This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
The next instructional class is planned for May 21st at 9am.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
In making the shift from inner peace there is recognition of a new phase. It's time to interface with the ideal of harmony now. Of course inner peace will not be abandoned. There is no real separation between guideposts. Currently I look to engage the ideal of harmony on the level of thought, speech and action in relationship with individuals, community and the greater good. When faced with a fork in the road, I wish, to the best of my ability, to take the direction in support of harmony. What I expect is to not always know why a certain direction feels more supportive for harmony until circumstances unfold. This is where intuition, faith and the mystery play their roles.
I also expect to fumble, forget, face imperfection of course. I've struggled and with certain people when it comes to interpersonal communication, especially related to a compulsive desire to help. Instead of listening, I've too often given advice, tried to fix situations or sell another on an idea. I will trust in my skills of concentration (Dharana, the 6th of the 8-limb path of yoga) in order to become a better listener. So, instead of charging into speech &/or action thinking I am working towards finding solutions for a situation, I will seek to inquire into and return to the ideal of harmony. When relating to others this begins with listening. More than anything people want to be heard.
Another aspect of harmony for me is how it ties to a certain experiential state, namely the dance with duality. The word dance is stressed here as it signifies movement, getting unstuck from duality. For me the understanding of harmony will be not only a mind-spirit pursuit but also on the level of body since I feel there's considerable groundwork in place with movement and somatic exploration.
If you are interested in learning more about how to select and be led by an ideal, please refer to the Cayce material on this subject since I do not do it justice. He himself and others authors and speakers present the material more correctly with deeper understanding. There is a chart available to assist in the process.
If you are interested in exploring the teachings of duality, there are many forms of approach: Tao Te Ching; Yin-Yang theory; the 3 Gunas of Yoga; Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus; Masculine-Feminine study (as presenting by David Deida for example); and from childhood we have Goldie Locks' exploration of the cabin and stuff of the 3 bears!
Thursday, April 19, 2012
We are at a time of union. Astronomers, astrophysicists, theoretical physicists, mystics, intuitives, and the teachings of the great masters are blending. The essence of viewpoint and understanding merge.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Each piece has meaning. There are reminders of ancestry, friendship, kinship with fellow students, support, new energy, great masters, art and creativity. The senses are included. I used to have books on the altar, but no more.
There is a play on words: alter and altar. One is a verb, one is a noun. The words have different meaning. Yet, there is a subtle difference in the essence of the meaning behind each word. Indeed, an altar does alter something within us.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Harold: I love you Maude.
Maude: Oh Harold, that's wonderful. Go and love some more.
This final exchange is so wonderful and significant. We can move beyond attachment to a specific person to experience love.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
"Psychic abilities are real, available and free."
"... the ancient Hindus, Patanjali, 500 years before Christ, had it right. Patanjali wrote a handbook describing how to get in touch with your psychic abilities on the path to transcendence. The yoga sutras. Of course Patanjali said you're not going to be interested in the fact that you can look into the future or look into the distance, that is just a stumbling block on the road to transcendence but he felt that the aspirant should know that you will run into these paranormal abilities so you shouldn't get attached to them."
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Last year I made a similar request while in a beautiful wooded area. I asked, "If I serve in a win-win manner, in ways helpful to others and inspire and fill me too, could I please let go of financial worry?" With what felt like the go-ahead, I've gone for it. Recently a very skilled intuitive confirmed the outcome, without my even bringing it up with her.
It should be noted I am by no means reckless, nor am I wealthy by American standards (but quite so by world standards probably). Prudent as ever and maybe even more so in middle age, I have fewer material desires. It seems the greatest desire surrounding material things centers on moving along unwanted and unused items. My husband likes toys. Interestingly, as I learn to let-go of trying to keep a lid on his desires, he has actually minimized acquiring!
Like 99% of us I obviously have responsibilities to meet. The funny thing is when I do want something, it comes to me: discounted in some way or for free or there is an opportunity to borrow the item or it is simply easily attainable because I no longer want what I cannot afford. Often the desire for something just slips on by.
A few years ago while sitting outside with two neighbors I stated how one more chair, a seat for the corner would be useful in my living area. Within no knowledge of my wish and within the hour another neighbor put a duck handled rocker with a footstool roadside. I did not want the footstool, which someone else did want so it all worked out perfectly.
I'm glad I listened to the instinct to let go of worrying about finances. I've experienced the stronger cycle of flow which can be instantaneous with participation. Quick turn-around is possible, especially when there is no tension around the matter.
2) Roll out a mat and put out props.
3) Play the music, let it inspire movement.
4) Breathe, move in a little or big way.
5) Allow the music to finish.
6) Invite the sound of your breath to fill the space.
A hot tub soak is a pleasant way to unwind and to catch a little outdoor time even when the weather is cold. Although the hot tub time surely helps my muscles, it does little compared to a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate).
Epsom salt with several drops of essential oil, namely lavender, has been very helpful to me over the years. There have been times it has been as helpful as receiving massage therapy (minus the comfort of human touch & energy of course). Epsom salt is known to reduce inflammation. My experience has been such that a muscular problem will disappear completely or for at least 12 hours.
Bath salt blends comprised of sodium borate, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride and sodium sesquicarbonate are less effective for me. Abra sells a blend which is nice, but considering the higher cost and lower effectiveness, I'll use Epsom salt. Now, my mother has said sodium borate (Borax) can get rid of warts so perhaps there are other benefits of which I am unaware.
Hydrogen peroxide baths are known to be very therapeutic but I cannot comment since I've not done them correctly nor consistently. One thing I will say is do not use the regular drug store hydrogen peroxide. Do your research including ordering 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide.
Friday, April 13, 2012
In the mid-90's, when I first started taking classes and practicing, my father-in-law gave me Vanda Scaravelli's book Awakening the Spine. Looking back, this is curious since my father-in-law, as far I understand, does not know anything about yoga and it is he who gives me this quite non-mainstream book!
Several years later a friend suggested I borrow her copy of Angela Farmer's video Feminine Unfolding. Loving it, I started to study the "untraining" approach of Angela Farmer and Victor Van Kooten (her husband). My teacher trainer, Anna Gerard-Pittman (Amuyanna), embraced their work as well and translated her own way of unwinding.
Somewhere along the line I purchased Sandra Sabatini's book Breath: The Essence of Yoga and have turned to her poetry for inspiration again and again. She too was a student of Vanda Scaravelli.
About 5-6 years ago a yoga student gave me Julie Rappaport's 365 Yoga: Daily Meditations. It is a compilation of teachings from a variety of masters, spiritual leaders, teachers, poets and authors but also includes Julie's perspective on yoga, which is in-line with how I experience and approach the practice. Well, this week I looked online for more information about her and found she is a student of Angela Farmer.
As evidence to my connection to this approach, many yoga books have come into my life, most of which have moved along. The work of Vanda Scaravelli, Sandra Sabitini, Angela Farmer & Victor Van Kooten and Julie Rappaport comprise half my collection of favorite yoga materials. The other yoga-related works include: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda plus a binder of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons (which I will actually go through from start to completion one day); three different translations of the Bhagavad Gita; Halfway Up The Mountain: The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightment by Mariana Caplan; To Know Your Self: The Essential Teachings of Swami Satchidananda; Dr. V.S. Rao's translations of Patanjali's Yoga Darshan; and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I will always keep several texts on asana and panayama technique. I'm not in a very technical place with the practice currently, however, it has been my experience for the techniques to take shape on their own. And, I waves of a more directed practice and periods of a more fluid practice.
As described in Sandra Sabatini's book my preferred approach is a "gentle but radical yoga that emphasizes working with the breath, gravity and the spine." Although I am delighted at the discovery of firming my footing onto a lineage, I accept it as a temporary feeling of homecoming. The true path is well, more pathless!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Marians of the Immaculate Conception
Association of Marian Helpers
Stockbridge, MA 01263-0004
Or go to this link:
I've had several moments regarding such a notion, coming in the form of, "Only now do I feel really ready to teach." It seems to come in tiers. Of course, it is fine that I've been teaching what I have been and as often as I have, which I scaled according to what felt appropriate. When that notion arises, what is it? Ego? Is the ego judging the past? Is it congratulating the present?
Using this definition, I see how to "sin" provides clarity as to what works, what doesn't and new directions to point towards. From an energetic perspective guilt seems pointless. For the sake of efficiency, re-load the bow with the best arrow possible, watch your form and aim differently. What makes that act easier said than done are the waves of the mind-stuff. Straighten the arrows and refine form by using tools: breath, asana, mantra, prayer, concentration, meditative practices, psychotherapy, consulting a clergy member, reading spiritually enriching works, writing, drawing & painting, creating and carrying out a small ceremony. The message is always the same: we will not be 100% free of suffering (waves in the mind-stuff) but we can gain proficiency by filling and using the toolbox.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Several weeks ago a wise woman recommended I integrate more energetics into whatever I am doing, be it bodywork, gardening, writing, drawing, prayer, etc. She was not specific but I have found my way through to a new form of visualization, combining it with what I have learned about energy over the years. It's not that I have not done this before but there was definitely room to turn it up a notch.
In support of study I've viewed NOVA and other programs on quantum mechanics and theoretical physics. Although much of the science and certainly mathematics of the information is over my head, I get it. I've also viewed What The Bleep Do We Know: Down The Rabbit Hole which, if you have seen the film with Marley Matlin, is a version of the film focusing on the featured contributors rather than the fictional story. The art of Alex Grey has supported the visualizations as well. I picked up his work in the form of cards recently. I'm learning about remote viewing too. Finally, reading the work and viewing videos of Joseph Rael and reviewing Patanjali's Yoga Sutras has tied together the newer level of understanding.
So, in this current period of time, I am enjoying a certain level of deeper understanding. The "human moments" are more fleeting, with more self-forgiveness. I am experiencing them as waves of energy, with an understanding that sometimes the ebb or flow is simply strong. And it seems this may extending to others as well. I am experiencing increments of forgiveness with a few people to whom I've tethered myself as a result of perceived wrongs. I'm not ready to make any particular proclamations, and certainly not about being perfect but these are hunches.
In college, the professor for the class Existential Humanistic Psychology taught us to expect periods of expansion to come and go. His words have been quite valuable and memorable over the years. Now is one of those times I reflect on his wisdom. There is a sense of vibration. From what I have learned thus far I inquire as to whether I am in bliss, numbing out or with authentic experience. In essence, I look at the guideposts and ask good questions. All teachings of Truth offer maps and signposts, it's that simple.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Expressing an active state, often associated with desire.
The 1st pansy is in a more shaded area of the garden. The stem and flower stretch to reach the light. The plant is not spreading outwards at all compared to the others in the garden. In asana this would be like over stretching and loosing roots. It also reminds me of how we often prop ourselves in some way when we're in life situations where we do not fit, the personality or reactions becoming a bit extreme. It should be noted that although leaving a situation may be appropriate, there is also opportunity in such a situation to 1) remain and work-through with awareness 2) modify an aspect or two in order to honor your soul's needs 3) leave. In this case I watered the pansy today. Tomorrow I will transplant it to a sunny spot.
Next we have a collapsed pansy, on it's way out. Or maybe it just needs a drink. It is quite spread out and starting to droop. The center has lost tone.
This next one is very Tamas:
It was simply done with it's growth cycle so it was pulled out, recycled into the compost pile where it will offer a share in the nutrients.
With these Tamasic pansies I am reminded of the attitude of giving up, dropping out of maintaining oneself or a situation, disappointment to the extent of inaction or lack of tone with body, mind. With these pansies, Savasana comes to mind. Although it is the simplest of poses, when done "correctly" there is a certain setting up for it, a maintaining of awareness throughout and coming out mindfully. When I first started yoga I, and several other students in the class, would fall asleep. Savasana is not about sleep but about softly alert relaxation, feeling sensation, awake rest.
Finally, our pansy with roots, adequate height and spread. The flowers are in various phases appropriate to their life cycle.
365 YOGA: Daily Meditations was published in 2004 Tarcher/Penguin Books. There are copies available on Amazon from $1 to $14 plus shipping.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
if the practice is not bringing you any joy
or discoveries or suppleness
it is because you are doing too much
trying too hard...
and not taking the time to listen
if you lose the simplicity, go for a walk
- Sandra Sabatini from page 45 in her book Breath: The Essence Of Yoga, A Guide To Inner Stillness
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Here is the link to his website if you want to view his work:
There was a massage therapy client and fellow yoga student who helped confirm by example the intuitive path to home remedies. He described having a headache come on at home. He intuitively followed an instinct to mix various oils from his kitchen and medicine cabinet. Then he blended the mix all through his hands followed by rubbing it all over his head, ears and face, all the while keeping his eyes closed, maintaining a meditative state. It worked!
Sometimes it's just a matter of shifting the little things while using a home remedy. When dealing with the every-few-years sinus infection I take a hot bath with Epsom salt and several drops of the Cayce remedy Campho-Derm. Once the sinuses clear and led to do so I submerge my face in the water and exhale out my nose. Something else I added was to stay in the tub until all the water drained out, getting out before getting chilled, quickly toweling off but staying a little damp and then wrapping up, lying still in a thick blanket from head to toe. I've even fallen asleep in the wrap, eventually waking to take a quick shower to wash off the salt. It feels like staying in the tub until the water drains out is energetic in some way, being quiet and acknowledging the draining of toxins. And then there's the temperature: hot to cooler to warm again.
Recently a family member could not remember one of the most balanced, best behaved dogs I've had out of six from 1990 to present. It brought to awareness how we often give the non-positive the most energy. Is this not the basis of dis-function? Within families, community, society, politics, media, even with regard to ourselves?
This thing about the dog struck me since the "squeaky wheel" imbalance is something I started addressing last year. I will continue to do so.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Get a piece of paper or electronic keyboard device. Look at what you have. Walk around your home or office and in your memory. Visit "if only's" which are the many things you once said, "If only I had __________." "If only he/she would ___________." "If only I could ___________." look at everything you can: work position, relationship status, family, friendships, car, clothing, neighborhood, home, 2nd home, decor, garden, vacation, toys, equipment, education, memberships, addictions, body shape, business ownership, career, club membership, and on and on. Can you recall saying to yourself or out loud, "If only ________" about any (or all) of these things?
I used to have a book, which I never read so I gave it away, called How To Want What You Have. [The irony is not lost by the way.] Certainly the book would be helpful if you struggle with wanting.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2012
The physical form has a certain density to it. Allow the words of Rael to sink in and perhaps the idea of non-dense physical form will open to you. Consider these words of, another Native American philosopher:
"We're here on Earth only a few winters. And then we go to the Spirit World. The Spirit World is more real than most of us believe. The Spirit World is everything." - Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman
Meditation or any practice to calm the waves of the mind allow for the break in the sense of the linear. As we give the mind something to return to again and again (candle flame, mantra, breath) the system loosens. We allow for the experiencing of the world in a different way, free from the construct of time. The Hopi lack a language for time. The anthropologist Benjamin Whorf even went so far as to say their language is "timeless".
In early March an art class assignment had us working imaginatively from The World of Art books available in the studio. I wanted to finish mine but the book cannot be checked out of the classroom. I wrote down the book title: The World of Copley and the page number and tossed the strip of paper in my art tackle box. In checking the city library catalog I found they do not have it. EBay had a few available at a decent price but for no particular reason I did not place a bid right then.
On a bike ride today I stopped into the library at the Edgar Cayce's A.R.E. and there it was on the book sale rack: $8 like new. Tomorrow I'll stop in with my wallet to buy it.
Here is the beginning of the drawing:
Here is the note indicating the book title:
4/2/12 Update: Went back to the A.R.E. library to purchase the book today. Maybe the 2 for 1 sale was going on yesterday but I did not notice. Anyway, I got 2 for 1 today. Here's the art book showing the piece I am working with: Edward Hicks, Peaceable Kingdom:
On St. Patrick's Day while trying to find something to wear I commented to my husband how I used to have several olive green shirts and sweaters. Over the years they wore out. It's the best green for me due to my eye color being olive green. I said I'll have to look for that color when I replace current shirts and sweaters. When I returned from the library a neighbor said he had a fleece that no longer fits him. As it turns out it is olive green:
I like to be in the company of people who are smarter &/or more adept in an area than me. It is stimulating. I do not, however, like to teach, talk or present (preach?) beyond my capabilities. I've made the mistake many times for sure but we are to learn from mistakes. The nice thing about getting older is being who you truly are and not trying to be someone you're not. Age gets you seated on the rock of integrity.
Back to you teaching what you know. I do not follow the policies and politics of yoga in America. However, I hear occasional talk of national certification, but there are no requirements to teach at this time. The technology of yoga is vast. Goodness gracious, you do not need to know all of it in order to teach. Start where you are. If you have the desire to lead asana, breath, meditation, concentration or any other teaching from the yoga tradition, I encourage you to follow the impulse.
Find a venue that works for you: a little corner somewhere, indoors or outdoors, with a group, an individual or within an established yoga studio or school. Or you can write, or make audio and video recordings. Find the schedule that works for you too: full-time, several times per week, once per month.
However and whatever you teach is like touching a bit of eternity. The teachings have been handed down for thousands of years. Step into being part of the lineage if inspired to do so. Again, if you listen carefully to your intuition and teach what you really know, you will be teaching responsibly.
Lack of attention to postures can lead to injury, especially if repeated over and over. In approaching a pose mindfully, one reaches into the direction of a pose, be it back bend, forward bend, side bend, twist all the while there is attention to the idea of neutral. Equanimity is more likely with seated joints so as not to overstretch ligaments which connect bone to bone. The beauty of asana is the pumping-like action of stretching and toning muscle. If done mindfully this can be done without harming joints.