Orange est la Couleur de la Transformation


Jessica Magnin

images-1 Près de 3 semaines se sont écoulées comme de l’encre. Goutte à goutte, la vie laotienne me bénit avec la rencontre de moi-même dans toute ma fragilité.

Luang Prabang, cette petite péninsule prise en sandwich entre deux grands fleuves est un endroit hors du commun. Comme une pièce d’un puzzle qui a retrouvé son unique place, le lien qui me relie avec Luang Prabang n’est pas un hasard. Dès la première fois, j’étais heurtée en plein cœur sans comprendre ce qui m’arrivait. Au début, c’était comme un murmure au fond de moi. Il me titillait sans répit.  Il me réveillait en pleine nuit en me suppliant de me mettre à nu, de me lâcher, de grandir. C’était viscéral, fort, hors de tout raisonnement et de tout contrôle. L’envie de transformation était sous-jacente à toute mon existence.

Sans le savoir, la vie a rendu la relation entre moi, la petite laotienne comme on m’appelle là-bas, et ce minuscule point sur terre, aussi dure que l’acier. Même après autant de séjours, 9 au total, et l’instauration d’une certaine habitude, je reste toujours loin de toute zone de confort, que ce soit par rapport aux traditions, à la culture, à la langue et au rythme de vie.  Je m’en imbibe intentionnellement, la tête sous l’eau,  afin de me trouver , vulnérable, dénuée de mes points de repère et de toute sécurité.

L’invitation délibérée de la vulnérabilité est le feu qui allume le processus de la transformation en moi. N’ayant plus de vrais points de repère, chaque instant se vit intentionnellement dans la pleine conscience et s’allie avec l’observation de Soi. Tout semble être au ralenti, comme si les moments passaient sous l’eau. Cette lenteur me permet de voir mes insécurités, mes peurs et mes attachements comme des bulles d’oxygène qui remontent à la surface, là, complètement exposés, fragiles et crus.  Encore là, intentionnellement, je les accueille, les reçois comme mes meilleurs amis, échange avec eux aussi longtemps qu’ils souhaitent rester. Petit à petit, ils perdent leur force et leur présence ; et comme l’impermanence est inévitable, je les observe disparaître, petites bulles éclatant à la chaleur du soleil.

Peu importe le nombre de jours, mes escales à Luang Prabang sont une parenthèse dans l’ici et le maintenant toujours marquées par une énorme renaissance et libération, une transformation évolutive, parfois douloureuse comme une naissance, parfois tout en douceur. La transformation est toujours au menu du jour de tous les cafés laotiens.

Le changement est inévitable. On le sait, mais il nous est difficile de l’accepter ainsi. La vie est en perpétuelle mutation et l’envie de rendre les moments solides vient de notre grande peur de perdre ce que nous avons. Nous nous y agrippons fermement en nous persuadant que grâce à notre force et à notre contrôle tout restera tel quel pour toujours. Hélas, en dépit de notre volonté féroce, la vie nous démontre que malgré notre détermination tout se transforme à chaque Nano seconde. Tant que l’on ignore cette réalité fondamentale de la vie, on se sent largué et déconnecté.

Alors nagez dans le courant du changement, adaptez-vous à l’instant même, soyez intensivement présents et ouverts à recevoir les fruits de chaque rencontre afin d’inviter le changement et donc la transformation en vous-même.

Matthieu Ricard, le confident du Dalai Lama, a écrit que ‘’nous sommes sur terre pour grandir et pour aimer.’’ Pour vraiment aimer, il faut accueillir la vulnérabilité dans toutes ses formes, dans tous ses états. Elle est la graine du grandissement car sans elle on n’est pas totalement réceptif et prêt à lâcher hier pour accueillir aujourd’hui dans sa totalité.

Comme tout a un début, un milieu et une fin pour se renouveler encore et encore d’une manière incognito, ce texte aussi touche à sa fin et je vous laisse avec cette réflexion :

‘’Le changement est inévitable, le grandissement de soi est intentionnel. Et si l’on grandissait inévitablement en apportant des changements intentionnels ?’’

The wandering Yogini and the humble Monk

547130_105420336275096_954104557_nLife can be complicated and so can human beings. Maybe it is us that makes life so complicated. Maybe the hidden secret is that life is quite simple.

Sensitive and intuitive opened me up to a world of vulnerability and emotional instability synonymous to being tossed and turned on the cusp of violent waves. I was easily affected by the humours of others, even those that I had little affinity with but especially with those that I loved dearly. And thus, at a very young age I journeyed on an outward quest to find the missing link to a life of serenity where I could remain unaffected by the ups and downs of others so as to no longer lose my ground and question my worth. It was fatiguing to be at odds with the violent crashing of the relentless waves. Between you and I, I suffered.

All great explorers keep their eyes glued to their ultimate destination but often like the eye of the seer, they are swayed, tempted and often blinded by there own inner landscape of illusionary clouds. I was no exception. I was determined to find the answer, that missing link, maybe some kind of genetic or anatomical mishap at birth that forgot to add this essential component to my DNA makeup. I threw myself into libraries of self- help books, courses on personal development and psychology. I submersed myself in vision quests, hours with therapists and gurus, as well as retreats only to move farther and father from my truth. Yoga offered me many analogies, epiphanies and ah ha moments, Tantra and Buddhism too. As I continued to take part in the game of ‘’am I getting warmer’’, I ended up getting colder and colder.

I travelled to faraway destinations in hopes that the answer lay like the Holy Grail waiting to be uncovered. Then, on one random day there was an encounter, a life transforming one that began a colossal shift in my way of being. It was just a beginning, a Big beginning to my journey to the truth. I had been misreading my compass all along. An exchange of email addresses and then endless questions about life became the turning point and then, the tipping point that shattered what I thought was my reality.

How does a monastic monk weather the storms of life? With unwavering grace and constant non-reactivity. I wanted this to be my reply more than anything in the world. I believed at that moment, or at least I thought I did, that a monastic lifestyle was the answer that I yearned for and that my life long quest could finally come to an end. I wanted to believe, I needed to. I just had to figure out how a modern day mother and wife could manifest an unnumbered day refuge in a faraway monastery.

Some of our most profound life lessons present themselves when we are least expecting. Life’s lessons don’t always show up exactly how we might imagine and are often disguised. Within less than a week, my monk, the seer and the keeper of unwavering quietude showed up with quite a different face. His perfectly imperfect humanness revealed itself through grasping, worry, guilt and despair. Although you might think that his display of contradictory truth would send me into a breakdown of depression and despair, it became the breakthrough that I could never have predicted.

For true perception, one needs a good dose of clarity and perspective. Witnessing from a higher ground, I came to realise how I constantly disempowered myself by aligning my humour with the humours of others. My quota of happiness was tossed about and definitely defined by others. I once read a quote that hit home but in a sweet yet sour kind of way. ‘’When you stop aligning yourself with the vibrational frequencies of others you begin to really live’’. I full circled back home, the home of my heart.

No matter who we are, an untouchable guru, a housewife, a wandering Yogini or a monastic monk, we are all doing our best to weather life’s ups and downs with as much humility and serenity that we can muster. Some days we do better, some days we find ourselves thrown about but we always resurface and just try again and again, making happiness our birthright. This is the path. Simply put, we are there showing up in our naked human humbleness every Nano second. We are humanly living our humanness the best we can. It is as simple as that.

No Man’s Land risk, change, growth

March 11, 2014

Jessica Magnin, GatherYoga Emissary and founder and co-director of O2yoga, shares her perspective on taking a leap into the unknown.

The last tiny bit of perceivable solid ground fades into the horizon as I loosen my grip. Suddenly my line of tether disappears. Night falls quickly. The wind dances the waves as they crash relentlessly against the fragile sides of my only sense of security. I am carried farther and farther out into uncharted waters. I look back in hopes of securing my need for something tangible, something to hold on to. There is no life jacket aboard. I am totally alone. I have severed all ties with Point A, the past 27 years of my married life, what I have known, to humbly take my first steps toward a very unfamiliar destination.

I feel my heart breathing a mixture of fear and loss. Tears of black mascara run down my cheeks. My mind slips into the foreground and takes control. I stoically wipe my tears away. ‘’There must be a map hidden somewhere on this tiny vessel!”  My heart sinks in hopelessness. In all my busyness of planning my departure, I carelessly forgot that one important item — the map that would offer me a ‘’what’s next?’’ plan and guide me safely to another shore.

With no map or game plan at hand, I find myself here, with me, right here, right now, with nowhere to go but being thrown about in the waters of raw uncomfortability. It is raw, because there is no knowing of what, where, when, and how. I am dead center in no man’s land, and it is a seriously vulnerable place to be. Change and risk have always been easy for me to embrace. Just between you and me, I can courageously jump because I ultimately always know where I am landing. This gives me a sense of security, maybe false, but a comfy sense of courage. Though, this time is different. I don’t want to return to Point A even at the risk of never encountering Point B.

I have crawled to the brink ladened with fear and doubt and jumped off the cliff, eyes wide open, and nothing lies below. I am in mid-air; everything appears to be in slow motion. I watch. I feel. My senses are alive. I feel alive. Being in midair is being in transition and transition is always present, always happening, we just don’t realize it. If we look closer, we notice that not only is there always a beginning, a middle and an end to everything, we are always between two things, whether it be two holidays, two jobs, numerous relationships, or something as simple as the inhale and exhale of our breath.

It is painful to cut ties with the past when we can’t secure the future. This is transition. This is life. This is living authentically. Things come and go, and yet we as humans have a painfully difficult time accepting the truth of Inicca, the Buddhist philosophy of impermanence. Our refuge in pleasure makes us grasp that much harder as if to make the experience, taste, relationship a solid thing. We erroneously believe that solid equals permanence. This is the mind’s way of scrambling for security. But take a deeper look and wake up, to the unprocessed fact that everything is in perpetual movement; our relationships evolve, sometimes dissolve; food perishes; plants wilt; and no matter how many pictures we take to capture pleasurable moments, those too will fade into memory, and memory will soon fade into loss.

Ironically, knowing might offer us a (false) sense of security, but it also offers us a boxed-in, limited viewpoint with one possibility. Being nakedly available to the unfolding of not knowing seems scary for the mind, but op

ens an ocean of endless possibilities for the heart and soul.

The golden sun peaks above the hazy horizon like a lotus flower surfacing from its muddy past. This new chapter of an untold story brings butterflies of excitement and endless new beginnings to my belly.

ImagePhoto by calsidyrose, used with Creative Commons license.



Jessica Magnin

“It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.” Krishnamurti

Everything has its place in time and in space and rules are no exception. Rules and codes of conduct keep us from falling into a state of anarchy, of total chaos. But then again, aren’t rules fabricated from the mind and perhaps rooted in fear? As much as we need rules and guidelines to live an orderly life, we might question, within reason, their potential of limiting our connection and heartfelt experience with others.

Here, in sleepy Luang Prabang a list of rules is publically displayed and posted around town. These rules are meant to be taken seriously and by all means, respected. With over 350 novices and monks living between the confines of the old town, one naturally abides by these guidelines but then, I suppose that depends upon the interpreter.

The second gong rings at 5h30 signalling the commencement of saibat, the giving of alms. In the faint darkness of the early morning, a thread of burnt orange robed novices, monks and abbots form what appears to be an endless stream of barefooted bodies with metal urns dangling from a woven strap resting on their bare shoulder.

I arrive at my habitual place, bow before my two elder Lao friends, take seat on a bamboo woven stool no more than 20 centimetres from the earth, place my flip flops neatly behind me, and tuck my sin, traditional Lao skirt, under my knees assuring that my legs are fully covered. A white “pha bien,’’or scarf, drapes over my left shoulder as I secure my hair neatly into a bun.

Behind me, the thick wall of Wat Sene separates me from 20 or so novices and monks making their final adjustments to their robes before stepping outside the confines of their monastery.  A wicker basket of freshly steamed “khao niow”, sticky rice, sits on my lap and I raise it to my forehead, bow in silence and bless these offerings with goodness and love. My dear Lao friends sit next to me. We exchange only a knowing smile of the eyes, nothing more. We allow the stillness of the early morning to bathe the present moment with sacredness.

The procession begins with a monastery’s dog or two guiding the way. Bare feet and bare heads gracefully pass at just arms reach, briefly pausing before me as I place a blessed clump of sticky rice into their urn careful not to make any physical contact, not even with their urn. One’s gaze should be soft, turned downward in humbleness and respect. These are the unspoken rules of conduct while offering.

Day after day, 94 in total, trip after trip, totally 6, rainy season or not, 3 to be exact, I am here with the same presence, the same intention and the same ritual of respect. But over time, things do shift and this is what is promised even by the teachings of Buddha himself. With habit and the passing of days, things do change, even the borders of set guidelines and rules.

The change began with the reception of an occasional yet discrete meet of the eyes, a faint humble smile, a whispered ‘’sabaidee’’ or “hello’’, a ‘’kop jai lai2”, a wrapped cookie, and even a brim-to-brim smile. Here, at this precise moment, beyond the rules of conduct, beyond what we call jit, or the mind, jai, the heart meets that of another and all differences, prejudices, conflicts, insecurities, superiority and even imposed rules drop, exposing one single thing, the art of being human and limitless potential of the heart.

“To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another, is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigour and passion. It is only in that state that one learns and observes. And for this, a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another authority, a censor.” Krishnamurti

Rules are necessary but they can harden us. We know this yet their implementation keeps us in tact. The mind is full of ideas about right and wrong, good and bad and packaged solutions to keep things from oscillating too far. Because the mind gravitates toward set boundaries, we create more. It is our mind’s way of making sense of the unpredictability of life and keeping chaos and fear at bay. Yet, our hearts yearn for more sacred moments of expression and connection and the humbleness of being human. Incapable of truly experiencing this humanness, the mind, limited in its limitlessness can only just begin to conceptualise what this softness might look like, feel like and be like. So within the confinements of suggested guidelines and rules of conduct, remember your heart. It is within the walls of the heart that love can be felt and expressed beyond measure.

Dare to fix what isn’t broken

There is a common saying, ‘’don’t fix what isn’t broken.’’ This can literally be translated into, when something is working smoothly, leave it alone! But there is another quite provocative saying that goes something like this, ‘’the difference between a rut and a grave is only their size.’’

Entre Ciel & Terre had been running smoothly for close to 9 years to date. Peeking occasionally into the near future, we still envisioned Entre Ciel & Terre as we had always known it. The collectively cultivated energy through ongoing dedicated practices had provided a sacred space that had been the grounding force of transformation for many if not most of our students. We had all grown, including ourselves, after many years, very, very comfortable.

So why trade comfort for change and the unknown? Today, more than ever before the now must be marked with the imprint of change. Change is all around us and has always been yet now there is a certain gnawing feeling of acceleration. We no longer have idyll time to sink into deep comfort while wishing for things to be different. Those that have the courage to move toward the truth know all too well that their greatest obstacle is themselves and the choices that they make. Both contribute to a starving quota of transformation and in turn true happiness. As all sentiment beings evolve, we are no exception.

When the owner of our building announced that a potential move was in the very foreseeable future (less than 2 months away), we fearfully clung for comfort to what we already knew, Entre Ciel & Terre. This is the natural reaction in the face of change but it is also, as Pema Chödrön states, a true sign of moving closer to the truth.

Within less than 6 weeks, Entre Ciel & Terre as we knew it no longer existed. Day after day a door or a fixture would be missing, the lounge and its herbal tea disappeared until finally the electricity was cut off. We made the big move on July 10th, a paradox in itself, because we are literally just a handful of meters away.

Much soul searching had to be done before the painting and name change. We asked ourselves how we individually and collectively had evolved and where we desired to go? Had our teaching matured and where did we see it going? What would be the needs of our students in the world of now and how could we offer a space to foster those needs?

The answers revealed themselves effortlessly yet coupled with an incontestable message, ‘return to the essence of what is, life.’ This means letting go of what no longer serves- clutter, drama, procrastination, excuses, anything and everything that keeps us form moving into the fullness of our true identity.

Entre Ciel & Terre became O2 Yoga. The breath is the gift of life, In fact, without it life could no longer exist. With an average of 600 million breaths in a lifetime, we have become so busy that we cease to remember that one single breath contains the spark of life, the spark of spirit. Therefore, one might say that we have 600 million opportunities in a lifetime to remember with grace and infinite gratitude our essence, life. Barely breathing is synonymous with barely being, being alive. The breath mysteriously contains a well of wisdom; your unique blue print to live life to it’s fullest potential. You have the choice. You can choose between barely alive and miss out on life’s wonders or you can choose to breathe deeply into the cells of your being and inhale the sacredness of being fully Alive!

Join us at O2 yoga. Breathe life. Breathe love. Breathe peace. Breathe wisdom, Breathe gratitude. Breathe light. Breathe happiness. Breathe stillness. Breathe compassion. Breathe yoga. Breathe now. Breathe awareness, Breathe sacredness. Breathe.

Impermanence is permanent

Change is inevitable, growth is intentional – Glenda Cloud
But wouldn’t it be great if we could inevitably grow by making intentional changes –
A wise friend

Change aheadChange encompasses all and is occurring every second of our existence whether we are conscience of it or not. For many, change is equated with instability, insecurity and the fear of impermanence, especially our own and those we love. But, if we are truly honest with ourselves, we know, deep in our core, that impermanence, or inicca, is the one thing that we can earnestly count on. It is who we are and if we allow ourselves to witness the beauty of change we begin to notice that it touches everything and everyone without exception.

We are constantly evolving and so is life. Spontaneously, life unfolds, thus expanding only to naturally surrender to something new, and that newness is never exactly the same. We see this dance daily as the sun rises and sets, sometimes dressed in hews of pink and marigold and other times in crimson and lilac. With little recourse, our bodies grow old as we sip our herbal teas and sit in deep meditation while our thoughts, beliefs, and preferences remain forever fickle.  We experience the change of the seasons with the resigning of autumn in order to welcome the starkness of winter and see it in the surrender of our exhale which creates space for our inhale. Without this ‘’yielding’’, this ‘’letting go’’, this ‘’dance,’’ we get stuck.

Life naturally flows in a perpetual cycle of movement. Some of us thrive on change while others find themselves in a state of panic when their favourite ice cream is no longer available. In the throes of discomfort and misery, change becomes one’s favourite consort whereas on the flip side, change becomes the most unwanted of visitors while we bathe in the sweet waters of joy and pleasure.  According to the Yogic and Buddhist teachings, resisting the visit of change is one of the main causes of human suffering. We all have witnessed what happens when we close the door to change, we close down too. We are no longer aligned with the Divine flow of life that surrounds us and that lights our hearts. The gifts of the present moment become like wishes hidden in the distant stars and we suffer because we want what was‘’before.’’ For instant relief, we must yield our attachment to what was and welcome the simple flow of change to allow ‘’what is’’.

Life has a funny way of watching our backs. When we become just a bit too comfortable in the couch that has now taken over the form of our posterior, life steps in and offers change to wake us up, feel the gratitude of being alive and spark the flame of transformation. Aren’t we all here to love, learn and grow? Status quo and stagnation don’t really apply to our race. In fact, that is what we call a ‘’rut’’, or vasana and the difference between a rut and a grave according to Ellen Glasglow, is their dimension!

We are blessed with such potential and inspiration and in order to take full advantage of these gifts we must allow them to manifest and therefore transform. This means stepping out on a limb and allowing growth to step in. There are many paths to take but only two stand out. The first, being the path of less resistance which equals a rut. The second path is the path of risk and doubt, thus the path of transformation.

Someone once said that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is where you are happily and ignorantly asleep to what you are and what you can be. So when change taps you on the shoulder, you have a choice. You can either wish change away with all your might or you can invite it into your life with curiosity and most of all, faith that you are exactly where you should be right now at this moment.

And so there it was, no couch per se but feeling quite at ease with our yoga center.  Going on our 9th year and feeling comfortably attached to the energy, love and devotion that we have cultivated in this auspicious place. It never crossed our minds that a move was in store for us. But life saw things a bit differently. Entre Ciel & Terre is moving. The details of why aren’t really that important but the move will foster growth for all of us! The good news is that we are moving just meters away, same floor, same building, and same parking. The best news is that we will still be offering you great classes, passionately qualified teachers and a beautiful sacred space that continues to support your personal growth and happiness. Our current schedule is still ongoing and won’t change until July when the summer hours kick in.

This move gives us the opportunity to thank you with a big heart for your loyalty, love and devotion that you constantly share with the center and for making it what it is today, a sacred space that takes you to your soul.

Stay tuned for more details as change is just around the corner.