Much of unconditioning the heart is unconditioning, or reconditioning the mind. While in many ways the heart is a far more intelligent organ, the mind gets to reside over most of the dominion of life. There are many reasons for … Continue reading
The mind is fallible. More and more this is being proven by science. Biases and cognitions which enable the mind to think quickly also disable the mind from thinking logically, rationally, and with accuracy. This is not all the time, … Continue reading
Though I do my best to not get caught up in conversations, which can lead to arguments, from time to time I inevitably find my way there. Less so than in years past, signifying my ability to learn new behaviors, … Continue reading
Most anything we begin, we begin with a purpose in mind and then over time that purpose evolves and changes. Perhaps because what we set out to do was accomplished. Or because desire and/or motives changed. Dedicated practice of anything … Continue reading
Over the years of my life my morning routine has varied greatly. For years it was necessary for me to have a coffee and a smoke before doing anything else in order to meet the day, and people in it, with an inner sense of calm and outer display of good nature. Though there are many reasons to say this is a poor way to start the day, it worked for me for a very long time. Yet, like all other things, I have changed and so has my morning routine. Now rather than coffee and a smoke, I prefer meditation and writing. What hasn’t changed though is the fact that if I don’t, for whatever reason, get to my morning routine before other things call on my attention, I lean toward intense irritation and discontent. Before, when nicotine was a part of the equation it was easy to blame my poor state of mind on a chemical imbalance, now, not so much. Now, the only person to blame is me, and the only one responsible for making it better is also me.
Knowing that I am easily irritated when I don’t attend to my morning rituals I do my best to give myself ample time to do so even if it means getting up at “ungodly hours” as my husband says. It for me is an empowering practice of discipline and my way of “winning my daily private victory.” But life does not always abide so politely to my plans and my best efforts. This is why I have my practices and return to them with discipline, because there will always come a day, if not many, when I am faced with the ugliness of my own inner discontent, and the true battle of righting my way toward inner peace and ease will really begin.
Today was the kind of day I do my best to not have. The morning began with demands that required my attention and were more important than “winning my daily victory.” Having integrity to the meeting of and attending to my responsibilities is a cornerstone in my personal philosophy, and therefore off to the gamut of other tasks I went. As the morning unrolled, I snapped at my husband, spilled my coffee, and observed that most of my thoughts were criticisms and complaints. In the observation of myself I had a significant moment not only of self awareness, but also of payoff for all the work I have done to be aware of myself, in such a way and I realized that the only one who had control of my irritation was me. The circumstances of my irritation were far out of my control, but the way I choose to respond to them was within reach. Finding my way to a more spacious state of perception and feeling was not instantaneous, however, as I click the keys on this keyboard I acknowledge that I am much less irritated, and far more pleasant to be around as a result.
Life is full of choices, we often perceive the choices that will make us happy as the big ones, like who to marry, what job to take or car to buy, or where to live, when in fact it’s really the little choices we make that have the biggest effects on our lives. Choosing to “win our private daily victories” such as meditation practice, yoga practice, spiritual study, writing and creative ventures, meeting responsibility with integrity, living in unconditional love, these choices may seem minor in the eye of the simple bystander, however over time, these little victories become the artillery that enables us to win the battle of our happy lives and live in more inner satisfaction, fulfillment, and peace more of the time.
Today I lost the little battle of my little victory, but I won the war against inner discontent, and it only took about an hour. As a result, I offer to you that this year as you set your resolutions, may you set them with little victories in mind. What can you attain today that may benefit you down the road when your plans fall apart and life arrives? Through the discipline of your return you will find freedom when you least expect it.
Blessings and best wishes in the New Year,
With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving, In Joy,
There are many common misconceptions of yoga, one is that yoga is just exercise, another is that just by practicing yoga you are becoming more spiritual. As a yoga teacher I find I spend a bit of time in my classes trying to clear up these misconceptions and more, as well as explain the value of a spiritual practice that uses the physical one as a vehicle. Just to be clear here, from my understanding and background there is no right way or wrong way, only what serves. What serves however, changes, and the practice of yoga is deep enough and spacious enough to make room for all changes in the search for what serves. From the place of yoga as exercise to yoga as spiritual practice and everything in between there is value to be gained. How deep any seeker goes is up to them. With all that being said, there is an essential focus to better oneself by knowing the trappings of ignorance and the value of awareness. In the wake of ignorance is often hurt and suffering, therefore the more one pursues awareness the more one may experience peace and contentment.
I remember when I first heard inspiration broken down into the phrase “in spirit action,” it struck a chord in my heart that reverberated into the marrow of my bones. For myself the feeling of being inspired is to feel a lightning strike of awareness that echo’s beyond the essence of myself and into the unknown, a feeling of magic in action, or as it was so sweetly stated to me the feeling of being “in spirit action.”
In my human desire to create a mold of the life I want, and like some malleable material form myself to fit that mold I find myself rather surprisingly organically winding up where I am. The journey itself feels as I imagine a river feels as it makes its way to the ocean. Sometimes rough waters move fast and create waves of great turbulence, other times the current moves more slowly and the stillness of the waters surface appears as if nothing is moving at all. Even though I hold fast to a mantra that came to me in a blast of inspiration many years ago guiding my life always in perpetual positive progression, I sometimes like the river, find myself stagnant and in an eddy as I try unsuccessfully to move back upstream, afraid and anxious of what lies in the current ahead. I find this is when spirit shows up and with a rumble the lightning strike of inspiration crackles across my inner landscape, turning me back in the direction of the current, to continue downstream into the mystical landscape of the unknown.
Inspiration moves us beyond the veils of what we perceive to be the truth and into more expansive states of knowing. Inspiration comes, sometimes when we are prepared for it holding our pen and our paper, and other times like a shock to our hearts. Inspiration leads us into the crags of our fears and invites us to become stronger more beautiful people while we explore our mortality there. Inspiration whispers to us from our hearts when it is time to let down the walls we have built to protect ourselves from our vulnerability. Inspiration is our invitation to step forward in spirit action, no matter what anxious, doubtful, fearful thoughts may be trying to maintain a stronghold on our experience of life.
Taking a leap of faith is heeding the call of inspiration, and no matter the result on the other side of the leap, spirit is always there to catch us. To uncondition ourselves of the hardened walls we have built to protect our hearts from preconceived ideas of hurt and maintain stories of self-defeat and insecurity, we must learn to listen to the whisper and thunder of spirit when it invites, or demands, us to leap and to soar on its wings.
Living our lives in this kind of freedom, in spirit action, fulfills not only our hearts in every moment of unconditioned love we allow ourselves to give and receive, but also, like a child on a treasure hunt, leads us to the most surprising unexpected and brilliant of places on this mystical journey of life.
May we all become more courageous in heeding the call of spirit, rowing confidently while we laugh all the way downstream, rolling on spirits invitation to action no matter if the mold holds or breaks.
With Love, All Ways, For Giving,
Some say, people don’t change. Perhaps they are right. I believe that people do change. Given the right circumstances, support, information, and an ability to surrender the old, change will occur. I don’t claim to know much about science however, … Continue reading
Some days it seems to me that time drifts by so slowly, and yet I find myself rushing to complete tasks, trying to make the most of my productivity as if I am attempting to live out the lyrics of a Righteous Brothers song. Other days go by so fast it feels as though I blink and the crisp brightness of morning has flashed into the dark of night, leaving me breathless with wonder watching the day go out like a blister in the sun.
Admittedly, doing nothing, is not an easily found skill in my skill set. I like a honey bee, buzz around all day picking up, putting down. Some days there is clear vision behind the movement, a more beautifully choreographed dance of this and that, stuff and things. Other days, I am a mish-mosh of clamoring about like a heavy footed boot wearing grunge kid in a mosh pit, moving deliberately, without much grace.
In the last year my life has changed remarkably, surprisingly, and mostly against my will. At the beginning of last July I unfortunately fell down a flight of six stairs. I had never fallen down stairs before and I only imagined how painful it would be. Being a kind of clumsy girl I found it fortunate for me that there aren’t’ a whole bunch of stairs to fall down in Taos as most buildings are one story and the front entryway is even with the earth. Though before last July I had yet to fall down stairs in my life, I wasn’t new to falling. I had more than once slipped on the ice, stumbled over after one to many beverages of the saucy kind, or just being my clumsy self tripped over something outside my range of vision. As a tall person, falling in general, isn’t’ much fun. I lament my height as I watch children fall and bounce right back up without much more than a whimper. Over my many years as an avid snowboarder I became more accustomed to falling. However, when playing in the snow one does their falling in the snow, which has a generosity in it’s reception of a body no matter it’s size. Falling into snow that has freshly fallen is as delightful as falling into bed when you’re exhausted, it’s a welcome surrender. Falling down stairs, not so inviting, and falling down stairs when you have placed your foot where you see the step to be, and you step with the confidence of someone who has managed to stand upright for more than three decades, is a far cry from a welcome surrender. After I tumbled down to the bottom of the flight of stairs, body facing up the direction I had come, in acute and shocking pain, feeling like something beyond the veil of my perception had pushed me I questioned, “How did I miss that step I was so obviously taking?”