the rocking chair

i sit in my wooden fold-up rocking chair that i bought from the speedway thrift store (one of the many), on my big grey-painted porch with the paint chipping in many places… looks rustic ha ha… my doggy udu sits behind his gate close to me and my mogqai kitty ventures in for some food (dog food cuz i’ve run out of cat food and i’m too lazy to buy more, and i’m convinced she likes the dog food better… lol) the other cat, storm, aka flufferz, aka, fluffy, aka, chubby chub chub sits on her three-story perch guarding her territory. she’s in charge around here…. the wind blows so beautifully, so fully, in melodious roars through the large pines trees in my front yard with intermittent large rambunctious bursts, to temper the fantastic feeling with some good ol’ ferocity. my bamboo windchime that i bought from aqua vita dances to the wind’s song and graciously offers back her own music. lol and then there’s the faded-ass pink flamingo, sort-of-drunkenly-hunched over out in front of the porch… seems he’s slacking on his security position, as he’s not even intimidating in the slightest… lol like the adorable female security guards that circumambulate the whole foods plaza. i’d say patrol, but they are less threatening than the pink flamingo and way cuter. maybe the cuteness is a sufficient intimidation tactic. more than the sorry pink flamingo’s got going. for him.

i enjoyed my day. i really set out to. i’m working with DR Butler’s suggestion to cultivate a positive intention in advance to replace whatever habitual tendency you’d like to shift, like anger, or anxiety, or irritation, etc. he proposes that if you prepare your self in this way it will be much easier to apply it when the time comes rathe than waiting for that tense moment and trying to choose from an already disturbed state that’s probably already slipping into old patterns. Lee Lozowick says, “forwarned is forarmed.” I’m pretty sure it’s a similar teaching.

so i set out to be cheerful, enthusiastic, willing, compassionate, helpful, bright. i remembered what i was aiming for throughout the day and it was helpful. it wasn’t perfect for sure. god likes to show me where i’m lazy, “resting on my laurels,” as they say, or where i could definitely use some more work.

success though is that i got to see Mr. Darren at the studio this morning. a rare occurrence on a thursday morning. he was pleased about my punctuality. yes! (stef does her happy dance, and then quickly pulls herself back together) it was so sweet to get to interact with him, to get to see him helping students sign in, show new students around, help give change, etc. he really goes out of his way to help people feel welcome and taken care of. as do the other lovelies who are always working so diligently behind the scenes, Miss Rachel and Miss Ashley. Such gems these ladies are. I’m inspired by their steady offering of themselves.

i’m sleepy…

11 am yogahour was a great size. this pleases me, of course. the larger the class the more the class feeds me. i made some good eye contact and felt as though my words were making some connections. that’s rewarding. 1215 expanding was also a good size, and yet, “good size” for 1215 expanding can be like a quarter of the size of the yogahour. it’s the nature of the beast. many factors come in to play, but i am grateful i get to experience and offer both. my “word of the day” for yogahour was “whirlwind.” see previous blog entry… 4.16.13 i believe.

i worked them through some fun warm-ups, strong standing poses held for about 20-30 seconds each, some core work, including vasisthasana (sage) prep and side plank, hip openers, and wild thing, and oh, yeah, astavakrasana. i feel like i’ve been neglecting some poses out of my sequences lately and that’s one of them! this general ommission from practice was very evident today in class, but at the same time i was pleasantly surprised. both inspire me to refine my teaching– what and how i offer. in expanding we gallivanted around through surya namaskar A, 1 minute handstand, surya namaskar B with variations, 1 minute pincha mayurasana, 1 minute navasana, 1 minute salabasana, blanket roll love (aka torture, depends on how you look at it) in uttanasana, malasana, vajrasana toes under, vajrasana, tops of feet down, virasana, 1 minute standing poses, back to virasana, supta virasana, pigeon, dhanurasana, settubanda sarvangasana, urdhva dhanurasana, rocking to knees on a crash pad, dropping back with a friend or the wall, and good ol’ cool down. yeah, savasana was so nice. tired day for several of us, which made it simultaneously a rough day for backbends and a perfect day for backbends.

i ate lots of tofu and salad at wholefoods and saw sweet nicole there. i haven’t gotten to see her for a while. then biked home to do work on two clients. i took too long chatting with my friend because i was procrastinating and this procrastination, as it always seems to, made everything worse… and yet, funny, kinda better too. i showed up behind schedule on my bike, sorta sweaty and already lathered in layer of ready-made anxious anticipation courtesy of my unruly thoughts. so rather than remember to remember my intention I so enthusiastically set forth only hours earlier, i fell back on default programming and expected her to be agitated with me and annoyed that i seemed to be running late. in hindsight i see she was quite contained. i on the other hand, was not. because of my expectations of her thoughts/ emotions, i had a preset li’l fit… yeah, i’m embarrassed to say, but i did it, and my client witnessed it, and i’m not proud, so i’ll just admit it, but i hollered at my cute udu, when he was merely welcoming me home with obnoxiously loud barks and howls and jumping up at the gate as i tried to maneuver my bike to the door, retrieve my keys, and search to fetch some appropriate proffessional mask to put on… and i got nothin… so i reacted like old patterns and just hollered at him to be quiet, and then i immediately felt bad. which didn’t at all help the situation. this client and i have butted heads a couple of times any way, so my head often expects, waits for and plans for the worst… long story short, this person didn’t seem overly eager to book again. actually, quite the contrary, seemed satisfied to “be in touch.” lol everything always works out for the best.

next client went perfectly. and then i ate way too much chocolate covered almonds while sitting on the wooden rocking chair, typing. …working on the preset intentions… some days it’s harder than others… but practice is practice…. and hey, what else is there to do?

 

pade pade

Monday 4.29.13

 

I feel a new surge of creativity arising within me. An excruciating discomfort welling up from within me that can seemingly only be soothed by writing, reading, sleeping, and drinking copious amounts of tea … (although being of service during the workshop soothed this feeling immensely and talking nicely and encouragingly on my so-seemingly long bike ride home also helped.) (i think that eating is going to fix it and it never does… but gosh i’m a determined one. persistent, i’ll give me that.)

The rune i drew this morning affirmed this new inner state. i always feel excitement and awe at how right on the runes always are, ready or not. They direct my consciousness to what is going on beneath the surface that I may be neglecting to notice. For that i am deeply grateful.

Speaking of grateful, my workshop this weekend was such a supreme high point in my life. I am overwhelmed with deep, humble gratitude at those who supported its happening and those who attended with bright eyes, willing bodies, and open hearts. I am grateful I rode my bike both mornings too! I aspire to get back into riding to work every time. Mondays, eh, maybe… lol. I get out late, so that’s a tough one for sure. But definitely tuesday, a fun-and-free-day-off wednesday ride, thursday, friday, and sunday… sundays are super full and challenging too… so we’ll see…

ha! and that’s how it goes. high aims, and then there’s life. then there’s life as it is. it’s always happening… Mr. Lee Lozowick said, “Good enough is good enough.” This can challenge the mind, and tempt one towards complacency, and yet, we still aim high. like so many profound teachings, it’s a paradox. Manorama says, (paraphrased) if you aim too high, you thwart your practice. She supports slow, steady progress, and consistency in practice, as all great yogic teachers propose. In Mr. BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga, he advocates abyasa: steady, constant, uninterrupted practice over a long period of time (paraphrased). and life happens, so we do what we can from where we are at. “pade pade,” Manorama says, which means “step by step.” by one step at a time we get to where we are going.

(HA! and then life happens! Like, I have to take my doggy, Udu, for a walk.)

to be continued…

……..

and so then what?

life keeps on happening. and the lessons we derive from these innumerable events, this endless cycling of opportunities is up to us. i am responsible for my life. nathaniel hawthorne, as quoted by DR Butler in the lesson I’m currently on,” Of all our responsibilities, the greatest is being responsible for our own happiness.” Manorama says that no one is going to do it for us. She says, “Your life is for figuring out your life.” Amen.

 

I took some time for myself tonight. that’s challenging for me, so it seems…

There’s something really powerful about time with yourself. about time to just feel, to get to know who you are and how you react, to feel that space of potency between thought and action and that powerful place when you can choose to fall back into what you’ve always done or choose something new… and then to stay diligent there… and there… and there…

 

This power of reflection is inherent in the silence, in the quiet time and yet so present in our interactions with other people, other things. For in all of these people, all of these things, we see ourselves. We get the opportunity to see our reactions and see what we like and dislike in others. It’s exactly what we like and dislike in ourselves. what we run from, hide from, and ignore in others is exactly what we’d like to discard from ourselves.

Ha! and that’s what makes it so easy to ignore red flags… or what i like to call, “painting the red flags green.” ha ha ha…

and as “they” say, “more will be revealed.”MG9952-M

 

 

“joy at sudden disappointment”

Sun April 28th 2013

 

wow.

workshop wowwy wow wow.

i’m pooped, but the workshop went well. and that’s the point. that i am of greater service as i face my inner struggles, my inner resistances to my own growth. i know i’m not alone as i feel anxiety, a rising repulsion to facing whatever it is that’s challenging me in the moment, a feeling that i cannot, that i don’t want to, that i want to run away, that i’m not good enough, i don’t have what it takes… and then i persevere… i have the opportunity to transform this anxious energy into enthusiasm for the task at hand (thank you Ashley Bauman).

i pray, “may i be of service.”

i repeat, “namo,” (i bow in reverence)

and it helps.

it seems to be my greatest blessing in my life — that i’m of service. the fact that i have people depending on me to be there to teach them, and looking to me for guidance demands that i step it up, and it pulls out the best from me. don’t get me wrong, i don’t pretend to be that important or pivotal, per se. rather, i merely seek to brighten someone’s day through our interaction. i hope that our exchange leaves them brighter than before i encountered them. if so, it’s been a good day! lol, and if not, i have to choose to believe that it’s not my fault!!! gosh, i used to take all that personally and today i just can’t! I look for lessons, what i can learn and then let the rest go…. (or so that’s the intention).

 

really we do what we do…

as a student of D.R. Butler’s, I’m learning that detachment is best… that we all have our karmic roles to play. funny to think of it this way, like, “don’t shoot the messenger.” For if we are all simply playing our karmic roles, then like I taught in this weekend’s workshop, we can practice gratitude for the bringer of hardship in our lives, for they grantt us opportunities to learn the lessons we are here to learn and to cultivate our highest vision of ourselves. I shared a Rumi Poem today in the morning session of the workshop …****

*** remember the story of Muhammad and the eagle…. see below where I’ve typed it out.

Golden_Eagle-3

 

and i’m tired…

and i’m irritable…

and i’m wanting food that i’m choosing consciously not to have…

yeah, so i am vain and i do want to look good. but ultimately, and maybe you can perceive it as my justification for my vanity, but i don’t like the way certain foods affect me and so i choose not to have them; they’re like drugs and alcohol. they do not bring out the best in me, but quite the contrary, they bring me to my lowest, most embarrassing, degraded version of myself. and today i choose not to be her by choosing to behave consciously. i have learned through my life’s experience that I can fall back on food in the same way i would fall back on drugs or alcohol for escape….

escape from what?

escape from myself, from facing myself, the things i dislike about myself, the stuff that gets stirred up in me throughout the day, from the unfortunate lows that sometimes occur as an consequence or pendulum swing, rather, of my super high highs and giving so much of myself without giving myself time to recoup….

balance, they say…

yoga is about union of all parts of ourselves. balance.

and yet that doesn’t mean we’re “done.” that life stops happening and the ride is over. no, the ride still rocks on, full speed ahead, it’s just that our perspective can shift, so that we feel less impacted by it’s ups and downs, swirves and turns. …

but i have this peppermint and green tea that i’ve poured over ice and it suits me just fine. there’s a lot of work to be done tonight, so i think i’ll put in another hour and check out with a movie…. or most likely a book…

i get my hairz done tomorrow, so i’m grateful.

i get to see my therapist tomorrow, even more grateful.

i get to teach three more classes tomorrow night. god, may i be of service.

but truly i do look forward to some time on wednesday, my day off.

i’m feeling better just from writing.

thank you for helping me. i hope this helps you in some way.

 

Rumi Poem

“Joy at Sudden Disappointment

 

Whatever comes, comes from a need,

a sore distress, a hurting want.

 

Mary’s pain made the baby Jesus.

Her womb opened its lips

and spoke the Word.

 

Every part of you has a secret language.

Your hands and your feet say what you’ve done.

 

And every need brings in what’s needed.

Pain bears its cure like a child.

 

Having nothing produces provisions.

Ask a difficult question,

and the marvelous answer appears.

 

Build a ship, and there’ll be water

to float it. The tender-throated

infant cries and milk drips

from the mother’s breast.

 

Be thirsty for the ultimate water,

and then be ready for what will

come pouring from the spring.

 

A village woman once was walking by Muhammad.

She thought he was just an ordinary illiterate.

She didn’t believe that he was a prophet.

 

She was carrying a two-month-old baby.

As she came near Muhammad, the baby turned

and said, “Peace be with you, Messenger of God.”

 

The mother cried out, surprised and angry,

“What are you saying,

and how can you suddenly talk!”

 

The child replied, “God taught me first,

and then Gabriel.”

“Who is this Gabriel?

I don’t see anyone.”

“He is above your head,

Mother. Turn around. He has been telling me many things.”

“Do you really see him?”

“Yes.

He is continually delivering me from this degraded state into sublimity.”

 

Muhammad then asked the child,

“What is your name?”

 

“Abdul Aziz, the servant of God, but this family

thinks I am concerned with world-energies.

I am as free of that as the truth of your prophecy is.”

 

So the little one spoke, and the mother

took in a fragrance that let her surrender

to that state.

When God gives this knowing,

inanimate stones, plants, animals, everything,

fills with unfolding significance.

 

The fish and the birds become protectors.

Remember the incident of Muhammad and the eagle.

 

It happened that as he was listening

to this inspired baby, he heard a voice

calling him to prayer. He asked for water

to perform ablutions. He washed his hands

and feet, and just as he reached for his boot,

 

an eagle snatched it away! The boot turned upsidedown

as it lifted, and a poisonous snake dropped out.

 

The eagle circled and brought the boot back,

saying, “My helpless reverence for you

made this necessary. Anyone who acts

this presumptuously for a legalistic reason

should be punished!”

Muhammad thanked the eagle,

and said, “What I thought was rudeness

was really love. You took away my grief,

and I was grieved! God has shown me everything,

but at that moment I was preoccupied within myself.”

The eagle,

“But chosen one, any clarity I have

comes from you!

This spreading radiance

of a True Human Being has great importance.

 

Look carefully around you and recognize

the luminosity of souls. Sit beside those

who draw you to that.

Learn from this eagle story

that when misfortune comes, you must quickly praise.

 

Others may be saying, Oh no, but you

will be opening out like a rose losing itself petal by petal.

 

Someone once asked a great sheikh

what sufism was.

“The feeling of joy when sudden disappointment comes.”

 

The eagle carries off Muhammad’s boot

and saves him from snakebite.

 

Don’t grieve for what doesn’t come.

Some things that don’t happen

keep disasters from happening.”

 

 

the whirlwind

tuesday 4.16.13

(i apologize in advance, as this one is a little abstract)

 

lies or no lies… poetry is pretty…

i remember one time, a wise person said, sometimes lies are ok if they’re in service of a bigger truth. that is of course paraphrased in my own words… something to the effect of how if the lie is teaching bigger truths, it’s fine. i can’t remember the skillful articulation of it though…

lines… all the lines…

and man, it’s really all just lines.

even the truths. isn’t it all just lines?

we’re in a big play, simply playing our roles, reading our lines, whether we like it or not! so often we are just seemingly “stuck” in our roles, reading our lines, and yet, “wait a second, how did i get stuck playing this character? and how can i get out of this character?! excuse me! director! eh hem! hello?! can i switch characters please?! yeah, that’d be great, thanks…”

one of my teachers, D.R.Butler says, “every moment we create ourselves, and in every moment we can reacreate ourselves all over again.” (yeah, it’s on a yellow post-it note on my bathroom mirror)

it sounds so simple. and yet, like so many profound truths, the simple is not so easy. and there’s a song there…

(a cheezy one of course, you may not know, good ol’ ani difranco sings, “Would you prefer the easy way? No, well ok then, don’t cry. whoa….” (it’s very pretty)

the easy is always available. and we don’t necessarily do the “hard” for the sake of hardness per se, but rather, as cliche as it sounds, that is how we grow! wild flowers are so f-ing gorgeous and resilient because they grow out in the harsh desert! a saguaro cactus stands so steady, wise, and confidently, patient and fierce because of the intensity she has learned, not only endure, but due to which she thrives.

i hurt my back on monday doing what i love (yoga) and it rocks me to my core, to be hurt. it brings me back to feeling helpless, scared, and angry. so i ask how would i respond if a student came to me with this? i’d urge her to rest, get professional help, and take a bath! (the latter i sure plan on doing, but it’s on the list for tomorrow! lol…)

anyway, this is one of many occasions that i’ve hurt myself and i know i’m going to be better for it. that i’m going to gain new wisdom of myself, of yoga, of my practices, of how to more and more skillfully craft myself based on life’s circumstances.

For, truly if it’s all a play, it is my play. i am the writer, the director, every actor, the set, the props, the story, the key grip… lol… not like my ego runs the show as AA’s Big Book talks about, not like i’m running the show, as in the “little i”, but as in we all are a spark of the great light, we all are the creators of our lives, and i deeply believe in the wisdom spoken from a dear friend, “I am the whirlwind! I move and the world moves.”

we all have so many gifts, may we refine and use our skills for the sake of the greater good. as i’m getting older i see that that is more why we’re here than anything else… my grammy and daddy taught me when i was little and we went camping, to always leave the place better than the way we found it. i believe that’s what we’re here to do. i heard that sweet country song from randy travis this morning or yesterday… “it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go.”

i’m looking up and forward. i cannot afford to look back. i don’t regret what has come before. may i see it, the past and all that comes with it, as a blessing. “i just wish…” (the mama pets her baby’s head and comforts her.) a friend told me, “the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.” … i paid attention… words impact me. i believed… i tend to believe every word. i hopelessly hang on every word with awe and anticipation for the next wise morsel that seems to feed my hungry heart… and well, imagination. i fall in love with my imagination’s fantastic paintings… my new joke is that i paint the red flags green… lol, like alice in wonderland, right? painting the roses red! i’m painting the roses red… )

oh, and regarding past behavior and future behavior, it’s a path. my dear friend told me a long time ago, “a path is only a path, and it is no affront to you or anyone else if i decide to change that path.” the key is the decision to change. if there is no decision to change, everything will keep on rolling the way it does, cuz well, why wouldn’t it. (if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll keep getting what we’re getting.) water flows down the mountain through the deepest channel, the “easiest” path, so in order to redirect the momentum of past tendencies, a deeper channel must be dug in the direction we want them to move. deeper channel, means a lot of digging! some serious work. and yet again, work, not for the sake of work, but for the sake of cultivating something worth leaving behind.

 

i will always love love… i fall hard. may i see the good (god) in all things and love god. i intend to surround myself with people i want to emulate, because as Douglas Brooks said (and I’m sure I’ve quoted this before), “you are the company you keep, so keep great company.”

 

Om Shri Ganeshaya Namaha

D.R. Butler says: “In this moment we have the power to choose anything.”

 

(Bjork remix of “All is full of love” plays in the background)

 

I weave the song into the spaces between my thoughts… and interrupt the thoughts with it, for the truth is in the lyrics, and the untruths are in my thoughts, my silly melodramas, as DR Butler would label them. It is fascinating and a little disgusting to see how addicted people or more specifically, I, am addicted to suffering. In 12 step programs it’s called good ol’ self-pity… one of the things we can pray to be removed by God… In the story of Ganesh, or at least some interpretations that have been passed down to me,

 

(another Bjork remix of “All is full of Love” begins… yes, I have a few of them… Ha! You gotta do what you gotta do, ya know?!)

 

Anyway, back to Ganesh, He is known as the ‘remover of obstacles’ in the Hindu pantheon of dieties, and simultaneously he is the obstacle in your path. As such, he is your gift. He is the threshold, what you must pass through, so to speak, to get to the other side, or in other words, he is the opportunity for your growth, or betterment.

 

(another remix plays… this one has strings in it…nice)

 

A threshold is simply a threshold, a gateway, an opening. We can choose to step through the gateway, and thus work through whatever muck happens to clog the doorway (Ganesh), or we can turn away from it in search of a more preferred path.

 

(this remix has more of a beat to it. pretty fun) (sorry, i should stop with these parenthesis…)

 

Another teacher of mine, Manorama, says, “Yoga is not about meeting our preferences.” And golly, don’t we have loads of preferences… i prefer it to be a breezy 79 and sunny with li’l cloud puffs in the sky and plenty of colorful spring flowers, quite like we have right now in Tucson! To me, right now it’s just perfect! Well, outside anyway… Ha! and so that’s just it! Yes! It’s so pleasing outside and YET! I can stilentertain a fuss between my ears!

 

(speaking of fuss, this remix is not my favorite…)

 

The lesson is, as I’ve heard several teachers say, it’s easy to get enlightened when the circumstances are just right, away from distractions, obligations, responsibilities, funky remixes… lol…, but the true path is in the here and now. The real work to be done is in the midst of our lives, when our personalities are flaring up in the ways the do, and Ganesh, with his big ol’ belly grins in our path. And he grins because he’s delighted, just being there, in the experience, for its sake. We can take that grin however we wish. But let us not get distracted by the handsome grin… The point is that there is an obstacle in the path. Where am i going? What is my goal? What is the point? Remember. Come back to the point. Elephant? No, opportunity! Gateway into something more. How we engage this opportunity determines the next opportunity, the next challenge, the next obstacle. And so it goes, like an obstacle course, one that is specially crafted to refine us into our best version of ourselves. (as cheesy as that sounds.) We can get better because of each challenge faced, each obstacle overcome, most ESPECIALLY if we believe that it’s for the best. If we believe it’s going to knock us down it will. If we practice faith in our own evolution in the process of our work we rise. Conversely, if we practice self-pity, despair, hopelessness, escapism, etc, we fall. And yet! Falling is another obstacle. Do you pick yourself back up? How do you pick yourself up? Manorama says it is a reflection of your practice, how you pick yourself up. In the words of Peter Tosh, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” “And suddenly everything has changed.” -Flaming Lips. So we start over again with shifted perspective, enhanced awareness. Every moment is fresh, like a new dawn.

SONY DSC

 

let go…

really!? 1.19.13 already????

time floats by….

best to be in the moment either way…

it’s just perfect, just as it should be…

 

that reminds me:

 

quote from dr butler:

“Listen to the ways certain people who consider themselves to be ‘on the spiritual path’ might speak. They repeat homilies and platitudes like: We are all one. God is love. Everything is a play of Supreme Consciousness. Yet there is very little actual practice of these principles of Truth in moment-to-moment life. We learn to think certain ways that we presume are ‘more spiritual’ than the ways we used to think. Yet do we actually live our life differently than before? Do we experience ourselves and others in a greater way? Do we truly see the divine play in everything?”

 

Important things to contemplate… (these are yes… i chuckle, cuz i accidentally talk like yoda sometimes…) Like in 12-step recovery they say, “we practice these principles in all our affairs.” Very important, this consistency. To be a good person in one arena does not guarantee the same integrity will be available to you in another situation. It’s our responsibility to work to cultivate this integrity as our preset point. Paul Muller Ortega, one of my teachers, says that we have an ‘identity assemblage point,’ or you can call it ‘ego’… the point is the place where we collect who and how we are… and according to Paul, this point shifts with practice. He specifically refers to meditative practice, but I believe any practice applies. For what is practice but cultivating new habits, retraining our tendencies, rehearsing. Whether it’s asana, meditation, pranayama, tai chi, kung fu, aikido, playing a musical instrument, writing, climbing, recovering from addiction… it’s a process of training. Training and retraining, for the mind is so forgetful! Practice helps to build strong connections in the brain, so that the default position shifts. Manorama, another of my delightful teachers says (something to the effect of), “you practice everyday even when you don’t need it so that when you need it its there… or something like that *** look up that quote*** so we practice on the days and at the times that it seems unnecessary, inconvenient, tedious, monotonous, unfruitful so that it becomes our first programmed response to be in the way we have practiced. For example, in yoga asana we practice smooth breathings to promote clarity in the mind, freedom in the body and yet some poses demand shallower breathing for their successful consummation. Through practice, the mind has been trained to be clear and calm, so when such an occasion arises we can sip the air and still maintain inner steadiness, rather than react in an undesirable way. If however, the breathing, and thus the mind, has not been trained default position wins and freak-out occurs. Silly, funny, and so true… How this applies in every situation! How are we training ourselves? What is our default? do we wash the dishes or leave them sit for days? Do we offer compliment when the thought arises or do we let the opportunity pass? Do we help open the door for the older woman with her arms full or watch until it’s too late and regret missing the chance to be of service, always committing to do it next time. … … … DR Butler quoted one of his teachers and so now i quote his quote (chuckle chuckle) “If you wait, you wait forever.” so profound. do it now…

 

there’s this lovely plant in front of the window where i write. i always admire the new growth. it’s exciting to see! as pleased as i am to witness and marvel at it as simply that, it comes to me now as such beautiful symbolism… new growth is always happening… every day we are growing. every day we are shifting and evolving. and so, what are you cultivating?

 

We can just as easily cultivate misery as we can delight. It’s a choice that needs to be consistently re-chosen! In the tradition of Gurdjieff and the fourth way (I’m no expert, just read some and heard a little…) there’s a concept of multiple facets within oneself, various selves, so to speak… versions of yourself. Further, the same aspect of yourself that choses with such high resolve to do such-in-such is not the same version of yourself that later, or amazingly even not so later, decides to completely disregard those very same aspirations. In a recent workshop with Christina Sell she said that we aim to bring more and more of ourselves together, to reach our intention, so that more and more of ourself is united toward the same goal. I appreciated her offering as it resonates with my own experience.

It seems like devoted, disciplined practice over a prolonged period of time can positively impact the other aspects of self. Once the rebellion of other sections is acknowledged and accepted, and if discipline remains constant, things shift… This reminds me of massage– when there’s a “knot” in the tissue i can apply pressure to the point and after a while the tension just releases, that which was resisting lets go. Similarly, the more discipline is followed, practice is maintained, the more the contrasting aspects of self “fall in line.” … our default position shifts.

 

all is well

gratitude…

what a beautiful day!

I am grateful i got to sit and have lunch with a dear friend in the sunshine at a table sitting outside of whole foods… yum yum salad in my lunch break in between class number two and three on my tuesday in january… still learning all about people… aren’t they always perfect mirrors for us?

 

all three classes went so well. the first and the third, both yogahours, had 44 and 48 approximately! in the led expanding class I taught mostly restorative and seated forward folds. it was exactly what i needed and so it turned out that despite my own insecurities about my offerings, everyone else was so grateful and that it was exactly what they needed as well.

and so it goes…

staci (my twin) called me today. i’m always grateful to hear from her. i didn’t get to talk to her long at all but the time with her lit up my day fer sure. she said she wrote my arm tattoo on her mirror today and it made her think about me all day. “rather than curse the darkness bring the light.” perfect. seems like she’s needing a little light, realizing that she has to make the choice to think positively instead of dwell in the negative. it is so sweet to share our journey, all of us.

i am grateful for the connections I have with others.

 

i chose to bike home despite my huge mountain of tiredness, and it was a pretty horrible trip home but i was so grateful when it was over!!! it’s interesting to watch the dance of my thoughts and emotions as they go… the bike ride is the bike ride and no matter how bratty and whiney and complainy and pathetic my inner objections protest, the bike ride is the bike ride! what, am i gonna stop and call someone to come get me? HA!!! yeah, i thought about about it… but then i have this silly li’l ego… “no i got this, i’m a tuffy, i’m strong, i’m not a quitter, i’m hardcore, or whatever bla bla bla…” and then i get home, and all is well.

 

let go laughing!

i got to see Les Miserables tonight with Tanya and some girlz. I arrived later than the others, as i was on my bike, so sweet Tanya bought my ticket and saved me a seat. Guh, what a heart-wrenching movie! i loved it. I’m a sucker for musicals and dance movies, not going to lie, but this one touched me deeply. favorite line from the movie, “to love another person is to see the face of God.”

sigh… so good.

merry christmas!

this morning after my usual yum-yum green juice, and many text messages to friends and family, i played ball with my doggy, Udu, at a nearby park. we ran around a lot. he likes it when i chase him.

i’m grateful i live in tucson where it is invigorating to ride my bike in december rather than impossible. although the studio felt quite far today… i aimed to make it to Tanya’s holiday class, but by the time i was ready to leave, realized that i wouldn’t make it… oh well, i shrugged. i left anyway, and figured i could always just practice in the smaller studio. perfectly, as always sweet music helped to shift my mental state as i road to the studio. the lyric that helped the most: “let go laughing!” i had a nice inversion practice, supta padangustasana, abs, backbends, handbalancings… just about an hour and 15 minutes.

then rode to the movies… both the yoga studio and the movies were packed! good ideas!

 

 

i’m grateful for progress

i just felt like it was time to write…

i sit here at my kitchen table with my kitterz making cute humming noises in her sleep on the chair next to me, rain pooring down outside, and i can see the reflection of the neighbors’ colorful christmas lights in the puddle growing in front of my porch. i’m sleepy, in my big, red fleece robe from Ross and old raggety baby blue fleece slippers from Walgreens, with hair pulled up in a bun like an old lady, belly full of salad and almond mild, and i should be getting to bed… i am getting back into the practice of writing with regularity… even if it’s just a few lines… i can commit to 10 minutes.

ok, go. 11:19pm, stop at 11:29…

 

i feel some awareness in my back after the week-full of practice and bike riding. it’s definitely a challenge to maintain good back alignment on a road bike… i’m excited since my recent attendance at john friend’s workshop in scottsdale two weekends ago. i feel more empowered with my yoga to heal my body, rather than feeling, clueless, victimized, and subject to whichever healer or specialist with whom i happen to be speaking. i have faith my hammy, adductor, and back will get better. they are getting better already. i’m grateful for progress.

 

lots of things in my noggin… want to train more…

i get to play with darren and christina sell for the new year’s intensive. i love to attend yoga trainings because they help rekindle a flame within me that can feel dim due to overworking. i lose sight of why i do what i do and how much i love it.

(christina sell and manorama are also doing a workshop/intensive march 7-10… and i’d love to attend that as well…)(and john has some exciting things coming up too…)

of course there’s all these things i want to do. we must always make choices. douglas brooks says that even not making a choice is making a choice. so what do i choose?

the yoga is to bring mindfulness, consciousness to my choices, so that my decision serves the highest good.

what is my intention? to be of service, to be of the best service i can be, to offer what serves me most fully, enriches and enhances my life and makes me feel bright, vibrant, and free.

may i gain clarity… may i feel a sense of confidence and inner solidity so i may claim my clarity, assert it and live it.

yoga teaches me a great deal in this arena of facing my own self. in yoga when i can’t do a yoga pose, it’s either because i don’t know how to manifest it, certain injuries presently prevent it, or i’m in my own way. usually, i’m in my own way. when i can connect to my inner stillness, it’s there, seemingly without effort, the pose arises. however, in day to day life, when i stand in my own way, it seems like i can fool myself much easier. the clarity is there underneath my tightly clenched hoody as i claim confusion and indecision….

heh heh… and it’s 11:37,…

and i’ve fulfilled my commitment. good night! 😉MG0244-M

 

God laughs

I just had to turn off You Tube videos of Kino MacGregor… watching in awe, envy, jealousy… those are not the most life-enhancing virtues to be cultivating, especially at night time when I look for any excuse to binge on hippie vegan icecream. Instead I choose to write. I write to help clear my head, to stick to my commitment, and (hopefully if it’s deemed worthy to post,) my experience can serve to benefit others.

I’m still nursing this leg injury…

Whilst teaching my hippity hoppity happy hour group on a fine friday night several months ago, i demoed bound parsva konasana into bound trikonasana and heard a loud “pop! pop!” My heart sank. Immediate reaction: act as though nothing happened and “the show must go on!” And so it did. My hammy and adductor did not. I don’t like to talk about it because I want to focus on things that I want to bring into my life and not to dwell on things that bring me down and could potentially induce fear in others. There’s nothing inherently harmful about the practice of aforementioned poses, it’s simply user error! Lack of warm-up, extensive physical activity, and insufficient water intake that day are all likely contributors. I’m really getting the concept of engaging the muscle before you stretch it now, not just intellectually. My students benefit from it, and that’s the gift. My teaching gets refined, clearer, and even more passionate, because there’s intense experiential truth behind what I offer, rather than a mere formula.

I went to the gym today- it’s my day off. I like to use the stair climber slowly to strengthen my leg and hopefully get a little sweat on. I do other things at the gym too. They have this big room with a mirror where they teach classes and when there’s no class I can use it for my yoga stuffs. Not having a regular asana practice has been quite challenging on every level… but there are benefits too! For example, I’ve been asking my students to demo, even in yogahour, and i see them light up at the opportunity to be in the spotlight. i think it also helps students to feel that the pose is more realistic if they see a fellow student do it. As a student that definitely motivates me.

i keep re-injuring my injuries in my led classes… i’m like homer simpson and the hot stove! (The Simpsons) (… … blink blink… rrrrright.) That episode was hilarious and so represents me and this blasted injury! (blasted?… does anyone say that anymore? well, at least it’s g rated…) (what’s even sillier is that i just spent several minutes dorking out looking up the word, “blast,” to be sure i knew what it meant…)

so i am in the challenging process of resting my leg from stretching these days, as per advice from my wise and wonderful acupuncturist… and yet not. I enjoy plenty of bike commuting, oh yes, and the stair climber. On Facebook today my friend with a similar injury posted that she can again play with some of her favorite poses, after 5 months! I am optimistic. There is hope. I see Charlie Roach regularly for acupuncture treatments. I think it’s helping, but it’s tough to say because every time it feels a little better I do something that makes it grumpy again. Lesson of the Day (everyday): Infinite Patience!!!!!

Despite my rant, there are poses I can do which do not aggravate my hammy and adductor, and they help me to feel calm, centered, playful, and free. Meditation and Pranayama are great tools I practice, and reading and writing require no physical stretching. Willingness seems to be key. God laughs. (whatever you choose to call it– Absolute Consciousness, The Supreme, The Universe, etc.) (if i envision a light-hearted and playful God it helps me to be more light-hearted and playful)…

(Life lesson after lesson and she just might be getting it.) How willing are you? How badly do you want what you want? Do you even know what it is that you want anymore? Even willingness has to shift. (whoa… look out now!) The same willingness I apply to lifting my shoulders up and back in a timed chatturanga dandasana is a different sort of willingness than aligning my foot and knee for padmasana (especially with a knee injury!), is a different sort of willingness than persistently showing up to class, than practicing with ferocity and regularity, than practicing poses i don’t like just so i can gain familiarity with them and at least understand them rather than just loathe and avoid them… i’m talking about a willingness to practice no matter what form practice may take. My teachers say how the practice shifts forms as the practitioner progresses through life’s stages, and again, now it’s more than a concept. Where does such a willingness come from? … … …

Often for me, it comes from suffering sufficiently enough. When I’m in pain and stuck in “the ick” I reach out for help. I reached out to the physical practice of yoga for so many years to help my chronic pain resulting from my 1998 car accident. Now the willingness beckons me even deeper. Where to go when the fancy poses do more harm than good? We go inside. Swami Muktananda says, “Go there and roam.” After my car accident when I could do nothing but lay in my bed on my back I was pretty psyched to be alive. I did what I could do, which was read, write, listen to music, visualize, meditate. Admittedly, life’s circumstances forced me to more than I should have way too quickly, but such is my temperament anyway. The meaning I extract is that God (The Universe) thinks I don’t rest enough, that I’m kind of like a bull ramming my head up against a wall sometimes, headand my injuries force me to rest, to reassess the direction of my life and my intentions. From this perspective I can be grateful, and “surrender to the discipline that is given,” as Paul Muller Ortega says. My car accidents’ injuries propelled me into the arms of yoga.

We’ll see what happens next!