Showing posts from 2009

Ending and Beginning with Gratitude

I wake up to a blanket of virgin snow wrapping up in its embrace, everything that is in sight. It is beautiful beyond words - clean and pure - untouched and new, like the year that is about to arrive... I sit down to meditate and I light large votive candles, deeply moved by the energies of this day - a New Year's Eve, that is also a Blue Moon, and the day of an eclipse. It also signifies the end of a decade, and heralds the entrance of a new one... I begin this day, the same way I hope to end it, with thoughts of Gratitude... During the course of my meditation, I set my intentions to chart the course for the New Year. But I also reflect on the many things that I am grateful for. They come flooding into my soul and they are felt in the deepest recesses of my heart... I am grateful for my community of treasured friends, for the opportunities I have been given, for the gift of practice, for the daily signs that I am given, for those who unknowingly touch and inspire my life, for

A Time to Let Go and To Transform

I have been very quiet these last few days after Christmas, fully enjoying the stillness of the season, sleeping in, reading, nesting, guarding my time, meditating, and journeying inward... Tomorrow is New Year's Eve - it is the end of one year - and the beginning of another... Tomorrow is also a Blue Moon - the second Full Moon in a month, and there will also be partial eclipse, visible in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Eclipses are metaphysically about change and letting go, and inviting into your life what you really want to be and to reflect in deeds and words. This interesting moment, created by the confluence of a Full Moon, eclipse, and a year's end, also invites us to more deeply examine our lives, and set intentions for what we would like to manifest in the coming year. Everything I have been reading of late, or hearing from intuitives is pointing the way towards a year exhorting greater transformation of hearts, and souls, and minds... I wrote to a dear frien

Christmas Day

The day begins slowly, quietly, with meditation, while the rest of my household is asleep. I send blessings, healing energy, and love to several persons, some in need, and others that I am simply grateful for... I delight in the thoughts of a wonderful Christmas Eve, spent with family, full of laughter and good cheer, and the beauty of Midnight Mass, hymns sung heartily by a full choir and packed congregation, accompanied by an organ, and full brass ensemble. I revel in this sacred time, inviting the best in all of us. I am touched by the words of a dear soul friend who has stepped into her sacred mission, clothed in her own power, and who shared this message this morning: "Open to all the Love and all the Joy. It's all for the asking." Such breathtaking beauty in such simplicity of words... I reflect on this Christmas message from Yogananda: "May the Christmas spirit you feel not end with today; rather may it be with you every night as you meditate. Then i

Christmas Eve Blessings

The day is busier than I had anticipated. I had hoped for a more extended meditation period this morning, but I will carve some space out this afternoon... Despite it all - Christmas Eve blessings come to me in so many ways. In the gift of a book written by a wonderful soul I met on Twitter, that arrives today with a touching inscription... Christmas Eve blessings also arrives in the wise words of a dear soul companion who gives me this message full of challenges, yet I know that it is really offered as a sacred task: "Today, keep your thoughts on forgiveness and love. Relentless love. Love the unloveable. That's what Christ did." I think of the Christmas Blessing I posted yesterday, and how it is an invitation to be lived every day, not just at this time of the year. I leave you with this poem, written by Kathleen Hanagan, a gifted soul and therapist, which she sent in her Christmas letter this year... One Heart One heart A single bird Sits on a branch And

A Sacred Message Received Before Christmas Eve

On this day - or eve - before Christmas Eve, I take a moment to go down to the river. I longed to visit it while it was snowing, but I knew that it would be impossible, for the park would be closed... I walk down to the boat launch where snow had been shoveled along the water's edge. It is a bit windy and as bitterly cold as it gets in this area. I breathe in the crispness of the air, and something deep within me stirs, almost gasping for life. I reflect on sacred messages received from a dear soul, and ponder how we are given what we need, in every moment. On the day of the Solstice she shared with me, "Christ's love is so present, in my heart and and soul." She spoke of spending more time in meditation and prayer. The sun is going down now, and I will go out and take a long walk in the snow at Twilight. I did so yesterday, listening to sacred choral music, and felt myself held in the palm of God's Hand. I leave you with another beautiful message received, al

Solstice Prayer

Yesterday, I went to my friend Bob O'Mara's blog, and he had this beautiful prayer he offered for the Solstice which I want to share here. This is truly a wonderful prayer, for every season: A Midwinter Prayer "From the rising of the midwinter sun to its setting, Scatter the darkness with the light of your love, O Shining One. Make me short on mean thoughts, long on offers of words of comfort. Make me short on being driven, long on paying attention. Make me short on focusing only on my own, long on looking beyond. Make me short on obsessive thoughts, long on spontaneous acts of kindness. Make me short on mindless activity, long on time to reflect. Make me short on tradition as a habit, long on rediscovery and re-owning. Make me short on rushing or tiring, long on walking and wondering. Make me short on false, festive jollity, long on stilling and rooted joy. Make me short on guilt, long on being merciful to myself. Make me short on being over

Winter Solstice

On this day of the Winter Solstice, I cannot help but think of where I was two years ago and how far I've come... On this day of the Winter Solstice, I cannot help but revel in the many blessings received, so much sweeter because of all that was endured to give birth to them... On that day of the Winter Solstice two years ago, I went down to the river for the first time with a life that was as open ended as I could have ever imagined it would be. It begged to be re-made, and at 52, I did not think I would be starting over in more ways than one... And on that day of the Winter Solstice, I took off my watch. I no longer had appointments or a schedule to keep. I did not put it on again until this year's Summer Solstice, when I found myself increasingly busy once again, and needing to get to various places on time. I was told by so many dear intuitive friends, that the landscape of my life, while irrevocably altered, still had more shifting and changing, and emerging to do... T

The Star that Leads to the Christ Child

On this Eve of the Winter Solstice, I reflect on many things. Two years ago, my life changed in ways I could never have imagined or planned. As I process the many blessings that have come my way, especially in the last couple of weeks, I am amazed at how good God is, and how many are his gifts. The blanketing of snow we received was a beautiful gift, and an invitation to be still, and silent, and to enter more deeply into the present moment. Someone posted this on Twitter this morning, and I found it so appropriate: “Kindness is like snow - it beautifies everything it covers.” ~ Unknown I leave you with this beautiful poem by Paramahansa Yogananda that I came across this afternoon: The Star That Leads to the Christ Child O Lord, I have long been engrossed in material things. Enthralled by their outward forms, I failed to perceive within them Thy creative Spirit. The starry single eye of my soul insight is now being opened. Through it may I behold creation ashine with

Winter Wonderland

For the first time in years, we receive significant snowfall - nearly two feet - or perhaps more - and the sight is beautiful indeed! For the first time in years, we will have a white Christmas! For the first time in years, I am snowbound - all the classes I was teach are canceled - so I have no where to go - and no where to be... I sit in meditation peacefully, with snow falling all around... I read these words by Paramahansa Yogananda about Christ and this Blessed Season... "Christ is born in the cradle of tenderness. Love is a greater power than hate. Whatever you say, say it with love. Harm no one. Judge not others. Hate none, love all; behold Christ in all. Think of everything in terms of universality... Will Christ come again? Metaphysically, he is already omnipresent. He smiles at you through every flower. He feels his cosmic body in every speck of space. Every movement of the wind breathes the breath of Jesus. Through his oneness with the divine Christ Consciousness

Filled to the Brim

I arrived last night from The Woodlands, Texas, and meeting with the Anusara Yoga Curriculum Committee, over the period of several days. Today, I take it easy by slowing down and tackling domestic chores. I sleep in a little, not as much as I had hoped, and then I head out to McDonald's for coffee and a brief chat with the wonderfully radiant soul who takes my order. Then I make my way down to the river... Snow is in the air - anywhere from a foot - to a foot and half of precipitation is predicted. I cannot remember the last time I was down at this river and I wonder what it would like in heavy snow. I walk down to the boat launch area, and find the edges frozen, and the water very still and gray. Nearby, some ducks are making quite a racket... I am filled to the brim from my three days of meeting. I have come home with a sense of the sacredness of the tasks that we have been entrusted with - as we chart the future and the direction of Anusara Yoga - not only in terms of its

Be Still and Know...

I will be off to the airport in a few hours to head out for the Woodlands, Texas, to meet with John Friend and members of the Anusara Yoga Curriculum Committee as we seek to standardize our educational materials at a time when Anusara Yoga is experiencing explosive growth all over the world. I am not a great traveler, and get really nervous about flying and all its unexpected permutations... Last night, I went to the site, "Following the Star," which I religiously visited during Advent last year. But here I am, a year later, finding myself very busy and frazzled as I consider all the activities on my dance card, and the entry I read is very appropriately titled, "Be Still and Know..." This is one of my most favorite scripture verses - from Psalm 46:10 to be more precise - "Be still and know that I am God." I have written about this verse before in many ways. And now it comes to me, as a gentle reminder of the season, calling me to stillness, to silenc

A Blessing

I received this today from one of my Twitter friends, and thought it so beautiful I will share it here with all of you: Biblebell's Aloha May the sun bring you new energy by day. May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your sorrows. 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. As you celebrate this season sacred to so many, may this blessing fill your soul and touch your heart!

A Guru Thread Dissolves on 12-12

For metaphysical numerologists, 12-12 bears a lot of significance. It is understood to imply a level of completion - a graduation of sorts - and also denotes the experience of a Cosmic Connection. The number 12-12 also signifies a bridge to the future... On this day of 12-12, I spent the morning subbing a friend's yoga classes at the studio that is my spiritual home and community. Willow Street Yoga Center in Maryland, is currently the largest Anusara Yoga studio in the country. It counts among its gifted teachers, the largest contingent of teachers in both the certified and Inspired categories - making it a virtual "mecca" for serious students of Anusara Yoga . I came to study here almost 4 years ago, at the inspired suggestion of a very dear soul companion, after having studied at the studio I taught at for 9 years. At the time, I was working on my Anusara Yoga certification and sensed I needed more direction and modeling in this process. It almost seems like yeste

Aligning With the Divine

Yesterday, I received Todd Norian's newsletter via email. Todd is an Anusara Yoga Certified Teacher, and a very gifted one at that. But then, I think that of everyone! I have often quoted his newsletter in this blog, because his thoughts are often very inspirational, and this issue was no exception. Todd spoke of the various ways in which we can "align with Divine" and he drew his inspirational insights after teaching the Bhagavad Gita - a work I have often taught myself, and which is near and dear to my heart. For those of you familiar with this work, you will find a richer meaning in Todd's suggestions - but his insights are helpful to all us of us on the path who are seeking to align more closely with the Divine. In this excerpt from his newsletter, Todd creatively draws upon the wisdom of Anusara Yoga's Universal Principles of Alignment and deftly weaves them into the teachings of the Gita . "This [teaching] inspired me to reflect more deeply on how

I Believe in Miracles

I arise in the darkness and am drawn to meditation after a deep, and nourishing sleep... I sit in the stillness, the gentle rain, and the quiet - and give thanks for so many things... I marvel at the beauty of the last few days - sweet time spent with soul friends - and with a community of kindred souls... I am grateful for so many messages given and received... I revel in the opportunities to share with like-minded souls the blessings we have received and the incredible work God is doing in our lives... I sit and I pray - and ask to be shown the way through some situations I must navigate - buoyed by the dearest soul companion who shared her own story and encouraged me to ask every day, to be shown the way - and be willing to discover that the path was always there in front of me - waiting for my recognition... I share with a lovely friend and student - that despite whatever may be - or not be in my life - God's love and the network of supportive vibrant souls in my life - i

A First Snowfall and Seeking Your own Wizard

I arise on a day that will be filled with training in anatomy specifically geared for Anusara Yoga teachers, and feel joyous at the fact that the first snow fall of the season is softly coming down... I rush down to the river, and walk down to where the water meets the pavement on the boat launch so wishing I could come inside this river that has so sustained me. It is gray and beautiful, and my yearning for communion with the river is almost overwhelming. It has been too long since I have paddled in these waters, but today, I must work my way to the other side of the river and meet many friends for the first of a two day intensive in anatomy training and how it specifically relates to Anusara Yoga and the Universal Principles of Alignment ... Still, it is peaceful here, and I wish I could stay a little longer, but with the weather being what it is, I expect the traffic to be slow... Last night, Martin Kirk, an Anusara Yoga Certified Teacher, and a very enthusiastic one at that,

A Yogini Garden of Twisted Sisters

I continued to teach my asana detox sequence of twisting poses to my beautiful Wednesday morning class. This was the third day of teaching this class, and some of my students were repeating it for the second time... We had an incredible time, full of laughter and good cheer, and I was amazed at the very challenging poses that my students welcomed and embraced. I continued working with my theme of of unwrapping the ordinary, in order to disclose the extraordinary - which is at the essence of all things and all souls... My students reported all kinds of results from the class - from actual physical detoxing experiences, to releasing deep seated emotions - to feeling nauseous, buzzed, or stoned! It is amazing to note the incredible effects that the practice of yoga can have on our bodies, minds, and spirits... One friend and budding yoga teacher who dropped in for class last night and honored me with her presence, shared this with me this morning: "Ah...the exquisite soreness of

Fling Open the Doors of Your Heart

On this day, we begin the last month of this year... On this day, we experience the last Full Moon of the year and the special energies it brings... On this day, filled with teaching, and some quiet moments in between, I receive this message by Michael Beckwith, sent to me by a dear and loyal friend: "Today as you sit to meditate, make a commitment to fling open the portals of your consciousness and the doors of your heart as you ask how you may breathe each breath and walk each step as a free agent of conscious co-creativity. Affirmation: Today I commit myself to my divine destiny as a creative being. I know every path is open before me as I consciously co-create with Spirit. Enjoy your magnificent day. Michael Beckwith" And I would add these words by Thomas Merton: "This day will never come again." So live it to the fullest!

Unwrapping the Ordinary

There are times my theme for my yoga classes does not arrive easily - it just simply eludes me....And then it arrives, as a total gift - right at the last minute... I knew what quotes I wanted to use for this week and what sequence of poses I would use - but things just did not come together in my mind. I was also exhausted from a lot of driving, teaching, and situations that had drained me emotionally... So, when I started teaching today - I wasn't quite sure what I was going to say. I was glad I was NOT being observed for my yearly review by a peer for my Anusara Yoga certified status! I was working with a twisting sequence that seemed appropriate after Thanksgiving. Twisting poses have a way of releasing all that does not serve us and contributes to detoxing the body - in addition to the mind and soul as well. So I did speak of these things, and then it came to me - as I quoted an excerpt from Macrina Wiederkehr's A Tree Full of Angels - that by detoxing and releasing -

Advent 2009 (Poem)

Today, we begin the Season of Advent. We are also starting to head into a season that is sacred to many religious and spiritual traditions. And so, as I reflected on the coming season of Advent for Christians, I found myself writing these words last night... Advent 2009 I enter quietly And softly Into this Sacred Season Of Silent Waiting, Into this Holy Season Of Soul Preparation, Into this Blessed Season Of Deep Longing I Wait And I Prepare Because: "O-Beloved One! I am dying of yearning to rise!" I am Dying of Yearning To Become Word Made Flesh In My Own Words, And Deeds, and In All That I Am (Quote - by Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels , 1988, 1995) May this coming season of silence and waiting draw you more deeply inward, to the true treasures stored in the cave of your heart!

Living in a World of Theophanies

I spent the last couple of days re-reading portions of A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary , by Macrina Wiederkehr, a monastic. Years ago, before I had heard of this book, I came across this quote from its introduction, which I used as a reading at the end of my classes at the time: "You live in a world of theophanies. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb. Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels, but this can happen only if you are willing to unwrap the ordinary by staying with it long enough to harvest its treasure." There are so many sections of this book that spoke so deeply to me. I wish to share some other quotations here: "There is a yearning deep in the human heart - so deep is it an ache within. An ache for God...! The ache in our heart needs to be fed. Crumbs are entirely sufficient. Crumbs are those small things t

How to Expand Love

A few years ago, the Dalai Lama wrote a book titled, How to Expand Love , that is filled with wonderful meditations to deepen this practice in one's life. His Holiness noted, that everything is always in a state of change. Nothing remains stable - not even our feelings towards our loved ones or friends. I re-read portions of this book late last evening, and while all the meditations and practices are of great value, I will highlight one that caught my eye. I highly recommend however, reading the book in its entirety to benefit from the systematic plan that is laid out in its pages for expanding our capacity for love... Consider that during the span of this lifetime, there is no certainty that specific individuals will always be friends, enemies, or neutral. Consider examples of this from your own life - a neutral person who became a friend; a neutral person who became an enemy; a friend who became neutral, or an enemy; an enemy who became a friend. Visualize that a friend who has

Thanksgiving Day Blessings on Land and Water

Blessings come in so many ways. In ways that are expected - and in ways that are not... I arise on this, Thanksgiving Day - and it is blanketed in fog. I go down to the river - there is a yearning inside of me to see it - to connect with this river that has played such a pivotal role in my life. It has been raining for days and I can't remember when I last brought Grace, my kayak, down to these riverbanks, to commune with these healing waters... The river is breathtakingly beautiful. The skies are totally gray - as is the river itself. The sky and the waters merge - in their oneness - they are only separated by a haze of bare trees - acting as an ethereal silhouette, softly etched in the fog. I think of the description of creation from the Book of Genesis - and it seems that now, for the first time, I am seeing the dome in the sky separated from the waters below. The scene before me is so haunting, I lose myself in it. The waters are totally still - as still as my soul... I give

A Thanksgiving Prayer and Blessing

Yesterday evening, I went to sub for a friend of mine - a beautiful yogini who has been traveling with John Friend in South America. Her class consisted of a wonderful group of funny and welcoming students. We had a great time. Two were celebrating birthdays. One of the two was a bit older than the second person, so we joked about one being a "bordeaux" and the other a "port" as opposed to a "beaujolais." I often use this imagery to explain that some of us need to take time to experience and taste our poses. Like aged fine wines, we need to "breathe our poses..." But, that was not my theme. I continued using my theme of cultivating an attitude of gratitude... At the end of class, I played this song by Eliza Gilkyson, called "Prayer 2000". Years ago, my own teacher used this in her own class during Thanksgiving week, and I have used it with my own students ever since. It is a beautiful reminder of all the things we have to grateful for

More on Gratitude

I posted these these quotes this morning on the subject of gratitude: "Gratitude is like a muscle. The more we do with it the stronger it gets." ~ Jon Gordon "THANK YOU. They are two words that have the power to transform." ~ Jon Gordon "If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it will be enough." ~ Meister Eckhart And these entries come from Paramahansa Yogananda's Spiritual Diary for the last few days: "Thanksgiving and praise open in your consciousness the way for spiritual growth and supply to come to you. Spirit pushes Itself out into visible manifestation as soon as a channel is opened through which it can flow. You should be thankful for everything at all times. Realize that all power to think, and speak, and act comes from God, and that He is with you now, guiding and inspiring you." "When the summer of good fortune warms my tree of life, it easily burgeons with fragrant blossoms of thankfulness. During

Thanksgiving Releases Joy

Everywhere, and in every place, there are so many bright souls and hearts focusing right now on the beauty and sacredness of this season of Thanksgiving and its relationship to joy. I paraphrase and share excerpts from this e-card that I received from Mary Robinson Reynolds today, because it contains such inspirational and appropriate reminders of what is really important for all of us to consider and reflect on as we celebrate Thanksgiving... "We give thanks for the love we've shared, the love we hope to share, and the return of loved ones to our homes. This is our blessing, this is our bounty, this is our thanksgiving. We pray from Psalm 122 that there may be: 'Peace with our walls, and prosperity within our palaces.' Let us be fully present in this moment, that we may be truly giving and for-giving. May there be peace within our families. The secret of the power of joy is this-- giving is that which releases joy and this feeling, this realization

Every Good Deed (Poem)

I am off to a very full day of teaching yoga philosophy - the first of two days - consisting of a detailed and comparative look at Classical Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra, to be covered on this day. Then, an overview of the kleshas, koshas, and tattvas - both in Samkya and Tantra tomorrow. I awaken this morning rested, and full, from a wonderful Friday. I had lunch with a very dear friend, and we were waited on by the most attentive young man, who took the time to make our espresso and cappuccino in the same manner as they are prepared in Rome. It took me back to that magnificent city. Truly, the best cappuccinos and espressos I have ever savored, were the ones I had in Italy... Then, I met some more dear friends who have traveled the spiritual path with me for many years, for drinks and appetizers. It was truly a delight to see how all of these friends I spent my day with have grown - one not only as a yoga teacher, but as an incredible human being - and the others - not only as spiritu

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

This morning, I wake up with gratitude in the deepest recesses of my heart, for all that is - and what is not. I am grateful for the simple things - the gift of life, of friends, a cup of Italian espresso bought in Paris, and the opportunity to sleep in and lazily stay in bed a little longer... I am grateful for those hearts that have brought joy into my own - like beacons - they have helped me navigate the way out of deep sorrow... In this season of giving thanks, I am reminded of how important it is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude - in everything we do and say. And when we do, we notice subtle shifts in ourselves and those around us - beauty blooms all around us. What we say and do - matters. What we appreciate and our expression of it - also matters. WE matter! I think of a dear student and friend who said to me, months ago, when I was emerging from deep depression like a butterfly - "Your life so matters!" It gave me the ability to see light where I had previous