Listen to Kelly as she explains and ends up experiencing some of the effects of Sanskirt. Slow and meandering, please sit quietly and alone when you press play. The audio is about 10 minutes long.
The Conquering Lion Teacher Training program has undergone some beautiful evolutions in the past few months.
Master Shaman, Liz Seidel from the Q'ero lineage has joined the program to teach the Conquering Lions. She and Kelly have been busy revamping the program to have a much stronger feminine aspect. They will be teaching men and the women specific exercises, meditations and activities that will allow them to begin to source from the Divine Feminine by teaching them how to sense their own energy, how to deactivate the limbic fight or flight brain and how to connect viscerally with the elements and to see where they are held by the masculine so that they can have greater access to the feminine, among other things.
The below interview via Where Is My Guru took place between Kelly and Liz as a means to introduce the basics of Shamanism, demystifying some common misconceptions and breaking down what it is exactly that Liz does and will be doing within the program:
"Shamanic medicine can bring healing to a person emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually; it's the basic clearing away the energy of the past so that a person is free to go into a new direction. The result is that they're able to step onto their highest expression—they determine what that is, and no one else. A Shamanic healing practice consists of erasing imprints and downloading a new software that's free from crappy karma. Modern western medicine is about treating and eliminating symptoms. However, treating and healing are worlds apart. Many people who are cured are not actually healed. Most of the pressing problems on the planet right now—the economic problems, the social, the political, the environmental problems—are all a result of personal imbalance on a massive scale. We often hear in the yogic community become the change you wish to see, but the scale and the importance of that sentence are not always fully grasped. With Shamanism, change occurs quickly and without all the fanfare—no robes, no knowing, no endless and indentured gratitude to the one who gave the teachings—just freedom and rejoicing; the way of the mother. By denying the Divine Feminine you deny the fundamentals of a complete life, and who wants that?" ~Liz Seidel.
When I first sat down with Kelly Morris, I had no idea how my life was about to change.
I had done some research, general background stuff, and of course I was nervous, I'm only just beginning to grasp the hang of this interview thing, and here I was, strolling in to talk with a woman who has been described as "Buddha Barbie meets G.I. Jane."
Kelly's "I'm honest even to my own detriment" attitude is one I admire and appreciate. In our community, it's sometimes hard to tread through the frou-frou bullshit waters. I'm looking for real, even if it's not pretty and honest, even if it hurts. To me, it seems that is the only way to facilitate substantial change.
We began by talking about some of the changes being implemented in her Conquering Lion Yoga teacher training program. In my research I had discovered that the Conquering Lion program was a combination of two sacred lineages, Indian and Tibetan—I was wrong, things have changed, and for good reason.
Kelly Morris: Conquering Lion will retain the most salient and quintessential teachings out of the Tibetan and Indian lineages—karma and emptiness—but we are evolving into a new incarnation by incorporating a lineage of the Q'ero, from the high Andes of Peru. Its a lineage in balance between the masculine and the feminine. They're an earth-based society fully connected to the feminine.
Tibetan Buddhism is about 2500 years old. The Q'ero tradition, as well as other indigenous traditions, is over 30,000 years old, some say over 100,000, which suggests that Tibetan Buddhism, and subsequent lineages, are the beautiful offspring of this original lineage, in the same way we are all originally from Mother Africa, even though I am 'white'.
We are bringing this balanced lineage in because although Tibetan Buddhism et al has a wonderful efficacy, it wasn't addressing certain needs within myself or my community. As a patrilineal, male- dominated, hierarchical and rank-based tradition, it has seen its day, for me anyway.I doubt we're going to see a female Dalai Lama anytime soon, you know? While I have been a card-carrying member of the patriarchy since birth, it seems, I am letting my membership expire!
Now is the time for the Divine Feminine in our world. Now is the time for there to be healing on every level—healing between genders, healing between races, healing between socioeconomic backgrounds, healing ecologically, physically, emotionally. That's unlikely to happen under the exclusive purview of the masculine as that lopsided paradigm is predicated on someone being inferior and someone being superior. Healing cannot take place within that dynamic. Many other interesting things can happen! But in my experience, no one is brought to a place of healed wholeness if they're always locating authority in someone or something other than themselves.
The feminine perspective is different, a world apart. From that perspective, we've always been equal, we've always been perfect, we've always been whole, from the day we were born while Tibetan Buddhism and yoga often suggest that you are 'born ignorant'. Christianity doubles down on that and announces we were born 'in sin'. How is one meant to bounce back from that disgrace!? Good luck.
Conquering Lion's endeavor now is to become a haven for those individuals—men and women—who are seeking to redress this profound lack of balance between the masculine and feminine that exists within themselves and within their world. The response has been huge.
Now remember, I had gone into this thinking it would be just another interview—I love interviewing teachers, I have had the rare opportunity to sit down and talk with some of the industries leading mentors to talk about their views, beliefs, methods, etc. So as I am sitting here, listening, something inside of me is stirring.
There has been a ton of talk about the Divine Feminine lately, and to be honest, I have never put much stock into it. It's been blogged and reblogged about, especially of late. The thing that was lacking for me, was association. I felt zero affinity to the words being said, and in honor of total transparency here, it left me thinking "what the hell is the Divine Feminine?"
JC: There's been a lot of talk about the Divine Feminine lately. It's a subject I think maybe needs a bit more light shed on it.
KM: There's is a great call for the Divine Feminine. It will unseat the crazed patriarchy. It has to and it is meant to. The wild masculine is beautiful. It's just that it's gone entirely mad! The pendulum has swung way too far into the masculine. To redress that, we need to bring in the divine feminine.
To be clear, the divine feminine and 'feminist' are not the same thing. Feminism is an appropriate and political reaction to the global deprivation and diminishment on multiple levels of 50% of the Earth's population, women in this case. The divine feminine is something different. The Divine Feminine is a set of values that stands alone, autonomous in that it isn't an appropriation of male power, or a reactions to it, or a distortion of it, or a stealing of it back—it's actually your own. It isn't begged, borrowed or stolen nor is it flipping the bird at the masculine. It's about reanimating what's intrinsically within each one of us already.
We are left-brain addicts. We worship at the alter of rationality, knowledge and intellect, searching for more science, more proof, more logic, more analysis. Those qualities are not exclusively the purview of the masculine—but the feminine is located in the right brain. Its the creative principle, its the Earth, it's everything that's alive, moving and generating.
"It's the creative principle, it's the Earth, it's everything that's alive, moving and generating." I have always felt a strong connection to mother nature. Before I found yoga, I was really into reading about Mesoamerican indigenous cultures. Those texts would leave me feeling like I knew what we were missing as a whole, like they were doing something "right." This program is the joining of two things I feel a very strong connection to: yoga and finding a way back to a kinship with the raw material this planet is made up of, that we are made up of.
I had never put too much thought into finding a teacher, and serendipity is an odd thing. Truth be told, while I practice at home when I can, I have felt for some time that developing a real, solid practice was just not in the cards for me. There is virtually no yoga community where I live, and while that may be an excuse to some, to me it means I had yet to find a place to practice where I felt aligned. I realize that an at-home practice is sustainable for some people, but I need more guidance. And so, I just figured that when it was time, all things would reveal themselves. That time has come.
Not only will I be a participant in the upcoming Conquering Lion teacher training which starts in September, but I will be blogging my way through the entire course right here on YOGANONYMOUS—step by step, change by change, trials and tribulations. This is both exciting and nerve racking. I expect that my life will be completely altered, I am ready to heal, grow, and finally expand my practice, but to document these changes explicitly for all the world to see, to be raw, open and honest about personal highs and lows, I'm not going to lie, that scares me a bit, but I know this is what I am meant to be doing.
To listen to the full interview with Kelly via Where Is My Guru—what I've shared here is only the tip of the iceberg—please press play below.
You may be in a decent mood right now. Apologies. But please think about the last person that 'hurt' you. Go there for about 15 seconds....then come back to the page. No, really, actually do it.
He/she is NOT hurting you. Your thoughts ABOUT them are. You just proved it. Try it again. Think about someone else who 'hurts' you or otherwise 'bothers' you....see? You were fine and now you're not. You're upset. What upset you? Them or you?
With this wisdom, heroically and deliberately change your thoughts about them. If you throw your weight behind detached compassion or even grudging appreciation for a moment, what happens?
Suddenly, you see firsthand that they have no power to 'make' you feel anything. Moreover, you see that they never did and they never will on their own, without you there to metaphorically hand the keys over to them, firstly by believing they ‘hurt’ you and secondly by thinking negatively about them as a result. Who is hurting who?
It's way deeper than you think. What if you don't think about them at all? Do they have any power...at all? Do they even...exist, for you?
*** *** ***
It happens to the best of us. Even the Buddha! While sitting under the bodhi tree, trying to get his enlightenment on, Siddhartha was repeatedly and exhaustively attacked by the great, enraged demon named Mara.
Mara comes from the Sanskrit root 'mri'. It means death-bringing. It's where we get our English words 'nightMARE" and 'MURder'.
Who is Mara? Mara is a code word for samsara. He wants you dead as much as he wanted the Buddha dead. And why not? You have the same potential to transcend him and to do so is to kill Mara Samsara. Nobody likes dying, not even Death. He's used to killing, not being killed. It comes a shock. He resists, deepening his offerings to you..a raise, an insider tip, a well-considered compliment, a new iphone, a new car, a lingering look from the married woman with the wealthy husband...
Mara tried his hardest to distract Siddhartha from his sweet, kind and epic mission to get to the bottom of......Mara. Mara attacked the mind trying to understand Mara.....He wanted to kill Siddhartha and so Siddhartha had to kill him. In so doing, Siddhartha became the Buddha.
Mara Samsara is a perception, nothing more, nothing less. Mara Samsara has very low self-esteem and feels fat a lot. He comforts himself with newspapers, self-absorption, television, red wine and bargains on Gilt.com. Mara Samsara spends time speaking ill of others, uses people to expedite his goals and plots his ascension to king of whatever dungheap he's managed to pull together while battling depression, self-doubt, illness, loneliness and inertia. Mara Samsara marries for money/status, tries to always screw like a porn star and dances on tables hopeful someone will think he's 'so uninhibited'. Mara Samsara doesn't care about anyone, not really, except himself.
When you listen to Mara Samsara and his deviant, insidious whisperings, you will believe you are capable of nothing more than the usual. In your secret sadness, you console yourself with Mara's seductions. Everybody else is, so what the hell.
Mara IS your doubt in yourself, your fear of failing, your belief you are nothing truly worthwhile.
What is your Mara? What demon prevents you from raising yourself up? What demon keeps your heart closed tight as a fist? What demon stops you from taking the homeless and sick into your arms, rocking them? What demon makes you give one dollar instead of five, or fifty? What demon makes your mouth open and something ugly come out? What demon holds you back from love?
How old are you? Mara has been baiting you for THAT LONG. Throw him off. You were BORN TO WIN THIS ONE.