Showing posts from October, 2012

Ending the Month With a Grateful Heart

While my immediate area managed to skirt the worst of what Hurricane Sandy had to offer - particularly when it merged with a couple of winter storms - I cannot say the same for friends in the New Jersey and New York areas that were simply devastated... As I watched a lot of the news these last couple of days, many referred to these extreme weather situations as the "new normal." We have indeed witnessed things pretty regularly that are both extreme and catastrophic. I think of the earthquake here last year, and the "Derecho" storm this summer that wreaked havoc in scorching heat and left us without power for days. In the midst of all these situations I cannot explain, I simply choose to have a grateful heart. I am reminded of Meister Eckhart's often quoted saying: "if the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it would be enough." To begin and end every day with a grateful heart is a practice - and its fruits are a blessing. I went down t

Returning to My Roots

Today, I celebrate the birthday of a child I once knew, now a young woman. I gave her the gift of a rosary to mark this occasion. This particular rosary contains a relic from the Chapelle of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, where Mary appeared to St Catherine Laboure and asked that a medal of her image be struck. In this year of many changes, but really, in the year or so prior to this one - I found myself drifting back to spiritual practices that had nourished me in my youth and young adulthood - such as the saying of rosaries, novenas, and so forth... While in the last several decades I immersed myself in the study of Buddhism, Hinduism and Tantra, and Judaism in the decade before that - I never veered too far from what a dear friend once referred to as my "default setting." As a theologian and educator for nearly twenty-five years, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach comparative religions - a subject near and dear to my heart. When in Rome - I do as the Romans

Closing One Door and Opening Another

This year is slowly moving to a close. The days are getting shorter and the darkness is getting longer... It has been a very interesting year, and those of you that have been following my posts, know that it has been tumultuous at best - at least during the beginning of this year. My yoga community as it was, disintegrated, and after nearly three quarters of the year, portions of it have reassembled - or are in the process of doing so so. There are now several groupings that have been drawn to each other either through similar beliefs and convictions, or simply because of geography. Then there are those who are more or less opting to go it alone and give way to a whole other way of being, without the benefit of any support system that had been there previously... For many years, yoga defined a large part of what I did - who I was - and where I put my energy and effort and resources. But that is no longer true. In the process of letting go of my community and re-imagining my life

Good Intentions

"A good intention clothes itself with power." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson This morning was rainy, misty, and foggy at times. It was the kind of day that makes you want to curl up with a book and stay home. I did stay home, and read a couple of newspapers from cover to cover, and skim read portions of several books I received in the mail as well. It was a perfect day to lose oneself in self-reflection... A few days ago, I reviewed two of the goals I had set for myself this year. At the very beginning of the year, I placed two labels on a couple of drinking glasses. On one, I placed the word "compassion," and on the second, I placed the word "healing." My intention was to cultivate greater compassion towards myself and others throughout the course of the year, and to open the door to greater healing in my body, mind, and soul as well. As I reviewed the three quarters of the year that have already gone by, I noted many subtle and not so subtle ways in wh

Conquering Fear

Do we ever really conquer fear? What are the things you fear the most? I have a fear of crossing bridges. But not just any bridge... Most of my life I have had this recurring dream. It involves crossing a bridge that is very narrow and has no railings. It has a steep incline and is high above the water. I cannot see where I am going - and I cannot see land on either side. It's really more of a nightmare. Last week I made myself cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I have only driven across it once before. I'm fine if someone else drives however. Going towards the bridge from the Annapolis side is the most frightening for me, because it has a steep incline that is also curved, and it is quite visible as you approach it. I nearly hyperventilated while crossing it. And it takes four and half minutes to cross it if there is little traffic. I made myself do it to conquer this fear. Or at least try to make a dent in it. It's what psychologists refer to as "Implosion Th

A Day Filled With Sevens

I am graced, once again, with a beautiful day... I begin the day early because there are many domestic duties to be undertaken. Still, I make my way down to the river and the view is quite stunning. A little bit of fog danced on the surface of the water and it was so reminiscent of the light foam topping a latte. It was crisp, and cool morning as well... Several times today - I came in contact with the number "7" - seeing it in different places. Right now my sight glances to my inbox and I see that I have 7 emails waiting there... I make a right turn on a street called "Triple Seven." I know from my theological days that the number seven is of major significance in biblical literature. Is is symbolic of completion and fullness. God created the world in six days - but on the seventh, He rested. I read online earlier, that five is the number of grace and of free, unmerited favors. On the other hand, seven is perfection itself - and symbolic of the Holy Spiri

Metta Practice at the River

The changing of the seasons is upon us... For the first time since last winter/early spring, I made my way down to the river in a fleece and mittens and my Grover flannels, and pumpkin spice coffee. I only ran into a couple of people briefly. Do you suppose they had any inkling that I slept in those flannels? The colors here, down by river, have been resistant to changing - perhaps because of the long drought we experienced this year. I watched leaves slowly fall off the river birches and maples hugging the river bank... This truly is a season of change. It seems that everyone I speak to is undergoing change of some magnitude or other. I hold my cup of coffee, taking in the expanse of the river before me - stopping to respond to a few texts - having only assimilated into the iPhone brigade barely less than twenty-four hours ago. For someone who always embraced all aspects of technology wholeheartedly, it is ironic I am the last one to come on board with this. I just couldn'

Stillness in the Heart

I went to the river this morning, after perhaps a week of abstaining from its healing waters, for one reason or another... It was a brilliant morning and the river was so still - the trees, which have slowly begun turning colors and embracing their harvest hues, were vibrantly reflected in the river - with a clarity reminiscent of a mirror's clean surface. There was a slight crispness in the air, though the promised warmth of the day was also making its presence known and felt. In all ways, all things pointed to a truly magnificent day. Yesterday began as a slightly rainy day during which many all over the world, commemorated the passing of St Francis of Assisi, also known as the Transitus. On this day, many churches welcome four legged friends of all kinds and other animals to receive a blessing. For me, it was a Transitus as well, as I more firmly let go of something that had helped define me for five years. I knew this was necessary to give birth to the new. This morning

Seeing Freshly

Fresh   To move Cleanly. Needing to be Nowhere else. Wanting nothing From any store. To lift something You already had And set it down in A new place. Awakened eye Seeing freshly. What does that do to The old blood moving through Its channels?   ~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~ This was the poem sitting in my inbox this morning... I cannot begin to tell you how it spoke to my heart.. These last few weeks and days, as I shared in my last post, have been punctuated by visible attempts to lighten my load and to being observant - what things do I need to shift in my space, both physically and energetically? I've listened to my intuition and followed its inner promptings. Yesterday, on my walk, I received a profound insight. As I struggled with what I must do next in several areas of my life, a message unexpectedly came through for me very loud and clear. All along, I was focused on re-making myself - or re-imagining my work, my online presence, and so forth. But all of a sud

Make Room for the New...

The much needed rain alternates between a fierce pouring at times and a gentle flow that is rhythmic and soothing at the same time, without once letting up. It provides a wonderful backdrop to my morning meditation... The rain feels very cleansing and it is a reminder to me that as we change seasons it is good to cleanse our bodies, our hearts, our spirits, and our living spaces as well... It is a time to let go of the old - in order to make room for the new...  And so, I go through my home - room by room - weeding and cleaning them all out of things that have outlived their usefulness, if they ever really had one - decluttering as much as I can - filling bags with clothing and boxes with appliances and other household goods for donation, which are promptly picked up by the end of September. Yes, out with the old - to make room for the new... I am inspired to re-arrange my living room space - which has practically never been used in almost 22 years! It was never warm or invitin