Monday, August 17, 2015

Don’t think. Feel.

by Mandi Orozco, September 2015 200 hour Bali Yoga teacher training student

yoga teacher training bali
Mandi flies high in Budapest
There was a very unmistakeable message and theme to my week: Don’t think. Feel.

Now, I don’t know how that goes over for the rest of you, but for me that seems about as likely as winning the lottery. My brain is often the captain of my ship and sails away with me from my first waking moment until I crash into my pillow at night. In many ways it serves me well. Very well. I am usually very pleased with the balancing act I call my life, which is actually quite literally and metaphorically true (I'm a professional circus artist). I have a fire of ambition in my heart and enough dreams in my head to fuel the flames. I have been extremely blessed in terms of where that fire has propelled me to go. My daily life is a bit out of the ordinary. Despite the unique and somewhat bizarre lifestyle I lead, I have realized that no matter what a person does, no matter how “big” or how “small” the world labels them to be, we all boil down people with the same basic aspirations.

This week found me in Budapest, Hungary. I was performing as a guest act with a Czech company at the Sziget Festival, the biggest music festival in Europe. The festival was an amazing array of energy, people, music, lights, food, and sounds. Lots of sounds. Did I mention sounds? I think I will hear (and feel) the bass in my head for the next week to come. We performed each day in front of an extremely open and receptive audience, a strong reminder that the collective energy of a group of people is very real and influential. Among the applause and the music from the live band, I am always able to lose myself. Finally the captain that is my brain can bark orders as loudly as he wants without being heard. When I can connect with and begin to function from the most genuine place deep inside, no matter how still or active I am being, it’s like a surge of raw power. It’s a feeling that I cannot explain other than with the words: Don’t think. Feel.

The concerts were amazing, as one would expect at an event of this magnitude. It’s rare to see upwards of 50,000 people gather in one spot multiple times a day. I must admit that after a while, witnessing extreme levels of debauchery became taxing. I would often stand off to the side of the massive gathering of people and just observe them while listening to the music. Some were joyfully dancing, some were laughing, some were crying, some were drinking, and some clearly didn’t know what they were doing. And then there was me. I caught myself in the act of analyzing everything around me. I don’t mean analyzing in a judgmental way, but more like caught up in the process of thought. No matter what degree of inebriation or sobriety these people possessed, there was a sense of carefree thoughtlessness about them, a raw power. Don’t think. Feel.

Looking forward to Bali YTT
I am not criticizing thinkers in general. I am simply observing the freedom that comes with connecting to yourself without thought. More commonly referred to in yoga jargon as “Quieting your monkey mind.” While I essentially make my living as a professional monkey of sorts, I am looking forward to my yoga teacher training in Bali to reconnect with myself in a childlike, carefree, vulnerable way. I believe it is vulnerability that makes us strong, and the ability to show our vulnerability that makes us courageous. 

I’m looking forward to spending time with and being inspired by others who seek to life’s simple truths and joys, to those who seek greater self-awareness, and to those who desire to improve the world by improving themselves. Some of life’s greatest lessons are the simplest lessons. Sometimes there is no better way to find them than on a yoga mat.

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