Showing posts from May, 2008

Immortal Beloved II

And to end a beautiful month filled with many blessings - another love letter from the enigmatic but gifted Ludwig van Beethoven - found after his death and written to a woman who was not identified and is a testament to a relationship never publicly realized... July 6, 1806 "My angel, my all, my very self - only a few words today and at that with your pencil - not till tomorrow will my lodgings be definitely determined upon - what a useless wast of time. Why this deep sorrow where necessity speaks - can our love endure except through sacrifices - except through not demanding everything - can you change it that you are wholly mine, I not wholly thine? Oh, God! Look out into the beauties of nature and comfort yourself with that which must be - love demands everything and that very justly - that it is with me so far as you are concerned, and you with me. If we were wholly united you would feel the pain of it as little as I! Now a quick change to things internal from things e

Immortal Beloved

I've ended a delicious week of many blessings, and this afternoon I treated myself to a viewing of the new movie - Sex in the City. For devotees of the series, the movie is sure to please. I was moved by the reading of several love letters by the Carrie Bradshaw character in the movie. One of them was penned by Ludwig von Beethoven, and I excerpt it here: The Third Letter Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us. I can live only wholly with you or not at all. Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits... No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves... Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men... Be calm, only by a calm co

The Present Moment

Nothing brings you into the present more than the breath... Today in class, I explored coming more deeply into the present moment. Our practice - whether it be asana or meditation - or both - brings us more fully into the present moment. And really, now is the only time there is. When we live in the present - time expands. We are able to savor each and every moment and it seems to last longer. We are not focusing on the past or fretting about the future. It takes a lot of practice to stay in the present, but it is worth it. When we live in the present moment - we also cultivate greater acceptance. We accept where we are in terms of our circumstances and we live more deeply and without expectations. So, in essence, we learn to live with greater detachment. Every time we come to our mats it is a different experience. Each moment is unique and unrepeatable. You will never be the expression of yourself that you are in this moment. I went to river in the early afternoon. It was very pe

Reflections and Gratitude

The river was pretty busy during the Memorial Day weekend - so I went back this morning, when it was quiet and still and I could do my meditations and sacred chanting. I sat on the bench and reviewed the many blessings of the last few days and weeks and I especially gave thanks for the new venture I am about to embark on with friends offering yoga and pilates classes in Loudoun County, Virginia. The lease was signed yesterday and we all met in the new space discussing paint, flooring, and all kinds of details. There was a lot of excitement in the air. Everything literally fell into place in a matter of weeks. I find myself in a place I could only have imagined. For months I gave intent to connect with the right people to work with. Our visions are similar and we look forward to breaking new ground and helping others heal, which is our primary goal. The river was as still as I had seen it in a long time. It has been such a wonderful companion during so many months. As I move into th


For the past four years during the Memorial Day weekend, my family has gathered with dear friends to celebrate the beginning of summer with a picnic at Wolftrap National Park in Vienna, VA, followed by Garrison Keillor's live broadcast of " A Prairie Home Companion." Everything was perfect yesterday - the company, the weather, the conversation, the food - the wine! The seats we had were the best ever! I remember the first time I saw Garrison Keillor in Minnesota, about 27 years ago or so - as a very young bride. I'd say Garrison and I have come a long way since then and we are certainly a little more seasoned! Since this broadcast is held during the Memorial Day weekend in the nation's Capital - the show is replete with plenty of political references and jokes - but most especially - there is always a few poignant segments where we remember those who have given their lives selflessly for us and for the sake of our freedom. I thought of being at my son's

The Upsurge of Consciousness

After a month of traveling, I once more settled into my Saturday morning routine of teaching my weekly private lesson. It has been a blessing to work with this wonderful woman who is gifted in so many ways and is also so insightful and wise. There are no accidents. We are in each other's lives supporting one another in more ways than we can imagine. I have watched her yoga blossom and it has been an incredible honor to witness this unfurling in her practice - this upsurge of consciousness in physical embodiment. After class I shared with my student and friend the marvels of the recent workshops I had attended. She delighted in adjustments that helped her align and deepen in her poses after a month of travels for her as well. And I thanked her for this opportunity to work with her - because it had enabled me to come more deeply into my own strength and confidence as a teacher. Afterwards, I thought of Denver and studying the Siva Sutras in depth - and particularly I recalled Sut

Form and Content and Waves

This week, on my way to and from my weekly yoga class - I listened to the last web cast on A New Earth - a concluding two hour segment. I have thought often of so many things that Eckhart Tolle wrote and spoke about - especially on how identifying with form and content keeps us tied to the egoic state and causes us suffering. In my April 13th entry - "The Joy of Being" - I talked about how I always felt I needed to know as much as possible about loved ones - but how I came to the realization that I was focusing on form and content - and not really on the Essence of the person which is not defined by those details and is Eternal and without change. This morning as I sat in meditation, I read these wise words by Paramahansa Yogananda: "It is not necessary to go through every kind of human experience in order to attain ultimate wisdom. You should be able to learn by studying the lives of others. Why become helplessly involved in an endless panorama of events in order t

Do All Things With Love

As I was organizing stacks of papers and trying to finally unpack after going to Denver and graduation in the last couple of weeks - I found a collection of quotes I had saved. This was was sent to me on December 25, 2006, and was titled - "Do All things With Love." A dear friend once gave me this very reminder. I also recall how both St. Jane de Chantal and Mother Teresa both taught that we cannot always do great things in life, but we can always do small things with great love... "Love is the most important ingredient of life. Your life echoes emptiness without it. With it, your life vibrates meaning and warmth. Love will shine through even in hardship. You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love. If you have it, you don't need anything else. And if you don't have it, it doesn't much matter what else you hav

Becoming Tomorrow's Leaders

I have pondered the Valedictory Address that was given by Sheila C. Johnson at the University of Virginia , on May 17, 2008. Sheila is an eloquent speaker and a fascinating woman. She co-founded the Black Entertainment Network , she has a stake in three sports teams, and owns a number of businesses. She told the students and families present - that the absolutes of her generation were not the absolutes of today's world. The playing field had significantly changed. Making it in today's world required so much more - yet today's young men and women were much better prepared to take on the demands and challenges of this world. In the midst of a Presidential election, she challenged those present to look at the candidates and what they had to offer differently - and to not be coerced by those who traded in the currency of anger or fear. There was so much wisdom in her words - her address is worth reading. Sheila Johnson ended her discourse with a fitting quote from Thomas

Spread Your Wings and Fly

I have just returned from four days in Charlottesville, VA where I watched my son graduate from the University of Virginia. It was a proud and very emotional moment. The ceremonies were long - but full of history - and I am sure touching to all parents... This morning we loaded up both cars, and I'm sure the drive home was bittersweet for my son. I listened to music as I enjoyed each moment on the drive back - and took in the broad and verdant expanse that unfolded before me. I thought of the beauty of nature and how it is all a manifestation of the Divine in its majestic simplicity... My thoughts were many and very intimate as I considered so many beginnings and endings in this past year - not only in my life - but in my son's as well. Graduation is often referred to as a "Commencement." Yes, it is an ending - but it is also very much a beginning. As I said to my son as we got into our cars - he will be back to visit - but he will carry the most important part o

Under the Weather

I am here in Charlottesville, Viriginia for my son's graduation from the University of Viriginia this weekend. I won't have regular internet access, and have "hopped" on to someone's connection at the moment. I have spent most of this week sick - for the first time in fact - since the beginning of the Gulf War! That is the reason I have not written regularly. As I gathered some reading and studying materials to bring with me, I ran across these quotes and will share them here. They spoke to me on so many levels - reminding me of moments and experiences of the last year, and of a new endeavor I am about to embark on. As a friend reminded me this morning in a email - many wonderful changes have been experienced recently. "Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think that you've lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring yo

The River Flowing with Abundance

After an incredible drought, we are having the wettest spring in sixty years and the river sure is an indication of it! I wish I had brought my camera this morning! The Potomac River has flooded its banks to the parking lot level in Algonkian Park. In fact, I often stand on a cliff in front of the lone bench by the boat launch to survey the river. Today I could literally step into the water from there! The water flowed briskly and abundantly, purging massive amounts of debris. The foliage had thickened considerably in the week and a half since I had last been here to visit - blocking a full view of both sides of the river. All of this is nothing less than an indication of the impermanence of things - how everything changes - all of the time - nothing ever lasts forever... I thought of this as I surveyed the spot I have been coming to all these many months - thinking of the various seasons I have experienced on that bench - the fall colors, the piercing winds of winter, the snow - an

The Heart as Embodied Cosmos in the Kula

The concept of " anuttara " - the Supreme - which is identified with Shiva/Shakti - is a foundational principle in the Tantric philosophy of Kashmir Saivism. The heart is where the Supreme resides - particularly in an interior space within the heart of Siva that exemplifies and is characterized by non-dualism. But it is in community that the Supreme is truly experienced and shared - in the " kaula " or " kula " that I spoke of in my recent blog. This was the experience of all the participants at the recent gathering of Anusara Yoga teachers in Denver. The energy of the Supreme was experienced - it was palpable and embodied as the Shakti - or Divine manifestation of the Supreme. Shiva on the other hand is Consciousness - or the Essence of this energy. Last night, I realized that some thirteen years ago or so - I walked into a bookstore in Newport Beach in California, and picked up Paul Muller-Ortega's book - The Triadic Heart of Siva: Kaula Tantrici

Bathed in Shri and Shakti

I seem to be moving slowly - as if in an altered state of consciousness.... After leaving the gathering of Anusara Yoga teachers in Denver on Friday, I noticed that my senses were more heightened. I seemed to notice everything - details and colors in a way I hadn't in a long time. I sensed the unity in all things. And I enjoyed connecting with perfect strangers - and being very deeply present in my conversations with them at the airport. Before landing at the Washington Dulles Airport, I looked out the window and felt myself literally get lost in the clouds - as if there were no boundaries between them and me. At one point it looked like the plane was skating on a sheet of ice - which was literally a sheet of clouds. Moments later, we were totally engulfed in them. Late that evening, I meditated in my sacred space for the first time in days - feeling myself buoyed by the energy of many meditations there and the experiences and encounters of the last week - now residing in the t

Kula and Sangha

Yesterday morning as we concluded the week long gathering of Anusara Yoga teachers, we were urged to anchor the light and to go back and re-new the vision of what if means for us to be teachers of this method and members of this community. In order to understand what it is that unites us - we need to constantly reconnect with the Universal - with the Supreme - with the Divine. It is only in this way that we will truly anchor the Shakti energy for ourselves and for others. One line of the Anusara Yoga Invocation which I discussed in a blog entry in December reads: " Saccidananda Murtaye " - in other words we embody truth, consciousness and bliss - and we in essence become "murtis" - like the statues of Hindu deities that are living representation of the Divine itself. As teachers of Anusara Yoga, we were reminded that we need to continue to evolve and grow and become brighter lights within the community. It is imperative that we do our practice - not only our

The Seat of the Teacher

I will be leaving shortly for the last morning of the Anusara Yoga teachers gathering here in Denver. This week has been rich and wonderful beyond my wildest dreams and I am full to the brim. Yesterday morning we contemplated Sutra 2.6 of the Siva Sutras : "The enlightened and consecrated spiritual teacher is the means to the attainment." Thursday is the day that is traditional recognized as the day of the guru or teacher. A mere sampling of my notes on the topic: To be in the seat of the teacher is one of the highest levels of embodiment. As a teacher you serve your students in leading them to the highest ecstasy. However, teachers must always think of themselves as a student first and continually engage and immerse themselves in a course of study. What we receive from a teacher continues to resonate in us forever. Sometimes it takes you years and decades of serving in the role of the teacher to understand the sacrifice of our teachers in the past and present - who

The Practice as an Offering

On this fourth day of the Anusara Yoga teachers gathering - we went deeper into the teachings of the Siva Sutras and the practice. There is so much I can share - but I will focus on a personal highlight of the practice... We delved into sutra 2.8 which can be paraphrased as: " Your very body is the great place where the oblation occurs. You body is a temple for the Divine." Or, "The body is the offering to the Supreme. Let the body sing with praises to the One." This teaching was exquisitely woven into the morning practice. After the practice I thought of my favorite quote by Rumi: "You heart is the true mosque. Within your body is the place to offer your salutations to the Lord." During one of the many Dog poses of the practice - John Friend strategically placed his fingers on the back doors of my heart - and the front of my heart exploded open while I deepened in a way I never had. All of a sudden, I truly experienced what it means to mel

Overwhelmed by Beauty II

We concluded another exquisite day of the Anusara Yoga teacher's gathering. I want to share some highlights of the last three days... The community is wonderful. I have gotten to know local members of the North Carolina, Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii kula - or communities - among others. Today I practiced alongside a beautiful young mother and former dancer who was just radiant. We partnered for a number of things and I could feel her love and support in every assist. I felt truly honored to be in her presence! Yesterday a beautiful woman from Hawaii invited me to visit. There is currently a volcano that is active and she enthusiastically urged me to come see the Shakti Energy of the Divine Feminine in all her manifestations! Yesterday I also bought a new necklace with an "OM" on one side - and the inscription - "Open to Grace" on the other side. I felt it was time to wear something different as I feel myself enter a new phase in my life - and this seemed

Overwhelmed by Beauty

I have concluded the second of the five day gathering of Anusara Yoga teachers in Denver - and for once - I am at a loss for words. I have been overwhelmed by beauty and am filled to the brim. The community is nothing short of amazing and in so many ways it feels like coming home. It is nothing short of breath-taking to be practicing alongside the best of the best - and being supported by one and all. Listening to Paul Muller Ortega has been simply exquisite - like imbibing the sweetest nectar. The energy in the room is palpable and feels like a rich current of grace embracing us all. The experience here has been beautiful beyond words. I am honored to have been asked to serve on the curriculum committee because it will enable me to give back some of what I have received. God is good and gracious!

Acceptance, Enjoyment, and Enthusiasm

I am in Denver for a gathering of Anusara Yoga certified teachers for a week - and I am looking forward to seeing friends, experiencing community, and imbibing words of wisdom from the Siva scholar, Paul Ortega-Muller, whom I have had the pleasure of listening to before. To hear him speak is to literally drink in and become intoxicated by poetic musings that are both ecstatic and sensual. I simply cannot wait for the many delights this week will surely yield! Last night I read the final chapter in Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. I have been savoring this book - line by line - and morsel by morsel. Like a fine gourmet meal - I am satisfied but I will surely miss the web casts and discussions. In the twilight of evening, as the day yielded gracefully into the evening - I listened to music on my deck for what seemed to be hours. I enjoyed each and every moment as I danced in the moonlight and was kissed by the evening breeze and was blessed by rustling limbs on the trees. Beauty and

Awakening to Inner Purpose

On Monday, Oprah and Eckhart Tolle will cover the last of the chapters in the book - A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life's Purpose on their weekly live web cast. For nine weeks millions have been riveted to the discussion of this book. I find it fascinating so many all over the world are involved in this effort. What an incredible and unprecedented experience to be part of! Chapter 9 - the next to the last chapter is titled "Your Inner Purpose," and here are some parts I underlined in my text: You inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that... Your outer purpose can change over time...Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose... Awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate... Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lose sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else

Shining Our Light

Yesterday I received a newsletter from one of my favorite jewelry makers. She makes very special pieces that I have bought for myself and given as gifts. Every month she writes something upbeat. I will share some excerpts from her latest newsletter: "My world is brighter because you have shared your light with me. In turn, I share my light with others to help make their world brighter. If we all shine our light together - imagine the possibilities." Imagine what the world would be like if we all pooled our light together! What would this world be like? All the time, I am inspired by souls who continually lead authentic lives and are not afraid to live life from a heart centered place... All of our interactions, all of our teachings, all of our thoughts, lead to one destination - and that is the opening to our divine self within. When you live your life as a meditation, you come from a place of interconnectedness and the true beauty of your life leads you to manifest

The Magic of the Present Moment

I think there is nothing like the song of a bird to bring you back into the present moment... But frankly, any well cherished song has the power to bring you back into the present moment... Yesterday afternoon I drove down to Charlottesville with my husband to meet our son - who will be graduating from the University of Virginia in a couple of weeks - to hear Bruce Springsteen in concert. It was a magnificent afternoon and the drive down was beautiful. Everything was green and lush - verdant and teeming with life. We drove with the windows down listening to Springsteen's new CD - Magic . I thought to myself - this ride - this moment - this experience - the view - everything - indeed - life itself - is magic! I remember thinking - "This is the only moment there is - there is no where else I need to be - there is nothing I need to do and nothing I need to think about. I love this moment! Ah! I am enjoying it fully!" I think Eckhart Tolle and Oprah would be proud! And i