Stretch This Diwali—Lights and the Power of One What is Diwali? Here’s what you need to know about this auspicious Festival of Lights. By Kimi Marin Photo by Mike Labrum Most cosmogonies, or creation stories, have similar elements. The idea of dark and light—feminine and masculine—originating together is one such example of a common theme. Hindu cosmogony is no exception. Before the time of creation when all was dark, Shakti, (feminine energy of the universe) and Shiva (masculine) were connected as a single source. The illusion of duality, the belief that opposites exist, was born when they separated. The story goes that because of their separation, we live in suffering, searching to become whole and united again. We maintain the belief that what we want and what we need is external of ourselves. We do not understand that we, and everyone around us, are already whole. The fusion of Shiva and Shakti’s masculine and feminine energy is said to be the source of everything in the universe. The etymology of the word universe illustrates this: uni (one) + verse (poetic line). Our thoughts, our intentions, and our actions arise from a single poetic line. In numerology, the number one is an indication to focus on your thoughts and remember the intentions you are putting into the world. The number one serves as a reminder that your thoughts influence your actions and what you think you manifest. Each person consists of masculine and feminine energy: We are Shakti and we are Shiva. Yet we forget this and tear ourselves apart, telling ourselves that we are not good enough, strong enough, successful enough, tall enough, pretty enough, or rich enough. Due to our inability to recognize our individual greatness as part of a continuous energy connecting us with all beings, we manifest the very fears and doubts we try to hide away. Photo by Gianandrea Villa We are born into this world with a dharma, our path and life purpose. To connect with our dharma draws us to the inner joy and bliss that arrives when one no longer searches the external world for happiness. To be on your dharmic path is to live from that cosmic source, and as you serve yourself, you serve others. This November is an energetic time of potent manifesting and arriving on our path. On November 7, in various regions of India, Diwali begins as a celebration of light over dark, good over evil. Diwali starts on the new moon, and like the time before creation, everything is dark. The new moon represents the vast potential of a new cycle. During this time when the sky is dark, there is a natural tendency to go inward and self-reflect. In the darkness, however, we can hide our embarrassments, traumas, self-doubts, and feelings of shame. Yet from a non-dualistic viewpoint, our dark and light sides are two sides of the same coin. Just as we are made up of masculine and feminine energies we are also the qualities of light and dark. So do we let our egos and fears trigger shame, regret, and guilt—or do we move from the heart with compassion, acceptance, strength, and selfless power? According to Joanne Sacred Scribes, the number 11 is a karmic number that symbolizes spiritual enlightenment, and when we pay attention to the number 11—the number of the month November—it will connect with our higher self and lead us to our life purpose, our dharma. When we pay attention to the number 11, it will connect with our higher self and lead us to our life purpose—our dharma. When we honor our own divine purpose, we find the light that leads the way. Each of us are on a path that leads to our best selves. On this path we fall in love, lose love, fall down, discover shortcuts, get lost, feel abandoned, and discover joy. We search outside of ourselves, ignoring the signs that we are light and dark, masculine and feminine, yin and yang. This is the path to discovering that you are perfect and whole. Never forget: You are one with the uni-verse, individual, but not alone. — Kimi Marin is a Portland-based yoga teacher who helps people find clarity in their mind, body, and spirit. Kimi has a master’s degree in literature, and loves to combine the power of stories with yoga, often weaving the myths and tales about various poses into the class. Her transformative Yogic Lore Flow workshops are a fun combination of stories, asana, meditation, and mantra. Kimi was featured in Origin Magazine’s Inspire Series, was the featured ambassador for Ahnu Footwear June 2013, and her writing is published on several blog sites. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.