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Showing posts from November, 2009

Unwrapping the Ordinary

There are times my theme for my yoga classes does not arrive easily - it just simply eludes me....And then it arrives, as a total gift - right at the last minute...

I knew what quotes I wanted to use for this week and what sequence of poses I would use - but things just did not come together in my mind. I was also exhausted from a lot of driving, teaching, and situations that had drained me emotionally...

So, when I started teaching today - I wasn't quite sure what I was going to say. I was glad I was NOT being observed for my yearly review by a peer for my Anusara Yoga certified status!

I was working with a twisting sequence that seemed appropriate after Thanksgiving. Twisting poses have a way of releasing all that does not serve us and contributes to detoxing the body - in addition to the mind and soul as well. So I did speak of these things, and then it came to me - as I quoted an excerpt from Macrina Wiederkehr's A Tree Full of Angels - that by detoxing and releasing - "…

Advent 2009 (Poem)

Today, we begin the Season of Advent. We are also starting to head into a season that is sacred to many religious and spiritual traditions. And so, as I reflected on the coming season of Advent for Christians, I found myself writing these words last night...

Advent 2009

I enter quietly
And softly
Into this Sacred Season
Of Silent Waiting,
Into this Holy Season
Of Soul Preparation,
Into this Blessed Season
Of Deep Longing

I Wait
And I Prepare
Because:

"O-Beloved One!
I am dying of yearning
to rise!"

I am Dying
of Yearning
To Become
Word Made Flesh
In My Own Words,
And Deeds, and
In All That I Am

(Quote - by Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, 1988, 1995)

May this coming season of silence and waiting draw you more deeply inward, to the true treasures stored in the cave of your heart!

Living in a World of Theophanies

I spent the last couple of days re-reading portions of A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary, by Macrina Wiederkehr, a monastic. Years ago, before I had heard of this book, I came across this quote from its introduction, which I used as a reading at the end of my classes at the time:

"You live in a world of theophanies.
Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary.
There are burning bushes all around you.
Every tree is full of angels.
Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb.
Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels,
but this can happen only if you are willing
to unwrap the ordinary by staying with it
long enough to harvest its treasure."

There are so many sections of this book that spoke so deeply to me. I wish to share some other quotations here:

"There is a yearning deep in the human heart - so deep is it an ache within. An ache for God...! The ache in our heart needs to be fed. Crumbs are entirely sufficient. Crumbs are those small things that the world would to…

How to Expand Love

A few years ago, the Dalai Lama wrote a book titled, How to Expand Love, that is filled with wonderful meditations to deepen this practice in one's life. His Holiness noted, that everything is always in a state of change. Nothing remains stable - not even our feelings towards our loved ones or friends.

I re-read portions of this book late last evening, and while all the meditations and practices are of great value, I will highlight one that caught my eye. I highly recommend however, reading the book in its entirety to benefit from the systematic plan that is laid out in its pages for expanding our capacity for love...
Consider that during the span of this lifetime, there is no certainty that specific individuals will always be friends, enemies, or neutral. Consider examples of this from your own life - a neutral person who became a friend; a neutral person who became an enemy; a friend who became neutral, or an enemy; an enemy who became a friend.Visualize that a friend who has help…

Thanksgiving Day Blessings on Land and Water

Blessings come in so many ways. In ways that are expected - and in ways that are not...

I arise on this, Thanksgiving Day - and it is blanketed in fog. I go down to the river - there is a yearning inside of me to see it - to connect with this river that has played such a pivotal role in my life. It has been raining for days and I can't remember when I last brought Grace, my kayak, down to these riverbanks, to commune with these healing waters...

The river is breathtakingly beautiful. The skies are totally gray - as is the river itself. The sky and the waters merge - in their oneness - they are only separated by a haze of bare trees - acting as an ethereal silhouette, softly etched in the fog. I think of the description of creation from the Book of Genesis - and it seems that now, for the first time, I am seeing the dome in the sky separated from the waters below. The scene before me is so haunting, I lose myself in it. The waters are totally still - as still as my soul...

I give than…

A Thanksgiving Prayer and Blessing

Yesterday evening, I went to sub for a friend of mine - a beautiful yogini who has been traveling with John Friend in South America. Her class consisted of a wonderful group of funny and welcoming students. We had a great time. Two were celebrating birthdays. One of the two was a bit older than the second person, so we joked about one being a "bordeaux" and the other a "port" as opposed to a "beaujolais." I often use this imagery to explain that some of us need to take time to experience and taste our poses. Like aged fine wines, we need to "breathe our poses..."

But, that was not my theme. I continued using my theme of cultivating an attitude of gratitude...

At the end of class, I played this song by Eliza Gilkyson, called "Prayer 2000". Years ago, my own teacher used this in her own class during Thanksgiving week, and I have used it with my own students ever since. It is a beautiful reminder of all the things we have to grateful for, a…

More on Gratitude

I posted these these quotes this morning on the subject of gratitude:

"Gratitude is like a muscle.
The more we do with it
the stronger it gets."
~ Jon Gordon

"THANK YOU.
They are two words
that have the power to transform."
~ Jon Gordon

"If the only prayer you ever say is thank you,
it will be enough."
~ Meister Eckhart

And these entries come fromParamahansa Yogananda's Spiritual Diary for the last few days:

"Thanksgiving and praise open in your consciousness the way for spiritual growth and supply to come to you. Spirit pushes Itself out into visible manifestation as soon as a channel is opened through which it can flow. You should be thankful for everything at all times. Realize that all power to think, and speak, and act comes from God, and that He is with you now, guiding and inspiring you."

"When the summer of good fortune warms my tree of life, it easily burgeons with fragrant blossoms of thankfulness. During winter months of misfortune, O Lord…

Thanksgiving Releases Joy

Everywhere, and in every place, there are so many bright souls and hearts focusing right now on the beauty and sacredness of this season of Thanksgiving and its relationship to joy.

I paraphrase and share excerpts from this e-card that I received from Mary Robinson Reynolds today, because it contains such inspirational and appropriate reminders of what is really important for all of us to consider and reflect on as we celebrate Thanksgiving...

"We give thanks for the love we've shared,
the love we hope to share,
and the return of loved ones to our homes.

This is our blessing,
this is our bounty,
this is our thanksgiving.

We pray from Psalm 122 that there may be:
'Peace with our walls,
and prosperity within our palaces.'
Let us be fully present in this moment,
that we may be truly giving and for-giving.
May there be peace within our families.

The secret of the power of joy is this--
giving is that which releases joy
and this feeling, this realization of joy,
is all that matters.

Invinci…

Every Good Deed (Poem)

I am off to a very full day of teaching yoga philosophy - the first of two days - consisting of a detailed and comparative look at Classical Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra, to be covered on this day. Then, an overview of the kleshas, koshas, and tattvas - both in Samkya and Tantra tomorrow.

I awaken this morning rested, and full, from a wonderful Friday. I had lunch with a very dear friend, and we were waited on by the most attentive young man, who took the time to make our espresso and cappuccino in the same manner as they are prepared in Rome. It took me back to that magnificent city. Truly, the best cappuccinos and espressos I have ever savored, were the ones I had in Italy...

Then, I met some more dear friends who have traveled the spiritual path with me for many years, for drinks and appetizers. It was truly a delight to see how all of these friends I spent my day with have grown - one not only as a yoga teacher, but as an incredible human being - and the others - not only as spiritual …

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

This morning, I wake up with gratitude in the deepest recesses of my heart, for all that is - and what is not.

I am grateful for the simple things - the gift of life, of friends, a cup of Italian espresso bought in Paris, and the opportunity to sleep in and lazily stay in bed a little longer...

I am grateful for those hearts that have brought joy into my own - like beacons - they have helped me navigate the way out of deep sorrow...

In this season of giving thanks, I am reminded of how important it is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude - in everything we do and say. And when we do, we notice subtle shifts in ourselves and those around us - beauty blooms all around us. What we say and do - matters. What we appreciate and our expression of it - also matters. WE matter!

I think of a dear student and friend who said to me, months ago, when I was emerging from deep depression like a butterfly - "Your life so matters!" It gave me the ability to see light where I had previously only…

Cultivate an Expectation of Grace

It was a full and rich weekend, of teaching yoga on the other side of the river, and re-connecting with college friends. Many of the moments were filled with grace and offered its own beautiful blessings...

As I rode to teach classes yesterday morning - subbing for a wonderful teacher - I marveled at the beauty of the fog lifting all around me, and thought of it as a veil lifting and revealing the manifestation of the Divine in every aspect of creation. The beauty simply took my breath away!

I began this Monday morning as I have for some time now - with my wonderful garden of yoginis. My students engaged their core very exuberantly, by working strongly with Kidney Loop. They worked hard, and went into their back bodies - initiating their poses from there - and radiantly expressing them fully - from their hearts. I marveled at what I saw - and felt humbled and honored by the beauty they shared with me. What a gift to walk this journey with others - of opening to grace and aligning bodies…

Amazing Grace, 54 Salutations, Anjaneyasanas, and Blessings

On this, my 54th birthday, I sleep in a little, listening to the rain, and enjoying the quiet of a late fall morning...

I am meditating, in my sacred space, ten minutes after arising...

I read these wonderful words from Yogananda's Spiritual Diary:

"The Searcher of Hearts
wants only your sincere love...
When your love for Him
is as great as your attachment
to your mortal body,
He will come to you."

What beautiful words to read, first thing, on this, my birthday! I sit for an hour, communing deeply with the Divine, offering deep gratitude for my life, for the little things, for the people in it, and for the challenges as well...I make a special birthday request for all those I know who are currently in pain and suffering - and for a special friend...

I go to get coffee and then go down to the river...Several feet of drowned leaves hug the riverbanks. It has rained non-stop for days, but in this moment that I visit this river that has played such a significant role in my life, it ha…

Slow, Steady, Opening (Poem)

Yesterday, I was inspired to write this poem after a friend posted a paraphrased quote from Cyndi Lee, as her status on Facebook.

It has been a long, full day, of making wonderful connections with many souls. And so, before I go off to meditate, I leave you with this inspiration that came to me, which I know will incarnate into a theme...

Slow, Steady, Opening

The body is always a gracious temple of the Divine, and when it offers itself wholeheartedly to the practice, its various sheaths— layers of being, or koshas, come into balance and harmony, in a state of oneness.
A gifted and wise teacher deftly instructs her garden of beautiful yoginis, each one a unique blossom and embodiment of grace, to deepen their experience, by releasing their affliction, or klesha— by letting go of their tendency to cling to what does not serve their bodies, minds, or souls:

“Let the quality of aggressive craving, shift towards a grounded sense of watching the slow, steady opening that happens in the practice.”
One eager awaitin…

Living in Grace

Yesterday, I spent the day with one of my dearest friends, who came to visit and to celebrate my birthday a few days early. We enjoyed each others presence, went for a walk, and deeply shared matters of the heart, and of our spiritual practices and respective life journeys. She is a soul friend, and those are always very precious.

I received beautiful gifts from her - a wonderful chakra banner for my yoga studio, with people doing yoga poses inside of each chakra. She also gave me a wonderful T-shirt, with a kayak in the middle, surrounded by the caption, "Take me to the river!" It captured the role and journey the river has played in my life, and I never would have gone to the river initially, had not this dear soul friend brought me to its riverbanks. Somehow, God divinely inspired her to lead me to a place that would figure so prominently in my journey into healing and greater wholeness.

I presented her with gifts of my own, including my latest poetry book, so appropriately…

Anusara Invocation

I have so much I would like to share here, but it must wait. My heart is filled with good things, and wonderful experiences, but it must wait.

One of my students asked me to post the "Invocation" we chant at the beginning of every Anusara Yoga class. It is an ancient and very beautiful mantra. So I reproduce it here, with a translation.

OM
The Primordial Sound of the Divine

OM Namaha Shivaya Gurave
I bow to the Presence of the Divine within me -
Who is my True Teacher

Saccidananda Murtaye
Whose Essence inside me, takes on the form of -
Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss

Nishprapanchaya Shantaya
And is always present
and full of Peace

Niralambaya Tejese
Completely free, illuminating all
with Divine Light

Passion and Compassion

I began this Monday morning the way I usually do - with my Monday morning garden of beautiful yoginis. Last week we explored the theme of devotion, stories of Hanuman, and culminated class with Hanumanasana - which is the splits.

This week we continued working with lengthening and releasing the hamstrings by doing poses like Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana (extended hand to toe pose), and revisiting Hanumanasana, with the theme of "passion and compassion," woven in throughout the class.

After my initial remarks on the theme, I shared this reading from TheRadiance Sutras, translated by Lorin Roche, that seemed to illustrate the essence of "passion:"

"When possessed by lust,
or anger,
greed,
arrogance,
jealousy -
Stop!

Dive deeper.
Throw yourself with wild abandon into
the elemental motion of emotion.

Witness:
Fire burning, illuminating,
water gushing, moistening,
air inspiring, soothing,
earth supporting, holding,
space expanding, embracing.

Go deeper still and rest in essence,
aw…

Hidden Blessings

It has been days since I last made an entry. The days have been full and busy. I taught 8 yoga classes this week - which is twice the number I usually teach, and I will be teaching every weekend except for one, through the end of December...

Life has been busy, but as a friend noted recently - it is a good sort of busy. So many wonderful experiences have occurred, many connections have been made, and life has unselfishly dispensed blessings - some unexpected, and some which were initially hidden...

I've been reviewing the book, Falling into the Arms of God: Meditations With Teresa of Avila, by Megan Don, which I read a couple of years ago or so. Here are a number of excerpts from Teresa's writings that have spoken to me once again...

"Soul, you must seek yourself in Me
and in yourself seek Me...

Soul, since you are My room,
my house and dwelling,
if at any time,
through your distracted ways
I find the door tightly closed,
outside yourself seek Me not...

With such skill, soul,
love co…

Moments and Choices of Grace and Blessings

I continue to be gifted with such moments of grace and soul connections - with those I have known - and with those I am coming to know and which the Divine is bringing into my life...

Yesterday, I read a posting by an intuitive that affirmed these very things. We are connecting more and more with like-minded spirits who are in tune with us vibrationally, and we are touching each others lives - helping one another to grow and take vital steps on our sacred paths. We are truly not alone! And we are profoundly transforming ourselves, those around us, and this planet.

I marvel, how in just an hour or two upon awakening, I make several important connections - one with a new Twitter friend who hosts a radio show - another with a life-long friend who has just begun an inspired blog - and still with another friend, who sends me this precious gem, from a newsletter she subscribes to - written as a love letter from God...It contains valuable messages for me, and I wish to share it here...

To: You

&…

Coming Home to My Garden in the Heart

This morning, before teaching my morning garden of yoginis, who all rose to the occasion and the challenge brought before them - devotedly expressing Hanumanasana - some for the first time, I was inspired by a soul who goes by the name "glowiththeflow" on Twitter.

As often happens, I receive exactly the message I am supposed to receive. Even though there is not one individual soul in my life right now that I am primarily sharing everything with, there are many who are very close to me, and I am deeply blessed to be surrounded by exquisite friends - so many wonderful and true soul companions.

But I also realize that Divine Love breaks through to our hearts in many unexpected ways, and for me, there is a legion of like-minded souls in cyberspace that I am in communion with. Thus, I receive exactly what I need to receive, in ways that may be out of the mainstream for many...

"Living multi-dimensionally means we are no longer bound by the constraints of what we have agree upon…

Transmutation

We begin a new month of sacred energies, and I think of all those things which transmute and transform us...

As the sun begins to set on this day, and I prepare for my evening meditation, I come across this beautiful sutra - or verse - from the Radiance Sutras, an ancient Tantric text, translated by Lorin Roche. It is utterly delicious and full of so much richness, I could easily get lost in it for hours...

"The real transmutation,
The offering to God,
Is to pour the elements of your body,
All of your sensual impressions,
Into the fire of the Great Void.

Your richness of experience
Is the wine that you offer
To the Divinity that is everywhere."

After an afternoon of study and reflection, and preparing my remarks for an upcoming workshop where I will address the yogic concept of the kleshas (afflictions in us which arise due to the ignorance of our true nature), and the koshas (the five sheaths or layers of being of our existence - most of which are subtle and cannot be physically perc…