Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thoughts to ponder...

The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it ~ Sri Nisargadatta

Who knows why life unfolds the way it does; why we choose one path or another, share the way for a while or a day, then say goodbye. There is no predictability here, and less control than we might wish. But there is the quiet raging of the heart, the knowing in the soul, the wisdom beneath the mind, accessible if we breathe and turn inside ~ Danna Faulds

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Currently, I am reading "Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves From Old Habits and Fears" by Pema Chodron.

I just finished the chapter entitled "The Habit of Escape" and she introduced a concept, a Tibetan word, shenpa, often translated as attachment.

For Chodron, attachment is too abstract a translation and she goes a little further, offering 'hooked' - what it feels like to be hooked or stuck.

If someone says something that you disagree with and you feel the urge swell inside of you to say something to defend your own view or argue their point, this is shenpa...the urge.

Chodron also offers shenluk - renunciation. "Turning shenpa upside down...getting unhooked".

And by unhooking, Chodron does not suggest that we rid ourselves of that which incites us or produces an unhealthy reaction but that we evaluate our self, especially our reactions, thoughts and feelings and loosen our attachment, that which keeps us identifying with reactions, thoughts and feelings so strongly that we use it to seperate ourself from others.

Know yourself enough to really, really know.

So here we are in a beautiful, beautiful world filled with beautiful living things and possibilities - we do not have to remove ourselves from the world to be free of shenpa...we only need to allow for that which takes us closer to natural intelligence, really knowing ourselves.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I am...

I am elusive and have no desire to be defined.

I am enigmatic with no pull to be solved.

I am fearless seeking no bulwark, boundless no bounds.

Illusions crumble...
And time clarifies truth.

I am all and everything that ever eluded me and the precipice of the unknown has no power here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bliss-ful News

I have written here before about taking some time away from teaching, which really turned into a mere lightening of my teaching load. I have gone from a lot of subbing and three classes a week to two classes a week and very little, if any at all, subbing.

The practice of yoga changed my life, my heart, my outlook, my body and my mind and it refined my core - I don't think our essence or core can be changed so much as refined. We are who we are but sometimes we are reluctant or oblivious to the light inside of us.

Anyway, if I've never clarified this here, I teach at one studio in town and practice at another - nothing personal, I just find what aligns most with my journey at the latter.

I approached my teacher about teaching at her studio and working closer with her to go deeper, to know more, to refine my style and my teaching and she was very receptive. This was such a blessing for me because we are SO not a yoga town and sometimes it can feel quite alienating to know things like energy fields, bodies and lines, chakras, sanskrit, etc. and not have a community with which to share...'tis why I love my blog virtual yoga mat.

So, after class earlier this week she approached me about teaching and, while they don't have any available classes now, she asked if I would be willing to take a workshop (for FREE) on the proper way to assist students and then attend classes, for now, to assist. Even better, I will get free classes for my time and to that I say...

...You betcha!

So this was good news worth sharing...though most of this transition and planning happened before the holidays when I was feeling terribly uninspired by my practice (and meditation) and I am pose-by-pose, breath-by-breath, mindful pause-by-mindful pause finding my lover-ly groove, I still feel this is the best path for me now.

I love new beginnings...I love the pregnant unknown, ripe and round with possibility and promise.

Life is good and I can't say it enough.


(P.S. The studio I will be assisting at soon is 'Bliss'--thus the title of this post)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thoughts on my liberation...

I do things the hard way - bottomline.

I'm a school-of-hard-knocks sort of girl and a walking hot mess...more so now that I'm single.

I'm ruining myself for other people...I'm like an animal fresh from a cage, a woman finding her power and simultaneously defining the border around her. Don't mistake - it's a crossable border...with a passport - we don't let just anyone in...anymore.

I've learned my lesson.

But man oh man it's been a ride...a long, necessary, bumpy, beautiful ride.

Now that I and I alone have the reins, where will I go? Hell, where WON'T I go?

It feels liberating and scary and tentative and empowering all in one.

Liberation and awareness are the fount from which I drink...may I never be swayed from their nectar.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Smile

I noticed, as I went about my day today all stress-faced and serious, completely consumed in my own affairs, closed off to others, that I had no smile and when I forced it, I felt it...the pinched, pursed lips.


But I when I left the office after a 9 hour day, and I have to say - those 9 hours only revealed more that I have yet to learn, as spent as I was, I reminded myself that when I walk in the front door of my house, all of that which weighed my face down stays put - outside, away from the children, who only know they have not seen me all day and I them.

And I did it.

I have little ongoing success with unloading so this was big but bigger still was the change of perspective that this little mind exercise inspired for me.

I took note of my blessings as they presented themselves to me from this point in my evening.

The stuff that could get swept between the cracks of ones larger life...a board game with my kids, movie time and homemade soup, a dear soul willing to sub my class tonight so I could stay with my children (AND she was the first call I made), a friend picking up tickets for the Indigo Girls concert so I don't have one MORE thing to do...and dear cyber friends taking the time to share their thoughts with me here, helping me to feel heard, charting a new kind of conversation.

The little stuff means a lot.

And it was the little stuff that drew the corners of my reluctant mouth up for the smile I had been waiting for ALL day.

Love and peace to each and every one of you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Zen Shorts

I expanded beyond that which I thought was impossible and my bounty grew.

Though the fear threatened to keep me safe and sequestered in a bubble, I redefined boundaries and dared my own indifference.

Life is good to me and love is my truth.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Compassionate Rebel

I promised more on Kuan Yin after my prior post and I aim to deliver.

This past weekend, I was walking the mall with my niece, who was sleeping like a little princess in her stroller, and I stopped by Teavana for a hot coconut, ginger tea...yum.

While I was waiting on the tea to steep, I walked around browsing the shelves, all the while knowing that I could never in a million years afford much in there except for the tea steeping for me.

I came to a shelf with a statue on it that literally stopped me where I stood and I was drawn into her.

I was about to find out why.

This female, sitting atop a rock, had her right foot propped on the rock with her knee bent and her right elbow sitting on the knee, hand hanging freely. Malas, draping her neck, adorned her bare chest. She emanated power, as if she had experienced every trial and tribulation, every joy and contentment and there she sat, no stranger to life's surprises and certainly not a bystander.

I checked the base of the statue, Kuan Yin.

Immediately, I googled her on my iPhone and found several websites that I browsed quickly, reading enough to know why I was drawn to her in the first place. Serendipity.

One of the first websites I found was this one and I LOVED the reference to her as the Compassionate Rebel.

Her name means "compassionate nature"--one who hears the cries of the world.

As a mother and a rather sensitive person, this resonates with me. My heart has always, for as long as I can remember, expanded to hold the sorrows of others. I long to help, I long to rescue and resolve suffering.

Her origins are Chinese and legend says that she was once a mortal woman. The following is a clip from the site above that offers insight into her magic for me:

It is said that in the past, there once lived a king under whose rule the people led a peaceful existence governed by Confucian ethics. He had three daughters; the eldest two having already married the grooms of their father's choice. The youngest offspring however, was unlike any other normal child. Firstly, when she was born, her body glowed with an almost unearthly light so much so that the palace seemed on fire. She was thus befittingly named Miao Shan (Wonderful Goodness).

Secondly, as she grew up, she wore only dirty clothes and never did display any urge to adorn herself. Further, she would subsist on only a single meal every day. In her conversations she would talk about the impermanence of material things and how human beings suffer because of their attachment to such objects. Naturally worried about their daughter's detached inclinations, her parents proposed that (as per the Confucian ideals of filial piety) she too marry a husband of their choice. To this she replied:

"I would never, for the sake of one lifetime of enjoyment, plunge into aeons of misery. I have pondered on this matter and deeply detest this earthly union (marriage)." Nevertheless, when her parents insisted, she agreed to comply with their wishes if only her future mate would save her from the following three misfortunes:

1). When people are young, their face is as fair as the jade-like moon, but when they grow old, the hair turns white and faces become wrinkled; whether walking, resting, sitting, or lying down, they are in every way worse off than when they were young.

2). Similarly, when our limbs are strong and vigorous one may walk as if flying through air, but when we suddenly becomes sick, we are confined to the bed.

3). A person may have a large group of relatives and be surrounded by his flesh and blood, but when death comes, even such close kin as father and son cannot take the person's place.
Finally she concluded: "If indeed my future husband can ensure my deliverance against these misfortunes, I will gladly marry him. Otherwise, I vow to remain a spinster all my life. People all over the world are mired in these kinds of suffering. If one desires to be free of them, the only option is to leave the secular world and enter the gate of Buddhism."

This narrative of course, is parallel to one of the most significant episodes from the life of the Buddha when he encountered the three maladies of physical existence: sickness, old age and death.

Her story continues--to sum it up, her father sends her to live with nuns, hoping they can change her heart but she's far too strong willed for that and after a period of time is scheduled for beheading. Fortunately, she escapes this fate.

Cut to her father, the king, who sent her away in the first place, resistant to his saucy daughter's courage and determination, he was living in terrible suffering with an incurable disease. A holy mendicant predicted that: "If some person would willingly consent to give his or her arms or eyes without the slightest anger or resentment, the elixir made of these potent ingredients will surely relieve you from your suffering."

The king was certain that there would never be found a person with that level of compassion in their heart...but...

there was.

When the king healed, he and his wife insisted on meeting the dear one compassionate enough to make such an immense sacrifice for he knelt before the mutilated being, he cast his eyes upwards and saw his daughter Miao Shan (Kuan Yin).

Kuan Yin...born of strong will, rebellion, determination and a passion to define her own life while never losing sight of those she shared this life with.

She stopped me in my tracks because she is me and I am are many women walking this earth.

Compassionate Rebels--we fight without weapons, we carry on without force and we love without limits.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kuan Yin

More to come after I sleep...but take her in and let her work her magic on you as she did for me...this powerful 'compassionate rebel', as she has been coined on one website, stopped me in my tracks today.