The Tao of Fly
Lessons from a Mexican ashram
Nature is my greatest teacher and although the fly is that part of nature that many discount because it’s not pretty, all buzzin’ up in places “it doesn’t belong”, like the slug and the cockroach- which gifted me one of the most shamanic dreams I have ever had- it is often that which is shunned and swatted away that holds the most medicine…
Four years ago I made my way to a Mexican ashram (what I call it) on the south coast of Oaxaca for a 10 day immersion into silence with the Hridaya yoga school. I sit on this beloved land now to share this simple healing story.
It was November 2018 and I was still suffering serious nervous system dysregulation from unwinding decades of addiction and trauma. To live in my body is like walking around with every tendril of my nervous system dangling on the outside, a big misplaced Octopus body. I am affected by everything greatly. This is also my greatest gift as a highly empathic woman.
I crawled to Mexico. I barely made the plane. In fact my beloved grandmother was admitted to emergency care the day before I was to fly. My mother was in her care at this time leaving me in position of matriarch- which is energetically how it’s always been. I was the only one in the family capable of advocacy for my grandmother. Everyone else’s tongues had been tied because they are like many who have a lot of experience with things like - going to work and making a living in the “real world” -and no life skills. They freeze with any sort of real life event and I am left standing in the midst of wide eyed 5, 8 and 12 year olds. Everyone crumbled around me while I was crumbling on the inside with a completely overwrought emotional body, only adrenaline and my strong sensibilities keeping me upright.
I was torn between two worlds, two choices- to cancel the whole trip or choose myself and my tattered body and postpone my flight a few days in trust that the adults around me can handle this moment. Everyone comes to their initiations, often through pivotal moments of facing the greatest fear in most of humanity- death.
Many of the choices in my life used to put me in what is called a slight- or sometimes severe, double bind. Meaning either choice presents a loss of some sort. A compromise. But I have learned that there is always one with more of a glimmer of self love over the other. Choosing my healing first is the most important thing I do for those I love. I also know that when I choose myself and my healing there will be roadblocks challenging my determination, confusions and distractions. I have seen this every time I am moving towards something that will for sure interrupt trauma’s status quo, because trauma also loves its life and those parts of me that have survived a certain way and rely on the trauma do not want to die.
These trauma codes not only show up in my body but they play out in life around me, in my family and those close to me. It’s a quantum complex with energetic layers that do not obey time. It’s a fascinating play of love seeking itself by way of catastrophe to see who is really paying attention. My ancestors know my soul has the expanded lens of perception, so they brought me back to Earth as an intervention.
My grandmother saw the tug of war in me, and being the advocate for love that she is, looked at me and said clearly from her hospital bed (she was mostly in the clear but had three feet of her colon removed-yikes) “you get on that plane- live your life”. That woman.
So I dragged my ragged bones south to Mexico a week later than planned and the night before my 10 day immersion. No space for integration. I had booked myself a private room and had visions of tranquility and peaceful rest in silence.
When I arrived to the ashram I was shown my private room, down a staircase back towards the road I had just walked up from. A horrible dizzying worry filled my belly. “This can’t be my room?!” The room hung over (literally) the main road in town and sat right across from a large motorcycle repair shop. I begged the staff for somewhere else to stay but everything was booked and the course was beginning that evening and there would be no talking or begging or ranting for the next 10 days- out loud anyway.
The staff looked at me with tender eyes and said what I expected the staff of a yoga school to say:
“What does this noise have to teach you I wonder?”
I wanted to punch out the, even too spiritual for me, light in their eyes. But, something in me knew they were right. My life holds zero accidents. Everything is an Angel’s doing by way of my undoing. I have said many times- “If you are lucky, you will hit rock bottom at least once in your life. Then you will know what you are made of.”
For the first few nights I tried to make a bed from yoga mats and meditation pillows in the main meditation hall. I would toss and turn on the hard floor in high anxiety until about midnight when the roads got quiet and I would go to my room. But I barely slept as something in me was always on, tracking for the noise to begin again. If you have a nervous system wired like this you will know the insanity of nothing ever being quiet- of always waiting for the thunder to come punch a hole in your bedroom door.
Four days in, completely drunk on adrenaline with nowhere to turn but inside the silence for guidance, I had a breaking point. I was laying in the hall, finally about to sleep when a fly, the noisiest fly I had ever met, started buzzing me constantly. Every time it passed by my ears it said “Shiva!, Shiva!, Shiva!” I thought my brain was going to split in half- I panicked to the point of feeling possessed, surrendered, prayed and took a deep breath. A feeling of odd comic relief, mixed with a profound love, rose from my low belly. I could feel all of my worry and it was in and instant wrapped in a true and deep compassion for the tender and sensitive nature of my inner being- the small one(s) looking for love, making a racket, asking me to listen, waking me up.
Throughout the rest of the 10 days the flies would land on me constantly creating sensorial and audible noise in the middle of my seeking peace. We are taught in meditation to bring forward the divine witness and be with what is as though it is a storm passing by, loving it for the light it leaves in its wake- even though you may stand drenched and drowning in the meantime.
The sky is always blue.
As I was wrestled into acceptance and let myself fully feel, hear and be with that fly, I began to cry. To feel this creature land on my skin- to feel this life touch mine- to feel sensation without reaction, to feel my life- to feel life, every part of it for the great gift it is, woke something strong and grateful in me. Gratitude, real gratitude, is a super power that requires no armor as it rises from the heart’s memory that all things rise from love, and that I am fully supported. Truth- the noise in me is reflected by the noise outside of me, my perception and response to it. I am always being fully met-100% in everything I need. My irritations become invitations to turn toward something new. Nothing is ever against me.
I am safe. Peace is my birthright.
For many years I have had to be in practice of touching these deeper spaces within me, accessing this innate state and choosing it above all else. It’s not a smooth ride, but it’s the only way home. Meaning it's the only way to feel at home in my body, resourced by and in partnership with my life rather then being batted around by it. What I have learned is that there is a magic alchemy that, when I choose to turn towards the irritation and open myself to love’s invitation, even if I have to breathe there for minutes, days, years- it takes as long as it takes and love is an available choice every step of the way - that love answers. Every time. And synchronicities arrive in my life to help me on the outside because they are mirroring my choices inside.
So here I am, back on this land down south, my heartland. I know how to follow a call. I am courted by land and space in a way that is rare because I don’t see many others walking towards what tugs their deep heart. The wound always attracts the medicine- and landscape, seascape, treescape have always held me, widened me, called me, healed me. It, nature and my willingness to succumb to the wild revolution of evolution in me, a code in my DNA designed to help me- has shown me the pathway of how to heal fully- all the things. Not because they go away, but because they take a new shape, their rightful place in the order of things, like the fly.
Anyway, one of these last nights, as I was trying to sleep, and I needed my sleep as I had a little dengue fever, I heard voices outside. It was past 10pm (when America Latina begins its day) and I began to get irritated, awakening the crying baby inside that I had worked so hard to pacify- it’s a life process. I watched my spiritual practices fly out the door yanking my peace and love along with them.
I went to see who it was, like I was going to stop them (I have done crazy things like roll someone over I don’t know in an overnight ceremony who was snoring too loud and have crashed campsites next to mine with my “excuse me, but can you please turn that laughter down- it’s like 11pm and how dare you?!)- yikes, yep,used to be me. I love me.
It was a small group of women, a few I know. They had just sung at one of the local haunts and were laughing and talking about it all. I took a deep breath, I put into practice everything I know to be true, which is choosing everything I know to be true- that I am safe, and peace and…
A wash of love came over me, to hear women’s voices in the night going on about the singing and the living of their woman lives, in only a way a group of women can when they are alone in the night. I was deeply comforted to my bones with the resurgent memory of times when women’s voices filled the night for the people- because women are always for the people- by way of nature.
One day, like the fly on my skin, testing my edges, it will all be gone. The sound of women at night, the noise, the tears, the pain, the joy, the trees that whisper my name when I walk by (that happens to you doesn’t it?), my human life and yours-will all be gone. How dare I miss a moment, judge it, fight it, deny it and thus dismember the greatest gift in all of the Universe regardless of what it looks like. To touch, taste, hear, feel everything without shame- It’s mine. My life. I LOVE it. Those Octopus nerve tendrils of mine sensing everything- a great gift.
The safest place is here in my body when I can witness all of the patterns inside of me and know that they are only seeking love and they will bring me to places and spaces to help me meet that truth- like the perfect room, with a view of a motorcycle repair shop. How can I know resonance without dissonance? Everything is everything. And everything is perception. Perfection.
I sit in the mornings, breathing, meditating, reveling in the healing that has happened in such a short amount of time. Being back here again in my heart land, sleeping sound to the sounds of soooo much life- a life I chose, noise I chose- love I chose- I can see how far I have come. I am a different woman. The deep traumas moving out and away, I have more access to myself, my real self, the healed self. I have always been whole.
I let the flies in disguise as Shiva dance upon me, revel in my being here as they taste the sweaty nectar on my skin from forging in the fires of my heart- because I heard a story and I believe it is true - that every flower, every part of nature, is needed to make paradise bloom. I am blossoming and it is anything but quiet. Listen…
Shhh. Feel…. A little longer…
Where can you sit and breathe into the sensation before pulling out of it? There is medicine in the manic itching if you let it be what it is- an Angel’s tickle trying to guide you to FEEL, witness and laugh as you fall into the cosmic joke that you are the fly.
Here is a little meditative reflection and share about having to choose love again- what an honor.
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