Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The road less traveled

The beautiful, crisp days of November have beckoned me to the woods the past few weeks. There are hiking trails just a few miles from our house. Here on the trails, I can let the dogs run, and hike the path along the local lakes and deep trees of beech and oak. These paths are very familiar to me. I have come here for the past 8 years or so to surround myself with nature, and for a glimpse of serenity and quiet. On this particular day it was quite cold (not too cold for this Northern girl from Wisconsin). My feet just kept trotting along, and I soon the familiar dropped away and I was now in new territory. The beauty and depth of the landscape was stunning. Gigantic beech trees soared up to meet the pristine sky filled with cool, crisp air. Not a cloud was in sight. The autumn leaves blazed against the bright blue sky. It dawned on me that this walk into unfamiliar territory is much like meditation. Often when we begin a meditation practice, we sit and hear all the familiar thoughts, doubts, fears, incessant chatter, thoughts of past and future,that never seems to stop. Often times we don't take time to simply be aware of what's chinging around in our head, we just go with it, as if we don't have a choice. Meditation practice teaches us that we do have a different voice besides the one in our head. As we settle into meditation, we choose one focus of the mind. We can simply be with our breath. Is it simple? No. Meditation practice is anything but simple. It looks simple, but meditation challenges us to be quiet inside in the midst of chaotic and wild thought patterns. Meditation reveals a hidden dimension within our heart. Like the trail in the woods that led to more beauty, we have a capacity to open into the beauty that is within us. We have to trudge through the darkness and obstacles in our way first. They come in the form of self-doubt, criticism, irritation, and scattered thoughts. The thoughts just keep coming, and we continue to bring our mind to our breath, and the sensation of the body's receptivity to the breath. Once we stay and practice for a while, the fog clears, the trail leads to this expansive state of awareness. We settle into our essential and true nature. One that is aligned with the divine creator himself. We ride in the ocean of bliss, and feel within our body and heart this state of divine love, acceptance, and sense of wholeness. We feel a sense belonging. No matter where we are in life, we can practice this. No matter our budget, whether we ticked someone off or made someone's day, we practice. We practice not to become something else, but to align ourselves with our divine purpose. When we quiet our endless internal dialogue, we can then listen to the sensations and whispers of our heart. The practice of meditation is sometimes boring, uncomfortable, difficult. But it anchors us to a place where there is no language, and we listen to the pulse of universe, and it's calling to us. We connect to our divine desire, our hidden but magnificent light that guides us down the path we call our life. The comfortable and known territories that we trod can sometimes limit our growth. Can we learn to be curious and willing to become explorers and scientists of our own minds and bodies? Can we learn about our habits, and then soften into a kinder, more receptive way of living? I believe we can, and are always able to grow. That is why it is called meditation practice. Like Shunryu Suzuki says.."The secret is to just say yes! and jump off from here. Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself, always yourself, without sticking to an old self."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Halloween! One of my favorite brand of tea is "Yogi Tea". The quote on the tea bag said: "when you are in tune with the unknown, the known becomes peaceful.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It is unfolding

It is hard to believe that my dream is unfolding before me. All that I have imagined and worked for is now down in my basement! Creating classes and teaching people yoga is wonderful. Someone asked me if I was excited. I have to be honest and say no, I am not excited, but rather, feel compelled to keep going. While many may say I have accomplished my dream, in fact I am just beginning. I have so much to learn. I have so much to share. There is much I want to give, and much that I want to become. For now, I am trying to be me. Who am I? A creature of God, who is searching her soul for God's path. In each moment I share with my kids, in my interactions I have with my friends, I continue to evolve. I sometimes devolve. I yell, get angry, get bossy, feel in adequate, but yet, it is in these moments that provide us with an opportunity to respond and change our habit. Fresh eyes, fresh voice. So, I encourage you to dream. Dream about the song in your heart. Take 5 minutes each day and listen to your breath. Listen to the sound of the peace that passes all human understanding. It is in your cells, your blood, and in your breath. Pretty soon, the fog goes away, and your left with a lingering impression, that gently nudges you in a new direction.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What shall I practice, today?

Day 2: So far, so good! Eli's foot is ok, and I had most of the day off running Eli around and then errands. I felt like a free bird today, and it felt great. Watching the canopy of autumn leaves slowly dissolving and falling, I felt an unfamiliar feeling: contentment. How often do we feel content with our lives, our kids, our job, our spouse? How often do we feel discontent with the way we look, the status of our bank account, or what we get or don't get accomplished? "Santosha" is the sanskrit word for contentment. It actually means being content with whatever comes up in our lives, even sadness or loneliness. How can we practice contentment on the mat? Listen to your body, be aware of the inner dialogue you are having, be respectful of your limitations, and humble with your capabilities. How do we practice contentment in our lives? The Yoga Sutra book II verse 42 writes:"By contentment, supreme joy is gained". It explains: As a result of contentment, one gains supreme joy. Here, we should understand the difference between contentment and satisfaction. Contentment means just to be as we are without going to outside things for our happiness. If something comes, we let it come. If not, it doesn't matter. Contentment means neither to like nor dislike. Tonight, as I approach the setting sun, a harsh wind cries in the trees. My heart goes out to the people north east of us as they bear the forces of nature. My practice tonight will be a restorative one. I am feeling tired, and a little rundown. So, instead on doing a strong physical practice, I will prop up on some bolsters, lie in front of the fireplace, and breathe deeply into what is.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

41 days

An inspiration has been brewing in my heart for the past several days now. It all began one windy day in February...(just kidding). I have thinking about writing, and how I know that poems and insights are inside of me, somewhere. I haven't been inspired to write for some time now. How can I connect, to my inner voice, the quiet sound, that inspires my spirit, and nurtures me on my path to self discovery? I have read that nature is here to teach us wisdom. It is here to guide us, and provide a landscape in which we are always cultivating, toiling, fertilizing, digging, getting our hands dirty. This soil inside of us provides us with a garden to plant and water the seeds of our choosing. When we begin to settle our minds, not necessarily emptying our mind, we begin to hear a quiet voice, that brings us closer to the truth. What truth? The truth that there is divinity all around us and in us, and even more, a deep sea of bliss that reigns supreme to all other experience, that is inside of us, like a constant tide that ebbs and flows with the stream of our attention. So getting back to my subject of "41 days", I plan on writing every day for 41 days. 40 days is usually the number associated with spiritual quests. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. Unfortunately, having 3 kids, 2 dogs, a full time job, yoga commitments, and a house to clean, I am unable to escape to the desert. I'm in no way saying I could handle escaping to the desert for 40 days to meditate on Gods word. Contrary, I believe I would die a miserable death. But, I can attempt to practice yoga and write about yoga for 41 days, in the comforts of my home. I figured I'd burn a path, instead of following. 41 is my age. 41 is a good number. It's one more than 40. A great number to be begin. "We begin here", is the first yoga sutra. This sutra means just what it says. We begin here. We take each day as it comes, we live for now, not anxiously in the future, or sadly looking back on the past. How different our lives would be, if we looked at each person we talked to with fresh, new eyes. No judgements, no condemnations, no envy, no self doubt. How would our lives and relationships be, if we came from a place of inspiration, rather than memory? So, here I go. While I was completing this entry, my son Elijah, told me he cannot walk on his foot. He injured it playing football outside. Life is always handing us surprises, challenges, disappointments, joys. It is up to us how we respond. Let's begin now.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Howdy y'all!

I'm back!!!!
I had some issues logging into my blog, but all I had to do was ask my wonderful husband for some help and he fixed it immediately! It only took me 9 months to ask him!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Escape

What happens when we escape? Where do our emotions go, how does our life unfold, when we don't face the grit and grime that often is so thick in our present moment? Where do you escape? Do you lose yourself in a good book, do you watch TV, do you drink away your worries, do you spend excessive time on-line. There are many ways to escape, not all of them bad. But just like procrastination, escaping only temporarily solves our problem, and does not help us to evolve. One way of dealing with difficulty in our lives, can be simply to take a conscious breath. This creates space around our field of awareness. I breathe in, and observe. Have you ever been so angry that the words coming out of your mouth feel as though some demon has possessed you and mid stream you stop and realize how out of control you sound? Breathing in creates inner space. It creates awareness that there is something else besides our voices and thoughts that exist within our bodies. Breathing out gives time, precious space to the current moment, whether it be joyful or pain filled. We are not our thoughts. We are not our emotions. What are we? We are divine light, consciousness, an ever present inner energy that is formless, but full of knowing. Not knowing in the egoic way (the voice in our head that identifies us with our emotions and thoughts) But God knowing. This "God knowing" is quiet, is forgiving, and ever-present if we are able to calm the storm of thoughts in our heads. One way to look at it is this. If we can be the valley, where we look up and can observe the landscape around us, rather than being in the forest, or exalting ourselves on the highest mountain, we can attain peace. Observing and breathing brings us closer to our core, our essential nature. Dis-identifying with our emotions and thoughts help us to be in the valley, and lift others up. It doesn't mean we don't laugh or feel joy. On the contrary, we can feel this joy more fully as it surfaces and we don't get lost in the future or past events, or cling to the joyfulness, never wanting it to leave us. I encourage a breathing practice. It is simple and always available. I can't remember the last time I didn't have breath in my body, and if I did, I surely worked hard to get it back into my body! Our breath is the link to our soul. Breathe in create space, space around your situation, breathe out raw emotion(let it go). Breathe in, simply observe, breathe out, smile.