This year has been the hardest of my adult life, and at the same time the best. It is the year I said yes to life and in doing so, accepted much greater responsibility. I have known what I wanted to do with my life for many years and had been stalling, working easy jobs that paid well, not pursuing my dreams to the fullest. Last February life cracked me open. I tore my right shoulder and couldn’t work, couldn’t make my art, I could barely cook for and clothe myself. At first, I was surrendered, “I’ll just rest a week, what a gift.” Then it was two, then three and it was only getting worse, I started to panic. I had a lot of time to contemplate, and I felt I had “wasted” not pursuing my deepest passions, working labor jobs that paid the bills. It was invigorating, but mostly terrifying. I felt as though I had nothing, but that was far from the truth.

I had everything I needed to jump into the mystery, to follow my heart, to let the dream of my life finally unfold. I have teachers who support me and want to see me flourish, thank God. So, me and my partner said yes and moved to Ojai, to be closer to our teachers, Nina and Tudor. It was as if life had been saving this massive pile of stuff for me and as soon as I said yes, it just unloaded it all at once, ouch! I tore my other shoulder on the drive down to Ojai too (I know, God is a hilarious). It took forever to find a house and we had to accept less than ideal living conditions, we were so blessed to have them, and yet, it wore on us to not have a nest.

Initially it was exciting, and exhilarating, I had immediate opportunities to teach yoga, and share the science of Ayurveda with clients. It was like little tastes of what my life would be like, but they didn’t last. I had to take a regular job, I had not worked a job with a schedule in over seven years, I was used to being able to choose what I do each morning, whether it be my own work, or working on a farm for cash. Then I started school, I went from having more time than I knew what to do with to having to do only what is most important in my spare time.

I am happy, and grateful that my life has changed so greatly, deep down I feel more satisfied than I ever have because I am working toward my goals in a tangible way. I don’t know what I would have done without ANEM. For one, Tudor saved me from surgery and I am forever grateful. He is an incredible mentor and when I get my treatments it is like seeing a holy therapist, I feel charged and centered each time. And secondly, and certainly not least, Nina, and the Toltec teachings saved me from myself, and continue to do so. As she says, the difference between the student and the master is the number of times that the master has surrendered.

I have had a lot of opportunities to surrender this past year! My God, I feel like I have been under God’s jack hammer, just being smashed over and over and sometimes it takes me days to get the message, other days I am just surrendering over and over. I really don’t know how I would be without this sacred community of love and clarity. Being able to meet on a monthly basis gave me hope, and refreshed my courage. Being around my community gave me strength to know that I am not alone in this journey and each is carrying their own burden.

My story is rage and feeling small, and they have made themselves very loud in my dream this last year and especially leading up to our sacred power journey in Teotihuacan. I have been forced to hold myself through my struggles because when it comes down to it, no one else really can. I have had a lot of opportunities to have a cup of tea with these stories I am telling myself and honestly, I missed a lot of them. But I showed up for a lot them too, and I am grateful. I am beyond grateful, and in a way, I owe my happiness and clarity to Nina with her magic presence and mastery, knowing that I did the work. I say this because I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for her, thank you Nina.

About a week before our journey to Teo I was really “in it,” believing all the terrible stories I was telling myself, trying to surrender and get myself out of it and love myself but it wasn’t working. I was holding on to rage as a way to defend myself. Then I saw Nina, just for a moment, and the whole structure of this imaginary dream collapsed. All she did was ask me how I was, even though I knew she knew already, and I just let down and my joy instantly returned, wow! In Teo I worked with this rage a lot, it manifests in the form of judgement often and when it slips in it hurts me. When I am happy and having a good time, I feel great. When I am tired, or sore, this angry demon comes knocking at my door and I have let it in for my whole life.

Now, I say “Ok demon, what kind of tea do you want, cause that’s all you’re getting.” Since leaving Teo this story has been on loud speaker and I am so grateful to say that I have just loved it, holding the’ I am not’ with the ‘I AM’. I have been really loving myself, not just saying to myself that I do, remembering to not believe the stories that tears me down and take me out of my place of centeredness. When I am out of this, ‘I am not’, and therefore not with God. My whole reality twists into a nightmare and my dreams certainly aren’t being fulfilled from that place.

Again, I give thanks to Nina for carrying this sacred lineage of the Toltec, and being an amazing guide for all of us Dreamers. For your intensely clarifying presence and infinite love and joy. For bringing a man into me and my brother’s lives that we can look up to and have so much fun with. For seeing so clearly and giving us purpose and place in this amazing community you have precipitated from the astral realms. Thank you for being the Commander of the sparkling ship that is A New Earth Movement.


With love,

Ian Via