right right

To think that… (one of those pauses to gather thoughts that unintentionally add suspense… yeah, like that) one is worthy of such wonderful things almost feels arrogant or assuming, maybe presumptuous is the word… and thennnnn we listen, or rather read, and maybe hear the words spoken inside one’s own head, the wise, simple and profound words of DR Butler, asserting that our life is what we focus our attention on, and the realization dawns on the horizon, peeks it’s brightness from yonder in the distance, that wasn’t really distance at all, cuz it was always already just right here… and so here it is… and here we go… for the ride that is our life, and we are in charge, so to speak, in the driver’s seat, steering the way, the direction of our day, the plan for our lifespan is moment by moment creation…like poetry we create reality with words, with images painted with words, with daydreams dissected letter by letter and put back together like a puzzle… puzzling isn’t it to conceive of such great, vast, infinite power right at one’s fingertips, or yes, lips, all in how we think, see, speak, move, act. … behave….

hmmmmm… makes me think of bee hive… yeah like the hive that was mysteriously attached to my house for that brief period… lessons there… lessons everywhere… are we paying attention? are we learning anything yet? bee hive… bees… bees are all connected by the queen bee…. all is done for the sake of her (god) and the hive (everyone, the collective, the universe–which is ultimately all god), and there’s a communication (by dance, come to find out!)… as if they are all connected.

similarly, we humans are all connected, and there is no separation by time and space… (or so is claimed by some great teachings, like in DR Butler’s The Course).

…put this into practice .. don’t just theorize, philosophize, and discuss lofty ideals. this shit is real.. who and what we are….real and also unreal, like the side mirror, things are not as they appear to be…similar, but different, manorama says, “feel it, feel it, feel it”… pema chordran invites one to lean into the discomfort, as my sweet camille friend reminded me today, “lean into it.” scott marmorstein said, “be the light.” and so we do, offer light through our thoughts, through our words, our deeds … and as Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, they all merge as one and become prayers. my buddy, billy quoted someone in the buddhist community saying, “right thoughts, right words, right deeds”… something to that effect…

and what’s the effect?

i’m reminded of a quote from a child’s book a friend gave me, “sometimes everything being right makes a kind of a sound.”

_JTB5960-1

 

forbearance and the “me” factor

“some of god’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers,” sings good ol’ Garth Brooks.

i face inner struggle… resistance to what is… urges to fall back into familiarity in the face of the big bad scary (insert suspenseful horror movie background music) UNKNOWN. (scream)

dramatic i know… it keeps me entertained though, and man, if we can’t be entertained by the endless happenings on the stage of life, it’s going to be a bad movie! and i want my money back!

i felt like that this morning at my Bikram class. despite all my years of asana practice, and my experience as a teacher, i was that student who hated everything in class today — myself, my appearance, the teacher, the smell of the carpet, any excess talking from the teacher, any corrections received from the teacher, and especially the bee keeper lady who kept me up late waiting for her call and then also woke me up at 2 am and proceeded to talk way too enthusiastically for the time of night and act as if it was completely normal to do such things at 2am and behave in ways so that i judgmentally dub her as a drug addict…hmm that’s a whole other thing… the point is, Bikram is a set sequence of 26 postures in a really hot room that’s always that hot! the variables are dramatically limited; we’re down to the teacher, the time of class you attend, and you. you (or me rather) (er uh i…) can contain numerous variables — what we eat, quantity and quality of our rest, regularity of practice, knowledge of alignment, attitude, will power, inner resiliency, the quality of our patience and forbearance.

forbearance really hits the nail on the head: “patient self-control; restraint and tolerance.” ooooh! tomorrow’s word of the day!

first, variables…. so when the variables are minimized it’s very easy to see that when you have a “bad” class, it’s not the sequence (again, in Bikram it’s the same every time), its not what the teacher says (most of Bikram is scripted— yet the teachers still ad lib, and that can be aggravating), it’s probably not the time of day, (unless you know you’re a morning person and you go at night or vise versa, but that still falls under the “me” factor), it’s you! my friend used to say, “what’s the common denominator in this equation?” (it’s me… er you)… sigh… so there’s that… it was me. it was me the whole time, and i knew it. i got through the class. savasana was so restful. i literally melted into my mat/towel. i was very grateful for un-talkative ladies in the restroom. and yet it seems that may be some of what i needed– some interaction. for on my car ride from the studio i made a couple of phone calls, one to my paw paw who i don’t get to talk to much. i adore him. he lives up in minnesota with his lady and they often make crafty things, like right now they call it “lawn art,” pretty flowers made of various metal scraps that they paint. i’m always impressed with his interest in life, his continual creativity and quest to be involved. just getting to talk to him briefly started to shift my mood.  then i called two girl friends and my twinny and left them nice messages. much better… i dorked out at Wholefoods… mission: drink green juice first after Bikram, cuz otherwise i might dive into an all out binge… (“know thyself”) (“forwarned is forarmed” – Lee Lozowick)

also, one of my girls facebook messaged me and shared some of her honest suffering. initially i see the surface of it as different than me. as i sit with it though, i see her suffering is the same as mine, despite varying physical circumstances. this realization helps me to settle, feel a sense of connection, and thus have compassion. instead of wallowing in my ick, i can reach out and write her a message to offer her some connection, love, and hopefully share some wisdom, for so often in reaching out to others i share exactly what i need to hear.

(i’m going to do that now) (stay tuned… unanswered prayers… then forbearance….)

and we’re back!… (uproar of applause)

chuckle chuckle… so back to the song. i’m a not-so-in-the-closet country fan (i was raised with it in the background), and this lyric came to my head today after reading my friend’s facebook message, “some of god’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” gotta love garth brooks… or you don’t and you just judged me and decided to stop reading my blog and never look back, and probably defriend me on facebook and certainly talk poorly about me behind my back… blink blink… … … blink…

anywayz…

unanswered prayers– the gist of the song is that the singer’s life turned out beautifully and perfectly and he only realized this when he saw an “old flame,” the one he’d always wanted and prayed for, and yet when they saw each other at this stage of life they had little attraction and nothing in common. “just remember when you’re talking to the man upstairs, that just because he doesn’t answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care.” the point: we face discomfort in the face of not getting what we want…

(reminds me of another song, by wah: “she gives you what you want and hopes that someday you’ll want to take what she has to give.”)

… subsequently we feel anxious urging toward that familiar place of comfort. yet, that place of familiarity is not where we grow, says DR Butler… he says, “We can no longer afford to allow ourselves to be hypnotized by familiarity. To allow the familiar to continue to be the fundamental reality is like functioning in this world asleep. When we do this we unknowingly create outer appearances of our fears and anxieties — all because we have no awareness or appreciation of the power of attention, the effectiveness of a conscious intent, and the final declaration of will.” (from Living in the Truth of the Present Moment.)  so, the consequence of choosing to be in the unfamiliar for the sake of “waking up,” as they say, is that you feel uncomfortable… “comfort” was a yogahour word of the day a few weeks ago. i discussed how it was an advanced concept that the yoga asana should be “steady and comfortable”, as stated in “the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” for only through dedicated practice over a long period of time does one accept, and thus get comfortable with the sensations that arise in the midst of transformation.

(((in the new super man movie superman’s father tells him (us): continue to push limits, test your limits, to see how strong you can get )))

so this too applies to our lives (for doesn’t it all?), in that in the discomfort of our life’s MG9952-Mcircumstances we have the opportunity to fall back into old ways, old habits, and tendencies for the sake of comfort, ease, familiarity, OR we have the opportunity to endure the discomfort with strength and sensitivity– not a teeth grinding sort of endurance, but rather an openhearted willingness to feel the gift of the moment. (manorama says in a decrescendo ending in a breathy whisper, “feel it. feel it. feel it.”) for that is what every moment is, a gift. and as we unwrap the gift fully in the moment, we receive as much as we are ready for, (or as much as our curtains’ openness allows for the light to poor in– Swami Gurumai Chidvilasananda). and this readiness expands as we practice being with whatever unfolds in the moment. thus it was all there the whole time, “always already there,” as Mr. Paul Muller Ortega says, and it is our perception that expands (HA! again! the “me variable!!!”)

(took udu doggy fer a walkee. nice night! big moon! it’s actually called a “supermoon!” yep, not making it up… two people confirmed it who don’t even know eachother. lol … it’s supposed to be the biggest moon of the year… and of course there’s symbolism there, right hippy?! the notion of dark becoming light. and how this moon at it’s brightest represents how we too have the capacity to achieve our fullest potential and shine at our brightest…. man this goes right along with what i’ve been writing about. so perfect, of course)

back to the point (Manorama moment…what’s the point?)

now on to forbearance…

such a fine definition my computer dictionary offers! “patient self-control; restraint and tolerance.”

this is precisely what yoga offers us the opportunity to cultivate (and it is always an offering, an opportunity, “an invitation,” as Mr. John Friend used to say… it’s never an obligation… for we don’t have to do anything, life beckons to us and we always have the option to refuse. to decline… to say no… hmmmm… but why not say yes? … and see what happens… fyi, you’re probably going to get uncomfortable… hahahaha). patient self-control; restraint and tolerance. the Bikram practice in a relatively small room heated to or over 105 degrees Farenheight, in which students face a large mirror, are not supposed to talk, fidget, wipe sweat, or even drink unless at a specified break… needless to say, all your buttons are pushed… and then what…? Ha!… this is an instance in which peer pressure is of great service. (do i really want to be the only person scowling and making a fuss?) you can really tell the newer students, as they’ve not figured out these subtle rules that you learn as you go… no body really tells you overtly, you just learn as you go, and everybody begins to conform in this beautiful synchronized unity that perfectly exhibits the very definition of yoga. (so i’m on a Bikram kick right now… doesn’t mean that other styles don’t offer these attributes, it’s just that this is the style i’m focusing on right now. i’ve experienced the same phenomenon in the Ashtanga method, and in Yogahour with Darren Rhodes, and in certain teacher’s offerings of Anusara Yoga, and John Friend and Desi Springer’s “Roots” Practice…) i learn to not express my emotional outbursts through mindless fidgeting, dramatic facial expressions, or talking. i come back to tadasana (steady mountain pose –the steadiness offered from within my own self), and seamlessly onto the next pose. these styles of practice are a beautiful metaphor for life, in that it’s always on to the next thing.  (reminds me of a time Christina Sell was teaching about inversions and quoting one of her teachers said, “Don’t freak out about your freak out.”)  in Bikram they say, “Let it go.” In a recent Lesson from DR Butler, he commends the “many principles of Truth exemplified in the world of sports,” and he quotes head football coach at Cornell University, a former Rhodes scholar, and ‘very intelligent man,'”To me, the number one thing is to play the next play and forget the last one. The last play is not relevant to the next one. The most important play of the game is the next one, not the one already behind you. You have to learn to forget quickly. It does not matter what happened before — drop the baggage, drop the pressure, and just play.” on to the next moment. may we move into each moment untethered to the drama of the past…

…through the practice i face my thoughts, my emotions, my “ways of being”… and practice moving in the face of them…

i continually recognize my tendencies to think poorly of myself, to talk badly to myself, to want to quit, give up, to be tempted to wallow in self pity, to feel isolated and singled out, uncertain, overwhelmed…(this helps me to feel profound connection to my students, especially the beginners and to really appreciate the intensity yoga presents in a matter-of-fact sort of way, like, “here it is.  here’s the path.” the rest is up to us… walk it, or don’t– no judgement.)

and then there’s the next pose, and tadasana, and the next one, and tadasana, always coming back to center — physically and mentally.  through practice i can now recognize which postures the final postures, signaling that class is closer and closer to savasana (which ultimately means death — how much we long for this relative peace, ease, and comfort!). this familiarity with the set sequence brings a sense of calm to the mind, knowing the finish line is near… (i always hear my twinny’s voice — which funny, sounds like mine… “you can do it steffi, you’re almost there”) and the pranayama comes and then we die…

the end… you’re dead “did you do.. did you do all you could?” (sings Ani Difranco)

 

 

 

 

 

 

butterflies or pickles

5.14.13

tuesday today terrificus…

tuesday of three classes and so many smiling students and watching myself in the face of it all (of course, lol, it’s always about you stef… hmmm…) and yet really, isn’t it? not about me, but about you. for me it’s about you and for you it’s about you, and if i didn’t know me, i am unable to connect with and serve you. someone in expanding class today hit the nail on the head when they said something to the effect of, “it’s like we are all voices inside one big head.” yeah, we were talking about our multiple personalities… er uh, at least i was…

according to some philosophies that underly the practice of yoga, the manifest realm is a manifestation of a supreme intelligence, a universal reality, highest consciousness, god, whatever you want to call it, and that this physical realm that we experience in normal day-to-day life contains and is composed of this consciousness. and thus, we are all one. so each personality we encounter is like another voice in our “big” head… lol.

yeah, it’s like that. this concept helps me to be compassionate when people don’t understand something, willing when someone is having a difficult time, and curious about people i “dislike.” truly it helps me not only as a teacher, but as just a stef in day to day living at the grocery store (where i always seem to be), on my bike with lots of cars, in the car running late, talking on the phone to a woman who works for the gas company who’s simply doing her job and cares not about my crankiness and impatience.

classes went well today. i love my job.

word of the day at yogahour 11am and 415: TRUST.

The quote i borrowed it from this morning is from DR Butler’s The Course. http://www.truthofthepresentmoment.blogspot.com. he said,

“It’s not that our concepts from the past take up 75 percent of our consciousness, while awareness of the present takes 25 percent. It would be great if it were like that, but consciousness is only one, it is filled by one thought at a time. So, if we are clinging to our ideas from the past, it fills personal consciousness to the brim. This is why there must be an emptying out, a letting go, so that the past can be flushed from our psychic system, and we’ll be continuously refreshed and expanded by what is new. Of course, it helps to give up fear of the unknown. Trust that the unknown is even greater than the known.”

this paragraph stood out to me this morning. my tendency is to drop everything and discard it all to get ready for the new. LOL and throw out the baby with the bath water. (that is such a freaking hilarious saying) Some new (or recycled) thoughts surfacing are to let go of old ideas from the past rather than dismiss everything from the past… ie relationships, people, places…. there will be more to come on this…

let’s just pull on this thread for a while…

in a yoga class i taught over a year ago I demoed a standing pose sequence and pulled my hamstring and adductor. one vein of thought would have me blame and discard the practice of yoga or blame and discard the specific poses that preceded the injury. but what’s the point of that? what do we learn from that? with commitment, devotion and discernment we can place ourselves back in the same place where we got burned. we don’t step back into the fire for the sake of getting burned again or in denial of the fire’s capacity for and and high probability of destruction, but rather to learn from it and ultimately grow, to become more refined versions of ourselves. just as much as fire can destroy, fire can transform. i’ve heard it said many times by great teachers that it’s a razor’s edge. at the recent workshop with christina sell talked about how one can pull away from one edge only to fall off the other side. through our yoga practice ideally we become more sensitive and our capacity to know and take care of ourselves expands…

i tend to be overly hard on myself and yet, took a 6 weeks off of yoga. it took a long time to straighten my leg again. it’s over a year later and i’m still working, but if i had given up the practice entirely i would have missed valuable lessons. commitment and persistence pays off, but the asana practice continually teaches me that the persistence must shift approach and focus if it is to be sustained.  the practice continues and persistence perseveres with sensitivity and discrimination.

the 1215 expanding class (still talking about tuesday) rickity rocked out in pincha scorpion, vrischikasana today. we used chairs as support, which was an adventure, as we only had six. so we had stations and played musical stations alternating with blocks to get our shoulders and upper backs open. we prepped with handstand booty-on-the-wall and pincha-booty-on-the-wall, virasana, supta virasana, and kapotasana work. miss christine lee’s beautiful pose was inspiring. i was pleased by the class’s overall enthusiasm and willingness. i love my students! and! i’m so grateful for my brilliant teachers. I couldn’t be doing what i do without them.

I got to participate in the first two days of The Courage to Teach with Christina Sell and Darren Rhodes at Yoga Oasis! I love these two people with all my heart. day one Darren said, “We teach who we are.” I believe it’s a quote from the book. It calls one to walk the walk, so to speak, to live the life about which they preach. And simultaneously, the fact is that whether you live according to your philosophical ideals or not, we lead by example. As Douglas Brooks once said (paraphrased), “even not making a choice is making a choice.” We choose who we are by what we engage, how we engage it, and the company we keep. (i used to rationalize and justify this concept but came to realize through brilliant guidance from dear Scott Marmorstein and his guru, that no matter how strong you think you are on the inside, your outer company will drag you down. … side note, i’m not jesus. he hung with the lows and drank wine, so they say, i wasn’t there, but hey, i’m not jesus… so yeah, “they” say you hang around a barber shop long enough, you’re going to end up getting your hair cut… ha! or at least get a whole bunch of other people’s hair all over you… may we choose to surround ourselves with people we wish to emulate. i want to be around people who inspire me, who are happy, who smile, who giggle, who are bright, who are willing and driven….) (any wayz….tangent, sorry.) we teach who we are. we teach based on the struggles we face and overcome. the lessons we accrue are our gems with which to share and enrich the lives of others as well as our own. it goes back to the shared consciousness idea, for as i gain, so do you, and as you gain, so do i. we all struggle. we all have pain. what’s inspiring and interesting is how you face these challenges and ultimately rise out of the ashes anew. the fact that you rose from the ashes is rad, but what’s of value is the tale you now get to tell…

(I’m currently in the backseat of Miss Tanya Whitman’s car while she drives and Miss Christine Lee naps in the passenger seat. We’ve perused many topics thus far. of these tasty morsels of interest, we talked of butterfly metamorphosis, and how the catepillar is no more, how it no longer exists. once it makes the transformation, it’s not a catepillar with wings, but it’s completely new. it’s a different creature. it’s a butterfly. a dear friend recently got a tattoo of a butterfly to mark this very process. the change is permanent. the butterfly cannot change back into the catepillar. another friend said it this way, “once your a pickle you’re always a pickle, you can’t go back to being a cucumber.” ha! butterflies and pickles, whichever analogy you prefer.)butterflypic1

Saturday I was so fortunate to get to go to a dear friend’s wedding in Sedona. the wedding was so beautiful!!!! it was perfect weather with lovely white fluffy floaties drifting through the air with such perfection that it couldn’t have been professionally orchestrated any better! the company was so pleasant. this couple’s friends and family are mellow and kind and fun-loving. i felt so welcome and at ease. the music was a delightful blend of old school meets new school, but i especially loved the oldies. we all had fun dancing, but the best was how intimidating the bride’s family friends were! they ruled the dance floor! and i enjoyed the delicious food! oh the cakes! yes, cakes, plural. and then there was the serendipitous free room! the groom’s mom had a friend who couldn’t use her room so they were able to offer a free place to stay for the night. what a treat!

Sunday i spent mama day in Phoenix with my mama and twin sister and her beautiful munchkins, Elle and Patrick. they are so super cute! they call me “auntie mama.” yeah, it’s awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

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.