Showing posts from February, 2010

The Benefits of Being Positive

I recently came across these wonderful reasons for being positive in Jon Gordon's Weeky Newsletter , and will share them for your reflection. If you ever needed some reason why - here they are! Positive people live longer - In a study of nuns, those that regularly expressed positive emotions lived on average 10 years longer. Positive work environments outperform negative world environments. Positive, optimistic sales people sell more than pessimistic sales people. Positive leaders are able to make better decisions under pressure. Marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ration of positive to negative interactions whereas when the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce. Positive people who regularly express positive emotions are more resilient when facing stress, challenges and adversity. Positive people are able to maintain a broader perspective and see the big picture which helps them identify solutions whereas ne

What is Your Vision?

A busy day awaits me. I will soon be crossing the river to go to Willow Street Yoga, to hear Dr. Manoj Chalam speak on the symbolism of Hindu murtis. I've had the pleasure of hearing him before, and have bought a number of Siva statues from him. They have graced my meditation space for some time now. They are also infused with very sacred energy and are quite special to me... I quickly glance at my email, and find this newsletter from "Jewels of the Lotus" - and I am struck by how it compliments my recently blog entry, "What If?" This newsletter invites us to consider what our vision for the New Earth is. And of course, it suggests, that any transformation of the earth simply begins with our own change and transformation. Here are some excerpts from the newsletter: "The way to transform your life is by reaching the inner world through awareness... How do we really find our center? By entering the present moment and knowing that is where the peace we

Loving and Forgiving What Is

It seems that in the last week, everything I've read or every audio recording I have listened to - has given me a similar message. But, I've already said that - haven't I? It never ceases to amaze me that the messages are there - always - for those willing to still the voices that often hold us captive to allow the Inner Voice to speak its wisdom... As I drove to teach my yoga class at Willow Street Yoga , on the other side of the river these last two weeks, I listened to excerpts from two CD's - one based on the book, Loving What Is, by Byron Katie, and the other Radical Forgiveness, by Colin Tipping. Both contained very similar messages and practices aimed at the acceptance and forgiveness of what currently exists in our lives, in our relationships, and indeed all of our experiences... Here are some gems of wisdom I jotted down after listening to Tipping's audio recording: "Things don't happen to us - but for us... [They happen for us to grow and le

What If?

I came across this quotation that I have seen before, and decided to " Twitter " it in separate sentences. But it is worth savoring whole, as a meditation for this day, and indeed, every day... So here it is, my rendition, slighted edited... What If? "What if-- our religion was each other, our practice was our life, and if prayer, were our words? What if-- our temple was the earth, if the forests were our church, and if holy water - was the rivers and the oceans? What if-- meditation was our relationship, and our teacher was life-- if the source of our wisdom was self-knowledge, and if love was the center of our being?" (Based on a quotation by Ganga White) What if all these things were our reality? Would it not be a different world? What if we all pooled our energy and our resources and gave intent to make it so? It could be...It is only a mere thought away... What if we changed our world by changing our thoughts? What if....???

Be the Light

I sit in meditation at the noon hour, and I am amazed at how we receive exactly what it is that we need, at precisely the time and the moment that we need it...There are no coincidences... During the evening last night, I read a Twitter post, and found myself almost adding it to the end of my entry yesterday, because it went so well with it: "The kingdom of heaven is within you." Luke 17:21 Yes, so true - the kingdom of heaven - and indeed - the whole universe is inside of each and everyone one of us - seeking self-expression in every thought, word, and deed... Yes, truly, all that I need is inside...Everything will someday pass away...All that remains is Divine in its Essence...And that is at the heart of who we all are... I tune into my breath - using the mantra - "Ham Sa" - "I am That" - I am One with the Divine - on the inbreath and the outbreath... Breathing in, I mentally say "Ham" - and it comes to me that the breaths are l


I visit the river for the first time in weeks...It is cold, and as I make my way through the park and to the riverbanks, I notice all the downed trees that succumbed to the 34 to 40 inches or so of snow that came down mere days apart... The river is very wide and seems so vast. I cannot remember the last time that Grace, my kayak, took me out to enjoy and explore these healing waters... The river is truly limitless - the theme I used in my yoga class this morning... We live in a world that imposes so many limits on us - but perhaps not more than the limits we impose on ourselves... And yet, if we are truly made in the image and likeness of the Divine - as so many religious traditions teach - how can we be in any way - truly limited? Even poets and teachers have indicated that we are without limit: "The whole universe is inside of you. Ask all from yourself!" ~ Rumi "The universe is inside of you, and you are the universe... Return to the self and know your o

Let Nothing Disturb You

This day comes gently, easily, as an opening in the eye of a hurricane, or the calm before the storm - I know not which it may be - and it does not matter... I reflect on these wise words given by a soul friend, who offered me her interpretations of Teresa of Avila's well know prayer, given as a precious gift, a blossom from her heart: "Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God. God alone is sufficient." I repeat these words over and over again - my soul masticating them - my essence nourished by their wisdom... I think of the anchoress Julian of Norwich, counseling so many of those who searched her out, with these simple words: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well!" In the midst of incredible despair faced by the masses in the fourteenth century, her message was one of relentless hope... There is always hope - in every moment - and in every circumstance... Even

Acceptance of What Is

Everything that I have read or listened to in the last couple of days seems to have conspired to come together to give me the same messages, and I wish to share a few of the highlights. In a nut shell, all things urged to listen to - and accept what is in one's life - as an opportunity to change. Everything I read or listened to, also offered the invitation to look at things from a different perspective. It reminded me of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali , which teaches that sorrow is rooted in ignorance and how we choose to think and look at a situation. I also thought of the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita which teaches that the fruit of our actions only belongs to God. All we can do is act to the best of our ability, without attachment to the outcome. It is attachment - to things, to people, to ideas, to our thoughts, which is the root of all our suffering, and the material that I delved into over the last several days mirrored that back in so many ways. The following was received i

Musings on the Practice of Yoga, the Season, and Divine Love

After a week of being home bound by the snow, it was good to get back into some semblance of a normal schedule... I knew that my morning yoginis were probably in need of a well rounded class after a week of shoveling, tending to families and kids at home, and probably sitting around a little too much! Every Anusara Yoga class begins with a theme and a sequence that somehow relates to the theme and that is carried throughout the class. This week, I chose to have my students face each other as we all practiced together, enjoying a potpourri class of asanas with a shared dialogue on the theme: "What does yoga mean to you?" I borrowed the idea from the Seane Corn essay that I shared a few days ago on this blog. Over the course of the last couple of days, it has been interesting to see what has been shared as we held some challenging poses, and worked on aligning deeply. I noted, that often, what brings you to a yoga class, is not what keeps you there over the long run. Over

On This Day of Love...

On this day of love, many celebrate St. Valentine's Day , and that needs no introduction or explanation! But this is an interesting week for many other reasons as well... Today, we celebrate the Chinese New Year - it is more specifically, the Year of the Metal Tiger , and it is said that it will bring many changes, inviting bold actions and risk taking, but it will also be a time of profound transformations. The metal element will provide us with the resolve and determination to see us through this time period when we will truly witness dramatic changes all over the world... On Tuesday, many will celebrate Mardi Gras - or Fat Tuesday , coming on the Eve of Ash Wednesday and the commencement of the Liturgical Season of Lent - which I have always regarded as a season to journey more deeply within, to make our lives better and our souls clearer - and thus a more gracious and welcoming altar for God's Presence and love... Last Friday, many celebrated Mahashivatri - fallin

What Yoga Means to Me (Insights by Seane Corn)

Love comes in so many different ways. It is always, truly, a season for love - for giving love - and for receiving it as well. Sometimes it arrives in ways most unexpected and touches us very deeply...Sometimes we meet the right person and the whole course of our lives dramatically shifts and we set forth to sail in a very different direction than the one we had originally anticipated... Last night I stayed up late watching the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, which I found both inspirational and moving. As someone who has lived in Canada and has many Canadian friends, I feel a close connection with this country of very kind, civil, caring, and talented people. They have a lot to teach the world about their attitudes, outlook, and graceful ways of simply being in this world... This morning, I was also moved by a few things I received in my in box, but most particularly by an essay written by the incomparable yogini Seane Corn , on what yoga means to her. This

A Geranium Blooms in the Depths of Winter

Today, it is not snowing. And for the first time in a couple of weeks, we do not have snow in the immediate forecast... Today, the sun shines magnificently, everything in sight is both piercing and blinding to the naked eye, and yet also pristine, and breathtakingly beautiful as well! Today, I am both surprised and deeply touched by my gnarly geranium, which I received as a Mother's Day present while my son was still in grade school, many years ago. He will be 25 this year, and I've lost count of how many years it has graced my kitchen. It's two misshapen branches are twisting towards the kitchen window, in a perennial quest for more sunlight. And within its cluster of vibrant leaves on one gnarly branch, a bloom is emerging defiantly, despite all the odds. While this plant's beauty may not be immediately obvious to others, it has bloomed in all seasons for more years than I can keep track of, and it has brought me great joy... Today, my geranium reminds me that win

Message From the Infinite Heart

Last night, as I prepared to retire for the evening, I came across this beautiful YouTube video of very inspirational quotations and saying by Swami Nityananda , the Buddha , Jesus , Rumi , Mother Teresa , Maya Angelou , and J ohn Friend . In the depths of this winter, it warmed my heart and soul, even in the face of the coming blizzard, due to arrive in a few hours. And so today, as the winds are howling outside, and the snow is blowing and creating drifts here and there - and everywhere, I share these quotes from Nityananda , and will continue sharing many of these, in the days to come... "My heart sings to you in every moment. In every sunrise, in every reflection, through every word, every thought, every sound, in every silence hear my voice. You are Divine, you are Grace. I love you infinitely... Open your heart to receive fully the sweetness of my love and know always I am love, I am always with you... Return to the Self within and know your own secret! The

Yoga is Union With God

Like everyone else in this town, I am waiting for another batch of snow that will begin falling shortly. And like many others, I ventured forth in the small window of time we have, in search of supplies, only to be confronted with empty shelves and treacherous roads. And now, I am content to be home again, in my inner sanctum, where I meditate, surrounded by the beautiful energies of my sacred space... Once more I turn to Paramahansa Yogananda, and my heart is warmed by this one paragraph that I found myself reading and re-reading, over and over again these last couple of days. What is yoga? Every teacher tries to answer this question more or less succinctly to every new student she or he encounters in a class. Often the answer given is that yoga is an ancient discipline - that the word yoga itself is translated as "yoke" and that it is a practice that unites or recognizes that the body, mind, and spirit are all one... But right now, I am drawn to Yogananda's simple

Cultivating Good Habits

This morning, as I reviewed Paramahansa Yogananda's writings, I felt myself drawn to his insights on the cultivation of good habits, and so I was inspired to post a few of them in an almost rapid fire manner, to Facebook and Twitter , before my students arrived for yoga class. As always, I found much food for thought in his words of wisdom, and they seemed to elicit some reflections on the part of some of my readers as well. Here are the ones I posted, and a few more added in for good measure: "Those who are attracted to calm and serenity attract the same... It takes 5 to 8 years to substitute a good habit for a bad habit... Don't let unhealthy ideas float down the stream of your habit forming thoughts... The sin of all sins is ignorance... You are the sole creator of good or bad habits... Avoid surroundings that encourage wrong actions and never deliberately bring evil thoughts into the mind... Strengthen your will power... Exercise good judgment and dis

Snow. Silence. And the Birthing of an Invincible Summer.

"I know a new and kinder day will come... And there is only one way of preparing the new age, by living it even now in our hearts." ~ Etty Hillesum "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." ~ Albert Camus The nearly 30 hours or so of relentless snow has ceased, and left much that will need attention to, in its aftermath - downed trees that are now precariously resting against my neighbor's house, a road that may not be plowed for days and that connects us to the outer world, power that was off for over five hours, and a half cooked turkey that we were not able to finish cooking and eat until about 10 PM! Still, in the midst of all this fury, there was breathtaking beauty and God's sweetest invitation to slow down, to be present, to enjoy the moment, and to commune with Him. And truly, what can be better than that? Since I am very much a contemplative at heart, the idea of being home bound for days is al

40 Lbs of Bird Seed and Inner Wisdom

As the snow falls gently, before it starts to get much heavier and blankets us in the nearly two feet or more that have been predicted, I stop, and marvel at the beauty all around me. While others are stockpiling snacks, and toilet paper and booze, my heart is warmed by the thoughtfulness of a dear soul friend, who ventured forth to buy 40 pounds of birdseed, to make sure that the congregation of cardinals and blue jays and others that gather in her back yard to party could continue to do so throughout the winter weather! She does this, she tells me, because it brings her great joy. But I know, it is because she has a big compassionate heart... I sit here, in my office, warmed by that thought, thinking of how my husband has instead, set up ominous plastic owls to scare off the birds because they leave droppings all over the deck, and I have to laugh...What is one person's delight, is another's irritation... Earlier, I tried to go down to the river, to watch and feel the heavy

Trust Your Inner Guidance

It is such a simple lesson. Trust yourself. Trust your inner guidance. But how often do we do this? Really? My experiences yesterday with a very dear friend - and two other subsequent conversations with souls who are also dear to me - affirmed what I had been sensing and feeling about some directions to take in my life. But I didn't trust my own intuitions, until they were mirrored back to me. And really, I do know better! My favorite quote by the poet Rumi is one I often share with my students over, and over again. Right now, I am feeling that these simple verses are inviting me to really listen to its very compelling exhortation, so that I can then embody it, and shine out its message to others: "The whole universe is within you. Ask all from yourself!" I am a microcosm of the macrocosm! There is nothing I cannot do if I put my mind to it! And thus this morning, I find these quotes in my email inbox, once more, giving me exactly what I need: " I never know

Stillness, Meditation, Renunciation and the Labyrinth

I have been a little out of sorts and overwhelmed the last couple of days... And so, this morning, I got up, and read a passage from Paramahansa Yogananda's writings before my meditation in search of some insight. And these were the words that spoke to me: "To engage in actions without desire for their fruit is true tyaga (renunciation). God is the Divine Renunciant, for He carries on all the activities of the universe without attachment to them. Anyone aspiring to Self-Realization - whether he be a monastic or a householder - must act and live for the Lord, without being emotionally involved in His drama or creation." These words were timely for two reasons. I have been reviewing Dr. Douglas Brooks' book - Poised for Grace , an annotated commentary on the Bhagavad Gita , from a Tantric perspective in preparation for a workshop he will be giving on this very topic this coming weekend. It so happens that Yogananda's comments are also on the Gita . Furthermore,

Did You Find Joy? Did you bring Joy?

I began my yoga class this cold winter morning by asking my students - do you feel joy in your life? Do you give joy to others? Ancient Egyptians believed two questions determined whether or not they would be allowed to proceed on to the afterlife: Did you find joy? Did you bring joy? I read this a few years ago and was very moved by the questions, because it made me reflect on my own life. Years later I noticed a reference to these very questions in the movie "The Bucket List" with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson - two men dying of cancer who go on a journey of truly living their dreams and re-discovering joy in the final months of their lives. But the truth is, we do not have to wait for a death sentence to experience joy. We can begin - right here - right now. We can begin to experience, embody, and reflect joy in this very moment. All Anusara Yoga students are taught and know that there are two reasons for practicing yoga: 1. Self knowledge - "chit"