Month: November 2019

giving thanks

From my family to you, we send you blessings.  

Happy day of giving thanks. May you be surrounded with love, joy, and supportive company today and always.  

Native American History is American History, may we always remember all people and cultures. Happy Indigenous People’s Day, and happy day of Giving Thanks.  May we always give thanks each and every day.  May we come to realize our interconnectedness with each other and all things. On interconnection and good relating to everything, click HERE!

I am grateful to each of you. You are my community here, and extended family.  Thank you for your continued support and connections.

I AM TEACHING THIS WEEKEND! Come with requests!  Friday and Saturday classes are as scheduled at usual times! Click Here for my updated schedule!  And, watch for my workshops coming up in two weeks!

Namaste. 

On Good Relating

That picture above was taken on my train ride from Madras up to Chennai, India; the term ‘selfie’ hadn’t come about yet. I just wanted to capture the experience, but truly we can’t, we must allow ourself to live the experience. And this train ride would push me to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations as the train became more full at each town along the way!  However, I also was practicing “good relating*” to everything around me and within me.  It was hard.  And, yet, because I had befriended a group of young men out on holiday from their jobs back home, they, too, like my inner practice, became trusted companions until the last stop.

What did my practice of “good relating” look like?  For one, I shared my story with the young men, as they shared their stories with me.  We connected and found a lot of likeness between us, despite very different upbringings.  In the start of the journey, barely anyone was on my train, but by the end, people were sitting in the aisles and hanging out the “doors” which were just open places along the train for entering and exiting; I had to keep assuring myself I was safe and I would be fine as a single woman traveling thru India, so I was in good relating to my Self.  I practiced mantras for protection and mantras for love and guidance.  I had to trust when people offered to help me; good relating to others. I had to listen to my intuition when I sat on the wrong side of a bus after the train to make it to my flight at the airport; women on one side and men on the other, but I hadn’t been noticing that big detail until I felt all eyes staring at me; good relating to cultures. I had to trust intuition again when I took action to walk away form a man whose energy I did not like; good relating to saying no.  In good relating, there are a lot of practices, and I am realizing more and more how it is all yoga. 

And so, here it is, the quote that set this whole contemplation off, right from Robert A.F. Thurman’s podcast.  Here is a link to the episode HERE:

And you Yogis and Yoginis…what you’re doing is the art of interconnection.  And this has to do with your livelihood, and your choice of that has to do with your inner meditation as well as your physical posture – the dance of enjoying your body and keeping it free and open and healthy; and of course what you eat -everything!  Every aspect of your life you yoke to the purpose, and therefore what gives you real motivation is the idea, not that your just escaping the body, or escaping the mind, but that your finding the best possible use of the body, your finding love actually… There is an ultimate goal, and that ultimate goal is total good relating to everything.”

*This is how I obtained the term ‘good relating’.  I like this because it is an action.  And, its different that saying “good relationship with everything”.  We are in the practice, we are in the action of attempting to always be in the ‘good relating’ to everything!

How do you practice good relating to the planet? Your job? Your spouse? Your Self?  To someone who is treating you bad?  To a negative thought that arises? To a gift your receive?  To something good that happens to you?

And, as you practice good relating, can you feel the art of interconnection happening?  Can you see it?  And in doing so, does the likeness of all things around you and in you surprise you?  It did in my train ride. 🙂

Namaste.

Time and the Timeless

A book literally jumped out at me this week.  I went to pull one book out, but another one leap out before I could catch it!  These are the words I turned to when I opened the leaping book:

“And an astronomer said, Master, what of time?
And he answered:
You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness, 
And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?
And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not from love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds?
And is not time even as love is, undivided and spaceless?

But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all other seasons, 
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.”
-Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet” *Note: Typed as true to form from book as possible.

Last week I invited my students to let go of the limited idea of time as we know it in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, year, and so on, and to remember that they are timeless. And to remember them Self as the Infinite.  This reminded me of the Sanskrit term, aparigraha.  “Graha means to take, to seize, or to grab.  “Pari” means on all sides.  The prefix ‘a’ negates the word. So, in essence, aparigraha means to not grasp on all sides.  What would it feel like to let go of your grasp on time and know the timeless?  What would it feel like for time to let go of its grasp on you?

This is hard to do when I witness my children growing so fast and quickly before my eyes.  Hard to do as I watch “time” pass and feel my own body ‘aging’.  Hard not to already wish for more “time” as I watch my parents age, because I have already seen all my grandparents pass on into the timelessness of the Universe.

And yet, to know our Self as the Infinite, as Source, as God, as Life, or however you name/feel it, as that ‘song’ and ‘contemplation’ that was there when the stars where ‘scattered into space’, then we know we are timeless!  Because the song carries on.  Because we carry on in Spirit, and in others memories, and in the forming of new constellations within the Universe, and in the ripples we have created in the Universe simple from our being, our birth.

“Accept the present moment and find the perfection that is deeper than any form and untouched by time.” -Eckart Tolle  Thank you Maxine for this quote.  When I let go of the idea of time, I can only be in the present moment, because that is where I live.  It is my mind that carries me to the past and future.  So, in aparigraha with time, I feel the freedom of the present moment!  I no longer feel sadness, or desires, or excitement, but rather a steady focus with what is here now.  The moment I am living in. Typing now. Tending to my baby later; ah, there’s a “time” word though!  But that in being with my baby later, I will be with her fully in That moment. Eating dinner with my son.  Creating next weeks class.  Listening to the wind.  Hearing my own breath.  Talking to my husband.  All present moment tasks/freedoms/gifts.  And even picking up my dogs poop. Present moment! lol!  “When you make the present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do and with it the quality, of your life increases dramatically.”-Eckart Tolle

“Time is basically an illusion created by the mind to aid in our sense of temporal presence in the vast ocean of space.  Without the neurons to create a virtual perception of the past and the future based on all our experiences, there is no actual existence of the past and the future.  All that there is, is the present.” -Abhijit Naskar, “Love, God, & Neurons: Memoir of a scientist who found himself by getting lost.”

And then there is this magical story, if you have a few minutes, please read it. Read HERE. About a calligraphers apprentice.  I love the part about the term ‘non-self’, not “no self”, non.

 

This is all why I chose a picture from the past. India, 2012!  The song continues! 😉 See the valley below?  Elephant Valley, Tamil Nadu, India. Tureya Ashram. 

Namaste, Infinite One.

 

Spiritual Heart

Anahata Chakra: The “unstruck”.  The heart center wheel of life emanates the sound that two things make when they do not strike each other.   I’ve always loved this idea.  For me, the resonance between two things not striking each other is love and peace.  A vibration of unconditional love and unconditional acceptance. These are all aspects of the Spiritual Heart.  This week has been a deep week of serious inquiry for me and my students in class, and I hope it will spark the beginnings of a life long healthful relationship with your own Heart!

I used to roll my eyes every time a person said, “listen to your heart”, “feel your heart”, or “go within, to your hearts center”.  Yup, I was over it.  I was just tired of hearing about the heart. I didn’t necessarily have heart break, though I have experienced that, but I was just like, “can we move on now?”  Well, years later, I get it.  After studying with various teachers and Spiritual leaders, and after having many a heart-opening experience, I believe it now when Spiritual Healers say, ‘you can never work too much with the heart’.  It is known within the system of the chakras*, that the heart chakra is the only one that when it is in balance, it becomes easier to create balance in all the others. 
*A chakra is a “wheel” or ‘vortex’ of energy and life force that lives within each of us.  Seven main ones stack from the pelvic floor to the crown of the head.  They reside at specific anatomical locations within the human body just in front of the spin, like a plum line.  They correlate to physical aspects of the human body, as well as energetic aspects, developmental aspects within the life span of a person, and emotional and psychological aspects. 

I dove in pretty deep with this intention. Three articles stuck out to me, and it was hard to narrow the Dharma Talk for each class.  However, from a conversation with a dear friend, the intention became clear;  how do you listen to your heart and how do you trust it?  How do you know your truly hearing your heart?  Click here for Article 1 Article 2 Article 3

Here’s where we began in class:
“Our heart deserves the best gift from us; it is asking to be heard and revered.  …Your heart speaks the truth.  It’s as simple and sacred as this.  No one knows your heart better than you do.  …Your heart holds the key to your life.  Your dreams, wishes and desires are all embedded in your heart.  Whom your heart chooses to love, your life’s work and your purpose all reside in your heart.  …Your heart speaks to you with kindness and hope.  It never speaks of fear and doubt, and it will never betray you Your heart honors you, and when you listen to the guidance of your heart, your peace and happiness is restored.” -Mary Paleologos

Mary goes on to write, “Who you really are is not defined by the external world but by your internal sanctuary.”  This supported me in creating a Heart Meditation thru out the week**.  “Deep within you lies the very essence of love, strength and joy.  To trust your inner self is to trust your heart.  It does not mean that you will not make mistakes or make a wrong turn;  this is all part of your heart’s journey.  If you trust and embrace the journey, your heart will get you back on the right path.”  

I have highlighted a few of those words above for the reason that I deeply believe in them. And, I will add, when you listen to your heart you are listening to your inner wisdom!  Don Oscar Miro-Quesada, a Peruvian Shaman whom I retreat with, says, “Everything you need to know is already in your heart.”

“Your Heart Loves You.”
 -Shawna Emerick  We must love our Hearts back, and that is to love One’s Self.  The heart chakra is all about relationships, not only to those around us, but also to our Selves and the Divine.

However, what happens when you do not feel you have ever heard your heart?  What then?  What does it feel like to ‘hear’ your heart?  Even though I don’t have an answer here, one thing thru reading of the articles that made sense to me was this:  What does your heart pull you towards?!  Have you ever, in your life, been SO drawn to something that you knew you had to say yes, or act upon it?!  Or at least, start making smaller actionable steps towards it/that? Has something in your life ever affected you in that way that lights you up?!  Creates a spark?!  That might have been your heart speaking to you, guiding you! 

I feel each person is going to experience their hearts communication in different ways.  And even within one person, I feel that that person can “hear” their heart from different forms.  Sometimes the heart will create tears.  Sometimes we feel our hearts excitement when we experience some thing we witness outside of our self.  Sometimes we are moved by a gorgeous piece of music, a memory, a hope, a dream, a poem, another human being, an event, a word, a feeling, a symbol.  So many things.  How has your heart communicated with you?  Here’s a question; have you ever heard your heart and acted from it?  No matter the outcome from listening to your heart, go back to that moment when you heard it.  How did you know it was your heart?  What did it feel like?  What did you ‘hear’ or experience?

And, then, what if you do feel that it was your heart that misguided you?  As one quote in one of the articles suggests, “your heart will guide you back on the right path”.  But, how do you create the trust towards your heart when you do feel like it was your heart that betrayed you?  Remember that other quote, “Your heart will never betray you”?  Do you believe this?  I believe it.  Even thru heart break, I don’t think my heart betrayed me.  I feel that someone else betrayed me, and another still was following their heart, thouhg it hurt mine.  And that sometimes the journey betrayed me, that which lives outside of me, but not my heart.  Not my Spiritual Heart.  My physical  heart has skipped beats in the past due to stress and anxiety, but my Spiritual Heart beats strong.  Your Spiritual Heart is strong too. I believe this.  I believe in Source, Spirit, God, Light, Life, however you name it/feel it to be.  I believe it because That is You, and You are That.  Just as in Yoga we say I am That, That am I. 

As I was thinking further around the heart, I feel that it would be unfair to expect life to be perfect and all love and positive vibes, as they say, even when we feel we are living from a heart centered space.  Why?  Because inevitably, at some point, we will all experience grief.  Grief is the shadow side of the  heart chakra.  Whether its loss of a loved one, a pet, loss of something we held as special/sacred, loss of our own abilities as we age, or anything else.  And, even in grief and heart ache, there can still be a heart centered practice.  Gratitude.   And gratitude is another practice of the heart chakra.  Right now, take a deep breath, and think of 5 things you are grateful for, and if you want, journal them.  Did you feel your heart expand? Soften?  Or grow?  How did it feel?  Where did you feel it in your body?  Take another deep breath.  Thank yourself for being in this journey of life.  Its not easy, but it doesn’t need to be experienced as a struggle.  Perhaps this is where we will feel the differences in life when we do always make the attempt to live from our Heart’s Center?!  And then everything is perfect.  Not in the “shiny, rainbow, clean and neat” way, but it’s perfect because it is what it is.  And that, is perfect.  To allow One’s Self to experience ALL emotions is heart centered.

I feel there is a lot more here, including why feeling and the second chakra are often correlate to the heart chakra.  Think emotions and desires.  No wonder a lot of yoga workshops are entitled ‘Heart and Hip openers’! 

So, keep listening to your heart. Listen for its desires.  Even if the first practice is to get silent enough so you CAN start to ‘hear’ your heart. Remember, to ‘hear’ it might mean you feel it.  And, even when you feel that your hearts desires are impossible, your heart knows the way.  It will never betray you.  It will guide you and speak to you of hope and possibility.  Unconditional love and unconditional acceptance are made of the heart stuff!  Your heart loves you.  Give your heart the connection it deserves.  Nourish your relationship with your Heart today.

Feel free to write to me about your take on all of this, or part of this.  Tell me a story of when you heard your heart.  Let me know how you trust your heart, or how you learned to trust.  Namaste.

**This helped me create a Hearts Meditation thru out the week.  I want to start making audio recordings!  If anyone wants to come over and help me figure out how to use the Rockrok ML-01 Lavalier Microphone I have, please let me know!  I will figure out an exchange for a private yoga session, or Thai massage, or DoTerra essential oils for you!

Strength

Last week we explored drishti, focus, and where we wish to keep our focus towards within the scope of our life.  We were reminded by Ralph Marston to “choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting, and joyful.”  Read the blog HERE.

As we attempt to hold our focus towards the magnificent, we will experience a lot on the journey of life.  Some things are going to test us, push us, change us, move us, and all of it will mold us, just as much as we are a sculpture.  So, when we are feeling challenged, stuck, angered, sad, scared, hopeless, or uncertain, can we trust the process of life?  Can we trust that we ARE going to come out of dark times on the other side, changed for the better?  Can we hang on?  Can we support ourselves to have the staying power to see it/make it thru?

There is an observance, a niyama, in yoga that is known as tapas.  Tapas, as translated from Sanskrit, is ‘heat’.  It also is translated as self-discipline, Spiritual effort, austerities, change, and transformation.  Deborah Adele, in her book ‘The Yamas & Niyamas’, asks the questions, “Can you show courage and stay in the fire until you find the blessing?”  “Can we stay in the burning with integrity?”  “Can we hold on for the blessing?”  “Can we prepare ourselves daily through our practice, our staying power, and our choices?”

I love her questions, and yet, as the week passed on, I realized something.  Tapas, self-discipline, does not need to be felt as so daunting, rigid, and suffocating.  It does not mean to beat yourself down to a pulp, with nothing left.  This observance of tapas, for us to try to always be in a practice of Spiritual effort and ‘heat’, can be performed with grace, compassion, and Light.  Deborah Adele puts it this way, that tapas is “paying attention to what is possible, what is safe, and what is timely for us in our current life context.”  For example, I cannot go up into the Himalayan mountains to meditate for years right now.  I have two children, a husband, and a dog at home who depend on me.  Even though the meditation would be great Spiritual effort, its not timely for me right now; what is timely is how I raise my kids, how I support my partner, and how I am living out my practices right now.

“Tapas is the willingness to be both burned and blessed.” -Deborah Adele

So, can we trust the process?  Can we allow the unfolding?  Can we remember the alchemy of transformation, of tapas?  Can we trust that we will come out on the other side of dark times as better?  Better in the way of knowledgeable, changed, opened, and sometimes even happier.

In her article “Tapas: Find Your Inner Phoenix”, read HERE, Hellen Avery writes, “…we must practice what Krishna calls in the Bhagavad Gita, pure tapas – a tapas of “zeal” and “sincerity.”  And to do so we have to become deeply intimate with the true desire in our hearts.”  She continues, “The beauty of pure tapas is that when we make a choice that aligns with this fire inside, we fan the flames, so that the fire burns brighter, and the next time the choice becomes easier.  We don’t have to wait thousands of years like the phoenix to commit ourselves to the flames.  We can emerge more brilliant with every choice we make to follow the path to truth.”

When I read this a few things stand out.  One, we MUST listen to our hearts! And, two, I have made choices that used to feel ‘hard’ but are now easy because I choose from a place of the heart.  One of the hardest decisions in my life was a decision made from my heart. And, though, for a time, it caused my best friend to despise me, it was the loving choice to make at the time.  We both stayed in the burning for months after our separation. But, I CAN tell you, we made it thru, we are closer friends because of it, and we live in that blessing.  That was a choice that Deborah Adele’s quote  fits…it was a choice that “was timely for us in our current life context.”

You can DEFINITELY believe this weeks classes will be ALL about listening and TRUSTING your HEART!  Namaste.