Showing posts from December, 2010

New Year's Eve

We are on the doorsteps of a New Year - on the threshold looking in... We are heading towards the darkness of night, and the dawn of a new day and year... This morning I read these simple words, written as a prayer: "Dear God, on the eve of this New Year teach me that yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is the present and that it why it is called a gift." And then, right before my morning meditation, these words by Paramahansa Yogananda : "Let us forget the sorrows of the past and make up our minds not to dwell on them in the New Year. With determination and unflinching will, let us renew our lives, our good habits, and our successes. If the last year has been hopelessly bad, the New Year must be hopefully good." And, to all who read these words - to your and your beloved ones: May your New Year be full of love, grace and peace, love and harmony, and filled with countless blessings!

Christmas - The Incarnation of Love

On this Christmas morning, I sit in meditation, and the insight comes to me, that this Sacred Day, is really all about the Incarnation of Love. God, who is the Source of All Love, Incarnates as a child and in our hearts to show us that Love is all there is... I emerge from a long and quiet meditation, as a few delicate flurries dance joyously outside my window, fully cognizant of the reality that Love is all that matters. Only Love endures. Even in the scriptures, St. Paul asserts, "that of these three, Faith, Hope, and Love, the greatest of these is Love..." I wrote a beloved friend yesterday, and told her, that my new murti of Hanuman , who exemplifies loyalty, devotion, and love, had arrived just before Christmas to show me the Way to Love. He has come into my sacred space to break my heart open - that it may most fully give and receive Love... As I prepared remarks for a dear friend's memorial service, I thought of how all who would gather there, would do so in

Christmas Eve 1513 AD and 2010 AD

On this Sacred Eve of Christmas , I make two offerings - one written by Fra Giovanni in 1513 AD, and the second, humbly penned by me. May God's Love and Presence continue to Incarnate in your hearts, and may you always scatter the fruits of your love, your life, and actions, illuminating darkened corners everywhere! Written on Christmas Eve 1513 I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is a radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look! Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, c

A Season for Christmas

On the eve - of Christmas Eve , I arise at dawn and greet the morning down by the river which is now totally frozen over, for the first time in years. I sit in the biting cold and howling wind and offer prayers, my heart racked by conflicting and deep emotions as I prepare for the birth of God's son, in the shadow of a beloved friend's death... Inspirations and ideas come for a memorial service I will soon lead, for this wonderful yogini, who touched so many lives in my local yoga community... I make my way home to the stillness and quiet, to sit and meditate some more, mindful that this Season of Advent is almost over, and in a matter of hours, it will gracefully yield into the Season of Christmas ... Spontaneously, I feel compelled to go get coffee from McDonald's . For a long time this was an almost daily ritual for me, on my way to the river, at a time that was difficult in my life, but it is something I have not done now for a while... I arrive and am greeted by t

A Time for Signs and Wonders

It is truly a time for signs and wonders in all that is seen and that which is unseen as well... Yesterday, many observed the Winter Solstice , which was ushered in by a rare lunar eclipse, a full moon, and an unusual conjunction of planets - not seen for centuries. These were incredible signs and wonders which came bearing messages and were filled with meaning... In the midst of it all, I struggled to make sense of the tragic death of dear friend - but even this brought its own insights and signs from the "Other Side," and gathered a community together, from far and wide... And in the late afternoon, as the day exhaled its last ray of light into the darkness, my new Hanuman murti, representing Siva and Shakti in its devotional aspects, auspiciously arrived, just at twilight, in time for my evening meditation. A murti is a sacred statue, and when I opened the box, I immediately felt a blast of Hanuman's sweet energy, so powerful and soft, and like a loving embrac

The Winter Solstice, Lunar Eclipse, and Full Moon 2010

These are truly extraordinary times. In the last year, we have seen many rare and unusual planetary, astrological, and astronomical alignments and occurrences, especially for those with the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the heart willing to ponder the signs and wonders we are given. There were many unusual such occurrences around the time of the birth of Jesus as well, although, this too, might be debated by some skeptics. Still, I find myself in awe of what will transpire in a few short hours. We are on the doorsteps of the darkest and longest night of the year - the Winter Solstice , coupled with the Full Moon , and a Lunar Eclipse , which has not occurred simultaneously since 1554 AD! The energy feels intense to me, bordering on the magical, and some truly strange things, defying any immediate explanation happened to me, one of which was, a "mini crop circle" appearing on my laundered microfiber sheets, looking like a full moon. It very much reminded me of the the p

Love for All Seasons

Late last might, I read Sally Kempton's newsletter, a wonderful spiritual teacher whose works often focus on the power of meditation, and she offered beautiful insights into the Season of Love , which is indeed, every season, in every year... I have excerpted the following, which spoke to me: "A friend of mine wrote, 'I was at the DMV today. I was looking around and falling in love with faces, feeling the brokenness and listening to the seeds of hope in every conversation around me.' Reading her words reminded me how this season - the year's midnight, with its celebrations of light and grace - can often invite us into this kind of poignant, almost heart-breaking love. Of course, love is always present, ready to pour through us. And we always have the choice to see each other with the eye of love. Yes, it's always felt to me that the love force of the cosmos is present in a particularly universal way at this time of year, at least in the parts of the worl

A Season for Love

Yesterday, we received our first measurable snow of the season, and it was enough to wreak havoc in the Washington DC area. I managed to sub for one class, but the two evening ones were canceled. I slowly made my way home to a warm house, to nurture the sudden winter cold I have developed for the first time in years! Later this morning, I made my way down to the river which was mostly frozen and covered in snow. I could not tell where the water met the concrete of the boat launch, but in a few minutes I felt ice crunching beneath my feet, so I knew not to tread any further. Still, I watched while 3 guys carried their kayaks down to the launch area, donned dry suits and armed themselves with tools to cut through the ice. I considered that pretty risky behavior in my book, and told them to be careful... Today, with eight days remaining until Christmas , the "O Antiphons of Advent," take center stage in the liturgical calendar and readings, which are very beautiful and full o

Love Actually - Is All There Is

I am ending my yoga classes for the season with my "classic" Holiday Class - which I've done for about 6 years now - and it includes restoratives, longer holds of forward bends and hip openers, and a mini - Yoga Nidra - inviting quiet introspection - while I read selections of my latest volume of poems, with seasonal music in the background that is both soft and instrumental. This year, I decided to use the theme, "Love Actually," because I simply adore this holiday movie. I love the way it begins and ends, and I delight in so many of the witty lines and irreverent situations. It is truly a feel good movie that tugs at the heart strings, and makes me feel all fuzzy and warm inside! I began this morning, all excited about teaching and thinking of my theme and the movie that inspired it, and within a few short moments, reminders of love - and how - "love actually" - is really all there is in this world, seemed to materialize in every piece of email I r

An Advent Blessing for All Seasons and People

I wrote this poem and shared it with a few dear friends, most of whom are also yoginis, and they in turn, shared it with their classes, and so it made the rounds, touching people of every background, everywhere, in yoga classrooms, and beyond. As a result, several people, including ones I had not heard from in years, asked me for a copy. It was such a blessing to connect with these souls once again. So I share it with you, dear readers, as well, because its message is both timeless and universal... Advent 2010 In this Sacred Season Of Stillness and Silence, May you walk with the Divine-- Scattering the true Gifts Of this Blessed Season: Joy, Compassion, and Love, With every breath you take. Be the Light You want to see, Shining brightly everywhere. Embody the Change You hope will take root In every soul and nation. Give the Love You wish to receive, Have, and always treasure. Spread the Joy You hope will soothe, The yearning in every heart. Be the Silence De

Advent - A Season for Peace

I did not set out to write a series of Advent reflections. I write only when I am inspired to do so - and when I get a clear message that somehow something in my heart must be conveyed... And while I know that not everyone that reads this blog comes from the same spiritual or philosophical background - or even the same interests or convictions - I try to convey messages and values that are both timeless and universal, and accessible to all. And so today, I write of peace, because in the last few days, so many messages received have reminded me of its importance... As I mentioned a few days ago, I have been reading the daily reflections on a a site called "Following the Star," and this weeks entries focus on peace. Forty-two years ago today, Thomas Merton , perhaps the most prolific spiritual writer of all time - and most certainly of the 20th century - died accidentally, while attending a monastic conference in Thailand. Merton was a Trappist Monk, an activist, a poet, a t

Advent - A Season for Forgiveness

Today, I send out a few Christmas cards, and in many of them, I simply wrote: "May the blessings of this Sacred Season inviting Stillness and Silence be yours. I am grateful for the gift of you!" Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali - all more or less intersect - and echo and invite the celebration of light - and at heart are joyous occasions. It is also a time to set right things that aren't, and I found myself reflecting on this yesterday, as I read through the readings for the day. This weekend, I went down to the basement to retrieve and dust off my Lectionary - a remnant of the days I was a liturgist and responsible for worship services. I was moved to add the liturgical readings of the day to my morning reflections. Today, for example, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception... In my morning meditations, I read from the booklet "Walk With Me," that I picked up at St. Mary's Catholic Church, in London, and reflected on these words: &qu

Advent - A Season for Balance

This week, my yoga teacher asked us if the holidays had a way of throwing us off balance. At first I shook my head nodding no - and then quickly caught myself, because if truth be told, I have been out of sorts and dealing with some issues on the personal and physical front. The whole sequence of poses steered us - not only in the direction of attaining greater balance - but urged us to simply accept where we were, when we experienced ourselves as out of balance, in a non-judgmental way. My teacher, who is perhaps the most enthusiastic person I have encountered in my life, urged us to banish our inner self-critic - and send him or her packing indefinitely to the local watering hole! I loved that image! I had no idea how timely this class would be... Instead of succumbing to unbalance, my teacher reminded us, that tuning into the breath, and availing ourselves of all the skills that our yoga and meditation practices offered us, could help bring about this elusive state itself. We had

Advent - A Season for Light

The day begins with wind and rain, and later when I go for a walk, I note that the creeks are swollen, and I can only imagine what the river looks likes. A part of me yearns to take a look, but there are tasks waiting for my attention... Advent is a season that invites light into our lives, just as we are journeying more deeply into darkness... There is a wonderful site with Advent reflections called "Following the Star," that I wrote about on this blog two years ago. And yesterday, I read the selections for the day several times... "People of faith are not unrealistic. We know the world can be a dark place. But we also know that darkness is not all. There is a reason to hope, because there is a light always shining. Watch now for the light...And have your hope renewed..." I thought of the wonderful scripture passage from Isaiah 2:9 , and decades ago, when I was a Liturgical musician, I often sang a song based on this passage: "The people that walked in d