• Whitecrow Speaks

The DABDA Spin

Each Wednesday I hold Dharma Talks in my home with some of my closest students. It's intimate, and always rich with discussion. I teach students the fundamentals of applying yogic philosophy to their everyday lives. Intertwined with my teaching, whether it's a Yoga Teacher Training, Dharma Talks, or studio classes, there is always recovery speak in my words.

The deep practices of yoga and the 12 steps and philosophy of recovery turned my life around, and when shit hits the fan, that's when regular practice is essential for my sanity and maintaining vertical lines. As you can see in the diagram above, often maintaining vertical looks more like knotted intestines.

The DABDA spin is what I have been in for the last 2 months, and the spin cycle of 2014 during the double deaths. The DABDA = The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.

The DABDA spin is not linear, for most of us. It's a spin cycle, where the underwear of isolation gets stuck in the pant-leg of bargaining. Anger gets pressed up against the diaphragm, and depression winds itself around everything. Acceptance is a lone, lost sock.

In our Talks the last 3 weeks, we've discussed how to apply the Yamas and Niyamas, the first two limbs of the 8 limbed tree of yoga, to our everyday lives. Last week we looked at the qualities of keeping a beginners mind and staying open-minded. How can we apply these tools to The DABDA spin?

The Eight Limbs of yoga are guidelines to reach Samadhi, enlightenment, freedom from the cycle of transmigration and Karma. The progression through The DABDA spin is not so dissimilar. The feeling of true acceptance is akin to the sensation of the ultimate "let go", not that I've experienced it in totality, cuz I'm still here, but I've for sure had tastes of it.

As much as we want to leap-frog our way past the day to day trudging of the human experience to reach Samadhi, we cannot. Likewise, when we are in lacerating loss and pain we want to jump to acceptance, to relief. Just fucking make it STOP, yes? In my past, I used anything and everything to make the pain I was feeling stop. Many of the things I used worked, temporarily, and that's the thing: our individual work will ALWAYS be there for us to look at. Many, many people go to their graves without having the courage to look in and do the work and feel that intense fucking pain. Majorities of people, in fact. However, that is the mission we've been tasked as yogis and those of us in recovery, should we accept it.

As we know, staying in self-righteous indignation feels much better than feeling pain, yet there is no freedom. Freedom comes from forgiveness. "But HOW can we forgive those things??? That's letting them off the hook!! I want them to hurt as much as I am hurting!!!" You relate, yes? I understand, believe me. But this work we are appointed, should we want to move towards freedom, is for ourselves, not any "other". We look at ways where we can practice ahimsa, non-violence, and satya, truthfulness. We look where can utilize the practice of brahmacharya, moderation, in our words and actions. We cultivate tapas, discipline and motivation, when we need to have those conversations and clean up our side of the street.

It's a spin cycle, yo. It's messy. It's a moving target. But with courage to take the daily actions, it is my promise to you that it changes. HOW it changes is unknown, and maybe not what you want, but it will change. We cannot control what other people do, how they feel, if they accept us or our amends. They are on their own path. I feel the agony of feeling unlovable for the mistakes I've made in my life. I've made amends where I have been allowed to make them. It's out of my hands now. Isolation/disbelief. Anger. Bargaining. BIG depression.....

I think I've found my lost sock. Today, anyway.......

112 views3 comments

©2019 by Leslie Whitecrow. Proudly created with