This alters everything. Now, instead of competing with others to get what you want, you being to give what you want away. Instead of fighting for more love, you being giving more love away. Instead of struggling for success, you begin making sure that everyone else is successful. Instead of grasping for power, you begin empowering others.
Instead of seeking affection, attention, sexual satisfaction, and emotional security, you find yourself being the source of it. Indeed, everything that you have ever wanted, you are now supplying to others. And the wonder of it all is that, as you give, so do you receive. You suddenly have more of whatever you are giving away.
The reason for this is clear. It has nothing to do with the fact that what you have done is 'morally right,' or 'spiritually enlightened,' or the 'Will of God.' It has to do with a simple truth: There is no one else in the room.
There is only one of us."
(Neale Donald Walsh)
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”
And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.
We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.
(Rainer Maria Rilke)
The fall is always such a special time for me in Columbus. Really. This is the best time of year in the heartland. I guess you can say I love times of transition. In the fall there is a falling away. A Coziness. A briskness.
Change is nice.
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen"(Elizabeth Kubler Ross)
Asana. Meditation. Chanting. Vegetarianism. Ayurveda. And so on ...
Is it enough? Is it enough to do these practices and call it a day? Well, in my opinion, not really. These practices have benefited me greatly. More than I can describe. But also, I've learned that the practices alone can't make up my identity. Simply put, they are tools, and tools only.
With that being said, a tool is a tool, and how we decide to use them is key. I can use the tool to further inflate my ego, or I can use it to deflate it.
One thing I've observed over the years, being a student, and a teacher, is how when introducing these practices, an awakening starts to take place no matter what. It sneaks up, like a thief in the night. When this happens, some embrace transformation, some run. I've gone through a whole slew of this within myself, and no matter what one decides to do, embrace or run, I've learned to honor the process and readiness of the practitioner. Most of all, relinquishing judgments I put on myself and others.
What is gained? Well, nothing. Through the above practices we begin to uncover, unravel, and reveal, and that can manifest in a whole slew of ways. There is no "external" yogic image to live up to, and believe me, I've had to discover this in many capacities. The freeing part came when I deeply realized that through it all, I yearned to truthfully discover myself. Unaltered. Whole. Innocent.
Once able to step out of societal standards, expectations, and living up to an image that wasn't my own, then and only then, was when I began to breathe. However, often where we loose sight is in replacing one identity for another. If anything, I've learned to take pause when I feel as if I'm holding on too tightly to a certain identity structure.
As I continue these practices, and deepen, they have a way of wiping a dirty mirror clean. I see more clearly. Everyday, I wipe it clean. I come out of my head, into my heart, presence enters in, getting down to the root ...
I love how Judith Orloff states that the mind sees only 10%, while the intuition sees 100%. Our bodies are an intuitive channel, and through yoga we can be better equipped with tuning in.
But what from there? Obviously it isn't enough just to be aware. I'm entering into a new phase of my life.
How and where can I be of service? I'm strongly feeling the value of adding value to those around me and beyond. It isn't about just me anymore, and the answer is that it never was.
I may not always get it right, but I'm setting the intention. I'm asking for guidance on this matter. For once in my life I relinquish control from the matter.
Let's see what develops ...
"My life is like a stroll on the beach…as near to the edge as I can go."
Naked. Living without life's pretenses. Living who you are, in every moment, truthfully ... and, being okay with it. Ha. Being more than okay with it. Loving it. Fully and completely.
Experiencing what I'm NOT on almost every level, has really gotten me touch with who I am. It's never been easy, and actually the excavation process has often been painful. There have been times I've been forced to let go, there have been times I let go on my own accord. In both instances, everything happened when I was ready. Sometimes you need a push, sometimes you shove, a delicate balance, and ultimately it comes down to surrendering to the force and intelligence behind everything.
Now, I've come to a place where I see the beauty, and fear in standing naked in every moment and encounter. Naked, meaning, not hiding behind, external labels, status symbols, or defenses. Including, past pains, hurts and/or judgments. Can I look to each moment with the clarity and innocence of a child? Can I be vulnerable, and truthful with ALL of my feelings, and not be ashamed for the 'supposed' repercussions for it? I ask myself this.
It's amazing how we get comfortable hiding in the dark. Hiding behind all that inflates our false reality. Our false perception. Our false identity. We may continue to feed the falseness, but no amount of numbing will help heal the emptiness that is felt in this space. Thank God for living, and learning ... for living, and learning, and learning ... and living, and learning. It's a constant process, never ending.
Hopefully, as I move through life the learning process will become an upward spiral. Coming full circle, to end where I started, to now have a broader perspective, a new set of eyes, a new found clarity.
Being naked is looking at things for what they are. No more, no less. Can I look beyond the 'story' and see what is truly real? Can I look beyond what I think needs to happen? Can I look beyond how I feel things should be?
Ultimately, can I stand in the present moment, and just be there in all my stripped down glory, and smile with what is?
I've been asked, why do you do what you do? Feel the way you do? Done what you have done?
Some days, I don't have an answer. Some days, I often ask myself the same thing, but it's come to the point where I can NOT do what I do, because I'm haunted by it, I'm enthralled and burned to the core from the inside out, and once there is a taste, one can never go back. The calling is always there it is all in the matter of when we choose to listen.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.
This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I'll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in the aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?
Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.
This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
When I'm outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.
"In love with life, my soul lives the subtlest of passions, lives like a gypsy, each day a different house, each night under the stars."
Since being back in Columbus I found myself slowly practicing later and later. When I say late, it may seem a bit odd that getting up at dawn was late for me. But, no matter, I noticed the difference in the energy versus getting up in the pre-dawn hours, and I have to say, my inner clock was gently telling me to get up earlier to practice.
Didn't take much adjusting on my part. Getting to bed the same time every evening was key. No problem.
There is nothing like the energy and silence felt during this time. I love it. I relish it. It's almost as if a subtle current is supporting me, like being held in the palm of someone's hand. The mind is quiet, the energy steady, sustaining, I start slow, and end spent, in a good way.
Two hours before dawn are known as bramhamuhurta, in Sanskrit, "the time divine." Or as Certified Ashtanga yoga teacher, Anthony Carlisi states, the "nectar hours," referring to the transition from darkness to the light just before the dawn. There seems to be a subtle sweetness at this time, and I laugh at myself at how shocking it is to say it. If asked if this would be an enjoyable time to be up 5 years ago, I would've gave a simple, hell no. But the more I practice, the more external stimuli drop away, and I come to appreciate the cycles of nature, and the energetic rhythms and pulsations of the earth. This unexpectedly crept into my consciousness and has pleasantly surprised me along the path.
With all that being said, when sharing with new practitioners, I always refer to what David Swenson says, "the best time to practice is, when you can practice." Very true. I find that often, in the beginning, we have a built in structure in place, and the simple showing up when we can, is an awesome place to start. Then, with willingness, and the opportunity to turn down the volume of the monkey mind, we can tune in. Tune in to our essential self. Stripped down. Bare. This can be scary at first, but ultimately it is something we must all face.
Being truly present at this time is better than anything. Why seek other forms of entertainment when sitting in a space of peacefulness? It doesn't get any better. It simply doesn't.
"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off."
Following are several links that might be of interest for those of you out there. Hope you enjoy, or find something useful.
Sounds True: Insights to the Edge - A series of podcasts facilitated by Tami Simon, founder and publisher of Sounds True, where she dialogues with visionaries, teachers, writers, and thought leaders. Worth checking out for a dose of inspiration, or simply an opportunity to open to a broader perspective. You can find many talks in the Achieves, as well.
MAGIC GHEE!? - Order Ghee that's made from grass-fed cows and only prepared on the new and full moon. Awesome. Also, learn more about this sattvic wonder food!
Remembering Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - A touching article on Guruji. Worth the read.
Little Moon Essentials - I'm really becoming a fan of their products. I especially like "Ass Kisser." You'll have to see for yourself what that's all about. ;-)
Love Print - Okay, I'm going out on a limb ... but, this seems like a really cute gift idea!
Penzu - An online journal, that's secure. Daily journal writing is a great way to strengthen intuition, and unload unwanted garbage that litters the mind. I've really enjoyed making daily entries.
Go now, and live.
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
(Naomi Shihab Nye)
Eat Tate Heal. I gotta plug this book! It's got everything! I love it. If there was one book on Ayurveda I would recommend to start off with, it would be this. Also, it's great for those already in the know when it comes to this ancient healing science. Check it out. You won't be disappointed!
More info, www.eattasteheal.com
When first introduced, I took Triphala in capsule form, now however, I've graduated to ingesting it in powder form. I say graduated, because it does NOT have a pleasant taste. Not at all. But somehow, I've gotten used to the flavor. My roommate's boyfriend calls it gun powder ... hahaha
Anyway, take a look at some of the amazing benefits of Triphala!
Triphala, one of the most popular herbal preparations in the world. Triphala is used to help appetite and digestion, increase the number of red blood cells, and aid in removal of offensive fat in the body. Triphala can be used to clear congestion and headaches. Other claimed benefits include helping maintain normal blood sugar levels, as well as improvement in skin tone and colour. Triphala prevents aging, imparts immunity and improves mental faculties. It helps to detoxify the liver, restore digestion and purify blood. Triphala is widely used in a large number of medicinal preparations. It is also a laxative that rejuvenates the membrane lining the digestive tract and contributes to effective cleansing of the colon, a key condition in Ayurveda to maintaining optimum health.
Triphala is composed of three fruits, namely Harada (haritaki), Amla (amalaki) and Behada (bibhitaki). Triphala is available as a bulk powder or in tablets. The powder is generally used to make a tea, while the tablets provide a more convenient option for dministration. It helps in healing ulcers in cases of Pyoderma gangrenosum and in the treatment of Lipoma. Triphala can be used for constipation ,colon tonification, gastrointestinal tract, tonifier ,intestinal cleansing ,digestive balancer ,food assimilation support ,serum cholesterol balance ,better circulation , bile duct opener ,sluggish peristalsis ,antioxidant ,headaches ,kidney support and liver support. To help your skin make the most of Triphala's cleansing power, avoid eating too many heavy, deep-fried foods or rich desserts.
Triphala, being a made of all three, is therefore balanced, making it useful as an within cleansing, to remove the toxic quality of a substance formula for everyone including more sensitive type individuals and vegetarians. Triphala is also widely taken for all eye diseases including the treatment of redness of the lining of the white part of the eye , progressive myopia, the early stages of glaucoma and cataracts. Steep one tablespoonful of the powder or six capsules select in an 8 ounce glass of water overnight. Taken in this way for at least three months, Triphala becomes an herbal eye tonic. Triphala includes the three tastes that pacify the fire element--bitter, sweet and astringent. Triphala helps pacify Pitta and decreases the skin's vulnerability to photosensitivity.
Triphala provides overall support for the substance that aids digestion function and helps ensure that the digestive tract works at the optimal level. Triphala aids in digestion, relieves constipation, and helps regularises the digestive system. Triphala rejuvenates the digestive tract membrane and contributes to effective cleansing of the colon. Triphala prevents aging, give immunity, and improves mental faculties. Triphala helps to detoxify the liver and purify blood. Triphala possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties useful in the treatment of opthalmia. Triphala is used to prevent the development of a cataract, such as in diabetic patients. (source)
Below are ten golden benefits of triphala:-
· Firstly it acts as an antioxidant agent preventing any free radical formation in the body. This property of triphala helps it to prevent early aging signs like wrinkles and premature graying of hairs.
· Secondly it is helpful in regularizing the normal peristaltic movements that are very essential for proper passage of food from one organ to another. This helps in aiding the digestion of food in proper amount of time.
· Thirdly it acts as an appetizer as it helps in proper digestion of the food.
· Fourthly it is very effective in stimulating the liver for its functioning to the optimized level. More over it also helps in secretion of the bile juices that are very much required for fat metabolism.
· It is very much helpful in reducing the plaque formation in the arteries thereby reducing the risk of heart related problems caused due to arteriosclerosis.
· Triphala helps in maintaining the proper levels of the cholesterol in the body thereby preventing us from fatal and deadly heart problems. It helps in curbing the formation of low density lipoprotein (LDL).
· It is very much effective in suppressing any kind of infection or foreign invasion in the blood thereby helpful in preventing any kind of skin related diseases and other infectious conditions in the body.
· It is helpful in maintaining the proper secretions of the endocrinal system that are responsible for maintaining the proper homeostasis in the body and aiding the proper functioning of all the physiological processes in the body.
· It is an excellent remedy for eyes related problems and helps in improving the eye vision and strengthens the muscles of the eyes.
· Last but not the least, being a mild laxative it helps in evacuating the bowel and therefore is considered as one of the best body detoxifier and facilitates expulsion of toxins out of the body. (source)
Another good article on Triphala, click, here. Also, if you google it, and do a bit of research, you'll find an abundance of information on this magical, miracle herb. Yay!
"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night"
Wide open awareness. It starts here. Nothing needs to be further clarified or explained. We open, we join, we release.
The discovery of opening to awareness versus falling into judgment is a continual process and everyday practice. Often I don't get it, and am amazed how easy it is to react in such a way, but quickly I learn, that in judgment, I separate, and further alienate my True self, my True nature.
Good, bad, left, right, only further the drama that essentially takes us out of our own inner radiance. Can I see? Can I just be? Do I need to be pushed and pulled to and fro? Can I stand in a place of total acceptance, not needing to add or subtract?
Interesting questions to ask ... Realness, the place where being and existing in this world unite. Where I live in my genuineness, and not feel sorry for it, even if it looks a bit strange to others, I can be who I am.
This supposed inner quest I'm on never ceases to amaze and/or push my limits. One thing I am discovering is, just what I need to hear, and when, is always offered up to me, from moment to moment.
I love this following excerpt ...
You don't gather knowledge when you are getting to know yourself; you lose it. Many of your firmest ideas go out the window. You may feel naked, vulnerable, threatened, argumentative, angry. But if you are really looking for the truth and not for some personal vindication you will start to discover you have access to the same source of truth as the wisest teachers who ever lived.
Truth is of the moment, never of the man. And 'man' as I use the word includes all of us, men, women and children.
It is a little known fact that truth cannot be memorized. Truth has to be discovered now, from moment to moment. It is always fresh, always new, always there for the still, innocent mind that has experienced life without needing to hold on to what has gone before.
His message is only heard in silence.
Take a sip of his precious wine and lose yourself.
Don't insult the greatness of his Love,
for he helps those who suffer, in silence.
Polish the mirror between the breaths.
Go with him, beyond words.
He knows your every deed.
He is the one who moves the wheel of heaven, in silence.
Every thought is buried in your heart;
He will reveal them one by one, in silence.
Turn each of your thoughts into a bird
And let them fly to the other world.
One is an owl, one is a falcon, one is a crow.
Each one is different from the others
But they are all the same in silence.
To see the Moon that cannot be seen
Turn your eyes inward and look at yourself
IN SILENCE ...
"We are set on earth a little space to learn to bear the beams of love." (William Blake)
It's times like these, I feel I'm back to square one. It's times like these, that humble and inspire me to continue on, even though I can barely call myself a novice. Haha. Still getting there.
It's times like these that I realize I'm only at the brink of understanding, and that understanding isn't always everything. It's time like these where I feel I'm only at the beginning.
I'm astonished at how fast time seems to travel. Already, it has been over two months since being back in Columbus. Developments are still underway for my next move, and I've continually had to learn the meaning of patience.
In my daily practice, in the silence, between the inhale and exhale, again, it's all about letting go, even more. Who would have thought? There is always more to let go of. Even within the same sequence, I've played around with feeling, sensing each asana with wide open awareness versus a conjured up mental image of what or where I need to be, and it's interesting and fun at the same time. But another thing I've learned is that the practice isn't always gonna be fun, some days it's drudgery, but in the experience of dense energy, transformation always takes place and again we learn, we accept, we deal, we experience the fuel of tapas.
Here is what I found.
Ladybug - Life, Rebirth, Abundance, HopeIf anyone out there has anything else to share or add, please let me know.
Lady bugs with their bright red shells and black spots carry the magic of rebirth. Red and black are the colors of thoughts and manifestation. Often Ladybug will appear to us when we have an opportunity to succeed, grow, and start something new. All of the beetle family transforms from larvae to adult, showing us we too can transform our lives. Let Ladybugs consume your unwanted fears and encourage new adventures.
Ladybug: The Ladybug is associated with spirituality and religious devotion. The name Ladybug originated in Europe during the Middle Ages, when insects were destroying the crops. Catholic farmers were said to have prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. Soon after, Ladybugs appeared and began eating the pests and saved the crops from destruction. The farmers began to call the Ladybugs “the Beetles of Our Lady” and eventually they were known as Lady Beetles. The Ladybug's red wings are said to represent the Virgin's cloak and the black spots her joys and sorrows.
The Ladybug is widely considered a symbol of luck and is seen as a good omen when it comes calling. In Sweden, it is said that if one lands on a young woman's hand, she will soon get married. In France, it is said that if you are ill when one lands on you, it will fly away with your illness.
Ladybugs are also considered to be symbols of fire and the Sun.
Ladybug teaches life is short and it teaches to let go of ones' worries and fears, to trust in spirit and enjoy life. It brings the gifts of renewal and regeneration. The message of the Ladybug could be asking you to “Let go and let God”.
Have a blessed weekend!
"Love itself is the only real essence in our world. This leaves fear to be recognized for what it is in its totality, which is absolute illusion. No part of fear is real. It only seems real when our minds believe it and use it as the filter through which our lens of perception sees and consequently feels that people, things, and circumstances are trying to attack us. We cannot exist peacefully with some love and some fear; it is not possible."
(Take Me To Truth: Undoing the Ego, by Nouk Sanchez & Tomas Vieira)
The weather took a sudden shift this week. Cooler, especially in the early morning during practice time, and dryer too. Yay! My back loves it, lol. I guess this will only further prepare me for Sweden. And with that being said, the 2010 farmer's almanac states that middle America is gonna have a bitch of a winter, too. Fun times.
The Swedish studies are slowly plugging along. I keep reminding myself, brick by brick, little by little, progress will be made. It kinda reminds me how I felt when I first dived into the Ashtanga yoga practice, much of what I saw or attempted, felt out of reach ... but little by little, brick by brick, my body opened and I became stronger ... that little bit, everyday, goes a long way, in the end. So, I'm doing my best to remind myself of this as I take on learning a foreign language. I'm trying to enjoy the process.
The months since being back have flown by in a flash. September already! That means football season in Buckeye land, among other things. I've always enjoyed Autumn in Columbus.