Saturday, December 29, 2012

Silence is....Strange. But then Good.

I just finished "silent breakfast" at Kripalu. At first, walking in, I thought..."well this is nice, this won't be hard at all." And then after sitting for a minute, it begins to dawn on you how SILENT it really is. Do you make eye contact if you can't say hello? Do you play with your silverware? Do you read? After looking around I realized I was the only one trying to distract myself with reading. Everyone else was just...being.

There was this little girl just staring at everyone in wonder. So many people in one room, not talking. It is affecting. Why is being silent so strange for us? What do we pay attention to if we're not distracting ourselves? Ourselves? Gasp!

There is a saying on Facebook lately...not sure where it came from but it goes like this...

Stop the Glorification of Being Busy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

It Is What It Is.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

This is my favorite stanza from the conversation between the Walrus and the Carpenter in the poem by the same name written by Lewis Carroll. I think it's because it has nothing to do with eating the poor baby oysters. Although, truth be told, I enjoy eating some baby oysters myself sometimes. 

I simply LOVE Lewis Carroll. He's one of my absolute favorites. Alice in Wonderland is one of my all time favorite books and I have it in a collector's edition that I adore. 

I include the section of the poem below as a commentary on us human beings who never seem to be satisfied. Life is beautiful in it's simplicity. Accepting what such a major joy in life when one masters it. I have become so much better at accepting what is, however, I am no master. Today I got irritated at my living situation. It's not forever but it does pose it's challenges at times and I caught myself grunting at no one. Grunting at the room. The room did nothing. It's really funny when you think about it like that. What can the room do?? It is what it is...Please enjoy the following excerpt following those same lines, from The Walrus and The Carpenter.

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Get Free.

Before I was gathering inside of the silence 
Inside of me now lies a raging thundercloud, threatening to burst. 
Threatening the excitement of a new earth. 
Lighting me up with kisses and killing me with the same.

What is it meant for, this transformation of fears and joys and 
I don’t know what it is with me these days?
I’m not sure but undoubtedly I am meant to feel the weight of this
Sit with it in the grass in the park and then boom….it will happen. 

Maybe I’ll just take my stream and marry it to the ocean, 
Losing myself for the bigger picture. So frightening but so beautiful to be in it. 
To be willing to throw your dice up into the wind 
Watching them scatter like leaves among the sunshine.

At any moment, electricity may very well shoot out of my fingertips. 
How embarrassing when that happens in public. 
But one has to let it go, watch it pop like kernels of popcorn
Like fireworks, like a grape ripe for wine making, like a match in the dark.

Tell, me how do you get free?

Flying Free.

I remember being in 5th grade and watching the kids skip a bar or two while swinging on the monkey bars. It seemed so daring, such a feat of bravery. I watched them while they so easily allowed their hand to slip off of one bar flying for the moment, only a moment, but so free in the air until the next landing of hand on bar. I imagine now the feeling of wind against your cheek, the sun partly warming, partly blinding you from above, the cool of the bar against your skin. That feeling of freedom.

That is yoga for me. That feeling of freedom. That moment where you are completely free, nothing holding you, as if in flight, except that now you are flying inward. The stillness, the mat, your body and breath all coming together to be one in that moment. A drop of sweat falls down and you notice, as if you have never seen a drop of sweat before. It is exhilarating, this drop of sweat, this tiny miracle of a liquid lying beneath you. 

What toxins has it rid your body of for you? What else may you leave behind you, what else may you appreciate with more intensity now that you have gotten that drop of sweat out? The possibilities are endless and everlasting. Why is it so easy to forget this in our everyday lives? The miracle of this moment, this drop of sweat, this space that we are flying free within. 

The possibilities are endless. Creation and empowerment lie on your mat waiting for you to come and pick them up. Please don’t leave them lying there. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh, look what i found. The highlights of Denys and Isak from the movie Out of Africa. Sigh. Just in case you don't have time to watch the whole get the gist.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let Your Light Shine.

I read a quote the other day that said something like..."God punishes us mildly by not answering our prayers and severely by answering them." It reminded me of the movie Out of Africa, when Meryl Streep's character, Isak Dinesen says, "When God wants to punish us, he answers our prayers." I don't wholeheartedly agree with this. How does this sit with you?

Isak says this morose statement when her love interest decides that he will finally keep some of his "things" at her house, thereby, in her mind making the commitment to her that she's been waiting for. This decision, along with a million other tiny little ones will lead to her broken heart when her lover cannot be tamed the way she wants him to be and ultimately by his death in the end when she says at his graveside, "he was not ours, he was not mine." What she means by this and has finally realized, in my opinion, is that we can never own another human being with our love and should not want to. Thich Nhat Hanh has a quote, "you must love in a way that the person you love feels free." And this is what Denys, Isak's lover, knew to be true for himself. However, Denys was Isak's as much as he could be anybody's, he did truly love her at least from the movie p.o.v...I didn't know them personally!  (p.s. I am a hopeless romantic at heart. The theme music is currently playing in my head.)

This movie, based on the real life story of Isak Dinesen who wrote Out of Africa and many other pieces of fine literature is absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful.

Back to my opening quote, I don't believe in this God who punishes us by answering our prayers. I don't like this idea at all. Some may say that's naive and that I don't have to like it. I say to them, fine. (arms crossed, slightly irritated at being called naive.)  But I believe that God knows that we must grow and in order to grow sometimes we will have to experience pain. It is the only way. As Rumi says, "the wound is the place where the light enters."

There are a million little "coincidences" that put you where you are and in front of who you interact with every day. We choose, whether you believe by grand design or by accident where and what and who every day. Obviously, we could have chosen differently (or could we?). The what if factor. But we chose what we chose..... and now here we are. Learning, growing and becoming. Life isn't always easy...but it is exactly those low points in the road that allow us to become stronger, to know ourselves, to find our true center. So, if that is punishment...I'll take it. None of us really want a challenge, a heartbreak, a death, a breakup, a job loss, etc... but it is how we deal with these parts of life that truly allow us to find that inner gem that can shine so so brightly when we are clear and the light hits us.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Memories and Momentum.

I'm listening to a man play piano tonight in a hotel lobby. It is so soulful that it makes me want to to get up and move. Walk, run, do something.

It is November and it is coming to the close of another year. It is appropriate that this unknown man started off by playing the song Memories. As we finish up 2012, many of us will look back on the year behind us and measure it with where we would have liked to have been.

But what of tomorrow? Looking forward, where do we want to go?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Far far away.

I can feel the earth breathing beneath my feet
her heartbeat coming out from my mouth
the cool air lays upon my skin
sinking in, releasing doubts

The joy that lives above the treeline
the color saturates the line of time
After all that is said and done
Your heartbeat fills my soul and mind

And so it is And so it was
And so it will always be
Until a time I cannot see
Far far away from here

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Power to the People.

Good morning world!

I woke up today to a post from my friend on my Facebook account. It was a quote from Glinda, the good witch of the North, "You had the power all along, my dear," which was absolutely perfect for a bunch of reasons but one is because anyone who knows me well, knows that The Wizard of Oz is one of my all time favorite movies.

My top 5 movies of all time...

1. The Wizard of Oz  2. Out of Africa  3. Moulin Rouge  4. Romeo and Juliet  5. Eat, Pray, Love

Just a side note.

Anyway, back to the story... I awoke to that post and also to a feeling of being okay with not having it all figured out anymore. Isn't it funny how this happens in life? We think we've got it all figured out and then...we don't. Actually, the funny thing is how we ever believed we'd had it all figured out in the first place.

What a silly concept. We are not God. We are perfectly imperfect human beings. So we can never have it all figured out 100%. We can know who we love, what we love, what we don't like and what we do for a living but sometimes even those things change. And if they do that can be really scary, but these things happen to show us another layer of who we really are.

So please, love yourself! I know that this sounds simple but so many people don't love themselves at all. Love yourself and then love life and people and animals and the colors of the sky in the morning. Love the feel of the breeze upon your skin while standing next to the ocean and feeling like your skin can actually taste the salt in the air. Love your dog snoring softly at the foot of your bed and your cat snuggled up on your chest, purring as if she wants to make your heart burst! Love the laughter of your friends and your family and just love everyone else in the world because, my dear, you do have the power.

We all have the power to love. To have our hearts broken sometimes. To question our change of careers but still jump and go for it. To help a loved one face their death while facing our own heart breaking because of it. To lose our beloved pets who are truly family to us and face the house when it is empty of their presence. You are strong enough to face all of the uncertainty and doubt and curves in the road. The tests and the signs... and sometimes taking too long to figure it all out. You do have the power, you have been groomed for this moment. It is yours, this sometimes hard but beautiful lesson. If you make a mess of it, stop and figure out what the lesson is and if you are avoiding it. Because there is always a lesson.

But first, love yourself because you are a beautiful and unique work of art that only exists in the form of you once in this world. Share that with the world, embrace it and love it in your own space and know that you do have the power.

In closing, I want to say thank God (in whatever form you choose to believe in God, remember, I am only a human and don't profess to have it "all figured out.") Thank God for people who support you through these times of figuring it out and laugh with you during the times when you have nothing in the world to worry about. Because we all will be the person who is helping someone face their death and at some point...we will all be the person who has someone helping us face our own in this beautiful, tough and very real cycle of life. We do have the power, but a lot of that power comes from sharing love with others who are special in our lives. Otherwise, why would Dorothy ever have left Oz to go back to Kansas?


Friday, October 26, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Leap Away.

Day Five since I fell running (and leaping) in the woods. I'm just starting to feel a bit better today and I think I've concluded that I should keep my feet firmly on the ground. Until next time. 

Seriously, I know that I'm clumsy and I know that I will probably fall again but when I get the urge to leap....most of the time, I do it. I'm a girl of the heart, of the emotions with a good amount of sense that was hammered into me throughout my youth by my father. Thank God he was a strong willed man because I am definitely a strong willed girl. 

Fear is healthy for us, it makes us question if what we are doing is right for us, is right right now, etc... But when something larger than your sense of fear pushes you forward, you should at least give it a good listen. "Do one thing every day that scares you."~ Eleanor Roosevelt said. Great quote, but how many of us can actually say we do this everyday? It's almost impossible in a normal life. I wonder if Eleanor Roosevelt could claim this to be true of her own life. But I like the idea. Pushing past our own boundaries, leaving the door open a little bit to a new idea so that at least that new scary idea is a consideration. 

In The Artist's Way, he talks about this room of our mind and asks us to "gently set aside our skepticism - for later use, if we need it - and when a weird idea or coincidence whizzes by, we gently nudge the door a little further open. Setting skepticism [or fear] aside, even briefly, can make for very interesting explorations. [...] it is not necessary that we change any of our beliefs. It is necessary only that we examine them." (pg. 51, The Artist's Way, 1992)

Examine them so that you know they are actually your beliefs, your desires. Maybe we can all use a little leaping in our lives. To not be so sure of ourselves, to not be so close minded that everyone must surely but wrong except for us. What fun is that? Knowing everything is soooo borrinnng. Sure, we may tumble if we leap...and we may have to heal a bit after... but that's being human, isn't it? 

I want to end with a quote by a beautiful leaper through life and on stage, Martha Graham, who said, "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost." Leap away, lovelies, leap away...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

yoga, photography, art in the woods of Connecticut.

Sunday I was recovering from an awful sickness and by Tuesday afternoon, I was in Connecticut with my lovely friend Angela taking yoga photos with Robert Sturman. I've been a big fan of his photography for about a year now so when I found out he had an opening...nothing was going to stop me, not illness or the 7 hour drive. I can't wait to see his photos... 

These are Angela's "behind the scenes" shots. She is a wonderful photographer in her own right. Check out her creative self at Truly, Madly, Deeply.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Friend.

Moths in my chest flutter then stop
Their sweet, sticky tongues
flickering long out to chomp on
the carcass that throbs there unsteady 

Removing it would be of no consequence
for it's already in shreds, useless
yet the dull ache of it lets one know 
that the rest of the body lives on 

Days of staring, holding devices
That are meant to connect
But I'm only divided...
Where are you my friend

Did you brush my hair
Did we look at the stars
Yet even then I was looking on us
As beloved memories from afar

Full with missing and heavy with desire.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bows and Arrows.

So, just flexing my poetic muscles. I've written this one a bit ago...but decided to share it now. Please enjoy.

Bows and Arrows.

Go ahead, darling, show your ponies
I know that your dark horse will canter
I may draw the curtains close 
but I will certainly be waiting 

I will put the earl grey on
lace it with some honey
Boy, won't we have some fun
With you sitting at my pantry

You will play the duchess 
And I will play the king
Although all of my powers are
Stolen by the neighboring kingdom

Regardless, you wanted to soothe me
Then led me out to the firing range
But the targets got disheveled
And you marched on to bows and arrows

Isn't it all just darling
What could possibly be wrong 
When there are picnic blankets strewn about
And the hummingbirds sweet song?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sweet Savannah.

Obviously, I have a thing for Savannah.

For whatever reason, it is one of the places that has sat romantically in my mind for a long time without ever having been there until this past summer. And now, I know why.

The people are lovely. They are local born and raised mixed with a fair amount of transplants that fell in love with it just like I did and they all mesh together so smilingly. So many people smile in this city and want to talk to you and share why they love Savannah.

There is so much culture and history. You don't have to know it, because you can simply feel it. But if you would like to know it, there are so many tours to help you with that.

There is so much good food. Are you kidding me? Southern Cuisine at it's finest. Paula Deen has a restaurant here, in case that point was up for debate. I didn't get to go there but I did visit some fine BBQ establishments and a beautiful rooftop restaurant on top of The Bohemian hotel. And, of course, as everyone who goes to Savannah probably knows, you take a stroll through the beautiful city's mini gardens on the street squares to Leopold's (ice cream) for your dessert. Delicious city, that Savannah.

Everywhere you look is beauty: Spanish moss hanging from trees, sunflowers growing on people's porches, people painting on the riverfront, smells and tastes of good food, warmth (which I love, for those who don't like the heat...maybe not for you). The people are so welcoming and just plain cool.

Savannah, I love you so. Keep being awesome.