Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I ask myself - What if?

There was a fear which I did not avoid, mask, or distract myself.  

I chose courage to face that fear. 

All my past memories of suffering only made me strong.  Strong to allow all kinds of feelings to surface.  

I allowed tears to shed. Allowed all the energy that it takes to hold me to become free.  Beyond blame!

When there is nothing to hold on to, how does that energy feel in my body, in my mind?  How will the emotions be displayed?

I stay away from bodies of thoughts that display prejudice, that display inner conflict as outer violence.  

I use the space within to dream and to create, to live in a way that energizes, motivates, and propels me.   


There is no applause, no witness, no awards.  

Each day a joyful blessing.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Perspective

July 11, 2017

The past 12 days have been spent in Costa Rica.  A private student teacher training brought me here.  We share a two bedroom house.  A beautiful wooden back porch looks out into the forest.  A wooden table where we hold our teaching sessions, a white board on the side.  

The first few nights were a challenge, the sounds of the forest are very different, “what is that sound”, I ask as I am woken up, wondering, the sounds of the howler monkeys, or the night hawk, or is it the owl?  The sound of the thunder and lighting, and heavy rain on the metal roof of the porch.  The trees signing in the rain, all adds to this symphony of the night.


The beach is a few miles down the road, a half hour walk.  For long time residents here I can see how it helps to stay away from the beach and the main road.  I might return here to spend some time by the beach, I prefer to stay a short walk away, to awaken to the sound of the waves, catching a moonrise, a sunrise or a sunset, a walk in the sand, the water circling around the feet.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mantra of Effort and Ease in Yoga



Patanjali Sutra 2:46 “sthira sukham asanam”, says “postures should be stable and comfortable”.  Or we hear the words “effort and ease”.

How many ways does this sutra guide or help us? 

How about making the “effort” to roll out the yoga mat or go to a yoga session.  Once on our mat, an “ease” as simple as “i am here”  can set in. 
  
Listening to a teacher lead the session might be an “effort”, thoughts like “I want to do my own version or the version taught by another teacher” can arise. It takes “effort” to move beyond these judgemental thoughts.  Exhale and for now listen to the words of the teacher, and also listen to your body.  Release any effort that it takes to hold a thought and just move.  

Once you find yourself in the shape of a yoga form, ease into it by focusing on the breath, "release any gripping", for now, breathe out. 

Don't look at the person next to you or into a mirror.  It will bring back the thoughts.  

Listen to your body, maybe it's time to take a pause and go into a child pose. Or listen to the teacher and move into another form.  Exhale as you pause into the ease.  Then again challenge yourself, with compassion and not judgement of self or another.

Let the mantra of "effort and ease" guide you in your practice.  

Take that thought and feeling into your day, in your interactions.  
End of the day write write how the day went, how this focus on “effort and ease” made you feel, made others feel? Did you achieve more with less? Was the day “effortless”, or did you feel you  were in a “flow?”

Friday, May 19, 2017

A spring day in May, 2017

With A lightness in my step, I set out for a walk.  

The air is cool, feels much cooler then the warmth of the past few days.  Then again this is May in the city of Toronto.  A city fondly referred to as TO.  

I walk with me and I.  The inner voice asks the reason for why I feel what I feel, earlier in the asana practice I had felt lighter, stronger, and more open.

I felt the chakras supported by the prana vayus.  "According to the yoga tradition, this far-reaching system of vital energy functions through five sub-energies called the prana vayus (vayu means “wind, breath, or life force”). Each function has a distinct role, and each is integrated into the total system of human energy. If we understand the role of each prana vayu, we can grasp how the forces of prana serve the whole person and how disturbances among the pranas lead to illness and reduced quality of life."~Rolf Solvik~

I sit and face the sun, the warmth of the sun feels supportive.  My right nostril is not as open as the left, the alternate nostril breathing helps in balancing both sides.  

With eyes closed the breath is the focus, the anchor.  A thought finds this opportune moment and I pause to reflect - "To understand the ancestral story and belief is like knowing where I come from.  The life I live, that is my story.  It is the present, the situation, the circumstances; my response of accepting or not.  Some choices have far reaching consequences.  Discernment! What is mine to do?"

Somewhere between last evening and this morning a thought occurred regarding patterns of behaviour.  How a 'karmic debt' takes a lifetime, sometimes many, to be cleared.  A tumultuous process, through challenges and tears, we clear the debt.  The clearing may be accompanied by a sense of loss; that moment when an insight reminds one to 'celebrate' instead of 'mourning'. 







I finish sipping my tea as these words are expressed on the iPhone.  
 
 

 



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A different kind of conversation

God: so what is the summary of this life?
soul: I focused on 'just love'
God: JUST love.  Love is!!! You are given an ego to help you navigate the incarnated life.  Humans forget that.  It's like being given a shovel to dig and plant the food to eat.  When you begin to focus on the tool - the shovel and begin to worship the process - the digging and preparing the soil, and forget that the planting is to bear fruit to nourish you and to share with others so they may be nourished.
soul: sheds tears of gratitude
God: showers the earth with a thousand fold petals

Thursday, April 27, 2017

In my travels

From abundance I found love, I also found the burden of expectations...

I saw, I acquired, I collected, and found that as "my" identity...

Then I began to unload, the weight of both the physical and the mental - both the weights equally heavy, I found the mental weight tormenting my emotions...

I acquire and

yet again,

I unload, and I travel, a feeling of lightness and space.  

I see, I feel, I love -  to walk away from it all, its not "mine to carry"

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I am enough


I don't need to see my name in neon lights.  I don't need to be on stage waving at a cheering crowd.  There is no one who is able to give me the acceptance of who I am.  I do what brings me joy.  When I am able to help another it is because there is space in my time and the capacity to help.  If I cannot I am able to walk away without carrying any guilt.  
When someone helps me there is immense gratitude for them having taken the time and energy to be there for me.  Does it guarantee that I will be there for them? This is the toughest expectation not to live up to.  Just as it's reverse is when I have helped someone and they cannot be there when I am in need.  Maybe someone else will, that is the concept of 'paying it forward'.  

The expectations we put on ourselves and others on us, don't come from a negative place.  The consequences are negative.  The burden we carry when we cannot live up to them.  And also when we have lived up to them, it comes with another kind of burden. 

Much unraveling, and by opening layers of conditionings, sometimes reveal to us the real reason behind certain actions and behaviours.  Even so with all that is revealed 'staring in our face' we don't see or we look away because the honesty is too strong.

This log started off in my mind as I was reviewing reasons why I was holding on to a concept that I labelled a "dream".   The reality that showed itself as I lie in bed recovering from a bout of flu was stark.  I realized that a part of me wanted the dream to keep a hold onto  my passing years.  "I can still do it, while I have the energy", is what I told myself.  Maybe it was to give myself a reason to stay put in one place.  It could also be my unaware ego saying how much I have to offer this world.  

Then the realization that the center or physical space is not the answer.  Each person has their own journey.  An encounter with them through a yoga practice or a chance conversation can only guide them back to them-self the center that lies within. 

For myself do I really need any reason to justify where I want to live, how I want to live and what I do with my time?  All these are reasons to support the physical life.  A job or a business to provide the income to support oneself and the dependants. And time and passing years, nothing can hold back, its just the moments we get to cherish.  


For now I am enough!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Damascus - Syria



October 1989 I travelled to Syria.  I was stoping in Damascus to visit the shrine of a female warrior.  My mother, like many men and women from my ancestral background admired this woman, who would be declared a saint by any benchmark.  

I needed solace and I needed strength.  I was trying to make sense of a personal tragedy.  More I was trying to find answers.  My dear brother, who meant the world to me, was a co-pilot on a flight that went missing  through the Himalayan range.  A story in itself.  

Brings me back to my few days in Damascus.  The encounter with the woman in the shrine who asked me to read aloud some prayers for the group to listen, she would not take no when I shook my head.  Then her frown and hastily taking the prayer book away as she realized that I was not a native Arabic speaker.  Even though I can read the script I don't understand it and my pronunciation is offensive to the ears of those who know the language.  

I was alone, and I was with friends who helped me.  I walked the streets of Damascus.  I saw fashion  to equal those of any big name designer, and I saw simplicity.  

I experienced hospitality, from the heart of the Syrians who could not be satisfied by feeding me small food servings.  The many course meals, the variety, the laid back attitude, and their warmth all touched my heart.  One day as we walked through the bazaar with mounds of pistachios in the stalls we chatted with the owner.  Who kept saying "eat, eat the pistachios".  My brain did a calculation and using the price of pistachios in Canada- I probably ate $20 worth.  

Did I feel as a Canadian a hospitality was returned when the Syrians were welcomed here.  It seemed the right thing to do. 

The pain of the violence against those same people or people of that country creates a deep sadness in me.  

Violence = Pain 
This equation needs to change, the two variables which might encounter in the course of a human life have become a constant in that country.  

If we didn't have history, and memorials, and a desire to remember the victims of violence then how insensitive we will be to the emotional pain bodies.   Now I wonder is that it? 
My solemn promise to life is to go beyond the sensitivity.  To take the intensity of that pain and make a promise to myself that I will not partake in creating violence.  In thoughts, in action, in words. 


If my soul gets asked "will you return to another body?", my answer will be "hold on, may I please wait till the humans have learned how to recognize and resolve their inner conflicts".
Maybe I will be granted that wish. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Toronto

When the month says February - the weather is supposed to be very cold.  

The daylight lasts longer, and the sunset is showing signs - a promise of a spring just around the corner.









You wake up one one such day in February, the morning sunshine carries an enfolding warmth, so you go for a walk. Following the sunshine onto the Harbour.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A moment - is neither a 'that' or a 'this'

When I know who I am? Who is the I that knows? Is it the conscious self? 

Can the conscious self know the three bodies simultaneously? Maybe it can by being aware in any given moment of the five Koshas.  In that moment the 'self that is conscious' is aligned with Consciousness.  In this moment! 

The more often the occurrence of this alignment the more I feel "I know myself".  

How others know us? By our actions, the words we speak and the acts we do.  How closely aligned are the thoughts and actions?  

In daily introspection I ask myself "was my outer behaviour, action, or lack of action, relating, etc. In alignment with who I am?"

The answer comes, or not, in that moment!


It's another day, and the dance goes on.  

What is truth? Where all possibilities exist...

I begin by separating the observer from what is being observed.  The experiencer from the experience.  The thoughts and the thinking.  The emotions from the feelings.  

In this process of separating a space is found.  The space can be considered "a pause between the stimulant and the action."

The space or the pause becomes so clear and vivid that a realization dawns.  All that is possible is possible.  That is the truth.  

"Truth is a pathless land." ~J.D Krishnamurti~

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Marching energies of love

It happened! Women in America, in all its spheres, and women across the globe answered a call.  The call which was triggered by the the results of the election.  It was not about just one country and their president, this was about the hidden prejudices, the marginalization, the fight for equal rights.  It was people coming together to show solidarity, to voice their concern in not allowing a 'regime' or group of people to reverse the clock.

It was time to 'wake up'.

Being in amongst the crowd on the day and later watching the happenings in other cities, including the rally in Washington, it seemed like time to 'unveil' - the hidden realization that we are all connected.  I saw smiles, i saw faces showing resolve.  Overheard a comment "I am an American, please support us".

Dwellers in and around Toronto, like many other cities, came together.  The March started at Queens Park and ended at City Hall.  Speakers spoke and the marchers, like a moving river, brought in their energy.  All were feeling this changing time.

I felt immense gratitude, for all that have come before me.   Compassion for those that still live a life of oppression.  Hope for young ones, the children and the soon to be adults.  To a future which is defined by the present.  The present actions I take or pretend and not notice.

I do believe this is a beginning.  Our inner work,  personal conflicts, where we come from and how we overcame our challenges will be shared.  Shared not to gain sympathy or to make the inner  'grooves' and 'pathways' deeper, but to share our vulnerabilities to strengthen the other.   In the process healing happens.  As we heal, compassion and love begins to find a path.

May we feel safe, with the earth beneath us and a blue sky, to inspire and love.















video

Monday, January 16, 2017

How the answers come...

I dream of a road lined with cars.  I am in my own vehicle and decide not to join the line.  I soon find myself falling off the edge of the road into a deep ocean of water.  The dream continues to where I see people watching me on a screen.  The 'me' I see on the screen is vivacious, vibrant, confident, and smiling.   It looks like an interview, who is the interviewer and who is being interviewed is not known.   I do sense that someone is wanting to take me 'apart'.   I am fearlessly sharing a message.

The last few days while nursing a cold, I had parked myself on a comfortable couch and listened to Joseph Campbell.  How I processed his interview with Bill Moyer, and The Power of Myth, The Hero's Journey,  contributed to my personal consciousness and the inner messages.

In the dream did I touch the collective archetype?  These are some questions and an opportunity for further introspection, where the answers come through symbols, synchronicity, intuition, and silence.

Take a path that is different.  Taking a chance by selecting an alternate 'lane' to live/move does have the possibility of throwing one into a deep unknown.    Barring a physical demise of the body, what emerges is a 'new' person.   Someone who has lived their life.  The old beliefs and their filters shift. Being and actively living through the challenges creates new filters, values, and a personal truth.

“You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else's path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else's way,
you are not going to realize
your potential.” 
― Joseph CampbellThe Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work

Monday, January 2, 2017

My soul shed the body and walked away




Niyamas - the inner observances, what we think, how we feel, our actions and behaviour when no one is watching.  Who am I? What is the inner Self? These are some of the questions I ask.  

When questions arise we begin the quest to find the answers in the teachings, and seek out teachers/experiences.  
The body and the mind is merely seeking - to remember what the heart already knows.
The unknown is known by the heart - the seat of the soul
Sometimes in our seeking, in the unknown,  we meet our soul our truth.


The thoughts are also processed through their observance.  In the light of "watching" the thoughts begin to loosen their grip.  We begin to find a pause, a space within ourself.  A moment(s) of contentment. 

Self-discipline (Tapas) becomes the key to open this door into the "Self."  

The "pattern" which is created by using Tapas (self discipline), allows Saucha (purification of thoughts) and brings about Santosha (contentment).  

Find a technique, teaching or teacher, which resonates and cultivate the discipline to study the "Self".   


Ishvara Pranidhana becomes a way of being.  The essence of surrender is tasted and felt.   

What are the Niyamas, and how they define our values, then become us and we become them.  


August 22, 2016


What does it mean to be or feel "empowered"?  And what does it mean when someone says "don't give your power away?" 

The answer to the above became clear listening to someone explain it.  

Here is my understanding:

  1. If in the presence of someone you feel drained, yucky or not good about yourself, that person is taking your power away.  If the thought is "I feel drained in so and so's company", watch out!  Is it an energy drain? Feels different than from being physically tired. 
  2. We give our power away by an imbalance in how much we give versus how much we receive. 
  3. And when we don't have boundaries.  (We establish boundaries by knowing and understanding our bodies - physical, emotional, and mental.  By understanding these bodies we can also know what throws them off centre).  We can then draw and maintain our boundaries, keeping our power. 
When I give myself the permission to nurture, rest and bring myself into a balance, I feel the best I can be.  I take my power back and feel empowered. 

That "me" is shareable with an open heart. 

Where am I

Some thoughts that arise have been jotted on my iPhone...here are some to share:


October 26:

The questions become the answer.  The question has become the answer...

October 16:
Love with a passion that has the power to break the heart into thousand of pieces. In each piece you will find yourself - your creative expression and your reason for living. 

September 26:
Use the power of the breath to relax a muscle, to calm the thoughts, to activate the para sympathetic nervous system.  
Use the same attention to the breath when you need to focus on a difficult task.  Or when you need to take flight from danger.  
Leslie Kaminoff calls the diaphragm and its work similar to the engine of a car.  The engine gives a power to the car, this power is accelerated by pushing on the pedal and decrease by releasing the pedal.  

How does ujjayi breathing help in a yoga asana?

What does it mean to make the breath guide the movement? Or to listen to your body through your breath?

September 5:

Don't try too hard
Soften the thoughts on how to be, just be

And so I think, driving with no specific plan/destination. 
Is it a feeling of mellowness, a sadness? I question myself? And so what if it is.  I suddenly don't want to do any further analysis of myself.  As if I am giving myself the permission to accept whatever I feel, whatever arises, with no labels. 
Reasons are a plenty, excuses we give ourself or the other. 

I keep driving. The car brings me to a place,  I am consciously or subconciosuly, setting my energy in an area once familiar. This is where I will ground myself. 
Build my life, from ground up.  

Maybe a new chapter to my story. 

For now it's the kombucha and a fresh green bowl with soba noodles at Fresh, located on Spadina and Richmond. 
I like this spot already!

January 2, 2017
It is now a month since I moved into the apartment.  A new chapter in my story?  Sorting and organizing myself.  I find papers, I get excited  to find a filing drawer, Staples to buy some folders and labels, and here I begin to ground myself.  Amidst old materials and amidst new emotions and feelings.  A lightness in myself is what I find.