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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Digging in the Dirt

Here on the eastern seaboard spring is seeming to start early. ( It's February warming- what?) Yesterday as I walked my hound, two very twitterpated robins flew in front of me, oblivious in their ritual. Daffodils are blooming, trees are budding, and yes, mosquitoes are beginning to buzz.  Spring brings the ritual of planting, growing , and weeding out the garden. Seed catalogues bring excitement as we think about all the wonderful things we can grow- how spectacular the fully bloomed plants look! Renewal, everything begins again,  and is fresh. We love to envision the finished product, change is good. But plants, like people, need care and patience to grow if we are to reach our potential. In the yoga sutras of Patanjali, svadiyaya, self study, is one of the niyamas....what is needed? We need to ask ourselves what is needed for our own  growth. We have the best intentions. But, if you take seeds and half assedly toss them into the ground and walk away, you have a fifty-fifty shot of them taking hold and growing; it was a good try, but the seeds may not get what they need; they sprout, wither, and die. Shame. How good  are we  at doing this...we think of the things we need to develop in ourselves, get excited and make sometimes a half hearted attempt at fostering their growth. Then we find out it is work- so we toss the catalogue of personal growth seeds  in the recycling and move on to something else. Ring any bells?-does for me. Gardening is dirty work, and most of us prefer to to let someone else do it. We toss the seeds of change into the wind and they may or may not grow roots in our heart. Real growth takes rolling up your sleeves, and digging in the dirt. Time. Patience. Care.  To  become the cultivator of change we need to decide on which seeds to plant in ourselves, nurture them with tender care, knowing there may be setbacks and challenges-like the weeds in the garden, we have to rid ourselves of things that stunt our growth. Are you ready to dig in the dirt and plant the seeds of change....they will blossom  if we allow them to take root in our heart and reach towards the sun. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Old Tattered Robe

Simplicity....basics....a tattered old robe. What is it we really need, anyway, to say we got it right in this lifetime, that we lived the good life? We get so caught up in the material bullshit...yes folks, to quote Bhagavan Das.."it's all bullshit." Period. We take for granted just the simple pleasure of listening to  birdsong, having a roof over our head, and being grateful to be alive. In the eight limbs of yoga, one of the Niyamas, or observances, is the concept of Santosha, telling us to practice contentment with whatever blessings or challenges life throws our way. I  can relate. I am not living in my home at the present time, staying with my daughter, to whom I am eternally grateful! I am learning to adjust to being content with the basics of a couch to sleep on, putting food in my belly and bathing. Pretty basic, but I can tell you, living without all the b.s. brings you to see what it's all about.  A story I have read to my little yogis sums it up and now I will share with you....Uncle Ry( happens to be a bear) lived in a small hut. He had very few belongings and lived a simple life. He was happy. One night a robber( happens to be a racoon, go figure...) comes and intends to take what few things Uncle Ry does have. Uncle Ry suprises him and is delighted to have a visitor. He greets him and asks what can I give you. ( How often do we wholehearedly welcome strangers in???) The robber is taken aback, and proceeds to attempt to back out the door. Uncle Ry never lets anyone leave empty handed. Since he is simple and has very  few things he gives the robber the only thing he has to share- the tattered old robe off his back. ( how often do we openly give of ourselves, much less the clothes off our back??) The racoon heads for the hills, and Uncle Ry climbs up the hill behind his hut to look at the beautiful moon shining down. He wishes that he could have given him the beauty that he has the opportunity to see by opening his eyes and heart to contentment. Uncle Ry, in your tattered old robe .... you got it right.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reach for the axe

As we approach Presidents Day, a certain story about a cherry tree and telling the truth comes to mind. Fact is....this is an embellished tale; ie...NOT TRUTH. ( If you have a doubt, look it up!) But we hear it over and over, children tell us, they sell us the cherry pies at the grocery store to celebrate a myth, we use it for Presidents Day sales at the capitalist've probably said it a time or two without blinking! Fact being if we repeat something enough, it becomes "truth." We accept. Most of us go through life this way, we repeat something to ourselves over and over, it becomes a mantra,  our story, even if it's not authentic to ourselves. This is the way it's supposed to be. It's expected. We beleive, no afterthought required. Applying the yogic teachings of vairagya and viveka we can detach and discern-not just accept.Kind of like looking at what sales you want to shop and what ones you don't. Seems easier that way, doesn't it? I used to be a subscriber of acceptance, bought right into the ad- the universe has a funny way of planting the cherry  tree right in your path if you don't listen. Walked right into it. Choice-pick up the axe or keep on going? As heavy as it is, I have chosen to pick the axe up, swinging,  and am now handing it to you. Have you felt that there's something more to this? That niggling, dare we say it....DOUBT? ( Just beleive, shut up, buy in, and eat the damn cherry'll all be fine!)  This can't be all there is to it. If you stop to listen to that inner voice, it tells you your true story, if only you choose to listen. When you do, something shifts, and the eyes open to possibility. If you follow the clues it can take you down the path you were meant to be on before you got stuck in the audio replay of the "truth." advertising.  By reaching  for the axe  to chop down the falsehoods and find the path to your own story; you can have your cherry pie, enjoy it, and maybe have ice cream on top.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

8 Days a Week.....

Ahh, Cupid has shot a volley of his little poison darts again this February. Everywhere you go you see bouquets of flowers, sweet treats, candy and balloons galore....the pressure is on to give your sweetie a treat. (That can be hard to deal with if you are not in a relationship that fits the criterea. Everyone wants to share what they got to show how much they are "loved".....ah, thank you Hallmark!) But a few days later, the flowers wilt, the chocolate is eaten and it's back to business as usual. It's a production number and the show ends, curtain closed. We tend to like over the top displays ( side note-the amount of child and unfair labor that is used to get the bouquets and candy to their final destination is alarming. Please consider Fair Trade chocolate and flowers, love a laborer from a Third World country xoxo!) and then have done  until the next big occasion to show off. Is this how we love ourselves, and others?  Isn't it more loving to show up, whole heartedly every day? Why do we need a special day to show we care? Through the teachings we learn that we are all one, so my theory is that if we love ourselves then we love all others by being present, consistently. Show up and serve with  a kind word, an attentive ear, and an open heart.Make it your practice. See love blossom in yourself through the song says "eight days a week is not enough to show you care."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Be Here Now.....

Most of us have heard this quote, thank you Baba Ram Dass! But, really... are we? People talk to each other and don't even make eye contact. Our virtual selves  do the communicating. Societally we have become so plugged in that we have checked out on our lives-ever notice people being so busy checking in and updating their status on social networking that they are not even there for the activity they're telling the world about? The next time you're out somewhere just watch how many people have their tech device glued to their hand typing away while someone is talking to them. We disconnect from our own lives and plug into mindless reality tv-they have the experiences for us. There's an app for everything. We are a push button society and move so quickly from thing to thing we don't have time to be present. Through the study of yoga we are taught to be present, and listen to our breath. To notice the subtle feelings in the body, and to just be the witness -"I am that". We just need to show up, and be of service to ourselves and others, experiencing the moment. Unplugged, period. Perhaps we need an app to remove the tech devices from our lives, the virtual prana traps that have taken over for us. So, I suggest an experiment...try putting down the tech toys, for an hour ( I see you longingly looking at them already... stop caressing the phone) then maybe a day. Go somewhere with a friend or family member....have a real conversation...and be here now.