Dhāraṇā: focus

Dhāraṇā: holding steady, single focus, holding

The importance of having a clear vision, a vocal point. The importance of telling our story to express our intention and our ‘why’.

This last week has been bountiful. The universe and god have shown us blessings and abundance, again and again. Aniya’s first birthday is my first reflective birth-day as a mother. My rebirth of being human. An event that transforms you and shifts your gaze, instantaneously. Women never return from motherhood and for me, the times before have blurred. 

I meditated and prayed over new goals, looked toward new beginnings, manifested new endeavors, welcomed new intentions. I did feel like the sun was setting on certain opportunities and rising on others……

Sunday morning came, and I lost my job. Woah. 

Ya know when you seek clarity and guidance but it comes in a way you weren’t expecting? A way you were not hoping for? A way you initially hoped not? Uncertainty that left a sense of fear and unrest?

I was shown clearly and abruptly exactly what I should not be doing, but I was scrambling to reason with the universe/god… like no, but not in this way! 

The solid job that was bringing in that extra income to give us more stability. The job that uncovered my creativity. The one that allowed me to stay at home with Aniya and work while she napped. The job that gave me many more opportunities to lead than I had expected. 

The job that was starting to become comfortable, usual, routine. 

My boss called to lay me off. Blessedly so, she also believes in transparency, clear intention and explaining the ‘why’, while leaving space for questions. She gracefully and thoroughly explained her reasoning, which is really beside the point.

My heart sank, my eyes welled, my throat pinched together in the back of my neck. My pride fell in a heap. I felt my ego making up stories to cope with my disappointment.

The soft realization came over me, “Kristen. This is for your good.”

I went from the high of my daughter’s first birthday to the low of losing a job that I really loved. 

This weekend brought unadulterated joy. Our families traveled to us–we were gathered under one roof for the first time, ever. Our baby girl had a great entrance into ONE. Her future is bright. So, I reflect on my own. 

Sometimes, being a mom is unfairly synonymous with boundless sacrifice. Boundary-less matriarchs in familial relationships have been glorified. The type that will put her passions on the back-burner because as a girl, that equated to deeper love *a toxic mindset* I just don’t get with. 

Aniya is a girl that already dreams and aspires, and if my prayers are answered— she will think BIG. So how will she know how that looks? Who will she look to for examples? me

It is my responsibility to prioritize goals and passions, along side being a mother so I can exemplify the qualities I want her to embody. 

Quarreling over things out of our control, and stressing about what is to come from change is smallminded.

I almost got caught in it.

It steals our energy and drains our joy. It distracts our focus and minimizes us to what we perceive we can’t do instead of confidently claiming all we can do.

So, to start this week, I had choices. 

I could wallow away my time, listening to the false stories made up to cope with my disappointments or I can feel all of the emotions and then, release them. 

I could channel my energy of anger and resentment of time spent or I can see the amazing lessons that I learned during that valuable time in my life, then release it. 

I could stress and strain over the finances lost or I can focus (Dhāraṇā) my energy on my ‘next’. My next opportunity, my next business endeavor, my next brilliant idea. 

I could react based solely off of my emotion or I can leave space to feel, then act with a level-head, a full heart and a free spirit. 

I could get lost in the ‘what ifs’ or ‘could have beens’ or I can stand fully in the reality of right now, acceptant and ready to receive my next blessing. 

These were all my choices. 

So, on Monday, when I would have been curating posts and captions, my time was spent gathering and organizing. I spent hours with the material for my 4-week prenatal yoga session (there is a virtual course available). 

It was clear, now. I needed the time. I needed that energy. These soon-to-be-mommas deserved that much from me. And I deserved that much from myself. I hadn’t realized how thin I was stretched. 

I finally enrolled in the Yoga for Changemakers training. I had questioned again and again if we should be spending money on that right now. The self talk had stopped me from ever clicking the ‘enroll now’ button, even though I had read through the course info four times in the last month. Even with less money now than before, I knew I needed to move the stagnant energy. This was a way to invest back into myself, my business, my movement….and my story.

The same course that is leading me to my (shameless, guilt-free) Dhāraṇā. 

Last night, when I was asked to identify my Dhāraṇā, my heart rested in the comfortable response. I retreated into the cover of a safe focus, one I had held for months with my previous job.

As I dug deeper, the mantra repeated: I am made for more.

There are times when we take a great picture, but we notice that someone or something in the frame is a bit blurry. One part is beautifully illuminated but the other details are blurred. The photo is still satisfactory and depending upon what the eye behind the camera is trying to capture, it might match her intention.

Sometimes, we try again. We set up another photo opportunity, we stage another shot, because we know there is something greater to capture. We just know that there is more to be seen and to be archived. We have that desire to encapsulate everything: the subject, the background, the details.

I took the opportunity to write after class. To reach for the camera again. To take another shot. To create this picture of my Dhāraṇā once again.

And damn, it was more beautiful than I first thought. Ridden with pains and uncertainties, messy and misunderstood, still unclear but much more colorful.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe in irony without purpose. I believe in universe/god winks. I believe in divine affirmation. I believe in a human’s ability to focus on and gather interpretation from the subconscious to see messages they need most, during certain chapters of life. 

The significance of metaphor and symbolism is there, comforting and cradling us, shaking and angering us, acting as an inspiring painting created by an insightful, intentional creator. 

So I leave you with the same questions Susanna asked of us:

-What angers you?
-What lights you up?
-What is the story of YOU?
-What is the story of US?

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