Do We Really Need to Get Down to Get Real?

Via Michelle Dawson
on Jun 4, 2012
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“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~Khalil Gibran

A yoga teacher once asked me why I felt it necessary to live by the seat of my pants and skin of my teeth. He said he observed in me a survivor mentality that seemed to beg the universe to present me with disasters to overcome and that my continuous dance with danger, along with the failures that inevitably resulted, helped reinforce my self-deprecating inner dialogue.

He said I should grow up and decide to live life more righteously.

My first reaction to his proclamation was a giant “F*ck You.”

In my haste to swallow such supposed bull sh*t, my attitude, assumed by him, of self-deprecating inner dialogue instantly shifted to a gorgeous symphony of positive affirmations seeking revenge against the attack.

Of course this is how I reacted.

I am definitely a street wise warrior. Who could fault the guy for noticing, but how dare he call me out? I had half a mind to punch him in the face. F*cker.

Leave it to the wanna be peaceful yoga teachers to decide that everything in life ought to always remain in Zenful harmony.


It seems to me that if we set out on a journey to get free and hope to emancipate ourselves from karmic bondage, we are playing with fire. It’s a disturbance to the stoic peace to ask for freedom. Think about it.

What will set you free? What are you willing to sacrifice?

If you opt to take the path of effort toward liberation, you will definitely have to do a lot of work to get there; it’s a bumpy road. That guy was right. I do ask the universe for disasters to overcome, and in many ways, my requests are naïve. In my opinion, I am praying for peace. That’s what a yoga practice is all about, right? I put it all out there to the universe. I state my business. I make it clear that I’m utilizing the physical portion of my practice to get strong so I can endure this journey. I initiate brave motions and beguile the universe to show me her ugly face and reveal to me what’s behind her curtain, and in this way, I open a can of unholy worms. I put myself in precarious situations. (I’m shaking my head in shamed, wrongful amusement even as I write this.)

For me, the road to peace has been riddled with calamity and chaos.

I have certainly chosen the path of effort and perhaps this austere path is what attracted me to yoga in the first place. Hand stands and headstands and karate kid agilities seemed right up my alley.

As I get wiser, and the more I break through the scar tissue from the wounds of my past, the more I tend to agree with that teacher who suggested I take another route.

There is a way to gradually invite more peace into our lives without destroying the balance, even if the balance is illusory. For a fighter such as myself, the path of grace is becoming more attractive. Waiting patiently for peace instead of forcefully demanding it is seeming more and more beautiful.

Learning how to wander with humility and bow my head in order to lay down my defenses in the name of  freedom is a gorgeous route to take. It’s soft and it’s trusting and it acknowledges that we can have a firm belief in the ever unfolding process. This is the flip side to physical strength.

Sometimes, we really do have to get down to get real.

We have to get out of our comfort zone and slip into some role that is completely unique to anything we have ever experienced in our life. If we keep doing what we have always been doing, we are going to keep getting what we have always been getting. For the fighter who knows no stillness, the remedy is just that type of uncomfortable quietude. The posing never ends. We are constantly taking different perspectives in order to figure out which one is the most applicable antidote for peace.

I leave you with a quote from Led Zeppelin and hopefully an inclination to listen to the Battle of Evermore:

The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath

I love you, 


The Black Dirt Goddess


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Michelle Dawson

Michelle Dawson is a prolific Body Artist who hails from the Black Dirt region of Upstate NY. She combines the ancient arts of Henna and Yoga as a means of reaching the sacred poise of Body and Mind. Referring to her craft as Body Art by Michelle, she owns and operates a Yoga studio in Chester, NY. Her self-appointed title is Black Dirt Goddess and her goal is to deliver Art to Asana and return Asana to the Arts. She lives by a mantra from Rainer Marie Rilke: "No Great art has ever been created without the artist having known some real danger." Michelle can be found adorning appendages anywhere from NYC streets to Holy festivities in grandiose temples: she believes that every body was created for the satiation of the Artist.


10 Responses to “Do We Really Need to Get Down to Get Real?”

  1. gina says:

    if its possible to love you more, i do

  2. […] What if the door doesn’t really exist? What if all the talk of oneness is mental gymnastics, conjured up to satisfy a desire for something better than the stark reality of life? […]

  3. Tracy says:

    I love when I look to my sidebar and find a special message to my soul. Yours was that special message today. I've lived through so much turmoil and walked through so many of life's battlegrounds. Over the past third of my life, I've retreated as far back as I can from my Warrior Goddess. Though I needed to do that, I'm realizing that I've retreated too far. In my quest for peace, I've taken to hiding. The dance never ends…and it shouldn't; through all of our incarnations, we continue to shift and grow in our search for balance. That balance is not just an inner journey because it is affected by the world in which we live and all the people and places and events in it.
    Now that I have found more peace and eschewed "The Battle" to win or conquer, I need to gently awaken my Warrior Goddess again and teach her to dance with the new me. We don't have to fight, but we do have to participate and persuade and defend, and in so doing, take our rightful place in building harmony.
    Thank you so much for your post! ~Namaste

  4. Mamaste says:

    The universe is speaking….listen………. <3 ~Mamaste

  5. […] Many in our society place value in the a*s-kicking of others, building our walls or armor—“I am so tough!”—creating all sorts of drama to show strength just so no one has to deal with what is behind that curtain. […]

  6. Absolutely right on–thank you for sharing…

  7. Andréa Balt says:

    Love your street-smart, your style, your scarred elegance, your honesty. —-a.k.a. Black Foot Samba 🙂

  8. Black Dirt Goddess says:

    scarred elegance! love that!

  9. Sarah White says:

    Perfectly stated Michelle, from an open heart and a willing full mind. Im not sure of its a NY thing or just an innate personality characteristic but there is a lot of duality in my nature as well that I often struggle with. This practice, dance of breath and movement has created enough stillness that I too have been able to digest a seemingly poisonous attack and realize that is a juicy pearl of wisdom. For your courage to state so I bow in honor. Beautiful. Just Beautiful.

  10. […] So the next time it occurs to you, start practicing some affirmations. […]