Showing posts from November, 2008

An Advent of Hope and Waiting

While looking online for some inspirational thoughts and prayers to mark this commencing season of Advent, I came across this wonderful site called Following the Star with beautiful reflections and readings. I will excerpt a few things, but I invite you to visit the site daily during this season: Advent is traditionally a time for preparing and waiting for the Lord's birth. At the same time, it is a season that invites us to become more introspective and take stock of our own lives, making changes where necessary to create space within and without to be with the One our hearts prepare for. "Hope. It is one of the many things that people of faith do best in the middle of winter. In the darkest of nights, the coldest of days, we hope still. We hope because we know God's story, one that finds its central event in the birth of a child. As persons of with expectation for the hope that is within you. Be still and know that God is at w

On Land and On Water

My journey this year, brings me back full circle to an unexpected beginning - mere days away from celebrating the first anniversary of this blog which began so spontaneously by a river that unbeknownst to me, would figured so prominently in my life... As I leave the celebration of Thanksgiving behind, I look forward to the Season of Advent that will be ushered in tomorrow. It was during this Season last year, that I followed an inner prompting and began writing without any intention to do so... I wrote to a dear friend, telling her that I spent the days of the Thanksgiving break - reflecting on my life - almost as an Act of Contrition - re-visiting every major phase and epoch lived and experienced - rejoicing and celebrating the lessons in each sacred period and moment. So much richness and so many insights and blessings were scattered everywhere - like the gifts this season brings and that I had overlooked... As I enter more deeply into the contemplative quiet of these coming we

Grace and I Give Thanks in the River

It is truly a magnificent morning - sunny, warmer - and punctuated by a cloudless sky. I drive down to the river after meditation and find the water still and the environs quiet... I rush home and hoist Grace into the car and in ten minutes I am back in the park... I briefly speak to an older gentleman who says he and his wife walk the dogs in the park often and frequently see me out on the water... I paddle away in mere minutes and delight in the crispness of the air and the reigning silence... The water is low, and at times I am mere inches from the bottom. The hydrilla (yes - I now know the name of these invading underwater grasses) are combed back and seem dormant for the most part. For the first time in a while, I paddle all the way up to my favorite spot. The paddling is effortless and I enter into this meditative rhythm or zone. The only sound I hear is the one made by the swirling water as my paddle slices through methodically in some sort of regular cadence - as if I were

Gratitude for What Is - and What is Not

This morning I posted on my Facebook status - that I am grateful for what is - and what is not... Last night, my teacher used the theme of gratitude in class, punctuated with some beautiful examples from her life as she shared some poignant stories about her mother, who could find beauty, goodness, and abundance, even in times that were lean... One particular story struck me. Once, when it was difficult on my teacher's family financially, her mother took her children to the window and asked them to contemplate the beauty of nature and its magnificent abundance... There is always something to be grateful for. As I shared with my own students this week, every experience of adversity, opens the door to opportunity... Here are some wonderful reflections on Gratitude from Paramahansa Yogananda's writings: "In one of His aspects, a very touching aspect, the Lord may be said to be a beggar. He yearns for our attention. The Master of the Universe, at whose glance all stars,

Grace, Gratitude, and the River

If a week passes by without my going into the river, it feels as if something is incomplete in my life... Yesterday I "eye-balled" the river and meant to go in - even if it was for 30 minutes, but the chance did not quite materialize... Today I was determined to go in, even though it had rained and there were very visible currents in the river... Grace and I launched ourselves, and I paddled upstream, staying very near to the Virginia shore - which I never do - in very choppy waters and windy circumstances. While I might have previously shied away from such conditions, I felt exhilarated and the paddling seemed almost effortless...Eventually I found myself paddling upstream smack in the middle of the river... The sky was blue, the air was crisp and the wind brisk - and I felt so alive and grateful for each moment I got to spend in the water... I tossed this way and that and imagined what it would be like to paddle in the sea. I also thought of Ann Linnea paddling all ove

Apache Blessing

I received a card with a beautiful Apache Blessing that I have read before, and I wish to share it here... Apache Blessing may the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.

Season of Gratitude

We enter into the season of gratitude, and even Paramahansa Yogananda marks it in his Spiritual Diary , with a series of readings for the month of November... "Every day should be a day of thanksgiving for the gifts of life: sunshine, water, and the luscious fruits and greens that are indirect gifts of the Great Giver. God makes us work so that we may deserve to receive His gifts. The All-Sufficient One does not need our thanks, however heartfelt, but when we are grateful to Him our attention is concentrated, for our highest benefit, upon the Great Source of all supply." In this season amidst so much economic upheaval and strife - but political hope - may we not forget to offer thanks and rely on the Source that supplies all. May we also deepen in our understanding of what it means to be good stewards of all that we have been given and all that we receive.

Connecting with the True Self

Yesterday I shared some excerpts from Namaste , the newsletter put out by the Chopra Center . Here is a wonderful Sutra Practice that was suggested in this newsletter: Aham Brahmasmi " Aham Brahmasmi (ah-HUM brah-MAHS-mee) is a Sanskrit sutra whose English translation is "the core of my being is the ultimate reality, the root and ground of the universe, the source of all that exists." When we repeat this sutra and let it resonate deep within, we expand our awareness of our eternal, unbounded nature... Begin by meditating for a few minutes, then imagine that you are a crystal bead. You reflect the light of every being in the universe, and your light is reflected in them. Silently repeat the words 'Aham Brahmasmi' and continue to envision yourself a beautiful jewel, reflecting and absorbing the light of the entire universe. Rest in the silence and feel the expansiveness of your being - an expression of the infinite field of intelligence and all possibilities

Universal Consciousness

Namaste , the Chopra Center newsletter for November, focuses on the the theme of universal consciousness and I wish to excerpt some of its content: "Infinite worlds appear and disappear in the vast expanse of my own consciousness, like motes of dust dancing in a beam of light." - Yoga Vaishtha "Each of us exists as a ripple in the conscious intelligence field that gives rise to everything in the universe - our bodies, the stars, the galaxies, and all else. Since we are an inseparable part of this underlying field of intelligence, we are also the source of all reality. In every moment, we are co-creating our world with God, the universe, or spirit. Both the ancient wisdom traditions and modern science tell us that our bodies, our minds, and the physical world are projections of our consciousness. Only consciousness is real; everything else is projection. As Deepak Chopra often notes, 'You are not in the world; the world is in you.' It is only the veil of

Kriya Yoga and Anniversaries

I begin this day of the first snow flurries of the season - fully conscious that two very memorable anniversaries for me both take place on this day - changing the course and direction of my life... The most important for me spiritually, is that a year ago I began my Kriya Yoga meditation practice. I had been drawn to this practice for more than a decade before I was ready to commit to it as a life-long practice. Like everything, there is a right time, and moment, and place... I sit in meditation early in the morning, and feel moved to the core and only wish I had more time to sit - for I do not want to emerge from this most blessed experience... I open to the reading for this day - never once anticipating the journey this sacred practice would lead and guide me through. It has been both a blessing and gift - not merely for this year of life - but for all of eternity: "The true devotee's heart is always saying: 'My Lord, my Lord, I do not want to become ensnared in

Blessings In and Out of the River

After teaching this morning, I hurry down to check the river currents, and decide I can go in. But there is much to do - appointments to schedule and errands to run and my time quickly slips away with all of these activities... I finally steal half an hour in the afternoon and hoist Grace into the back of my car. Getting her in and out quickly is down to a science! Just before leaving, I stop by the mailbox and open a package containing a beautiful mala bracelet made of rudraksha seeds. Rudraksha seeds are often referred to as the "tears of Shiva" and are considered very sacred and auspicious in India. Malas are used for counting mantras. This mala was hand made for me by a very special and gifted artist. She chants while she gives birth to her creations and donates a percentage of her proceeds to Ammachi, the living Hindu saint whose ministry is to hug the world and transmit shakti energy to those she embraces. Years ago I experienced the healing power of her energy and f

Connections and Separation

I begin this wonderful Sunday - that would have been my grandmother's 103rd birthday - by going to a yoga class. I receive the same message in class that I have received from several friends throughout the course of this concluding week - encouraging me to let go of seeing and dwelling on the experience of separation in my life and instead focusing on recognizing the many connections that were budding and growing in my life - and the many instances others were reaching out... I had one of those - "aha!" moments in class, and everything seemed to come together. This day ended and capped a week of so many wonderful connections made and blessings received. I feel like it was truly a turning point on so many levels... Yesterday I wrote the lyrics to the song "She Carries Me" in my blog entry. Today I want to share this rendition or modern interpretation of the "Hail Mary" which appears under the notes given for the piece entitled: "She Who Hears the

She Carries Me

I awaken at dawn to meditate and prepare myself to go sub two yoga classes on the other side of the river... It is misty, foggy, and drizzling, and I wonder what the river looks like this morning - but I do not have the time to go and find out... I review the amazing week that I have had and the many blessings and gifts received - of presence, of love, of support... One of the gifts I received was a CD entitled "She Carries Me," by Jennifer Berezan. A lone boat floats on the very surreal looking cover comprised of many different shades of blue - blending in a very impressionistic way... I reflect on the lyrics of the title song and find so many layers of meaning implicit in the words: "She is a boat, she is a light High on a hill in dark of night She is a wave, she is the deep She is the dark where angels sleep When all is still and peace abides She carries me to the other side, She carries me to the other side... And though I walk through valleys deep And

Sitting by the River

I finished my day last night by meditating with a small group of very dedicated practitioners. It was a fitting ending to a fitting day filled with light and sacredness on so many levels... Very early this morning, I went down to the river because it was foggy. But it was a different kind of fog when I compare it to the day I went paddling in the river. That day was characterized by purifying and cleansing swirling mists which engulfed everything in sight - including me... This morning, it was gray, and still, and calm, and beautiful... As I sat on the rocks, I thought of the bench further up, where I sat for most of the year, and I knew that it was what I had to do. I had to sit by the river for all of those many months on that bench and wait to be invited closer and much further in, even though I had no idea I would eventually leave the safety of this bench... I had to sit by the river and learn each lesson it had to teach me - each one unfolding in its due time... I had to sit

53 Anjaneyasanas

I arise before dawn to sit and meditate in the darkness... My Master's words for the day fill my senses: "The Searcher of Hearts wants only your sincere love. Someone may offer Him his whole wealth and He doesn't want it; and another cries out to Him, 'O Lord, I love You!' And into that devotee's heart He comes running. Don't see God with any ulterior motive, but pray to Him with devotion - unconditional, one-pointed, steady devotion. When your love for Him is as great as your attachment to your mortal body, He will come to you." I reflect on the sacred lessons that came to me a year ago and launched me on my Kriya Yoga practice - forever linking my meditation to my birthday, for on that day, God gave me the key to His heart... I remember a dearly beloved grandmother who left the earth plane on this day, 8 years ago... I offer 53 anjaneyasanas in a modified series of salutations, since my body is not up for more than that...This is th

A River Denuded

On this eve of ending one year of my life, and beginning another, I go down to the river and for the first time wear my boots and gloves and have to loosen the straps on my PFD (Personal Flotation Device) to make room for my jacket and heavier shirt. It is cold and overcast, and the trees and the broad expanse before me are literally naked...There is nothing and no where to hide... I come here, because it is supposed to rain tomorrow and I will not be able to go inside... The river is breathtakingly beautiful - denuded...empty - and yet so full... I paddle up to the end of the first island, meditate and float downstream for a while and revel in the absolute silence... The river and I - we are both empty - and yet richly textured in our fullness as well. There are so many yet undiscovered layers to us... I think of so many things - and also recall the transition of a grandmother who left this earth on my 45th birthday... I am still amazed I am on this river, and I spontaneously

The River is Wide, Windy, and Bare

I go down to the river, hoping to put in, but it is too windy and the currents look strong...I have new gear for Grace I want to try out but it must wait... I drive in and notice that the river is bare - the leaves have dropped and there is a view of the river that has not been accessible for nearly a year...It is so beautiful to see the river in all its glorious nakedness... I walk down to the rocks and survey the broadness and width of the river. It looks so different than it did mere days ago... I am touched by the gift my students gave me today - my heart is so warmed by their affection... I begin a week with many special moments to come and give thanks...

Insights Come

I go for a walk in the late fall afternoon, and notice how so many leaves dropped in one mere day. Yesterday morning, as I stood on my deck, the trees were still half clothed. But this moring, many dropped their remaining leaves and I can see farther than I have in months... I watch so many raking their lawns as i walk and ponder so many Lessons from Yogananda and his disciples... "We make too much of feeling... What does it matter how you feel? Bear your lot as long as it is the will of God that you should do so. Act rightly, and in due time the right feeling of peace and joy will come." "God has proven that when He is with me all the necessities of life become unnecessary. In that consciousness you become more healthy than the average person, more joyous, more bountiful in every way. Don't seek little things; they will divert you from God." "Don't live just in this little cage of the body. Your Real Self is in the cage and also outsi

Two Views

I received this from The Inner Journey Newsletter and found it to be both relevant and timely... "No matter what our difficulties may be, recognize that there is a deep untroubled stream flowing below all surface troubles and that we are of one substance with this stream. The soul knows no difficulties." - James Thornton "True self simply refers to the aspect of our being that is completely aware of its expanded nature no matter what we may be experiencing in our lives." - Martia Nelson Masters teach that we can experience two completely different states of reality at the same time - from the personality and from the soul. Author Pema Chodron talks about being hungry, cold and tired but at the same time deeply content. Ram Dass speaks of how the emotional heart can be breaking while we recognize that all is infolding perfectly. Allowing our soul to be present with the discomforts of the personality - shifts our experience of the discomforts.

River Milestones

It is an incredible day today - sunny and warm, climbing up into the seventies, so unusual for an early November day... I drive into the park in the morning before going to teach and the river looks still and calm. I come back and launch myself at around 11:30 AM... I have no intention of being out in the water for a long time, but I keep setting one goal after another for myself. Let me get to this spot. And now to that one...Before I know it, this has become an adventure and self test. How far can I go? The rower I met the other day launches himself at the same time that I do and he quickly disappears - covering much more territory than I can or do. I wonder what it is like to row backwards and not see where you are going? It seems so odd to me... I pass all my favorite spots and am intrigued by something white I see much further upstream. What is it? I have asked myself this question several times. Today I am determined to find out... I paddle and paddle and feel myself ti

Making a Difference

Like many others, I watched a lot of the TV coverage on the aftermath of this most historic election. One of the emails that I received is worth sharing and comes from Barbara De Angelis' newsletter, someone I have had the pleasure of meeting at Anusara Yoga workshops. I think it summarizes the sentiments of many. Regardless of how we may have all individually voted, now is the time to come together as a nation and create a future based on all the things that really matter and which unite us. Let us never forget the intrinsic unity that is disclosed so richly and magnificently in all our resplendant diversity! November 4, 2008 TO ALL FELLOW TRAVELERS ON THE PATH In this auspicious moment as a Great Change dawns in America and for our whole planet, I celebrate and honor each of you who has been an undeniable part of this historic transformation. For as you have courageously walked the path of growth month after month, year after year, decade after decade, and work

The Dawn of a New Day and Era

Like many in this country, I stayed up until election results were in, and both concession and acceptance speeches were delivered by two men who rose to the occasion and showed their grace and intrinsic goodness... Like many in this country, I found the moment very emotional and was moved to see how many people participated in this process, coming together and wanting to be part of a change in a new direction... Like many in this country, I offer prayers... Creator and Beloved Divine, Be with all here, who are Thine. May we know and feel we are all one-- in every breath we take and every moment we live. May we join one another in rebuilding this nation. May we put disagreements and divisiveness behind us-- that we may create a bigger and brighter future for our children and our children's children. May we sow Peace. And may we sow Love. May we always show Compassion. And may we also reflect Your Grace. May we never forget that we are a Spark of the Divine s

A New Paddle for Grace

I decide to sleep in, and after my morning meditation, I go down to the river for a while...It is so quiet, and the water as still as it could possibly be. I almost debate whether to go in, but I have decided to spend this Election Day very differently - by engaging in several spiritual practices since I have already voted... I go to walk the labyrinth and have it practically all to myself for an hour. I am accompanied by one cricket and a few flies which do not move from their various spots. They are silent witnesses to my prayers... I pick up a meditation slip from the basket of suggestions and it seems so appropriate: "Take me out of my loneliness, as I walk toward the quiet center of my heart." This becomes a mantra that I repeat - over and over again - as I walk in towards the center. I sit there for what seems to be a very long time... On my way out I begin to recite the mantra again but it morphs into: "Take me out of my loneliness, as I walk toward

Forgive the Hurts

The quotes come from the Inner Journey Newsletter , and they certainly will be good to keep in mind as we turn another chapter in our nation's history, and move on, after tomorrow... "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." - Paul Boese "Forgiveness will never fail to free you." - Jerrold Mundis "God has a big eraser." - Billy Zeoli

A Light Look at Life's Journey

I received these quotes recently from The Inner Journey Newsletter , and they seemed appropriate to share. My sister and I are on the brink of celebrating birthdays mere days apart - even though there is almost a ten year difference between us - and I will always be older one of the two. For one year every decade - we actually inhabit the same decade! Some of these gave me a reason to smile, and I couldn't resist adding some "editorial comments..." "Inside every older person is a younger person - wondering what the hell happened." - Cora Harvey Armstrong. (You mean - someone else thinks that way also?) "The hardest years in life are those between 10 and 70." - Helen Hayes (at 73) (I guess that means she knows! ) "Old age ain't no place for sissies." - Bette Davis (Amen! I hear you! ) "Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart." - Caryn Leschen (Well, maybe

Entering into Stillness

I share the following from the Jewel in the Lotus Newsletter which offers some great suggestions for the coming winter months... "Enter into stillness. This is the theme for this month. When you find yourself amid the swirling chaos - become mindful of your energy. Not always easy, yet it is our practice in this physical plane. Begin the practice by entering into the stillness within your heart when you are not surrounded by drama and the activity of daily life. Be gentle with yourself as you learn to transcend lifetimes of patterning. Being aware of your own Presence is the way to enter into stillness..." Ways to Enter into Greater Stillness in Your Life: Own your power . Know you are the master of your creations . Your relationship to self is the most important one . Know that you are always protected . Take time for yourself everyday . Lovingly parent your inner child. Know that we are all ONE . Practice non-attachment . Simplify your life. Every interaction