here but worldwide.

As you know, and with a heavy heart, we closed O2yoga until further notice. O2yoga is where I regenerate (of course the lake too), where I connect and feel connected and where I am in service. I miss you and our collective energy in class.

I have decided, for now, to use this time to regain physical and emotional strength and not to post yoga classes online.

With that said, I do have videos on three different sites that are available. Yoga Chez Moi Please use the code SANTE for 15 free credits.
Yoga Anytime
and The Local Collective: Teachers on GatherYoga Please use the code GATHERLOVE for 2 free weeks.

And if you should choose to trust your inner intelligence that you have cultivated through your dedication and presence in class, I trust that your body knows exactly what you need. Trust and listen and practice whatever that may look like.

This is a time for self reflection, for greater self-love and re-connecting to what is essential to you, to your heart. Be well and stay safe and keep your hearts wide open. The world needs you and your love. I look forward to seeing you soon in live. Much love, Jessica

Trust Must Stand Alone

Jessica Magnin
This pandemic is beyond my control. It is beyond our control and that can be a scary thought. That benevolent safety net that has my back and yours too has a lot to hold these days. The world is fragile and highly vulnerable. I think that collectively we held the belief that the earth below us was solid and today we are witnessing how everything even our beliefs can melt into nothingness before our eyes and under our feet. Where does certainty take refuge today? Where and in what can we invest our trust? How can we speak about trust in unprecedented times like these? The dictionary defines trust as, a belief that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable.

Trust is a difficult concept to fully understand and conceptualise. Intrust, do we ever fully surrender? Can we trust ourselves, our hearts, our minds and our bodies when they appear to be falling apart? Can we trust others when we doubt their sincerity? Can we trust the planet when the earth crumbles below? Can we trust our idea of God when life becomes fragile and death is present? It is in these times, the shaky, unpredictable ones when things appear to be going very wrong that we are asked to let go. Moments of uncertainly give way to our response to them. Do we close down, cut off and dissociate? Do we continue to trust but with strings attached, with our agenda? Do we trust conditionally? These moments give us direct insight into our level of trust. Through our hardships, life offers us a multitude of opportunities to practice trust. Life is patient and most of the time, we are not.

I draw my thoughts back to trust. How have I experienced and expressed trust in my life, in my moments of joy, in my moments of pain? Have I trusted without a guarantee of the outcome? Can I trust today without knowing? Trusting with certainty is the way I reduce my level of risk and appease my fear. I often hear myself asking, ’’Is there any risk?’’ Of course, there is a risk, risk in a blood transfusion (more to come on this), risk in love, and a risk getting out of bed each morning. I wanted certainty but I know deep down there is no such thing. Trusting with questions, trusting with guarantees and conditions is not trusting. Dropping my need for certitude and recognising my fear is a courageous act. Yet I don’t feel so courageous. I feel more like that last second before the rollercoaster plummets a hundred meters and it’s too late to stop the momentum. That exact second when I realise that no amount of fear or need for security will help is that second that I let go into my fear. I am coming to understand that to truly trust, TRUST MUST STAND ALONE.
photo credit :@Thialesa

Getting Still Together – Meditation

Let’s come together. 🧘 i invite you to take a comfortable seat. Allow your body to relax and soften into the space that it is. Close your eyes and notice where your inner sight is naturally drawn to. Take notice. Is this area needing your attention? As you observe, breathe gently in and out with the nostrils. Continue to breathe, slowly down the breath until you reach an equal count of 6-8 breaths in and 6-8 breaths out. Inhaling and exhaling while you watch the space that calls for your needed attention. Now, direct your breath to that area, may it be your ❤️, your lower back that aches, your compressed mind, whatever and wherever it is, stay with it. As you breathe, imagine the breath moving in and through this area, surrounding and filling it with breath. Stay with your breath, stay with that place that calls you in. Feel the breath nourishing as it fills that space. There is expansion and circulation then space. There’s a shift and perhaps greater relaxation , tenderness and freedom. Remain with it for the time needed. Be gentle. #meditation #o2yogabreathelife #getstill #lockdown #covidtimes#yogaeverydamnday #yogapath #breathe #freedom #spacewithin

Counting Breaths

Counting Breaths
That moment had finally come. My mother was at the 11th hour as her long journey with Alzheimers took a turn for the worse. Hospice was called in and they prepared my mother for her journey home. They prepared us too for what was to come. In tears, I asked, ”how long, how long does she have?’’ The caregiver from hospice softly replied, ”at this point, we no longer measure TIME in weeks, days or even hours, we measure TIME in breaths.” I knew that my mother’s time on this planet had come to an end and finally, she could rest in peace.
As I went to sleep that night, holding my mother close to my heart, I reflected on the words of the caregiver, ”we measure TIME in breaths.” If we honestly looked at our lives and the ways in which we live, we would see that our lives are so often measured by the big events that fill our time on this earth- from birth to our first steps, to our first day of school, to graduation, to securing our dream job, to marriage, to the birth of our children, to their first steps, etc. Our chronological timeline is made up of one headliner followed by another until our last breath.
What about all those in-between moments, the forgotten moments that are so equally important because they too are filled with life? Our in-between moments are the stepping stones that guide us to our headliners and give us the encouragement and respite to move forwards. If we could measure our lifetime by each breath or each step we took we would become steeped in what we call conscious living, living moment to moment. Within, there is time for time to reveal itself and for us to slow way down and experience the epic ness of now. Do we need to wait for death to knock at our door or the door of a loved one before we can start measuring our time in breaths? Do we need a pandemic to slow us to a snail pace before we fully understand and accept the fragility and finiteness of life?
Time for Time
TIME being of essence. We know this but quickly forget. We try to bend time, buy time and in doing so we waste time. So much of our time is unwisely invested in frenzy, in doing a lot of Notting mess, in worry and in fear, holding on to the past and planning the unknown future. Time wasted trying to get ahead of what and of who? We don’t know because we haven’t stopped and taken the time to ask ourselves these questions. Instead, we fast forward to the next big goal oriented headliner whilst holding our breath.
The great sages believed that our days are numbered by the number of our breaths. This equates to slow conscious breathing that allows us to optimise our vital energy, called prana. When we slow our breath down our mental activity slows down as well creating space between your thoughts, especially the ones that are constantly looping. This space gives way to awareness and awareness gives way to presence in the now. Being in the now we hear our breath, witness the rise and fall of our belly, experience the simple art of breathing as an all-encompassing moment connecting us to what is present and what is essential.
In this time of great uncertainly where time has miraculously been gifted once again, we can choose to use it wisely. For some, having extra time can create anxiety and an uncomfortable feeling of void or emptiness; even overwhelm if you were once running after time. These feelings may give way to the urgent desire to clutter the space and fill our time with random activities and reactive thoughts.
Be kind to yourself. This is a new out-of-your-comfort-zone reality. Notice with kindness, without judgement, any need to fill your time, fill your space within and without. Ask with gentleness and compassion, ”what are you naturally or habitually inclined to use to occupy your time and fill your space?” May it be TV, food, alcohol social media, reading, sleeping, working out or judgmental thoughts, invite their full expression without criticism, offer them your full attention and greet them with openness and curiosity. This instrumental insight can be your path to awareness and conscious transformation. From seeing the truth, you thereafter have the choice to shift, even just small incremental steps towards freedom. Can you bear witness to the sensation of endless time even if for just a few breaths before the urge to fill it? Let’s try.

Moving towards a shift.
Take a seat. Make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes, allowing the upper lids to gently rest on the lower lids. Soften your jaw. Allow the legs and the hips to relax towards the earth, creating a sense of stability and presence. Draw your awareness to the base of your spine and from this point follow with your minds eye along the length of your spine. Notice the space that is already present, space between each vertebra.
Now, witness the space between the hips and the base ribs, now between each rib. Feel what that feels like. Feel the space between the shoulders, between the collar bones and from your shoulders to your ears. Notice the space between your temples, the space between your lips. Feel that space. Now, experience the spaciousness from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. Space… space… space…Allow yourself to be bathed in this space, your space.

Now, draw your awareness to the space between your upper lip and your nostrils. Witness your natural breath as it moves in and out, effortlessly, cool breath moving in, warm breath moving out. The space between your inhale and your exhale, just notice spaciousness. Continue to witness the natural flow of your breath as it caresses the inside of your nostrils and breathes you. Feel the breath. Feel the space.

When you are ready, move your awareness to the space between your thoughts, thoughts come and thoughts go and there is space between each. Maybe a nano second but there is space. Nothing to force, nothing to do, just continue to breath and witness, coming back to breath then to thought and then back to breath. Breath extends, the space between each breath too. Time slowly unfolds. Practice regularly, capturing each breath, capturing each moment so that time will be on your side.

#countingbreaths #o2yogabreathelife #covid19 #yogaforlife #time#transformation #yogapath #surrender #meditation