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Showing posts from April, 2010

Grace is Everything

I arise on a morning that is a turning point of sorts, and after meditation, I head down to the river with Grace, my kayak, in tow.

We push off from the boat launch area and paddle into the waves created by a fishing boat, riding its coattails with great abandon. I marvel that I even consider doing this, since I have always avoided such undulations with trepidation, afraid of capsizing, or losing my balance.


But I paddle now, not wishing to unconsciously or instinctively retrace the paths I have taken before, choosing instead to explore a ford here or there - shallow places in the riverbed that my kayak can just about slide over. I have avoided these as well, afraid of getting stuck...

I contemplate so many experiences I had this week - hearing from so many who are suffering deeply, physically and otherwise and I have prayed fervently for all of these souls - so many of them experiencing very serious life and death situations. I am also invited to reflect upon health issues and conside…

Riding the Currents of Grace Home

I remain in the flow and ride the waves of grace - in practice, in meditation - in every offering and outpouring of my heart, of my soul, and my body. It spills over from my practice into my teaching, as I invite my students to ride these currents and to be danced in the dance...All the energy that moves in and through me is One - whether it is sourced from healing practices, meditation, or yoga - it is One and it is Divine in nature...

To be danced in the dance we must surrender and let go - especially of our innate need of wanting to lead in the dance - or control the flow of the energy. "It" has its own Intelligence, Consciousness, and Wisdom, and when we allow this energy to flow, we move in ways most unexpected - and then as a gift of grace - we find meridians and energy channels and centers within the body begin to open, heal, blossom, and bear bountiful fruit. There are no limits or ending to the these waves, when we give intent to step into the rich currents of grace …

More on How to Be Happy

I continue to read nuggets of wisdom by Paramahansa Yogananda on how to be happy.

I love this quote that was posted on the comments section of my previous post:

"If you have ever given up hope of being happy,
cheer up. Never lose hope.
Your soul, being a reflection of the ever joyous Spirit,
is, in essence, happiness itself."
~ Yogananda

And these as well, all coming from the Spiritual Diary of Yogananda...

"A strong determination to be happy will help you.
Do not wait for circumstances to change,
thinking falsely that in them lies trouble.

Do not make unhappiness a chronic habit,
thereby affecting yourself and your associates.
It is blessedness for yourself and others
if you are happy.

If you possess happiness you possess everything.
To be happy is to be in tune with God.
That power to be happy comes through meditation."
~ Yogananda

"Rather than be always striving for personal happiness,
try to make others happy.
In being of spiritual, mental, and material service to others,
you w…

How to Be Happy

It always seems that the Universe gives us the messages that we need, and I was amazed how everything I came across in my Twitter feed, in the quotes on my desk calendar, and in my spiritual reading of the morning - all converged to offer similar insights...

"Life is full of bumps and knocks. In the hours of trials,
which demand your keenest judgment,
if you preserve your mental equilibrium
you will attain victory."
~ Yogananda

"Those who live in tune with the attractive force of love
achieve harmony with nature and their fellow beings."
~ Yogananda

"Exude peace and goodness;
because that is the nature
of the image of God within you -
your true nature."
~ Yogananda

"You have the power to hurt yourself
or to benefit yourself...
If you do not choose to be happy
no one can make you happy.
Do not blame God for that!
And if you choose to be happy,
no one can make you unhappy...
It is we who make of life what it is."
~ Yogananda

"Whatever pain we might be in,
let&#…

What I Know...

I guess I have been in a "making lists sort of mood" - lists of things to do - to work on - and so on. This is a list I started a month ago, and set aside, and which I reviewed after my post yesterday. So on this overcast and rainy day, I share it with you...

1. Everything will pass away.
2. Surely as the sun goes down on this day, it will rise again tomorrow.
3. We must love one another - for we are all one.
4. Within every experience there is a lesson.
5. We are here to learn our true nature.
6. The things that upset us the most are the things that never happen.
7. What is of God brings us peace.
8. To live deeply and truly - we must let go of holding on, and hold on to letting go.
9. Our desires, if out of balance, keep us bound to the earth plane.
10. What bothers us the most about others - is precisely what we need to address in ourselves.
11. We do not need to suffer in order to learn.
12. Pain may be real - but suffering is an option and results from our perceptions.
13. Let nothi…

20 Things to Do to Heal Mentally and Spiritually

It is such a beautiful day, and between my domestic goddess chores, I decided to go for a walk. The sky was a brilliant blue, and it was warm and yet cool and soothing - all wrapped into one!

I have been germinating a list of things that I can do that will ultimately contribute to my own healing. So, when I came home, I decided to write them down before I forgot them. I started with a list of 20 - knowing that I would add on to these eventually. I will share my list in hopes that some of these will resonate with someone...Feel free to add on to this list with your comments!

20 Things to do to Heal Mentally and Spiritually

1. When I feel sad or hurt, or want to blame myself or others for a particular situation or set of circumstances, I can begin to shift these feelings by:

a. Working through Byron Katie's 4 questions: "Is it true? Can I absolutely know that it's true? How do I react when I think that thought? Who would I be without that thought?"
b. Doing Ho'ponopono:…

Riding the Waves of Grace

I ride the waves of Shakti. I ride the waves of grace...

I move - pose after pose - not of my own volition - but allowing my breath to ride the currents of Divine energy - feeling every movement as a pulsation. I move in a way I have not moved in years - as a sheer gift of grace!

Each movement and every pose feels delicious - even though I am not pain free. I am danced in the dance - propelled out of a vortex of powerfully swirling energies as an explosion, expression, and manifestation of the Divine's Power and Love...

In the last few weeks - I have delved deeper into my healing energy - with my Reiki teacher, Frans Stiene - who encouraged me to work more intuitively in my practice - and showed me how to dance with the Reiki energy. In a sacred initiation in meditation and in healing work this past week, the mantra - "Siva/Shakti" enveloped me and my gifted teacher, in the Presence of sacred energies and the Divine.

I now dance with the Shakti - in an ever new fertile curre…

The Sounds of Silence

The heart truly has its wisdom which it speaks in silence. We receive its message only if we have the ears to hear...

I reflected on this, as I stood on the boat launch area by the Potomac River after visiting my acupuncturist. The river was calm, and the trees on the other side of the river which had triumphantly unfurled its leaves in defiance of winter, were clearly reflected in the waters. I was surrounded by a verdant explosion of green on the riverbanks.

I took the time to review and savor some gems of wisdom from Todd Norian's recent newsletter, and even used some of his insights in my own comments in class this week. Todd is an Anusara Yoga certified teacher, and is sometimes referred to as a "teacher's teacher."

Todd is also a musician, and he shared his experience about listening to a recording for a project he was working on - and being able to hear the sounds behind the sounds - in the tracks he had just laid down. These were not sounds initially heard durin…

When Friendships Fracture, Change, or End II

Yesterday I spoke about and quoted from a recently published book, titled, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend, by Irene S. Levine, PhD. And while the book is based on a survey of fractured relationships between women, the material is really applicable to any set of circumstances involving an alteration or severance of relationships where we have experienced change or loss. I believe the insights and research in this book sheds light on the rupturing of one's connections to a group or community of individuals as well.

It is also a good thing to bear in mind that if we live long enough - sooner or later - all of us go through these kinds of disruptions and painful experiences more than once in our lives...

More from the book:

"Fractured or fracturing friendships are only salvageable about 50 percent of the time. When these friendships are renewed, they are often only partial successes...Once trust is broken, relationships are more fragile and more at a…

When Friendships Fracture, Change, or End

A few weeks ago, I was indulging in my Saturday morning ritual of reading the newspapers we subscribe to at Starbucks with my husband. I read a review about a book, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend, by Irene S. Levine, PhD. It was a fascinating account of the various stages of relationships women have with each other. The book is a result a survey conducted by Levine, dealing with fractured friendships and their various outcomes. So, I ordered the book and read it, almost from cover to cover and found it to be incredibly informative, healing, and validating on so many levels.

I found myself thinking of the many significant relationships that I have had throughout my life. Yesterday, I was on the phone speaking to a woman I've known since I was 15, and whom I have been friends with for a long time - though we have gone from being incredibly close to estranged at times - somehow riding out so many changes and phases.

I have made some of my most satisfyi…

Creating a Better Life

This morning when I got up, I looked out the window and everything was enshrouded in fog. It was more reminiscent of a fall morning than a spring one. So I hopped into my car and drove down to the river, remembering that day back in September '08 when I paddled into the fog on Day of Atonement...

It was noisy down at the river. A small plow truck was trying to move the massive amounts of mud that the floods had deposited on the boat launch area, but to seemingly no avail. Everything just seemed to get released back into the water. So, I did not stay long and was glad I did not bring my kayak with me. But I did take in the beautiful scenery for a while. The sky and the water were one - I could not see where one ended and the other began. It was all one foggy mist, and I thought of the book, The Mists of Avalon, and crossing over to an entirely new world or dimension...

Instead, I came home and found Christel Nani's newsletter waiting for me in my mailbox. She is a nurse and medic…

Reiki Dance

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do an advanced intensive on Japanese spiritual practices of Reiki with my teacher, Frans Stiene, who with his wife, Bronwen Stiene, co-founded The International House of Reiki. They are also the co-authors of The Reiki Sourcebook, the definitive text on this subject.

Frans and Bronwen have extensively researched the origins and practices of Reiki. I resonated with its spiritual origins which are grounded in Buddhist meditation practices, very much like I felt drawn to Anusara Yoga because it too, is a spiritual practice, first and foremost. This is my third year studying with Frans, and when I first picked up his book in a bookstore almost a decade ago, I could not have anticipated I would be given the gift of studying with him.

Frans led us through a number of exercises and practices that in essence, showed us how to embody the Reiki energy, and move and respond to it - both in treating others and ourselves. At first, I was not sure I would be able t…

Gratitude for the Beauty of the Present Moment

I had wanted to go out on the Potomac River yesterday with Grace, my kayak, but it was too cold and very blustery, almost like a fall day. So instead, I drove over to Lake Thoreau in Reston this afternoon, and joined some dear friends for a delightful afternoon kayaking, a stone's throw from their new townhouse. It was the first time my friends went out in the new kayaks they had bought, and it was also the first time Grace and I had ever put in anywhere else.

My friends and I stayed on the water until a little after 6 PM. Less than an hour later, I was driving home, recalling the wonderful article I had read just this morning by Eckhart Tolle, in the 10th anniversary edition of Oprah Magazine.

Curiously, I received this magazine in the mail yesterday. It has no address label on it, and it did not look like one had originally been attached to it. I had subscribed to this magazine 10 years ago when it was first published, but that was years ago. So I was puzzled to find it in my mail…

My Soul is Broken Open

It is a beautiful day. It is a quiet day for me. And it is crisp. And breezy. The air is fresh, inviting me to drink it in, slowly, but fully...Breathe, I am told. Breathe fully...Feel fully...

I sleep in, and then go to get coffee, and head down to the river - a morning ritual I have not observed in a long time...

For a moment, I think that the gracious soul who has served me coffee before is not working today, and I am disappointed. This is the woman who once took my hands into hers and warmed them on a cold winter day - and who on another occasion asked me to pray for her - though we come from different cultures and different spiritual traditions. But then she materializes, almost out of nowhere, and takes my order - always mindfully - she looks me directly in the eye and smiles. And I think to myself - that I see the Face of God in her. He has visited me through her...

I make it down to the river, and walk down to the area by the riverbank where I used to sit on the rocks, two years …

Ananda Tandava - The Cosmic Dance

I receive my new Siva Nataraja late yesterday, he arrives sometime in the evening after I have left to teach my yoga class on the other side of the river, so I unpack him near midnight and place him on the special table I have joyously prepared for his arrival. I meditate briefly, in my sacred space, soaking in his energy, at this sacred time between the exhalation of one day, which dissolves into the inhalation of a new day...

Siva arrives just in time for Thursday, the day of the Guru, when we honor all of our teachers, and their teachers as well...

I feel Siva's presence all throughout the night - the circle of flames surrounding his figure - becomes a virtual headboard that protects me and provides a solid foundation that my pillows rest against as I sleep. Somehow, I managed to sense it in my dreams - it has energetically crossed the threshold and two sets of walls into my room and made its presence felt in my dreams...

This wheel of flames spins - representing samsara - the end…

Stepping into the Flow

This week has offered many spring blossoms to me as I have been willing to step into the flow...

On Monday, I was able to step into the flow by launching Grace, my kayak, into the Potomac River for a while. The day was breezy and yet warm, and the sky was an endless sea of blue. I paddled upstream for a while, and then floated the whole way back down to the launch area, taking in the singing of the birds, and watching a heron or two fly overhead. It was simply too delicious for words and I had not a care in the world...

Yesterday I noticed that the Guru Bead of my Rudraksha wrist mala had fallen off. It is said that malas release karma when they break, and I wonder if I lost it during my time on the river or thereafter. I am not sure. Though I must say, that it felt so different to be out on the river this week. There was nothing but the sheer enjoyment of the experience.

Today, I was honored to have Frans Stiene - my Reiki teacher, and co-author of the book, The Reiki Sourcebook, with h…

Easter - A Season of Rising

On this Easter Sunday, I rise with the morning to sit in meditation. The day is magnificent - clothed in splendor - and every thing is in full bloom. From the depths of winter, a glorious spring has been birthed!

This week was holy to many - Jewish brothers and sisters commemorating Passover - and Christians of many traditions - celebrating the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord. In these momentous experiences, we are all one...

I look beyond traditional Easter texts and readings, and am taken by Paramahansa Yogananda's insights on the Resurrection and his entries on the subject of "compassion" for this season:

"Heavenly Father, I am resurrected with Christ from the sepulcher of the flesh into Thine omnipresence. I am resurrected from the smallness of family affection into the grandeur of love for all Thy creatures. I am resurrected from ignorance into Thine eternal wisdom. I am resurrected from all worldly desires into a state of desire for Thee alone. I am resurrec…

They Are All Perfect!

As I went out for a walk on this magnificent and breathtakingly beautiful Good Friday, I watched the cherry trees slowly release their delicate blossoms, and thought to myself - they are all perfect!

Years ago, I was very moved by the movie, "The Last Samurai." And I remembered, that as the Samurai in the movie lay dying after a significant battle, he looked upon the blossoms falling from the cherry trees in the spring, and uttered those very words - "They are all perfect!" - as he took his last breath.

In the last couple of days, I have enjoyed the posting of pictures from those who are currently traveling with John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga, who is teaching in Japan at the moment. Several of the pictures were of the splendid cherry blossoms at their peak. I marveled at how the cherry trees were also peaking here, at the same time, in the Washington, DC area.

A few days ago, I posted an entry about my theme for my classes this week - "Purnatva" -…