Sacred Ritual

25.10.09



Fear is the question. Love is the answer.

(Rain Bojangles)


Sacred ritual. A time of offering, a handing over, an alignment to a greater/larger power, in our daily practices. A practice that has continued to nourish me beyond what is comprehensible. As it should be. Going beyond the realities of time and space. Going beyond what is outside and taking me deep to the universe that resides within.

The daily showing up to the mat has taken me to a place of grander discovery to my surprise. No more is it about accomplishment. Somehow it's developed into a sacred place. It's become a sacred ritual of inner to outer connection. As I connect within, my physical body comes alive, fueled by conscious breath to conscious breath. Every movement has meaning. The turn of my foot. The bend of my knee. The gaze to my big toe has just of a significance as twisting, lifting, and jumping. All of it. Every bit of it, becomes scared, and in that, I loose sense of me, and become one with the movement, the breath, the experience.

Ahh. It's THAT, that brings me back. Every morning.

Process

23.10.09



Do not seek the because - in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.

(Anais Nin)

Process. I had a new practitioner of the practice tell me they were tired of being a process. This was after a highly emotional breakdown/breakthrough. It never ceases to amaze how through the practice of yoga layers start to dismantle. I've seen it time and time again. It isn't always necessary one go through a massive emotional upheaval, but sometimes it does happen. Sometimes it's necessary. Sometimes we need to feel something for once in our lives instead of numbing, running, hiding, deflecting those dark places within us.

After I heard this, I asked what they meant by being tired of being a process, even though I already felt every bit of what they meant by it. Because, I've been there. Oh my, I've soooo been there. I've felt this. Sometimes still do. But, yeah, I totally understood what the meaning behind it was.

The feeling of being a process. The process of becoming. Becoming what? It. That. That thing. That place that is just beyond grasp. Ugh. Then will I find happiness?

It's easy to fall into this space. Thinking there is some type of salvation to work toward. When really, salvation lives in every single moment. Each moment culminating into profound awareness if only we stop resisting what is. Sounds so completely simple. And is. However, to put into practice, daily, moment to moment, requires a fair amount of letting go. Which happened through the emotional release.

Scaling the mountain of perfection is an endless climb. The ego feeds on this energy. The energy of continual dissatisfaction for what is right in front of our faces. We climb. We reach. Thinking fulfillment is 'out there' somewhere.

On the flip side, it doesn't mean apathy. Not caring. Never desiring. But, a little thing I've learned along the way is the importance of embracing the imperfections. Embrace that our hearts will get broken. Embrace the rejection. Embrace what we feel for God's sake! Embrace those dark places. When we open to who we are NOT rather than push it away, we start to feel who it is we ARE. As we embrace everything, we can use it as fuel to further understand.

Embrace meaning to be present.

As I further listened. I really had no words to speak of. For, how do you illustrate to someone that this too will pass, and to be cut open as such will lead one where they need to go even though it feels uncomfortable?

I've never been the best at giving advice because often I feel as if I'm bumbling along in life, figuring it out as I go along. However, I will say, I've started to soften with time versus harden. I don't want this life to make me hard. I don't want to shut down. I don't want to live feeling like I have to build a fence around me exuding the need to build on to my exterior. Yes, it leaves me more vulnerable, but through it all, I've learned this is a strength.

Love is the strongest power of all. It's a softening, yielding energy. Such a strong amount of trust it takes. I trust a little more everyday ... and oh, how I soften. A settling into. A settling into my own being.

It never matters if we get knocked down. It's in the getting up where we find what we are made of.


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Change

20.10.09



When I die I will soar with angels & when I die to the angels, what I shall become you cannot imagine.

(Rumi)

Upcoming changes are on the horizon. It's been a low laying last few months. I've had the opportunity to renew, retouch, rediscover, and reclaim places within myself. Important places of knowing, trusting and releasing.

Ha. I'm being pretty vague.

No matter. The past several months have been invaluable. I mean, sometimes you have to stop. Simply stop. Stop doing. Stop. Listen. Understand. Get in touch with what's wanting to emerge. When I flit about, and distract myself, I find that I've only run in circles.

You have to jump. Make a big 'ol leap of faith. As sentimental as it sounds, it's true. Jump off the merry go 'round, everyone seems so fond of riding. Those unknown places have forced me to trust what will be, will be, and the quest for seeking control is forever fruitless.

Over the years I've had to face head on my own self-doubt. A debilitating mind disease that always made me question what was truly in my heart, when I already knew the answer. Before, I would have stopped and wondered - what will others think? Now, I've realized that the quest to satisfy that question has lead me nowhere, to now here. Here. To finally have the courage to tread the quest of my heart's fulfillment.

One thing I've learned in choosing this way is it isn't the easiest path to take. But somehow, by some miracle, I don't feel as alone as I did before. I'm not even entirely sure how that happened. But it did. By some divine Grace, by choosing to walk forward, even when scared, a crack of light would open. Just the slightest bit. This I am grateful for. It's a choice. I can choose to focus on the crack of light, or the darkness that surrounds me.

Alone. Yes. An ache, I've felt for as long, and for as young as I can remember. Even when I had many around me. Not sure why, but it was something that left me standing in vast darkness during the highs, and the lows.

We all know change is inevitable, at least in this reality, and I'm left asking myself ...

Can I maintain peace, and heartfelt connection in times of change, elation and turmoil?

This place of peace is becoming the utmost important space to be. No matter what.

I'm learning. Slowly, slowly ... learning.


Coffee Enema. Who Knew?

19.10.09

"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free."
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The Coffee Enema

Cleanse Recovery

18.10.09



"This is love: To fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall every moment, to let go."

(Rumi)


All done with my first liver/gallbladder cleanse! Hooray! All in all, it wasn't bad, and fairly painless. Actually there was no pain, except for the nausea I experienced last evening, which my two other friends did not experience.

Continuing from yesterday, after taking my second dose of Epsom salts, in the morning, things really started to flow ... and ViolĂ ! ... stones were released! It's amazing, lol. Most were very, very small, and the biggest ones I could see were pea sized. See the above picture. I placed a quarter next to two stones I recovered so one can see the relative size of the things. I expelled anywhere from 50 to 100 of these little guys, to my best estimate. Absolutely, painless.

The color of the stones expelled tell a story of there own. Dark green ones, are the oldest, and tan stones are usually the newest. One friend of mine had bright orange ones!!!

All in all, I'm extremely glad I did the cleanse, and feel an overall sense of well-being from doing so. The best way I can describe it is, it feels like a strong release. Obviously. Much was released. I feel as if my skin is glowing!

Again, I can't say it enough, the book we followed for the cleanse gave us a wealth of information. We followed what the author suggested to the letter. He clearly laid everything out for one to easily understand, and follow.

The book: The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse, by Andreas Moritz

He does recommend repeating the cleanse anywhere from 3 week to 1 month intervals until no further stones come out. When a cycle of stones are expelled, the ones in the back move to the front. And, the number of times one needs to repeat, all depends on one's diet history/health and such. I'm not sure when I will repeat, however I do see the benefit in adding this into one's health maintenance regimen.

After getting over the hump of doing it my first time, it really wasn't as bad as I imagined. Through my own yoga practice over the years, I've come into a strong sense of my body's intelligence, an intuitive sense, if you will, and though it may seem strange to those on the outside, I feel as if I'm on the right track ... and, I couldn't feel better about it.

What a liberating feeling. I feel wonderful!! Yipeeee!

Liver/Gallbladder Cleanse Day 6

17.10.09

"In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors."

Sitting Postures - Primary Series

16.10.09

Blog Action Day

Liver/Gallbladder Cleanse Day 5

"Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul."

Liver/Gallbladder Cleanse Day 4

14.10.09

"Hell is not punishment, it’s training."

"Look for the flame of good in everyone, fan that flame into a fire, which by it's very nature will burn away all impurities."

(Markus Rothkranz)

Day 3 Liver/Gallbadder Cleanse

13.10.09

"That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world… happiness isn’t good enough for me. I demand euphoria."

Day 2 Liver/Gallbaldder Cleanse

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go."

Day 1 Liver/Gallbladder Cleanse

11.10.09


"Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere."
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Embarking on a Liver and Gallbladder Cleanse

"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit."

(ee. cummings)



(Click on book for information)

Yup. Tomorrow will the start of my Liver and Gallbladder cleanse. Thankfully, I won't be doing this on my own, but with the support of two other fellow participants. Doing stuff like this with others simply helps, especially if it's for the first time.

Why? Well, there are many reasons why to do it. For one, it has been over six months since I embarked on my very first panchakarma experience. Which, by the way, I highly, highly recommend, I can't say it enough. I felt even months afterward, like my body was recalibrating to a state of continual balance. A wonderful feeling.

Two, I'm a big believer in taking preventive measures when it comes to health, and health maintenance. Anyone who knows me, and knows me well, knows that I look to the cause and not to the effect. Simply treating symptoms has proven itself to be a failure, time and time, again in the West. Being, a former pharmaceutical rep (ugh. I hate to admit, lol), and talking to hundreds of doctors, and sitting in their offices full of patients, clearly were never places of ultimate healing and rejuvenation. Of course, these are only my opinions, and observations during the years and I'm in no way knocking the profession of medicine. However, I feel like we only get one tiny aspect of what it means to live a healthy existence. I guess what I'm trying to say is it's important for me to run on all cylinders versus just hanging by a thread.

Three, well, it all comes down to the liver and the startling formation of gallstones that form there due to the nature of our diet. After some research, and learning about how important the functions of the liver are, it seems quite crazy NOT to do the cleanse. Simply put, I don't want gallstones in my body.

Benefits? Well one can expect a whole host of benefits through cleansing the liver, such as improved digestive and metabolic functions. Increased mental clarity, vitality, and energy. Clearer skin. Reversal of premature aging. Freedom from pain. Hormonal balance ...

The list goes on, and on ...

The protocol begins with drinking one liter of organic apple juice for 6 days. This helps to soften the stones via the malic acid contained in the apple juice. Not too shabby. However, the fun part comes in during the 6 day when a concoction of Epsom salts and filtered water, along with a grapefruit juice, olive oil mixture are ingested. I'll be posting more of the details during the actual day.

This should be interesting.

Where The Wild Things Are

10.10.09



Ah. I so remember this book as a kid.

Tie Your Heart at Night to Mine

Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness
like twin drums beating in the forest
against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream
that cuts the thread of earthly orbs
with the punctuality of a headlong train
that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,
to the grip on life that beats in your breast,
with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply
to the sky’s questioning stars
with one key, one door closed to shadow.

(Pablo Neruda)

Nataraj

9.10.09



Nataraj Nataraja Jay Shiva Shankara Nataraja
Shivaraj Shivaraja Shambo Shankara Shivaraja

Om Namah Shivaya Namah Shivaya


Lord Shiva - is the cosmic energy of change and transformation, the fire that burns away all that stands between us and freedom. He is the absolute pure consciousness, the embodiment of auspiciousness. He is know as the Lord of time, of dreams, of the unconscious mind, of ghosts, of death. He is the exhale that creates room for the inhale. He is destruction that opens up the way for rebirth. Creation, preservation, and destruction happening every moment ... When we sing to Shiva, we offer ourselves to Him to be cleansed, purified, transformed, liberated. We offer our sense of separateness, our ego driven self-will to the will of the divine.

Nataraj/Nataraja - means Lord or King (raja) of the dance (nata). This is an epithet of Shiva, referring to his tandava, his ferocious dance of fury which causes the entire world to crumble to dust. This is the auspicious and sometimes frightening clearing away of the old to make way for the creation of the new.

Shivaraj/Shivaraja - means Lord or King Shiva.

Shankara - is the epithet of Shiva, meaning "the annihilator."

Shambo - is another epithet of Shiva.

Om - is the cosmic sound, the scared syllable, the core sound of creation, preservation, and destruction.

Namah Shivaya - is translated as: I bow to; I surrender to, I honor; I offer myself unto Shiva, the great Lord of yogis and of transformation; the indwelling higher Self.

(Written by Jai Uttal)

A Talk on School Lunch



A must see!

Provacative Talk on Food

Tony Robbins

8.10.09



Give. Nice, reminder.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus



Don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to seeing this film. Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, and Jude Law are a some of my favorite actors.

Ganesha Sharanam




Ganesha Sharanam Sharanam Ganesha
Gan Gan Ganapati Sharanam Ganesha

Jay Ganesha Jaya Jaya Gananatha



Ganesha is the elephant-headed god, son of Shiva and Parvati. "Gana" means troops or multitudinous spiritual attendants of Shiva, and "isha" means Lord, so Ganesha is the "Lord of the troops." Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and is always invoked at the beginning of any endeavor. He also represents the earth element - the root chakra - which needs to be solid before we can fly. Ganapati and Gananatha are two other neames of Ganesha. "Pati" means Lord or protector, and "natha" means Lord, so Ganesha, Ganapati, and Gananatha really mean the same thing: "Lord of the troops."

Sharanam means refuge, protection.

Gan Gan is part of the bija, or seed mantra of Ganesh. This core sound doesn't carry discursive meaning. Bija mantra are said to contain the essence of the deity. I seek refuge in Ganesha. Please protect me, oh great Elephant.

(Written by Jai Uttal)



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Kirtan



Chanting the many names or mantras of the Gods and Goddesses - is perhaps the most important technique in Bhakti yoga. Although the practice itself is very simple, the internal process that it stimulates is vast and mysterious. Externally, we're just singing repetitive songs with simple melodies and a few Sanskrit words. We're asked to try to put our analytical minds to the side (easier said than done), and sing from our hearts. We're told that whatever emotion we're feeling, even anger, can be passionately channeled into the song. We're told that it doesn't matter the slightest bit what our voices sound like. Then the magic happens. Walls constructed long ago come crumbling down. Wounds that we never knew were there begin to heal. Long submerged emotions, both joy and sorrow, come to the surface to be offered up into the chant. And somehow, effortlessly, we move into a meditative state that creates a safe, calm haven for the flower of the heart to unfold. Whether or not we understand the meanings of the words, these chants become vessels to carry our deepest unspoken prayer to the infinite soul of God.

One of the amazing things about Kirtan as a practice is that it welcomes any mood or emotional condition. We can sing softly, like a mother to her baby. We can sing sensually, as if to a lover. And we can sing with powerful energy of an angry warrior. Our whole being is offered. Whoever we are at any given time, whether happy or sad, shining with light or hidden in darkness, our prayers are perfect in the eyes of unconditional love.

Finally, one who embraces the path of Bhakti very quickly stops doing these practices to get anything or feel anything. Rather, the Kirtan becomes an outpouring of love and emotion to the beloved, and unburdening, an offering. I feel, when I sing, my connection to my guru, my longing to be closer, and my gratitude for His unending grace. Truly, the essence of Bhakti is surrender, offering our individual selves to the great ocean of pure consciousness, gently resting in the loving embrace of the Divine Mother, saying, "Not my will, but Thy will be done."

(Written by Jai Uttal)

Meditation

7.10.09

Discipline

6.10.09

When you hear "discipline," what do you usually think of? It may evoke a feeling of rigidity inside. It may connote enforcement or obligation. Everything we do with this concept of "discipline" feels like a job, but in truth it isn't. The literal translation of discipline is, "to have the capacity to discover something new about oneself." I think that's a better way to interpret discipline. The hardest part of any practice is to show up. When you stand on your Yoga mat, you're in a space of openness to discover something new. Niyama means the ability to come back to your practice again and again, without force or rigidity. Approaching life this way will invoke a totally different energy than the usual mechanical approach.

(Anthony "Prem" Carlisi)

I really enjoy Prem Carlisi's approach toward the meaning of discipline. If anything, coming to the mat with an air of discovery is more fun than the alternative - becoming trapped into feeling like there is somewhere to be in the practice, or as if something needs to be attained - brings heaviness to it. Why take the joy out of the process?

Finding a balance between disciplined effort and non-attachment is an interesting dynamic to play with. It's amazing how things open and expand when no longer confined by the tangle the mind put us in. Hence, a reason to practice.

Always having a wild imagination, and active mind, I've learned how it can either stifle or set me free. It feels good to have tools to perceive more clearly. Not that I always get it right, but really, I guess the point isn't to get it right. Right? Just opening the mind, setting aside filters of past and future aside, is enough for now.

I've never been good at spiritual banter, and honestly, I'm happy not to be, because sometimes it's best not to verbalize what the heart can only know. Through practice, I enter the spaciousness of my heart, and learn to speak it's language. Silence. The silent hum of perfect fulfillment - the feeling of being embraced by an unknown/knowable force, that vibrates, pulsates, and buzzes with nothing more I can explain, but unspeakable LOVE.

I may not be the most eloquent when expressing all the inner workings of the mind, yoga, spirituality, and life, but at the end of the day, I ask myself ... Have I loved deeply? Have I been of service? Have I added value to those around me? Feels like some good stuff to start with.

It makes all that discipline worthwhile. That's for sure.

Theory Class with KPJ

5.10.09





KPJ in Encinitas, California, 1987.

Advanced Series - Old School Style





















Practitioners include: Chuck Miller, Gary Lopedota, Clifford Sweate & Tim Miller. 1987.

Love this!!
"The unreal is more powerful than the real, because nothings is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it's intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies, that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die, but things are as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on forever."

(Chuck Palahniuk)
 

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