Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I don't like this feeling, this sitting still sort of feeling. As if someone pressed the pause button on my life and then misplaced the remote. I'm spinning my wheels in place and though, I see where I want to be, it's a matter of getting there.
It just occurred to me, in the moment of writing this, that I need to come clean. I have to speak out on my own behalf. I need to step up.
I need to voice my truth.
Where is my voice when I need it most?
Monday, July 27, 2009
I ordered it through Amazon and read it in 4 days--freakin' loved it.
I do NOT want to sound like a book review, so I'll just say a few things here. The main character spends most of the story's time in India--I felt like I was there. She was on a quest for enlightenment, visiting various gurus/teachers and ashrams--I felt just as much a part of that quest. When she cried, I damn near cried. At her wit, I would laugh out loud.
You know a book is good when you're so into it that, upon completion, it feels as if you've been dropped back into a life you no longer recognize...and the suitcases still need to be unpacked.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I was driving in the car with my little man last week and as we were passing under a bridge he read the "Clearance 17 ft." sign posted there. He turns to me and asks if I can imagine being 17 feet tall.
And for the next few miles, I did exactly that in my head...imagined being 17 feet tall. I had a picture of this new freakishly tall body in my mind and even began to consider how I would fold and contort this body to fit in my wee little compact car.
I then decided I wouldn't like it--I like my size, have always liked being short and felt very thankful for my proximity to the ground.
My point here?
The mind is more than happy to create a story for you--any time or any place, with any thought 'seed' that you plant. It just goes to show how very undisciplined our minds are when left to their own devices.
Sometimes, maybe most times, these seedling manifestations of thought are harmless and breed creativity through the musings of imagination but if we stay too long in the land of stories, then we have removed our self from the present moment.
Furthermore, by succumbing to haphazard musings of the mind too much of the time, we cut short the time of intentional contemplation and planning--that time we spend with our most intimate self, whereby we come to know what it is that we desire, where it is we want to go and how it is we plan to get there.
Recently, I visited a blog, The Yamas and Niyamas (posted to the right in my blog roll) and viewed her video posting on "Plugging Your Holes".
Deborah was offering a small teaching on Asteya or nonstealing and expanded into Adikara--a sanskrit term meaning "the right to have or the right to hold".
Adikara has become my new seedling of thought, especially by using the metaphor offered by Deborah that she learned from a friend who likens Adikara to a colander.
In considering the right to have something we must first consider what it is that we want--what is our desire? And in knowing what we want, we must evaluate how it is escaping us currently--considering Adikara as a colander, we can imagine our 'desire' slipping through the holes.
In an effort to "plug the holes", we must cultivate a condition of being mindful guardians and activists for our desires, for our path. To do this, I practice san kalpa during my meditation or during intentional windows of stillness and quiet that I take/make for myself throughout the day.
San kalpa is a positive affirmation or statement of intention. I like to think of it as a promise made to myself and the universe. Once created, the san kalpa should be repeated three times, planted like a seed in a mind well equipped to manifest reality from a single, tiny seed.
Thus we arrive full circle as I ask myself--do I want to stay in the land of stories whereby I am imagining what it will take to 'fit' a 17 ft. tall body into my teenie-tiny car or dare I use that same energy to 'plug the holes' and manifest an intentional path for myself by cultivating adikara, the right to hold and have my dreams?
When I speak to someone, I am sharing a moment of intimacy where my action or inaction, attention or inattention, words and tone say more than the words themselves. It really is the ole' actions speak louder than words.
If someone asks a question, acknowledge them by looking at them--SEE them and when you respond to their question, speak in a way that says they matter right now.
From the mundane, "where is the bathroom?", to the sacred, "do you have a minute to talk?", your response is powerful-- it shapes how you are perceived, possibly how they perceive themselves in relation to you and most importantly perhaps, it defines a moment.
Respond with care.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I focused on being as meditative as possible, giving attention to my breath and giving attention to the moment. There were times when my mind would wander, many times as a matter of fact, but I mindfully returned to present, wanting to savor the experience as much as I could without putting too much at stake. I tend to do that--imagine grandeur and then sink to disappointment when the experience does not measure up.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
That said, the fact that I can prepare for classes day after day by collecting inspirations from a collective of teachers far beyond my geographic location is mind blowing to me! At my wee little fingertips I have the internet and Blogs--I freakin' love the blog~o~sphere! I have magazines--some of my favorites being Yoga Journal, Yoga+, Shambhala Sun and Yoga Magazine. I have books and books and books galore!
In my classes last night, I worked with Vira III (Warrior III) as explored in a recent Yoga Journal article, Warrior 1.5 (You're not out of the loop, it's his own invention :-) introduced and explored by Jason Crandell and a technique for seated meditation in a way explored by Kira Ryder.
Let me lay this out for you.
Vira III as explored in Yoga Journal (I'll post the issue later)
I had the students go to the wall with two blocks and position themselves so they could lift one leg behind them, taking the foot to the wall, leg parallel to the floor. The hands were pressing into the blocks positioned on the floor so wrists were under the shoulders. The action of pressing into the hands to fortify upper body, maintaining a lift and pressing into the back foot against the wall to 'feel' that action of Vira, was super cool and no less of a strengthener than the "full" expression (and I use full expression loosely).
Warrior 1.5 by Jason Crandell
You can find his exploration/explanation here but I'll give you the gist. Jason (cuz we're on a first name basis and all) shared that Vira I has been a struggle for him and he found himself wrestling with the pose or avoiding it altogether. I can relate to this as, I too, have had some come-to-Jesus moments with Vira I. So much so that when I have heard it called in the past, I literally thought, *AUGH*.
So, Jason turned his torso in, every so slightly, to the place between Vira I and II--voila! Vira 1.5 was born and, for him, he was able to stay, to explore and to partner with his body, over time, toward the "fuller" expression (again, used loosely). However, I would add that if you only ever practice 1.5 and never find your way to Vira I, it won't matter at all in anyway what-so-ever, so long as you find a way to 'stay' and cultivate an explorative mind.
'Sitting' as explored by Kira Ryder
Full video here (very short).
Basically, we came to the wall for sukhasana on a blanket and positioned a block behind our backs. Exactly where the block was positioned was up to the student or if they used a block at all--for some, it got in the way and the wall was enough support. Kira's idea is that the block provides a way to open the chest by rolling the shoulders back--I liked it and personally found a new opening that I have yet to access in traditional sukhasana, especially for a seated meditation.
See what I mean?
It wasn't so long ago that books were a new means of transmitting knowledge as a progression from oral transmission (which is still a fave of mine too) and books, though in print, were not available as we now know them to be. Maybe a handful of copies, keeping them ever so precious and rare, usually in the hands of the elite.
I am grateful for the spread of knowledge, for the way we connect over the divides blurring lines along the way.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Cooking is a wonderful way in which we can express our creativity. We can improvise with herbs, experiment with color and presentation--Lissa Coffey
These quotes were in my inbox this morning and, perhaps because I LOVE to cook, I was drawn to a deeper consideration. First, I couldn't agree more--I always look to recipes as 'ideas' or 'suggestions' and not an end-all-set-in-stone sort of thing. I vary to my taste, to what's on hand and my family's liking.
As I read and reread, I couldn't help but find the applicability to yoga practice. Each posture is only a theme which a mindful practitioner can play each time with a variation--our practice can express our creativity as we improvise with modifications, experiment with breath and depth...ahhh.
I was somewhat of an explorer this morning on the mat--my practice followed a pre-dawn lover's quarrel.
Next time, just wash the goddamn strawberries--augh.
This was at 5:00 AM. I didn't even think I would make it to the mat but after things began to fizzle and our voices held tones of surrender, I decided there was nowhere else I would rather be.
I unrolled my mat, lit my candles and incense and clicked the "Bliss" channel on my Pandora--I didn't know where I was going with my practice or if I would even lift my butt.
My breath began to settle me and that was good enough to bring me further in...okay, maybe a Yin Butterfly, uh-huh, good, so perhaps a reclined hero, yup, just what I needed, now Down Dog...
You get the picture--I began to stir, then I simmered and finally, the marination, uh, I mean meditation.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
They each shared personal experiences and I listened, shaking my head in agreement and understanding, recalling my own experiences of such.
Kira shared so eloquently how she is working toward moving past these feelings. In a nutshell, she said it's not about you (the teacher) so get out of your way, get out of their way, this teaching thing is more about 'sharing' than teaching and when we share, we experience together, we explore the practice and it's fruit.
Thank you Kira--I needed to hear that.
The full interview can be accessed here.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The bad news is that I still commit to the grooves and do my part to deepen them every time I believe the hype in my head, every time I act in accordance with the illusion that I am somehow less or not enough, every time I turn the page of the same ole' story.
I think it's time for a new story even if I have to craft it one page at a time, even if I have to craft it one word at a time.
Fortunately, I rebound from the reverberations of my samskaras better than ever. For instance, yesterday morning I taught for my teacher who is out of town right now. When she asked me to sub for her, I was honored--I think that highly of her. The nerves set in and then the doubt and suddenly I'm sitting before the class, calling the sequence TOTALLY psyching myself out!
Voice cracking, body warming, heart PoUnDiNg in my chest--I left there feeling so inadequate, belittling myself throughout the day as I recalled my 'story' of the class. I gave almost my entire day over to these feelings I manifested from my storehouse of doubt.
Fortunately, I took a good friend's yoga class later in the evening following his Buddhist discussion group and I was able to put my day in perspective--a fresh perspective. What might have, before, taken me days or weeks, I managed to accomplish in a matter of hours.
I realized that, first and foremost, I AM my biggest critic and probably harder on myself than the students were, if they gave me a second thought at all. Second, I went into that class trying to emulate my teacher when I should have just been myself--my style, my pace, my voice. Lastly, what if I did mess up--not that I believe this now but what if I just wrecked their yoga experience and confused their sense of direction as they attempted to follow my word salads? If we can all be open about the experience, there is surely something to take from it--their lesson is their lesson but mine?
And that, my friends, is what I plan to practice tomorrow when I sub for her again...
...if anyone shows up.
(There's that doubt again.)
Thursday, July 2, 2009
When I first read this quote, I read 'borne' as 'born', meaning birthed, brought to life and this resonated with me as I often weave fantastic tales of woe and in weaving those tales, they are afforded greater life and with that life, power--power over my consciousness, my thoughts, my actions, my sense of self.
Upon reading closer, I discovered my misunderstanding and read 'borne' as 'borne', to remain strong under or be able to handle, which makes the meaning just as relevant to me and almost in line with my original interpretation, with a slight shade of difference. In this interpretation, sorrow can be handled if you tell a story about it and, I would imagine, a story with a hero or heroine evolving toward greater consciousness through suffering.
It's all in the telling...any story we tell our self becomes more powerful in the telling, taking greater hold, coming to awareness and to life.
What stories are you telling about your own sorrows?
What stories are you telling about your life at all?
Look again through a lens of satya, (truthfulness) and look again and again and again. Does your story change?
Can it change?
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I'm not sure why but I sent a prayer out for him--I wished him joy and I meant it. I saw another man walking through a fast food parking lot and sent him the same prayer. At this point, however, I paused because I wondered if they might be social deviants who had ever brought pain into the lives of others. But this thought passed quickly for me as I realized it was not my responsibility to judge them, their lives or their actions. For IF they had, isn't it entirely possible that they induced pain because of their own? Furthermore, with joy in their lives, might they even begin to share joy with others and move from causing pain?
Please realize that this is entirely hypothetical--I have idea who they are in their hearts and who they have been in their actions but I know, at once, it no longer mattered.
So I finished my prayers for these strangers and even found another candidate walking the sidewalk in his work uniform.
It made me feel good to send these wishes of joy, these small prayers to people who had absolutely no idea who I was and no idea that I was even there, sharing space and time with them for that moment.
And with that...I wish you joy.