Rise And Shine: A Manifesto For Tired Yogis.


I’m tired of metaphysical schools of thought.

I’m tired of believing that my thoughts create my reality, that abundance is my birthright, that I attract what I am, that everything happens for a reason to further my spiritual growth.

What if it’s as simple as life just isn’t fair? What if some people really are born lucky while others are oppressed?

I’m tired of meditating on peace and down-raying the light.

I’m tired of clearing my chakras and analyzing the ailments’ origins.

What if my neck is not my nemesis and I only slept wrong? What if it’s not an issue of willpower that manifests in addiction to alcohol and sugar and exercise and anything else I can find that changes the way I feel?

You feel me?

I’m tired of relying so much upon a God of my understanding to handle all of the suffering I see here. What if the God of my understanding actually is the same God that those religious zealots use to promote separation, segregation, war and more suffering?

I don’t think I can pray to that God. Yes, I’m intolerant of the intolerance I see in evangelicals, but only because I’m right and they’re wrong. To act like an asshole, especially in the name of Jesus, that’s just wrong.

I’m tired of people telling me I should build a bridge and get over it. I wouldn’t suggest that you should continue to break bread with your ex-husband(s). After all, we should love everyone. I agree we should love everyone except some people we should love from very far away.

Boundaries, you know? Stop it already with the codependency speech.

All beings everywhere, we should love — even the ones who live beneath the bridge we don’t like to see.

Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.

But if you suggest chanting as a sadhana one more time, I’m gonna show you where to shove your mala beads.

I’m tired of spreading spiritual truth atop legitimate painful shit. It doesn’t really dull the taste. Sure, you may receive points for presentation, but pretty farm-to-table shit still tastes like shit, even if it is hormone-free.

And maybe the spiritual shit helps mitigate the suffering stench, or maybe it’s just one more way to avoid seeing what’s really happening… one more way to close our eyes to others’ pain… one more way to avoid feeling our feelings… one more way to numb… to escape.

What if it’s as simple as we are born and we die… and that along the way we see and experience unspeakable beauty and — if we are lucky to live long enough — some bad shit?

Real bad shit.

Resist the temptation to put a pin in my use of the word bad and shit too. Let’s keep it real even if the correct word is supposed to be really — lest you forget that so many people on this path still confuse breath with breathe.

For the love of all that may or may not be holy, teach that in your 200-hour overpriced teacher trainings before you issue anyone the title of RYT.

I gave up cursing for a few minutes in an effort to feel more enlightened, but I don’t feel light. Injuries, dis-ease, abuse, grief — to say the least — these have me feeling weighed down and heavy… but I wouldn’t dare say… grounded. Please don’t take the air out of my stinky bad shit-filled balloon. Root to rise.

Up, up and away, I want to fly away to the fantasy Kombucha Kaleland where everyone else seems content to stay.

I’m awake now. And isn’t that the point of all of this practice? If I hear one more time that practice makes progress, not perfection, I’m starting a 12-step fellowship for recovering yogis. I am awake, which is wonderful. But now I can’t go back to sleep. My eyes have been pried open, and I can’t go back to pretending I can’t see.

It’s lonely sometimes, this life. Don’t tell me I’m not alone, that all is one, that God is carrying me when it’s dark and I can’t see. Can’t you see I’m in the midst of a seriously sarcastic existential breakdown here?! The best thing you could do is to let me feel, let me feel my feelings.

I don’t want you to feel them for me, or deny they’re true, or show me a different way of feeling or being.

I’m tired of practicing gratitude and adjusting my attitude and choosing happiness for a while. I think I’ll sit upon my anxious laurels, rest in my restlessness, steep in a cold shower of shame, shine a light on my darkness, and make the visible the invisible. Until the process, this stupid self inquiry that never ends, inevitably elicits a change, in me.

Don’t say it… I know… I know what you’re going to say: “It’s the journey, not the destination”… or was it “The only person I can change is me?”

Wake up, please.


Amber Shumake
Amber Shumake lives in a suburb of Ft. Worth, TX -- over 20 miles from the nearest Yoga studio. Gallivanting throughout the metroplex in her Jeep, she prefers to drive topless. As she rocks out to spiritual podcasts and audio books, she remains always vigilant of the local owl who occasionally lands on her windshield as a reminder to slow down, to seek only Truth. She calls Karmany Yoga, the donation-based studio where she teaches, 'home'. Trading one compulsive addiction for another, she currently prefers backbends to drugs, tea to coffee, and Facebook to Twitter. Having recently completed her Masters in Counseling, she unites Yoga and therapy, wiping away sweat and tears, connecting people to their beauty -- one empowering arm balance and inversion at a time. A born writer, she encourages others to revise the life stories that no longer serve them. She dreams -- in no particular order -- of growing a family to play with her Blue 'Healer', writing a book, and changing the world. She’s pretty easy to find in the virtual world on Facebook, Twitter and blog.
Amber Shumake
Amber Shumake

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