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Showing posts from January, 2010

Final Reflections on Friendship

Yesterday, while I was on my way to my weekly yoga class, I heard Barbara J. King interviewed on her new book, Being With Animals. She is an anthropologist teaching at William and Mary, and she had some fascinating things to share about the friendship between human beings and their animals, but most especially about the relationships and connections that exist among animals themselves.

For example, King studied apes in Kenya while working on her dissertation, and she observed that when one of the apes died, the rest of the community allowed the closest member of the family or friend, private time to grieve and be alone with the body before any others. King also pointed out that elephants often caress the bones of what we would consider to be a loved one, even after not having visited a particular area for a long time. They have the ability to recognize the remains of other elephants they were connected with, and knew where those remains were located.

I was fascinated by the stories King…

More on Divine Friendship

Yesterday, I found a few minutes in my schedule to go down and visit the river. I had not been down to visit in weeks, and after the heavy rains, I found that the parking lot by the boat ramp had been blocked off, and with good reason. The waters had risen to the level of the parking lot! It was truly an amazing sight to behold!

The cliff by the riverbank was no more!

I crossed the barriers and walked down to the edge where the water met both land and pavement - and marveled at how the edge of the cliff disappeared almost powerlessly into the waters. The Potomac River was as wide as I had ever seen it in these parts, and the currents were undeniably strong.

I observed with wonder at the strength and power of this river that had been a silent witness to my own healing journey these last couple of years. For nearly a year, I visited it every morning, offering my humble prayers and meditations at its banks. And now, I imagined what it would be like to try to navigate these waters with Grace…

Divine Friendship

Some of Paramahansa Yogananda's most beautiful writings have to do with the subject of friendship. His devotees and followers often end their letters to one another with the words, "In Divine Friendship." The purpose of all friendship according to Yogananda, is to unite us more deeply to the Divine, however we imagine this Presence to be in our lives.

I had not read these beautiful passages in a while, and I found re-visiting them the last few evenings, nothing short of delicious, and much richer with insight the second time around. I will share some excerpts here, and let them speak for themselves. May you imbibe the beauty of these words and what constitutes true friendship...

"Friendship is God's love shining through the eyes of your loved ones...

True friendship unites two souls so completely that they reflect the unity of Spirit and its divine qualities...

True friendship is broad and inclusive. Selfish attachment to a single individual, excluding all others, i…

Clearing the Dust Off of Your Mirror

Last night I attended the first session of a series of workshops Anusara Yoga certified teacher Todd Norian was set to teach on the chakras at Willow Street Yoga in Maryland. The Friday evening practice was open to students of all levels and ended with "kirtan," which is a form of call and response chanting.

Todd is a very gifted teacher whose workshops I have frequently attended. I always come away with very wonderful insights from his teaching. The theme for the evening was "Clearing the Dust Off of the Mirror of the Heart."

Todd noted how by the middle of January, most people have abandoned their New Year's resolutions. He pointed out that the world is a reflection of who we are, and if we don't like what we are seeing, we need to clear ourselves. And yet, we come into our lives from the Universe already whole and complete - we are both radiant and cloaked at the same time - which is at its essence, a paradox. But it is this process of being concealed tha…

Living Without Expectations

Several times this week, I have been reminded to live without expectations. This of course, is more easily said than done!

We should give to others, without expectations. I reflected on this on one of the walks I took earlier this week. But if truth be told, we often do expect something in return - perhaps an acknowledgment, a thank you card, and so forth.

When we expect something, we are in attachment to someone or something. And thus we set ourselves up for disappointment - for we have no control over what others do - or say - or do not do - or say.

This week I celebrated my 29th anniversary. I was teaching my yoga class on the other side of the river, and knew we were planning to celebrate with dinner over the weekend. So I drove home, arriving at 10:30 PM, expecting to just get in my PJ's and head for bed.

But instead, I came home to a treasury of cards and the most generous gifts, and found myself truly speechless. I had no expectations, and was instead, genuinely surprised by an…

Fingers of God's Grace (Poem)

This morning, I enjoyed playing with my students as I worked them deeply - integrating some of the insights I had picked up from the teacher's practice I attended on Friday with Anusara Yoga teacher, Desiree Rumbaugh. I was pleased with the work they did, and at the end of class I shared with them the poem I had written for Des after the practice, and which I also offer here for all of you as well...

Fingers of God's Grace

Eager hearts, we are,
Awaiting to drink in
The inspired instructions
of a gifted teacher--
Truly a teacher's teacher,
Who shares her wisdom
And experience with us--
A gathering of hungry
And excited instructors

Hands and fingers,
Are placed mindfully on our mats,
As we are inspired to see
Our fingers as divine connectors
To grace, which we embody
Even in the pads of our fingers

We are guided, and told
To urgently draw energy in,
From the earth, into our fingers--
All the way into our upper backs,
A firm, but gentle insistence
Leads us to use this energy
To open to grace,
By ope…

We Are the Fingers of God's Grace

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to come together with my community at Willow Street Yoga, and experience a teacher's practice with the radiant Desiree Rumbaugh, one of the most gifted Anusara Yoga certified teachers. I have had the pleasure of studying with Des for over a decade, and have watched her blossom. Her enthusiasm, energy, and laughter are always contagious, and as vintage Desiree yesterday morning, she rose to the occasion and did not disappoint!

I always come away with profound insights from her practices or workshops, and I had the opportunity to work with her and gain a deeper awareness into what is happening in my body and why. She gave me some very useful tools to address some pertinent issues, and I started practicing what she suggested just this very morning.

We worked a lot in this practice at drawing muscle energy from our fingers into our upper backs, and melting the heart more by also drawing in the bottom tips of our shoulder blades - not an easy feat to acco…

Pour the Light

This is the beginning of a very busy day for me. I arose in the waning darkness to sit and meditate. My heart was heavy with sadness for so many things - for loved ones close to me suffering such incredible loss. For the devastation in Haiti, caused by the strongest earthquake there in 200 years. I had a chance to speak to my parents who live in the neighboring Dominican Republic, which felt the quake just as strongly. They survived unscathed - something so many others were not able to do...

As I sat in meditation, and the sun began to rise, I became mindful of expanding myself with light so that I could send it into so many hearts and places. The list grows so long. In less than an hour I will teach a yoga class, and encourage my students to open to grace and find the invincible summer that lays hidden in the depths of winter within them. I will guide them through a centering to enable them to connect with and experience the rising sun within their hearts.

And so, it seems appropriate …

For Lovers of God Everywhere

I eased into this morning by meditating with a fellow devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda. It was a beautiful way to begin the day, sharing a reading from Yogananda's writings, followed by a meditation that was both sweet and deep as we shared our Kriya Yoga practice together. I offered mine for a soul and her spouse undergoing a very critical and life-threatening situation.

I am blessed to be able to meditate with this soul companion as I am also blessed to meditate with my Reiki meditation group. Once a month we gather to chant and meditate together and offer the healing energies of our shared practice for many intentions. After this gift of coming together for a couple of years, I find myself deeply reaping the incredible fruits of these beautiful opportunities I have been given...

After meditation, I turned to a book that I acquired recently - For Lovers of God Everywhere, by Roger Housden, subtitled - Poems of the Christian Mystics.

There are a series of very beautiful pieces in t…

Offering the Day

I came across this beautiful Salesian prayer by St. Francis de Sales that I had forgotten. It seems like a perfect way to begin this day - and indeed, any day:

"My God. I offer you this day.
I offer you now,
all that good that I shall do
and I promise to accept,
for love of you,
all the difficulty that I shall meet.
Help me to conduct myself
during this day
in a manner pleasing to you.
Amen."

Let me add these beautiful quotes I found on cards I purchased when I did my spontaneous trip down to Charlottesville this week. They too, are perfect reminders, offerings, and blessings, for every day:

"Let us be grateful for those
who give us happiness;
They are the charming gardeners
who make our souls bloom."
~ Marcel Proust

"Kind hearts are the gardens.
Kind thoughts are the roots.
Kind words are the flowers.
Kind deeds are the fruits.
Take care of your garden
And keep out the weeds,
Fill it with sunshine,
Kind words and kind deeds."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"It's a sim…

An Invincible Summer

Yesterday, after teaching a private lesson to a wonderful yoga student, I spontaneously hopped into my car and drove down to Charlottesville, about two hours away from where I live, and the home of the University of Virginia, the magnificent institution my son graduated from a year and a half ago.

I had not returned since his graduation, and I was amazed by all the changes that I encountered along the way. Snow had been predicted for later in the evening, so I enjoyed riding out ahead of it, and taking in the bucolic scenery in the depths of winter.

As I worked with my student earlier in the day, I was reminded of this quote by Albert Camus, that I wove into our work together as a theme:

"In the depths of winter,
I finally learned that within me
there lay an invincible summer."

This is the time of year many of us get down because of the cold and darkness, and yet we must go through the season of winter to give birth to the spring, and subsequent summer. It is good to remember, tha…

Avatar - Inviting Transformation

It seems so many of the messages I have received from many gifted souls and intuitives recently, focuses on the coming year as being one of transformation.

Like so many others, I went to see the movie "Avatar" by the famed director James Cameron. I initially resisted seeing the movie, because it did not seem appealing to me. I also chose not see it in 3D since I have a phobia for heights and have eyes that were "lasered" for monovision.

I found the movie enticing, touching, a thing of beauty, and packed with powerful messages. Though it has invited wide criticism, it has also mobilized the planet in very unexpected ways.

Without giving away the plot or story line, suffice it to say, the movie is very reminiscent of "Dances With Wolves," which was released about 20 years ago, and is similar in plot to other movies as well. Still, there is something irresistible and magical about "Avatar."

The movie acknowledges that there is sacredness to nature and …

God! God! God!

I arise in the waning darkness, to meditate on this, Paramahansa Yogananda's birthday...

It is cold - we are in a deep freeze - but I am warmed by my votive candles and the presence of a Great Master and many guides, who envelope me in love...

I cross the river to meet with my gifted therapist, also devoted to Yogananda. We had chosen this day to meet and meditate together, and I am showered with many crucial insights and a precious message given to me from the Other Side...

I am overwhelmed by many feelings on this day, and come home to a message from a dear friend and soul, who has also celebrated this day of a shared Master, in her own special way...

I practice yoga and trade tips with another dear soul and friend, and it feels good to truly "Open to Grace" and all that it offers...

I drive down to the river and walk along the boat launch, gingerly cracking the ice that hugs the edges. Yet the currents in the middle of the river are strong and they flow copiously. I pay ho…

20 Tips for a Positive New Year

I am enjoying reading about resolutions people I know have set for this new year. This morning I came across these tips by Jon Gordon. Trying to do all 20 would be a challenge, so I suggest taking one a day - or better yet - focusing on one a week to more deeply become whom you are meant to be in 2010:

Stay Positive. With faith all things are possible.When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement: My purpose is____.Take a morning walk of gratitude.Instead of being disappointed about where you are, think about where you are going.Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid.Transform adversity into success by deciding change is not your enemy but your friend.Make a difference in the lives of others.Believe that everything happens for a reason and expect good out of challenges.Don't waste time on the past. Invest in the present moment.Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.Live with the 3 E's: Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.Reme…

Giving Thanks in the New Year

I end one year with Gratitude on my lips.

I being a new one with Gratitude in my heart...

I sit in meditation at the close of one year and the dawn of another - and the end of one decade and the beginning of another - with so many blessings and reasons to be grateful for - tumbling out of my heart - that they form a vast legion! Who knew I could think of such an infinite number of reasons?

As I suggested in my blog entry for yesterday, this year, choose to express gratitude every day, just once a day. You will find yourself going beyond this self-imposed perimeter soon enough. Making the commitment to be grateful just once a day - is so simple - it will open the floodgates to many more opportunities, and it will slowly change the course and direction of your life by softening your soul, enriching your perspective and igniting your deepest insights. There is a vast reservoir within you of infinite power and possibilities just waiting to be tapped.

I share with you this excerpt from the peo…