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Showing posts from February, 2012

The Swan: Grace and Beauty and Power of Self

I cannot sleep. And so at dawn I rise and go down to the river...

The tumultuous past weeks, in my Anusara yoga community, have taken its toll on so many. I can almost hear the voices of despair, sadness, and anger, and once more I recite the Reiki Precepts, reminding myself to not worry, not to be angry - and to be compassionate for everyone...

But in my heart of hearts, here down by this river, I also acknowledge, truly, for the first time, that there is such a diversity of opinions in this torn community, represented by three Facebook pages, that the community that once existed, can never again come together in any sort of configuration. There are too many perspectives that cannot be reconciled. I am saddened by this. But, it is also a call to step into our power, and more fully acknowledge our connection to the Divine...

Just as I am about to leave and come home, I spot a magnificent and noble swan on the other side of the river. I have never seen one here...

I have a painting over m…

Giving Voice to the Inner Voice

Three weeks ago, a tsunami rocked my Anusara yoga community. This morning, it sort of reminded me of an antique vase shattering after watching an episode of "Downton Abbey" last night. Once it shatters, you can never put the pieces back together again. Like Humpty Dumpty. At least, not in the same way. Not ever.

The interesting thing that I've noticed - and many others have as well - is that either we've found our own voices - and all of a sudden feel free to teach with more authenticity, and creativity - and by not judging ourselves against a "checklist." And this is certainly, always a good thing...

On various blogs and pages, I read time and time again how many individuals are giving voice to their inner Voices... And this is shared, by teachers who have resigned, and those who haven't - choosing instead to wait and see...

So, in the midst of so much chaos - internally and externally - many teachers are feeling more empowered. And again, this is a good …

The River Heals

The morning is beautiful - warm and yet breezy - birds are singing everywhere - and it is more reminiscent of a day that would normally come about a month later...

After my morning meditation, I head down to the river, and step into the waters, it is a baptism of sorts. I intend to cleanse away much of what has consumed my life of late, and instead, begin focusing on beginning anew...

Like I did for years at the banks of this river, I take time - to breathe in the fresh air, as my eyes also absorb the broad expanse before me of undulating waves that come towards me - to recite the Reiki Precepts and do Lovingkindness meditation for myself, my Anusara community, for its previous leader, and for those - known and unknown - secretly hurting by all that has transpired...

I do my own personal variation of Lovingkindness - the one that served me so well - and nurtured me and guided me out of depression - beginning with myself, and then adding many more to my recitation afterwards:

"May I b…

Beyond Wrongdoing

"Out there
beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing
there is a field,
I will meet you there."
~ Rumi

On this day of Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent, I take time to go church, get my ashes and reflect on my own wrongdoing, and ask for forgiveness for so many things. The readings and the homily for some reason, touch me very deeply, perhaps in light of all the recent events in my Anusara yoga community.

Yesterday, my entry reflected my initial preparation as I enter this season... It pains me to see so much separation in my community, but I am also heartened to see the flames of unity sparking in the broad expanse of so much divisiveness...

I told my students this morning, that this season is about Hope, because it coincides with spring, and Easter - which is symbolic of Resurrection. And spring, never fails to come - no matter what...

And I realize, there cannot be any rising without dying...

We cannot give birth to something new, without letting go of the old...

This is just …

Looking Deeply Within

As uncertainty continues to haunt many within my yoga community, on this day, which is Mardi Gras - following Maha Shivaratri, The Great Night of Shiva - I begin to turn my attention to the coming season of Lent...

When I used to teach theology, I used to tell my students that Lent wasn't a time so much for giving up things - like sweets or watching TV - but that it is instead, a time to acquire something. It is a time for interior growth and a time to cultivate a quality you would like to more deeply embody...

So today, I take a moment to reflect and prepare, by doing an "Examination of Consciousness," by engaging in a simple practice popularized by St Ignatius of Loyola, and here simplified by Jim Manney, from The Prayer that Changes Everything:

The Examination of Consciousness

Ask for light.
I want to look at my day with God's eyes, not merely my own.

Give thanks.
The day I have just lived is a gift from God.
Be grateful for it.

Review the day.
I carefully look back on the …

Wait and See

On this eve of Maha Shivaratri, the Great Night of Siva, when it is said that prayers and mantras are magnified 10,000 times, I ask a few dear ones, to encircle their own with mine, for this is a time of great need in our yoga community, and in the much larger community of peoples on this planet...

On this day, which stands on the threshold of the another season of Lent, always a time of prayer, introspection, and spiritual cleansing for me, I am mindful of the importance of setting strong intentions for the good, for healing, and for emanating as pure a vibration as possible for a community's transition...

This is a time when everything is possible. It is a time of letting go of the old and embracing the new. It is not a time of resurrecting what no longer serves. It is the time to boldly go where no one has gone before...

No one said that 2012 was going to be easy...

I am in a wait and see mode. Yes, wait and see...

Evolution takes time. Yesterday I read these words online, offered u…

Cleaning House

It was cool and crisp and windy when I went down to the river this morning. Waves were lapping and foaming at the riverbanks, almost as if it were in its washing cycle.

I felt both light AND full of light, even though the events and drama of Anusara yoga have consumed practically every waking moment of my life for the last couple of weeks. It is hard not be overwhelmed by the massive amount of pain, hurt, anger, confusion, and uncertainty floating around out there. You can literally drown in it. But still, I feel grounded. And strong. Like an oak tree. And I conveyed this to several who called or wrote concerned about how I was.

It was too cold to stay by the river for very long, but I was struck by the the huge number of crows huddled about in various groups throughout the park. What was this? A convention? Since I have a tendency to read signs into everything, I came home to look up the meaning of crows and this is what I found:

"Crows are the keepers of the Sacred Law
and to have …

To Err on the Side of Compassion

Today it rains...

But I tell myself that on some level it is is truly cleansing. I want to let go of so many feelings I have harbored of late - not all of them positive. Some of these have included harsh judgment. I have not always erred on the side of compassion these last couple of weeks, and I don't like that about myself. So, as I drive in the rain, honored to go take the seat of the teacher in my own teacher's seat - I resolve to forgive myself for my own failings - so that I can truly forgive others their own...

And yet it feels today like the aftermath after the explosion of a bomb. An era has ended, and all that remains is devastation.

I am reminded of a poignant scene in the movie "The Pianist," when Adrian Brody, the actor who played a Polish Jew, who was also a gifted concert pianist, steps into freedom after having spent months hidden in an apartment. But the city of Warsaw is in complete ruins and it practically took my breath away. Nothing but rubble for m…

Who Am I?

I step out early to get the newspaper, and I am greeted by a spectacular sun-kissed morning...

I ask myself, "where am I?" Because it feels like heaven! Everything is vibrantly alive!

I hear birds chirping and it feels like spring...

I hear a Voice within that affirms, "it is now springtime in my soul..."

The newness of this day, is a striking contrast to the beginning of yesterday - which in turn was the end of the situation that consumed my life - eating me alive for almost two weeks. Today, that is now behind me. Today, somehow feels refreshing, but also unsettling, and yet still pregnant with unimagined possibilities and incredible freedom...

Where do I go from here?

And then I ask - that famous question poised by Sri Nisargatta Maharaj - "Who am I?"

I am not my degrees...

I am not my credentials...

I am not this body, or this ethnicity, or this age...

I am not the style of yoga that I taught...

I not this religion or that one...

I am not what someone else wanted…

What I Believe and Carry in My Heart

Today, I made a very difficult decision...

I decided to step away from the Anusara yoga community that I have been a part of. It is painful but it feels right at this time.

There are times you need to listen to your soul and your heart...

And so today, on Valentine's Day, I choose to be true to mine...

And why? Because I asked for a sign - and I received it. And, I am being true to what was given to me...

There are many blogs and articles out there about why many teachers are leaving, or have done so. I am not going to go into any allegations. What I will say is, that I have gradually felt pulled to live a more interior life of prayer and meditation, and less asana. I am also spiritually reconnecting with my roots...

That being said, I am grateful to John Friend and his teachings over the years for it changed my life and the lives of my students...

I am most grateful for the community of souls that I am a part of - I would never have met them otherwise. Our hearts are still one...

I am gr…

What I Have Learned and What I Know

Every once in a while, your house is shaken to its very foundation...

The ground beneath you starts to yield. It feels like quick sand...

But, if you stand tall in your Light and your connection to the One, then you weather IT. You weather everything. I believe that...

And this is only partially what I have learned - what I know - and what has been brought to the Light...

Love is stronger than fear...

What affects the one - affects the many. And what affects the many - affects the one...

Light and Love prevail...

Everything is not what it seems. What is unreal can be real - and what is real can be unreal...

And nothing real can be threatened...

Always err on the side of compassion...

We are here to learn - if we choose to do so...

Community sustains. We are part of a whole...

We are accountable for what we do to others and what we do to ourselves...

We are here to shine our light into distant corners...

Silence is not always golden - unless it is used for self reflection...

Forgiveness is part of lo…

Go into Your Heart and Roam

A few days ago, my eyes glanced upon a book I had read back in the early eighties. I pulled The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nouwen down from my bookshelf, and flipped through it, looking at what I had chosen to underline or make a note of then.

What enables us to go more deeply into the heart? This is the question I posed to my yoga students this morning...

What is the way of the heart? When we go into the heart - what do we experience there?

Different responses were given: love, wonder, compassion, and so forth.

I noted, that when we go into the heart and live from there - we experience oneness.

Nityananda, the sage of the Siddha Yoga lineage, once said:

"The heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam!"

We must go into our hearts to experience oneness. But the experience of oneness, also leads us back into our hearts.

Our practices lead us to experience oneness - and unity in diversity. It is in the heart that we know that we belong to each other. Our practices make ou…

The Way of Love - The Way of the Heart

In her book, Living in Gratitude: A Journey that Will Change Your Life, Angeles Arrien, notes that "February is the month when we consciously review what touches our hearts." It is after all, the month where we celebrate Valentine's Day.

She shares this quote by Brother David Steindl-Rast:

"The heart is where we belong.
We belong there as to our proper place,
no matter how estranged we have become.
And we are there, we belong,
because what makes home home
is that each belongs to all and all to each..."

And it is this sense of belonging, and being in the heart which is the way of love, and enables us to be more grateful.

Just a few moments ago, I read this very appropriate quote by Paramahansa Yogananda:

"To develop pure and unconditional love
between husband and wife, parent and child,
friend and friend, self and all,
is the lesson we have come on earth to learn."

Such a simple lesson, but not always an easy one to always embody - now is it?

Pearl Bailey, wisel…